What’s the best Disney movie of all time? Beauty and the Beast? Frozen? WALL-E? By using data mainly from the review-aggregate site Metacritic, we’ve got an answer. And, actually, we’ve got something better: We’ve got 50 answers.
We’ve ranked the 50 most critically acclaimed Disney movies of all time, from the merely great to the exceedingly classic. A lot of the usual suspects are here, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Toy Story and Mary Poppins.
But, take note: Some popular favorites are not found here. Movies that didn’t make the cut include Alice in Wonderland (the Johnny Depp version and the 1951 animated film), Big Hero 6 and, sorry, every single Cars movie ever made.
Owing to mergers and acquisitions, a Disney movie today is technically everything from a project that emerged from the drawing boards of Walt Disney’s original animators to Avengers: Endgame. For the purposes of this list, we’ve defined a Disney movie as a family-oriented movie categorized by Metacritic as having been produced or released by Walt Disney Studios, Buena Vista Pictures and RKO Radio Pictures. (Fun fact: Into the 1950s, Disney features were distributed by RKO.) Star Wars movies, MCU movies, documentaries and certain live-action dramas, including Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, have been sorted out.
We ranked films by their Metacritic scores, current as of publication. Where there were ties, we ranked by Metacritic user scores. In a handful of cases, where there was no available Metacritic data, we used the critical-aggregate score from Rotten Tomatoes, the fellow movie-review site.
Our final list is heavily skewed toward movies released in the last 30 years. More than half of all the 50 ranked movies are from the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. The 2010s put the most movies on our rundown: 12.
The Disney company’s struggles in the wake of its namesake’s death in 1966 are evident in our list: There are only three movies from the 1960s (all released prior to Walt Disney’s passing); there are zero from the 1970s.
Forty-two of the 50 films on our ranked list are primarily animated, including two that were made by Japanese studios, and brought to the United States by Disney.
Disney’s live-action and CGI remakes of its animated classics do not fare well here: You’ll find only one (and it’s not Jon Favreau’s The Lion King).
So, what films are favored here? And what’s the No. 1-ranked film? There’s no need to wish upon a star. Just keep reading.
50. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
This adventure is the opening chapter in Disney’s rendering of C.S. Lewis’ beloved fantasy series. The film, wrote the New York Daily News’ Elizabeth Weitzman, is a “generation-spanning journey that feels both comfortingly familiar and excitingly original.”
Metacritic score: 75 (User score: 5.9)prevnext
49. Frozen (2013)
This Disney princess tale of sisterhood and ice was a phenomenon, grossing more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office. It also inspired untold covers of the ballad, “Let It Go,” which won the film one of its two Oscars. (Frozen’s other Oscar was for Best Animated Feature.) USA Today’s Claudia Puig praised the movie as “[w]onderfully enchanting wintry fare.”
Metacritic score: 75 (User score: 7.5)prevnext
48. The Muppets (2011)
Jason Segal and Amy Adams are the human stars of this Muppet-filled comedy that won the Oscar for Original Song (“Man or Muppet”). Segal co-wrote the script.
“The love Segel has for the Muppets is a genuine, perceivable and positive quality that suffuses this good-hearted revitalization of the franchise …,” Movieline’s Alison Willmore wrote.
Metacritic score: 75 (User score: 7.8)prevnext
47. Enchanted (2007)
This is our second straight Amy Adams entry. In Enchanted, Adams and Susan Sarandon star in a meta fairy-tale about a cartoon princess who finds herself in live-action New York City.
“The film works its magic largely by sending up, at times with a wink, at times with a hard nudge, some of the very stereotypes that have long been this company’s profitable stock in trade,” judged Manohla Dargis in The New York Times.
Metacritic score: 75 (User score: 8.2)prevnext
46. Peter Pan (1953)
This oft-told fantasy gets the Disney treatment in a tuneful animated feature that’ll make you believe “You Can Fly! You Can Fly! You Can Fly!” TV Guide Magazine called Peter Pan a “wonderful movie.”
Metacritic score: 76prevnext
45. The Personal History of David Copperfield (2020)
This take on the Charles Dickens classic, starring Dev Patel as the rags-to-riches hero, was praised by The New York Times’ Jeannette Catsoulis as a “souped-up, trimmed-down adaptation so fleet and entertaining that its cleverness doesn’t immediately register. “ The Personal History of David Copperfield is the newest film in this list.
Metacritic score: 77 (User score: 4.3)prevnext
44. Finding Dory (2016)
This sequel to Finding Nemo is the first of 15 Pixar-produced entries on this list. “Finding Dory may be familiar magic, but there’s magic in it all the same,” judged Hitfix’s Drew McWeeny.
Metacritic score: 77 (User score: 7.3)prevnext
43. The Jungle Book (2016)
This Oscar-winning, Jon Favreau-directed entry combines live action with CGI critters voiced by Bill Murray and more. Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers judged it a “visual marvel that cuts a direct path to the heart.”
The Jungle Book is the only live-action remake of a Disney animated property on this list.
Metacritic score: 77 (User score: 7.5)prevnext
42. A Bug's Life (1998)
This computer-animated film about an especially industrious ant was the second-ever Pixar feature. Critics were wowed by the then-new production house. “It's impossible not to be utterly blown away by Pixar's animation,” wrote Salon’s Janelle Brown.
Metacritic score: 77 (User score: 7.8)prevnext
41. James and the Giant Peach (1996)
Disney’s stop-motion-animated movie, based on the Roald Dahl tale about a boy who finds a whole new world inside a piece of fruit, is a “stunner with a breathtaking array of eye-teasers,” per USA Today’s Susan Wloszczyna.
Metacritic score: 78 (User score: 7.4)prevnext
40. Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Sure, this lush, canine romance features songs (and singing) by vocal great Peggy Lee, but more important, it offers up one very appealing dish of spaghetti.
“The quintessential American love story...has seldom been more elegantly and entertainingly told,” Dave Kehr wrote in the Chicago Tribune.
Metacritic score: 78 (User score: 8.0)prevnext
39. Zootopia (2016)
This Oscar-winning, CGI-animated animal tale, starring the voices of Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman, arguably captures the patience-trying DMV experience better than any movie ever.
Time’s Stephanie Zacharek praised Zootopia as a "modest, unassuming entertainment that’s motored by a sly sensibility."
Metacritic score: 78 (User score: 8.7)prevnext
38. Tarzan (1999)
This animated blockbuster is another Disney Oscar-winner: It earned its gold for the Phil Collins-penned ballad, “You’ll Be in My Heart.”
“This is entertainment worth thumping your chest over,” wrote Susan Wloszczyna in USA Today.
Metacritic score: 79 (User score: 7.8)prevnext
37. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
This clever tale shines a light on monsters who are more scared of us than we are of them. It also boasts “If I Don’t Have You,” the ditty which won Pixar favorite Randy Newman his first career Oscar.
The Chicago Reader’s Lisa Alspector summed up Monster’s Inc. as an “unprecedented friendship between a monster and a child [that] leads to an amazing chase scene.”
Metacritic score: 79 (User score: 8.7)prevnext
36. Incredibles 2 (2018)
Helen Parr, aka Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter), comes into her own in this Oscar-nominated sequel to writer-director Brad Bird’s Pixar sensation.
“...Incredibles 2 gets its heart by being a sweet family story,” judged Moira Macdonald in The Seattle Times.
Metacritic score: 80 (User score: 7.9)prevnext
35. The Secret World of Arrietty (2012)
Disney gets credit for bringing this acclaimed Japanese animated tale, about a boy who discovers a tiny family living in his home, to English-language audiences.
“It's hardly the first movie to deal with thimble-size protagonists,” wrote Time Out’s Sam Adams, “but it's one of few animated fairy tales to genuinely transport the audience into their world...”
Metacritic score: 80 (User score: 8.1)prevnext
34. Moana (2016)
This thrilling animated musical adventure boasts the voices of Auli'i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson.
“Directors Ron Clements and John Musker use the island setting to create an authentic, vibrant world,” judged Jody Mitori in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Metacritic score: 81 (User score: 7.8)prevnext
33. Coco (2017)
A winner of two Oscars, including Best Animated Feature, this Pixar contribution is a lively and tuneful exploration of the afterlife.
“If this is the afterlife we’re all headed to, don’t fear the reaper,” quipped Helen O'Hara in Empire.
Metacritic score: 81 (User score: 8.3)prevnext
32. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Originally produced by Disney’s adult-skewing Touchstone division, the mouse house has embraced (and distributed) subsequent re-releases of producer Tim Burton’s Oscar-nominated, stop-motion-animated, gothic-holiday vision.
“The Nightmare Before Christmas is the black diamond of family films, brilliantly conceived, touchingly pure of heart, much more endearing than scary,” wrote Jay Carr in the Boston Globe.
Metacritic score: 82prevnext
31. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
Kirk Douglas leads the cast in this crackerjack take on the Jules Verne sea-faring, squid-facing adventure that won Oscars for art direction and special effects.
“As fabulous and fantastic as anything [Walt Disney] has ever done in cartoons…,” raved Bosley Crowther in The New York Times.
Metacritic score: 83 (User score: 7.4)prevnext
30. 101 Dalmatians (1961)
The dogs are the nominal stars, but Cruella De Vil (voiced by Betty Lou Gerson) steals the show and, in the process, becomes one Disney’s most inedible villains.
“It is the wittiest, most charming, least pretentious cartoon feature Walt Disney has ever made,” Time judged.
Metacritic score: 83 (User score: 8.1)prevnext
29. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
This groundbreaking Robert Zemeckis film mixed live action with animation, film noir with zany comedy, and, perhaps most impressive, Mickey Mouse with Bugs Bunny. It won three Oscars and an honorary statuette. The Los Angeles Times’ Sheila Benson called Who Framed Roger Rabbit “[d]ense, satisfying, feverishly inventive and a technical marvel.”
Metacritic score: 83 (User score: 8.8)prevnext
28. Toy Story 4 (2019)
According to critics, the latest Toy Story movie is the least Toy Story movie, but it’s still pretty good.
"It doesn’t put you through the emotional wringer the way its predecessor did,” Peter Rainer wrote for the Christian Science Monitor, “but it’s consistently inventive, funny, witty, and heartfelt.”
Metacritic score: 84prevnext
27. The Three Caballeros (1945)
Though not a high-profile entry from Disney’s classic period, this Oscar-nominated, 1945 feature-length travelogue of Latin America is a must-see. The Chicago Reader’s Dave Kehr called it “[o]ne of the forgotten masterworks of Disney animation,”
Metacritic score: 85 (User score: 6.8)prevnext
26. Cinderella (1950)
The Cinderella fairy tale is forever linked to Disney thanks to this film’s timeless storytelling and classic songs, such as "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" and “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes.”
“The glass slipper, the Fairy Godmother, Jaq and Gus--Cinderella is a parade of majestic moments,” praised IGN’s Matt Fowler.
Metacritic score: 85 (User score: 7.7)prevnext
25. Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Considered a box-office failure in its initial theatrical release, the film is now considered an essential entry in the Disney princess canon. The Chicago Reader’s Dave Kehr called this version of Sleeping Beauty the “masterpiece of the Disney Studios' postwar style.”
Metacritic score: 85 (User score: 8.1)prevnext
24. Ponyo (2009)
If you’re familiar with this Little Mermaid-esque tale from Japan’s Hayao Miyazaki, it’s probably because Disney championed it and distributed it to American audiences.
“You watch a Miyazaki film with the pie-eyed, gape-mouthed awe of a child being read the most fantastic story and suddenly transported to places previously beyond the limits of imagination,” Carrie Rickey praised in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Metacritic score: 86 (User score: 7.7)prevnext
23. The Straight Story (1999)
If you bet there'd be at least one David Lynch movie on this list, you win! This gentle, Lynch-directed, fact-based tale of a man who rides a lawnmower from Iowa to Wisconsin is distinguished by Richard Farnsworth, who earned a Best Actor nomination for his star turn. Film.com’s Elizabeth Weitzman called The Straight Story “clear-eyed and open-hearted.”
Metacritic score: 86 (User score: 8.4)prevnext
22. Aladdin (1992)
This entry is significant on a couple of levels: One, it introduced the Oscar-winning song, “A Whole New World”; and, two, with the help of Robin Williams, it brought a Warner Bros.-esque irreverence to Disney. “Aladdin is a film of wonders,” praised the Los Angeles Times’ Kenneth Turan.
Metacritic score: 86 (User score: 8.7)prevnext
21. The Incredible Journey (1963)
Two dogs and a cat hit the road in this beloved tale. “[The Incredible Journey] comes from a place that genuinely respects and loves dogs for being dogs and cats for being cats,” Tim Brayton judged for Antagony & Ecstasy.
Metacritic score: 87 (User score: N/A)prevnext
20. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
This charming remake, starring the voices of Michael J. Fox and Sally Field, pits a trio of house pets against the rigors of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
“It'll leap up at you, lick you in the face, then curl up in your lap and stay there, soft and warm and content,” Hollis Chacona wrote in the Austin Chronicle.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 87 (Audience score: 71)prevnext
19. The Little Mermaid (1989)
This is the fairy-tale film that ushered in a new era of classic Disney animation. It also introduced a new round of classic Disney songs, including Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s “Part of Your World” and their Oscar-winning “Under the Sea.” (Menken won a second Oscar for his score.)
USA Today’s Mike Clark called The Little Mermaid the “most thoroughly socko kiddie cartoon feature in decades.”
Metacritic score: 88 (User score: 7.9)prevnext
18. Mary Poppins (1964)
This live-action-animated hybrid is the ultimate achievement of Walt Disney’s lifetime. It claimed five Oscars (off of a whopping 13 nominations), and made a high-flying star of Best Actress winner Julie Andrews.
Metacritic score: 88 (User score: 8.2)prevnext
15 (TIE). Up (2009)
This poignant, funny story of an old man (voiced by Ed Asner) who takes off on his late wife’s dream adventure is a two-Kleenex-box kind of movie. It’s also a two-Oscar kind of movie, thanks to its wins for Best Animated Feature and score. “We will be comparing Up with classics like The Wizard of Oz for years to come,” Marjorie Baumgarten wrote for the Austin Chronicle.
Metacritic score: 88 (User score: 8.8)prevnext
15 (TIE). Toy Story 2 (1999)
This Pixar franchise has done its part to demonstrate that sequels don’t have to be bad. Per the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s William Arnold, Toy Story 2 is as “charming” and “funny” as its predecessor. “In fact,” Arnold wrote, “I enjoyed it quite a bit more.”
Metacritic score: 88 (User score: 8.8)prevnext
15 (TIE). The Lion King (1994)
A double Oscar-winner, for its Hans Zimmer score and for the Elton John-Tim Rice ballad, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” this blockbuster animated musical fable has spawned a hit Broadway show, and the 2019 big-screen, CGI remake. The Washington Post’s Desson Thomson called the film “the Mickey Mouse factory at its finest.”
Metacritic score: 88 (User score: 8.8)prevnext
14. Treasure Island (1950)
This wondrous, live-action rendering of Robert Louis Stevenson's seafaring novel billed itself as the “greatest adventure of all.” Critics didn’t argue. The Spectator’s Virginia Graham praised Treasure Island as a “tremendous success.”
Metacritic score: 89prevnext
13. Finding Nemo (2003)
This fish tale is a Pixar history-maker: It was the studio’s first film to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. In The Hollywood Reporter, Sheri Linden called Finding Nemo, “[a]n exhilarating fish story in the perfectly cast comic adventure.”
Metacritic score: 90 (User score: 8.7)prevnext
12. The Incredibles (2004)
In this Pixar title, named Best Animated Feature at the Oscars, writer-director Brad Bird deconstructs the superhero genre, and, in the process, builds a lasting family comedy.
For the New York Daily News, critic Jami Bernard called the The Incredibles “[c]lever, buoyant and surprisingly human.”
Metacritic score: 90 (User score: 8.8)prevnext
11. Bambi (1942)
Woodland creatures have rarely been more entertaining than they are in this enchanting Disney forest. “Bambi is gem-like in its reflection of the color and movement of sylvan plant and animal life,” Variety raved.
Metacritic score: 91prevnext
10. Toy Story 3 (2010)
This film won Oscars for Best Animated Feature and for the Randy Newman song, “We Belong Together.” It's another tearjerker from Pixar: a tale that hinges on Andy coming of age, and saying farewell to his childhood things.
“A sequel made with care and integrity…,” judged Movieline’s Stephanie Zacharek.
Metacritic score: 92prevnext
9. Inside Out (2015)
Another Best Animated Feature Oscar-winner for Pixar, this pitch-perfect film stars the voice of Amy Poehler as a tween girl’s inner joy. The Seattle Times’ Moira Macdonald wrote that Inside Out “leaves you changed, entertained, nostalgic, dazzled.”
Metacritic score: 94prevnext
8. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1938)
Feature-length animation in Hollywood begins here, with this game-changing, still-gorgeous work that was recognized at back-to-back Oscar ceremonies. In 1938, Snow White was a contender for best score. (It lost to the musical One Hundred Men and a Girl.) The following year, Walt Disney himself was presented with an honorary award for resetting the bar for film.
Metacritic score: 95 (User score: 8.3)prevnext
7. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
The 2017 live-action version of the tale as old as time is generally liked by critics. But the Oscar-winning, animated version is regarded as no less than a classic.
"With its strong characters and lively storytelling, animated or not,” Emma Cochrane wrote for Empire, “this deserves its place alongside the cinema greats.”
Metacritic score: 95 (User score: 8.6)prevnext
6. WALL-E (2008)
A lonely robot is the beating heart of this touching Pixar tale that won the studio yet another Oscar for Best Animated Feature. “...[A] sheer joy,” raved Tasha Robinson for The A.V. Club.
Metacritic score: 95 (User score: 8.9)prevnext
5. Toy Story (1995)
This one is for the history books. Toy Story was the first Pixar feature, Hollywood’s first CGI-animated feature, and, of course, the launching pad for Buzz (voiced by Tim Allen) and Andy (voiced by Tom Hanks). The film probably would’ve been the first Pixar movie to win the animated feature Oscar, too, but the category didn’t yet exist.
Metacritic score: 95 (User score: 9.0)prevnext
4. Dumbo (1941)
The 2019 Tim Burton live-action remake doesn’t come within a Dumbo’s ear of matching the Oscar-winning animated original, for charm or for critical acclaim. “One of the best of Disney's animated features,” judged Time Out.
Metacritic score: 96 (User score: 8.0)prevnext
3. Fantasia (1940)
Over the years, Walt Disney’s classically tuned animated spectacle has enjoyed several successful theatrical re-releases. The runs have put Fantasia’s reputation as a noble, but failed experiment long behind it. Praised The Telegraph’s Sameer Rahim, “This is a bold work that seeks to educate its young audience about classical music.”
Metacritic score: 96 (User score: 8.5)prevnext
2. Ratatouille (2007)
Brad Bird, who co-directed with Jan Pinkava, figures into our list again with the highest-ranking Disney-Pixar film of all-time: the Oscar-winning tale of a rat with culinary ambitions. “...[T]he picture is pure joy,” wrote Stephanie Zacharek for Salon.
Metacritic score: 96 (User score: 8.6)prevnext
1. Pinocchio (1940)
Disney’s Pinocchio is a tale that’s by turns magical and scary, and, above all, graced by the Oscar-winning classic, “When You Wish Upon a Star.”0comments
“Along with Dumbo,...[this] is probably the best in terms of visual detail and overall imagination as well as narrative sweep,” wrote Jonathan Rosenbaum in the Chicago Reader.
Metacritic score: 99prev