In the absence of any big cinema releases, film fans have been turning towards streaming services to get them through this difficult year.
Disney Plus only arrived in the UK in March, but it’s quickly become the platform of choice for many fans, with a wealth of content on offer – including some of the best blockbusters and family fare ever made.
The service brings together all the goodies that Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and Disney have crafted over many years, as well as gripping documentaries from National Geographic, including the nail-biting Free Solo.
This year, several movies have gone directly to Disney Plus, including a perfectly executed film version of Broadway sensation Hamilton, Beyonce’s latest visual album Black Is King and Pixar’s fantasy epic Onward.
Most recently, the live-action Mulan remake was added to the library for your streaming pleasure, although it does come with a premium fee of £19.99.
With so much to choose from, browsing the library can feel overwhelming, so we’ve decided to lend a hand by compiling a list of some of the best films available to watch on Disney Plus.
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Best movies on Disney+ in the UK
We’ve rounded up some of our top picks to help you choose what to watch, but scroll down for full lists by franchise; from Star Wars to Marvel and Pixar.
Pixar’s Onward follows elf brothers Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt) as they begin their journey to find a magical stone that will allow them to spend one more day with their late father… or at least his legs.
When their mother Laurel realises they’re missing, she teams up with a creature part-lion, bat and scorpion named The Manticore to find them.
Touching, funny and magnificently animated, Onward bears all the hallmarks of a classic Pixar film, yet still manages to stand on its own two feet (no pun intended).
Starring: Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer, Mel Rodriguez, Kyle Bornheimer
The Call of the Wild
Based on Jack London’s 1903 novel of the same name, The Call of the Wild follows Buck, a St. Bernard cross whose cushy life in sunny California uprooted when he’s abducted and shipped to the Alaskan Yukon. He soon meets loner John Thornton (Harrison Ford), an experienced frontiersman and the two go on to form a strong bond whilst experiencing the adventure of a lifetime.
The Call of the Wild is a heartwarming adaptation of London’s classic novel, with a stand-out performance from a gruff Ford that’s bound to make any dog-lover shed a tear or two.
Starring: Harrison Ford, Omar Sy, Cara Gee, Dan Stevens, Karen Gillan, Bradley Whitford
Tim Burton’s gothic fantasy romance might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Disney, but the film is included on the platform due to the takeover of 20th Century Fox – the studio behind this movie.
Released back in 1990, Edward Scissorhands remains both one of Burton’s best films and a career highlight for Johnny Depp, who plays the titular synthetic man, who is framed for a crime he doesn’t commit after being taken in by a kindly saleswoman, while also falling in love with her daughter.
Unconventional and unforgettable, a simple description of this bewitching film can’t quite do it justice, and there’s good reason it is now regarded as a bonafide classic.
Starring: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, Kathy Baker, Vincent Price and Alan Arkin.
Home Alone might be a Christmas film, but let’s be honest – it’s one of those comfort movies that you can happily watch at any time of year, even the middle of summer!
Macaulay Culkin stars as an eight year old who is left to fend for himself when his family accidentally leave for holiday without him, but his delight at having the whole house to himself diminishes when he finds himself having to do battle with a pair of incompetent thieves played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern.
There have been several sequels since – and a planned TV series reboot for Disney+ is currently in the works – but so far nothing even gets close to the magic and warmth of the 1990 original.
Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard and Catherine O’Hara
The hugely anticipated live action remake of animated classic Mulan finally arrived on the service in September after forgoing a cinema release – although there’s a catch, you’ll have to pay £19.99 to get access (the film will be available for free from December).
Like the ’90s original, the fearless young protagonist must disguise herself as a man to save her ailing father from serving in the Imperial Army, battling northern invaders in China in the process.
But as much as there are similarities, there are lots of changes from the original as well – you won’t find any talking dragon companions or musical numbers in this altogether more gritty adaptation, which has been given a 12A age rating.
Spies in Disguise
An excellent voice cast including Will Smith, Tom Holland, Rashida Jones and Ben Mendelsohn lend their voices to this animated comedy about a super spy and a scientist who are forced to work together despite their personalities being polar opposites.
When a science experiment goes wrong, the spy (Smith) is accidentally turned into a pigeon and the two must do their utmost to prevent a cybernetic terrorist from seeking revenge, while attempting to return the agent to his human form.
Starring: Will Smith, Tom Holland, Rashida Jones, Ben Mendelsohn, Reba McEntire, Rachel Brosnahan, Karen Gillan, DJ Khaled and Masi Oka
The One and Only Ivan
Bryan Cranston. A stray dog voiced by Danny DeVito. Stellar source material. The One and Only Ivan, the new Disney Plus live-action movie has a lot going for it. And that’s even before we get into the film’s tear-jerker of a plot.
It follows a gorilla named Ivan (voiced by Sam Rockwell), Stella the elephant (Angelina Jolie) and Bob the dog (DeVito) who live in a cage at the top of a US mall. They have no recollection how they got there, but know the mall is owned by Mack (Cranston).
Although seemingly content with life, something changes in Ivan when Ruby, an abused elephant join the group. As the synopsis says, it “causes him to question his life, where he comes from and where he ultimately wants to be.”
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston, Angelina Jolie, Danny DeVito, Helen Mirren, Brooklynn Prince, Chaka Khan and Ron Funches
Hamilton – the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical that took the world by storm – has arrived on Disney+ for all theatre fans to see. This filmed version of the original Broadway production tells the story of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton (Miranda), from his marriage to Elizabeth Schuyler (Phillipa Soo) and his efforts against the British to his rivalry with Aaron Burr (Leslie Odom Jr.) and his eventual demise. With a soundtrack of hit hip-hop influenced songs, you’ll be left Satisfied by this Tony Award-winning musical. If you’re at all unsure, check out RadioTimes.com‘s Hamilton review.
Starring: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Phillipa Soo, Leslie Odom Jr., Renée Elise Goldsberry, Christopher Jackson, Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Jonathan Groff.
The singing sisters of Arendelle are back in this magical sequel to Disney’s smash hit Frozen. Released last year, Frozen II sees Anna (Kristen Bell), Elsa (Idina Menzel), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and Olaf (Josh Gad) venture into the unknown to learn the origins of Elsa’s icy powers. With a soundtrack just as enchanting as its predecessor, this animated musical will have you humming its hits long after you finish watching. Click here to read our Frozen II review.
Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Jason Ritter and Martha Plimpton.
Star Wars: Rise of the Skywalker
In the final instalment of the Star Wars saga, Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) lead the Resistance against Kylo Ren and the First Order once and for all. You can expect fast-paced plots, plenty of action and lots of familiar faces, from films old and new. See what you make of the final film by streaming now or read our Rise of Skywalker review.
Starring: Daisey Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant and Lupita Nyong’o.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Angelina Jolie was back in her spectacular title role in Disney’s Maleficent 2 which launched on Disney Plus on 15 May. The sequel to the first film is set five years on, where Aurora (Elle Fanning) rules as Queen with Maleficent as protector. After a Queen from a neighbouring kingdom plots against Maleficent, she flees and finds herself encountering other fairies in hiding from humans. But will the end of their struggle be through peace or war?
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, David Gyasi, Jenn Murray, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville and Imelda Staunton.
Just in case climbing the 3,000-foot granite El Capitan wall in California wasn’t tough enough, extreme athlete Alex Honnold decided to take the feat to another level in 2017: he attempted it without rope.
Why? That’s exactly what this documentary digs into. While showing the nail-biting ascent itself – described by many as the top athletic achievement in human history – Free Solo offers an intimate portrayal of Honnold, revealing the insane levels he undergoes to achieve perfectionism in life. A thrilling and surprisingly emotional watch.
Starring: Alex Honnold
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Set days before Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, this anthology adventure set in a galaxy far far away explores the story of Jyn Erso, a prisoner of the Empire who is set free by the Rebellion. Visually stunning and featuring Darth Vader at his most fearsome, it’s regarded by many fans as the best Star Wars title of the 21st Century.
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen, and Forest Whitaker.
A cultural phenomenon and the highest-grossing film worldwide for nearly a decade, Avatar was a visual effects marvel when it was released in 2009. And with four sequels on the way, it’s a great time to delve back into Pandora, an alien world relentlessly mined for resources by humans.
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sigourney Weaver
Lady and the Tramp
Not only does this live-action remake of the classic 1955 Disney animation comes with a voice cast including Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux, but it’s completely packed with adorable pooches. No longer set in Paris the action moves to New Orleans. If it leaves you hankering after the original don’t worry, there’s Lady and the Tramp (1955 original) to watch and Lady and The Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure.
Starring: Tessa Thompson, Justin Theroux, Janelle Monáe, and Sam Elliott
A Disney+ original, this is the true story of an epic Alaskan adventure undertaken by Leonhard Seppala (Willem Dafoe) and his dog, Togo, in the treacherous winter of 1925. Tasked with picking up a much-needed vaccine this simple story is packed full of heart.
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Julianne Nicholson, Christopher Heyerdahl, Michael Gaston, Michael McElhatton, Jamie McShane, Michael Greyeyes
10 Things I Hate About You
The breakthrough film for stars Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this charming teen rom-com is a cheeky retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew in a 1990s US High School setting.
Starring Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Larisa Oleynik
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley and Geoffrey Rush
Also available to watch on Disney+:
- Pirates of The Caribbean: At World’s End
- Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
- Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
- Pirates of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
The Sword in the Stone
Although coming out to mixed reviews on its 1963 release, this classic retelling of the legend of King Arthur is now fondly remembered for its enchanting characters – including an unhinged Merlin. And with a live-action remake on the way, we definitely recommend pulling out the original.
Starring: Rickie Sorensen, Karl Swenson, Junius Matthews, Sebastian Cabot, Norman Alden, and Martha Wentworth
Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made
Another Disney+ original, this adaptation of the best-selling book of the same name follows young Timmy Failure, who, along with his 1,500-pound polar bear partner Total operate a detective agency.
Starring: Winslow Fegley, Ophelia Lovibond and Craig Robinson
Zootopia (AKA: Zootropolis)
Holding a massive 98% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this animated animal story took over a billion dollars at the box office when released in 2016. Fast, funny and genuinely touching at times, Zootopia delves into the life of new bunny police officer Judy Hopps, who has just made a big jump to the city.
Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate
Hailed as one of the best Pixar films to date – if not the best – Inside Out takes viewers inside the mind of child Riley. Specifically, we’re taken to her mind’s control centre where her emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) – advise her through everyday life.
At its core, Frozen is a simple story: a fearless princess sets off to find her estranged sister with the help of a rugged iceman, his loyal reindeer, and a snowman brought to life. However, it’s the film’s beautiful animation, clever dialogue and singalong soundtrack that make it unmissable.
Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana
Also available to watch on Disney+:
- Olaf’s Frozen Adventure
- Frozen Fever
The Emperor’s New Groove
If you’re looking for big laughs, put this on. Packed with Disney’s signature family-friendly quips, alongside some surprisingly clever meta gags, The Emperor’s New Groove – a story of an Incan ruler transformed into a llama – is one of the best-animated comedies on Disney+. Much-underrated.
Starring: David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt, Patrick Warburton, and Wendie Malick
Also available to watch on Disney+:
- The Emperor’s New Groove 2: Kronk’s New Groove
The Princess Diaries
Before release, many predicted this coming-of-age adventure – the story of US teen Mia learning she is heir to a European kingdom – would be a complete failure. However, a winning performance from lead Anne Hathaway and a wit-stuffed script won over audiences and turned the movie into an instant classic.
Starring: Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews, Héctor Elizondo, Heather Matarazzo, Mandy Moore, Caroline Goodall
Also available to watch on Disney+:
- The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Although the 2020 live-action remake contains some mesmerising set pieces, it’s missing a few missing ingredients that made 1998’s Mulan so fondly remembered: unforgettable sing-a-long tracks, love interest Captain Li Shang and, of course, Mushu the dragon. From the cast to the laughs the original Mulan is a great family-friendly movie.
Starring: Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, Miguel Ferrer and BD Wong
Also available to watch on Disney+:
- Mulan II
With a sequel officially greenlit for a Disney+ future release, it’s time to revisit the original Sanderson sisters, witches who keep alive by sucking the souls of children. Can two teens and a talking cat stop them? We won’t spoil it, but this is a movie that can be watched any time of year – even if it’s just for Bette Midler singing Spell on You.
Starring: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy
The ultimate comic-book crossover movie, Endgame brings Marvel’s infinity saga to an end with an epic fight between supervillain Thanos and Earth’s mightiest heroes. Scroll down for the full Marvel list.
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Josh Brolin
Described as a “tender and offbeat coming-of-age story”, this Disney+ original is based on New York Times’ best-selling young adult novel of the same name. It follows confident and colourful highschooler Stargirl Caraway, who changes the life of fellow student Leo Borlock.
Starring: Grace VanderWaal, Graham Verchere, Giancarlo Esposito, Karan Brar, Darby Stanchfield
Colourful, exciting and damn fun: Ragnarok was a major change from Thor films of past. This instalment to the franchise follows the lightning warrior as he tries to prevent Ragnarok – the end of the Asgardian civilization – at the hands of the ruthless Hela.
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
A favourite instalment of the space saga for many Star Wars fans, the dark sequel to A New Hope sees Jedi Luke Skywalker take on Darth Vader’s insidious empire, with the help of friends Han Solo and Princess Leia – plus new mentor Yoda. We’d recommend a nice long weekend binge of all the Star Wars movies. Full list is below, just scroll down.
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker
This Disney animated adventure features Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as a singing demigod. And if you needed more reason to watch, the story of the titular teen chosen by the ocean itself to reunite a mystical relic with the goddess Te Fiti, makes this worth a watch.
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, Alan Tudyk
Big Hero 6
Don’t worry, you haven’t missed the first five films. Big Hero 6 is actually based on the Marvel comic of the same name, a story of Hiro Hamada, a robotics prodigy who joins a group of five other high-tech heroes.
Starring: Scott Adsit, Ryan Potter, Daniel Henney, T.J. Miller, Jamie Chung
Freaky Friday (2003)
One of the best body-swap films you’ll see (sorry, Jumanji), this remake of the 1976 classic sees upright therapist Tessa and her daughter, aspiring rock star teen Anna, wake up inside each other’s bodies.
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan, Harold Gould, Chad Michael Murray
Also available to watch on Disney+:
- Freaky Friday (2018)
- Freaky Friday (1977)
The Parent Trap (1998)
The tale of two identical sisters (both played by a young Lindsay Lohan) separated at birth and brought together by a scheme to reunite their divorced parents.
Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Quaid, Natasha Richardson
Also available to watch on Disney+:
- The Parent Trap (1961)
George of the Jungle
Children of the 90s will already be familiar with George of the Jungle, but Disney’s charming Tarzan spoof deserves to be introduced to the next generation. The film stars Brendan Fraser in his glorious prime and packs several other funny performances, including John Cleese as an academic gorilla named Ape.
Brendan Fraser, Leslie Mann, Thomas Haden Church, Richard Roundtree
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
This acclaimed comedy from Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis amazed audiences with its visual effects in 1988 and they remain very impressive to this day. Bob Hoskins stars as private detective Eddie Valiant, who crosses paths with a number of iconic cartoon characters to get to the bottom of a mysterious murder.
Starring: Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Joanna Cassidy, Charles Fleischer
The Jungle Book (2016)
Director Jon Favreau breathes new life into one of Disney’s most iconic animated films, featuring stunning visual effects and action sequences.
Young actor Neel Sethi does an excellent job as Mowgli, holding his own against an all-star voice cast that includes Bill Murray, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba and Christopher Walken.
Starring: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba
Also available to watch on Disney Plus UK
Muppets Most Wanted
One of the most recent adventures in the Muppets long and storied history, Muppets Most Wanted sees the beloved characters mixed up in an international crime caper. Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey take leading roles among a host of A-list cameos, as Kermit the Frog’s devious doppelganger wreaks havoc with the group’s world tour.
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey, Steve Whitmire
Without a doubt one of Pixar’s greatest films, Up is a triumph and arguably their biggest tear-jerker to date. An old man sets out to honour his late wife by going on the adventure they always talked about, unintentionally taking an enthusiastic young boy scout with him. Their dangerous journey is both heartfelt and hilarious, an absolute must-watch.
Starring: Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai, John Ratzenberger, Christopher Plummer
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Among the many distinct corners of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man has carved out a niche that is appropriately small scale. Scott Lang’s second adventure sees him team up with former flame Hope van Dyne to fight a mysterious new villain. Paul Rudd is affable as ever opposite Lost star Evangeline Lilly, while Michael Peña remains a scene-stealer as their dim-witted friend Luis.
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins
Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy
Star Wars fans won’t be able to resist this in-depth look into the making of the original trilogy, including the first film’s famously troubled production. Featuring interviews with creator George Lucas and stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, Empire of Dreams offers unprecedented insight into some of the most influential films of all time.
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher
X-Men: Days of Future Past
When people talk about the best superhero movies ever made, X-Men: Days of Future Past deserves at least a mention. The star-studded cast of the original films and the prequels join forces for an action-packed time travel epic, which packs a number of rewarding moments for veteran fans. Arguably, the franchise should have ended here on such a meteoric high note.
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence
A smart family film packed with heart, Holes follows Stanley Yelnats (played by a young Shia LaBeouf), a luckless teen who’s sentenced to months of detention at Camp Green Lake for a crime he didn’t commit. It’s there he and his fellow inmates are forced to shovel pits into the desert for what turns out to be a very special purpose. It’s a story we swear you’ll dig.
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight
Lilo and Stitch
An adorable – but occasionally savage – blue alien is the star of this 2002 animated hit, which sees the curious creature escape from the lab in which he’d been genetically modified and form an unlikely friendship with a young Hawaiin girl.
Starring: Daveigh Chase, Chris Sanders, Tia Carrere, David Ogden Stiers
101 Dalmatians (1996)
Glenn Close stars as iconic baddie Cruella De Vil in this remake of the beloved 1961 animation, which brought the action forward to the (then) modern-day and also starred Jeff Daniels, Joely Richardson and Hugh Laurie.
Starring: Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels, Joely Richardson, Joan Plowright, Hugh Laurie
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
The live-action remake of the Oscar-nominated animation from 1991 was a tremendous hit for Disney – with Emma Watson impressing in the role of Belle and a formidable ensemble cast including the likes of Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson.
Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ian McKellen
The biggest box office hit of Disney’s live-action era, Guy Ritchie’s dazzling take on the street-rat-turned-Arabian-Prince tale will wow fans of the 1998 cartoon and newbies alike. No, it might not be as good as the original – Will Smith’s blue-tinted genie could never reach Robin Williams’ level, could he? – but 2019’s Aladdin still ain’t one to miss. Highlights include the updated soundtrack, impressive visual effects and a scene-stealing performance from Jasmine’s handmaiden Dalia (Nasim Pedrad).
Starring: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari
The hilarious underdog story of the Jamaican bobsled team who competed at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary remains one of the most eminently quotable films of the ‘90s – “Feel the Rhythm! Feel the Rhyme! Get on up, it’s bobsled time!”
Starring: John Candy, Leon, Doug E. Doug, Rawle D. Lewis