The 20 best movies on Disney+

There’s only one streaming service that allows you to blast off into space, sing along with the Founding Fathers, and sob like a baby over a group of toys. That streaming service is Disney+.

Home to all things Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and more, Disney+ has a library of films so staggering it could take ages to decide what to watch. However, if you want some recommendations and are looking for the best of the best, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve gone through Disney+’s catalogue and narrowed it down to the 20 absolute best movies you can watch right now, from superhero blockbusters to sweet coming-of-age movies.

Here, in no particular order, are the 20 best movies on Disney+ streaming right now.

1. Black Panther

Even the worst MCU movies are kind of good, which means that the best ones are truly exceptional — none moreso than Black Panther. Ryan Coogler, along with his talented cast and crew, crafted a film that has something to say, that feels distinctive in its style and point of view – while also delivering on the usual superhero movie goods, like lovable heroes, exciting action, and a compelling villain. Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa feels fittingly regal, surrounded by admirable supporting players like Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, and Danai Gurira. Though it took far too long for Marvel to bet on a Black superhero at the box office, it paved the way for the kind of representation we want and need in future phases.

2. The Incredibles

Few superhero movies are as super as The Incredibles. A sly reinvention of the genre that also doubles as a family dramedy? Sign me up immediately.

In a retrofuturistic world slightly similar to our own, superheroes have hidden their identities and ceased any day-saving shenanigans. But when a mysterious offer leads family man Bob Parr (aka Mr. Incredible) to suit up once again, it’s going to take the rest of the Parrs to get him out of danger. Edna Mode alone makes The Incredibles worth a watch, but it’s got so much more going for it. At almost 20 years old, it remains a perfect combination of kick-ass action, superhero hijinks, and relatable family film. Plus, it brought us such timeless lines as “Where’s my supersuit?” and “No capes!”

3. The Lion King (1994)

The Lion King is an instant classic right from its opening shot: The sun rises over the Pride Lands and opening vocals of “Circle of Life” kick in. From there, you know you’re in for a perfect movie.

The Lion King keeps you glued to the screen as you follow cub Simba from his birth to his exile and beyond. He’ll join forces with familiar faces like Nala, Timon, and Pumbaa in his efforts to defeat the dastardly Scar. Iconic songs like “Hakuna Matata” and “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” propel the story forward with the strength of a stampeding herd of wildebeests (too soon?), accompanying the film’s stunning hand-drawn animation. No matter your age or movie preferences, you can never fail with The Lion King.

4. Turning Red

Pixar’s latest movie Turning Red is also one of its best. Like so many Pixar classics before it, it perfectly explores the big feelings that come with growing up — only this time, there’s a red panda-shaped twist.

Meilin Lee may seem like your average 13-year-old girl, but she’s got a secret: When her emotions grow too strong, she turns into a giant, fluffy, adorable red panda. As Mei balances gaining her mother’s approval and obsessing over boyband 4*Town with her friends, it gets harder to keep the panda under control. Turning Red is a thoughtful and groundbreaking take on puberty that is relatable, hilarious, and sob-worthy all at once. Plus, it’s got some killer boyband tunes: Good luck getting “Nobody Like U” out of your head.

5. Beauty and the Beast (1991)

It may be a “tale as old as time,” but Beauty and the Beast stills rocks any day. Who can forget Belle’s keen intelligence, the Beast’s compelling change of heart, or Gaston’s tendency to eat far too many eggs? These characters stick with you, as do the many earworms they belt throughout the movie. For fairy tale romance, dancing furniture, and captivating songs, you really can’t go wrong with this Disney classic.

6. The Princess Bride

Based on the fantasy novel by William Goldman, The Princess Bride spins a fairy tale that’s equal parts sweetly sincere and cheekily self-aware. Cary Elwes and Robin Wright star as the dashing Westley and the beautiful Buttercup, a pair of star-crossed lovers who — alongside allies like the gentle giant Fezzik (André the Giant) and the vengeful fencing master Inigo Motoya (Mandy Patinkin) — must prevail over countless sword fights, Rodents of Unusual Size, an evil count, and even death itself on their way to happily ever after.

7. Hamilton

Do not throw away your shot to stream one of Broadway’s greatest modern musicals from the comfort of your own home. This recording of Hamilton has the same energy as a live-action performance, with close-up camerawork that will make you feel like you’re in the front row. The Tony-winning show is phenomenal: a musical retelling of the life of Alexander Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda) complete with some killer rhymes and excellent choreography. Be sure to sing along if you know the words — you’re at home, no one’s going to silence you.

8. Summer of Soul

The Harlem Cultural Festival took place over six weeks in the summer of 1969. It was filmed, but the footage was forgotten until Summer of Soul, Amir “Questlove” Thompson’s filmmaking debut and winner of the 2022 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Summer of Soul resurrects the Harlem Culture Festival’s performances, often letting the music speak for itself over stretches of time. Part concert film, part historical record, Summer of Soul is a celebration of Black culture and Black history.

9. Toy Story 3

Before Toy Story 4 was announced, Toy Story 3 was the perfect ending to the saga of Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and all their companions. The film tackles growing up head-on: As Andy prepares to leave for college, he donates his childhood toys to Sunnyside Daycare. There, the toys process their abandonment and fight to get home. Along the way, they’ll have to deal with the daycare’s young toddlers, terrifying teddy bear Lotso, and all his henchtoys. The final scenes — including a traumatizing incinerator encounter and a tearjerking goodbye — are among Pixar’s very best.

10. West Side Story (2021)

West Side Story is perhaps the most popular movie musical adaptation of all time, so Steven Spielberg had some big shoes to fill when it came time for this new adaptation. Luckily, he was more than up to the challenge (big surprise).

This lush retelling with a thoughtfully updated script by Tony Kushner is magical. Huge colorful production numbers and deeper characterizations from a slew of Broadway favorites — including Academy Award-winner Ariana DeBose, Mike Faist, and David Alvarez — all meld together to showcase a beautiful doomed love story with some of the best songs ever originally written for the stage. A returning Rita Moreno is an especially sweet treat. It’s thrilling to witness something old become new again, and that’s exactly what this sharp, inventive adaptation accomplishes. It’s something good indeed.

11. 10 Things I Hate About You

10 Things I Hate About You is teen movie perfection, putting a ’90s twist on The Taming of the Shrew with excellent results.

The students at Padua High School weave a tangled romantic web: Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is besotted with Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), but she can’t date anyone until her intelligent yet abrasive older sister Kat (Julia Stiles) starts dating. In order to ask out the girl of his dreams, Cameron enlists the help of bad boy Patrick (Heath Ledger) to woo Kat. What starts as a contentious courtship quickly evolves into something more, with Stiles giving us an independent romcom heroine for the ages and Ledger in full dreamboat mode.

12. The Sound of Music

The hills are alive with the sound of a damn good movie. Maria (Julie Andrews) may not be the best nun, but she is a great singer and a tremendous governess for the seven children of Captain von Trapp (Christopher Plummer). She supports them, teaches them the basics of music, and even sews them play clothes out of drapes (despite the disapproval of the Captain). Andrews and Plummer give dynamite performances, and the songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein still hit as hard today as they did when the film premiered in 1965. Thanks, Sound of Music, you’re one of my favorite things.

13. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Look, every Star Wars fan has very different opinions about which movies in the Skywalker Saga are the best, but I think we can all agree that Episode V is a masterpiece. It’s exactly what a sequel should be: true to the original, yet unafraid to make bold choices. From Hoth to Dagobah, we get a deeper look at the universe of Star Wars and the mysteries of the Force itself. However, Empire also takes the franchise in a darker direction, with higher stakes, game-changing revelations, and the genuine worry that things might not turn out well for our group of heroes. Also, this is the film that gave us Yoda. Watch, you must.

14. Thor: Ragnarok

It took the better part of a decade, but Marvel finally figured out who Thor was with Thor: Ragnarok. Director Taika Waititi puts Chris Hemsworth’s considerable comedy chops to good use, resulting in a version of the character that feels fresher and looser than anything we’ve seen before. Toss in some stellar work by Jeff Goldblum, Cate Blanchett, and Tessa Thompson, plus the return of Tom Hiddleston as Loki and Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, and you’ve got the most entertaining Thor movie yet.

15. Up

There is no sequence in all of film more guaranteed to make you absolutely sob than the opening montage of Up. From start to finish, Carl and Ellie’s married life is a masterpiece of visual storytelling, made all the more impactful by Michael Giacchino’s score. Once the montage is done, Up transitions into a rollicking adventure ride complete with floating houses, talking dogs, and one very rare bird. Despite the tone change, Up is still very much informed by those first minutes, and those raw emotions drive the movie all the way to its gravity-defying showdown.

16. Encanto

We may not talk about Bruno, but we do talk about Encanto. One of Disney’s latest animated films introduces us to the magical Madrigal family, whose special gifts turn out to be burdens as well as blessings. Encanto is a powerful examination of familial bonds and generational trauma, accompanied by gorgeous animation and catchy tunes courtesy of Lin-Manuel Miranda, including “Surface Pressure” and “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.”

17. Mary Poppins (1964)

Like its protagonist, Mary Poppins is practically perfect in every way. Julie Andrews delivering an iconic performance? Check. Delightful songs guaranteed to get stuck in your head? Check. An exciting mix of live action and hand-drawn animation? Check! Mary Poppins, the world’s greatest nanny, takes her charges into street paintings and across the chimney tops of London in a series of magical adventures that are a joy to watch. It’s a super(califragilisticexpialidocious) time.

18. Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures is the remarkable true story of three unsung heroes who played critical roles in getting the United States into space. Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) are Black female mathematicians working at NASA during the Space Race, and it’s thanks to their genius that astronauts were able to orbit the Earth and land on the moon. Unfortunately, they didn’t get the recognition they deserved at the time. A long overdue celebration of Johnson, Vaughn, and Jackson, Hidden Figures features three extraordinary leading performances and a truly astronomical amount of inspiration.

19. Mulan (1998)

To put it in the plainest possible terms, Mulan whips. This story of a young woman who disguises herself and joins the Chinese army is timeless, romantic, and honestly just incredibly badass. Who doesn’t belt along tearfully as Mulan wonders when her reflection will show who she is inside? Who doesn’t get hyped up when General Li Shang sings “I’ll Make a Man Out of You?” Who doesn’t go absolutely feral when the epic final fight kicks off? The point is, it’s nearly impossible not to get invested in Mulan’s journey, because she’s such a strong and compelling heroine. And when you pair a strong and compelling heroine with absolute bangers and incredible animation, you get one of the best movies in the Disney canon.

20. Avengers: Endgame

The final chapter of the Infinity Saga and of three phases, 22 movies, and 11 years of the MCU stuck the landing and made it look easy. We might spend years griping about time travel or lamenting the last moments between Steve and Bucky, but the simple facts are that Endgame hit an impressive number of emotional beats, including near-perfect conclusions for multiple O.G. Avengers. It’s a heist, a love story, and everything magnificent about the MCU, and we love it 3000.

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Sarah Meere
Sarah Meere
Executive Editor

Sarah looks after corporate enquiries and relationships for UKFilmPremieres, CelebEvents, ShowbizGossip, Celeb Management brands for the MarkMeets Group. Sarah works for numerous media brands across the UK.

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