Disney: 10 essential movies that changed the studio

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Disney has had its Mickey Mouse gloved mittens on the public since 1928, and to say the studio is a household name would be painfully underestimated. Magic is their business, and business is good. But with so many beloved songs, stories, and characters across a plethora of cinematic masterpieces, how can they have the world through their collective childhood?

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The company has released films and projects that have shaped not only the animation industry, but the studio itself. The sheer number of films in the studio’s catalog can be overwhelming, but there’s a reason for their proven longevity.


ten Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The Prince brings Snow White to life with a kiss

What was predicted as a massive failure in the 1930s turned out to be one of the greatest achievements in movie history. Without Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The animation industry would not be what it is today.

There’s a reason Disney has perfected the fairytale storytelling, they’ve been doing it since their early days. For fans of the classics or Disney history in general, you can never go wrong with this one.

9 The jungle Book

The Jungle Book 1967

The jungle Book was a decent success for the studio, but it was also sadly the last movie that Walt Disney would be involved with. Released just months after Walt’s death in December 1966, the film literally marked the end of an era.

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The studio stumbled without its founder, still trying to find the magical element that saturated all of Walt’s projects. Every movie that followed on the heels of The jungle Book had a distinctly different flavor, and critics and audiences alike have noticed.

8 Who wants the skin of Roger Rabbit

Who wants the skin of Roger Rabbit It may sound like one of many classic ’80s comedies, but even some of Disney’s most die-hard fans can forget how much of a game-changer the movie was. Not only did this fully demonstrate the incredible capabilities of CGI, but it showed just how much Disney can play with other studios.

With characters from Paramount, Warner Bros., Fleischer and more, this film was perhaps the biggest crossover event in history. It was animation Infinity War.

7 Toy story

On CGI, one of the most important contributions has to be Pixar Toy story. While the graphics aren’t exactly what you might call polished by today’s standards, it’s still nice to see how much support has improved since the ’90s.

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Buzz and Woody are the faces of the Pixar brand, that’s for sure. But without them or the studio’s input, BlueSky, Illumination, and even some of Disney’s more recent films wouldn’t exist.

6 Star Wars: The Force Awakens

While the acquisition of the franchise may have divided the fandom, Disney’s contributions to the galaxy from afar are undoubtedly worth mentioning. the force awakens was the spark that sparked a new saga in the Star wars universe.

While sequels were a bit of a mixed bag, the first entry in Disney’s trilogy breathed new life into the franchise and explored different regions of the galaxy. New faces, old friends, but the same fate between the light side and the dark side of the Force.

5 Fantasy / Fantasy 2000

It might be cheating to put two instead, but they’re honestly interchangeable. The original Fancy perhaps an acquired taste for some, but it was a game-changer for Disney.

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It was an experience in the world of animation that brought Mickey Mouse back to the forefront and introduced thousands and thousands of wonderful pieces of classical music. Simply put, the marriage of beautiful animation with beautiful music will stand the test of time.

4 Aladdin

Aladdin has to win some kind of special prize because he reinvented the formula of the Disney movie and perfected it. An alluring adventure with a sweet love story, a maniacal villain, an underdog hero and a goofy sidekick voiced by a favorite comedian? Why does this all sound familiar to you?

Whether they did it intentionally or not, all the animated films that followed Aladdin tried to replicate the formula. Even the likes of Frozen are not immune from this.

3 The beauty and the Beast

There’s a reason this movie was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. Once again, Disney speaks to audiences with a familiar fairy tale, but reimagined to be one of the greatest love stories ever staged.

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Which makes The beauty and the Beast so timeless is the fact that it turns the typical narrative upside down. The princess saves the prince, not by a grandiose and epic gesture but by an act of love. How is that not powerful?

2 Mary poppins

Mary Poppins flying umbrella

Mary Poppins has often been called Walt Disney’s magnum opus, and with all of her praise and accolades, it’s impossible not to see why. At the time, the film was revolutionary in its performance, animation and music. But above all, it reached a large and receptive audience.

Mary Poppins and her magical charm bringing a family together and teaching valuable life lessons through whimsical footage never fails to wow audiences everywhere, even in the 21st century.

1 The Lion King

Movies Based on Shakespeare's Lion King

The Lion King is the animated film by which all other entries in the genre are judged. Even to this day, it is still considered the perfect animated film. From the majestic and awe-inspiring visuals to the unforgettable tale of Simba’s fall and redemption, the film continues to inspire and invigorate all who see it.

He has been honored and parodied for decades, his songs continue to flood everyone’s playlist and his jokes and messages are repeated today. Disney movies can come and go, but the King will always wear the crown.

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