20 Classic Movies You Didn’t Realize Were Available On Disney Plus
Many of you will have already signed up to Disney Plus, the brand new streaming service from the House of Mouse that offers you the chance to watch some of your favourite Disney films and TV shows in return for an annual or monthly fee.
The service lets you enjoy classic Disney films such as Aladdin, The Lion King and Frozen, alongside films from the companies that Mickey and his friends have acquired over the last decade or so, including Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm.
But it doesn’t end there. The service also offers a number of classic 1980s and 1990s films that you probably weren’t even aware were part of the package. Below are 20 that we’ve definitely been streaming recently.
Willow was released in 1988, and centres on the story of Willow Ufgood, an aspiring sorcerer played Warwick Davis.
The plot makes for a pretty traditional fantasy story, with warriors, wizards, princesses and sword fights, made more memorable by its excellent actors and performances.
The movie is also the brainchild of George Lucas, who spent several months at Skywalker Ranch developing the script, and waiting for visual effects to progress to the advanced level he needed.
19. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
A film you may not have realised was produced by Walt Disney Pictures, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was at the time the highest-grossing live-action Disney film ever.
Disney Plus also offers the sequels Honey, I Blew Up the Kid and Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, but does not yet have Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show from 1997.
The titles are pretty self-explanatory, but the movies follow the hijinks of an inventor and family man named Wayne Szalinski, whose experiments constantly go awry.
It has since inspired everything from theme park attractions to parodies, mostly thanks to the sympathetic and funny lead performance of Rick Moranis.
18. Three Men and a Baby
The biggest US box office hit of 1987, Three Men and a Baby made Ted Danson a household name and was directed by Star Trek’s original Mr Spock, the late Leonard Nimoy.
As for the plot, the first movie follows the lives of three single friends as they struggle to co-parent the love child of one of them.
The American remake was the highest-grossing movie of its year, even surpassing blockbuster Fatal Attraction at the box office.
17. Turner & Hooch
Featuring Oscar winner Tom Hanks teaming up with a dog in order to fight crime, Turner & Hooch is one of those films that they simply don’t make anymore.
A pilot episode for a Turner & Hooch TV series was created years ago and didn’t get picked up by a network, but we’re pleased to report that Disney have recently ordered a brand new 12-episode TV series based on the 1989 film. Until then, we have the film itself.
Turner & Hooch is one of the rare animal movies of the time where the dog doesn’t talk, and instead the plot revolves around a crime in which a dog is the only witness.
In a weird twist, another movie with an almost identical plot – K-9, starring Jim Belushi – was released just three months earlier.
16. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Probably available on Disney’s new streaming platform by virtue of it starring the likes of Donald Duck, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is one film that we’ll be revisiting straight away.
The comedy-noir movie, which follows a jaded private detective as he is forced to team up with an exuberant and slapdash animated rabbit named Roger, was hugely groundbreaking for its time.
The blending of live-action performances seamlessly with entirely animated characters, along with its deft handling of detective movie tropes for an all-ages audience, made Roger Rabbit an instant classic.
The film also contains a few truly iconic moments, especially the scene featuring a sizzling green dip that brings about a horrifying end to an adorable animated shoe.
Produced by Walt Disney Productions alongside two other companies, Tron featured special effects that were at the time completely state of the art.
The original Tron may look a little dated now, but it was hugely boundary-breaking at the time, both for its effects and its forward-thinking plot.
Tron was praised at the time for being inventive, and the performance of Jeff Bridges in the starring role received acclaim, even if the majority of audiences found the plot to be difficult to follow.
Another classic Tom Hanks film from the 1980s, Splash saw the legendary actor fall in love with a woman, played by Daryl Hannah, who is in fact actually a mermaid.
There are rumblings that a remake is in the works, with Channing Tatum set to play a male ‘mermaid’ (or merman), but whether this will be available on Disney Plus isn’t yet clear.
Unusually for the Disney brand, Splash features a fair amount of profanity and even brief nudity (which Disney Plus has done its best to censor).
However, Splash does feature the classic Disney happy ending, with the happy couple swimming off into the sunset together.
13. Adventures in Babysitting
Adventures in Babysitting tells the story of a babysitter who takes on more than she bargained for after agreeing to look after three children for the night.
Disney Plus also has the 2016 Adventures in Babysitting remake, but we’ll most definitely be sticking with the 1987 original.
The teen movie was the first film Chris Columbus ever directed, which makes sense since he later went on to direct other projects in the same vein, such as Percy Jackson and Harry Potter.
For example, throughout the film, the characters are forced to contend with everything from attempted murder to gang fights, to crime rings.
12. Big Business
If you’ve never watched Big Business then you really should rectify that as soon as possible, because it’s really rather good.
Big Business was released in 1988, and saw Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin play two roles each as they filled the shoes of two sets of identical female twins.
Reception to the movie was pretty mixed at first, but Midler’s performance in particular was praised for its comedic skill.
The movie also features some fabulously 80s costume design, despite part of the film being set in the late 1940s.
11. Home Alone
At this point, it’s hard to imagine a single family that has not seen 1990’s Home Alone at least once.
However, it’s a classic for a reason, and if you truly have seen it too many times, you can also enjoy the sequels Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and Home Alone 3, which are also on Disney Plus.
In case you’ve somehow managed to avoid these movies up until now, the first film follows the exploits of eight-year-old Kevin McAllister (Macaulay Culkin) when he is left behind at home instead of being taken on a family Christmas vacation.
Kevin also conquers his fear of the furnace in the basement, discovers that the old man living on his street is not a serial killer and eats a lot of junk food.
If that doesn’t sound like a good time to you, then we’re honestly not quite sure what to suggest.
You might don’t know this, but the Robin Williams classic Flubber is actually an early example of a Disney remake.
The plot of the remake follows Williams’ Professor Philip Brainard as he attempts to develop a new energy source, in order to save the college where he works from closure.
Even worse, Brainard’s former colleague returns as a romantic rival, threatening both his love life and his future career.
9. The Sandlot
The Sandlot is a 1993 take on the classic group-of-kids-and-a-dog-genre, following a group of young baseball players over the course of one summer.
The gang faces many challenges across the summer, from figuring out how to get the attention of a cute lifeguard to learning how to get better at playing baseball in the dark.
Together, the group improves Scott’s baseball ability and his relationship with his dad, while Benny conquers his fear of the Beast.
8. Flight of the Navigator
Despite now residing on Disney Plus, Flight of the Navigator was initially rejected by Disney, who couldn’t reach a deal on producing it.
The story follows a regular boy named David, who is knocked unconscious when travelling to collect his brother from a friend’s house.
The rest of the story is a race to figure out exactly what has happened to David, and what it has to do with the spaceship that has crash-landed nearby.
7. The Rocketeer
Now that Disney has acquired Marvel, it’s not unusual to see pages and pages of superhero movies available to watch on Disney Plus.
The Rocketeer began as a comic book hero in the 1980s, created to be a tribute to earlier iterations of heroes found in the 30s, 40s and 50s.
Cliff soon attracts attention from forces both good and evil, with Howard Hughes, the FBI and Nazi operatives all looking to influence The Rocketeer.
6.Benji the Hunted
Benji the Hunted was released in 1987 and is an excellent example of a niche children’s movie genre: intelligent dogs in peril.
While waiting for a helicopter containing his owner to come and rescue him, Benji makes it his mission to rescue four orphaned cougar cubs that have been abandoned nearby.
At several points in the story, Benji sacrifices his own chances of being found to help the cubs find a new home where they can be safe.
It’s hard to imagine Disney ever creating a musical that turned out not to be beloved or even liked, but when Newsies was released in 1992, it was pretty much universally disliked.
As for the plot, the events are roughly based on the New York City Newsboys’ Strike of 1899, with three newspaper salesmen dealing with the difficulty of selling papers.
The subject matter might seem dry and boring, but the music is anything but, and you even get to see a delightfully excitable young Christian Bale in action.
4. Return to Oz
The Wizard of Oz is one of the most beloved family classics of all time and, despite featuring in a Disney theme park attraction up until last year, it is not a Disney movie.
Return to Oz was released in 1985, and follows Dorothy as she returns to Oz, only to find that the beautiful land has been overtaken by the evil Nome King.
The tone of Return to Oz is vaguely nightmarish, with the film opening with Dorothy being sent to electrotherapy in an asylum due to her continual talk of Oz.
3. White Fang
White Fang is an unusual film given the huge gap in time between the source material being published and the movie adaptation getting made.
Both the book and the movie, which was released in 1991, follow the story of a young gold prospector and a wolfdog.
The two then brave the Alaskan wilderness together, with Conroy rescuing White Fang from a vicious bulldog.
2. The Three Musketeers
Even for a Disney movie, 1993’s The Three Musketeers has a pretty stacked cast, with Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Chris O’Donnell, Oliver Platt, Tim Curry, and Rebecca De Mornay all along for the ride.
We watch as D’Artagnan, played by Chris O’Donnell, sets out to Paris in order to follow in the footsteps of his murdered father.
This is the perfect movie for anyone who loves a fantasy adventure take on the historical, or anyone who just loves a good sword fight.
1. The Great Muppet Caper
Disney and The Jim Henson Company have worked together on numerous occasions, with Disney producing an upcoming Muppet mockumentary show as well as a duo of Muppet movies.
The original Muppet movies are also available on Disney Plus, however, even those that were made without the involvement of Disney.
Maybe the best of the bunch is The Great Muppet Caper, the 1981 film and first Muppet feature film, in which Kermit and Fozzie play reporters, tasked with catching a gang of jewel thieves.
The movie is, of course, a musical, and features several fourth-wall breaks, as well as hilarious physical comedy, snappy dialogue, and wacky characters.
It’s also the first iteration of Kermit and Miss Piggy’s classic love story played out on the silver screen. What could be better?