1. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) This may seem an odd choice for the greatest Disney animated film of all time, but it’s the only honest choice for me. Dark, thematic, mature, the story of Quasimodo deals with alienation, sin, hypocrisy, religious darkness, tolerance, all in a span of ninety minutes. The animation is incredible, the music and lyrics are rich, and Victor Hugo’s classic tale is reshaped and rendered powerfully.
  2. Beauty and the Beast (1991) The first animated film to be Oscar-nominated for Best Picture, this retelling of the French fairy tale is perfect. The idea of making the household items characters was a brilliant stroke. The ballroom sequence which used early computer technology to create that sweeping motion is as impressive as ever.
  3. Mulan (1998) Doesn’t get enough credit for its themes of femininity and empowerment, Mulan also happens to be extremely entertaining. Eddie Murphy’s Mushu is a great modern successor of Jiminy Cricket.
  4. Pinocchio (1940) A masterpiece; technically, creatively. Every aspect of its production was carefully crafted by greats. Jiminy Cricket is a good candidate for best Disney character, and the simple, dark story is forever haunting.
  5. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937) The first ever full-length animated feature, people thought Disney was crazy. The stakes were high, and he and his artists delivered. Almost eighty years later, who hasn’t seen this film?
  6. The Lion King (1994) Powerful, if you’ve ever heard anyone discuss archetypes and Disney, this feature is as great an example as any. It’s Shakespeare. It’s Biblical. The father figure. The son who wants to measure up. Betrayal. It’s all here disguised as a Disney musical. And Uncle Scar is a villain for the ages.
  7. The Little Mermaid (1989) Terrific fun with some of the catchiest music, and an engaging romance. Kicked off the Disney renaissance.
  8. Tarzan (1999) Great storytelling, first-rate, innovative animation, with some great Phil Collins songs.
  9. Zootopia (2016) Time will tell where this film really stands, but for right now, based on my first three viewings, I’d say it’s a bona fide classic. Timely, funny, and inspired, just like all the best Disney features.
  10. Aladdin (1992) Falls short of one of the Disney masterpieces, but it is infinitely watchable. R.I.P Robin Williams.
  11. The Great Mouse Detective (1986) Creepy and intriguing, this rodent Sherlock Holmes caper has some great scenes. The fist-fight inside the shifting gears of Big Ben being chief among them.

Image result for the great mouse detective

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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