Before the opening of Disneyland and Disney World, the Walt Disney Company was known solely for making movies. Since 1937, Disney movie making has been responsible for some of the most popular films ever created. Although Disney is mainly known for animated movies, they have been responsible for some very successful live-action films as well.

Here is a brief overview of the evolution of Disney movies then and now:

  1. Snow White. In 1937, Disney released its first animated film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” A huge success at the box office, Snow White put Disney on the map for good.
  2. Treasure Island. Disney released this in 1950 as its first live-action movie. “Treasure Island” was not initially very successful in the United States, but it paved the way for many of Disney’s live-action classics that followed.
  3. Disney princesses. The release of “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty” in the 1950s made it apparent that Disney had found a successful theme for its animated movies. However, in later years, these films would be criticized for being sexist and oppressing to the female characters.
  4. Mary Poppins. In 1964, Disney released the live-action film “Mary Poppins”, about a nanny with magical powers. The film enjoyed success in theaters at the time, and is still widely considered Disney’s best live-action movie.
  5. New generation. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Disney returned to its princess theme for the first time in 30 years. The films “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Aladdin,” all featured more modern princesses which were targeted toward a new generation of children.
  6. Pixar. In 1995, Disney collaborated with computer design studio Pixar to create the world’s first computer animated feature-length movie, “Toy Story.” The film remains one of the most successful animated films of all time. Disney and Pixar eventually separated after disputes over another movie.
  7. 21st century. Early in the 2000s, Disney enjoyed tremendous success with the live-action franchise “Pirates of the Caribbean.” In recent years, they have returned to the princess theme with animated films such as “Princess and the Frog” and “Tangled.”

Which Disney movie is your favorite?

Image courtesy of Disney