Top 10 Disney Musicals of All Time

Disney continues their slew of live action remakes of their classic animated films with BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, which opens today. Unlike recent adaptations like CINDERELLA and THE JUNGLE BOOK, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is a full musical. Disney has a long history with successful musicals, both live action and animated. Here is our ranking of Disney's best musical films. Some may be familiar and others you may not know very well, but these ten movies are all great experiences for lovers of film and music. If you disagree with our selections or think we missed one, let us know in the talk backs below.


While BEAUTY AND THE BEAST may be Disney's masterwork of animated musicals, MARY POPPINS is the live action #1. Like BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS, MARY POPPINS blends animation and live action into a seamless cinematic experience. The movie is wholesome, fun, and a great mix of adventure and comedy. The music is iconic as are the performances and Dick Van Dyke's dual roles more than make up for his atrocious British accent. This is a great musical for movie that claim they don't like musicals.


THE LITTLE MERMAID showed that there was still fuel in the tank of fairy tales and princess stories converted into animated musicals but it was BEAUTY AND THE BEAST that proved the critical acclaim could be there as well. The first animated feature film nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is the perfect balance of animation, music, and story that is exactly what Disney set out to do when he first started making films. There are no animated musicals that can hold a candle to Disney's 1991 masterpiece.


The film that cemented the early 1990s as The Disney Renaissance, ALADDIN managed to balance a great adventure story with the classic Disney princess formula. Blending CGI animation seamlessly into a traditional 2D film paved the way for countless movies at the end of the 20th century. Plus, the vocal skills of the immortal Robin Williams gave this movie an edge and sense of humor that set it apart from not just Disney animation but all feature length cartoons.


One of the very few Disney films to employ stop motion animation, THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS was a cult classic that has since dropped the cult status and become a multi-holiday staple. The dark and twisted minds of Tim Burton and Henry Selick brought to life Burton's own unique tale of Halloweentown and their search for Christmas, but it is the music by Danny Elfman that has inspired countless musicians, actors, singers, and animators in the years since it first hit screens.


The film that restarted Disney's run of animation classics after an awful slew of movies in the 1980s, THE LITTLE MERMAID was a hit thanks to the strong vocal performances from Jodi Benson and an iconic villain. The music by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken holds up today even if the animation may not be as crisp as it was three decades ago.


Hate on this movie all you want but Disney proved that TANGLED was no box office fluke. In fact, FROZEN may have been the biggest indicator that John Lassetter's reign at the top of Disney's animation division has brought Pixar's golden touch back to the House of Mouse. FROZEN may be a bit on the cliche and formulaic side but it is Disney doing what they are the best at and that is making wholesome family entertainment that looks and sounds great.


Elton John's contributions with Tim Rice to Disney's version of Hamlet are some of the most recognizable songs of the 1990s. This movie is one of the glossier films from Disney's great output after decades of mediocre fare and remains just as good today even though every single sequel has been a cash grab waste of time. So much from this film has entered the pop culture lexicon that you cannot deny just how great this movie is.


Another lesser known gem from Disney's classic era, BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS stars BEAUTY AND THE BEAST alum Angela Lansbury as a budding witch who takes in some orphan children during World War II. What follows is one of the earliest films to blend live action and animation effectively. Oh, and it also showcases ghost soldiers fighting away Nazis from the shores of England. Yeah, that got your attention, didn't it?


While last year's live action remake featured some of the songs from the animated original, it could not match the frantic fun of the cartoon take. As much as I love Bill Murray and Christopher Walken, no one can match the great performances from Phil Harris and Louis Prima as Baloo and King Louie. This is one of Disney's best and holds up as a great animated film to this day.


One of Disney's underappreciated live action films from the 1960s, BABES IN TOYLAND has been remade countless times but this version has the unmistakable hallmarks of many of Disney's best movies. A great array of songs, bright technicolor cinematography, and a cast of stars headed by the immortal Annette Funicello. This is a great movie for the Disney fan who thinks they have seen everything. It is also perfect for a remake.

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