Disney Plus, a service packed with great Disney, is supported by heaps of Star Wars and shows and movies. And that’s a good thing, but it’s far from the only stuff you can find on the rapidly growing streaming service.
Because Disney Plus is stacked with movies, particularly if you have access to. Unfortunately subscribers within the US can’t access the phenomenal Star back catalogue, but those outside the US do have access. Folks, it’s a goldmine.
Below are some of our favourite movies currently available to watch on Disney Plus. We’ve divided it conveniently into categories. We’ll start, of course, with Disney!
It’s only right to start with the best Disney movies on Disney Plus! Warning, we didn’t add any of the live-action remakes because they are almost all terrible. Please don’t get upset.
You can agree or you can disagree, but I believe that Aladdin has the best song lineup of any animated movie Disney has ever produced. A Whole New World, Prince Ali, Friend Like Me, Arabian Nights — just banger after banger.
Combine this with a pitch-perfect, utterly golden performance from Robin Williams and you have — for me — possibly the best Disney animated movie ever.
Beauty and the Beast
Many of its themes have aged poorly — Belle is captured and low-key forced to fall in love with the Beast? But, problematic issues aside, Beauty and the Beast is a true work of art. The opening number, Belle, remains one of the best opening numbers ever written.
There’s been a slight backlash against Frozen in recent years — mainly, I suspect, from parents forced to watch on repeat by demanding little Elsas — but the cultural impact of this movie and its songs is undeniable. Much like Aladdin, it’s a setlist of bangers tied together with a nicely drawn story about the power of sisterly love. Majestic.
Walt Disney Pictures
Hercules isn’t as fondly remembered as some of the movies from Disney’s golden age in the 1990s, but we’re adding it because it rules, OK?
In Meg, Hercules has one of Disney’s best drawn female characters. It also features the Fates and Go The Distance, an absolutely all-time Disney song. Hercules rules, accept this.
The Lion King
The Lion King, although slightly overrated, was probably the cultural high point of Disney’s influence in the 1990s. It still resonates today. Unlike some Disney movies, it’s a movie that feels truly epic in scale. Treat yourself to a rewatch.
You could make an argument that Moana is the best animated Disney movie ever and I’d be inclined to hear that argument. Certainly it’s my favourite of Disney’s CGI movies and certainly its best since The Lion King. Brilliant songs, a perfect character arc for its titular heroine. Everything about Moana hits perfectly. If, for some reason, you skipped Moana, it’s now time to rectify that mistake.
Forget the hollow, brain-dead, god-awful live-action remake. The original Mulan is the best, by miles and miles.
Raya and the Last Dragon
Walt Disney Pictures
There’s a bit of recency bias here, but Raya and the Last Dragon will be available (outside of the paywall) for the first time in June 2021, and it’s a real feast for the eyes (and the imagination).
Raya and the Last Dragon feels very… familiar. It wears its influences on its sleeves, borrowing liberally from Studio Ghibli, Avatar, even Breath of the Wild. But it creates a living, breathing universe that’s joyful to exist in. Definitely give it a go.
It feels like the lines between Pixar and Disney movies are getting blurrier by the day. Either way, here are our favorite Pixar movies on Disney Plus.
Pixar Animation Studios
Has Pixar ever made a better movie than The Incredibles?
No. It hasn’t.
Just when you thought Pixar was on the decline, it releases Inside Out, arguably its most thoughtful, powerful movie.
I don’t think I’ve ever watched a movie that dealt with the issue of mental health in children quite so delicately. If you have children, and even if you don’t, you need to watch this movie.
Onward is Frozen for brothers. You can’t change my mind.
Sadly overlooked, Onward is low-key one of Pixar’s best. Heartwarming, smart… weird. You need to watch this one.
Toy Story 2
Pixar Animation Studios
Look, we can’t put all the Toy Story movies in this list, but we can’t not put Toy Story 2 in.
Arguably it’s the best one. For me, it’s between Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3… which is next on this list!
Toy Story 3
Has any Pixar movie before or since packed an emotional gut punch like Toy Story 3?
This isn’t just a movie about saying goodbye to your toys, it’s a movie about saying goodbye period. In that regard it’s as good as any movie Pixar has ever produced. Just a perfect ending. No, we will not be talking about Toy Story 4.
It’s not perfect, and its final act stutters, but Up is one of the most interesting and ambitious animated movies ever made. Watch it for that montage alone.
There are a lot of Marvel movies on Disney Plus. These are the ones we like the best…
Considering the narrative weight it had to bear, and the knots it had to untie, Avengers: Endgame is something of a minor miracle. I doubt we’ll see something of this scale tied up so neatly ever again.
Not only that, Endgame is a fun movie in its own right. An incredible achievement all considered.
The best movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date? It’s up there. But beyond its quality, Black Panther felt important. It remains a cultural touchstone and its impact still resonates.
Killmonger is also one of the all-time best villains.
The Guardians of the Galaxy
It’s weird, it’s funny and it pushes the MCU in directions you don’t expect — but Guardians of the Galaxy is just a well made, smart throwback of sorts. It’s got big Indiana Jones and Romancing the Stone vibes and you have to respect that.
Without Iron Man, there is no Marvel Cinematic Universe, so show some goddamn respect!
But Iron Man is more than a proof of concept, it’s just a fantastic, ground-breaking superhero movie. It’s loose, interesting and literally vibrates with energy. It’s aged fantastically well.
Let’s be honest, it’s the best one.
Thor: Ragnarok came in and completely rewrote the book on how to make a superhero movie. More like this please.
Also more Korg. Just a cameo or something, we’re thirsty over here.
I absolutely felt like this list needed an X-Men movie and it was between this and Days of Future Past. I chose this because, at the time, X2 was absolutely the gold standard for superhero movies. It’s time for a rewatch I think.
Arguably you could put every Star Wars movie on this list. I’ve settled on picking the best from each trilogy and a few others.
Rogue One is a well produced case study in plugging the gaps. Set between Episode 3 and the very first Star Wars movie A New Hope, Rogue One is a very different kind of Star Wars movie. It’s mostly absent of Jedis and space magic, focusing on very human characters doing very human things. It drags, and could certainly be about 20 minutes shorter, but it’s a great example of what Star Wars movies outside of the trilogy format could have become.
The Empire Strikes Back
The Empire Strikes Back is widely considered the best Star Wars movie for a reason. It features Yoda, the Darth Vader reveal and practically invented the idea of the “gritty” sequel. Above and beyond that, The Empire Strikes Back features real drama, punctuated with some of the most memorable moments in Star Wars history.
The Last Jedi
Yes! It’s the best Star Wars movie The Last Jedi!
This one is controversial but, for me, this is as good as Star Wars has ever been. The final act of this movie is very special. There’s just a lot going on here: Luke Skywalker’s anti-hero swerve, the meta-commentary on Star Wars as a franchise. Just a brave, interesting movie from start to finish.
Revenge of the Sith
If you’re gonna watch one movie from this trilogy, might as well be Revenge of the Sith. Loaded with fan service, and more than a few magical moments, Revenge of the Sith might surprise you with how not bad it is.
No, this is not a typo. I don’t mean Star Wars, I mean Star.
Star is a back catalogue of more mature movies and shows on Disney Plus and it’s absolutely loaded with incredible movies. It’s hard to know where to even begin. I’ll just pick a few of my personal favourites, but it’s absolutely worth diving in and seeing what classics you feel like rewatching.
Again, as mentioned above — the Star back catalogue is unfortunately unavailable in the US. We’ll update if anything changes, because you poor folks are missing out.
Why not start with what is probably the best sci-fi horror movie ever made.
When I rewatch Alien (which I do regularly) I’m in awe of its opening act. How patient it is, how committed it is to its own world building, the offhand dialogue, the performances. A perfect, ageless movie.
Note: Aliens is also on Disney Plus. I prefer the original, but Aliens is also phenomenal and you should watch it.
Big Trouble in Little China
It’s not the best John Carpenter movie — that’s The Thing — but Big Trouble in Little China is definitely up there, and it’s probably the most fun.
It’s also interesting as a parody of the white, male action hero. Main character Jack Burton doesn’t really do anything. He doesn’t drive the plot and he barely rescues anyone. Clever stuff and way ahead of its time.
Conan the Barbarian
A bizarre, dated but somehow insanely compelling movie that’s unlike anything committed to screen before or since. Conan the Barbarian takes itself seriously and is almost good enough to get away with it. It’s also blessed with a Basil Poledouris score that’s as good as any soundtrack you could name.
Contemplate this on the tree of woe…
Video screenshot by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET
Die Hard has gone to that weird Galaxy Brain place where it’s almost cool to not like it anymore on account of the endlessly boring “is Die Hard a Christmas movie” debate.
Die Hard may or may not be a Christmas movie, but it is a truly awesome movie. That’s hard to deny. A movie so powerful that it literally became its own genre. (Speed = Die Hard on a bus, Airforce One = Die Hard on a plane, etc.) Die Hard is without doubt one of the greatest action movies committed to film.
It’s hard to believe, but John McTiernan directed Predator and Die Hard back-to-back.
In my eyes the #1 and #2 best action movies ever made… back-to-back. Absolutely incredible. For me, Predator is the better of the two. It’s incredibly lean, has an incredible high concept and executes perfectly. Every scene drives the action, every character is memorable. It also features some low-key subtle performances.
And the greatest handshake cinema has ever seen.
The Thin Red Line
Imagine hitting theatres the same year as Saving Private Ryan but still being the best war movie released in that year.
That’s how good The Thin Red Line is.
The only 100%, start-to-finish, perfect movie Michael Bay ever made.
Nineties action movies just never got better than this. Sean Connery is perfect, Nicholas Cage is weird. It has a world-class villain in Ed Harris. Only Hans Gruber is more memorable.
Taken has sort of dissolved into a meme, a parody of itself almost, but the original movie? Absolute barn-burner. This is the movie that took acclaimed actor Liam Neeson and turned him into an unlikely action hero. It also wrote the blueprint for what action movies have looked like for the last decade. There is no John Wick without Taken.
Code red: Willow is on Disney Plus. I REPEAT. Willow is on Disney Plus.
Any human adult who grew up during the ’80s most likely loves Willow. It’s hardly a classic, but come on! It’s Willow!
Note: Disney apparently has a Disney Plus Willow show in production. Ooft.
This section exists to direct your attention to the fact Free Solo is available to watch on Disney Plus.
Free Solo is one of the best documentaries ever made. Telling the story of Alex Honnold, the first man to “free solo” El Capitan, it’s a delicate character study of a man who makes the impossible look almost banal; an Oscar-winning story that culminates — quite literally — in a close-up view of one of humanity’s wildest human achievements.
After you’re done with Free Solo, definitely check out Howard, which focuses on the heartbreaking story of Howard Ashman. A pivotal part of Disney’s resurgence with movies like The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, Ashman’s story is absolutely the best of Disney’s documentaries about itself. A must-watch for any Disney fan.