Your guide to the classic Disney animated movies on Netflix!
Netflix often presents itself as being the premiere streaming service. It definitely has one of the strongest lineups of original series and movies, but when it comes to Disney films, Netflix’s selection is somewhat lacking. Disney and Netflix have an agreement in place to stream Disney Channel originals, a few live-action films, and a selection of animated movies.
On Netflix, you’re not going to find any of the most beloved Disney movies like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Snow White, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, or even more recent hits including Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen. And none of the Pixar animated movies are available either. What we’re left with is a lineup of the lesser known Disney films and several direct-to-video sequels that didn’t quite live up to the originals.
But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some great Disney movies on Netflix! ComingSoon.net has compiled a list of the ten best Disney movies on Netflix. Feel free to share your favorite Disney movies on Netflix in the comment section below!
The Best Disney Movies on Netflix: Fantasia
Fantasia was one of Walt Disney’s first animated features in 1940, and it’s definitely not for everyone! Fantasia consists of eight animated shorts set to classic music conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Mickey Mouse’s appearance in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is the most famous segment, but “Night on Bald Mountain” still ranks as one of the darkest things that Disney’s company ever animated as it depicted a genuinely unsettling devil named Chernabog, who called forth the evil spirits of the titular mountain.
The spiritual sequel, Fantasia 2000, is also on Netflix, and it’s also quite good. But the original is better than the sequel.
The Best Disney Movies on Netflix: Hercules
Disney’s Hercules came on the tail end of the company’s second golden age of animation. Hercules reworked the mythology of the title character to better fit the Disney mold, but it was James Woods’ Hades and Danny DeVito’s Phil who stole the movie from Herc. Even Megara has found greater staying power than Herc among Disney fans.
But Hercules is still fun to watch, and much better than most of the DTV Disney films on Netflix.
The Best Disney Movies on Netflix: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Hunchback of Notre Dame was one of the last great Disney movies of the ‘90s, with a stunning lineup of original songs by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. Seriously, “Hellfire” is an amazing song about Judge Claude Frollo’s lust for Esmeralda and his willingness to murder her if she doesn’t reciprocate his affections. That’s kind of dark for a Disney movie!
The title character, Quasimodo was softened from Victor Hugo’s original novel, and the Disney version of the story keeps it from being a tragedy. Despite the silly touches (including the talking gargoyles that Quasimodo imagines), it’s still one of the best Disney films.
The Best Disney Movies on Netflix: Lilo & Stitch
By the early 2000s, 3-D animated movies from Pixar and DreamWorks were overpowering Disney’s traditionally 2-D animated films at the box office. Lilo & Stitch was an unexpected counterpunch from Disney that had a great ad campaign that placed the alien Stitch as the black sheep of the Disney family.
Fortunately, the Lilo & Stitch movie was just as good as that campaign, and it even became a franchise with multiple direct-to-video sequels (most of which are also on Netflix) and a TV series.
The Best Disney Movies on Netflix: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
It’s pretty hard to go wrong with Disney’s Winnie the Pooh. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh wasn’t really an animated movie as much as it was a compilation of the three previously-released shorts based on A. A. Milne’s original characters. There was some additional animation added and a fourth segment that had a real conclusion with an almost bittersweet tone. These shorts also represent some of the last animation projects overseen by Walt Disney himself, and they hold up amazingly well.
The Best Disney Movies on Netflix: Mulan
Before Eddie Murphy was Donkey in Shrek, he was the small spirit dragon named Mushu in Disney’s Mulan, a late ‘90s adaptation of the legend of Hua Mulan, a young woman who pretended to be a man to spare her elderly father from having to go to war.
Mulan has since been embraced as a “Disney Princess,” and the direct-to-DVD sequel is also on Netflix. However, only the original Mulan is remembered as a classic.
The Best Disney Movies on Netflix: Robin Hood
There’s an odd omission of Disney’s earliest animated films from Netflix. One of the oldest Disney movies still there is Robin Hood, an adaptation that cast all of the legendary characters as animals.
Robin Hood himself became a Fox, and his nemesis, Prince John was cowardly lion. Despite the recycled animation from The Jungle Book, Robin Hood is a fun film to watch. It’s just not one of the great ones.
The Best Disney Movies on Netflix: Tarzan
Disney’s Tarzan was the first time that Edgar Rice Burroughs’ iconic hero was animated for the big screen. Fittingly, the animation adopted a more innovative way to depict Tarzan’s movements through the jungle and his unique muscular structure. The Phil Collins soundtrack is hit or miss for some, but it’s hard to deny the power of “You’ll Be in My Heart” when Tarzan’s adoptive ape mother accepts him as her son.
And once again, the direct-to-video Tarzan sequel movies are on Netflix. Are you sensing a trend?
The Best Disney Movies on Netflix: The Three Musketeers
Although Disney’s The Three Musketeers is one of the direct-to-video films, it’s one of the better ones! And it’s not often that Disney gives the classic trio of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy their own feature length adventure, even if they’re technically stepping into a loose adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ iconic novel.
The Best Disney Movies on Netflix: Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Who Framed Roger Rabbit isn’t considered to be one of Disney’s animated films, but it is by far the best Disney movie on Netflix. Everything about this project is amazing. Somehow, executive producer Steven Spielberg convinced Disney’s rival studios to loan out their iconic characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Woody Woodpecker to appear alongside the Disney characters in this adaptation of Gary K. Wolf’s Who Censored Roger Rabbit? novel.
The biggest special effect was the late, great Bob Hoskins, who threw himself into the role of burned-out private investigator, Eddie Valiant. Eddie turned out to be the very reluctant straight man to Roger Rabbit himself. For the time, the blend of animation and live-action was groundbreaking, and it still looks amazing today. The real crime of Who Framed Roger Rabbit is that there was never a full sequel! But even then Disney Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg has credited this film for saving Disney’s animation department. For that alone, it deserves its place on this list.