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Ranking All 53 Walt Disney Animated Movies

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Jun 24, 2014 | 2:15pm EDT

Peter Pan, TinkerbellWalt Disney Pictures via Everett Collection

A complete ranking of every single Walt Disney Animation Studios movie, from worst to best.

53) Meet the Robinsons
A charmless stab at post-ironic humor, and particularly misguided story about adoption.

52) Dinosaur 
Do you remember anything about Dinosaur other than how unexpectedly terrifying Aladar looked? We didn't think so. 

51) Home on the Range 
Between its lackluster plot, forgettable characters and complete lack of humor, Home on the Range is the definition of "bland children's movie."

Lilo & StitchBuena Vista Pictures via Everett Collection

50) Lilo and Stitch
Disjointed in its plot, characters, and sense of humor, Lilo & Stitch has visual charm but little else going for it.

49) Treasure Planet 
Treasure Planet is a lot better than people give it credit for, but it's a little too complicated and charmless to be a success. 

48) The Fox and the Hound
Maybe I'm being a little harsh with this one, but The Fox and the Hound depressed the hell out of me when we were children and I can't help but hold a grudge.

47) Wreck-It Ralph
With so much potential in its concept, Wreck-It Ralph is more of a colossal disappointment than it is a "bad movie." Dull, colorless, and stagnant when it should have been a funny, energetic adventure. Not without its moments, admittedly.

46) Oliver & Company 
The film is entertaining enough, and the animated animals are fun to watch, but the only thing Oliver & Company really has going for it is the score. And by score, we really mean "Why Should I Worry?" 

45) The Hunchback of Notre Dame
It gains a few points if only for the charms (both personally and thematically) of the gargoyle trio, but Hunchback is a nasty, nihilistic story that undercuts its own point (why the hell does Esmeralda end up with Kevin Kline?) and has some godawful songs to boot.

44) Winnie the Pooh (2011) 
It skews a little younger than most Disney movies, but it's narrated by John Cleese, so that counts for something. Mostly just forgettable.

43) Saludos Amigos 
It's got laughs, sure, but your mind will stray as soon as the credits roll... if not sooner.

42) Fun and Fancy Free 
Remember "Mickey and the Beanstalk?" This is the movie it comes from. That's all that's worth knowing about it. 

41) Chicken Little
Tremendously fragile, but funny throughout (not so much in terms of the forced pop culture gags, but there's other good material). 

TarzanBuena Vista Pictures via Everett Collection

40) Tarzan
This movie is boring.

39) Brother Bear
Did you like Brave? No? Not a big fan of Brave? Yeah, this is kind of like Brave. The second half of Brave, anyway. 

38) Bolt
John Travolta. John Trabolta. 

37) The Rescuers Down Under  
It gets bonus points for being the only film ever made that features a scene in which an albratross named Wilbur fixes his broken back by flying out the window of a mouse hospital. That kind of insanity should be rewarded. 

36) Make Mine Music 
Our biggest problem with this movie is the grammatically atrocious title. Otherwise it's a good bit of fun.

35) Hercules
Decent music, lame characters, and a story that balances out to abject neutrality. 

34) The Three Caballeros 
Watching Donald Duck learn to samba is more entertaining that you'd expect. 

33) Melody Time 
At a certain point, all of the early Disney anthology movies blend together; this is just the one we remember the best. 

32) Atlantis: The Lost Empire 
An underrated adventure that takes itself a little too seriously. The best part of Atlantis is Kida, who has been overlooked for years, and deserves a place in Disney's princess lineup. 

31) Bambi 
It might leave us wanting in all the functional elements of story and character, but with soft simplicity that translates to poetry, Bambi rings powerful right at the visceral level.

The Great Mouse DetectiveBuena Vista Pictures via Everett Collection

30) The Great Mouse Detective 
Why would you ordain the rhyme scheme of a song about a guy who hates being called a rat to conclude on the -at sound? You all knew the risks, you drunken rodents! But yeah, this movie is okay.

29) The Black Cauldron 
Not dark or weird enough for people who read the books, but a little too dark and weird for those who didn't; it's a solidly enjoyable film, but ultimately not all that special. 

28) The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad 
Do The Wind in the Willows and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow have anything in common? Not really. Are they still entertaining anyway? Sure. Is Mr. Toad still a little disconcerting all these years later? Definitely. 

27) The Rescuers 
Remember the albatross from The Rescuers Down Under? He has a brother named Orville, who is the best part of this first one. 

26) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 
The principle draw to Snow White is its historical significance, but it's a pretty neat cartoon when you cut to it.

25) Pocahontas 
Once, in a bar, I watched a half dozen 'roided up Long Island boys sing "Colors of the Wind," complete with wolf howls. That's all I have to say about Pocahontas.

24) Lady and the Tramp 
Depending on your perspective, this movie ruined/improved spaghetti forever.

23) Tangled
Charming, but surprisingly neutered for a post-aughts hit. "I've Got a Dream" could well be Disney's best song in 15 years.

22) The Sword in the Stone 
A magical spin on the classic Arthurian legends with plenty of wit and charm (courtesy of Merlin and Arthur), as well as some dry sarcasm courtesy of Archimedes, the greatest wisecracking avian sidekick this side of the Nile.    

21) Sleeping Beauty 
Sure, it's got a lovely heroine, a charming prince, and three comedically bumbling fairies, but the real appeal of Sleeping Beauty is how visually stunning it is. Well, that and Maleficent, of course. 

PinocchioWalt Disney Pictures via Everett Collection

20) Pinocchio 
If you look at the plot on paper, this movie is really goddamn weird. Power to you, Disney, for making a classic out of a story about a puppet-turned-boy-turned-donkey who gets swallowed by a whale after a fox and a cat (not his cat — he has a cat too, but that's just a regular cat) trick him into playing pool at some weird Italian fellow's ad hoc summer camp, but is led to righteousness thanks to a North Atlantic cricket.

19) The Emperor's New Groove
The fact that Eartha Kitt plays the villain is reason enough for The Emperor's New Groove to be this high on the list, but it also happens to be one of the funniest films Disney has ever made. But it's got plenty of heart as well, and John Goodman plays the down-on-his-luck good guy so well that it's hard not to be moved by Pancha and Kuzco's eventual friendship. 

18) Dumbo
If nothing else, Dumbo is owed the superlative of Saddest Scene in a Disney Movie. Maybe any movie.

17) The Aristocats
Disney's celebration of hipster culture: a tribute to the joys, plights, lingo, and, most of all, music of a certain class of people who know that they're better precisely because they're worse.

16) Mulan
In contrast to the footloose and fun The AritocatsMulan is actually hyper-serious, shouldering the weight of Disney's first real stab at a progressive heroine and the backdrop of a real world war. But its appeal is not expensed, with Mulan playing as a compelling enough character to cart us through a journey of rigid self-discovery.

15/14) Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 
Fantasia is the Disney movie that teachers would put on during indoor recess because it was sophisticated enough to almost count as something educational. It's as visually enchanting as it is inspiring and dense, inviting any and all viewers to appreciate the powers of the big screen on a pure, base level.

13) The Little Mermaid 
If you're a kid, it's a story about finding your place in the world. If you're a parent, it's about learning to let go and letting kids take risks. If you're anywhere in between, it's about watching an exasperated lobster learning to unwind through catchy musical numbers. 

12) Frozen
Case in point: someone within earshot of you is singing "Let It Go" right now. Structurally, the film has its flaws. But in spirit, and in its unprecedented underlying messages about feminism and homosexuality, it's remarkably important.

11) The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
If you're reading this list, you're probably as in love with the very phenomenon of storytelling as we are. And few pieces of cinema exhibit that love to the degree of the first Winnie the Pooh feature, channeling literary passions through the most affable band of heroes in Disney history. 

Beauty and the BeastBuena Vista Pictures via Everett Collection

10) Beauty and the Beast
Pure spectacle, starting with Belle's wide-eyed ode to the French suburbs and lasting straight through gallant numbers about masculinity, dinner parties, and love. Beauty and the Beast might not have the best story or characters on the list, but it masters theatrics better than just about any other picture.

9) Cinderella 
Snow White might have come first, but Cinderella is really the inceptive example of "Disney magic." From the fairy godmother and fancy balls to the talking mice and terrifying stepmother, it's the kind of pure, sparkling fun that has come to define all of the studio's best films. "A Dream IAs a Wish Your Heart Makes" is practically Disney's thesis statement. 

8) Alice in Wonderland
It was no mean feat to adapt one of the most imaginative novels Western fiction; Disney enveloped not only the visual ambition of Lewis Carroll's book, but also the palpable love for ideas, no matter how absurd. Alice in Wonderland knows when to stay grounded (rare, but it happens) and knows when and how high to soar. It's goofy, haunting, affectionate, and cruel. More than anything else, it's always interesting.

7) The Princess and the Frog 
An underappreciated triumph of the post-2000 era, Princess and the Frog combines the traditional tropes of classic Disney with the post-modernity of its latter day wonders. The songs and characters won't win individual recognition, but the story on the whole is a meticulously manufactured treat.

6) Robin Hood
Another overlooked gem, the zoological cornucopia that is Robin Hood gets by on a soft, slow, Mark Twainian flavor that is as inviting as it is relaxing. We're never coursing through the corridors of this pseudo-adventure as much as sprawling out on the fresh-cut grass of its sweet, aromatic, immersive world. It's a joy to live in from beginning to end.

AladdinBuena Vista Pictures via Everett Collection

5) Aladdin
Probably the most successfully cool of the Disney animated movies, Aladdin captures the essence of teen independence in a way no other film had before: hating your parents, your society, your lot in life... just wanting to be yourself (Jasmine) or be someone else entirely (Aladdin). And as far as voice acting goes, Aladdin's cast is unparalleled.

The Jungle BookWalt Disney Pictures via Everett Collection

4) The Jungle Book 
Disney disguises a collection of philosophers as woodland critters bouncing about in this wondrous, if not wholly reverent, adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's novel. Some of the merriest tunes any picture on the list has to offer.

Peter PanWalt Disney Pictures via Everett Collection

3) Peter Pan
Pure adventure. Gumption, spirit, and the unfettered belief in the possible. That's what Peter Pan achieves with its delightful imagery and unbelievably fun and funny characters.

The Lion KingBuena Vista Pictures via Everett Collection

2) The Lion King 
The vastness of the '94 classic is something to behold; there's no wonder it made such a successful Broadway production. Disney's original masterpiece hits the mark in every department. Its animation is gorgeous, and its music is high art, and its characters make up perhaps the best ensemble on the list (great hero, fantastic villain, and riotous sidekicks on both sides of the fence). The Lion King is just about flawless and could easily take No. 1, if it weren't for that all imporant factor in the judgment of animated movies: sentiment. Lo and behold, our favorite Walt Disney Animated movie...

101 DalmatiansWalt Disney Pictures via Everett Collection

1) One Hundred and One Dalmatians
The inimitable beauty of One Hundred One Dalmatians, especially when considering it in the company of some of the other great pieces of animation set forth by Walt Disney Studios, is the miracle of its scale. In a tiny, almost microscopic setting (as compared to films about mystical worlds, jungle kingdoms, and such forth), we find such a tremendous story. Funny, exciting, and filled to the brim with the purest case of Disney magic.

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