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Ranking Disney Movies By Era

Golden Age

By Alexandrea CallaghanPublished 11 months ago 3 min read

We are going to rank Disney movies. However I really don't think you can actually compare something like Snow White to something like Frozen. The worlds they were made in are very very different and context is important to critique. So we are going to do this one era at a time.

Golden Age

The golden age of Disney lasted from 1937 to 1942 and got Disney started with 5 films. These 5 films launched an empire and we are going to rank them from worst to best based on art, story, character and overall tone. I will consider how well they held up but that won’t necessarily figure into the ranking. I don’t think we should expect something from the 30s to live up to today's moral standards. So here we go.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

In last place I am going to place Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Now with the remake coming out and the internet hate surrounding Rachel Zeigler I know that this is going to be an unpopular opinion. But here’s the reality…it's fine. Compared to the other movies of this era the story is very weak. It really doesn’t hold up and though the art is beautiful and it was a groundbreaking film at the time that doesn’t necessarily mean that it was a good movie.


Next placement is Bambi. Now I have always found this movie a little boring but it does have some really great scenes in it. This era is known for jumping between tones, from really upbeat, to really dark, to really upbeat again. And I don’t think any film in this era showcases that more than Bambi does.


So I actually personally really love Dumbo but I think the remaining two are a little more compelling both visually and storytelling wise. Dumbo has always been a really emotional film and I still think it's one of Disney’s best films. The lesson of loving yourself and learning not to care what others think of you is a wildly important lesson that we all need regardless of age. And Dumbo just does a really amazing job of conveying its message.


There is no more visually beautiful film from this age. Fantasia is gorgeous, it's inventive, it's groundbreaking and I really don’t think Disney has done anything to match it since. The only reason it's not listed as first is because I said I would judge these on story and there isn’t exactly a single story to Fantasia. The idea of animating classical music really brought it to life, and Sorcerer Mickey became such an iconic image for Disney that the film's influence is absolutely undeniable.


And the best of the Golden Age is Pinocchio. It definitely has the best story and character moments. It is just as visually beautiful as the other films and it contrasts its light and dark moments very well. It is all the best parts of the other movies. When You Wish Upon A Star became an iconic calling card for Disney, as did the image of Jiminy Cricket. The messages of the grass is always greener, appreciating what one has and found family were very well executed. I don’t really think it can be argued against, Pinocchio is the strongest movie to come out of the golden age of Disney.

Golden Age Disney is what built the company, a couple of the five films suffered pretty big losses but all were overseen by Walt himself. The Golden Age really established Disney’s style and Walt’s legacy. I want to be clear in that I don’t think any of the films from the Golden Age are bad, I think there is a learning curve to anything but Disney came out strong with establishing the kind of studio it wanted to be and the films only got better from there.

pop culturemovielistentertainment

About the Creator

Alexandrea Callaghan

Certified nerd, super geek and very proud fangirl.

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    Alexandrea CallaghanWritten by Alexandrea Callaghan

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