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An introduction to the comparison of franchise and fantasy disney films

We all grew up with classics that have stuck with us: But what should you be treating your kids to first? Glad you asked because we've been weighing up this very question. Tears were shed and hair was pulled but eventually we came up with 50 of the finest kids' films in cinema.

And, hey, we're all friends again now.

50. Labyrinth (1986)

Ex-Python Terry Jones wrote the final iteration of the screenplay, injecting humour and momentum into the adventure. But at its core this is still the tale of a descent into an evil realm to rescue a stolen baby from monsters. Eyes up here, guys.

Shrek 2 2004 Shrek ushered in a new, daringly mature breed of animated adventures. Where Pixar evolved the traditional Disney model, DreamWorks roundly took the piss out of it, poking fun at fair maidens and brave sir knights with colourful aplomb. This first sequel is probably the series at its peak; among the fairy-tale parodies and pop culture references, it sees our favourite grumpy ogre confronting his greatest challenge — the in-laws.

Buy Shrek 2 48. Despicable Me 2010 Crackpot animation from Universal, which made break-out stars of its little yellow freakazoids. Buy Despicable Me 47. Among the menagerie of its typically surreal aberrations: Another day at the office, then. Buy Howl's Moving Castle 46. Like Top Gear on laughing gas, Fleming's flying car tale makes for an inventive, colourful, hammy and fun kids' caper.

Frozen 2013 It would have been remiss of us to leave Frozena film already permanently engraved in the minds of a generation of nippers, off this list.

But we include it with a trigger warning. Spare a thought for them. Zootropolis 2016 Trust Disney to take a sharp and complex meditation on institutional racism and wrap it up in a fast-paced buddy-cop romp through a wild and wonderful animal society.

Smartly written, packed with wit, and with Pixar-levels of worldbuilding. Mind the occasional scary bit with really young ones. Toy Story 1995 The film that announced Pixar to the world as a force to be reckoned with, and computer animation as a serious storytelling device. Buy Toy Story 42. The Muppet Movie 1979 The original and still the best, Jim Henson 's first big-screen Muppetathon was an origin story long before Batman Begins and co got in on the act.

Beginning with Kermit watching his own swamp-based origins on screen meta much? You can't explain the plot without being put on a psychiatric watch list, but your kids will love you for trying.

The Incredible Journey 1963 In reality, there's no way two dogs and a cat could get to the end of the street without mauling each other or being distracted by a bin, let alone across country, but, hey, that's the magic of Disney. Plus if this happened in real-life, its three fluffy heroes - Luath the Labrador Retriever, Bodger the Bull Terrier and Tao the Siamese cat - would basically break the internet. Inspiring and adorable in equal measure. Buy The Incredible Journey 40.

In Finding Nemo, we find ourselves emotionally invested in a tiny clownfish with a dodgy fin. The heart-rending story, of a father learning to let go, sneaks its way in through a shoal of hilarious characters and setpieces. Pass the tartar sauce! Buy Finding Nemo 39. But this adaptation, a story of an abused little girl who discovers telekinetic powers, is as faithful as they come, and venerated by children of a certain age.

The infamous chocolate-eating scene is a slice of sloppy schadenfreude; the ultimate an introduction to the comparison of franchise and fantasy disney films between Matilda Mara Wilson and Miss Honey Embeth Davidtz gives the film its real sweetness.

The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit 2005 Aardman's long-awaited big-screen outing for Wallace and Gromit is basically a Universal monster movie with added laughs and the studio's wonderfully English worldview. Alongside our old favourites, man Wallace and his much smarter best friend GromitRalph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter are simply spiffing as the posh types caught in a bunnypocalypse, and the visual gags land with dizzying regularity.

If your kid doesn't enjoy this film, put them up for adoption. The Curse of the Were-Rabbit 37. The Kid 1921 Want to introduce your wee'un to the joys of silent cinema but think they may be a bit young for all five-and-a-half hours of Abel Gance's Napoleon?

Try Charlie Chaplin's heartfilled fable of the Little Tramp and the even littler scamp he befriends in one of cinema's most magical junior bromances. Buy The Kid 34. Beauty And The Beast 1991 It was, as the song went, a tale as old as time.

But rarely have such tales been told so elegantly, so lavishly, with new advances in animation offering a sumptuous canvas of colours and characters a singing teapot will never not be great. The story, too — typically Disney, fable-filled and fanciful, but rich in romance and poetry — was enough for it to earn the first Best Picture Oscar nomination for an animated film.

Buy Beauty And The Beast 33. Paddington 2014 The idea seemed improbable and the first trailer left a few unconvinced but, boy, was director Paul King 's little bear a joy to behold when he arrived on the screen. For anyone who wants their kids to learn about things like home, finding a place in the world and the importance of always having a sandwich to hand, this is indispensible viewing.

Try to gloss over the bit where Hugh Bonneville dresses up as a cleaning lady, if you can. But few are as unforgettable as the toe-tapping exclamation-marked musical version from Lionel Bart and Carol Reed. The Railway Children 1970 An ideal parental bonding experience, E.

Nesbit's train tykes make a timeless big-screen trio. They're led by Bobbie Jenny Aguttera teen with the smarts of Hermione and the train safety awareness of Denzel Washington in Unstoppable, but even the girls' Yorkshire rail capers fade in comparison with the poignant beats and one of the most tear-duct-stirring endings in cinemas.

Buy The Railway Children 30. WALL-E 2008 800 years in the future, humanity has abandoned Earth, a planet now overwhelmed with pollution and rubbish. The only thing left: The Red Balloon 1956 The story of one boy and his self-aware balloon, this 34-minute gem is part adventure yarn, part romance that's an introduction to the comparison of franchise and fantasy disney films by cobbled Parisian streets and has a heart the size of the Sacre Coeur.

There's fantasy, truancy you might want to skip that bit and a bit where two balloons fall in the love. Trust us, it's magical.

  • The Incredible Journey 1963 In reality, there's no way two dogs and a cat could get to the end of the street without mauling each other or being distracted by a bin, let alone across country, but, hey, that's the magic of Disney;
  • Buy My Neighbour Totoro 1;
  • Son of a nutcracker, indeed!
  • But kids loved it, and yours will too;
  • Ready those Wilderness Explorer application forms now;
  • Buy Toy Story 42.

Buy The Red Balloon 28. The Jungle Book 1967 Still the king of the swingers 50 years later, Disney's first take on Rudyard Kipling's novel is a pacy 78-minutes of jungular mayhem lit up by the songs of the Sherman Brothers, sassy dialogue and wonderful characters. It's so good, Disney would go on to reuse chunks of the cel animation in Robin Hood six years later.

Buy The Jungle Book 27. Home Alone 1990 What should an 8-year-old boy do when left alone and terrorised by burglars? The sensible thing would be to call the police and get the neighbours to help out. Buy Home Alone 26. Set in Mexico around the Day of the Dead, the film follows youngster Miguel who dreams of being a famous guitarist — even though his family sees music as a curse.

Another Pixar film destined to be remembered. The Nightmare Before Christmas 1993 The ultimate antidote to jolly Christmas cheer, this darkly brilliant stop-motion treat came from the demented mind of Tim Burton, years before he somewhat ran out of creative steam. The story of Jack Skellington, the gothic anti-hero of Halloween Town who finds a portal to Christmas Town, has become as beloved as the seasonal tales it seeks to caricature.

Buy The Nightmare Before Christmas 24. Buy The Goonies 23. Inside Out 2015 A movie that made us care about a nougat-filled elephant-cat hybrid, Inside Out came out just in time to silence those suggesting that Pixar had lost its critical edge.

On paper at least, it sounds bonkers. Set inside the human mind with a character called Anger and that aforementioned nougat-flavoured frankenfriend, it sounds like a metaphysical jungle impenetrable to anyone without a PHd in psychology. But kids loved it, and yours will too. Buy Inside Out 22. Buy Time Bandits 21. It hinges on a classic quest narrative, sending the titular boy across feudal Japan to track down a magical suit of armour, with wonderful subtext on the power of storytelling and creativity.

Up 2009 While grown-up will be blubbing their eyes out during the opening Married Life montage, smaller folk may be getting ready to revel in the antics of Russell, the ever-helpful boy scout, Doug, the benovelent but hugely dim talking dog, and cranky old Carl Fredricksen on their Amazonian adventure.

Is a Disney cruise worth the cost?

Ready those Wilderness Explorer application forms now. Elf 2003 Without even really trying, Elf has become one of those films that has wormed its way into pop culture legend. Son of a nutcracker, indeed! Their 2015 effort, Song Of The Sea, offered a sumptuous illustrated picture-book, come to life. But for our money, this bewitching fantasy — about a little boy who lives at a medieval monastery — is their best work.

Drawing on centuries of Irish mythology, it takes in illuminators, wolf-girls, deities of death, vikings and barbarians, via some of the most luscious hand-drawn animation committed to celluloid.

The series has adventure, friendship, and — of course — magic aplenty, and while the early films deal in charming technicolour whimsy, the tail end of the series is decidedly for older kids once Dark Lord Voldemort rises. Pinocchio 1940 Everything about Pinocchio is memorable, etched into our collective consciousness as a paragon of classical Disney.

Just like the work of its wood-carving patriarchal hero, Gepetto, there is a meticulousness and quality to this early Disney effort that is immutable, enduring, timeless.

The 50 best kids' movies

Offering hope to wooden boys everywhere, its impassioned wishing-upon-a-star denouement helped establish the now-unmistakable Disney DNA. No word of a lie. Spirited Away 2001 Howl's Moving Castle is almost as beloved and Princess Mononoke has a harder-edged brilliance, but this is peak Ghibli, a feast of outlandish imagination set in a netherworld that mutates and morphs almost as fast as the eyes can absorb it.

Its ten-year-old heroine is the perfect guide for youngsters into a realm of witches, dieties and monsters. Buy Spirited Away 14. Aladdin 1992 On paper, Aladdin is Disney on auto-pilot: