The 60 Best Movies on Disney+

Movies Lists Disney+
Share Tweet Submit Pin
The 60 Best Movies on Disney+

When Disney CEO Bob Iger announced the entertainment giant’s upcoming streaming service last year, fans imagined finally having all of Disney’s animated and live-action properties, Marvel movies, Star Wars films and 21st Century Fox catalog in one streaming service—and for just $7/month. Reality hasn’t quite matched our dreams—so many weird Disney Channel original movies and straight-to-DVD sequels and so many gaps remaining. But there’s still plenty to be excited about now that Disney+ has launched: movies from Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, Disney animated classics, and even a few from 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight. We dug through the hundreds of live-action and animated movies streaming on the service to bring you the 50 best.

Here are the 50 Best Movies on Disney+:

great-mouse-detective.jpg 60. The Great Mouse Detective
Year: 1986
Directors: Ron Clements, Burny Mattinson, Dave Michener, John Musker
The Little Mermaid gets the credit for kicking off the Disney Renaissance, but its directors John Musker and Ron Clements had already co-directed (with David Michener and Disney legend Burny Mattinson) a modern Disney classic three years earlier. The Great Mouse Detective came during a down stretch for Disney’s animated features—the studio fared so poorly in the late ’70s and early ?80s that the entire animation department was almost scrapped when Michael Eisner took over the company in 1984. The movie was only a modest success at the box office, but critics took note of its quality at the time; this animated twist on Sherlock Holmes combines beautiful animation and memorable characters in a story that has real stakes and emotion. It has not one but two unforgettable villains, Vincent Price’s theatrical Professor Ratigan and his crippled bat minion, Fidget. If you’ve never seen this one—or haven’t seen it since you were a kid—it’s worth watching again. —Garrett Martin


tron-legacy.jpg 59. Tron: Legacy
Year: 2010
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Not quite 30 years past its predecessor, the sequel to Steven Lisberger’s religious cyber-allegory doubles down on all of Tron’s big ideas, balking at nothing, embracing everything, re-introducing Computer Jesus/famous engineer Flynn (Jeff Bridges) in full saintly beard and robe, messiah and Jedi and godhead all at once. And all this time he’s been hiding inside the cyberworld he once helped liberate from an evil AI, when his son, sexy hacker Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), accidentally follows in his father’s footsteps and materializes within the much-updated cyberworld, discovering both what the elder Flynn’s been up to and just how fascistic cyberlife has gotten. The spiritual demagogue this time around is Clu (de-aged, digital Jeff Bridges), now far corrupted beyond the benevolent force Flynn once programmed him to represent, and the political subtext this time around is just all text. But with a lifetime’s worth of digital effects advancements behind him, director Joseph Kosinski leans hard into building an overwhelming sense of awe—which makes him something of the perfect choice to helm the sequel. Like the first Tron, in which feeling gobsmacked by technology is kind of the point, Legacy compensates for any weaknesses in world building or shoddy storytelling with sheer scale. Daft Punk scores such astounding melodrama as deftly as they were obviously born to do. Accordingly, Kosinski holds back on the digital Jeff Bridges, couching the unreality within the excuse of an unreality—he’s supposed to look a bit off, a bit concocted—and gauging the distance between what he wants to do and what he knows he’s capable of doing with care and grace far beyond what’s demanded of him in what could have amounted to little more than a long-overdue Disney cash-in. —Dom Sinacola


halloweentown.jpg 58. Halloweentown
Year: 1998
Directors: Duwayne Dunham
At the end of the ’90s, still a few years before Chris Columbus’ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone adaptation would hit theaters (but well into the Harry Potter craze that was casting spells upon children all over the world), Disney tried their luck at the witches and wizards game. But this was no wide release, where children would drag their parents to the theaters and beg for snacks and soda. This was Halloweentown, one of three DCOMs (Disney Channel Original Movies) to be released on the network in 1998. There’s absolutely no competing with J.K. Rolling when it comes to the magic genre in the late ’90s and early 2000s, but Disney’s low-budget stab at the idea is actually positively delightful. If you grew up watching Disney Channel in the 2000s and 2010s, you eagerly awaited October every year so you could catch back up with teenage witch Marnie Piper and her dysfunctional, at times displaced, family. The first movie in the trilogy (we don’t speak of the so-called fourth movie in the series, Return to Halloweentown—a true DCOM tragedy), Halloweentown introduces us to Marnie, her mom and siblings and her grandmother, adorably portrayed by the dearly departed Debbie Reynolds. As a child, I wanted nothing more than to hop on that flying bus to Halloweentown and go broom-shopping with my grandma. Halloweentown is absolutely a Halloween classic, one that does a fine job teaching children about acceptance and inclusion, that can easily still be enjoyed today. —Ellen Johnson


jungle-book.jpg 57. The Jungle Book
Year: 2016
Directors: Jon Favreau 
Jon Favreau’s new real-world re-imagining of the classic Disney animated film melds two cornerstones of the diretor’s career: venturing into the digital frontier, and having the courage to be warm. The curtain rises on the computer-generated animal kingdom as the camera pans across one of The Jungle Book’s many breathtaking virtual sets, which were built after recording the raw footage in an empty Los Angeles warehouse. Essentially, on set, actors in motion-capture suits ran around with Neel Sethi, who makes his movie debut as Mowgli, in front of blue and green screens. Where the level of technology in The Jungle Book has historically been used for maximizing the wow factor in Michael Bay explosion-packed action flicks, Favreau makes the case for special effects that actually affect. The Jungle Book hits the ground running as Mowgli darts through the grass and up trees, sharpening his survival skills through various flight techniques (fighting obviously not available to him). Sethi, 12, is the only truly live-action element of the movie, and carries the physically demanding role with both childlike charisma and the saucy attitude of an adolescent.—Melissa Weller


zootopia.jpg 56. Zootopia
Year: 2016
Directors: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush
It says a lot about the state of America’s cultural dialogues on acceptance and discrimination that a Disney movie feels this urgent, but maybe a movie about animals living under the impression of harmony is a long-term solution for our short-term failures. Then again, we’re talking about a cartoon where TV’s Snow White teams up with Michael Bluth in a sort-of riff on 48 Hours that expands to include references to The Godfather and Breaking Bad. Zootopia is smart in the way it approaches race relations, if unsophisticated and childish. But there are worse things a children’s movie can be than childish, and in Zootopia that word sheds its pejorative implications and instead feels befitting in its innocence. The story takes place in the sprawling zoological metropolis of the title, a place where beasts of all makes and models—large and small, meek and ferocious—somehow manage to coexist in an approximation of civilized society. This is a movie that’s all about big, heartfelt honesty between its principals and its audience. Simple though its politics may be, the film is effective—and coming from a mainstream studio, it is even just daring enough to make a difference. —Andy Crump


captain-marvel.jpg 55. Captain Marvel
Year: 2019
Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
It remains, when you think about it, absolutely insane that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has featured two new movies, one of which introduces an entirely new character, in between two halves of a nearly six-hour epic where half the cast dies in Part One. Talk about your flex moves! One thing Captain Marvel has going for it that Ant Man and the Wasp didn’t is that it gives us a lead character we can care about and (even more importantly) an actor who rises to the occasion. In many of these Marvel origin stories—and by my count, this is the eighth one since the original Iron Man—the movie goes through great pains to explain to us why we should care about this new character, why, with everything else we have to keep track of, we should readily agree to adding one more to the mix. Captain Marvel, like many MCU movies, sometimes labors under the weight of having to tell its own story while still connecting to the larger, ongoing saga, but it has no issues with justifying its main character: We see in her eyes, from the first second, what’s different about her. The movie has us on her side before she ever says a word. The key is Brie Larson, an instantly, almost subconsciously empathetic actress who finds a new, fascinating gear here as Vers who, when we first meet her, is a Kree warrior fighting in outer space with an elite force led by her trainer, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law). Vers has no memory of her past, but it returns to her when, in the midst of a battle, she’s dumped onto a distant planet that turns out not only to be Earth, but also her home planet and in the year 1995. She ends up, rather conveniently, running into future S.H.I.E.L.D. head Nick Fury (a digitally de-aged, and convincingly so, Samuel L. Jackson) and a series of Air Force pilots who provide clues to her past through a supersecret initiative called “Pegasus.” The film is otherwise entertaining and exhausting in the equal measures we have come to expect from modern Marvel movies—if you’ve seen one bad guy bent on galaxy domination, you’ve seen them all. But this movie isn’t about the supporting characters, or the setting, or even how well its big action set pieces play out. It’s all about whether or not they can sell this Captain Marvel as someone who even the mighty Avengers can call to someday help them save the world. —Will Leitch


frozen.jpg 54. Frozen
Year: 2013
Directors: Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck
I’m just going to go ahead and say it: Frozen was a game changer in the Disney princess canon. Not only does it belie the idea that a woman is a damsel in distress needing to be rescued by a man but it openly mocks that anyone would marry someone they just met—something that has happened in nearly every Disney princess movie since the dawn of time. If you think this is something trivial, it isn’t. This kind of pop culture seeps into the psyche of young children and helps to shape the way they view the world. Walk away from Frozen and you know that Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) are perfectly capable of saving themselves, thank you very much. But Frozen is more than an empowering movie for all ages. It features a standout performance from Josh Gad as the loveable snowman Olaf, a powerhouse ballad that doesn’t grow old no matter how many times you hear it and terrific songs throughout. Whether you’re seeing it for the first time in forever or for the one thousandth time, Frozen will warm your heart. —Amy Amatangelo


emp-new-groove.jpg 53. The Emperor’s New Groove
Year: 2000
Director: Mark Dindal
The lasting appeal of this 2000 animated buddy comedy from Disney can likely be attributed to some truly genius voice casting: there’s David Spade as a vain emperor-turned-llama, John Goodman as a lovable peasant, Patrick Warburton as a dim-witted and deep-voiced palace guard and, of course, the perfect Eartha Kitt as the deliciously evil usurper of the throne. The story is fairly predictable, but the fun Peruvian setting is visually appealing and the fast-paced story allows for moments of lighthearted comedy that welcome repeat viewings. Also, the fact that it’s a Disney movie with no hokey musical numbers is a plus. —John Riti


tron.jpg 52. Tron
Year: 1982
Director: Steven Lisberger
In a movie in which computer programmers—so-called “users”—are revered as gods, no one really programs much of anything. It’s understandable: The early ’80s presented mind-boggling technology, once reserved for academics and elites, to the masses, and it all seemed like magic. Steven Lisberger’s Tron writes that awe into its code, building a world within a computer as a theocracy (populated by “programs” who carry out their existences serving a single function) ruled on religious oppression. The godhead is power-hungry AI MCP (Master Control Program) who, presaging James Cameron’s Terminator films, intends to surpass its human progenitors, the deified users, to take over the “real” world, making sinister moves like hacking into the Pentagon and the Kremlin and then being a cocky asshole about it. Suave engineer Flynn (Jeff Bridges) just wants credit for the videogame he created, which turned ENCOM—the company he helped found as a forefather of the MCP—into an international juggernaut before his partner (David Warner) plagiarised him and kicked him from the top of the corporate ladder. Infiltrating the ENCOM building to try to dig up evidence of the betrayal, Flynn, just as annoying as the MCP, is digitalized, sucked into the company’s computer network via a laser (housed in “Laser Bay 1,” according to the buttons on the elevator), wherein, disguised as a program, he discovers just how fascist coding can get. And, like Neo in The Matrix, Flynn learns he can manipulate the fabric of this reality, taking up his new quasi-mystical role with relish, later going full be-robed Jedi bathed in beatific neon light for 2010’s Tron: Legacy. “All that is visible must grow beyond itself and extend into the realm of the invisible,” says Dumont (Barnard Hughes), an oracular figure and the closest the film gets to a digital priest. Tron, and so much of sci-fi, is a sign of just how spiritually charged that growth can be. —Dom Sinacola


finding-dory.jpg 51. Finding Dory
Year: 2016
Directors: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Finding Dory picks up a year after the events of the 2003 Disney-Pixar blockbuster Finding Nemo. The adorably bumbling blue tang Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) is still best friends and the third wheel to clownfish Marlin (Albert Brooks) and his son Nemo (Hayden Rolence), testing their patience on a daily basis. But this is fully Dory’s tale, as she searches for her parents (Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy) and finds herself in the process. Finding Dory is the rare sequel that repurposes the original as a character foundation rather than as a cheap form of fan service. What could have been an easy cash-in becomes something surprising—a follow-up that reaches new emotional depths. —Michael Snydel


wreck-it-ralph.jpg 50. Wreck-It Ralph
Year: 2012
Director: Rich Moore
After Disney’s purchase of Pixar, Wreck-It Ralph was the parent company’s closest attempt at finding real heart within its many plot points, delightfully realized setting, and handful of thrilling set pieces. Wreck-It Ralph introduces audiences to a video arcade that houses a fictitious game, Fix-It Felix, Jr., in which the titular character (voiced by John C. Reilly) is the Donkey Kong-esque villain. Decades of playing the same role while being spurned by the “good guy” inhabitants of both his game and those of the others in the arcade, have finally compelled Ralph to “Go Turbo.” Despite the warnings, he game-hops to earn a medal and, thus, the respect of the good guys. His single-mindedness in pursuit of his goal leads to chaos that threatens certain doom to any sprite unlucky enough to be stuck in their cabinet when it’s shut off. The plot reaches dizzying momentum fairly early, introducing myriad world-building rules, character threads, and a slew of in-jokes for the parents whose children are too young to remember the many classic games referenced. The casting of Silverman proves a particular stroke of genius; the character synchronizes perfectly with the comedienne’s brand of childish humor. More impressively, she (and Reilly) really hit their marks in character building, instilling their toons with the deep-seated sorrow wrought by their respective isolation. The world of Sugar Rush itself merits some mention, too. Deliriously inventive and pulsing with life, it almost seems a shame a real videogame wasn’t developed from its blueprints; it’s a world in which one wants to linger. —Scott Wold


mulan.jpg 49. Mulan
Year: 1998
Director: Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook
It seems like all of Eddie Murphy’s best comedic performances since Coming to America are animated. His little dragon Mushu is a sharp source of humor in this otherwise touching retelling of a Chinese folktale—a wonderful move by Disney to give its target market a strong heroine, whose bravery and sense of duty is admirable. Gorgeously animated with rich, saturated colors, the 2-D film is populated by three-dimensional characters, and in a story about honor, the studio brings just the right Eastern touches to pay due respect to China’s history. —Josh Jackson


alice-in-wonderland.jpg 48. Alice in Wonderland
Year: 1951
Director: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske
Walt Disney brought Lewis Carroll’s beloved children’s tale to full technicolor life, and while the purest form of the story will always be in his vivid writing, this 1951 animated film has sent millions of viewers down the rabbit hole, keeping Carroll’s legacy alive. The Cheshire Cat, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the Mad Hatter and the tyrannical Queen of Hearts have all become icons in the Disney canon of characters. Along with Dumbo, it’s one of the most surreal and psychedelic animated features—and one of the most unforgettable. —Josh Jackson


millions.jpg 47. Millions
Year: 2004
Director: Danny Boyle 
Maybe more than any other modern-day director, Danny Boyle has turned his attention to nearly every genre, from black comedy to horror to sci-fi to biopic to psychological thriller. Tucked in among that filmography is the delightful family dramedy Millions, his only non-R-rated film. The story follows Damien, a quiet, kind and naive Catholic school boy who finds a bag of money while hiding out in his makeshift cardboard fort. While his brother uses the money for his own gain, Damien looks for ways to help the poor. The money—British pounds slated to be destroyed after the U.K.’s conversion to Euros—was stolen from a train going through town, and the robbers want it back. In the place of Hallmark platitudes and sentimentality, you have real characters and gripping storytelling. It’s a story about family, generosity and doing the right thing—a rarity for films that are this well made. —Josh Jackson


avatar.jpg 46. Avatar
Year: 2009
Director: James Cameron 
It makes sense that Avatar is still the highest grossing movie ever made: Irony and insincerity have no place in its extended universe. Whether or not James Cameron intended to crib the world of Pandora and its futuristic inhabitants from practically every fantastical ur-text ever conceived, it hardly matters, because Avatar is modern mythmaking at its most foundational. Cameron still seems to believe that “the movies” can give audiences a transformative experience, so every sinew of his film bears the Herculean effort of truly genius worldbuilding, telling the simple story of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and his Dances with Wolves-like saving of the Na’vi, natives to the planet of Pandora, from the destructive forces of colonialism. Cameron wants us to care about this world as much as Jake Sully, and by extension James Cameron, does, crafting flora and fauna with borderline sociopathic obsessiveness, at the time pushing 3-D technology to its brink to bring his inhuman imagination alive. It worked; “unobtanium” is actually a real thing. Four sequels feels like a disgusting gambit for a man whose ambition may have long ago outpaced his sense of storytelling, or sense of reason, or sense of what our oversaturated, over-franchised culture can even stomach anymore. But Cameron’s proven us wrong countless times before. —Dom Sinacola


sleeping-beauty.jpg 45. Sleeping Beauty
Year: 1959
Director: Clyde Geronimi
Disney’s animated feature draws heavily from the Tchaikovsky ballet for a film that has the loveliness of a medieval tapestry, but not a lot of narrative punch. This changes at the end when Prince Philip comes to Sleeping Beauty’s rescue and the evil sorceress Maleficent transforms into a splendidly-designed dragon with a nifty black, purple and yellow color scheme and horns that match the witch’s headdress. Maleficent the dragon proved to be Disney’s scariest big-screen creation since the devil Chernabog in the “Night on Bald Mountain” segment of 1940’s Fantasia. —Curt Holman


big-hero-6.jpg 44. Big Hero 6
Year: 2014
Directors: Don Hall, Chris Williams
Some superheroes fight evil in the name of justice. Some fight for revenge. Baymax, the incomparably huggy automaton in Disney’s Big Hero 6, fights to help his young ward, teen genius Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter), as he mourns a devastating personal tragedy. This makes Baymax an outlier of sorts in today’s crop of big screen good guys, who tend to answer the call to action for the sake of something bigger than themselves; there are no armored space worms with whom he must tangle, no volcanic sleeper agents working for a megalomaniacal terrorist that he must thwart. Instead, there’s just a sad, lonely kid who needs someone to lean on. Big Hero 6 features characters from the pages of a Marvel comic book, and there’s a lot here that feels familiar, particularly the origin story trappings and the assembly of the super team. But every single step that Big Hero 6 takes is carried on a genuine undercurrent of emotion. The film alternates between profound joy and the deepest heartbreak. Like the Tony Starks and Peter Parkers of the world, Hiro uses his gifts as a means of dealing with his trauma. But few among those films feel quite so refreshingly alive as Big Hero 6. There’s a beat here, a rhythm that the film follows from start to finish as it juggles adult themes through the lens of children’s fare. This is an immensely entertaining picture—bright, vivid and smartly constructed on tropes that show themselves a bit too much in its peers. Thrilling, well-crafted set pieces are only one aspect of what makes blockbusters like this tick. The bond between a boy and his android makes up the rest.—Andy Crump


the-muppets.jpg 43. The Muppets
Year: 2011
Director: James Bobin
It had been a strained twelve years since everyone’s favorite felt misfits played the music, lit the lights or set foot on the big screen. Purchased by Disney in 2004, the Muppets spent most of the aughties laying low, popping up in the occasional web series or comic book. So it was with a sigh of relief that a gaggle of bawdy comedians have resurrected Kermit, Miss Piggy and the gang in a candid love letter to an American comedy institution. The plot follows Muppet super fans Gary (Jason Segel) and his brother Walter (voiced by Peter Linz) as they embark on a trip to visit their childhood heroes in Hollywood. Along with Gary’s girlfriend Mary (a glowing Amy Adams, who looks as if she has just stepped out of a Norman Rockwell painting), the trio tours the dilapidated remains of the Muppet Theater. Wandering the cobwebbed halls, Walter overhears smarmy businessman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) explain his plans to demolish the hall for untapped oil if the venue’s previous owners can’t raise $10 million. This kitschy exposition allows Gary, Mary and Walter to reestablish the histrionic Muppet personas one by one until the gang bands together to perform a telethon special to save its old haunts. The filmmakers’ approach overflows with the same adoration as their characters on screen. A wistfully placed camera pan on a wall adorned with vintage banjos and memorabilia carries with it as much emotion as the kinetic dance numbers in the gratifying finale. Even modern touches like a hilarious barbershop cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” embody the original show’s subversive zaniness. —Sean Edgar


muppets-most-wanted.jpg 42. Muppets Most Wanted
Year: 2014
Director: James Bobin
This time around, they’re paying specific tribute to Kermit, the beloved amphibian behind the Muppets’ longevity; the film shows us what the crew might look like without his guiding influence, and it’s a pretty anarchic picture. But unlike The Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted doesn’t overtly pay homage to its subjects, and instead quite contently filters its bounty of heist caper tropes through a felt-tinted lens. By doing so, the film ends up being just as much of an ode to the Muppets’ brand of unbridled delight without having to wax sentimental; in the end, James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller cleverly get to have their cake and eat it, too. And so do we. —Andy Crump


muppet-movie.jpg 41. The Muppet Movie
Year: 1979
Director: James Frawley
Muppet movies are a bonafide franchise now, but none of them—not even The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppets from Space or Muppet Treasure Island—can compete with the original. The Muppet Movie set the standard for all subsequent releases starring Kermit, Miss Piggy and company with countless celebrity cameos (including Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, Mel Brooks, Bob Hope, Elliott Gould and Sesame Street’s Big Bird—on his way to New York to “try to make it in public television”) and plenty of memorable musical numbers like Movin’ Right Along and of course, the classic The Rainbow Connection. —Bonnie Stiernberg


mary-poppins.jpg 40. Mary Poppins
Year: 1964
Directors: Robert Stevenson
As portrayed by the iconic and formidable Julie Andrew, Mary Poppins has never met a problem a song can’t solve. She whips the Banks children into shape while helping their father understand that what children need most from their parents is their time and attention. There are so many delightful musical numbers but I have a soft spot for Dick Van Dyke’s Bert and his fellow chimney sweepers tap dancing on the roof tops of London in “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” Released over 55 years ago, songs like “A Spoonful of Sugar” and “Super-cali-fragil-istic” still feel fresh and new. There’s a joy to this movie that is infectious. I would say they don’t make movies like this anymore but 2018’s Mary Poppins Returns came very close to capturing the spirit of the original. Would that we all had a nanny like Mary Poppins. —Amy Amatangelo


pinocchio.jpg 39. Pinocchio
Year: 1940
Directors: Hamilton Luske, Ben Sharpsteen, Wilfred Jackson, Norm Ferguson, Jack Kinney, T. Hee, Bill Roberts
In 2014 a panel of animators, filmmakers, critics and historians voted on the greatest animated film of all time. Pinocchio won. That shouldn’t be a surprise: Disney’s second feature set a bar for artistry and storytelling that animators have been chasing ever since. It’s not just a gorgeous film with some of the best songs in movie history, but one with legitimate depth and emotion and a lesson that every person should learn. Disney still had its best roster of animators, before some of the best left or were fired after the 1941 strike, and the studio was still spending lavishly on production, before the war and the underperformance of Bambi and, uh, Pinocchio led to tighter budgets. Animated movies haven’t gotten better than this. —Garrett Martin


incredibles-2-movie-poster.jpg 38. Incredibles 2
Year: 2018
Director: Brad Bird
Incredibles 2 starts right where the first film ended, with the costumed Family Parr reacting to the arrival of the Underminer (John Ratzenberger). Their scuffle with the villain gains the attention of Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk)—or more precisely, allows Deavor and his sister, Evelyn (Catherine Keener), to gain the attention of the Parrs. The siblings want to bring supers back into the light, using Winston’s salesmanship and Evelyn’s tech to sway public opinion back to the pro-super side. To do so, they want to enlist Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) as the tip of the spear in their charm offensive, leaving Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) on the sidelines for now. (She tends to fight crime in a manner that results in less property damage than her husband, after all.) This sets up a second act that’s firmly by the numbers in terms of story development—watch the husband try to succeed as a stay-at-home dad!—yet no less enjoyable. Bob’s attempts to handle teen romance, Jack-Jack’s manifestation of powers and, horror of horrors, “new” math will strike a chord with any mom or dad who has ever felt overwhelmed by the simple, devastating challenges of parenthood. (The family interactions, one strength among many with the first film, remain a delight in the sequel.) Meanwhile, we get to watch Elastigirl in action, as she encounters, foils and matches wits with the film’s mysterious villain, Screenslaver. As in the first film, watching Helen Parr do the hero thing is also quite the delight—she’s resourceful, tough and, above all, a professional. Watching Elastigirl operate almost makes one feel sorry for the criminals. Delving more into the plot would do the film a disservice—suffice to say both villainous and family challenges are faced, and it takes a village, Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) and Edna Mode (Bird) to emerge victorious. Whether you enjoy Incredibles 2 as much as the original will likely depend on your opinion of the latter, but regardless, you’ll be happy both exist. And in today’s sequel-saturated environment, that is practically a superheroic achievement in itself. —Michael Burgin


aladdin-1992.jpg 37. Aladdin
Year: 1992
Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker
Aladdin, along with The Lion King following it in immediate succession, certainly feels like the zenith of the 1990s Disney Renaissance, pushing the company’s animated features to daring new heights of artistic achievement and box office dominance. It was, in many ways, a genesis point for the structure of modern animated features, beginning a period of increased reliance on recognizable voice actors (in this case, a heavily promoted Robin Williams) as an audience selling point, rather than the casts of unknowns that had previously been the norm. Genie, on the other hand, became a character almost bigger and more valuable than Aladdin itself; a pop-cultural watershed moment that also served to make Williams beloved to an entire generation of 1990s kids who hadn’t exactly been the target audience for the likes of Mork & Mindy or Good Morning, Vietnam. More than anything, though, Aladdin thrives on a witty, rapid-fire screenplay, earworm musical numbers and lush animation that expertly mined the deep well of captivating mythology already present in One Thousand and One Nights, so rarely brought to life in the western world. —Jim Vorel


moana.jpg 36. Moana
Year: 2016
Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker
During the initial meeting between the title character of Disney’s latest animated effort and the demi-god Maui (Dwayne Johnson), Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) protests that she is not a princess. His response? “If you wear a dress and you have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess.” By the time the closing credits roll, the audience has the answer to this particular dispute—they are both right. Moana both embraces and transcends the traditional—and by that, I mean, Disney-fied—“princess film.” After all, dress and sidekick aside, as the daughter and heir of a tribal chief, Moana is, inescapably, a princess. But that does not mean she’s a “Disney princess.” Moana may not be the first film from the House of Mouse to celebrate the grit, will and perseverance of a female lead, but it is the first to fully shed the less inspiring baggage of the traditional princess crew. This particular Hero’s Journey comes refreshingly free of male love interest, and Moana’s success or failure rests squarely on her shoulders. The visual rendering is as lush and rich as its subtext, and the music is everything one hopes from Lin-Manuel Miranda. But ultimately, it’s the blend of character and quest—infused throughout with an overriding warmth—that makes Moana impossible to resist. —Andy Crump


monsters-inc.jpg 35. Monsters, Inc.
Year: 2001
Director: Pete Docter
Monsters, Inc. may very well be the most lovable film in the illustrious Pixar canon. And, based on everything from the exhilarating door-chase sequence to the brilliant decision of naming its colorful monsters run-of-the-mill things like Mike Wazowski, it might be its most inventive, encapsulating the spirit of childhood unlike any other of the company’s singular creations. Billy Crystal and John Goodman make an endearing and iconic odd couple. And that ending? Perfection. —Jeremy Medina


toy-story-3.jpg 34. Toy Story 3
Year: 2010
Director: Lee Unkrich
Towards the conclusion of 1999’s Toy Story 2, villain Stinky Pete asks Woody the Cowboy what he’ll do when Andy, their owner, grows up and no longer wants his toys. At the time, Woody did not have a definite answer for the duplicitous prospector. And the Pixar team could have left it there—ending on a an optimistic image of the toys mutually agreeing that they can’t stop Andy from growing, but they can enjoy the time they have left. Instead, 11 years later, John Lasseter and Co. actually made an entire movie exploring that exact question. Boasting both gut-busting laughs (Mr. Potato Head as a flour tortilla) and questionably intense drama (the toys being lowered into a fiery pit of death), this third Toy Story adventure was treated as an unequivocal success. Story-wise, the film is not horribly original, taking its escape plotline almost beat for beat from the second film. Yet, for any audience member who had grown up with Woody, Buzz and the gang, it was all about those last five minutes—when a college-bound Andy plays with his childhood toys for the last time. It’s the film that would make you believe a jaded teenager could cry. —Mark Rozeman


captain-america-cw.jpg 33. Captain America: Civil War
Year: 2016
Directors: Joe & Anthony Russo
In my review of the first Avengers movie, I said Joss Whedon’s blockbuster represented “the most complete manifestation of the superhero team aesthetic yet seen on film.” Four years later, we have a new champion in the category of “best team film.” The way in which Captain America: Civil War brings together a dozen or so heroes, sorts them into not one but two teams and then flings them at each other is its own special delight for comic book fans long accustomed to such things on the printed or digital page. Civil War maintains the same balance of action and significant (if brief) character development/interaction that made Winter Soldier so enjoyable. The fight and chase scenes are frenetic without being confusing, while the comic relief, mostly supplied by our bug-themed heroes, provides a Whedon-flavored lightening of the otherwise dark proceedings. If one thinks of the each MCU film as a juggling act—and each hero’s origin, “flavor” and power set as its own subset of items that must be kept in motion and in proper relation with each other—then as a series both Avengers films and Captain America: Civil War can be seen as an escalation of the routine that’s as impressive as it is necessary. After all, with each additional hero added, with each additional demand placed on the script in both action and dialogue, Kevin Feige and company are building toward Infinity.—Michael Burgin


rogue-one-210.jpg 32. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Year: 2016
Director: Gareth Edwards
Gareth Edwards’ venture into a galaxy far, far away is the Star Wars film we never knew we needed. It’s a triumphantly thrilling, serious-minded war movie that is incalculably stronger for the fact that it’s NOT the first chapter in a new franchise. Rogue One is a complete film in a way that no other Star Wars movie other than A New Hope is capable of being. It doesn’t “set the stage” for an inevitable next installment, and its characters are all the realer for the fact that they’re not perpetually sheathed in blasterproof Franchise Armor. It is, so help me, a satisfyingly complete story, and I had no idea until I watched the film how refreshing that concept would be. Our protagonist is Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), a plucky young woman whose brilliant scientist father (Mads Mikkelsen) has been controlled throughout her life by the Empire and coerced into designing superweapons of the moon-sized, planet-killing variety. Forced into a young adulthood on the fringes of the Rebel Alliance, she’s assembled a Jack Sparrow-esque rap sheet and, as the film begins, finds herself in Imperial prison on various petty charges. What Rogue One is, most accurately, is what it was sold as all along: a legitimate war movie/commando story, albeit with some familial entanglements. —Jim Vorel


avengers-infinity-war-movie-poster.jpg 31. Avengers: Infinity War
Year: 2018
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Avengers: Infinity War is epic in a way that has been often aspired to but never fully grasped when it comes to the translation from comic book panel to the Big Screen. It’s what happens when moviemakers take their source material seriously, eschewing unnecessary melodrama even as they fully embrace the grandeur, the sheer spectacle, of it all. (And if there’s one lesson Disney has learned, it’s that if you focus on the viewer experience, the product lines will take care of themselves.) For every frenetic fight scene in Avengers: Infinity War—and there are plenty of them—there are myriad character interactions and emotional beats the audience has been prepped for by the previous films (okay, maybe not 2008’s The Incredible Hulk). As a result, writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have ample room to riff and play as characters meet for the first time or see each other again. Some of the interactions are easy to anticipate (if no less enjoyable)—the immediate ego clash between Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange and Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, for example—but our familiarity with these characters adds resonance to nearly every scene and every line, as the vestiges and ripples of emotional arcs laid down in the last decade’s worth of movies bolster even the smallest moment. —Michael Burgin

Also in Movies