Fantasy, colors, animation, mixed media and live action. What are the best Disney films and which are the best Pixar films? In this article we wanted to combine the best products of the two production houses that have always been in union.

A real dream industry, Walt Disney Pictures has accompanied us for almost a century with animated feature films that have always been loved and appreciated for better or for worse. In more recent years,  the birth of the Pixar parallel studio, focused on products in digital technique, showed how much the Casa del Topo was also interested in keeping up with the times as regards the technological avant-garde, but this certainly did not harm the content quality of the films, which instead did nothing else than to increase. Aware that selecting only twenty films among the infinite wonders of Disney filmography does not do it justice, we offer you our list of the best Disney and Pixar films, the most representative animated titles of the two production companies, the ones that have most marked the history of cinema and kidnapped the imagination of young and old.

Snow White (1937)

With sensational watercolor backgrounds and the then avant-garde rotoscope technique to give realism to the human figures, the transposition of the fairy tale of Snow White was a visionary bet won. If until that moment animation was relegated to the form of the comic short, now it was possible to aim for a feature film with a broader and more articulated narrative structure. The biggest fear was to bore the audience, but the success thwarted the fears, giving a masterpiece with perfect comic times, a right dose of romance and a pinch of horror that does not hurt.

Fantasy (1940)

Simultaneously with the beautiful Pinocchio, Walt Disney churns out his recognized masterpiece: Fantasia. It is a huge anthology of visionary shorts accompanied by some of the most powerful and famous pieces of classical music ever, a continuous sensory stimulation conveyed by an amazing animation and a care for stereophonic sound editing that has made school. Excluding some fragments that have not aged very well, such as the dinosaur epic commented by Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, the wonderful re-enactment of the Nutcracker or the hilarious short about the Sorcerer’s Apprentice are enough to deserve all possible praise. In 1999, an excellent sequel came out, Fantasia 2000.

Dumbo (1942)

The best Disney movies

That of the elephant with the big ears of the same name is a wonderful story of maternal love, friendship and redemption that prevail over the discrimination of handicaps, which has always been a monstrous source of loneliness and ridicule. Sequences from anthology such as the setting up of the circus under an epic torrential rain or the trip antelitteram of the Pink Elephants counterbalance the concentration of emotions such as extreme emotion and carefree fun. A coming-of-age story that makes you think and lets you remember forever.

101 Dalmatians (1961)

The financial failure of the opulent Sleeping Beauty forced Disney to fall back on simpler, cost-saving animation techniques. The charge of 101 is the first feature film and the most representative title of this new era of the studio. No more fairy tales of princesses and spells; the action takes place in a cold and rainy London, in the same years in which the film is released in theaters, its characters face real problems of everyday life. The antagonists are memorable, especially the moody and vain Cruella De Mon with the fetish for fur, the true comic soul of a film that also finds time to mention the war-prison films of the 1950s.

Robin Hood (1973)

The best Disney movies

From the makers of The Sword in the Stone comes this anthropomorphic animal version of the adventures of the bandit who steals from the rich to give to the poor in an England badly ruled by greedy King John. An impeccable characterization of the characters goes hand in hand with the orchestration of the gags, the eventful action scenes and the profound theme of the fight against a corrupt monarchy, giving life to a well-thought-out animated feature film, with some of the best musical motifs ever produced for a Disney cartoon. Perhaps the most successful version of the Robin Hood character, with all due respect to Kevin Costner and Ridley Scott.

The Lion King (1994)

The best Disney movies

Advancing in the mixed technique of traditional animation and digital inserts that made the fortune of Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King is inspired by the Scespirian Hamlet to draw a perfect balance of great epic storytelling and delightful playful moments. Almost thirty years later, this classic still leaves you speechless for the impressive atmospheres that return the majesty of African scenarios, at the service of a never cloying story that vibrates with life. Exceptional is the soundtrack by Hans Zimmer (The Gladiator), awarded with the Oscar and ideal commentary for the touching relationship between the little lion Simba and his father Mufasa, ruler of the savannah envied by his evil brother Scar, thirsty for power .

Hercules (1997)

Provided you don’t expect philological fidelity to Greek mythology, the 35th classic of the House of the Rat has to offer a formative story (about a hero who learns that muscles are not everything) in the name of snappy rhythm and some very tasty gags. The design of backgrounds and characters, inspired by the paintings of Greek amphorae, is certainly the best thing of the film, but the witty characterization of the characters should not be overlooked, on which the unfortunate god of the dead Hades, one of the most hilarious and likeable villains, stands out. never appeared in a Disney movie.

Toy Story 2 (1999)

The first Pixar film on the list, it might seem like the classic sequel made with a view to the box office, but Toy Story 2 manages to be even better than its already formidable and avant-garde predecessor, as well as a decisive step forward in its computerized technique. No longer needing to introduce the talking toys as protagonists, the film starts in fourth place to leave more space for the action, never an end in itself as a direct consequence of introspection. The relationship between toys and children is developed and cloaked in sadness by the trauma of abandonment and marginalization, giving a more adult and emotional chapter perhaps not too suitable for the little ones.

The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)

After the decade of the nineties experienced in the name of commercial ups and downs, Disney has seen fit to usher in the new millennium with a series of innovative, more biting and adult products. Thus, between the interesting prehistoric variation of Dinosaurs (2000) and the science fiction adventure of Atlantis (2001) lies The Emperor’s follies. What is striking about the misadventures of Kuzco, a young emperor with manias as a protagonist transformed into a blade by the evil advisor Yzma, is the marked desecrating and demented vein, already present in Hercules but here brought to the highest levels of brilliance. The hilarious situations follow one another at breakneck speed for just under an hour and twenty framed by an artistic look that recalls Inca art.

Monsters & Co (2001)

The best Disney movies

From the simple intuition of an inverted reality where monsters are afraid of children, Monsters & Co is a small pearl of casual goliardia and reflection on friendship that crosses every barrier. Supported by a pair of irresistible protagonists, the film runs like a splinter, dispensing excellent gags, some spectacular moments (the sequence of doors) and above all a lot of tenderness. Finale among the most beautiful and poetic ever seen in a Disney-Pixar product.

Treasure Planet (2002)

The famous adventure novel by Robert Louis Stevenson comes to life in a steampunk key with this jewel that at the release was a failure only because it was guilty of moving away from the canons of the House of the Mouse. Everything in Treasure Planet works perfectly, from the spectacular fusion of CGI grafts and traditional animation to the immersive James Newton Howard soundtrack, from character and environment design to a well-timed script. The treasure planet conveys that adventurous flavor that any self-respecting tale of pirates and sailors should promise, obviously without neglecting a beautiful growth path undertaken by a rebellious and reckless teenager in search of his place in the world.

The Incredibles (2004)

Well before Disney bought Marvel, when cinecomic was still a “niche” trend, Pixar was thinking about dealing with the superhero argument. Michael Giacchino’s 007 music contributes to a unique atmosphere, in which an American family of costumed heroes try to “normalize” their lives, without superpowers, only to face the nemesis of the moment and save the world. All the adult implications on stolen childhood and responsibility only give an extra flavor to the liveliness of a film that, both from a technical and content point of view, has nothing to envy with Raimi’s beautiful Spider-Man.

Cars (2006)

Born from director John Lasseter’s passion for cars, Cars boasts a story with a moral that is perhaps a little too simple and immediate by Pixar’s standards, but undoubtedly capable of winning the sympathy of viewers. As always happens in the work of the studio, the strong point are the characters, catalysts of all emotions that the director wants to convey through well-studied and credible evolutionary paths.

Ratatouille (2007)

A romantic and bright Paris to behold is the wonderful setting of the story of Rémy, a young mouse with a passion for cooking. It was all too easy to fall into ridicule with this concept, obviously avoided by the depth of an iron script, a stimulus for meaningful meditations on friendship and dreams that every day lead us to improve ourselves to find our place in the world. A pearl of guaranteed laughter and emotion.

Wall-E (2 008)

The best Disney Pixar movies

Pixar’s first foray into pure science fiction leads to results of pure excellence. Wall-E stands out from all the other works of the studio above all for a masterful screenplay in calibrating entertainment and environmentalist reflection with a subtle but playful gaze. In a first part, majestic and with few dialogues, which acts as an introduction to the dystopian vision, the broadest fold of the space opera enters the scene with all its messages that frame the emotional impoverishment that leads to human involution as counterbalanced by the emotional impulses of the cute little robot protagonist of the title.

Up (2009)

The best Disney Pixar movies

The moving prologue would be enough to deliver a title like Up to the history of cinema, but the whole hour and a half is full of beautiful things to see and hear. With the usual and exceptional technique, here enslaved to an intense and colorful visual direction, the director Pete Docter involves and entertains, juggling with ease between the coordinates of pure adventure, drama and comedy. The effervescent maturity of the feature film is also due to the amazing chemistry between the two protagonists, a young boy scout and a gruff old man who, thanks to his partner, rediscovers the pleasure of the simple things in life to free himself from the ghosts of the past.

Brave (2012)

The best Disney Pixar movies

Perhaps the most daring of Pixar’s works, Brave exudes emotions and transmits an epic dimension, from the cinema of yesteryear, capable of evoking atmospheres of pure enchantment, where historical allusions and fantasy winks blend to tell the woman who learns to be herself by going against depersonalizing traditions. The striking backdrop of medieval Scotland, recreated by state-of-the-art technology, catches the eye as much as the dramatic qualities and intelligence of the script stimulate the mind and heart. Superb.

Inside Out (2015)

Now fully mature, Pixar enters a psychological journey where the theme of growth dear to her is faced from the point of view of the emotions of the young Riley, inserted in an imaginative world of pure creativity, connected in a symbiotic relationship with the dramas of the world outside the protagonist’s mind. The expressiveness of the film often leads to emotion in front of the thousand brilliant intuitions, all while passing the right message of sadness seen as a necessary component of life.

Z ootropolis (2016)

Among the Disney classics in computerized technique, Zootropolis is the most successful, much more balanced than Rapunzel and decidedly more solid than Frozen. With a child-friendly thriller narrative, the film is well written and truly entertaining, and talks about a thousand current topics such as racism and marginalization without ever being superficial or rhetorical. Despite the not serious tone, the authors managed to give the right weight to the theme of the “demonization” of the different in order to make the feature film usable also for adults. A technical care as always impeccable, and sensational gags (legendary that of the motorization of sloths) complete the circle with intelligence.

Coco (2017)

Among the latest Pixar masterpieces, Coco should be counted as one of the best, a combination of powerful concepts and a colorful and visionary look to aestheticize a theme as hard as that of death in a never macabre or heavy way for the little ones, while not sweetening its weight. A few moments of tiredness in the central part does not detract from the visual joy and strong emotionality; the Mexican cult of the dead is valued with respect and affection, managing to convey how beautiful life can be, regardless of difficulties.

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