Ever since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs came out in 1937, Walt Disney Animation Studios has been producing ground-breaking animated films. Over the last eight decades, the legendary animation studio has made 58 feature-length movies that span from its fairy tale origins before World War II to the critically-rated “Disney Renaissance” films of the ‘90s to the cultural juggernauts of Frozen and Moana in the 2010s. To help narrow down your viewing choices, these are the top 20 best animated Disney movies of all time ranked in order.
1. The Sword in the Stone (1963)
Based on the book by T.H. White, The Sword in the Stone tells the story of a King Arthur’s youth when he was just a young squire called Wart being taught by the wizard Merlin. While it lacks the memorable songs of other Disney musicals, the movie breaks the British legend down into a fun and colorful story for kids.
2. Sleeping Beauty (1959)
A failure at the box office, Sleeping Beauty only earned back $5 million of its $6 million budget when it was released in 1959. But the issues critics found back then—its linear animation style was too modern and its villain Maleficent was too scary—are what make it one of the best Disney movies of all time. The romance may be a bit dated now, but the fairy godmothers Flora, Fauna and Merryweather are just as delightful as always, whether they’re baking haphazard cakes or fighting over the color of the dress for Princess Aurora’s 16th birthday.
3. Robin Hood (1973)
If one of your first childhood crushes was the anthropomorphized fox Robin Hood, you’re not alone. It’s hard to deny the charisma of the heroic fox as he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Prince John is one of the goofiest villains of all time (he sucks his thumb, for heaven’s sake). It certainly doesn’t pull at your heartstrings the way that other Disney movies can, but it’s enjoyable and entertaining nevertheless.
4. The Princess and the Frog (2009)
While it was one of the last Walt Disney Animation Studio films to be hand drawn in 2D animation, The Princess and the Frog was the first Disney movie to feature an African American princess. Set in 1920s New Orleans to a soundtrack of jazz music, the movie follows Tiana, who dreams of opening her own restaurant. But after kissing a prince who was turned into a frog by a voodoo sorcerer, she is also transformed into an amphibian. Before she can fulfill her life goal, she and Prince Naveen must break the spell to become human again before they run out of time.
5. 101 Dalmatians (1961)
Cruella de Vil surely is easily one of the most evil Disney villains of all time—she wants to make a coat out of puppy fur, after all. After she kidnaps enough puppies to fulfill her sadistic fashion goal, Dalmatian parents Pongo and Perdita must find their litter before it’s too late.
6. Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
The only thing this Disney movie shares with the original Hans Christian Andersen tale is that they both feature a cocky emperor. Otherwise, the Disney version couldn’t be more different. Set in Peru, the immature Emperor Kuzco (David Spade) gets turned into a llama by his advisor Yzma (Earth Kitt) after he fires her. With the help of Pacha (John Goodman), he is able to regain his throne and learns several lessons in kindness and humanity along the way. Yzma is hardly the most evil of Disney villains, but she and her minion Kronk are definitely two of the funniest.