In the 1960s, Disney changed its animation style. They moved away from the elegant style of the 1950s and moved to a cheaper, Xerox style in the 1960s. This was done as a necessity due to “Sleeping Beauty” losing money at the box office. Two films were released in this style before the passing of Walt Disney. One more film was released following Walt’s death using this style. Those three films brought Disney’s Silver Age of Animation to a close. In the 1970s, the animation studio began to drift as they mostly made films from stories that Walt had been looking into making before his death. These were the beginning of Disney’s Bronze Age of Animation. There were 4 films released during this decade. In this article, I’m going to rank the seven films from the 1960s and 1970s, based on my own personal preference. Let’s dig in.
7. THE MANY ADVENTURES OF WINNIE THE POOH
This is one of the few times since the Wartime Era where Disney put a bunch of different stories together to make a feature length film. But, unlike the Wartime Era package films, this feels more episodic rather than like stories that have very little to do with each other being put into the same film. We get several adventures with Pooh and his friends. It’s fun, but feels weak compared to a lot of other Disney films.
6. THE ARISTOCATS
The first film of the Bronze Age tells an interesting story of three cats who are set to inherit a fortune, so the butler kidnaps them so he can get the fortune instead. While the motive is different, it still feels like a lower stakes version of “101 Dalmatians.” It’s fun and has some good songs, but there are better films during this timeframe.
5. THE SWORD IN THE STONE
This is one of three films from the 1960s in the Silver Age. The animation style is less sleek and scratchier than the Silver Age films from the 1950s. But the filmmakers make up for it with a solid plot. It’s an unusual retelling of the story of King Arthur and Merlin, but it’s a fun one.
4. ROBIN HOOD
Disney takes the tale of Robin Hood and turns it on its head by making the main characters anthropomorphic animals. Foxes, bears, lions, badgers and chickens take over lead roles to make the story of the thief who steals from the rich and gives to the poor more kid-friendly.
3. THE JUNGLE BOOK
The final film of the Silver Age, this is the only one released after Walt Disney died. But he was heavily involved in the production process, so it’s considered the last of his films. It’s a fun retelling of the book written by Rudyard Kipling. It introduces some of the best characters and some of the best music in the Disney canon.
2. THE RESCUERS
“The Rescuers” is the first Disney film to get a sequel and it’s easy to see why. Bernard and Miss Bianca weave a riveting story as they fly to Louisiana to rescue Penny and help her get back to her orphanage and find a forever home. This is another film that is driven by the vocal performances of its stars. Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor are amazing and it shows.
1. 101 DALMATIANS
This is my favorite film of 1960s and my favorite film of the Silver Age. First, it has 99 puppies plus two adult dalmatians. That’s just cute. It has a great story of betrayal and kidnapping that ends with a daring escape to return home. Plus, Cruella Deville is another candidate for greatest Disney villain of all time.
That’s my ranking. Which do you like best from these two decades? How would you rank them?