There is probably no other list in animation that is more intriguing– or more argued over. In fact, it was the creation of this list that was the impetus for even creating the Big Cartoon DataBase… MY friends wanted to know what films were considered on— or off— the “official” list. The official list really got going with the advent of home video.… and Disney’s promotional ties to other Disney animated films. Who can forget the narrators’ voice before the main film announcing the impending release of Disney’s 22nd animated film that fall.
Well, the official list has settled down now to a recognized set of films. But that was not always the case– there are a number of films that have been added to or subsequently taken off “the list”. Films like The Reluctant Dragon, Victory Through Air Power, Song Of The South, So Dear To My Heart and even the venerable Mary Poppins have all made their way onto the list at some point; none remain on it today.
So what does it take to make “the list”? First– and most obvious– the film has to be animated by the Disney Studios, or, more recently, Walt Disney Animation Studios. It is this important distinction that puts one wobbler onto the list– 2000’s Dinosaur but also leaves off numerous Disney-associated films, such as all the Pixar films, the direct to video films produced at Disney Toon Studios, and any of the movies produced at other film units at The Walt Disney Studios. Second, the film must be substantially animated, not live-action with animated sequences. Satisfy those requirements, and you are on “the List.”
So what films are on the list, and in what order? Currently, there are 57 films, from 1939 through 2018. There are probably a few you’ve never seen, and a few surprises, and a lot of fun memories. Without further ado, here is the full list of Disney animated films.