The Walt Disney Company is steadily becoming one of the strongest forces to reckon with in Hollywood. And it has always been a pioneer in animated movies ever since the time it came into being. One of the best phases of the company was in the 90s, when some of its greatest movies released on the big screen. The 90s were also the years when the period of renaissance dawned upon the Mouse House and a host of ‘different’ films were produced and released by the company. Here is the list of top Disney movies of the 90s (from 1990 to 1999). You can some of these best 90s Disney movies on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
12. Pocahontas (1995)
A fictionalized account based on a true story, ‘Pocahontas’ was modeled after the titular Native American woman who belonged to the Powhatan tribe back in the 1600s. The two-time Academy winner told the story of how Pocahontas saved John Smith – the Captain of the ship that brought in English settlers to her secluded island; and who she had lost her heart to, despite being betrothed to Kocoum – the next chief in line. The Disney musical had voiceovers of Mel Gibson, Irene Bedard, Jim Cummings and Christian Bale to name a few, which was a little dark for the younger audiences, but was totally loved by elders.
11. A Goofy Movie (1995)
Released in the same year as ‘Pocahontas’, ‘A Goofy Movie’ was a musical dramedy, which became an instant hit right from the word go. Even the tagline of the film said – It’s hard to be cool if your dad is Goofy! The movie followed the (mis)adventures of Goofy and his teenage son Max, who Goofy unintentionally tries to control, thinking the adolescent might slowly drift apart from him. On a fishing trip, the duo spends some rather quality time together, getting to learn each other better, which forms the essence of the movie. The film was nominated for four Annie Awards and it also spawned a couple of DTV sequels, obviously loved by all!
10. The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1996)
Touted as one of the darkest Disney movies ever to release during the company’s Renaissance era, ‘The Hunchback Of Notre Dame’ was based on Victor Hugo’s eponymous novel, which told the story of a deformed orphan bell-ringer, Quasimodo, in Paris’ famed Notre Dame cathedral, cared for by Judge Frollo due to the man’s previous misdeeds. The film narrated how Quasimodo falls for a gypsy woman Esmeralda, who saves him from public humiliation once, and with whom he later forms an eternal bond of friendship. The film had very powerful visuals set against a dark background, with some suggested adult themes, which was probably one of the only Disney movies not meant for kids.
9. A Bug’s Life (1998)
A creative spin to one of Aesop’s popular fables – The Ant And The Grasshopper – and a little inspiration from Akira Kurosawa’s ‘Seven Samurai’, brought to life the film called ‘A Bug’s Life’, which was not only thoroughly enjoyable but was also a great life lesson for kids. The movie was the story of Flik, an accident-prone but inventive worker ant, whose silly mistake leads the raiding grasshoppers to demand extra food from the ant colony. After Flik is banished from his colony, he befriends some bugs from a circus troupe, who later help him regain his lost glory in the ant colony. The film was nominated for an Academy, a BAFTA and a Golden Globe, eventually winning a Grammy for its musical composition.
8. Tarzan (1999)
Released in the late 90s, ‘Tarzan’ was the story of the very famous feral child, who was raised by a troop of gorillas after his parents were killed by wild animals. It was based on Edgar Rice Burroughs book named “Tarzan Of The Apes” and it is probably one of those books that have been a pet subject for Hollywood to adapt into a movie. ‘Tarzan’ narrated how the boy, raised by gorillas, is disliked by his adoptive father Kerchak – the troop’s leader – who Tarzan tries to impress by proving his loyalty time and again, until a group of people set foot in their territory and wreak havoc. The musical adventure won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Grammy, and was also nominated for eleven Annie Awards.
7. Hercules (1997)
When Hercules’ uncle Hades learns that a special planetary alignment on Hercules’ 18th birthday will be the day he will breathe his last, he orders the young God to be killed. Later as a grown up, Hercules realizes that being a true hero will help him bring back his lost position among the gods; and so with the sassy Megara by his side and Phil as his mentor, Hercules conquers all evils. We’ve heard of this Greek God of strength many times before, whose story has been narrated on the big screen in Hollywood almost every alternate year! He is one of the most tried and tested legendary Greek heroes that Hollywood doesn’t let go of; so how could Disney be left behind?! The production house brought ‘Hercules’ for younger audiences in 1997 and it sure was an experience out of this world!
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6. Mulan (1998)
Disney is known to bring stories from all over the world and for ‘Mulan’, the production house turned its attention to China, where the legendary story of the brave Chinese girl Hua Mulan is still popular. The Huns are set to attack the country and the Emperor orders all men in the kingdom to join his forces to defeat the barbarians. Mulan, in order to save her ailing father, takes on a man’s identity and helps Captain Li Shang and his army, to overthrow the Huns without being noticed. The dramedy had some catchy songs and the colours of China were a great treat to watch on the silver screen.
5. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
One of the highly rated Disney movies released through its Touchstone Productions, ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’, was a fun film that employed the stop-motion animation version for the movie in 1993. It was about the leader of Halloween Town, who accidentally stumbles into a portal which leads him to Christmas Town, realizing he had never known of a festival like this before. He kidnaps Santa Claus in the process and the movie follows the rollercoaster adventures of the protagonist Jack Skellington, who enjoys every trick he has up his sleeve to wreck Christmas. A little too scary for little ones, this Disney film was a treat for the adults.
4. Aladdin (1992)
Based on one of the stories from the popular “A Thousand And One Nights” from Arabian literature, ‘Aladdin’ was adapted into a movie by Disney, which gave us the affable Genie, who made Aladdin’s wishes come true. As kids, we too wished we had a magic lamp, complete with a Genie inside, who would say, “Your wish is my command!” at every rub. The vibrantly coloured feature film saw a rebellious but free-willed Princess Jasmine, a tattered but kind protagonist Aladdin, a goofy Genie and an evil Jafar, that remind us of a happy childhood with amazing Disney movies for our entertainment. Aladdin’s story is not new to us and we shall always be in awe of late Robin Williams, who played the most loved Genie in the whole wide world!
3. Beauty And The Beast (1991)
‘Beauty And The Beast’ was the story of an egotistic Prince Adam, who is cursed by an enchantress for being heartless and is turned into a beast as a result. His curse can only be undone if somebody accepted him the way he was and loved him with all her heart before the last rose petal fell off the flower. The film, which had one of the strongest female leads in all of Disney movies combined in the form of Belle, was a film, which not just appealed to the elders but was loved by youngsters too, despite it having some dark and scary undertones. Its unforgettable characters such as Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, Gaston and Maurice are permanently etched in our memories and its melodious ballad, Tale as old as time, is one of the greatest memorable songs of all time.
2. Toy Story (1995)
The year 1995 was one of the best years for Disney as it saw a good number of films succeeding at the box office all over the world. Some movies had serious themes while some were too funny; but the one movie that brings back fond memories even to this day is ‘Toy Story’. Weaving a story around how toys came to life and had a personality of their own was a very clever idea to put to implementation and we totally identified with Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear, who shared a very lovely bittersweet relationship with each other. The movie had two more installments and one more in the pipeline to follow, but as long as the duo sticks together, we don’t think ‘Toy Story’ is ever getting older!
1. The Lion King (1994)
There’s no film other than Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ that set such a high benchmark for itself that other movies which came after it, had to borrow its theme to a certain extent to entertain the viewers. One of the major award-winning films of 1994, despite having stiff competition from some of the biggest and best movies of that year, ‘The Lion King’ stood its ground for its excellent storytelling, its dramatic characterization, its colourful backdrop, its crazy characters and a lesson that stuck with the audiences. And of course, there was Hakuna Matata, which became a worldwide sensation and was unarguably on everyone’s lips! What a wonderful phrase!
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