The Five Most Underrated Disney Movies of the Past 45 Years

Sunday, January 14, 2018



Anyone who knows me (heck, even people who don't know me!) knows that I'm obsessed with all things Disney. Obviously, this includes Disney movies. Some Disney movies are extremely popular, and for good reason (Beauty and the Beast, for example). But there are several movies that are just as good, sometimes even better, than the popular movies that just don't get the love they deserve. These are the five movies (just from the Disney Animated Classics canon, which doesn't include any Pixar films) I think are the underrated.

Note: To keep things simple, I've limited my choices to movies from 1973 to the present; there are several older films that just haven't had the chance to be seen much, like Saludos Amigos and Make Mine Music!.

5. Hercules



This may be my most controversial pick, because Hercules does have a loyal legion of fans, but in my opinion, it doesn't get as much attention as fellow Disney Renaissance films like Aladdin and The Little Mermaid (which, in my opinion, aren't as good as Hercules). It has a phenomenal soundtrack ("Go the Distance" is one of the best Disney ballads), the story is fun and engaging, and though it does take liberties with the source material (as many Disney films do), it can even be seen as semi-educational.


4. Robin Hood



This is absolutely my favorite version of the Robin Hood legend. Remaking the story using anthropomorphic animals was a stroke of genius, and the choices of animals made the characters more interesting (making Prince John a cowardly lion was especially great). The film itself is funny, heartwarming, and easily holds the attention of little kids. Yes, it may not have a big blockbuster of a song, but it's rather easy (and fun!) to work "Oo-De-Lally" into most conversations (I know this from experience).


3. Atlantis: The Lost Empire



I honestly don't know why this movie isn't more popular. It has an all-star cast (Michael J. Fox! James Garner! Leonard Nimoy!), a fascinating story, and beautiful visuals (the scenes involving the Heart of Atlantis are especially captivating). I've always been a sucker for a good period piece, even when it's animated. I showed Atlantis to my boys last year, and they really enjoyed it (granted, not as much as they enjoy Toy Story, but really, once you've seen a 35-foot tall Buzz Lightyear, it's kind of hard to be that excited about anything else). Plus, without Atlantis, we wouldn't have had Cole Sprouse's amazing Milo Thatch costume.


2. Brother Bear



I actually didn't see this movie until about ten years after it was originally released (thank you, Netflix!), but I instantly fell in love with it. Culturally, it explored new territory for a Disney film (the Inuit people), and the setting gave lovely visuals for the animation. In my opinion, Phil Collins did better work for its soundtrack than he did for Tarzan (I especially love "On My Way"; I use it for preschool graduation). The story is sweet and meaningful, and the sequel is actually worth watching too.


1. Meet the Robinsons



As soon as I saw Meet the Robinsons, it became one of my very favorite Disney films. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, and it always leaves me feeling happier than I was before I watched it. "Keep moving forward" has pretty much become my personal mantra. It's a heartwarming tale of family, one that has become even more meaningful for me as an adoptive mother. It's visually interesting (Space Mountain even makes a cameo appearance!), the story is engrossing, and Matchbox 20's "Little Wonders" can totally make you cry if you're not careful (I actually use that song for preschool graduation too). Meet the Robinsons is a movie DEFINITELY worth watching!

What Disney movies do you think are underrated?

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