The best Disney Plus movies: 40 great films to stream in June 2024

A still from the movie Fantastic Mr Fox of Mr Fox and his family in their pyjamas.
Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox movie is a fresh adaptation of Roald Dahl's novel of the same name. (Image credit: 20th century fox)

Our selection of the best Disney Plus movies is filled with crowd-pleasers. Which is no surprise considering the streaming platform is the hub for Marvel, Star Wars, and Pixar back catalogues, as well as a huge selection of Disney classics and the massive 20th Century Fox archive. It's among the best streaming services on the planet for a reason.

We've picked the best Disney Plus movies for you to watch on the platform right now. It includes an exciting mix of smash-hit blockbusters and critically-acclaimed films, like Oscar-winner Poor Things. As quality new movies are added to Disney Plus often, we'll update this guide whenever a top film lands, so keep checking back. If you're not already a subscriber, our guide to Disney Plus is packed with useful information on pricing and how to sign up.

Avatar

Release date: 2009
Age rating: PG-13 (US) / 12 (UK)
Director: James Cameron
Rotten Tomatoes score: 81% (critics), 82% (audiences)

You generally have to wait more than a decade for a new James Cameron movie to come along, but luckily everything that the director makes is worth talking about. So while the plot of his 2009 record-breaker is a tad forgettable – a human soldier falls in love with a giant blue alien on the distant moon of Pandora – it remains a thoroughly entertaining technical marvel. 

Fifteen years later, no film has surpassed its incredibly detailed 3D visuals, and even without the third dimension, watching on the best 4K TV you can find makes you feel as if you've been transported to another world. Long-awaited sequel The Way of Water is similarly spectacular and also available on Disney Plus.

In the mood for more from the most successful director in history? Check out our guide to every James Cameron movie ranked.

Avengers: Infinity War / Avengers: Endgame

Release date: 2018 (Infinity War), 2019 (Endgame)
Age rating: PG-13 (US) / 12 (UK)
Director: Antony Russo and Joe Russo
Rotten Tomatoes score: 85% (Critics Infinity War), 92% (Audiences Infinity War), 94% (Critics Endgame), 90% (Audiences Endgame)

The two-part culmination of the Marvel’s original 23-movie odyssey was more than worth the wait, as Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and various superpowered hangers-on joined forces to thwart Thanos’s quest to obtain all six Infinity Stones. 

With Infinity War delivering one of cinema’s greatest cliffhangers, and Endgame going to some surprisingly dark places, the two films feature many of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s boldest and most epic moments – not to mention some of the most unashamedly triumphant.

Big Hero 6

Release date: 2014
Age rating: PG (US) / PG (UK)
Director: Don Hall and Chris Williams
Rotten Tomatoes score: 90% (Critics), 91% (Audiences)

The Ghostbusters said you should never cross the streams, but Disney had massive success when its animation division adapted a little-known Marvel comic. As in many classic Disney animations, the plot is driven by the tragic death of a parent, but what Bambi and The Lion King lacked in robots and sci-fi action, Big Hero 6 delivers in spades. 

The San Fransokyo setting is a wonderfully inventive fusion of East and West, while inflatable robot Baymax instantly earned himself a place alongside R2-D2 and WALL-E in the pantheon of all-time great droids. And yes, even though you have to keep your eyes peeled to spot it, the regulation Stan Lee cameo is all present and correct.

Big

Release date: 1988
Age rating: PG (US) / 12 (UK)
Director: Penny Marshall
Rotten Tomatoes score: 98% (Critics), 82% (Audiences

Tom Hanks won successive Oscars in the ’90s for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump but it was the 1988 comedy-drama Big that bagged him his first nomination. Indeed, the star’s arguably never been better than he is here, playing a 12-year-old boy whose wish to be “big” comes true. Of course, the kid soon discovers that being a grown-up isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – despite his remarkable success at a major toy company – but Hanks keeps you rooting for Josh with a performance of believable naivety.

The Black Hole

Release date: 1979
Age rating: PG (US) / PG (UK)
Director: Gary Nelson
Rotten Tomatoes score:
41% (Critics), 45% (Audiences)

The Black Hole isn’t technically one of the best Disney Plus movies but this 1979 space opera is undeniably one of the most interesting. A long-gestating script was given the greenlight by a Disney management team still reeling from Walt’s death a decade earlier, but eager to capitalize on the recent success of Star Wars. Unfortunately, they didn’t quite know what they were making…

The Black Hole is a unique mess of cute robots, megalomaniac villains, and 2001: A Space Odyssey-style hard sci-fi. Meanwhile, its weird metaphysical ending must have left 1970s cinemagoers – who were presumably expecting to see the further adventures of Luke Skywalker – thoroughly baffled. When they say they don’t make them like they used to, this is what they mean.

Black Panther

Release date: 2018
Age rating: PG-13 (US) / 12 (UK)
Director: Ryan Coogler
Rotten Tomatoes score: 96% (Critics), 79% (Audiences)

Until Spider-Man: No Way Home reignited the post-Covid box office, Black Panther was Marvel’s best performing solo superhero. It’s not hard to see why, because while the story – King T’Challa, aka Black Panther, fights off rival Erik Killmonger’s claim to the throne of Wakanda – is fairly standard superhero fare, director Ryan Coogler’s presentation lifts it to another level. 

The futuristic African kingdom of Wakanda is a truly magnificent creation – a world where advanced technology meets weaponized rhinos – while the late Chadwick Boseman’s performance as the eponymous hero is one of dignity and power. 

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Release date: 2022
Age rating: PG-13 (US) / 12 (UK)
Director: Ryan Coogler
Rotten Tomatoes score: 83% (Critics), 94% (Audiences)

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the second instalment in the series, and it's safe to say it had some big shoes to fill. After the unexpected death of Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther 2 could have floundered, but Marvel did an astonishing job of continuing the story in an emotionally-charged and totally respectful way. It even earned a rare five stars in our Black Panther: Wakanda Forever review.

The story begins one year after the end of the original movie, following the death of King T'Challa. With those closest to the king struggling to move forward, Wakanda is left vulnerable and without a Black Panther as protector. Queen Ramonda (an Oscar-nominated Angela Bassett) is left to lead the nation through a turbulent time, and to try to fend off world powers that want to get hold of her country's much-coveted vibranium.

The Creator

Release date: 2023
Age rating: PG-13 (US) / 12 (UK)
Director: Gareth Edwards
Rotten Tomatoes score: 67% (Critics), 76% (Audiences)

Gareth Edwards’ first film since 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story sees the British director returning to the guerrilla ethos of his acclaimed sci-fi debut, Monsters. Filming on location in Thailand with minimal crew, he creates a stunning near-future world where sophisticated, lifelike AI find themselves under threat from humanity, and a US soldier (played by Tenet’s John David Washington) goes rogue to protect a one-of-a-kind robot kid.

The money Edwards saved on sets and A-list stars is cannily invested in flawless visual effects, which transport you to a spectacular future world. Accepting that humans and simulants live side by side requires some suspension of disbelief, but the unlikely father-daughter bond between Washington’s Joshua Taylor and android Alphie (newcomer Madeleine Yuna Voyles) keeps things grounded.

The Creator is available on Disney Plus in the UK and Australia, and Hulu in the US.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe 

Release date: 2005
Age rating: PG (US) / PG (UK)
Director: Andrew Adamson
Rotten Tomatoes score: 75% (Critics), 61% (Audiences)

One of the best things about the CG revolution has been the way it’s transformed works of literary fantasy previously deemed unfilmable into viable movie options. Following in the footsteps of the grander The Lord of the Rings, Shrek director Andrew Adamson’s take on CS Lewis’s classic opened the wardrobe door to Narnia in style, with beautiful snowy landscapes, a memorable menagerie of creatures, and – in Tilda Swinton’s White Witch, Jadis – a genuinely hissable villain. Follow-ups Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader are less worthwhile, though that may owe something to the fact the source novels aren’t as good, either.  

Deadpool

Release date: 2016
Age rating: R (US) / 15 (UK)
Director: Tim Miller
Rotten Tomatoes score: 85% (Critics), 90% (Audiences)

The Wade Wilson Ryan Reynolds played in X-Men Origins: Wolverine was definitely not Deadpool. The star remained committed to a more accurate screen version of Rob Liefeld’s Marvel antihero, however, and after massively positive fan reaction to leaked test footage in 2014, 20th Century Fox gave this film a long-awaited greenlight. 

Reynolds was born to play the fourth wall-breaking “merc with a mouth”, while the script (from Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick) nails the character’s famously self-aware brand of humor. The movie was followed by a 2018 sequel, and Deadpool will make his MCU debut in July 2024 (alongside Hugh Jackman’s Logan) in Deadpool and Wolverine.

Enchanted

Release date: 2007
Age rating: PG (US) / PG (UK)
Director: Kevin Lima
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93% (Critics), 80% (Audiences)

Disney has its cake and eats it with a post-modern movie that pokes fun at the clichés of its animated classics, while also being a magical fairytale in its own right. Amy Adams is typically brilliant as Giselle, a traditional cartoon Disney Princess who finds herself transported to a place way scarier than any magical kingdom – the real world. 

Both the animated and live-action segments are flawlessly executed, as the self-aware script seamlessly blends comedy, an evil queen (played by Susan Sarandon), and a romance with a down-on-his-luck lawyer (Patrick Dempsey) who doesn’t necessarily believe in happily ever afters. Long awaited sequel Disenchanted was released on Disney Plus in 2022.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Release date: 2009
Age rating: PG (US) / PG (UK)
Director: Wes Anderson
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93% (critics), 85% (audiences)

Fantastic Mr, Fox is acclaimed director Wes Anderson's adaptation Roald Dahl's classic story. It follows the story of Mr. Fox who is living a lovely life in the countryside with his family. But he raids the farms of the local human neighbors, which results in the animal community being hunted down by three farmers, Boggis, Bunce and Bean. 

It's a delightful movie that should appeal to the whole family. Kids will love the story, the creatures and the silliness. Adults will love the humor, Wes Anderson's fresh take on a much-loved story and appreciating the talent of the voice actors, including George Clooney as Mr. Fox, Meryl Streep as Mrs. Fox, Bill Murray as Badger and Willem Dafoe as Rat.

Freaky Friday

Release date: 2003
Age rating: PG (US) / PG (UK)
Director: Mark Waters
Rotten Tomatoes score: 88% (Critics), 58% (Audiences)

Disney loves the premise of this bodyswap comedy so much it’s made three versions of Freaky Friday – and they're all available on Disney Plus. It’s the 2003 version that’s the standout, however, as Jamie-Lee Curtis’s uptight mom and Lindsay Lohan’s rebellious teen swap places thanks to magical fortune cookies.

The secret of the movie’s success is the casting, with both leads displaying an uncanny talent for role-reversal comedy, playing their opposite number with all the relish of John Travolta and Nicolas Cage in Face/Off. Made a year before Mean Girls, this is the movie that marked out Lohan as one of the most talented actors of her generation.

Frozen / Frozen 2

Release date: 2013 (Frozen), 2018 (Frozen 2)
Age rating: PG (US) / PG (UK)
Director: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Rotten Tomatoes score: 90% (Critics Frozen), 85% (Audiences Frozen), 77% (Critics Frozen 2), 92% (Audiences Frozen 2)

If you have kids of a certain age, the thought of ice princesses, talking snowmen and letting it go may be enough to bring you out in very cold sweats. But if you look past the relentless, heavily merchandised juggernaut surrounding the original Frozen, it’s actually one of Disney’s best fairytale retellings (it's based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen), with a pair of inspiring female leads, spectacular animation and, yes, some killer songs. 

The long-awaited sequel lives up to the hype and – though the tunes aren’t quite so memorable – actually enhances the mythology of its predecessor.

Hamilton

Release date: 2020
Age rating: PG-13 (US) / 12 (UK)
Director: Thomas Kail
Rotten Tomatoes score: 98% (Critics), 89% (Audiences)

Okay, it’s not technically a movie but in the absence of a proper big-screen adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash-hit musical, this recording of the Broadway show Hamilton fits the bill perfectly. 

Featuring Miranda in the lead role of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the United States of America, it’s one of the most invigorating history lessons you’ll ever see. The hip-hop influenced songs sound amazing coming out of your TV, while the inventive cinematography brings the immediacy of the stage show into your living room. A sing-along version of the film is also available if you can't resist the urge to join in.

Hidden Figures

Release date: 2016
Age rating:
PG (US) / PG (UK)
Director: Theodore Melfi
Rotten Tomatoes score:
93% (Critics), 93% (Audiences)

It was the astronauts who grabbed the headlines after the USA's pioneering early space flights, but it took a cast of thousands to make their giant leaps a reality. Hidden Figures puts a belated spotlight on three African-American women whose incredible skills with numbers were pivotal to the success of Nasa's first trips to outer space. 

In the movie (based on Margot Lee Shetterly's non-fiction book), Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe play real-life mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. Despite having the ability to carry out complex calculations that would later be managed by computers, they're held back by the racist and sexist attitudes of ’60s America. But for all the adversity the brilliant trio face, director Theodore Melfi ensures Hidden Figures is also a story of triumph – and even pulls off the unlikely feat of making math cinematic.

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

Release date: 1989
Age rating: PG (US) / U (UK)
Director: Joe Johnston
Rotten Tomatoes score: 76% (Critics), 54% (Audiences)

He’s rarely been sighted on the big-screen over the last couple of decades, but for a period in the late-’80s and early-’90s, Rick Moranis was one of the most bankable stars on the planet. His most famous lead role arguably came in this 1989 comedy where the title tells you everything you need to know.

Moranis plays an inventor whose prototype shrink ray reduces his kids – and the neighbors – to microscopic size. Director Joe Johnston has lots of fun creating a miniature world, and ensures the laughs come with plenty of added peril. Subsequent movies in the franchise – also on Disney Plus – involved blowing up the kid and shrinking ourselves.

The Incredibles

Release date: 2004
Age rating: PG (US) / U (UK)
Director: Brad Bird
Rotten Tomatoes score: 97% (Critics), 75% (Audiences)

By the time The Incredibles arrived in 2004, Pixar had seemingly stumbled on a formula, in which two chalk-and-cheese characters would be thrown together on some kind of quest – see Toy Story, Monsters, Inc and Finding Nemo. When The Iron Giant and The Simpsons director Brad Bird entered the fold, however, he shook things up with a hilarious, action-packed story about an (otherwise) ordinary family with superpowers.

Thanks to Marvel, there’s no shortage of superhero movies on Disney Plus, but few are as smart, funny and inventive as The Incredibles. Set in a timeless alternative USA, the movie’s visuals are stylish and beautiful to look at, while the fact that the movie is more interested in the Parr family than their superhero alter-egos sets it apart from the herd.

How does The Incredibles compare with the animation studio's best? Check out our guide to Pixar movies ranked.

Inside Out

Release date: 2015
Age rating: PG (US) / U (UK)
Director: Pete Docter
Rotten Tomatoes score: 98% (Critics), 89% (Audiences)

Pete Docter is now the chief creative officer of Pixar and his qualifications for the job have long been clear – as director he’s been responsible for some of the biggest, boldest storytelling ideas in the studio’s glorious history. 

Despite Up’s powerful opening and Soul’s intelligent examination of the afterlife, however, Inside Out is his true masterpiece, a trip inside a girl’s mind that turns her emotions into fully rounded characters. This being Pixar – a studio so successful it could easily fill a lot more slots on this list of the best Disney Plus movies – the characterization and storytelling are second-to-none. But even more impressive is the way the film translates a kid’s subconscious into a fully functioning society. Movies – animated or otherwise – don’t get much smarter than this.

The Lion King

Release date: 1994
Age rating: G (US) / U (UK)
Director: Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92% (Critics), 93% (Audiences)

The 1980s were a dark time for Disney’s animation division, but the studio rediscovered its mojo with the triple whammy of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin during the decade that followed. The highlight of the renaissance shifted away from Disney’s traditional fairytales to tell the Hamlet-inspired story of an exiled lion cub returning to reclaim his throne. 

Packed with memorable songs, built around some stunning set-pieces, and impeccably cast – who’d have thought of casting James Earl Jones as an absent father? – it stands up as one of 2D animation’s finest hours. The photo-real ‘live-action’ remake is also available on Disney Plus. 

Logan

Release date: 2017
Age rating: R (US) / 15 (UK)
Director: James Mangold
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93% (Critics), 90% (Audiences)

While Apocalypse, Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants meant the X-Men franchise mostly lost its way after 2014’s Days of Future Past, 2017's Logan is arguably the best X-movie of them all. Designed as Hugh Jackman’s swansong as Wolverine (at least, it was until he signed up for the aforementioned Deadpool & Wolverine), it’s a bleak but perfectly crafted study of a hero whose best days are behind him. Reunited with Patrick Stewart’s Professor Xavier (now struggling to control his psychic gifts), Logan finds new purpose protecting young mutant Laura (His Dark Materials’ Dafne Keen), in a movie that pushes the boundaries of superhero stories on screen.

Mary Poppins

Release date: 1964
Age rating: G (US) / PG (UK)
Director: Robert Stevenson
Rotten Tomatoes score: 97% (Critics), 86% (Audiences)

Pop quiz! For which movie did Julie Andrews win her Best Actress Oscar? While The Sound of Music would be a reasonable guess, she actually struck gold with this tale of a magical nanny. She’s a revelation as the stern but inspiring Ms Poppins, utterly in tune with the character whether she’s dealing with humans or the assortment of cartoon characters seamlessly integrated with the live-action. 

Songs like ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’, ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ and ‘Feed the Birds’ have crossed over into the collective pop-culture consciousness, and the movie’s so good that the weirdness of Dick Van Dyke’s cockney accent barely even registers. 

Mary Poppins Returns, which gifted Emily Blunt the unenviable task of emulating Andrews, arrived in 2018 and is also available on Disney Plus.

Moana

Release date: 2016
Age rating: PG (US) / PG (UK)
Director: John Musker and Ron Clements
Rotten Tomatoes score: 95% (Critics), 89% (Audiences)

The massive success of Encanto hit ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ has got everyone talking about Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda again, but his first Disney collaboration is the better movie. Assisted by Miranda’s ear for a hit tune, the eponymous Moana is undoubtedly one of the studio’s great characters, the daughter of a Polynesian island chief who learns a lot of life lessons when she takes to the high seas to save her community. The movie also earns extra credit for showing that, among all his other skills, Dwayne Johnson can hold a tune. 

Mrs Doubtfire

Release date: 1993
Age rating: PG-13 (US) / 12 (UK)
Director: Chris Columbus
Rotten Tomatoes score: 70% (Critics), 77% (Audiences)

Another iconic nanny makes the best Disney movie grade, but Mrs Doubtfire offers a very different spoonful of sugar to the aforementioned Mary Poppins. The late Robin Williams takes on one of the most iconic roles of his career as a recently divorced dad who goes undercover as an eccentric Scottish housekeeper in order to spend time with his estranged kids.

Williams is in his element in the movie's more slapstick moments, but he also delivers a performance of warmth and pathos as a man trying to do the best for his family. Director Chris Columbus (then hot property off the back of Home Alone, one of our best family movies) keeps things (just) the right side of schmaltzy to deliver one of the biggest crowd-pleasers of the era. Indeed, Euphegenia Doubtfire still lives on three decades later, courtesy of a Broadway/West End musical.

The Muppets

Release date: 2011
Age rating: PG (US) / U (UK)
Director: James Bobin
Rotten Tomatoes score: 95% (Critics), 80% (Audiences)

Disney’s big-money acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm are the purchases that made everyone sit up and take notice, but they also had the smart business sense to nab the rights to Jim Henson’s enduring felt-covered creations. Numerous brilliant Muppet movies are available on Disney Plus – as well as TV classic The Muppet Show – but we’ve plumped for this 2011 comeback. 

As Jason Segel’s Gary and his Muppet brother Walter try to save a theater from developers, the story is witty, heartfelt and every bit as self-aware as we’ve come to expect from Kermit and co. And thanks to showstopping song ‘Man or Muppet’ – written by Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie – the movie even bagged itself an Oscar.  

No One Will Save You

Release date: 2023
Age rating: PG-13 (US) / 16+ (UK)
Director: Brian Duffield
Rotten Tomatoes score: 82% (Critics), 56% (Audiences)

Once upon a time, going to direct-to-video was an almost surefire sign that a movie wasn't much good. In the streaming age, however, the likes of Netflix, Prime Video and Max routinely debut quality films that have never had the chance to grace the big screen. This quality Hulu horror (available on Disney Plus in the UK) is a case in point.

Writer/director Brian Duffield (whose previous scripting credits include Underwater, Netflix cartoon Skull Island and the fun Love and Monsters) shows off his genre knowledge by ingeniously recycling tropes from numerous classics. But the movie's smartest move is arguably the decision to tell this story of alien invaders with minimal dialogue, as Duffield delivers a masterclass in tension.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 

Release date: 2003
Age rating: PG-13 (US) / 12 (UK)
Director: Gore Verbinski
Rotten Tomatoes score: 80% (Critics), 86% (Audiences)

Neither movies about pirates nor movies based on theme park attractions were considered a recipe for success back in 2003. Nonetheless, the original Pirates of the Caribbean managed to surprise everyone by becoming one of the standout blockbusters of the era.

The film’s crowd-pleasing mix of romance, ghosts and swashbuckling action on the high seas proved infectious, but it was the wonderfully eccentric Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp based his performance on Rolling Stone Keith Richards) that lifted The Curse of the Black Pearl to the next level. Just pretend the four disappointing sequels – also available on Disney Plus – didn’t happen.

Poor Things

Release date: 2023
Age rating: R (US) / 18 (UK)
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92% (Critics), 79% (Audiences)

Director Yorgos Lanthimos has a habit of making films that defy classification (see also The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer), and he manages it again with the brilliant Poor Things. Reuniting with The Favorite star Emma Stone, his adaptation of Alasdair Gray’s novel is an extraordinary tale told with spectacular invention.

While it would be accurate to describe Poor Things as an update of the Frankenstein myth – Bella, played by the Oscar-winning Stone, is a corpse reanimated by an eccentric scientist (Willem Dafoe) ­– there’s also much more to it than that. As Bella embarks on a globe-trotting, sex-filled journey of personal discovery, the film uses its endlessly original steampunk world to hold a mirror up to sexual politics in the 21st century. A true one-off.

Poor Things is available on Hulu in the US.

The Princess Bride

Release date: 1987
Age rating: PG (US) / PG (UK)
Director: Rob Reiner
Rotten Tomatoes score: 96% (Critics), 94% (Audiences)

Disney’s 2019 purchase of 20th Century Fox meant that The Princess Bride belatedly found its way to the spiritual home of the Hollywood fairytale. Rest assured, however, that this self-aware story from a land far, far away is very, very different to traditional Disney fare. It has a princess, of course, as well as a brave hero eager to win her heart and some suitably hissable villains. But the genius of William Goldman’s knowing, subversive script is that it has its magical cake and eats it, poking fun at the genre while also being an utterly delightful adventure in its own right.

Rob Reiner (who was on something of a golden run at the time, thanks to This is Spinal Tap and Stand By Me) directs with style, while the script remains endlessly quotable. Indeed, it’s “inconceivable” that you’d want to miss this classic – whether you’re left-handed or not. 

The Princess Bride is not available to Disney Plus viewers in the UK, but you can rent it on Apple TV Plus and Amazon's Prime Video.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Release date: 1981
Age rating: PG (US) / 12 (UK)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93% (Critics), 96% (Audiences)

There’s a reason this 1981 classic tops our list of Steven Spielberg movies ranked. When the director teamed up with the Star Wars duo of producer George Lucas and star Harrison Ford, they unearthed cinematic treasure every bit as valuable as the artefacts Indiana Jones collects.

While Raiders of the Lost Ark was loosely inspired by the James Bond movies, 007’s adventures have rarely been as fun or beautifully choreographed as the legendary archaeologist’s race to beat the Nazis to the Ark of the Covenant. Indeed, the Raiders posters weren't lying when they declared it to be “the return of the great adventure”, because this is undoubtedly one of the very best Disney Plus movies.

Follow-up Indiana Jones adventures The Temple of Doom, The Last Crusade, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and The Dial of Destiny are also available to stream on the platform.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Release date: 2016
Age rating: PG-13 (US) / 12 (UK)
Director: Gareth Edwards
Rotten Tomatoes score: 84% (Critics), 87% (Audiences)

The Force Awakens proved Disney knew how to make a Star Wars film, albeit one that closely followed the beats of George Lucas's original movie. This brilliant standalone pips it to a place on our list of the best Disney Plus movies by showing that unfamiliar characters, a war-movie vibe, and a mission whose success was never in doubt are no barrier to success. 

Based on a couple of lines from A New Hope’s opening crawl, it sees a brave group of Rebels going behind enemy lines to recover plans to the first dreaded Death Star. The final act is surprisingly bleak, but it’s also one of the most accomplished in the entire franchise. There’s also something rather wonderful about seeing original trilogy X-wings back in action, powered by 21st century CG magic.

It's also been confirmed that Andor: season 2 – one of the most best new Star Wars TV shows – will lead directly into the events of Rogue One.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Release date: 2017
Age rating: PG-13 (US), 12A (UK)
Director: Jon Watts
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92% (Critics), 87% (Audiences)

While there haven’t been quite as many live-action Spider-Men as there have Batmen or James Bonds, Marvel’s iconic webslinger has been through plenty of screen incarnations since the turn of the century. Tom Holland’s Marvel Cinematic Universe version is arguably the best, simultaneously a convincing update of the geeky teen superhero of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s original comics, and a character capable of going toe-to-toe with Tony Stark, Steve Rogers and the rest of the Avengers.

Homecoming is a fun coming-of-age adventure that takes the MCU back to high school. Former screen Batman Michael Keaton gives good villain as the Vulture, while the decision to stage most of the superheroics outside Spider-Man’s traditional Manhattan skyscraper stomping ground keeps things fresh.

UK viewers will have to swing by Netflix to watch Tom Holland's Spider-trilogy, but this first outing and follow-up Far From Home are both available on Disney Plus in the US. 

The original Star Wars trilogy 

Release date: 1977 (A New Hope), 1980 (The Empire Strikes Back), 1983 (Return of the Jedi)
Age rating: PG (US) / U (A New Hope), PG (The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi) (UK)
Director: George Lucas (A New Hope), Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back), Richard Marquand (Return of the Jedi)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93% (Critics A New Hope), 96% (Audiences A New Hope), 95% (Critics The Empire Strikes Back), 97% (Audiences The Empire Strikes Back), 83% (Critics Return of the Jedi), 94% (Audiences Return of the Jedi)

What’s left to say about three movies that changed cinema forever, and spawned a franchise that’s still the size of a Death Star 47 years later? George Lucas discovered some strange but potent alchemy when he mixed together Samurai-inspired warriors, old Westerns and mystical mumbo-jumbo – and then set the concoction in a galaxy far, far away. 

If you pressed us, we’d say The Empire Strikes Back is the best of the trilogy – it’s more sophisticated, it's home to cinema’s most celebrated big reveal, and boasts AT-ATs and asteroids in its first act – but the Force is still strong with all three of these timeless classics.

10 Things I Hate About You

Release date: 1999
Age rating: PG-13 (US) / 12 (UK)
Director: Gil Junger
Rotten Tomatoes score: 71% (Critics), 69% (Audiences)

Turning literary classics into high school movies was all the rage back in the 1990s. So, just as Clueless reworks Jane Austen’s Emma and She’s All That reinvents George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, 10 Things I Hate About You tackles William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew with extra cheerleaders and teen angst. It’s one of the best of this short-lived sub-genre, with a smart script, era-appropriate soundtrack, and winning performances from leads Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger.

Thor: Ragnarok

Release date: 2017
Age rating: PG-13 (US) / 12 (UK)
Director: Taika Waititi
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93% (Critics), 87% (Audiences)

If Thor had hung up his hammer for good after the plodding Thor: The Dark World, few tears would have been shed. Then Taika Waititi – at the time best known for the brilliant Hunt for the Wilderpeople – came along and reinvented Odin’s firstborn as a comedy god. 

Not only does Chris Hemsworth’s Asgardian deity finally get to step out of the shadow of little brother Loki (a typically watchable Tom Hiddleston), every supporting player is given a scene-stealing moment, whether it’s Cate Blanchett’s wonderfully arch villain, Hela, Mark Ruffalo’s newly sensitive Hulk or Jeff Goldblum’s sublimely kooky despot the Grandmaster. Waititi saved the best role for himself, however, as Korg, a soft-spoken revolutionary quite literally hewn from rock.

Unfortunately the director was unable to recapture the same magic with sillier, less-smartly plotted follow-up Thor: Love and Thunder.

The Toy Story series

Release date: 1995 (Toy Story),1999 (Toy Story 2), 2010 (Toy Story 3), 2019 (Toy Story 4)
Age rating: G (US) / PG (Toy Story), U (Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, Toy Story 4) (UK)
Director: X (Toy Story), X (Toy Story 2), X (Toy Story 3), X (Toy Story 4)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 100% (Critics Toy Story), 92% (Audiences Toy Story), 100% (Critics Toy Story 2), 87% (Audiences Toy Story 2), 98% (Critics Toy Story 3), 90% (Audiences Toy Story 3), 97% (Critics Toy Story 4), 94% (Audiences Toy Story 4)

As the first ever entirely computer-generated movie, Toy Story was always going to grab headlines. The fact we’re still talking about it more than 25 years later, however, shows that Pixar struck storytelling gold when it united an insecure cowboy with an action figure who believes he’s a real-life space ranger. 

In a movie where the dialogue sizzles, every single toy in Andy’s playroom could be worthy of a spin-off – indeed, Buzz Lightyear got one in the form of Lightyear – while the gags and surprisingly complex themes ensured grown-ups were just as captivated as their kids. The three sequels are similarly brilliant, which is a truly incredible accomplishment, possibly unparalleled in recent Hollywood history.

X2: X-Men United

Release date: 2003
Age rating: PG-13 (US) / 12 (UK)
Director: Bryan Singer
Rotten Tomatoes score: 85% (Critics), 85% (Audiences)

In the early ’00s, Hollywood studios were still figuring out how to make the best superhero movies. After the first ­X-Men movie (released in 2000) had proved that Marvel heroes could hit big at the box office, this follow-up (titled X-Men 2 outside the US) became one of the early classics of the 21st century comic-book blockbuster boom.

With most of the ensemble established first time out, X2 expands the scope of the storytelling with the X-Men on the run, and dodgy military guy Colonel Stryker (future Succession star Brian Cox) initiating a plan to wipe out all mutants. Along the way Wolverine learns about his origins, new characters (most notably Alan Cumming's Nightcrawler) come to the fore, and heroes and villains are forced to work together, in a first class Marvel adventure.

WALL-E

Release date: 2008
Age rating: G (US) / U (UK)
Director: Andrew Stanton
Rotten Tomatoes score: 95% (Critics), 90% (Audiences)

In the first decade of the 21st century, Pixar was on the sort of golden run most studios – live-action or animated – could only dream of. Having tackled insects (A Bug’s Life), fish (Finding Nemo) and superheroes (The Incredibles), the CG pioneers turned their attentions to space, and the results were truly out of this world. 

It’s difficult to pinpoint what’s boldest about this futuristic tale: is it the bleakness of a future Earth that’s become so polluted that the human race has left for the stars? Or is it that the first act is largely wordless, as the eponymous robot trundles along, carrying out his never-ending clean-up operation? Either way, WALL-E is undoubtedly one of the best Disney Plus movies, a bona fide classic from a studio that specializes in classics.

West Side Story

Release date: 2021
Age rating: PG-13 (US) / 12 (UK)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92% (Critics), 93% (Audiences)

Steven Spielberg didn’t make life easy for himself with his first ever musical – by remaking Robert Wise’s 1961 take on Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s song-and-dance hit, the director was inviting comparisons with a beloved movie that won a shed-load of Oscars.

Luckily, he was more than up to the task, and his powerful retelling brings a very modern edge to a love story set against the backdrop of rival gangs in New York. The choreography is electric and the cinematography expands way beyond the musical's theatrical origins. But Spielberg also deserves credit for accentuating the still-relevant race politics the original brushed over. An instant classic.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Release date: 1988
Age rating: PG (US) / PG (UK)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Rotten Tomatoes score: 96% (Critics), 85% (Audiences)

A black-and-white Judy Garland walking into Technicolor in the original Wizard of Oz is rightly hailed as one of the greatest moments in cinema but, for a younger generation, Baby Herman storming out of a cartoon onto an actual movie set had the same effect. 

The way Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis brought animated characters into a live-action world is an incredible technical achievement, but even beyond the ‘how did they do that?’ magic, it’s a hell of a movie. Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a family-friendly take on classic film noir, with a stuff-of-nightmares villain and – in Londoner Bob Hoskins – one of cinema’s great hard-boiled PIs.


For more Disney Plus coverage, read our round-up of the best Disney Plus shows, our Disney Plus price guide, and whether there's a free Disney Plus trial available.

Richard Edwards

Richard is a freelance journalist specialising in movies and TV, primarily of the sci-fi and fantasy variety. An early encounter with a certain galaxy far, far away started a lifelong love affair with outer space, and these days Richard's happiest geeking out about Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel and other long-running pop culture franchises. In a previous life he was editor of legendary sci-fi and fantasy magazine SFX, where he got to interview many of the biggest names in the business – though he'll always have a soft spot for Jeff Goldblum who (somewhat bizarrely) thought Richard's name was Winter.

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