Disney Plus is packed with films, from classic animations to the latest Star Wars and Marvel movies.
The launch of the Star sub-brand has packed the platform even further, with a massive – and expanding – library of films from 20th Century Fox, which Disney bought out a few years back. That opened the library up far behind the family favourites that Disney itself is best known for.
It all means there’s absolutely loads to choose from though, leaving even the best of us stalled by that dreaded streaming service panic: what do I actually watch!?!
That’s where we come in. From old-school animations to live action favourites – and of course everything from Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel – we’ve done our best to pick out the best movies we’ve found on Disney+ so far, including new exclusives like Mulan and Soul.
If you’re looking for a series rather than a feature length film, taking a look at the best TV shows on Disney Plus, and keep an eye on what movies are coming to Disney Plus in the future as well.
The Lion King
This is Disney at its best. Iconic songs, beautiful 2D animation and a story that will literally leave you sobbing every single time you watch it (no, just us?), as you follow the heir to the kingdom, Simba. The realistic looking 2019 remake is on the service too, but the original blows it out the water anyway.
John Cusack is phenomenal in this 2000 classic about a misanthropic music store owner working through his past relationships to figure where they each went wrong. It’s since been gender-flipped for a TV show starring Zoe Kravitz, but the original is hard to beat – and just as interesting for one of the rare Jack Black performances that’s insufferable intentionally.
Long before The Office there was Office Space, an iconic workplace comedy about how crushingly depressing the grind can be. Essential viewing now more than ever, as a reminder that those halycon days of halcyon lighting weren’t all that great, and maybe being stuck working from home forever isn’t so bad after all. Just make sure you file those TPS reports…
Big Hero 6
This collaboration between Disney animation and Marvel results in a geek’s dream. Big Hero 6 features six (go figure) slap-hazard supes, including the big, lovable, inflatable robot, Baymax. We dare you to watch and not cry. WE DARE YOU.
One of the gnarliest horror movies featured on Disney+ (as part of its Star catalogue), The Fly is arguably David Cronenberg’s magnum opus: a body horror par excellence, with enough oozing, seeping, and peeling that you’ll never feel quite the same way about that little itch on your thigh ever again. Having Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis as the ’80s power couple at the heart of it all doesn’t exactly hurt either.
Listen – don’t discount this film because its characters are a talking bunny and fox. This heartfelt tale actually has a lot of underlying social and political messages. We were pleasantly surprised and would put this one up with the likes of Inside Out.
The French Connection
If you need one good reason to watch The French Connection, it’s that it continues perhaps the most influential car chase ever committed to celluloid. It’s a fantastic slow-burn crime caper regardless, but the building pressure gets its release when Gene Hackman’s detective Doyle sends his car hurtling through New York’s streets – in some shots dodging real pedestrians – in pursuit of a criminal on an elevated train.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Of all the MCU films, this is arguably the one with the best action sequences, with some serious hand-to-hand combat that will make your jaw drop. The sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger, we see Steve Rogers dealing with 21st century life, as well as the emergence of the modern day Hydra.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
It may be a controversial choice but The Last Jedi is hands-down the best film in Disney’s most recent Star Wars trilogy, and the best in the franchise since Empire (which you’ll also find on this list, naturally). It’s smart enough to jettison some of the series’ dead weight and find new aspects of the mythology to explore, features a fitting finale to Luke Skywalker’s arc, and boasts perhaps the single most striking visual in any movie from a galaxy far, far away.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Roger Rabbit was a first of its kind: bringing together real actors with some of the most iconic cartoons, including Jessica Rabbit and Bugs Bunny. It also features Christopher Lloyd as the villain of the film, Judge Doom. As a warning, you’ll never see him just as Doc from Back to the Future after this. He’s terrifying.
The original cartoon is pretty good, but the live-action remake is just a scream – especially because it features Glenn Close as the evil fashionista, Cruella De Ville. Plus, you get ALL the adorable Dalmatian puppies, which alone should be enough to sell this one while we all wait to find out whether the new Cruella prequel will be the disaster it looks like.
Soul is firmly at the weird end of the Pixar spectrum – it’s about a middle-aged jazz musician who finally gets his big break…and then dies. And that’s just the first five minutes.
What follows is a strange meditation on life and the afterlife, with Jamie Foxx as the recently departed Joe – desperate to return to his body – and Tina Fey as a troublesome young soul who accompanies him. It’s silly, sweet, funny, poignant, and more. Simply put: it’s got soul.
The first two Thor films never really made the most of the character’s obvious potential, but with Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi was given free reign to make things weird. The chief stroke of genius was turning it into a buddy comedy with Hulk, but let’s not forget Cate Blanchett’s goth queen villain, Tessa Thompson’s queer icon Valkyrie, or Jeff Goldblum’s preening Flash Gordon reject alien ruler. Probably the best MCU film so far, which is saying something.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Alright, the Pirates of the Caribbean series probably went on a little too long, and now looks likely to get the dreaded reboot treatment. However, this noughties classic is the pinnacle of pirate films, with the most nautical theme from Hans Zimmer, and just the right amount of ridiculousness. Just ignore everything that came afterwards.
Call us masochists for including this one, but if you’re looking for an emotional cleansing then Bambi is a must. Young fawn Bambie adventures around the forest with his friends Thumper and Flower, but learns that there are more dangers than he expected invading his home.
Romeo + Juliet
Baz Luhrmann’s finest film is this anarchic take on Shakespeare, now best remembered for its fusion of a modern setting (and soundtrack!) with archaic language – perfectly encapsulated by the Sword 9mm handgun. Leonardo DiCaprio and Clare Danes are the starstruck lovers, while the late Pete Postlethwaite gives an ever-welcome turn as the priest who unwittingly helps bring about their demise.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
It would tempt controversy to declare The Life Aquatic director Wes Anderson’s finest film, but it’s certainly one of his most charming – and representative. Anderson favourites like Bill Murray, Anjelica Huston, and Willem Dafoe pack the cast; it’s soundtracked by Portuguese covers of David Bowie hits; and is unafraid to veer suddenly into stop-motion animation when the time calls for it.
Is Hamilton technically a movie? Probably not. But the Broadway production is so widely loved and acclaimed that it would feel churlish to omit this recording from the list.
Capturing one of the early performances – featuring creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda – this is as good as Hamilton ever got, and finally lets anyone watch Hamilton, even if it is from the comfort of your home rather than a bustling theatre.
Despite being billed as a kids film, this will still leave you laughing and crying at various points, and includes some of the most memorable quotes of any Pixar film. Follow monsters Mike and Sully as they accidentally become in charge of the adorable (but terrifying to them) toddler, Boo.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
The Star Wars to end all Star Wars. The Rebel Alliance struggle to hold their ground against the might of the Empire, whilst Luke Skywalker continues his Jedi training with Master Yoda. If somehow you’re new to Star Wars, then we recommend watching Star Wars first for full context – and to get the full impact of one of the biggest movie twists in history.
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