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Every Walt Disney Animated Movie, Ranked

From 1937’s ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ to 2023’s ‘Wish’, we’ve ranked all 62 films from the dream factory

Disney animated movies ranked


IS THERE A more recognizable brand on earth than Disney? The studio has, of course, gone far beyond the modest dreams of Walt and Roy Disney, who began the company 100 years ago sketching away in a garage. They could never have predicted their humble beginnings turning into an enormous corporation with thousands of films, shows, games, and more under its belt.

Though the company has seemingly infinite facets, Disney is still known for one thing more than any other, and that’s animation. Walt Disney Animation Studios has led the way in animation since its inception, from its Silly Symphony shorts to the first feature-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, in 1937, and beyond. Wish, out Nov. 22 and centered on a 17-year-old girl (Ariana DeBose) who wishes upon a star to help save her kingdom of Rosas from an evil king (Chris Pine), marks Disney’s 62nd animated classic.

But which of Disney’s 62 animated movies reigns supreme? Which films capture that Disney magic effortlessly, and which ones make you wish they were never part of our world? Be our guest and dive into our ranking of every single Walt Disney Animation classic.

From Rolling Stone US


‘Dumbo’ (1941)

After finding themselves in financial difficulty after poor results for both Fantasia and Pinocchio, Disney cut back the costs on Dumbo, favoring things like watercolor paints and limiting costly special effects. While the result is more cartoonish than previous efforts, that had no impact on Disney’s exceptional storytelling, nor the quality of animation, with the Pink Elephants sequence providing animators the chance to do something experimental and sensational. The tale of Dumbo, an elephant endlessly ridiculed and tormented for his big ears, is heartbreaking, but also inspirational — no amount of torment stops Dumbo from achieving his dreams. At a mere 64 minutes, Dumbo packs in better pacing and more pure emotion than longer films could only dream of.


‘Cinderella’ (1950)

After a string of mediocre results with the package films in the Wartime Era, Disney returned to the successful formula of Snow White, delivering their second princess film, Cinderella. The film ushered in the Silver Age, characterized by the return of grand narratives and artistic innovation, and what’s grander than a literal rags-to-riches tale? The film was a smash hit, and Cinderella is Disney’s most underappreciated princess; she’s no pushover and has a wide range of capabilities. Animators used live-action actors for reference to ensure realistic movements. The animation pushed boundaries: the “Sing, Sweet Nightingale” sequence makes innovative use of bubbles, and Cinderella’s dress transformation, animated by Marc Davis, was cited by Walt as his favorite example of animation.


‘Sleeping Beauty’ (1959)

The next princess film after Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty massively underperformed at the box office, and combined with huge expenses, the film nearly tanked the entire studio. Made to take advantage of the Super Technirama 70, animators had to work with far larger canvases than they were used to, creating exorbitant costs and significant delays. But the results were absolutely worth it. This is unquestionably Disney’s most beautiful-looking movie — no other Disney film looks anything like Sleeping Beauty. Under the guidance of the exemplary Eyvind Earle, whose work was inspired by pre-Renaissance European art, every frame is a work of art, and its unique styling, including square trees, leaves a lasting impression. It doesn’t hurt that it has one of the all-time great villains in Maleficent, who wreaks havoc on Princess Aurora because she wasn’t invited to her birthday party. 


‘Aladdin’ (1992)

A rambunctious, high-energy adventure, few films are as successfully crowd-pleasing as Aladdin. The Genie is often hailed as Disney’s greatest sidekick and for good reason. Robin Williams’ voicework here is masterful, and the Genie is brought to exquisite life by Eric Goldberg. Everything here works, from plucky protagonist Aladdin, a princess longing for more in Jasmine, and a dastardly villain in Jafar (Jonathan Freeman) — not to leave out his quippy sidekick Iago, voiced by Gilbert Gottfried.