RANKING THE 12 BEST LIVE-ACTION DISNEY MOVIES OF ALL TIME
Sure to piss off your inner 10-year-old.
Matt Branhamby 3rd, 2017
When it comes to ranking Disney live-action classics, we think our work speaks for itself. Then again, people can get pretty territorial about their favorite childhood movies, especially if there’s ranking involved. Yeah, we’re going to do it anyways.
From the coolest of runnings to the forgotten moments of flight to the most adventurous of animal movies, Disney has really rocked it all, including a few live-action remakes like Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book. Between the nostalgia of our youth and the advancement of moviemaking, it’s tough to say which depictions of great stories hold a candle to the next, but luckily, between our unlicensed advise and extensive movie-watching experience, we’re attempting to order Disney’s best real-life movies in order to drive you nuts.
Setting aside the animation, we’re getting down to ranking the 12 best movies that moved using real-life human actors (or close enough) and a bit of Disney magic. When you’re done, you can forward your hate mail to Disney for making this possible.
1. “The Mighty Ducks” (1992)
What can we say, other than the second was as good as the first, if not better? How about that it’s loaded with life lessons we never realized until now. And the third movie was a lot better than most third films of any great trilogy, even if it was anticlimactic as all get out. So what if Gordon Bombay did a little drinking and driving. It led him to coach one of the greatest fictional sports teams in history, one which strangely went from being the worst pee wee team imaginable to being the winner of the Junior Olympics and then high school…well, they didn’t except respect there, but still. Amazing!
2. “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey” (1993)
The Great Outdoors meets Turner & Hooch and Lone Survivor was the tear-jerking Disney sensation that taught us some people are shit pet owners, dogs are better than humans, pit bulls aren’t so scary and cats are still assholes. Aside from Turner & Hooch, we’d rank this as the best real-life depiction of animals movie you can possibly make.
3. “Beauty and the Beast” (2017)
But before we get into the other two, let’s talk about the spot-on adaptation to the 25-year-old Disney classic that is going to be impossible to top in terms of production quality (looking at you, Favreau). Emma Watson‘s impressive singing and the rest of the crew’s well-balanced production turned this 32-year-old into a child when he went to see this movie alone.
4. “Hocus Pocus” (1993)
It’s the seasonal special that’s good the whole year through, one which people have been begging to get a sequel. Back more nearly 25 years ago when Bette Midler was in her prime and Sarah Jessica Parker gave little boys their first manly feelings, Disney was delivering on three of their best live-action movies.
One of the most visually perfect depictions of an illustrated original, Jon Favreau earned his place in the Disney kingdom with his long-awaited, worthwhile portrayal of a 1967 animated Mowgli last year. With the help of a little more than the bare necessities (incredible CGI, cinematography and, of course, Billy Murray), this has allowed Favreau to get his green light on a sequel, as well as a live action look at The Lion King down the road.
6. “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” (1989)
Rick Moranis is on our recent list of actors who were joined by Daniel Day-Lewis in feature film retirement, maybe because he was the star of one of the best Disney live-action movie franchises, along with Ghostbusters. He got out while the getting was good.
7. “The Rocketeer” (1991
It’s rare if you see the movie on any binge-worthy streaming services, but The Rocketeer was cutting edge in its hey day, back when the ’90s were rocking. Outside of small roles on The Killing and The O.C., we haven’t heard a whole hell of a lot out of Billy Campbell. Maybe that’s because he knocked it out of the park in 1991.
8. “101 Dalmatians” (1996)
Glenn Close absolutely nailed the role of Cruella in the live-action Disney remake, even if she didn’t need to do the sequel. With Emma Stone in talks of doing a Cruella-centric live-action spinoff, she’ll have a big coat to fill. A big, hairy Dalmatian fur coat.
9. “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003)
The first of five quirky pirate movies, about as dark as Disney can go, was Johnny Depp’s saving grace in 2003. The franchise, accompanied by Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley, is still rolling to this day. Albeit the ship has been steered a little off course, the succeeding movies remain adventurous enough to pull in the money, thanks to the original film’s charm.
10. “Maleficent” (2014)
Of all the badass actresses, Angelina Jolie delivers some of the baddest in her portrayal of Maleficent in Disney’s live-action Sleeping Beauty rendition. Jolie is expected to return as the evil antagonist (akin to Snow White and the Huntsman‘s evil stepmother (Charlize Theron) in the movie’s sequel, loosely set for next year.
11. “Remember the Titans” (2000)
This was Friday Night Lights before there was Friday Night Lights. While we love Coach Taylor, he’s got nothing on a young dancing Ryan Gosling. Remember the cute little 7-year old in the film? That was Hayden Panettiere.
12. “Cool Runnings” (1993)
Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme. We’re not sure what that has to do with luging at any time. Dammit, you Jamaican geniuses.