Many people don’t like watching older films. It’s understandable. Times change, technology changes, and modern viewers may find older technology far too dated and distracting to be enjoyable. This is quite evident throughout Disney history.
The old films are noticeably old – the animation is rugged and aged, and the audio quality has that distinct “old” and “echo-y” tone that immediately places it in the early-to-mid 20th century. But even though these films are almost ancient by today’s standards, many of them are still worth watching to this day (provided a modern viewer can look past the surface age).
10 Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Any self-respecting Disney fan should begin at the beginning. There’s no denying that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has aged. It’s borderline archaic in terms of Disney production (made for the modern equivalent of just $30 million), and it’s now 85 years old.
But the movie remains a piece of film history and viewing it is absolutely essential for understanding how far the company has come. And for a movie that predates World War II, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is an exceptional piece of technological innovation that deserves to be studied and admired.
9 Fantasia (1940)
The only thing slightly dating Fantasia is the visuals, but even they can be admired as a product of the time. The movie helped make Mickey Mouse an icon, and the visuals are every bit as beautiful and imaginative today as they were in 1940.
Furthermore, the film is backed by numerous pieces of classical music, ensuring that Fantasia will forever remain a timeless piece of entertainment. Classical music doesn’t age, and neither has this movie.
8 Pinocchio (1940)
The second Disney film (succeeding Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), Pinocchio proves every bit as memorable and iconic as its predecessor.
Many of its characters have remained pop-culture mainstays throughout the decades – primarily Pinocchio, Geppetto, and Jiminy Cricket – and many of the movie’s most popular scenes remain effective to this day (like the horrifying transformation of Lampwick into a donkey). Pinocchio proudly stands toe-to-toe with Snow White in terms of cultural relevance.
7 Bambi (1942)
If nothing else, Bambi will forever be known for featuring one of the saddest Disney deaths. Bambi contains a timeless story regarding motherhood and parental love, and the famous scene involving the death of Bambi’s mother remains an effective and traumatizing scene that serves as a teaching moment for young viewers.
It’s easily one of the most popular Disney films ever made, having been passed down from generation to generation owing to its universal story and powerful sequences.
6 The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr. Toad (1949)
Released in the fall of 1949, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is not a very famous Disney film, but it remains one of the company’s most experimental outputs. Known as a “package film”, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad tells two stories.
The first is an adaptation of “The Wind in the Willows”, and the second is a creepy re-telling of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. Both stories have enjoyed lasting impacts, and the scary “Sleepy Hollow” segments remain compelling bits of animation that have more than enough power to unsettle modern audiences.
5 Cinderella (1950)
Cinderella is easily one of the most popular stories ever told. It has enjoyed numerous remakes throughout the years, and even non-Disney versions of the movie have enjoyed success. But there’s simply no beating the iconic 1950 original.
Its story is obviously timeless, and many of the movie’s scenes have become iconic pieces of pop culture (including the fitting of the glass slipper and the entire “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” segment). The cultural power that Cinderella has over audiences’ modern lives is palpable.
4 Alice In Wonderland (1951)
Great stories span generations without losing momentum or power, and Lewis Carroll proved one of the greatest storytellers of the 19th century.
Alice in Wonderland (or Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) is arguably his opus, a wonderful and richly imaginative story that has thrilled children and adults alike for over a century. The animation remains gorgeous and spectacularly colorful, and the Queen of Hearts is arguably the most underrated villains in the Disney canon.
3 Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Sleeping Beauty is arguably the best Disney fairytale, and few things about its production have detrimentally aged. In fact, most things about it have remained iconic pieces of pop culture.
Maleficent is one of the most popular villains in the entire Disney canon (and the recipient of some popular live-action films), and the climax involving Prince Phillip and the Maleficent dragon is arguably the most famous and exciting climax in Disney history. This is a classic and timeless fairy tale in every sense of the word.
2 The Sword In The Stone (1963)
While certainly not one of the more popular Disney films, The Sword in the Stone remains one of the company’s most exciting. Released on Christmas Day, 1963, The Sword in the Stone initially received a mixed reception but has grown in stature throughout the decades.
Today, it’s typically regarded as a respectable adaptation of the King Arthur legend (which is saying something, considering the countless re-tellings throughout the years), and its characters have proven memorable. Modern viewers looking for a great King Arthur adaptation could do a lot worse than The Sword in the Stone.
1 The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh (1977)
Winnie the Pooh has been entertaining adults and children alike for decades, having made his first appearance in the 1924 poetry collection When We Were Very Young (as Edward Bear; the first Winnie-the-Pooh book followed in 1926). The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh was released in 1977, serving one-half of a double bill.
Winnie the Pooh is one of the most enduring characters in modern children’s literature, and The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh is a winning entry in the canon. It remains charming, beautifully animated, and innocently entertaining.
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