Top 10 Most Underrated Disney Films
Updated: Sep 3
There are over four hundred movies released under the Disney banner. With such a plethora of films, it's understandable why some of them have received less attention than they deserved or have been forgotten with the passage of time. That said, there are some Disney films that are so underrated; it's sad. Let's take a look at the ten most underrated Disney films of all time.
Pinocchio hasn't aged well and understandably so. Images of Pinocchio and other children smoking on 'Pleasure Island' aren't what parents want their young children to see and the whole turning into donkeys thing is a little odd too. Those things aside, Pinocchio is an adorable tale. The animation is a work of art, the music is delightful, and the morals the story presents are important. I think more people should give Pinocchio a chance.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh is one of Disney's most popular and beloved characters of all time. However, you would be surprised how many people haven't seen The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. This is unfortunate because it has such memorable tunes and characters. It's truly one of the sweetest films Disney has ever produced.
Tarzan gets a decent amount of playtime on Freeform, but it's definitely not recognized as one of the stronger animated films of the 90s. This is likely because there were so many other great films being released at the time. Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Toy Story, Mulan, Pocahontas, and Toy Story were just some of the movies that overshadowed Tarzan. I think it was hard for Disney to capitalize on merchandise for Tarzan because Tarzan was half-naked for most of the film and nobody really wants their kid playing with a shirtless, pantless action figure. The lack of a princess protagonist probably hurt Tarzan's appeal among young girls as well. I still suggest that everyone give Tarzan a watch though because it truly is a fantastic movie. From Phil Collins' original music to the wild jungle setting, Tarzan is a captivating film from beginning to end.
A Bug's Life
I'm a little biassed on this one because it's a personal favorite of mine, but I still think it deserves more recognition. In my opinion, Flik is one of Disney's most likable protagonists of all time. He's kind, confident, a little bit scatter-brained, and ambitious. Flik wants the best for the colony and will do anything he can to help out his fellow ants. He's relatable because he screws things up and has a crush on someone way out of his league. The rest of the cast is just as wonderful with some of its most memorable characters being Princess Dot, Heimlich the chubby caterpillar, and Hopper the fearsome villain. While Toy Story and Lilo & Stitch have continued to be extremely popular in the last twenty years, A Bug's Life has faded into the background becoming almost a forgotten Pixar film. If you haven't seen the film, give it a try. In my opinion, it's just as delightful as all it's other Pixar counterparts. (It also has a great score and soundtrack!)
Ratatouille was warmly received when it first premiered. I think most people can agree that although it's a little quirky and very French, it's entertaining enough. The issue with this movie is that, again, there weren't many merchandising opportunities. Moms didn't want rat stuffed animals around their house. Additionally, kids did not choose to champion Remy or Linguini for obvious reasons. That said, Ratatouille is a fun movie and we're excited that Disney World is finally giving this movie it's own ride, Remy's Ratatouille Adventure at Epcot!
Meet the Robinsons
This movie is a little weird with the whole time travel thing, but it's cute and it has a great message. I personally love the normalization of adoption in this movie and Lewis's signature catchphrase, "Keep moving forward". The whimsical animation and quirky characters are somewhat different from the mainstream Disney Princess films, but loveable all the same. Honestly, I don't know why this film isn't more popular. I believe everyone should see this movie at least once in their lives.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
Ahhhh! Look at how cute they are! Anyways- unpopular opinion; The Lion The Witch, and The Wardrobe is better than The Pirates of the Caribbean. I know. I know- blasphemy. I just think that this movie is the perfect mix of action, adventure, and adorable kids. It also has a beautiful message- the brave lion, Aslan, laying his life down for the newcomer to the land, Edmund. This movie did well, for sure, both critically and commercially, and it even earned itself two sequels. However, it hasn't reached the status that The Pirates of the Caribbean or Avatar has. Probably because it is just too nerdy and British!
There are plenty of Robin Hood fans out there, but for some unknown reason Disney never gave this movie an attraction in its theme parks and it is rarely played on any of Disney's cable channels. Come on, Disney, let's bring this film to the younger generation. It's so much fun!
Who puts the glad in gladiator? HERCULES! The soundtrack to this movie is a bop. One of Alan Menken's many works of wonder. Similarly to Tarzan, I believe this movie got overshadowed by the other great Disney films of its time. It did, however, get its own fun animated series similar to The Little Mermaid and Lilo & Stitch animated series. Like Robin Hood, Hercules has little to no representation in the parks, it hasn't been re-released on DVD since 1999, and is only rarely played on Disney's cable channels.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
I understand why this film is underrated. Quasimodo is an unattractive protagonist; people don't like that. Esmerelda is scandalous. The catholic church is painted in a negative light and Frollo's Hellfire ballad is downright frightening. It's undoubtedly very dark for a children's movie, but there are important lessons to be learned from this film and its musical adaptation. The Hunchback of Notre Dame teaches about what it truly means to be an outcast and not like Rudolph or Buddy the Elf. It shows people what it means to love someone regardless of what they look like, their status, or their reputation. It exposes the reality that priests are not perfect. Quite incredible for an animated film if you ask me. In my opinion, the soundtrack to this movie might be Alan Menken's best work. Beauty and the Beast is a close second, but the music in this film moves me in a way that no other Disney movie does. If you need a good cry or you want to get in touch with your humanity, just watch The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
What do you think? Are these movies underrated or are they just not that good? What Disney movies do you think deserve more recognition? Tell us all about it in the comments. (Seriously, we love to read what you have to say!)