The Silver Age of Disney Animation ran from 1950 to 1967. It represented a time when Disney returned to the feature length narrative storytelling after having switched to a package format during the Wartime Era. It lasted until the passing of Walt Disney and ended with the first film released after his death. There are 8 films that make up Disney’s Silver Age. I’m going to rank them from worst to best.
8. SLEEPING BEAUTY
This 1959 classic film is beautifully animated but leaves a lot to be desired. It has one of the best villains in the Disney canon with Maleficent. But Aurora may be the worst protagonist in Disney’s history as the most important thing she does in the movie is fall under a spell that causes her to fall into a deep sleep. It’s far from great. Plus, the fact it lost money led to Disney having to change its animation style going into the 1960s to save money.
7. ALICE IN WONDERLAND
This 1951 film is the second film of the Silver Age, and it is quite weird. Based on Lewis Carroll’s stories of Alice, it was always going to be weird. It has its moments, but in the end, its episodic formula doesn’t work for me. It’s good, but I think it could be better.
6. PETER PAN
This is the only one of the films in the Silver Age I think needs to be remade. “Peter Pan” has some great elements, but a lot of it is more than outdated. The characters are great. Captain Hook is a great villain, even if “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” has turned him into a bumbling idiot for a younger generation. I’m all for giving this one an update.
5. LADY AND THE TRAMP
The 1955 film served as a bridge between “Peter Pan” and “Sleeping Beauty.” It has that beautiful 1950s animation that has stood the test of time. And while there’s plenty of memorable moments in this classic, parts of the plot leave a lot to be desired. I love the film, but I love others from this timeframe more.
4. 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. 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.
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.
The first film of the Silver Age is arguable the best. It’s a classic story that has been told hundreds of times over, but I think Disney’s version is the best. This film helped usher back in the full-length narratives that were first introduced during the Golden Age of Animation. Plus, it has Walt Disney’s favorite animated scene of all time when the Fairy Godmother transforms Cinderella’s dress. I can see why this would be number one on a lot of lists, but there’s one film I enjoy more.
1. 101 DALMATIANS
This is 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. What do you think? Which Silver Age film is the best? Which is the worst? Let us know, but please be nice in the comments.