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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


‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ (1937)

The legendary story of true love’s kiss came to light in Disney’s first animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It holds the blueprint for so much of what makes Disney so beloved: a fantasy universe that feels believable, impactful songs, great characters, a terrifying villain, and breathtaking animation. Few villains are as downright evil as the Evil Queen (Lucille La Verne).This is the one that started it all — adjusted for inflation, it’s still the highest-grossing animated film of all time. The studio’s most ambitious film was its very first, and that’s because not a soul outside the project believed it would work. A feature-length animation was practically unheard of — animation was best left in short form. Who would ever watch such a thing? With something to prove, Walt Disney had a clear answer in Snow White: everyone.


‘The Little Mermaid’ (1989)

Ron Clements and John Musker saved Disney from the brink with The Great Mouse Detective, yet they still managed to up the ante and bring the studio back into financial domination just a few years later with their second feature, The Little Mermaid. One of Disney’s most emotionally potent films, it has the finest stable of songs in any Disney picture, and that’s entirely thanks to the brilliant artistic collaboration between lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken. The best Disney movies have the power to transport you to another world, and The Little Mermaid brings audiences straight into the underwater kingdom of Atlantica.Mermaid Ariel (Jodi Benson), who longs to explore beyond the sea and fall in love, is given more to do than any princess before her, and the emotional payoff of the film is off the charts. The underwater animation is breathtaking, and you have Ursula (Pat Carroll), the Divine-inspired sea witch making an unforgettable foe. Menken’s work with Ashman is some of the most impactful to ever grace the studio — if the studio lives on for another 100 years, people will still point to songs like “Poor Unfortunate Souls” and “Part Of Your World” as the very best Disney has to offer.


‘Pinocchio’ (1940)

How do you follow up on the immense success of Snow White? If you’re Disney, it’s going bigger, bolder, and even darker. Adapting Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio, this is a film full of wonder and horror. The story follows Pinocchio (Dickie Jones), a puppet desperate to become a real boy. The animation is unparalleled, with effects work that’s never been matched. Critically the film was adored, but children (understandably) found it far too frightening. Pinocchio’s legacy remains unmistakable, with the classic song “When You Wish Upon a Star” opening every modern Disney movie.Unfortunately for Disney, WWII shuttered access to European markets — a real shame considering the film’s heavy European influence — and the film tanked at the box office. But nowadays, Pinocchio is rightly recognized not just as one of the greatest animated films ever made, but as one of the great films period.


‘Bambi’ (1942)

Walt Disney was an enormous advocate for nature and adapting Felix Staten’s Bambi was very much a passion project for him. Attention to detail and a focus on accuracy were essential: animators studied deer and other animals to make their animated counterparts feel as naturalistic and life-like as possible. The incredible backgrounds painted by Tyrus Wong immersed audiences deep into the forest, while the multiplane camera added remarkable depth and dimension to the animation.A seemingly simple coming-of-age story of a deer growing up in the forest, Bambi is an unrivaled exploration of animation as an art form. It made such an impact that the film’s most recalled scene — the death of Bambi’s mother — actually happens off-screen, despite it leaving such a mark that most people swear they see the death occur. There’s a surprising lack of sentimentality, which makes the emotional beats land harder than any other Disney movie. Bambi is the purest distillation of the power of animation and Walt Disney’s commitment to boundary-pushing and emotionally-driven storytelling. It creates an exquisitely drawn world of fantasy that feels completely believable. There’s simply nothing else like Bambi.