Disney Plus isn’t just for fawning over Baby Yoda. Disney’s streaming service is also home to a huge back catalogue of classic Disney movies. Between Disney animation, DCOMs, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, and 20th Century Fox, there’s something for everyone to love, whether you grew up watching the Disney Channel or Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals.
Here we’re rounding up our absolute favorite films on the platform, from old school classics to current blockbusters. We’ll be updating this post regularly as Disney Plus’ library continues to expand.
10 Things I Hate About You
Shakespeare and ’90s teen angst— what’s not to love? 10 Things I Hate About You is one of the best entries in the teen-movie-based-on-classic literature genre (see also: Clueless). Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger star as Kat and Patrick, high school versions of the sparring couple in Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, with Larisa Oleynik (aka Nickelodeon’s Alex Mack) co-starring as Kat’s younger sister Bianca, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt new student Cameron who’s smitten with her. All four teen actors do an excellent job of bringing those outdated characters to life (I went to Shakespeare camp, don’t @ me), but Ledger in particular is endlessly charming in his breakthrough role. —Emily Heller
The Black Hole
I opened the Disney Plus app on my Apple TV for the first time, momentarily overwhelmed at the new streaming service’s embarrassment of riches. I had no idea where to start, so I decided to play a game: What’s the weirdest movie that might be on here? I went straight to the magnifying glass icon, searched for The Black Hole, and there it was: the weirdest, not particularly good movie that I genuinely enjoy.
The Black Hole is three things: The kind of science fiction movie cash-in that studios funded the first Star Wars movie, a long and beautiful mess yanked kicking and screaming out of development hell, and — most of all — a ‘50s-style haunted house story. No joke: The Black Hole starts with a space storm that forces our heroes to pull over and knock on the door of a wild-eyed scientist’s space mansion.
It’s slow. It’s a little ponderous. It’s often beautiful. It’s genuinely creepy. It’s not great, but I kind of love it anyway. Less than great things deserve love, too. You could do a lot worse than sitting back and letting the movie wash over you for a couple hours. And just wait until you see the ending. Jiminy.
And here’s a bonus thing to do, too: Listen to “All Wormholes Go to Heaven,” a glorious episode of The Incomparable podcast. It’s everything I want in an entertainment-focused show because it literally makes The Black Hole more enjoyable. —Dave Tach
The first MCU movie starring a black superhero, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther also made history as the first superhero movie to receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination. (The award eventually went to Green Book which will, uh, not be appearing on any of these lists.) After the death of his father, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns home to the fictional East African nation of Wakanda to assume his role as king and protector, the superhero Black Panther.
Because of an ongoing deal with Netflix, several Marvel movies weren’t available to stream on Disney Plus when the platform launched last year. That deal recently expired for Black Panther, which left Netflix on March 3 and dropped onto Disney Plus the next day. —EH
Both the original 1976 movie starring Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster, and the 2003 remake with Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan, are streaming on Disney Plus. With all due respect to Harris and Foster, but the remake is the way to go. There’s just no topping Jamie Lee. She and Lohan have incredible chemistry as mother and daughter who magically switch places, and her impression of a sullen teen trapped in her mom’s body is just delightful. —EH
High School Musical
The first DCOM musical, High School Musical changed the DCOM game, bringing made-for-TV kids movies outside their small audience and inspiring two sequels and a fresh new Disney Plus meta spinoff. The setup is simple: shy new girl Gabriella and basketball captain Troy shake things up at their school when they audition for the school’s musical. In an era where catty cliques ruled high-school television, High School Musical plays with all its tropes with campy delight. —Petrana Radulovic
Based on the Louis Sachar novel of the same name, Holes tackles the flaws of the prison industrial complex, racism, homelessness, and poverty, but packages it up in a kid-friendly way. Starring Shia LaBeouf, Holes tells the story of the very unlucky Stanley Yelnats who finds himself in a juvenile work camp after being wrongfully accused of a crime he did not commit. The kids at the camp are forced to dig holes as the mysterious Warden looms over them. The movie jumps between time periods, also telling the story of outlaw Kissin’ Kate Barlow and Stanley’s ancestor Ilya, and folds them all in together for an absolutely satisfying conclusion. It’s a zany movie — one where onions save the day — and it’s wonderful. —PR
Pixar movies are notorious for making us cry with their moments of unexpected poignancy, but the imaginary friend Bing Bong’s arc in Inside Out is perhaps the company’s biggest tear-jerker yet. It’s also its most personal, as it takes place almost entirely inside 11-year-old Riley’s head. As Riley adjusts to a big move thanks to her dad’s new job, her personified emotions — Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear — clash as they try to influence Riley’s memories. It’s a kid-friendly idea of how emotions work, with a universal message about acknowledging feelings instead of avoiding them. —EH
Lilo and Stitch
Stitch is cute, so Stitch has been plastered in every conceivable form of Disney merchandise since the movie’s release, but don’t let that deter you from the heart of Lilo and Stitch. The best part of the movie isn’t just the cute alien — it’s the fact he brings a family back together, while grooving in Hawaii. A Disney movie that does complex sisterhood better than Frozen and one that somehow seamlessly melds space adventures with family drama, Lilo and Stitch is absolutely worth a rewatch. (Also the second sequel — Lilo and Stitch: Stitch has a Glitch — is also on Disney Plus and very solid). —PR
The live-action remake of Mulan may have been delayed in theaters, but why not revisit the original? Two decades later, the film is still a joy to behold, an adaptation of the legend of Hua Mulan, in which Mulan, a young woman (voiced by Ming-Na Wen), disguises herself as a man and takes her father’s place in the Chinese army. —EH
Muppet Treasure Island/Treasure Planet/Treasure Island (1950)
What can I say? I like pirates.
All three of these movies are adaptations of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson tale — but two of them give it a little twist. For a more straightforward adaptation of Jim Hawkins, Long John Silver, and Captain Flint’s treasure, check out the 1950 version. If steampunk, spacebound adventures be your preference, you can’t go wrong with Treasure Planet, which makes Jim Hawkins an edgy early 2000s skater boy … but in space and with Victorian motifs. It rules. If you want more goofy antics and music that will get stuck in your head, the Muppet version is a delight. —PR
Never Been Kissed
Drew Barrymore stars as a geeky young copy editor, Josie Geller, who goes back to high school as an undercover reporter in this charming rom-com. Josie was a dork during her own high school days, but with the help of her cool older brother Rob (David Arquette) she infiltrates the popular crew and even catches the eye of the school’s heartthrob — and her hunky english teacher. Are those sexual dynamics problematic? Absolutely. But the charming performances — including stand-out supporting roles for John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon — make Never Been Kissed an easy comfort watch. —EH
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Okay, look, we get that Captain Jack Sparrow commanded the attention of audiences when the Pirates of the Caribbean movies first came out, but the real gem here is Elizabeth Swann. Jack’s swagger is funny, but Elizabeth drives the heart of the movies and at the end of the day, they serve as one, big, pirate-zombie, sea-faring, swashbuckling coming-of-age for the governor’s daughter destined for more. The main trilogy, which focuses on Elizabeth and dreamy Will Turner, is stronger than the Jack-focused spinoffs for this reason. And the first movie, which tosses us into this lush world and its splendid mythos, is the strongest of them all. —PR
The Princess Diaries
Garry Marshall’s adaptation of the Meg Cabot YA novel was an instant classic thanks to the always charming Julie Andrews as Mia Thermopolis’ (Anne Hathaway) estranged grandmother who just so happens to be the queen of a small European country. Plus, Mia’s transformation from awkward San Francisco teenager to princess of Genovia is one of the best movie makeover montages of all time. —EH
Before directing Captain America: The First Avenger, Joe Johnston helmed this comic-book adaptation about a stunt pilot whose discovery of a prototype jet pack turns him into a Nazi-fighting superhero. Billy Campbell plays Cliff as an Indiana Jones descendent, while Timothy Dalton goes full mustache-twirling as the movie’s villain. The art deco style and composer James Horner’s brassy score complete the pastiche for the movie, which found a cult following years after coming and going from theaters. In other news: Disney finally made an animated sequel following a young girl rocketeer! —Matt Patches
The Sound of Music
To musical theater fans, there’s no better comfort watching than a Rodgers and Hammerstein adaptation. They’re familiar and charming, with some absolute bangers thrown in for good measure. The Sound of Music, starring Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews as the widowed Captain Von Trapp and the spunky young nun who comes to care for his children, is one of the best. —EH
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