Disney's own streaming service Disney+ is here, and the volume of content available at your fingertips may feel overwhelming. Indeed, Disney Plus launched with hundreds of movies and thousands of hours of TV shows to watch, all from Disney's library of titles—and from Disney's brand new, Disney Plus-exclusive content. The studio dug deep into its archives for this one, making available forgotten live-action films from the 60s, 70s, and 80s alongside a ton of Disney Channel Original movies. And that's not to mention the catalogue titles from Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm and the growing library of new original films you can only find on Disney+.

So with a robust lineup of movies available to stream on Disney Plus, we felt it necessary to help whittle down your choices of what to watch on the new streaming service. We've gone through the library and plucked out some of the best movies Disney+ has to offer, from animated classics to Marvel superhero movies to Star Wars films to even surprising live-action titles. There's a little something for everyone in this list, further proof that Disney+ is not just programming for kids. They're targeting the entire family. So below, peruse our list of the best movies to watch on Disney Plus.

Editor's note: This article was last updated on September 28th to add Up.

RELATED: Every Disney Animated Movie Ever Made Ranked From Worst to Best


Image via Pixar

Director: Pete Docter

Writers: Pete Docter and Bob Peterson

Cast: Ed Asner, Jordan Nagai, and Christopher Plummer

Look past the first ten minutes. While the first ten minutes get all the attention of Pixar's 2009 film Up, look past that rollercoaster of a prologue and look at the film as a whole and you'll see one of the best adventure movies of the 21st century. The story of a curmudgeonly old man who decides to fly his house to South America using balloons only to get a young "wilderness explorer" along for the trip is a terrific yarn about finding new adventures and learning to let go of the past to find new relationships. It's a beautiful story from start to finish packed with thrilling action, terrific humor, and lovely visuals. The first ten minutes are the best and worst thing that ever happened to Up, but look at the whole film and you'll see why it's among Pixar's best. - MattGoldberg

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Image via Disney

Directors: Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise

Writers: Tab Murphy, Irene Mecchi, Bob Tzudiker, Noni White, and Jonathan Roberts

Cast: Tom Hulce, Demi Moore, Tony Jay, Kevin Kline, Paul Kandel, Jason Alexander, Charles Kimbrough, David Ogden Stiers, and Mary Wickes

It's not the best film of the Disney Renaissance, but it's arguably the most interesting of the bunch. The film adapts the incredibly dark source material of the same name, but then tries to make Quasimoto beautiful on the inside as opposed to a monster whose ugliness is a reflection of his character. But that simple message of "You're beautiful on the inside," is wrapped in a film that's not only visually sumptuous, but also has one of the most memorable Disney villains in Frollo, a character who's wrestling with his lust for the female lead, Esmerelda. The film doesn't entirely come together as it tries to blend more mature elements like this with kiddie jokes provided by characters like the talking gargoyles, but it still makes for a fascinating watch, and a necessary one for anyone interested in this period of Disney Animation's history. - Matt Goldberg

Captain America: The First Avenger

Image via Marvel Studios

Directors: Joe Johnston

Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

Cast: Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, and Stanley Tucci.

While many Marvel fans will swear by Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I'd counter that The First Avenger is not only the superior Captain America movie, but also the best Marvel movie. If you're looking to make a movie about superheroes, then maybe it's a good idea to understand heroism and in no Marvel movie is that better encapsulated than The First Avenger. While other Marvel movies have heroes who learn to be better people, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) leads by example, and the film makes a meal not of his action scenes, but of his smaller, more human moments like diving on what he thinks is an active grenade or his inability to talk to women. Anyone who says a good-hearted character can't be interesting has never given this film a fair shake, and see why the MCU has never done heroism better than this movie. - Matt Goldberg


Image via Disney

Directors: Kevin Lima and Chris Buck

Writers: Tab Murphy, Bob Tzudiker, and Noni White

Cast: Tony Goldwyn, Minnie Driver, Glenn Close, Rosie O'Donnell, Brian Blessed, Lance Henriksen, Wayne Knight, and Nigel Hawthorne

If you haven't seen what largely qualifies the end of Disney's second Golden Age, the film is absolutely worth a re-watch. The film follows the traditional story of Tarzan (Tony Goldwyn)--a man raised by apes who is then torn when the chance to rejoin humanity presents itself in the person of the charming Jane (Minnie Driver). The stakes still feel worthwhile--which family will Tarzan go with--while also using some of the most stunning animation of the era. The Phil Collins songs, which are used non-diegetically as opposed to musical tunes of previous 90s Disney movies, are also bops and give Tarzan a unique personality that makes it stand out among its peers. - Matt Goldberg

Mrs. Doubtfire

Image via 20th Century Studios

Director: Chris Columbus

Writers: Randi Mayem Singer and Leslie Dixon

Cast: Robin Williams, Sally Field, Mara Wilson, Harvey Fierstein, and Pierce Brosnan

Look no further than Mrs. Doubtfire for proof of Robin Williams’ range as a performer. This 1993 family film lets Williams showcase his tremendous impressions and knack for character creation, while also allowing him to show a softer dramatic side. Williams plays a voice actor going through a divorce who, in an effort to spend more time with his children, poses as the perfect nanny to watch them while their mother is at work. Jealous and chaos ensue, but this one holds up well. – Adam Chitwood

Hidden Figures


Director: Theodore Melfi

Writers: Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi

Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner, Kirstin Dunst, and Jim Parsons

If you’re looking for an inspirational movie to watch with the whole family, Hidden Figures is both entertaining and enlightening. Based on a true story, the film follows three Black female mathematicians who were integral to solving problems at NASA that paved the way for the U.S.’s space race dominance. These women faced adversity and racism at almost every turn, regardless of their talent or capability, and the film chronicles how they overcame these struggles to stand tall regardless. – Adam Chitwood


Image via Disney

Director: Craig Gillespie

Writers: Dana Fox and Tony McNamara

Cast: Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Paul Walter Hauser, Joel Fry, Emily Beecham, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, and Mark Strong

Cruella is certainly one of the stronger Disney live-action remakes so far, largely because it delights in doing its own thing versus trying to feel too much like its animated predecessor. The film is an origin story for Cruella de Vil set in 1980s London, as Emma Stone plays an orphaned small-time crook with a passion for fashion who gets a dream gig working for renowned designer the Baroness (Emma Thompson). While Cruella begins to show promises, secrets come to light that recontextualize the life she’s led up until now – all while dealing with a demanding boss. The film has strong overtones of The Devil Wears Prada, but wears its influences on its sleeve. Charismatic performances and a rocking soundtrack make this one tons of fun. And while Cruella originally debuted as part of Disney+'s Premier Access, it's now available to stream free of extra charge. – Adam Chitwood


Director: Enrico Casarosa

Writers: Jesse Andrews and Mike Jones

Cast: Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman, Maya Rudolph, Jim Gaffigan, and Sacha Baron Cohen

The 2021 Pixar film Luca is a sweet, summery delight. Inspired by director Enrico Casarosa’s childhood, the movie takes place in 1950s-60s Italian Riviera where a young sea monster named Luca (Jacob Tremblay) gets his wish to meet humans when he goes to the surface, only to discover he transforms into a human boy when out of the water. Together with a more ambitious and daring sea monster named Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer), he meets new friends and learns that there’s much more life outside his insular home. This is a refreshingly intimate and small-stakes story for Pixar, and the film is even more rewarding when read as a story about queerness. - Adam Chitwood

We Bought a Zoo

Image via 20th Century Fox

Director/Writer: Cameron Crowe

Cast: Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, Patrick Fugit, Elle Fanning, and John Michael Higgins

Filmmaker Cameron Crowe is known for making some of the best films of all time, from Almost Famous to Jerry Maguire, but running through all of his work is an earnestness that shines through. That’s put on full display in his 2011 family film We Bought a Zoo, which stars Matt Damon as a grieving single father of two who decides to buy a house that’s connected to a zoo – despite knowing nothing about how to run a zoo. The film is based on a true story, and while it may not be as meaty as some of Crowe’s other works, it’s unsurprisingly emotional and boasts a great original score by Sigur Ros frontman Jonsi. – Adam Chitwood


Image via 20th Century Fox

Director: Bryan Singer

Writers: Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris, and David Hayter

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Anna Paquin, Halle Berry, James Marsden, Rebecca Romjn, Famke Janssen, Brian Cox, and Alan Cumming

One of the best X-Men movies ever made, 2003’s X2 is a fairly epic sequel that delves deeper into Wolverine’s (Hugh Jackman) past while also fleshing out the world of the X-Men with a story involving mutant-hating General William Stryker (Brian Cox) and a program designed to target mutants all over the world. This one boasts some big, colorful action and committed performances from its cast, and holds up quite well. – Adam Chitwood

Isle of Dogs

Image via Fox Searchlight

Director/Writer: Wes Anderson

Cast: Koyu Rankin, Bryan Cranston, Greta Gerwig, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Kunichi Nomura, Ken Watanabe, Akira Ito, and Tilda Swinton

Thanks to Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox, Wes Anderson’s two stop-motion animated movies (distributed by Fox Searchlight) are streaming on Disney+. You’ll find a blurb for Fantastic Mr. Fox further down the page, but Anderson’s 2018 film Isle of Dogs is also well worth checking out, and a treat for all dog lovers. Set in the fictional city of Megasaki, an outbreak of canine influenza results in all dogs being banished to Trash Island. When a young boy sneaks onto said island to search for his dog Spots, he begins an adventurous journey full of whimsy and comedy. The highlight of Isle of Dogs is seeing the likes of Bryan Cranston and Edward Norton voicing adorable dogs, and as always Anderson’s eye for production design and detail is immaculate. – Adam Chitwood

The Kid Who Would Be King

Image via 20th Century Fox

Director/Writer: Joe Cornish

Cast: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Tom Taylor, Rebecca Ferguson, Patrick Stewart, and Angus Imrie

One of the good things about Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox is that it can now showcase films that got a bit lost in the shuffle on its big fancy streaming service. That’s certainly the case with The Kid Who Would Be King, an excellent younger-skewing fantasy adventure film that was released by Fox in 2019. Inspired by Arthurian legend, the story takes place in the London suburbs and follows a young boy who finds King Arthur’s sword Excalibur and is thrust into an adventure that finds him squaring off against an enchantress who threatens to destroy the world. What sets The Kid Who Would Be King apart is writer/director Joe Cornish, who previously helmed the excellent Attack the Block and brings a degree of authenticity to the proceedings. The movie feels tactile, but from an aesthetic perspective but also an emotional one. This is an inspiring, exciting, fantastical story that will play particular well for young adults. – Adam Chitwood

Raya and the Last Dragon

Image via Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Director: Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada

Writers: Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim

Cast: Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Benedict Wong, Sandra Oh, and Alan Tudyk

While Raya and the Last Dragon kind of flew under the radar given the circumstances of its pandemic release, now’s a great time to catch up with what is honestly one of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ best films in the last few years. This is an epic fantasy story with incredible world building, as it revolves around a young woman named Raya who journeys to find a missing dragon and undo a cataclysmic event that fractured the world of Kumandra into five separate tribes, each with their own territory. It’s not only fun and thrilling, but really funny as well thanks to Awkwafina’s co-starring role as the dragon Sisu. – Adam Chitwood

Queen of Katwe

Image via Disney

Director: Mira Nair

Writer: William Wheeler

Cast: Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o, Esteri Tebandeke, Peter Odeke, and Sheebah Karungi

2016’s Queen of Katwe is a bit of a hidden gem, as this true-story drama flew almost completely under the radar and was one of the last theatrically released “live-action drama” movies from Disney. The story follows a young girl living in Uganda who learns to play chess and becomes a Woman Candidate Master. It’s precisely the kind of feel-good sports drama the world could use more of, but it’s made with tact and emotional complexity as director Mira Nair simultaneously captures the harsh realities of life in a Kampala slum. The film is also incredibly emotional, and is also anchored by a pair of terrific adult performances from Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo. - Adam Chitwood


The Counselor Jerrys in Pixar's Soul
Image via Disney•Pixar

Disney+ had a great 2020 and Soul was handily our favorite Disney+ movie of the year. Originally intended for a theatrical release (following a splashy debut at the Cannes Film Festival), Pixar’s latest masterpiece instead debuted quietly on the streaming platform on Christmas Day. That actually made a lot of sense, because the movie covers universal themes of life, death, and what it truly means to find your spark. Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) is a middle school band teacher in New York who loves jazz and dreams of playing with his favorite band. That opportunity arises on the same day that he accidentally falls down an open manhole. Winding up in the fanciful Great Before, he teams up with a precocious soul named 22 (Tina Fey), and together they embark to reunite his spirit with his body. Saying anything more would ruin the movie’s many surprises but rest assured that Soul is arguably one of Pixar’s greatest accomplishments; it’s visually stunning and deeply philosophical, beautifully directed by Pixar’s headiest filmmaker Pete Docter (the same mind behind Inside Out and Up). And unlike most Pixar films, which are relentlessly focused on the intricacies of the story, Soul allows itself to wander – to dip into a local barbershop for no discernable plot reason, except to hear snippets of dialogue from the neighborhood, or to occasionally cut away to jokes or gags that are seeming unrelated to what is going on in the narrative – in other words, it’s a movie about engaging with the messiness of life that actually allows for some of that messiness to seep into the film. Cue up the movie, crank up your sound system (all the better to hear Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ amazing score and the jazz compositions by Jon Batiste) and let Soul wash over you. – Drew Taylor


Image via Disney Plus

If you’ve ever seen the 1995 animated feature Balto (produced by Steven Spielberg through his short-lived Amblimation shingle), then chances are that you have at least a cursory awareness of a 1925 serum run to Nome, wherein several groups of sled dogs worked to relay precious medicine to a remote community beset by diphtheria. (There is also a statue in Central Park dedicated to this amazing accomplishment.) What most don’t know is that Balto wasn’t read the star sled dog; he was just the one who led the back on the last leg of the journey. The dog that covered the most distance, in truly horrendous conditions, was named Togo. Willem Dafoe stars as Leonard "Sepp" Seppala, an insanely interesting true-life historical figure who introduced the Siberian Husky to the English-speaking world and, following the events depicted in Togo, competed in the 1932 Olympics. Structured around the harrowing journey, Togo flashes back to see the relationship between Sepp and Togo, from when Togo was a precocious puppy to the relay itself, which was undergone while the dog was quite old and ill. Full of breathless action and suspense set pieces (you know they have to go across ice and you know it gets hairy), Togo slowly reveals itself to be about the unspeakable bond between man and animal, a wordless, hugely emotional connection that few films have dramatized as well as this one. Be sure you’re watching Togo with someone you’re comfortable crying in front of. – Drew Taylor

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Image via Lucasfilm

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story still kicks ass. The story of Rogue One’s production is now legendary (or perhaps infamous); after completing principle photography, the film was heavily reworked, with whole swaths of the movie rewritten and shot again, leading to one of the weirder promotional rollouts for a major studio movie wherein almost none of the footage from the early marketing materials actually made it into the final film. But despite all of that, the movie is a total triumph. Director Gareth Edwards brings a level of tactile realism that has been missing in the Star Wars movies since the original trilogy, fitting, perhaps, because this is a movie that is set right before the events of the first film. Featuring dazzling visual effects (the final battle on and above beach planet Scarif is one of the best in franchise history) and a cast full of wonderfully diverse talent, Rogue One clearly proved that there was inherent value in some of these side stories and led the way for the success of the similarly in-between-y Disney+ original series The Mandalorian. (Tellingly, Rogue One will soon be resurrected as a 12-episode Disney+ original series called Andor, set to debut in 2022.) Sure, you can occasionally see Rogue One’s seams, but it’s also undeniably one of the most exciting and emotionally resonant projects to come out of the Disney Star Wars era. – Drew Taylor

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Image via Disney

Directors: Rich Moore and Phil Johnston

Writers: Phil Johnston and Pamela Ribbon

Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Alfred Molina, Ed O’Neill, and Bill Hader

While Wreck-It Ralph delved into the world of arcade and classic gaming to tremendous results, the sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet turns its focus to an entirely different kind of beast: the internet. In the mold of successful Disney sequels, this film maintains the core characters that mean so much to audiences while evolving and challenging them to compelling results. Here, we see Ralph and Vanellope potentially going separate ways as they enter the massive world of the internet, and the film explores themes of toxic masculinity and online culture—though never in a preach-y manner. There’s plenty of time for fun as well, and while one could see the Star Wars and Disney Princess references as shameless cross-promotion, that doesn’t mean they aren’t wonderfully delightful. Thankfully, this is a sequel with a story worth telling. – Adam Chitwood

Guardians of the Galaxy

Image via Marvel Studios

Director: James Gunn

Writers: James Gunn, Nicole Perlman

Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro

Snuck in among the many jokes in the MCU’s game-changing Guardians of the Galaxy, Star-Lord (Chris Pratt forever changing how we see him) makes a comment that a black light examination of a room will result in a Jackson Pollock painting. That’s right, friends. In the middle of a Disney-funded, four-quadrant, PG-13 rated superhero blockbuster that every child in America will see opening weekend, is a gnarly riff about semen. That requires a basic understanding of art to understand. And now, you can stream it anytime you want on Disney+. What a time to be alive! To be fair, the many charms of Guardians of the Galaxy aren’t exclusively in the gutter. But director/co-writer James Gunn and co-writer Nicole Perlman’s iconoclastic vision soars to the stars because it’s so rooted in the earth. We’re headed to outer space, where refreshingly brightly colored aliens blast the heck out of each other with lasers. But we’re centered by a capital H Human, who loves rock music, wisecracking, and dope/cheesy facial hair. It’s such a smart way to introduce a new tone into the MCU, and it’s such a smart way to ensure the film maintains one of the MCU’s most smartly self-contained pleasures. — Gregory Lawrence


Image via Disney

Director: Kenny Ortega

Writers: Bob Tzudiker and Noni White

Cast: Christian Bale, Bill Pullman, Ann-Margaret, and Robert Duvall

If you’re wondering why Christian Bale starred in a Disney musical, you’re not alone. When Bale originally signed on to star in Newsies, it was a straightforward drama—it was rather late in the game that Disney decided to Disney-fy the film by bringing in legendary musician Alan Menken to write original songs for the 1899-set movie. The story follows a group of teen and pre-teen newspaper hawkers barely scraping by in New York City whose livelihood is threatened when a rivalry breaks out between publishers. It’s an oddly political film for Disney, but of course all of that takes a backseat to the tremendously catchy musical numbers and dance sequences. The charm of Newsies remains, even if Bale himself still seems somewhat embarrassed by the mark on his filmography. – Adam Chitwood

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