Disney movies cover numerous genres, including catchy musicals (Jungle Book (1967), Frozen (2013)), traditional folk stories (Cinderella (1950), Sleeping Beauty (1959)), historical biographies (Pocahontas (1995), The Hunch back of Notre Dame (1996)), and cute, feel-good animal tales (The Lady and the Tramp (1955), The Aristocats (1970)). Each genre is treated in a distinctly Disney manner making each a for kids and adults.
Disney also produces the 'live actor with animated character' genre well with such classics as Mary Poppins (1964), with Julie Andrews as the title character. Ironically, the author of the Poppins books, upon which the film was based had insisted that all the actors should be English. One wonders how Dick Van Dyke was able to slip his atrocious English accent past her.
Another classic live action/animation movie was Bedknobs & Broomsticks made in 1971, with Angela Lansbury as a student witch, where they could travel to Naboombu on their bed with a witch and a con man. So many kids in the mid-70s turned their bed knob and hoped it would work.
Disney movies appeal to both children and their parents, although naturally the biggest hits are those that appeal to adults as long-suffering parents are forced to watch these movies on a daily basis. A long list of A-list celebrities show their support for Disney by providing their voices for the characters. For example no one can forget the lively performance of Robin Williams in Aladdin (1992), or Whoopi Goldberg in The Lion King (1994).
A typical "What is your favourite....?" question concerns animation and everyone has their favourite. With such an extended history of film-making, a favourite is not always a film from childhood. Simply a film that has spoken to them for whatever reason. For great songs a classic is Jungle Book (1967), and I defy anyone not to dance to I wanna be like you-hoo-hoo. The most recent movie with annoyingly catchy tunes is Frozen (2013), where Let it Go has been used in TV adverts in the UK, played hundreds of times a day in December 2014. Although perhaps not the most spectacular example, everyone should see Frozen just so they are able to join the discussion.
A great tale of adventure is Peter Pan which consists of pirates, wild children living in the woods, an alarm clock in a crocodile, and a boy who never grew up. Disney excels at romances, of which there are a lot. One that shines is Little Mermaid (1989) which tells the love story of a man and Aerial. There are some jolly tunes like Under the Sea, vibrant colours and loveable characters.
Disney addressed a different, more teenage audience with The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) which appealed to kids, teens, adults or goths. This is the story of Jack Skeleton the Pumpkin King who is fed up with scaring people and wants to take over Christmas. A dark, deliciously macabre movie with great (if dreary) songs. It is distinctly un-Disney which is its appeal and it is not surprising it is more of a cult movie than a hit.
Not everyone will agree with the choice of movies presented here, and in a year's time perhaps the list of must-see Disney movies would be different as, as the audience matures their choice of movies changes although it is inevitable that of the fifty-four movies there will always be a favourite that stands out.
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