15 Disney Movies That Are Worth a Second Watch

Dan Pratt

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Disney has produced a ton of iconic animated films, but among the classics lie some hidden gems. In this post, we’ll uncover 17 underrated Disney movies that are definitely worth a watch or second-time viewing!

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Despite grappling with some of Disney’s darkest themes, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is an emotional narrative about acceptance and inner strength. The story of Quasimodo, a man picked on and shunned for his appearance, strikes a moving chord and stirs powerful emotions. With its stunning animation, spectacular musical score, and intricate character development, this film deserves more attention for its artistry and storytelling.

Brother Bear (2003)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Brother Bear weaves an enchanting tale of transformation and brotherhood often overlooked in Disney’s extensive filmography. When young Inuit hunter Kenai is transformed into a bear as punishment, he gains a new perspective on life and forms an unlikely friendship with a bear cub, Koda. Featuring beautiful animation reflecting the film’s natural settings, a touching narrative, and Phil Collins’s captivating soundtrack, it’s an underappreciated Disney film worth watching.

The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Productions.

Despite its cult following, The Emperor’s New Groove remains somewhat underappreciated. The film distinguishes itself with irreverent humor, dynamic character interactions, and a departure from Disney’s traditional formula. The plot revolves around Emperor Kuzco, who, after being transformed into a llama by his former advisor, must rely on a humble peasant to reclaim his throne. The combination of humor, memorable quotes, and a stellar voice cast makes it an underrated favorite.

Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

‘A Disney movie like no other,’ Atlantis: The Lost Empire delves deep into the realms of science fiction and adventure. The film traces Milo Thatch, a linguist and cartographer, on his quest to fulfill his grandfather’s dream of discovering the lost city of Atlantis. With its sophisticated storyline, engaging characters, and a blend of traditional and computer-generated animation, it stands as a unique, yet underrecognized, Disney gem.

The Black Cauldron (1985)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Disney’s initial foray into a darker, more fantastical narrative unfolds in The Black Cauldron. This gripping tale revolves around bravery, friendship, and sacrifice, yet it remains overlooked. The story follows Taran, a pig-keeper turned unwilling hero, on a mission to defeat the evil Horned King’s plot to unleash the mystical Black Cauldron’s power. Featuring a captivating plot and a distinct aesthetic, this film deserves a closer examination.

The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Beneath the shadow of more celebrated Disney releases, The Great Mouse Detective offers a delightful twist on the classic Sherlock Holmes narrative, from a mouse’s perspective. The movie weaves humor, suspense, and intriguing characters, with Basil of Baker Street as the mouse detective who matches his human counterpart in wit and charisma. Boasting voice performances by Vincent Price, this film offers an engaging mystery deserving of more recognition.

A Goofy Movie (1995)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Despite its engaging narrative and memorable music, A Goofy Movie often slips through the cracks. The film delves into the dynamic and occasionally rocky relationship between Goofy and his teenage son, Max, delivering a heartwarming and relatable viewing experience. With its catchy tunes, comedic moments, and a heartfelt exploration of father-son relationships, it is a hidden jewel in Disney’s extensive lineup.

Oliver & Company (1988)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Disney’s charming adaptation of Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist transports the story to modern-day New York, replacing human characters with anthropomorphic animals. The tale of Oliver, an orphaned kitten, and his unlikely friendship with street-smart dog Dodger often goes unnoticed. Its compelling narrative, complemented by catchy Billy Joel tunes and exploration of themes like friendship and loyalty, makes it an underrated Disney film.

Bolt (2008)

Bolt (2008) Walt Disney Pictures
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Bolt, a tale of a Hollywood dog who believes he possesses superpowers, often hides in the shadows of other Disney productions. Beyond its entertaining premise, the film explores themes of friendship, loyalty, and self-discovery. Bolstered by stellar voice performances from John Travolta and Miley Cyrus, this film’s touching storyline and well-timed humor make it a deserving Disney movie.

The Rescuers Down Under (1990)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Disney’s animated sequel, The Rescuers Down Under, continues the adventures of the endearing mouse duo, Bianca and Bernard, in the Australian Outback. Despite its exquisite animation, thrilling storyline, and memorable characters (including the entertaining albatross, Wilbur), this sequel often slips through the cracks. Its depiction of the Australian wilderness and exploration of themes such as friendship and courage make it a worthy successor to the original film.

The Sword in the Stone (1963)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Despite laying the groundwork for the King Arthur legend, The Sword in the Stone remains relatively underappreciated. Centered around a young, unassuming Arthur (known as “Wart”), the film presents an exciting narrative filled with magic, humor, and valuable life lessons. Featuring memorable characters like the wise Merlin and his grumpy owl, Archimedes, it offers both entertainment and heart.

Robin Hood (1973)

Robin Hood (1973) - Walt Disney Productions
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Productions.

Disney’s animal-centric take on the Robin Hood legend is charming and engaging but often flies under the radar. The film offers a fun and memorable interpretation of the legendary hero as a lovable fox, redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor. With witty characters, a heartwarming love story, and catchy songs, this film’s unique charm and whimsy make it an underappreciated gem.

Hercules (1997)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Despite its delightful fusion of Greek mythology and Disney magic, Hercules frequently takes a backseat to other Disney classics. This modernized version of the Herculean myth, complete with snappy songs and a quirky sense of humor, offers a unique twist on the Greek tale. Its lively characters, including the charismatic hero, the sassy Megara, and the hilarious Hades, contribute to its distinct charm.

Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World (1998)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

While the original film holds more acclaim, Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World offers a thought-provoking continuation of the Pocahontas saga. The film explores her journey to England, her encounters with a foreign culture, and the challenges she faces in maintaining peace between her people and the English. Though not historically accurate, it presents an engaging narrative with complex themes, making it an underrated addition to Disney’s collection of great movies.

Home on the Range (2004)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Home on the Range, a film centered around three dairy cows determined to save their farm from a greedy outlaw, might not immediately come to mind when thinking of Disney classics. Nonetheless, it provides a fun, lighthearted western escapade. Featuring colorful animation, funny dialogue, and catchy tunes, it’s an often-overlooked but charming Disney film worth revisiting.