The best classic Disney movies of all time

Three of the best classic Disney movies: Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Aladdin
Three of the best classic Disney movies: Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Aladdin

Disney has been creating wonderful family-friendly movies since 1937. But the movies aren’t just for the children.

Many of us have grown up watching these films, and are still just as excited to watch them now — decades later.

Whether you have a family of your own now, or if you are just looking for a good movie to watch this weekend, check out the movies on this list.

Each of these animated films contain a token memory from when you were younger, and nothing is better than reliving the good ‘ol days.

Here’s our list of the best classic Disney movies of all time, all part of the Walt Disney Animated Classics series which doesn’t include thing like the Pixar movies or live-action films.

1 The Lion King

Simba and his friends (and enemies) made for an all-time classic
Simba and his friends (and enemies) made for an all-time classic

The Lion King is one of the most popular Disney movies of all time. It has received its own Broadway play, and is now being adapted into a live-action movie! It’s no surprise that the Lion King is at the top of our list.

The tale follows the lion cub Simba, who is slated to be the next king of Pride rock.

Future plans change when his father is killed in front of him, and he disappears into the jungle.

This film is about learning who you are and overcoming adversity. If you haven’t seen this movie—what are you doing?

2 Aladdin

The magic carpet ride in Aladdin. All together now: ."A whole new world..."
The magic carpet ride in Aladdin. All together now: “A whole new world…”

Aladdin is a street urchin in the magical city of Agrabah, who stays alive by lying and stealing.

Aladdin attempts his biggest con yet when he tries to convince the girl of his dreams, Princess Jasmine, that he is a prince.

With a little help from a Genie — and a lot of luck — Aladdin goes on a journey of a lifetime trying to win the beautiful girl and avoid the evil Jafar, who has intentions of his own.

When the Genie is really vying for his freedom, Aladdin must use his three wishes carefully before everything comes undone.

This is a movie you do not want to miss!

3 Mulan

Mulan, which did a lot for female characters in Disney films

Mulan is a small town girl in China, whose main focus is trying to memorize all the steps to being the perfect wife.

That is until war comes to her country courtesy of the Huns, and her elderly father is drafted to fight in the war.

Refusing to let her father die fighting in the war, Mulan sneaks out in the middle of the night and enlists in his place — thanks to a little help from Mushu, a guardian spirit.

If you love stories about female empowerment and friendship, check out this movie!

4 The Little Mermaid

Ariel in The Little Mermaid
Ariel, the favorite character of pretty much every little girl in the late 80s and early 90s

Ariel is one of the many mermaid daughters of Poseidon, King of the Sea. She is beautiful like her sisters, but that is where the comparisons end.

Ariel longs for adventure, and swims all over to find her treasure — human items lost at sea.

One day she decides she is tired of longing after the life she dreams about and strikes a deal with an evil sea witch.

She gets her wish and her tail turns to a pair of legs, allowing her to meet the prince of her dreams — but for a price.

5 Beauty and the Beast

Belle and the Beast in the original animated version of the Disney movie
Belle and the Beast in the original animated version of the Disney movie

Belle is a kind, quiet girl who would be content to spend every day reading a new book.

Her father is a wacky inventor in town, who one day goes missing in a dark forest.

When Belle finds him, she discovers a man transformed into a beast.

She trades her freedom for her father’s, and begins to learn all the secrets hidden in the manor.

Just like the number one on our list, Beauty and the Beast is originally an animated film that has been adapted into a live action film.

6 Peter Pan

Peter Pan
Peter Pan, the boy who never gets old

After tucking the rest of the Darling family into bed, the oldest child — Wendy — receives a visit from the mischievous Peter Pan.

He has lost his shadow and chases it directly into her bedroom!

After sewing it back on for him, Peter takes Wendy and her two brothers to Never Land — a place where no one grows up.

But not all is what it seems: Peter and his team of Lost Boys are fighting an everlasting battle against the evil Captain Hook.

Lines are drawn. Battles are fought. Tears will fall. This is a classic you do not want to miss.

7 Tarzan

Tarzan, who was raised by gorillas when he was a baby

Tarzan was a baby when his parents were attacked and killed by a leopard in the jungle.

He was taken in and raised by a group of gorillas, and quickly became friends with all the different animals.

When a group of other humans come into the jungle, it is the first time Tarzan has seen anyone like himself.

They threaten to destroy his home and his family, throwing him on a quest to save the only place he has known.

This is a movie about self-discovery and learning about the different types of family: the one you’re born with and the one you choose yourself.

8 Hercules

Hercules with Megara during one of his many adventures

Hercules has got it all — he is the immortal son of the almighty Zeus and Hera living at the top of Mount Olympus.

Until Zeus’ brother Hades gets a little angry and blasts him to earth, making him a half-god, half-mortal — left only with his super strength.

Once he realizes his ancestry, Hercules must prove that he is a true hero if he wants to return home to his family.

But he isn’t alone — he has his best friend, the flying horse Pegasus, and the famous hero trainer, Phil the Satyr.

With their help, Hercules might have a fighting chance.

9 Lilo & Stitch

Lilo & Stitch
The titular Lilo and Stitch, who is the result of an illegal genetic experiment

Lilo and Stitch is an interesting departure for the usual Disney movies — following the tale of an illegal genetic experiment and a young girl who is only looking for a friend.

Stitch, otherwise known as experiment #626, is a criminal who escapes prison transport and lands in Hawaii. Mistaken for a weird, stray dog, Lilo adopts him and names him Stitch.

Together they learn the meaning of family, while also trying to prevent the space cops from capturing Stitch and shipping him off to a faraway asteroid.

This movie became an instant classic and one you need to see!

10 The Jungle Book

Baloo the bear and Mowgli dance in the original The Jungle Book movie
Baloo the bear and Mowgli dance in the original The Jungle Book movie

Similar to Tarzan, this movie focuses on an orphan boy named Mowgli.

After being abandoned, the “man-cub” is raised by a pack of wolves until the panther Bagheera realizes his home is with the man-village — not the jungle.

Baloo the bear loves to cause trouble, and instead take Mowgli on an adventure through the forest, teaching him how to survive on his own.

But there are real threats in the forest, evil creatures who want the man-cub dead.

When Mowgli runs away, it is up to Baloo and Bagheera to save him before it is too late.

This is another Disney movie that has recently been adapted into a live-action film!

Before you go: Make sure to check out some of our other Disney lists including ones about all the Disney princesses, the best Disney Channel original movies, and the best Disney villains of all time.

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