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Ranking Disney Movies by Eras

The Renaissance

By Alexandrea CallaghanPublished 11 months ago 3 min read

I call the Renaissance era the Broadway era of Disney. Disney has brought several shows to the great white way and they are all from this era here. The most singable music and the most memorable songs have come from these 10 movies. It also ushered in a new era of animation that is somewhat smoother and uses far brighter colors than previous animation.

The Rescuers Down Under is easily last place, not only because of its lack of magical music but it being a sequel really kills it's chances among these amazing movies. As Disney sequels go it is not a bad one, however it isn’t as good as the original so last is the only place it could have gotten on this list.

Just above that we have Pocahontas. Now this was one of my favorite movies as a kid, we have the same bone structure, she looked like me, the music is beautiful and it has some of Disney’s best animation. Watching it as an adult however is definitely difficult. The glaring story and characterization flaws in the movie are upsettingly obvious, but the music is still incredible and absolutely no one will ever convince me otherwise.

I know what we’re thinking, it's criminal to place Beauty and the Beast this low but I mean, look at the rest of this list and actually tell me I’m wrong (I’m not). It's a timeless and beautiful story with an amazing protagonist and realistic villain. It's also an actually good movie to teach about racism (literally just listen to the lyrics of the Mob Song). It is also one of Disney’s Broadway treasures. And yet the list only gets better.

Next up we have another movie that Disney took to Broadway, Aladdin. In addition to getting one of the better live action adaptations Aladdin also got some of the better spin offs and sequels. Princess Jasmine was even the center focus of the TV show granting her a spot in Princess Power Hour on Disney channel (yes, guess how old I am). The music is incredible and the color pallet is stunning.

Next up is The Little Mermaid (the best live action adaptation), arguably every little girl's favorite Disney princess. Ariel herself is an iconic Disney image and if you asked anyone (Disney fans or not) to name Disney princesses and one of the first names out of their mouths will be Ariel.

The Lion King is up next on our list and I could not have been more obsessed with this movie when I was a kid. My mom took the VHS to my grandma's house so I couldn’t watch it at home anymore. The fact that it is a flawless Shakespeare adaptation that stars Jeremy Irons is incredible. The music is amazing and it was also my first live musical. Another Broadway Disney classic.

Next is the Hunchback of Notre Dame, a wildly underrated film with beautiful animation, and an incredible villain song. Another Broadway darling brought to us from Disney.

Mulan earns its place in the top 3, it is an incredible story with amazing music that is used so well. Honestly my favorite part is the fact that the music stops when the troops come across the actual warzone. The music is used to enhance the intensity of the story and it's truly brilliant.

In second place is Tarzan, yet another show that headed to Broadway in Disney’s name. These top two have easily the best music of this era and that is why they earn the top spot, we know that I judge Disney movies by their music first and story second.

And in first place we have Hercules, the movie that has everything; Great music, good story, fun characters and Danny DeVito. And yet another musical that is being developed for the stage.

This era is definitely the Broadway era but it was also the era of well rounded female heroines. Not only were they all strong, but they all wanted things. And that was okay, they all wanted something and went after it, and that is something that helps develop a well rounded character.

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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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