Last update: August 8, 2020.
Disney’s streaming video service Disney+ is now available with its library of more than 600 TV shows and movies — including Star Wars series The Mandalorian and most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and subscribers now have plenty of options when it comes to their next movie marathon. To help you decide what to watch, we’ve assembled a more manageable list of the best movies currently available on Disney+ (and be sure to check out our list of the best TV shows on Disney+, too).
- New on Disney+
- How to download movies and show from Disney+
- Best movies on Netflix
- Best movies on Amazon Prime
- Best movies on Hulu
X-Men: Days of Future Past
If you’re going to watch any film from the primary X-Men franchise (i.e., not Logan or the Deadpool movies), make it X-Men: Days of Future Past. Bryan Singer’s 2014 feature successfully merged the original X-Men series with its more recent, rebooted iteration via a time-twisting adventure that had the franchise’s most popular character, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, jump from the former to the latter on a mission to avert an apocalyptic event that doomed his timeline. The action-packed film features many of the best elements from the X-Men series to date, including Patrick Stewart reprising the role of Charles Xavier, while simultaneously introducing one of the best additions to the modern series after 2011’s X-Men: First Class rebooted the cast: Evan Peters as the speedy mutant Quicksilver. The movie also features one of the best cinematic sequences set to Jim Croce’s Time in a Bottle that Hollywood has ever created, and remains the best-reviewed installment of the primary X-Men series so far.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%Genre: Superhero, ActionStars: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Evan PetersDirector: Bryan SingerRating: PG-13Runtime: 131 minutes
The Princess and the Frog
Although it often gets overlooked due to the hype around Disney and Pixar’s digitally animated blockbusters, 2009’s The Princess and the Frog was a critically acclaimed, three-time Oscar nominee that effectively proved there was still a market for traditionally animated films. The Little Mermaid and Aladdin directors Ron Clements and John Musker returned for the film, which followed a young woman in 1926 New Orleans who finds herself trapped in the body of a frog after making a deal with a prince who was cursed by a voodoo sorcerer. The film is also a return to the traditional Broadway musical-style feature for Disney that had served the studio so well in the 1990s. Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, and Keith David lead the film’s cast.
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%Genre: Musical, Adventure, ComedyStars: Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith DavidDirector: Ron Clements, John MuskerRating: GRuntime: 95 minutes
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Filmmaker Gareth Edwards gave audiences a Dirty Dozen-style war story set in the Star Wars universe in this 2016 film, which was also the first major spinoff film from Disney’s Star Wars Story anthology series. Set in the time period between Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and the franchise-spawning Episode IV – A New Hope, Rogue One follows a ragtag group of rebels tasked with stealing the plans for the Death Star, the Galactic Empire’s powerful, planet-killing weapon. One of the highest-grossing films in the Star Wars franchise to date, Rogue One earned critical acclaim and a pair of Oscar nominations for its impressive blend of old-school aesthetics and modern visual effects. The film’s closing scene is arguably one of the greatest scenes in the sci-fi saga, leading directly into the events of A New Hope.
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama, AdventureStars: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads MikkelsenDirector: Gareth EdwardsRating: PG-13Runtime: 133 minutes
The cultural phenomenon that is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s celebrated musical Hamilton finally became accessible to everyone who can’t get a ticket when a cinematic recording of the show arrived on Disney+ in July — just in time for Independence Day. The film is pretty much the only remaining way to see the production — which chronicles the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton — performed by its original cast, with Miranda himself in the title role. He’s joined by Tony Award winner Leslie Odom Jr. as Hamilton’s longtime rival, Aaron Burr, in a performance that earned him industry-wide recognition and one of theater’s most prestigious honors. Disney’s feature-length film offers a front-row seat to the musical that took Broadway by storm and became one of the most critically praised and hotly debated productions in recent memory. There’s no word on how long the musical will be available on Disney+, so don’t throw away your shot to watch it.
Rotten Tomatoes: 99%Genre: Musical, Drama, ComedyStars: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Daveed Diggs, Phillipa Soo, Christopher JacksonDirector: Thomas KailRating: PG-13Runtime: 167 minutes
Remember the Titans
Denzel Washington plays the new Black head coach of a recently integrated Virginia high school football team in this film based on true events. The series follows the head coach’s efforts to inspire and unite his players and navigate the racial prejudice that exists both within the school’s walls and outside of them. Will Patton portrays the white school’s former head coach, who must set aside his own prejudice and animosity while working under the team’s new coach.
Rotten Tomatoes: 73%Genre: Drama, SportsStars: Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris, Ryan HurstDirector: Boaz YakinRating: PGRuntime: 114 minutes
Musician Grace VanderWaal portrays the titular new student whose arrival at a New Mexico high school creates a ripple effect throughout the student body and the surrounding community as she challenges the status quo and pushes them to embrace the boundaries of their own self-expression. Graham Verchere portrays the teenage boy whose relationship with Stargirl prompts him to open up and come to terms with what he wants from life. One of the first original films to premiere on Disney+, this high school romantic comedy is a touching coming-of-age story that was praised for its emotional depth and nostalgic spin on teenage relationships.
Rotten Tomatoes: 70%Genre: Musical, DramaStars: Grace VanderWaal, Graham VerchereDirector: Julia HartRating: PGRuntime: 107 minutes
Disney’s 1993 sports comedy was loosely inspired by the true story of the Jamaican national bobsled team, which made its debut during the 1988 Winter Olympics and offered up one of the event’s most popular and enduring underdog stories. In one of his last roles before his death, actor John Candy plays a disgraced former bobsled champion who’s recruited to coach the aspiring team — a team composed of sprinters who missed their shot at qualifying for the Summer Olympics due to an accident that occurred in a qualifying race. Leon Robinson, Doug E. Doug, Rawle D. Lewis, and Malik Yoba play the teammates who need to overcome their own differences and the prejudices of the sport’s governing body in order to realize their Olympic dreams.
Rotten Tomatoes: 76%Genre: Comedy, SportsStars: Leon Robinson, Doug E. Doug, Rawle D. Lewis, Malik Yoba, John CandyDirector: Jon TurteltaubRating: PGRuntime: 98 minutes
The Mighty Ducks
This family-friendly hockey classic from 1992 cast Emilio Estevez as a former professional hockey player whose cushy life as a sleazy defense attorney is changed forever when a judge sentences him to community service as the coach of an underachieving local youth hockey team. Naturally, Gordon learns a lot about what’s truly important as he turns the motley group of kids into a close-knit team. The movie serves up one of the most beloved Hollywood underdog stories for an entire generation. The film was so successful, in fact, that it spawned two sequels and a real-world hockey team, with Disney establishing the National Hockey League’s Mighty Ducks of Anaheim a year after the film hit theaters.
Rotten Tomatoes: 23%Genre: Comedy, SportsStars: Emilio Estevez, Joshua Jackson, Elden Henson, Shaun Weiss, Marguerite Moreau, Vincent LarussoDirector: Stephen HerekRating: PGRuntime: 114 minutes
Filmmaker Ryan Coogler and star Chadwick Boseman brought the tale of Marvel’s most famous African superhero to the screen in 2018, and the film went on to break a long list of records at the box office and become one of the most critically praised installments of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. Boseman plays T’Challa, the newly crowned king of the secretive African nation of Wakanda, who serves as both his country’s leader and primary defender as the hero Black Panther. When his rule is challenged by the brutal Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), T’Challa must reconnect with the origins of his power and his legacy in order to save his kingdom. Following its impressive theatrical run, Black Panther became the first superhero movie to be nominated for an Academy Award in the “Best Picture” category, and the first Marvel movie to win an Academy Award. Black Panther 2 is currently scheduled to hit theaters in 2022.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%Genre: Action & AdventureStars: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’oDirector: Ryan CooglerRating: PG-13Runtime: 135 minutes
Why we’re hyped for Black Panther 2
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Yet another entry in Pixar’s rich library of diverse cultures, viewpoints, and worlds, Coco is one of the most visually stunning and musically enriching films of the entire Pixar collection. Centering on Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), this fantasy follows a little boy, Coco, on a magical, accidental journey into the afterlife. The more he learns about his family and heritage through his colorful journey, the deeper his connection grows to his history and to his future. With an uplifting, energetic soundtrack, you’ll want to sing, dance, and revel in the excitement, right until it goes full Pixar and starts to play your heartstrings.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%Genre: Family, FantasyStars: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García BernalDirector: Lee Unkrich, Adrian MolinaRating: PGRuntime: 109 minutes
You might not have heard of this 2015 Disney Channel movie, but if you know anyone between the ages of 5 and 15 right now, you can bet that they know all about it. This musical fantasy from Newsies and Hocus Pocus director (and Dirty Dancing choreographer) Kenny Ortega is set in a world where the villains of classic Disney films have been exiled to a remote island while the rest of the world lives in peace and prosperity under the benevolent rule of Belle and Beast. When four children of the villains are given the chance to attend school on the mainland, they must decide whether to follow their parents’ legacy or prove there really is good in everyone. Along with some amazingly catchy songs and impressive dance choreography, Descendants also features some familiar faces among its adult actors, including Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth as Maleficent. The film went on to spawn two sequels, countless tie-in projects, and a seemingly endless torrent of merchandise on its rise to become one of Disney’s hottest properties for the tween audience.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%Genre: Musical, FantasyStars: Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, Booboo Stewart, Cameron BoyceDirector: Kenny OrtegaRating: NRRuntime: 120 minutes
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Celebrated filmmaker Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom) made his first foray into animated features with this 2009 stop-motion film based on Roald Dahl’s children’s novel of the same name. The movie follows a fox (voiced by George Clooney) who foregoes stealing from farmers for his family’s safety, only to be drawn back into thieving when his family relocates near a trio of mean, wealthy farmers. Along with Clooney, the movie’s voice cast includes Meryl Streep as Mr. Fox’s wife, as well as Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Willem Dafoe, and many of Anderson’s other frequent collaborators. The film received a pair of Academy Award nominations the year it was released in theaters.
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%Genre: Animation, FantasyStars: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason SchwartzmanDirector: Wes AndersonRating: PGRuntime: 87 minutes
3 Men and a Baby
Tom Selleck, Ted Danson, and Steve Guttenberg are three bachelors who find themselves forced to take care of a baby in this 1987 comedy directed by Star Trek alum Leonard Nimoy. After the infant is left at their door by the former girlfriend of Danson’s character, the three men must learn to care for their new roommate as they sort out what the future holds for their new, unconventional family unit. The film was the highest-grossing movie of its release year, and the first film directed by Nimoy outside of the Star Trek franchise.
Rotten Tomatoes: 75%Genre: ComedyStars: Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, Ted DansonDirector: Leonard NimoyRating: PGRuntime: 102 minutes
10 Things I Hate About You
Time has been good to 1999’s teen rom-com 10 Things I Hate About You, which assembled an impressive cast of young actors for a story loosely based on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Julia Stiles headline the film, which follows a high-school student played by Gordon-Levitt who must find a boyfriend for the snarky, antisocial older sister (Stiles) of the girl he’s in love with before their father will allow the younger daughter to date. He schemes to have her fall in love with the school’s resident bad boy (Ledger), but real sparks fly when the two loners find a surprisingly sincere connection. Not only does the film pluck all the right heartstrings for anyone who grew up during the ’90s, but it features an impressive soundtrack that hits all the right nostalgic notes, too.
Rotten Tomatoes: 68%Genre: ComedyStars: Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-LevittDirector: Gil JungerRating: PG-13Runtime: 97 minutes
James Cameron’s Avatar didn’t quite turn into the genre-defining franchise many expected it would — and those three Avatar sequels he promised have been perpetually delayed — but it does still hold up as a visually fascinating, action-packed, solid sci-fi flick. On Pandora, a lush alien world far from Earth, the Na’vi live peacefully in tune with their planet, free from conflict or famine. They permit human scientists to explore and study their world, but when the corporate interest that funds the scientists’ mission discover the Na’vi capital lays on the mother lode of a valuable element, it’s up to marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) to help save the Na’vi from the human threat before it’s too late.
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%Genre: Science Fiction, Action & AdventureStars: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen LangDirector: James CameronRating: PG-13Runtime: 162 minutes
Iron Man started it all, and Endgame brings it all to a close. After an incredibly ambitious, epic buildup, Avengers: Endgame somehow manages to brilliantly bring the first phase of the MCU to an elegant end. Five years after “The Snap” that ended Avengers: Infinity War, the remaining Avengers embark on a dicey, desperate plan to go back in time and stop Thanos before he acquires the Infinity Stones without causing any lasting damage to their original timeline. Across multiple, simultaneous missions in different timelines, Endgame weaves a complex, action-packed story with heart-pumping stakes that sees beloved characters pushed to the absolute limit. The epic final battle scene of Avengers: Endgame is one of the most mind-blowing, VFX-rich scenes in movie history.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%Genre: Action & AdventureStars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Chris HemsworthDirector: Joe Russo, Anthony RussoRating: PG-13Runtime: 182 minutes
Behind the scenes of Avengers: Endgame
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Big Hero 6
This 2014 animated feature is set in the fictional, futuristic city of San Fransokyo and follows a young boy determined to use his brilliant robotics skills to find the masked villain who killed his brother and stole his one-of-a-kind invention. Joined by his protective android pal Baymax, Hiro Hamada assembles a team of reluctant students-turned-superheroes to take down the bad guy and save the day. Loosely based on the Marvel Comics team of the same name, Big Hero 6 took home a well-deserved Academy Award as the year’s best animated feature, and spawned an. At a time when Marvel Studios’ live-action films rule the box office, Big Hero 6 holds its own as one of the best superhero movies ever made.
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%Genre: Family, Action & AdventureStars: Ryan Potter, Scott AdsitDirector: Chris Williams, Don HallRating: PGRuntime: 93 minutes
From National Geographic, Free Solo follows climber Alex Honnold as he attempts to summit El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, one of the toughest climbs in the world … without a harness or rope. Honnold is one of the most accomplished free solo climbers in the world, and his death-defying feats are thrilling and, frankly, horrifying to behold. This visually stunning documentary takes you into the mind of one of the world’s most fearless adrenaline junkies and on a trip up some of the most beautiful and difficult climbs on the planet.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%Genre: DocumentaryStars: Alex HonnoldDirector: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy ChinRating: PG-13Runtime: 97 minutes
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Disney’s 2013 blockbuster, Frozen, was the highest-grossing animated feature of all time until it was surpassed by its 2019 sequel, and it remains the highest-grossing original — as in, not a sequel or spinoff — animated feature of all time by a wide margin. More than a movie, the story of a fearless princess who sets off in search of her estranged sister in order to save their kingdom from her icy powers became a global phenomenon upon its release. Along with offering a compelling adventure and plenty of clever comedy, Frozen gave the world one of Disney’s most catchy songs, the empowering Let It Go. The film’s success earned it not one, but two Academy Awards, as well as a wildly successful franchise led by musically gifted voice actors Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, and Josh Gad.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%Genre: Musical, FantasyStars: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh GadDirector: Chris Buck, Jennifer LeeRating: PGRuntime: 102 minutes
A Goofy Movie
Included on this list almost entirely based on its nostalgic appeal, Disney’s 1995 animated film about the relationship between Goofy and his son, Max, is a touchstone film for an entire generation. The silly story follows Goofy’s attempts to connect with his teenage son on a fishing trip that — as with most things Goofy does — devolves into chaos almost from the start. Although it didn’t do particularly well at the box office or among critics, A Goofy Movie developed a massive following among kids of the late ’80s and early ’90s, and prompted no small amount of excitement when it was announced as part of the Disney+ launch-day library.
Rotten Tomatoes: 59%Genre: Family, ComedyStars: Bill Farmer, Jason MarsdenDirector: Kevin LimaRating: GRuntime: 78 minutes
Guardians of the Galaxy
It’s hard to imagine that there was a time when every Marvel movie wasn’t initially expected to be a surefire blockbuster, but that was the environment when Guardians of the Galaxy hit theaters in 2014. The cosmic adventure was led by a cast of characters then-unknown to mainstream audiences, played by relatively low-profile actors, and co-written and directed by indie filmmaker James Gunn. As if that wasn’t enough of a gamble, it put a talking raccoon and a sentient tree only capable of uttering one sentence front and center in its featured cast. And it went on to become one of the biggest, most critically acclaimed Marvel movies of all time. Not too bad for a bunch of cosmic a-holes, eh? Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hit theaters in May 2017, and a third installment is in the works. Gunn is also working on DC’s Suicide Squad sequel/reboot, The Suicide Squad, due out in 2021.
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%Genre: Action & Adventure, Science FictionStars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee PaceDirector: James GunnRating: PG-13Runtime: 121 minutes
Why Thor and the Guardians are the ultimate MCU team-up
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Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Jumanji and Captain America: The First Avenger director Joe Johnston made his directorial debut with this 1989 sci-fi comedy about a group of kids who get shrunk to a quarter of an inch tall and must find their way home through the dangerous jungle of their family’s yard. Rick Moranis famously plays the inventor whose latest project accidentally shrinks his own children and his neighbor’s kids. An unexpected hit, the film became Disney’s highest-grossing live-action movie when it was released in theaters — a title it held for five years.
Rotten Tomatoes: 76%Genre: Family, ComedyStars: Rick Moranis, Matt Frewer, Kristine Sutherland, Thomas Wilson Brown, Jared RushtonDirector: Joe JohnstonRating: PGRuntime: 101 minutes
What if your emotions were little beings that lived inside you? That’s the question Pixar answers in Inside Out, a hilarious and beautiful story about 11-year-old Riley’s move to a new city and her Emotions’ desperate — and occasionally misguided — attempts to help her cope. Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness aren’t exactly accustomed to working together but they’ll have to if they’re going to help Riley get through this pivotal time in her life. However, when Joy and Sadness get lost, it’s up to the rest of the team to get them back so Riley doesn’t experience a complete emotional breakdown. Featuring the voice talent of Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Richard King, Mindy Kaling, and Phyllis Smith, Inside Out is an emotional roller coaster with all of the feels to be expected from a Pixar film.
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%Genre: Family, ComedyStars: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy KalingDirector: Pete Docter, Ronnie del CarmenRating: PGRuntime: 94 minutes
The Marvel movie that started it all, Jon Favreau’s 2008 film took a C-list superhero and turned him into a global icon, thanks to a brilliant performance by star Robert Downey Jr. and inspired casting and writing that firmly established the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a franchise to be reckoned with. The story of a brilliant industrialist playboy who develops a powerful suit of armor that lets him become a superhero, Iron Man is the foundation that the MCU is built on, and the film’s legacy reverberates throughout the MCU to this day.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%Genre: Action & AdventureStars: Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff BridgesDirector: Jon FavreauRating: PG-13Runtime: 126 minutes
The essential guide to the Marvel Cinematic Universe
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Miracle on 34th Street
There are more than a few films considered to be true Christmas classics, but few have the generation-spanning longevity of Miracle on 34th Street. The 1947 film chronicles the events that occur when a department store Santa Claus named Kris Kringle insists that he’s the real deal, and ends up going to court to prove it. The film won three Academy Awards, and even received a nomination in the prestigious Best Picture category. It has remained a staple of holiday season programming for more than 60 years now.
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%Genre: Family, DramaStars: Edmund Gwenn, John Payne, Maureen O’Hara, Natalie WoodDirector: George SeatonRating: NRRuntime: 96 minutes
The 56th animated feature from Disney’s animation studio, Moana tells the story of a young girl raised to be the next chief of her Polynesian village. Not content to stay on her small island, she embarks on an ocean-spanning journey to find the legendary demigod Maui, return a magical artifact to its island home, and save her village from the mysterious blight that threatens it. Along with breathtaking animation and a phenomenal voice cast led by Dwayne Johnson, Jemaine Clement, and newcomer Auliʻi Cravalho (as Moana), the film also features originals songs from Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and a beautiful score inspired by the film’s Polynesian setting and culture. Despite its recent arrival, Moana is often ranked among the best Disney movies ever made.
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%Genre: Family, Fantasy, MusicalStars: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne JohnsonDirector: Ron Clements, John Musker, Chris Williams, Don HallRating: PGRuntime: 103 minutes
The Muppet Movie
The very first theatrical film featuring Jim Henson’s beloved creations, The Muppets, this 1979 musical adventure has Kermit the Frog leaving his home in the swamp on a cross-country journey to Hollywood. Along the way, he encounters Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, and the rest of his Muppets pals, who share his show business aspirations and join him on his wild road trip. Packed with hilarious cameos and featuring Henson’s brilliant knack for blending elements for children and adults, The Muppet Movie stands as one of the greatest Muppets projects ever made, and inspired multiple sequels, spinoffs, and countless other projects over the years.
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%Genre: Family, Comedy, MusicalStars: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry NelsonDirector: James FrawleyRating: GRuntime: 98 minutes
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Some consider it a Halloween movie, while others classify it as a Christmas film, but one thing all of its fans agree on is that Tim Burton’s weird, wonderful 1993 stop-motion film is a masterpiece of music, animation, and storytelling. The movie tells the story of Jack Skellington, the king of a colorful village where every day is Halloween, and his discovery of a Christmas-themed village that fascinates him and offers him an escape from his daily, scary routine. His efforts to understand the holiday take a disastrous turn when he’s forced to fill in for Santa Claus when his actions endanger both holidays. The film capped off its critical and commercial success by becoming the first animated feature to be nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Visual Effects category.
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%Genre: Fantasy, MusicalStars: Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’HaraDirector: Henry Selick, Tim BurtonRating: PGRuntime: 76 minutes
More Oscar Visual Effects Nominees
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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
The first film in what would become the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, The Curse of the Black Pearl offered audiences their first introduction to Johnny Depp as the pirate Jack Sparrow — an iconic performance that not only led to multiple sequels but also brought the entire pirate movie genre back into the spotlight. Given that the 2003 film was based on a classic Disney theme park ride, that’s no small feat. The massive success of the franchise following this initial film turned it into a Hollywood staple for nearly a decade. Depp is joined by Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, and Geoffrey Rush in the dark fantasy film, which also holds the status of being the first PG-13 movie released by Walt Disney Pictures.
Rotten Tomatoes: 79%Genre: Fantasy, Action & AdventureStars: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira KnightleyDirector: Gore VerbinskiRating: PG-13Runtime: 143 minutes
Behind the scenes of Pirates of the Caribbean
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The Princess Bride
Often cited among the funniest movies of all time, director Rob Reiner’s 1987 fantasy adventure told the story of a poor farmhand who must rescue his true love from a group of mercenaries and the evil nobleman who is forcing her to become his bride. As the farmhand Westley and the beautiful Buttercup, Cary Elwes and Robin Wright lead a cast that also includes Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Wallace Shawn, André the Giant, and Christopher Guest. Peter Falk and Fred Savage also play supporting roles, presenting the story as a novel that a sick boy’s grandfather reads to him. A cult hit, The Princess Bride was added to the National Film Registry in 2016 for its significance in cinematic history.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, ComedyStars: Cary Elwes, Robin WrightDirector: Rob ReinerRating: PGRuntime: 98 minutes
Queen of Katwe
This feel-good tale chronicles the true story of 10-year-old Ugandan chess phenom, Phiona Mutesi, who became a Woman Candidate Master recognized on the global chess stage. Born in Katwe, the largest slum in Kampala, Uganda, every day is a constant struggle for Phiona and her family. However, when she meets Robert Katende (David Oyelowo), a missionary who teaches children how to play chess, her life is completely changed. Phiona falls in love with the game and develops incredible skill, soon dominating local competitions and tournaments. With Katende’s guidance and fierce support from her mother, Nakku Harriet (Lupita Nyong’o), Phiona soon discovers chess is a golden ticket out of a life of poverty for herself and her family.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%Genre: DramaStars: David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’oDirector: Mira NairRating: PGRuntime: 124 minutes
Before Iron Man and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney struck superhero gold with The Rocketeer, director Joe Johnston’s film based on the comic book character of the same name. Set in pre-war Los Angeles in 1938, the film follows a stunt pilot who acquires a strange jet pack, only to suddenly find himself on the run from both aggressive FBI agents and a group of deadly Nazi operatives in pursuit of this new technology. Considered by many to be one of the best superhero movies of the pre-MCU era, The Rocketeer stars Bill Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, and Timothy Dalton.
Rotten Tomatoes: 65%Genre: Action & AdventureStars: Bill Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy DaltonDirector: Joe JohnstonRating: PGRuntime: 109 minutes
You’re killing me, Smalls! David Mickey Evans co-wrote, directed, and narrated this heartwarming film about a young boy in 1962 who moves to a new town in California’s San Fernando Valley and becomes friends with a group of local kids who play baseball in a sandlot near his home. The coming-of-age story chronicles his struggle to fit in, his strained relationship with his stepfather, and the close friendship he develops with the neighborhood kids as they have all manner of adolescent adventures — and finally, how all of those moments shape the rest of his life. Infinitely quotable and full of memorable scenes, The Sandlot is a little movie with plenty of heart.
Rotten Tomatoes: 61%Genre: Family, Sports, DramaStars: Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Patrick Renna, Chauncey Leopardi, Marty YorkDirector: David Mickey EvansRating: PGRuntime: 101 minutes
Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope
You may have your own viewing-order preference for the Star Wars movies but you can’t go wrong starting with the original. Although it falls in at number 4 chronologically in the Skywalker saga, 1977’s A New Hope was the first Star Wars film, and it forever altered filmmaking as we know it. It’s also one of the most innovative movies ever made, ingeniously repurposing the Hero’s Journey of Greek mythology into an epic, infinitely imaginative tale of a faraway, technologically advanced galaxy embroiled in an interplanetary war. A New Hope is our first introduction to some of cinema’s most beloved characters, from Luke Skywalker and Han Solo to Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and the droids C3P-O and R2D2. We can debate all day about which Star Wars movie is best but the importance and impact of A New Hope is inarguable.
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%Genre: Science-FictionStars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie FisherDirector: George LucasRating: PGRuntime: 125 minutes
The future of Star Wars
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Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back
Widely considered the best installment of the entire sci-fi saga, The Empire Strikes Back is the chapter that featured the most dramatic character arcs of the original trilogy and established both their legacies and the tragic events that intertwined their destinies. Not only that, but it also introduced some of the franchise’s most popular supporting characters, Lando Calrissian and Boba Fett, and featured one of the trilogy’s most memorable battles, set on the frozen planet of Hoth. After the heroic events of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back offered a far more somber exploration of the gritty realities of war against an oppressive, formidable force led by a seemingly indestructible foe: Darth Vader.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%Genre: Science-FictionStars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie FisherDirector: Irvin KershnerRating: PGRuntime: 124 minutes
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Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
One of the most recent Star Wars movies available on Disney+, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the penultimate film in the Skywalker saga. In the second film in the final trilogy, a new cast of heroes, including Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron, join General Leia Organa’s rebel force to resist and overcome the power of The New Order, a restoration of the classic Imperial Fleet. Led by the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke and villainous former Luke Skywalker protégé Kylo Ren, The New Order is an even more destructive and terrifying force than its predecessor and is hell-bent on galactic dominance.
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%Genre: Science-FictionStars: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy RidleyDirector: Rian JohnsonRating: PG-13Runtime: 152 minutes
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Zootopia is the New York City of animals and, as with any city, there are all kinds of politics, crime, and shenanigans afoot. When Judy Hopps becomes the first bunny on the police force, she’s determined to make a name for herself and overcome the doubts of her peers. When predators begin mysteriously disappearing and the police dismiss the case’s legitimacy, Judy jumps at the chance to prove herself, even without the backing of the force. Unfortunately, that means teaming up with two-bit, scam-artist fox Nick Wilde. To their surprise, however, they prove to be a great team, developing a strong friendship while uncovering a massive conspiracy that goes right to the very top. More provocative and polemical than your typical Disney movie, Zootopia is great fun for youngsters and thought-provoking for their parents.
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%Genre: Comedy, Family, FantasyStars: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason BatemanDirector: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared BushRating: PGRuntime: 108 minutes
Director Taika Waititi completely reenergized the Thor franchise with Thor: Ragnarok, easily the best entry in the series. Taking a completely different tone than the prior two films, Ragnarok finds the God of Thunder imprisoned on the strange garbage planet of Sakaar, where he is forced to earn his freedom by fighting as a gladiator. In the meantime, Thor’s estranged, enormously powerful sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett), has returned to Asgard to fulfill her destiny: Bringing about Ragnarok, the destruction of the Asgardian realm. Thor must get off Sakaar and return to save his people before they are completely wiped from existence. It sounds dark, but Ragnarok is the lightest of the Thor movies, leaning into star Chris Hemsworth’s charm and putting the spotlight on hilarious characters like Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster and Waititi’s rock monster gladiator Korg. The sequel, Thor: Love and Thunder, is scheduled to hit theaters in 2022.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%Genre: Action & Adventure, Science-FictionStars: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson, Mark Ruffalo, Cate BlanchettDirector: Taika WaititiRating: PG-13Runtime: 130 minutes
More on Thor and Marvel movies
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This Disney original film follows two of the key figures who transported serum to Nome, Alaska, via dogsled in 1925 to save the town from an epidemic. Released directly to Disney+ in December 2019, the film casts Willem Dafoe as Leonhard Seppala, whose decision to allow undersized pup Togo to lead his sled team is rewarded when the dog becomes a champion sled dog. When Seppala is asked to bring diphtheria antitoxin serum across 700 miles of harsh Alaskan wilderness, both he and aging sled leader Togo are pushed to their limits.
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%Genre: DramaStars: Willem DafoeDirector: Ericson CoreRating: PGRuntime: 113 minutes
The film that made Pixar a household name and one of the giants of the animated movie world, 1995’s Toy Story is set in a world where toys come to life the moment humans aren’t paying attention to them. The ridiculously high-profile cast for the film includes Tom Hanks as Woody, a cowboy doll who begins to feel his status as Andy Davis’ favorite toy threatened when the boy gets a new, flashy action figure named Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen). Silly hijinks ensue, of course, but the film truly succeeds in its thoughtful exploration of adolescence, friendship, acceptance, and everything we leave behind as we grow older. More than just one of the best Pixar movies, Toy Story is considered one of the greatest animated movies ever made, and was nominated for three Academy Awards, spawned three sequels, and was inducted into the National Film Registry in its first year of eligibility.
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%Genre: Family, Fantasy, ComedyStars: Tom Hanks, Tim AllenDirector: John LasseterRating: GRuntime: 80 minutes
Its visual effects don’t exactly hold compared to sci-fi movies today, but when TRON hit theaters in 1982, there was nothing that looked even remotely like it. The story of a software programmer who’s transported inside the mainframe of a massive computer and must find his way out of the digital world he inhabits, TRON prompted writer and director Steven Lisberger to create an entirely new type of studio dedicated to blending computer animation and live-action acting in a single feature — something that was so unusual at the time that even the Motion Picture Academy of America wasn’t sure how to classify the film initially. Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner starred in the film, which went on to become a cult hit and inspire a sprawling franchise of video games, comic books, and animated spinoffs, as well as a 2010 live-action sequel.
Rotten Tomatoes: 73%Genre: Science-FictionStars: Jeff Bridges, Bruce BoxleitnerDirector: Steven LisbergerRating: PGRuntime: 96 minutes
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Robert Zemeckis directed this 1988 film set in a version of 1947 Hollywood in which humans c
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