I posted a Tuesday Top 5 featuring Disney Pixar films a few weeks back, and it resulted in the most views and visitors in a single day ever for CCC!! Therefore, after several requests from friends I have decided to feature today’s Tuesday Top 10 on Classic Animated Disney films. I’ve spent a couple of weeks doing “research” in order to narrow down my favourites as there are so many excellent classics. Therefore, without further ado check out the list below to see if your favourites made the cut.
1) Tarzan (1999) – 7.2/10 IMDb
Tarzan is hands-down my absolute favourite classic animated Disney film. It has everything I love in a film with its wonderful characters, hilarious lines, outstanding soundtrack by the one and only Phil Collins, and a classic story-line inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan of the Apes novel. Young Tarzan is orphaned after his parents are tragically killed by the jungle’s most dangerous leopard Sabor. Kala (Glenn Close), a female gorilla, saves him and decides to raise him after losing her own child weeks earlier.
Tarzan grows up alongside the other apes but due to his looks he struggles to fit in. However, he finds comfort with his two best friends, a.k.a. my favourite characters, a hilarious female gorilla named Terk (Rosie O’Donnell) and a paranoid elephant named Tantor (Wayne Knight). After his first encounter with another human, the lovely Jane Porter (Minnie Driver), he spends the rest of the film wrestling to decide where he truly belongs. Tarzan is my number one choice because I continuously laugh, quote lines, and sing along to the songs throughout it. Also, my favourite scene is when Tantor, Terk, and the rest of the gorillas take over Jane’s camp and create a song by playing and/or smashing random items.
Favourite Line: Tantor: “Mom, are you sure this water’s sanitary? It looks questionable to me!” Tantor’s Mom: “It’s fine, honey.” Tantor: “But, Mom! What about bacteria?” Tantor’s Mom: “Tantor, can’t you see Mummy’s talking?”
2) The Lion King (1994) – 8.5/10 IMDb
The Lion King is one of the best all-time classic Disney films as it has amazing characters, fun songs, and tells the story of the rise of a young king after a childhood tragedy. The film centres upon Simba (Matthew Broderick), a young lion in-line to succeed his father as king, and the resentment his Uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons) unleashes upon him in his childhood. Scar is a truly vindictive villain as he manipulates Simba into believing that he is responsible for the death of his father Mufasa (James Earl Jones), when really Scar constructed and the executed his murder.
As a result, young Simba runs away from home and meets the amazing duo of Timon (Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella). The two teach him their ways, and he grows up living the life of Hakuna Matata (“No Worries). Years pass and Simba runs into his childhood friend Nala (Moira Kelly), who informs him that the Pride Lands have turned into a horrific wasteland under Scar’s rule. After the trio convinces Simba to head home, the film follows his rise to challenge Scar for his right to the animal kingdom. The Lion King is an excellent film for all ages, because it has some of my favourite Disney songs to sing, the godlike voice of James Earl Jones as Mufasa, and the hilarious combo of a witty meerkat and a hopeless warthog.
Favourite Line: Simba: “Hakuna matata?” Pumbaa: “Yeah. It’s our motto!” Simba: “What’s a motto?” Timon: “Nothing. What’s a-motto with you?”
3) Aladdin (1992) – 8.0/10 IMDb
Aladdin is another excellent Disney classic that follows a young street kid named Aladdin (Scott Weinger) and his quest for love with the Sultan’s daughter, Princess Jasmine (Linda Larkin). This journey is all made possible after Grand Vizier to the Sultan, Jafar, cons Aladdin into helping him steal a lamp from the Cave of Wonders. After Aladdin succeeds, his pet monkey Abu ends up saving them from Jafar’s wrath who tries to kill them right before the cave collapses.
Aladdin then decides to rub the lamp and the BEST DISNEY CHARACTER OF ALL-TIME, the Genie (Robin Williams), is finally unveiled! Aladdin spends the rest of the film trying to win over the love of Princess Jasmine with the help of the Genie, his three wishes, his magic carpet, and Abu. The Genie is hands down the best part of the film as Robin Williams presents us with a true gift of matching his voice to the visual manipulation of the Genie’s antics. The scenes of the Genie as a tailor, female flight attendant, and Jack Nicholson are my personal favourites.
Favourite Line: Genie: “Yo, Rugman! Haven’t seen you in a few millennia. Give me some tassel!”
4) Hercules (1997) – 7.2/10 IMDb
I personally have always loved to learn about gods, demi-gods, myths, and legends, which is why Hercules is one of my top Disney favourites. This film tells the origin story of the demi-god Hercules, has spectacular characters, and some fun songs to sing and dance along to. The beginning of the film takes a turn into despair when Zeus’s son Hercules is kidnapped on behalf of Disney’s best villain, Zeus’s brother, and Lord of the Underworld … Hades (James Woods). On the night of Hercules’s kidnapping, he is almost killed by Pain (Bobcat Goldthwait) & Panic (Matt Frewer), but instead is accidentally left with his god-like strength when an old couple stumble upon them. However, after a few accidents, young Hercules (Tate Donovan) is outcasted by everyone in his village but his adoptive parents.
Therefore, he seeks out the help of the statue of Zeus (Rip Torn) who quickly comes to life, tells Hercules that he is his true father, and informs him that he can be a god again once he becomes a “true hero”. Zeus then reunites Hercules with his adorable flying horse Pegasus, and sends him to train with Philoctetes “Phil” (Danny Devito) who is known for creating the best of the best! Hercules spends years training, and then on his first mission he meets and saves Megara “Meg” (Susan Egan) from a centaur. This is when Hades, in breathtaking fashion, realizes that Pain & Panic failed all of those years earlier. Hades then tries to kill Hercules by sending countless monsters his way, which he easily defeats. Hercules falls deeper in love with Meg, continues down the path to becoming a true hero, and eventually has to face his biggest challenge of saving the world from the wrath of the Titans that Hades releases as a ploy to usurp Zeus.
Favourite Line: Hercules: “Aren’t you … a damsel in distress?” Meg: “I’m a damsel, I’m in distress, I can handle this. Have a nice day.”
*If you think the character of Hades is as amazing as I do, check out the link below for an earlier CCC post of my favourite villainous performances!
5) Mulan (1998) – 7.5/10 IMDb
When I first started this Top 10 I decided that although the Disney “Princesses” are a key part of the classic animated Disney collection, I would only choose my favourite. As a result, I chose Mulan because I love a strong female lead, a great underdog story, and I adore Eddie Murphy as Mushu. The film begins as each Chinese family is given a conscription notice that states one man must fight in the war. Fearing for her father’s safety, Mulan (Ming-Na Wen) decides to disguise herself as a man in order to enter the war on behalf of her family.
Mulan’s grandmother prays to their ancestors for the “Great Stone Dragon” to protect her, but the small dragon Mushu is sent instead. Mushu and Mulan work together to help her blend in at camp, and she soon becomes a skilled warrior at the hands of Captain Li Shang (BD Wong). I love this film because Mulan is such a strong character who is literally fighting for her family and country. Also, she is constantly in fear of having her identity found out and yet she perseveres and ends up SAVING CHINA from the Huns!!!
Favourite Line: Mulan: “My ancestors sent a little lizard to help me?” Mushu: “Hey! Dragon. Dra-gon, not lizard. I don’t do that tongue thing.” [hisses]
6) The AristoCats (1970) – 7.1/10 IMDb
The AristoCats is another feel-good Disney film that has a story-line of two young romantics from different backgrounds, and is based on the novel The Secret Origin of the Aristocats by Tom McGowan and Tim Rowe. I chose The AristoCats because it is full of excellent characters, catchy songs, and amazing lines that I still quote to this day! A mother cat named Duchess (Eva Gabor) and her three kittens Berlioz (Dean Clark), Marie (Liz English), and Toulouse (Gary Dublin) are the beloved pets of the wealthy Madame Adelaide Bonfamille (Hermione Baddeley).
After Madame writes her will to leave everything to her pets, her jealous Butler Edger (Roddy Maude-Roxby) spends one night trying to get rid of them. When the poor cats awake in the morning, they embark on a long journey home with the help of the marvellous alley cat Thomas O’Malley (Phil Harris). Along the way the cats have a truly adventurous time as they hitchhike on a “magic carpet”, dodge a train, and meet some lovely friends along the way including some hilarious geese and Scat Cat (Scatman Crothers) and his band. In the end, all of the animals work together together to bring the cats home and banish Edgar forever. Lastly, to this day I still sing “Thomas O’Malley Cat” and “Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat” whenever anyone mentions this film!
Favourite Line: Marie: “Me first! Me first!” Toulouse: “Why should you be first?” Marie: “Because I’m a lady. That’s why.”
7) The Jungle Book (1967) – 7.6/10 IMDb
The Jungle Book is a phenomenal Disney classic that truly brings the characters of Rudyard Kipling’s book with the same name to life! Mowgli (Bruce Reitherman) is a young orphan boy who was sent down the river in a basket, and eventually saved by a black panther named Bagheera (Sebastian Cabot). Mowgli grows up in the jungle and even though there is a man-eating tiger on the loose, named Shere Khan (George Sanders), he’s determined to stay and not go to the “man village” as Bagheera wishes. Along the way Mowgli meets Baloo (Phil Harris) a fun-loving laid-back bear that promises to look after him. However, Mowgli is then kidnapped by a group of monkeys and both Bagheera and Baloo have to work together to save him before Shere Khan and his sneaking snake sidekick Kaa (Sterling Holloway) find him! I absolutely adore this film as “Bare Necessities” makes me extremely happy, Baloo is the perfect happy-go lucky character, and Mowgli’s spirit is precious.
Favourite Line: Bagheera: “This will take brains, not brawn.” Baloo: “You better believe it, and I’m loaded with both.”
8) Bambi (1942) – 7.4/10 IMDb
Bambi is a golden oldie that never ceases to amaze me as a young fawn named Bambi learns the ins and outs of the forest that he will eventually become the Great Prince of. This classic story is based on the novel Bambi, A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten and is another Disney film that truly brings its characters to life. Thumper, a young extremely energetic rabbit, is my absolute favourite character of the film as he is full of happiness and helps Bambi learn to walk and talk. There is also a loveable young skunk named Flower and another fawn named Faline that catches Bambi’s interest. After tragedy strikes, Bambi learns to love and grow along with his young friends and eventually becomes a brave and strong stag that will continue to watch over the woodland creatures as the new Great Prince of the Forest.
Favourite Line: Thumper: “He doesn’t walk very good, does he?” Mrs. Rabbit: “Thumper!” Thumper: “Yes, mama?” Mrs. Rabbit: “What did your father tell you this morning?” Thumper: “If you can’t say something nice … don’t say nothing at all.”
9) Lady and the Tramp (1955) – 7.4/10 IMDb
Lady and the Tramp is another animated Disney film based on a classic novel as its story-line was inspired by Happy Dan, The Whistling Dog by Ward Greene. I always love a great romantic tale of two admirers from different walks of life, and this film does exactly that with adorable dog animation. Lady (Barbara Luddy) is an American cocker spaniel who lives very luxuriously, and she is eventually wooed by a stray mutt named Tramp (Larry Roberts) after he rescues her, when she gets lost on the wrong side of town. Lady is conflicted as she enjoys her time with Tramp, but in the back of her mind she loves her owners and feels she needs to protect their new baby. Lady and the Tramp is great because it shows that love is unbiased and character has nothing to do with where or of what circumstances one is born. Also, my hands down favourite scene is at the zoo when Tramp convinces the beaver that Lady’s muzzle is a log pulling device.
Favourite Line: Tramp: “Look, there’s a great big hunk of world down there, with no fence around it. Where two dogs can find adventure and excitement. And beyond those distant hills, who knows what wonderful experiences! And it’s all ours for the taking, Pige. It’s all ours.”
10) The Fox and the Hound (1981) – 7.3/10 IMDb
The Fox and the Hound is about a friendship between a fox named Tod (Mickey Rooney) and a hound dog named Copper (Kurt Russell) and its inspired by a novel with the same name written by Danniel P. Mannix. I chose The Fox and the Hound to round out the Top 10 because it always has me in a whirlwind of emotions as the two become the best of friends in childhood, even though they are natural enemies. As they grow older they both pursue different paths in life and eventually come head to head as Copper is a true hunting dog and Tod is his designated prey. As the film heads towards the climax the two decide that friendship and loyalty is worth more than tradition and hierarchy. I love the characters in this story as Big Mama (Pearl Bailey) the owl, Boomer (Paul Winchell) the woodpecker, and Dinky (Richard Bakalyan) the finch provide multiple scenes of comic relief, as well as they do their best to help the two young friends.
Favourite Line: Big Mama: “Darlin’, forever is a long, long time, and time has a way of changing things.”