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Best Disney Plus Movies: Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel and more

(Image credit: Lucas Films)

Disney Plus launched and it's hitting the ground running thanks to a seemingly endless back catalogue of content. We at Tom's Guide are super excited for the chance to rewatch many of these films, as Disney's Vault strategy (creating a demand by eliminating supply) kept these titles out of reach for so very long.

Our picks include gems from Pixar's still-young history, classic hand-drawn animated films and a few choice bizarre and inventive films connected to the Disney umbrella, that flip the script on what's possible. Of course, this list wouldn't be complete without some of the Disney Plus Marvel movie selection, and Star Wars films as well.

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Once you're done getting a grip on this list of the best films, check out our guide to the best Disney Plus shows and how to download the Disney Plus app for your devices.

A Goofy Movie (1995)

Casual, cool and awkward at the same time, A Goofy Movie is a great distillation of the 1990's, through the Disney filter. The film focuses around Max, Goofy's son who can't stand his dad, and can't wait to get away. But when the two go on a road trip, they bond in ways that the younger goof could not have seen coming. To understand how much of an impact this seemingly innocuous little movie made in audiences, know that there's an odd revival in merchandise for Powerline (the fictional musician that Max looks up to). — Henry T. Casey

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

The concept of a house of sentient appliances might sound deranged, but Beauty and the Beast added multi-part harmonies to make it work. Belle discovers this manor on a quest to free her father, as she's so noble she agrees to take his place as the captive of The Beast. In moments that make the film seem like a more-family friendly Frankenstein, the townspeople find their pitchforks and seek to free Belle, with violence. But since this Beast is a human captive in a furry, horned body, we see more moments of magic and body morphing, on our way to resolution. Still to this day, people try to defend Gaston's good name. They're wrong, though. — Henry T. Casey

Fantasia (1940)

Class up your streaming experience by adding some classical music to your classic Disney animation. The original Fantasia was a bold idea nearly 80 years ago — take eight pieces of classical music and let Disney animators go to work on creating vignettes that reflect the themes of the different pieces. You likely think of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice when you think of Fantasia — Mickey Mouse battling an army of brooms — but the Dance of the Hours and Nutcracker Suite segments will also delight both adults and children. Disney followed up with a 1999 sequel called Fantasia 2000 that’s also available on Disney Plus, but the original Fantasia is the can’t-miss experience. — Philip Michaels 

(Image credit: Disney)

Finding Nemo (2003)

An epic adventure, Finding Nemo shows that even clownfish can be ultra neurotic parents. Marlin (Albert Brooks) is a neurotic clownfish who helicopter parented Nemo, his curious son who manages to sneak away after dear ol' dad embarasses him for the umpteenth time. One of those movies I can't wait to watch again, Finding Nemo also gave Ellen Degeneres another major career opportunity, as Dory, an absent-minded (but well-meaning) regal blue tang who does her best to help Marlin. Adored for its comedic timing, Finding Nemo's secret weapons are its wide shots involving jaw-dropping underwater landscapes and massive displays of nautical life. — Henry T. Casey

Disney Plus is live and available either in the pretty-cheap $6.99 standalone package — which nets you the whole Disney vault and The Mandalorian — or with a $12.99 bundle that includes Hulu and ESPN Plus.View Deal

Hocus Pocus (1993)

A Halloween classic for many, Hocus Pocus stars Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker as a sisterhood of travelling cauldrons who thread the needle of being both scary and hilarious. But what business does this triad of witches have in the early 90's? Well, thank young Max Dennison, who isn't enjoying life in his new hometown of Salem, Massachusett, who lit the wrong candle in the wrong house and now has to find his way out of it all. — Henry T. Casey

Inside Out (2015)

In terms of degree of difficulty, Inside Out was one of the wildest films Pixar's ever put out. While it's nominally about the life of young Riley, an 11-year old whose life gets uprooted as her family moves from the midwest to San Francisco, it's truly about her emotions, which are depicted as different-colored people inside of her brain. Joy (Amy Poehler) is a yellow burst of positivity, while Anger (Lewis Black) is a stocky red dude whose hot head shoots fire.  — Henry T. Casey

(Image credit: Marvel)

Iron Man (2008)

Martin Scorsese might rail against the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, but Iron Man (by itself) is inarguably great. Not only does Robert Downey Jr. bring Tony Stark to life with a depth that most leading superheros fail to achieve, but this film also marks Jon Favreau's ascent to being a top Disney director (which led him to The Mandalorian). This film also introduced Clark Gregg's lovable Agent Phil Coulson and Samuel L. Jackson's turn as Nick Fury. — Henry T. Casey

Lilo & Stitch (2002)

It doesn’t get the love that other Disney Renaissance-era animated features get, but I’m absolutely delighted that Lilo & Stitch will be available to stream at any time. It has all the classic themes of a touching story — a makeshift family that comes together in the end — and the Hawaiian-music-meets-Elvis vibe of the soundtrack bops. Plus, just when things are getting a little too heartwarming, the adorably destructive Stitch can introduce just the right amount of chaos to the proceedings. — Philip Michaels

Mary Poppins (1964)

Disney’s current strategy of rebooting its classic film library for live-action versions nobody wanted and sequels that nobody needed may be excessive, but at least maybe it will inspire people to check out the originals. Take Mary Poppins, the delightful 1964 film that still brings audiences more joy than the adequate but still unnecessary sequel Mary Poppins returns. Name a more iconic duo than Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke (even if he is sporting the worst Cockney accent ever set to film). And you’ll still be humming tunes like “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “Feed the Birds” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” long after Disney’s modern reboots have faded from memory. — Philip Michaels

Pinocchio (1940)

Classic Disney in a film, Pinocchio is a masterful morality tale, and so wonderfully simple that I wonder if it would ever be made today. If you're somehow unaware, this animated film features a puppet who magically comes to life when his builder Gepetto makes a wish upon a star.  The glory days of Disney's hand-drawn animation are exquisitely exemplified in the Pinocchio scenes where the titular puppet is consumed — but not eroded — by a whale. — Henry T. Casey

Ratatouille (2007)

Pixar loves to go for the impossible, and getting audiences to fall in love with a rat getting involved in restaurant kitchens is definitely up there. It's not just highly emotive animation, though, that makes Remy the rat so charming. Comedian/actor Patton Oswalt's voice work as the food obsessed rodent is so highly relatable that you can't help but support his cause. On screen, that is — I still turn my nose up at restaurants that don't pass health inspections. — Henry T. Casey

Sleeping Beauty (1959)

I've often argued that movies are defined by their villains, and Sleeping Beauty is a prime example of this argument. Maleficent  (who some of you know as Angelina Jolie from more recent films) is the most memorable part of this film, with her wry smile, judging eyes and powerful poses. The artfully drawn backgrounds, especially in the forest and castle scenes, are the other iconic part of the film. — Henry T. Casey

Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (1977)

If you’re going to embark on a huge Disney Plus Star Wars binge, why not start at the beginning? Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (or just Star Wars, as it was known back in the day) kicked off George Lucas’ culture-defining sci-fi franchise, and is still an absolute delight to watch today. Luke Skywalker’s adventures from frustrated farm boy to galactic savoir remain timeless, and moments such as the Battle of Yavin and Obi Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Vader are among the most iconic in Star Wars history. If you’ve somehow never seen Star Wars, start here. If you have, watch it again for the 20th time. — Mike Andronico

Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

The second Star Wars movie ever made is the best, and I’m happy to prove you wrong if you think otherwise. Many of the most iconic Star Wars moments unfold in A New Hope’s sequel: we see AT-AT walkers corralled at the Battle of Hoth, Darth Vader deliver his “I am your father” moment and Han Solo frozen in carbonite. The Empire Strikes Back feels darker than other Star Wars films, and explores new stories that set up the original trilogy’s epic finale in the Return of the Jedi. - Kate Kozuch

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

(Image credit: Lucas Films)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens manages to recapture the magic of the original Star Wars trilogy while delivering a whole new generation of memorable characters and storylines. The escapades of scavenger Rey, First Order defector Finn and hotshot pilot Poe make for some all-time great Star Wars moments that pay homage to the past while setting up for an exciting future. Kylo Ren debuts as one of the most complex and interesting villains in the series, and classic characters like Han Solo, Leia Organa and Chewbacca all have great turns here. Sure, the general structure of The Force Awakens hews pretty close to A New Hope, but its standout cast and breathtaking visuals make it worth revisiting again and again. — Mike Andronico

The Incredibles (2004)

The Incredibles sits at the top of our list of the best Pixar movies for a reason. It perfectly balances a family-friendly comedy with high-stakes action, and crafts meaningful character arcs for each member of the Parr family. The Incredibles is incredibly self-aware, and even manages to poke fun at the superhero genre without undermining its existence. It’s every ounce as incredible as its name wants you to believe. -- Kate Kozuch

The Lion King (1994)

We all have that day where we really need to de-stress. When saying "Hakuna matata" (don't worry, be happy) doesn't do enough. On those days, we probably won't watch The Lion King. That's not because it's a bad movie, but because Simba's trials and tribulations, as Scar leads a genocide against king Mufasa, create one of the most emotionally strong narratives of its time. Thankfully, though, Timon and Pumba do their best to cut the tension. — Henry T. Casey

(Image credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty)

The Muppet Movie (1979)

While you’ll find all the Muppet motion pictures on Disney Plus, the original Muppet Show is MIA for now. And while that’s disappointing to Muppet fans, at least you can enjoy the first — and best — of the Muppet films. The Muppet Movie purports to tell the story of how the Muppets first got together, and it’s got the kinds of gleeful celebrity cameos that made the TV show such a hit. (Keep an eye peeled for Steve Martin as a not-very-gracious waiter and Mel Brooks as a mad scientist.)  More importantly, The Muppet Movie captures some of the anarchic spirit of the original Muppet Show, while keeping the sentimentality that overwhelmed later films in check. — Philip Michaels

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

I'm not even a fan of Tim Burton's work, but even I can't ignore how great The Nightmare Before Christmas, which he produced and helped create, is. Wildly inventive with delightful stop-motion animation, The Nightmare Before Christmas defies expectations. In the end, though, its creepy look (starting with the skull-headed-protagonist Jack Skellington) is nearly a misdirect, as the film's rooted in love and togetherness with its still-beating-heart-warming ending. — Henry T. Casey

Toy Story (1995)

Every mega-franchise starts somewhere, and the Pixar world began with a simple story of a boy named Andy, who owns a ton of toys that come to life. Chief amongst these action figures, dolls and retro classics is Woody (Tom Hanks) a cowboy who leads the pack in and out of sight. His control over the group comes to a screeching halt when the latest cool new toy, Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) flies off the shelf and into Andy's arms. The pair may go on an adventure to infinity and beyond, but this tale teaches kids and adults a good lesson about accepting change in your life. — Henry T. Casey

Toy Story 3 (2010)

I can practically hear Woody and Buzz thinking, as Paul Rudd famously said, "Look at the two of us, who would have thought it?" The third chapter in the Toy Story franchise brings Andy's once-beloved box-full of toys to the last places they wanted to find up: day care. Except for when it gets worse and they wind up at a very fiery destination. Throughout, questions of mortality confront our heroes, and it all lands with a solid conclusion that made many think we'd seen the last of this gang. Thankfully, Toy Story 4 was much better than it had any right to be. — Henry T. Casey

WALL•E (2008)

One part 2001: A Space Odyssey and another part Idiocracy, Wall•E is a massive achievement in animated storytelling. Everyone remembers the lovely digital cooing between the titular droid and his beloved EVE, but its dialogue free opening is the stunner that sticks with me. For those 35 minutes, audiences sat completely spellbound and confused about what was going on. — Henry T. Casey

(Image credit: Buena Vista/Getty)

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)

The Disney archives are filled with animated and live action films, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is one of the best movies that blends the two mediums. Practically a predecessor to Detective Pikachu, this film delights by dropping the hand-drawn Roger Rabbit into a human world where he instantly finds himself set up to take the fall for the death of a wealthy businessman. Surprisingly, Bob Hoskins (playing gumshoe Eddie Valiant) proves to be the most excitable character in the movie as he struggles to keep track of the toons invading his town. — Henry T. Casey