In the fall of 1994, I asked myself a simple question: What are all of Disney's animated films? It was a question I tried to resolve with my sister, but between the two of us, we could only name about 17, and I knew that there were at least 30. Since I hadn't discovered the Internet yet, I had to find out the answer through old-fashioned means. I decided to write a letter to Disney and ask them. I sent off the letter, and awaited my reply. In the spring of 1995, my answer came. I got a form letter from Disney, telling me that they can't answer every question they get. But, attached to that letter was list of all of Disney's animated films, up to Pocahontas. Now that I am online, I've been adding to this list as I read about the Disney films in development, and I'm fairly certain this is a one, true, complete list. This page was one of the first features of the website, and I felt it was time to create a version 2.
- DuckTales: The Movie, A Goofy Movie, and Teacher's Pet: The Movie don't count because they were made by Disney Television Animation, but were lucky enough to go to theaters. Basically, if it has the words "the movie" in the title, or is based on a Disney Saturday morning product, it doesn't count.
- Same goes for all the straight-to-video sequels. They are products of Disney Television Animation.
- The Toy Story films and A Bug's Life don't count because they were made by Pixar, not Disney.
Despite this disclaimer, I still get the odd e-mail asking why none of these films are on the list. So, I gave them their own. Click here for the Other Disney Animated Films.
But, without further adieu, I present...The List!
1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937)
The Grimm Fairy Tale is the first on our list. Who could forget this classic tale of Snow White, scorned by her wicked stepmother, and forced to live with seven miners? Truly a classis.
Scarecrow's Notes: Not just Disney's first animated film, but the first animated film ever! For this technical acheivment, Walt Disney was awarded a special Oscar and seven miniature Oscars. When home video first started gaining headway in the early 80s, Disney swore that they would never release this on video! They changed their minds in the mid 90s, and upset quite a few people with the decision.
2. Pinocchio (1940)
Another timeless classic that can never be forgotten! The tale of Pinocchio, a wooden puppet brought to life and embarking on a quest to become a real boy.
Scarecrow's Notes: The Disney dominance of the Best Original Song Oscar begins when it goes to "When You Wish Upon A Star." The song, of course, has become Disney's anthem. Oh, and Figaro, Gepetto's cat, went on to star in several Disney shorts.
3. Fantasia (1940)
Disney's bold experiment. An 8-part film of nothing but animated images set to music. Dubbed by many a critic as "the first music videos." Like all classics, it was a colossal bomb when it first premiered, but went on to inspire legions of animators.
Scarecrow's Notes: One of my favorites. It was the first film made in Stereophonic Sound, the pre-cursor to Surround Sound. This film's origins are interesting. Originally, the Sorcerer's Apprentice segment was going to be a short film, but the growing expense of that short led to the creation of a whole film around it. It was going to be a work in progress, with new segments inserted and old ones removed every few months. But, the bombing of the film kept that from happening.
4. Dumbo (1941)
I don't think I need to summarize these classics, but I'll keep doing it. This is another we all know by heart, about a baby elephant with oversized ears to uses his unique ability to learn to fly.
Scarecrow's Notes: "When I See An Elephant Fly" still sticks out as one of my favorite Disney animated film songs.
5. Bambi (1942)
Cute deer grows up in woods. We've all seen it. Do I need to say anything more? The Adventures of Bambi, Thumper, and Flower have kept us feeling warm and fuzzy for years.
Scarecrow's Notes: This film has been blamed for traumatizing generations of children thanks to the death of Bambi's mom. Although, it's not that graphic. It all happens off screen. We don't even see a body. All that happens is Bambi's absentee father appears and says, "Your mother can't be with you anymore." Hell, the death of Simba's father in Lion King is more explicit! Either this or The Man From Snowy River was the first movie I ever saw. My memory gets kinda fuzzy going that far back.
6. Saludos Amigos (1943)
A Disney-produced salute to South America as Donald Duck and Goofy go on a series of adventures in that continent.
Scarecrow's Notes: I don't have any notes, as this is the only one I've never seen. It's on DVD now, I'll have to rent it.
7. The Three Caballeros (1945)
The "keeping the southern neighbours happy" theme continues, as Donald, a wacky parrot named Jose, and a mute bird whose name escapes me, have a series of adventures in Mexico.
Scarecrow's Notes: No notes, as this one is kind of forgettable.
8. Make Mine Music (1946)
The first of Disney's "package films;" a collection of shorts edited together as a feature film. This includes such memorable Disney shorts as Casey at the Bat and, one of my favorites, Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet.
Scarecrow's Notes: For its video debut in the mid-90s, a whole segment, The Hatfields and the Coys was cut for its large scale gun fights. The tale is about two feuding families in the deep south. The Blue Bayou segment is actually a cut segment from Fantasia.
9. Fun and Fancy Free (1947)
Two half-hour short films, each introduced by Jiminy Cricket. The first one is the tale of Bongo the Circus Bear. The second is that one we all know and love, Mickey and the Beanstalk, with Mickey, Donald, and Goofy running into a giant.
Scarecrow's Notes: Mickey and the Beanstalk is the final time that Walt Disney personally did the voice of Mickey Mouse.
10. Melody Time (1948)
The package films continue! This one includes such shorts as Johnny Appleseed and Pecos Bill.
Scarecrow's Notes: For its video debut in the mid-90s, computers were used to erase Pecos Bill's cigarette, leading many a viewer to wonder why he has his hands in those positions and why his mouth is always in such a funny shape.
11. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)
Again, we are presented with two half-hour short films. The first is a re-telling of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride from The Wind In The Willows, and the second is an effectively scary re-telling of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. And yes, that's Bing Crosby as the narrator of Sleepy Hollow.
Scarecrow's Notes: The two films were available on video individually for years, but the film was finally restored to its original film in the mid-90s. Oh, and my favorite director, Tim Burton, include an homage to this animated Sleepy Hollow in his live-action take on the tale in 1999.
12. Cinderella (1950)
"Perhaps you are aware of Russian epic Cinderella. If shoe fits, wear it." -- Lt. Chekov, Star Trek VI. Wicked stepmother, pumpkins, singing mice, and a fairy Godmother. What more do you need? (Oh, and despite Chekov's claim, it's not Russian. It's another Grimm tale, I believe.)
Scarecrow's Notes: I remember watching this on a 16mm projector in the Entwistle Community Hall when I was 5. This was probably the first Disney animated film I ever saw. And keep your ears peeled for that infamous Disney sound effect, the "Goofy yell."
13. Alice in Wonderland (1951)
"Follow The White Rabbit." -- The Matrix. Think Alice is "the one?" Disney does Lewis Carroll, as Alice tumbles through a rabbit hole, following a white rabbit. And while I'm at it, let me wish you a very merry unbirthday.
Scarecrow's Notes: Am I the only one who finds Wonderland kind of creepy?
14. Peter Pan (1953)
Another timeless classic! Wendy, Michael, and John follow Peter Pan to NeverNeverLand in a desperate bid to never grow up, and do battle with the nefarious Captain Hook. My God, when you watch it now, the symbolism of loss of innocence kind of beats you over the head.
Scarecrow's Notes: Disney did away with convention here by having a boy play Peter Pan. Up until this point, the role had traditionally been played by women. But some traditions remained, like having Captain Hook and Wendy's father be played by the same man. And, of course, this movie introduced us to Tinkerbell, who became Disney's mascot. The rumor that Marilyn Monroe was the model for Tinkerbell is just that, a rumor.
15. Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Lady, a pampered dog belonging to a wealthy family, falls in love with a street smart stray named Tramp, and they eat spaghetti. My God, this like my childhood library.
Scarecrow's Notes: Singer Peggy Lee, who co-wrote the film's songs and provided several voices, sued Disney in the late-80s when the film was first released on video. Her claim was that her original contract from the 50s entitled her to video royalties. She was wheelchair bound, partially blind, and partially deaf, but she won. Good for her! After this film, Disney ran a comic strip in papers called Scamp, all about Lady and Tramp's son, Scamp. In fact, a straight-to-video sequel, entitled Scamp's Adventure, is on the way.
16. Sleeping Beauty (1959)
The princess Aurora pricks her finger on a spinning wheel, and falls into a deep sleep, and can only be awakened by "love's first kiss." Handsome prince goes out to rescue her, yadda yadda yadda. But what a "moving painting!"
Scarecrow's Notes: This was the first animated film made in 70mm; the movie world's panoramic camera. At the time, this film was the most expensive movie ever made, costing $7 million. It bombed.
17. 101 Dalmatians (1961)
Lots and lots of cute dogs who don't want to give up their skin to become Cruella DeVil's new coat. Now that's an evil woman! Killing puppies in the name of fashion.
Scarecrow's Notes: This Disney animated film broke new ground with it's "Xerox process." It's a simple process. If you need a lot of characters on screen, don't draw a lot of cels. Draw one, and photocopy it.
18. The Sword In The Stone (1963)
Disney does Camelot in this tale of the early days of King Arthur. Here, Arthur is still a boy, but he falls under the Yoda-like training of Merlin as Merlin hones him to become the next king.
Scarecrow's Note: Ya know, I kinda wish Disney would return to this material. An animated film about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table would be soooo good if done right.
19. The Jungle Book (1967)
Ahh, yes. Mowgli's adventures in the jungle, with father figure Bagheera the panther and fun lovin' ne'er-do-well Baloo the Bear. And keep you eyes peeled for those Beatles-esque vultures.
Scarecrow's Notes: This was the first Disney animated movie whose soundtrack album went gold. It was also the first to use a wide array of celebrities to do voices. It was also the final animated film to be supervised by Walt Disney. He died in 1968.
20. The Aristocats (1970)
The pet cat of a wealthy widow and her three kittens are abandoned on the streets by an evil butler, only to be rescued by fun lovin' ne'er-do-well Thomas O'Malley, the alley cat. It's kind of a combination of 101 Dalmatians and Lady and the Tramp.
Scarecrow's Note: Walt Disney's final animated film with his involvement. He approved the story and was still around for its early stages of work. The opening title song is sung by a great French opera singer who came out of retirement just for this task! And yes, that's Scatman Caruthers doing the voice of Scatcat. My fellow TransFans remember him better as the voice of the Autobot Jazz.
21. Robin Hood (1973)
Disney does an animated spin on the hero of Sherwood Forest, but this time around, the traditional roles are filled with walking, talking animals. And yes, many have pointed out the striking similarities between Little John and Baloo.
Scarecrow's Notes: I guess this could be a re-make of sorts, seeing as to how Disney did a live-action Robin Hood movie about 15 years earlier. Speed up the main title song from this film, and ya know what top 40 hit/Internet phenomenon you get? The Hamster Dance.
22. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
Disney returns to the package film concept with this compilation of many of the studio's Winnie the Pooh shorts, including Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, Too!
Scarecrow's Notes: Released on video in the mid-90s, but I notice that the shorts have been released individually recently. Either way, it's Disney at their best.
23. The Rescuers (1977)
When a little girl is kidnapped, the call goes out to the International Rescue Society to save her! Did I mention that the society is completely made up of mice? This is a good one.
Scarecrow's Notes: When re-released on video in the mid-90s, it caused a bit of a controversy when it was finally discovered that a perverted animator snuck a picture of a topless woman into a background! This was also the final film that Don Bluth worked on. After this film, he felt that Disney was no longer producing the high-quality animated films they used to. So, he and some like-minded animators walked out and formed their own studio. Bluth went on to direct such animated hits as An American Tale, The Land Before Time, and, most recently, Titan A.E.
24. The Fox and The Hound (1981)
The tale of Todd and Copper, a fox cub and a hunting dog puppy. As children, the play blissfully together, but, as they mature, can their friendship endure the fact that they are natural enemies? To quote Leonard Maltin, "Comes close to that old Disney magic."
Scarecrow's Notes: Animators on this film include John Lasseter, who went on to become the driving force at Pixar and director of the Toy Story films, and Tim Burton, who went on to direct Edward Scissorhands, Batman, and, most recently, Sleepy Hollow.
25. The Black Cauldron (1985)
I LOVE THIS ONE! An underrated classic. We follow the adventures of Tarin, who's charged with protecting a pig that holds the key to the Black Cauldron. The Horned King is after this pig, for the Black Cauldron is what the King needs to create his army of undead soldiers. Can Tarin fight of the Horned King and save the day?
Scarecrow's Notes: The first animated film to be made in 70mm since Sleeping Beauty. Disney's first PG-rated animated film. Disney's first attempt at an animated film for a grown-up audience. When new studio management came along halfway through production, it was heavily edited to try and make it for kids.
26. The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
A spoof of Sherlock Holmes, as we follow a Sherlock-style mouse and his adventures attempting to rescue a girl's kidnapped father. The father, you see, has been abducted by our hero's arch enemy, Professor Ratigan (voice of the late, great, Vincent Price.)
Scarecrow's Notes: The first Disney animated film to utilize computer animation. When re-released to theaters in 1992, the name was changed to The Adventures of the Great Mouse Detective.
27. Oliver and Company (1988)
The Disney spin on Oliver Twist, with Oliver being a kitten, the Artful Dodger a dog, Fagin a homeless man, and modern day New York replacing Charles Dickens' London.
Scarecrow's Notes: Not bad, all in all. I still find myself occasionally humming "Why Should I Worry," which is kind of an 80s pop version of "The Bare Necessities."
28. The Little Mermaid (1989)
Again, do I need to summarize this? Ariel is enamored with the surface world, and sells her voice to the sea witch in the hopes of becoming human.
Scarecrow's Notes: The film that rescued the animated film format, by doing the kind of business usually reserved for live-action films! This was also the final Disney animated film to have hand-painted cels. After this film, Disney switched to the CAPS system, in which pencil sketches are scanned into a computer, colored in a paint program, and then digitally added to the scanned-in background. Disney no longer uses cels.
29. The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
A long awaited sequel to The Rescuers, in which Bernard and Bianca head to Australia to stop a ruthless poacher from catching a golden condor.
Scarecrow's Notes: Who else watched this film expecting a cameo by Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers? Disney's first animated movie sequel.
30. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Another one where I have to ask, "Do I need to summarize this?" Belle gets locked in tower with ferocious beast. After time, they see the beauty within and fall in love. And, the whole time, the household knick-knacks sing to them.
Scarecrow's Notes: The first animated film to receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination. This film is also dedicated to lyricist Howard Ashman, who co-wrote the songs for this film, The Little Mermaid, and half of the songs for Aladdin. Disney is preparing a "special edition" of this film for Spring 2002, in which animation is being completed on several cut scenes.
31. Aladdin (1992)
Aladdin, everyone's favorite street rat, finds a genie in a lamp, wishes to become a prince, and goes about hitting on the princess. But, of course, there's an evil vizier trying to overthrow the kingdom.
Scarecrow's Notes: Many have declared Robin Williams' voice work on the Genie to be the funniest Disney character ever. Williams sued Disney over his performance after the film was released. (See, one of the conditions of Williams' contract was that his performance not be used to hock merchandise. But, Disney used it for that purpose anyway.) Oh, and the lyrics to the opening title song "Arabian Nights" were changed for video release when Arab groups took offence to the original lyrics.
32. The Lion King (1994)
As the summaries become increasingly unnecessary, I continue doing them anyway! Cute lion cub, thinking he killed his father, takes off into the bushes. He comes back when he's all growed up to overthrow his evil uncle and reclaim his throne.
Scarecrow's Notes: The highest-grossing animated film to date. It was also the first Disney animated film with no human characters, and the first to not be based on anything! (Although, most have pointed out similarities to Hamlet, and several anime geeks say it's just a huge rip-off of Kimba the White Lion.)
33. Pocahontas (1995)
Disney does American legends, as the tale of a Native American princess and a handsome British explorer meet in the new land, fall in love, and try to prevent their people from going to war.
Scarecrow's Notes: Ya know, a lot of people didn't like this film, but just about any Disney film following in the footsteps of The Lion King was doomed to failure. Oh, and historians had known for years about the inaccuracies in the legend, but none of them made the papers until this film came out.
34. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
The story of Quasimodo, the disfigured bell ringer of Notre Dame, who falls madly in love with a gypsy woman. Of course, he's too ugly to be with her, but true beauty comes from within. Or, at least, that's what those singing gargoyles tell him.
Scarecrow's Notes: I love the quote for this film from the Leonard Maltin Movie Guide: "Disney's all-time strangest choice for an animated musical." And I was really annoyed that the gargoyles in this film were nothing like Goliath and his clan.
35. Hercules (1997)
Hercules is the favorite son of Zeus and Hera. But, his birth screws up Hades' plans to take over the world. So, Hades has him kidnapped and turned into a mortal. But, Herc's god-like strength remains. So, Herc goes about proving himself to be a hero so he can regain his god-hood. Hey, wait a minute. I don't think that's how it really happened....
Scarecrow's Notes: I know quite a few followers of Greek mythology who were quite pissed with the film's "liberal" interpretation of Greek legends.
36. Mulan (1998)
Those marauding Huns have breeched the Great Wall of China, and are on their way to conquering China! So, the emperor calls upon the first born son of every house to join the army. Mulan's family has no sons, so to keep her father from going to war, Mulan disguises herself as a man, and joins the army. Don't worry, a talking midget dragon protects her.
Scarecrow's Notes: Forget what Leonard Maltin said, I think that this is Disney's all-time strangest choice for an animated musical. But still, any film with a not-so-subtle reference to an episode of Batman: The Animated Series can't be all bad.
37. Tarzan (1999)
Tarzan, the human raised by apes, encounters humans for the first time. The professor and his daughter, Jane, want to study the apes. But, of course, their guide is an evil poacher who wants to hunt down all those monkeys.
Scarecrow's Notes: Much fuss was made of this film's "deep canvas" process, blending traditional animated characters with 3D, computer animated backgrounds. When this film came out, Disney produced an article written by "Tarzan" creator Edgar Rice Burroughs back in the 1940s. In the article, Burroughs writes that the best way to bring Tarzan to life "is in an animated feature of Disney quality."
38. Fantasia 2000 (2000)
It took 60 years, but Walt's vision of Fantasia as a work in progress is finally realized. 7 all new segments of animation set to music, with one returning classic, The Sorcerer's Apprentice.
Scarecrow's Notes: The first IMAX animated film. In development at Disney for 9 years! Originally slated to be their animated blockbuster for the summer of 1993, but was pushed back seven years to get it right.
39. The Emperor's New Groove (2000)
Kuzco is the spoiled-brat emperor. When her fires his chief advisor, she tries to kill him. But, she gives him the wrong toxin and turns him into a llama. Now, trapped in the body of a llama, Kuzco must team-up with a humble farmer to reclaim his throne.
Scarecrow's Notes: Disney's most troubled animated film to date. It originally began as Kingdom Of The Sun, but it did poorly in test screenings, causing most of the film to be scrapped, and a complete re-thinking of the plot and re-animation of almost the whole film.
40. Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
Disney returns to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, kinda. At the dawn of the 20th Century, we follow the crew of a Nautilus-type submarine as they go in search of the ruins of Atlantis.
Scarecrow's Notes: Disney's first 70mm animated film since The Black Cauldron.
41. Lilo and Stitch (2002)
Lilo is a 6-year old Hawaiian girl who has dedicated her life to helping out animals. Sitich is the most feared criminal in the galaxy, being taken to a prison colony. On his way there, his ship crash lands on Earth. Stitch then disguises himself as a dog and gets adopted by Lilo. Here, watching her, he is able to reform himself.
Scarecrow's Notes: Disney has high hopes for this one, as they think it has the best chances of breaking "the Disney formula."
42. Treasure Planet (2002)
Disney tries to re-make Titan A.E. with this, a science-fiction retelling of Treasure Island. Look for cute robots to be the funny sidekicks.
Scarecrow's Notes: Disney is really pushing the limits of blending computer and traditional animation on this one. Long John Silver is going to have robotic legs instead of a peg leg, so from the waist down, he'll be computer animated. Waist up, conventional animation.
43. Brother Bear (2003)
A Native American boy's father is killed by a bear. The boy seeks revenge, and takes off into the woods to kill it. But, the Fates decide to teach this boy respect for his natural brothers, and turn him into...a bear. Now, he becomes surrogate father to an orphan bear; a bear he orphaned.
Scarecrow's Notes: Comic relief in this film comes from two moose with the voices of Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis. And the moose characters are essentially moose reincarnations of their classic characters, Bob and Doug McKenzie.
44. Home on the Range (2004)
Time to head out to the wild west! When an evil banker threatens foreclosure on a ranch, a trio of cows turn into bounty hunters. If they can catch one of the most notorious outlaws in the west, the reward will be just enough to save the farm!
Scarecrow's Notes: Attempting to return to their glory days, this is the first Disney animated film since Hercules to feature the music of Alan Menkin.
And sadly, this just might be the end. With computer animated films having outperformed traditional animation, Disney feels that there is no more money left in traditional animation. There have been massive layoffs in their animation department, projects that were in development have been scrapped, and the future of Disney animation is uncertain.
And then who knows what the future might hold...?
Head to the official Disney
website to get some clue!