Best Movies on Disney Plus Right Now

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 catalog 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 Warsfilms 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.

This article was last updated on September 23rd to include Togo.

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Turning Red

Director: Domee Shi

Writers: Julia Cho and Domee Shi

Cast: Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh, Ava Morse, Hyein Park, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, and James Hong

Pixar has shown us time and time again that they know exactly how to push the right buttons to move us, to make us cry, to devastate us. But what Turning Red is doing might be even more impressive, a bright story that doesn’t skimp on the moving sentiments, but provides these emotions in a lovely, fun, and largely optimistic story of self-discovery and the first steps into womanhood. Turning Red can do all this in a film packed with panda transformations, ridiculous boy bands, needy Tamagotchis, and absurd first crushes. Turning Red proves that a Pixar film can be cheery, positive, and light, while also leaving a touching and powerful impression. — Ross Bonaime

Watch Turning Red on Disney+

Loganlogan-hugh-jackman-dafne-keen

Director: James Mangold

Writers: James Mangold, Michael Green and Scott Frank

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, and Stephen Merchant

There’s a case to be made that Logan is the best X-Men movie. While its hard-R rating allows it to get more violent than other films in the franchise, that’s not why it’s good. It’s good because it’s basically a neo-Western where Logan has to see if his life is more than the violence he’s doled out and if he’s able to be a caretaker and protector rather than an enforcer as he, a sundowning Professor X (Patrick Stewart), and a young girl (Dafne Keen) go on the run from nefarious forces. Hugh Jackman is able to send the character out a high note and James Mangold‘s soulful direction gives the movie a heft that belies its comic book origins. Logan is a somber affair, but all the stronger for it. – Matt Goldberg

Watch Logan on Disney+

Lightyear

Director: Angus MacLane

Writers: Jason Headley and Angus MacLane

Cast: Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, Taika Waititi, Dale Soules, James Brolin, and Uzo Aduba

To be honest, the world didn’t need the origin story of what inspired Andy’s favorite new toy, Buzz Lightyear, in the Toy Story franchise, and yet once again, Pixar proves that even a questionable concept can turn into magic. Buzz (voiced by Chris Evans) is a cocky space ranger, trying to find his way back home after being stuck on a strange planet. Lightyear has fun with an abundance of references to the Toy Story franchise, and watching Pixar tell a sci-fi story in this way does have its charms. But Lightyear‘s strength is in the journey of Buzz learning that he doesn’t always have to be the hero, and that he shouldn’t let his life pass him by. Lightyear might be an unnecessarily convoluted idea, but there’s plenty of Pixar magic that makes Lightyear worthwhile to infinity and beyond. — Ross Bonaime

Watch Lightyear on Disney+

Free Guy

Director: Shawn Levy

Writers: Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Joe Keery, Lil Rel Howery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, and Taika Waititi

As years of attempts have shown, it’s hard to make a video game movie that works. But Free Guy might be one of the few successful video game films simply because Shawn Levy‘s film is creating its own world, full of references and homages to games we know, while also telling an effective story about the non-player character Guy (Ryan Reynolds) realizing he’s part of a video game. While Free Guy nails the logic and physics of this type of game, the film is equally effective at showing the real world, as arguably the best relationship in the film takes place between two programmers (Jodie Comer and Joe Keery), who have given up their video game creation to a much larger company, run by Taika Waititi‘s Antwan. As always, Reynolds is charming, while Comer and Keery shine in this action film with heart. Free Guy‘s blend of video game craziness and real-world relationships certainly makes it one of the best video game movies so far. — Ross Bonaime

Watch Free Guy on Disney+

Sleeping Beauty

Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Eric Larson, Wolfgang Reitherman, and Les Clark

Writers: Milt Banta, Winston Hibler, Bill Peet, Joe Rinaldi, Ted Sears, and Ralph Wright

Cast: Mary Costa, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton, Barbara Luddy, Barbara Jo Allen, Bill Shirley, Taylor Holmes, and Bill Thompson

Sleeping Beauty easily remains one of the best animated movies Disney has ever made. Yes, there are films more important to Disney’s history like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Dumbo and there are films that revitalized Disney like Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. But arguably the greatest animated film Walt Disney ever produced was his 1959 fairy tale about Princess Aurora, who was cursed to sleep by the wicked Maleficent and rescued by Prince Phillip. The animation on display is absolutely stunning with Disney taking full advantage of the Super Technirama 70 widescreen process. When you consider that Disney didn’t have the advantage of computers like they would in the 90s, the 2D animation here is even more impressive and helps to sell the romanticism of the story. This would also be the last gasp of this kind of animation as Disney moved into xerography with its features across the 60s and 70s. – Matt Goldberg

Watch Sleeping Beauty on Disney+

A Goofy Movie

Director: Kevin Lima

Writers: Jymn Magon, Chris Matheson, and Brian Pimenthal

Cast: Bill Farmer, Jason Marsden, Jim Cummings, Kellie Martin, Rob Paulsen, Wallace Shawn, and Pauly Shore

When A Goofy Movie was released in 1995, the film received a lukewarm response from audiences and critics. Jump forward a few decades and A Goofy Movie has earned a cult following greater than most Disney animated movies. Following Goofy and his son Max on a road trip across the country, A Goofy Movie is full of charm, heart, self-aware references, and arguably one of the Disney’s best soundtracks. It took quite some time for A Goofy Movie to get the attention it deserves, but at this point, A Goofy Movie stands out above the crowd. — Ross Bonaime

Watch A Goofy Movie on Disney+

Up

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. — Matt Goldberg

Watch Up on Disney+

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

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

Watch The Hunchback of Notre Dame on Disney+

Captain America: The First Avenger

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

Watch Captain America: The First Avenger on Disney+

Tarzan

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

Watch Tarzan on Disney+

More Than Robots

Director: Gillian Jacobs

Gillian JacobsMore Than Robots explores four different high school teams from around the world competing in the FIRST Robotics Competition, which asks teenagers to create a robot in only a few weeks that will accomplish specific tasks. While More Than Robots is exciting simply to see which team is successful in their goal, Jacobs makes this documentary more about how engineering, coding, and STEM help these kids come out of their shells and discover who they want to be. Even more fascinating is watching how these teenagers go from building a robot for competition to utilizing the skills that they’ve learned to help out their communities once the pandemic spread around the world. More Than Robots could’ve simply been about this FIRST competition, but Jacobs makes it more about the participants and their impact on the world around them, which makes this documentary far more effective. — Ross Bonaime

Watch More Than Robots on Disney+

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

Watch Hidden Figures on Disney+

Cruella

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

Watch Cruella on Disney+

Luca

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

Watch Luca on Disney+

Summer of Soul

Director: Ahmir « Questlove » Thompson

Exploring the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival that look place for six weeks, first-time documentary director Questlove proves himself to be an incredible chronicler of this oft-forgotten event with Summer of Soul. Not only does Questlove present massive chunks of these performances from artists like Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly and the Family Stone, and many more, but he also shows the historical importance of these bands, the impact these performances had on the guests in the audience, as well as the members of the bands themselves. But Summer of Soul also shows the power that simply having one’s story can have not only on the individual, but on the cultural at large. Summer of Soul is a blast, but it’s also a tremendous reminder of how important it is for everyone’s story to be heard. – Ross Bonaime

Watch Summer of Soul on Disney+

X2

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

Watch X2 on Disney+

Isle of Dogs

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

Watch Isle of Dogs on Disney+

The Kid Who Would Be King

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

Watch The Kid Who Would Be King on Disney+

Deadpool

Director: Tim Miller

Writer: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, Ed Skrein, Karan Soni

He’s the merc with the mouth. What happens when you put vulgarity, gore, sarcasm, and whip-smart, rapid-fire jokes into a blender? You get the masterfully messy action-comedy Deadpool. Based on characters in the Marvel Comics universe, Deadpool tells the tale of Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), a wisecracking mercenary who’s diagnosed with terminal cancer. Wade is recruited by a representative of a shady company who informs him they have an experimental cure for his cancer. After several injections and torture sessions, Wade emerges burned, disfigured, and equipped with mutant powers. He embarks on a hilariously honest journey to find the man behind the operation, breaking the fourth wall to vent to the audience in the process. Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool. — Emily Bernard

Watch Deadpool on Disney+

Raya and the Last Dragon

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

Watch Raya and the Last Dragon on Disney+

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