Best Disney Movies from the 1930s to the 1940s

Walt Disney Animation Studios released its first animated feature production in 1937. About a dozen more Disney animation projects were released during the 1940s. The best-remembered and critically acclaimed ones were mostly those produced during the times of World War II. Since then, the company has continued to produce animated features primarily geared towards the family audience.

“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937)

“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” is the very first animated movie released by Disney. Based on the popular German fairy tale “Snow White” by the Brothers Grimm, it tells the story of a jealous queen searching for the beautiful Snow White. She feeds her with poisoned apple and only the Prince Charming can awaken her with a kiss.

Aside from being Disney’s debut feature, this cel-animated masterpiece is also the first animated feature produced in full color in America. It is acknowledged as the first official film offering in the Walt Disney Animated Classics canon and is on the list of the American Film Institute (AFI) 100 Greatest American Films of All Time. It is also part of the collection of the United States National Film Registry for its historical and cultural significance in American and world cinema.

“Pinocchio” (1940)

“Pinocchio” features an old woodcarver’s puppet who magically comes to life through a blue fairy. This good fairy also tells Pinocchio that he can become a real boy if he proves himself worthy. This adaptation of Carlo Collodi’s “The Adventures of Pinocchio” is an animated classic that remains as a visually engaging and genuinely touching motion picture piece. It won the Best Original Score and Best Original Song at the Academy Awards.

“Fantasia” (1940)

“Fantasia” features a collection of animated interpretations of celebrated Western classical music, which would later on become a big influence to the music video medium. Growing from a short-subject cartoon concept, this film inventively blends phantasmagorical images with classical music pieces. Its landmark animation consists of eight animated segments with each one accompanied by music conducted by Leopold Stokowski and performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra.

“Dumbo” (1941)

“Dumbo” tells the tale of a circus elephant ridiculed by others because of his gigantic ears. Later on, he discovers that his ears actually allow him to fly. Running only 64 minutes in length, it is one of Disney’s shortest animated films. This technically polished and emotionally rich film won the Academy Award for Best Music and the Cannes Film Festival Best Animation Design Award.

“Bambi” (1942)

“Bambi” features the story of a young deer who grows up in the dangers and joys of the wild. Elegantly animated and deeply heart-rending, this cinematic piece placed third in the animation category of the AFI list entitled “10 Top 10,” which showcases the 10 best films in each of the 10 classic American film genres. This animated opus was nominated for three Oscars including Best Original Song, Best Musical Score, and Best Sound Recording. Walt Disney won a Golden Globe Special Award for this film as well.

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