Adventure Movies

Best Classic Older Movies on Disney+ to Watch Right Now

March 6, 202418 Mins Read

It’s really easy to boil down Disney+ into its biggest properties: Marvel, Disney, Star Wars, and Pixar. Maybe you’d throw in National Geographic if you’re the type to enjoy nature or historical documentaries. But outside the big five “hubs” that are given prominence over all else, Disney+ has a plethora of other content in its steadily growing library. Despite a recent purge of content after the sudden return of Bob Iger as CEO, there’s still a plethora of classics available to stream at your leisure.

Old musicals, classic stories, and retro throwbacks aplenty are still alive and kicking on Disney+ in the US. If you’re looking for classic older movies available on this family-friendly streaming service, you’re in luck. Here are our picks for the best of the best Disney+ has to offer.

Updated on Mar. 6th, 2024, by Soniya Hinduja: This article has been updated with additional content to keep the discussion fresh and relevant with even more information and new entries.

25 The Sandlot (1993)

the sandlot

The Sandlot

Release Date
April 7, 1993

Tom Guiry , Mike Vitar , Patrick Renna , Chauncey Leopardi , Marty York , Brandon Quintin Adams

The Sandlot takes place during the summer of 1962 in California. Scott Smalls is a fifth-grader who recently moved into a new neighborhood; all he wants is to hang out with the boys on the local baseball team and play ball at their secret hideout. But being the troublemaker he is, Scotty hits a home run that sends the ball over the tall fence and into an adjacent backyard, where “the Beast” lives. What follows is a plan full of adventures, mishaps, and poignant lessons about friendships.

A Classic Summertime Adventure

Some movies simply exude the nostalgia of growing up in the summer. The Sandlot is a fun story about a tender time in the life of a fifth-grader and how he grows up and fits in. Directed by David Mickey Evans, the movie consists of grounded characters who feel relatable and are made all the more believable because of the chemistry they share. As a coming-of-age adventure, this cult classic focuses on what it really means to be a twelve-year-old. The film remains timeless because of its exploration of childhood and innocence.

24 The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)

In this Disney classic, two animated segments are brought to life and infused with spooky fun. First, we have “The Wind in the Willows,” in which we see the happy-go-lucky and mischievous Mr. Toad using wacky schemes to get an automobile because it’s the latest fad. In the second segment, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a superstitious schoolmaster, Ichabod Crane, falls for Katrina. However, when the three get mixed up in a love triangle, the legendary Headless Horseman offers a chilling change in pace.

A Charming Anthology of Adventures

Among the earliest anthology films produced by Disney, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad breathes new life into beloved characters and makes their stories ripe with humor and beautiful hand-drawn visuals. Directed by a bunch of directors including Clyde Geronimi and Jack Kinney, the movie is nothing short of a joyful right into a simpler time. From Mr. Toad’s gleeful adventures to Ichabod’s white-knuckle-heightened imagination, the film is a masterclass in both suspense and tone. That said, both segments are filmed well enough to transport you into a storybook adventure.

23 Sister Act (1992)

Sister Act

A mystery comedy from the 1990s that does everything right, Sister Act follows Deloris Wilson, who witnesses her boyfriend commit a crime and the police place her in witness protection. Now living as a nun in a convent, Deloris uses her dynamic singing voice and sassy attitude to shake things up a bit. After experiencing the dull and lackluster Sunday Mass, she steps in to help the nuns find their voices and confidence. The entire time, she clashes in her opinions with Mother Superior.

Beloved for Good Reason

Whoopi Goldberg is a total firecracker of humor and charm as Deloris. She steals every scene with her perfect acting and brings newfound energy to the film’s soundtrack. Sister Act is directed by Emile Ardolino, who finds the right balance of emotional moments as well as signature Disney messages of accepting yourself and finding your purpose. At its core, however, the classic is a fish-out-of-water story, and so it provides the kind of feel-good entertainment and joyous songs meant for all ages.

22 The Sound of Music (1965)

Based on the iconic 1959 stage musical, which was composed by Richard Rodgers, The Sound of Music takes you to 1930s Austria, where a young and free-spirited Maria is studying to become a nun at Nonnberg Abbey. She soon leaves the abbey to become a governess for the large and disciplined Von Trapp family. With her innate charm, she brings joy and music back to their lives and also catches the eye of Captain Georg. Amid troubling times and a changing world, Maria and Georg try to preserve their love.

A Truly Timeless Musical

Winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, The Sound of Music brought to the screen memorable rolling hills and lively songs. Under Robert Wise’s direction, this Broadway adaptation enchanted audiences of the time and fascinated generations that came and went. The movie stars Julie Andrews, who is a force to be reckoned with as Maria. She showcases her passion for life and her gift of perseverance and reminds us that only family and music have the power to lift us in our darkest times.

21 Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)

Blending science fiction with comedy, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids follows an eccentric scientist named Wayne Szalinski. He’s working on a shrink ray in his backyard lab. Struggling to get it right, Wayne accidentally shrinks his kids and the neighbor’s kids down to the size of a quarter-inch. As the adults argue, the tiny beings must band together, survive trash cans and tall grass, escape predators like dogs and birds, and eventually find a way to reverse their size before it’s too late.

Comedy for the Whole Family

An unexpected box office hit and a beloved to date, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids became the highest-grossing live-action Disney film of all time. Directed by Joe Johnston, the adventure comedy still hasn’t been beat in terms of clever humor and inventive premise. It has this sublime blend of tender moments as the young actors portray themselves as smaller but more resourceful versions of their grown-up selves, as well as advanced ‘80s special effects that make the shrunken perspectives more fun to watch. Overall, a gem of a family comedy.

20 Freaky Friday (1976)

Jodie Foster as Annabel Andrews and Barbara Harris as Ellen Andrews in Freaky Friday
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Mary Rodgers’ beloved children’s novel has had four adaptations in total, but the 1976 original truly stands out among them all. Freaky Friday follows an uptight mother, Ellen, and her rebellious daughter, Annabel, at odds with one another. Their constant bickering and frustration lead to a mystic mishap, and they wake up one day to realize that they’ve swapped bodies. Forced to walk in the other’s shoes (literally), the mother-daughter duo struggles to make peace with their respective roles.

The Underrated Original

The 70s were an era for great comedy and family-friendly films, and Disney’s attempt at bringing a delightful story to life acts as a time capsule to the era. Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster make the mother-daughter relationship as touching as it is hilarious. We can genuinely feel the generation gap through their dialogue and mannerisms. Moreover, the movie’s upbeat vibe, catchy soundtrack, and vibrant energy are the source of nostalgic fun.

19 Dumbo (1941)

Dumbo the elephant flying around with his ears in Dumbo (1941)
Walt Disney Productions

Another film that has earned remakes, Dumbo centers around a baby circus elephant shunned by all because of his giant ears and small frame. When Dumbo is taken under the wing of Timothy M. Mouse, he finds encouragement and support. But it only lasts for a while because a greedy entrepreneur gets word of Dumbo’s talent for flying and recruits him for his amusement park.

Devastating Yet Uplifting

Disney has a way of telling stories that tug at your heartstrings. The characters are emotionally resonant and the narratives brimming with themes of friendship, courage, and believing in yourself. Dumbo, in particular, has amazing hand-drawn animation which makes it visually stunning to watch. The film also features some iconic scenes, such as the pink parade and the bouncing circus sequence.

18 Turner & Hooch (1989)

A buddy cop classic but with a twist, Turner & Hooch follows Detective Scott Turner, a neat freak who lives an organized life but is suddenly saddled with Hooch, a slobbery Dogue de Bordeaux, who becomes his unlikely partner after his owner is murdered and he’s the only witness to the crime. Despite being entirely different, the mismatched pair works together to find the killer. While Hooch poses an adorable hindrance to Scott’s investigation, Scott eventually warms up to him and learns to loosen up.

Perfect for Dog Lovers, Murder Mystery Fans, and Hanks Afficionados

The film is so effortlessly likable that it’s almost a surprise. Through Hooch’s drooling charms and Tom Hanks’ warm presence, the movie proves that opposites do attract. Beyond the feel-good factor, Turner & Hooch is ultimately a murder mystery, and Roger Spottiswoode’s narrative does not let you forget that. If you’ve ever loved a doggo you should definitely watch the movie.

17 The Little Mermaid (1989)

Disney’s animated masterpiece tells the tale of a free-spirited mermaid princess, Ariel, who is oh-so enchanted by the human world above her. Going against her father’s wishes and risking her identity, Ariel makes a bargain with the cruel sea witch Ursula to give up her mermaid tail and become human to find the prince she’s fallen in love with. But instead, Ursula sabotages Ariel’s voice and gives her a three-day ultimatum to make things right.

What Makes It Great?

The Little Mermaid is a dazzling film that puts a fresh spin on an ageless story. Jodi Benson brings a distinct warmth and pluck to Ariel, making her a vibrant Disney heroine. Pair that with a striking animation and iconic, show-stopping musical numbers and what you get is a sensation that made 1989 a memorable year for film. Both kids and adults have found themselves cheering for the princess and rooting for her happiness.

16 Emil and the Detectives (1964)

Roger Mobley and Bryan Russell as Gustav and Emil in Emil and the Detectives
Walt Disney Productions

When young Emil travels to the big city with money for his grandmother, a shady stranger pickpockets him. Refusing to give up, Emil joins a group of streetwise child “detectives” and tails the thief. They use disguise and deception, evade the adults, and finally overhear him planning to rob a large Berlin bank. But the thief is onto their plan, which only leads to a race against time.

Hijinks and Capers Galore

The film adapts German author Erich Kästner’s beloved 1929 novel with charm and wit. As the poster child for mischievous youth, Emil makes a great hero. You can relate to him and laugh with him and root for him at the same time. Moreover, the film’s vivid cityscapes and vivacious style work wonders in transporting the audience to a bombed-out Berlin through the eyes of children. Overall, almost sixty years later, Emil and the Detectives is still good fun.


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15 Baby’s Day Out (1994)

Bennington Austin "Bink" Cotwell IV baby from Baby's Day Out
20th Century Fox

The ‘90s were a wild decade. While one wing produced genuinely touching dramas, the other delivered the most wacky classics. Baby’s Day Out falls on the second side of the spectrum. It follows poor Baby Bink who wants nothing more than to explore the big city. But with three bumbling but well-intentioned kidnappers trying to capture him for ransom, Baby Bink ends up getting into some adorable hijinks.

A Surprisingly Delightful Comedy

Featuring two actors, Jacob Joseph Worton and Adam Robert Worton, in the role of Baby, and Joe Monategna in his comedic best, the movie ties up the entire ‘90s in a capsule and remains surprisingly charming throughout. The little star of the movie makes you switch between giggles and “aww”s while the older cast leaves you guffawing with their slapstick comedy. What better way to spend a lazy afternoon?

14 Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

The premise of Miracle on 34th Street goes something like this: when a nice old man is hired by a divorced New York mother as a replacement for department store Santa, there are questions about whether he is the real Kris Kringle. Believing or not believing challenges everything for Susan, and things get so deep that there’s even a court case and a test to determine the man’s mental health.

A Titan Among Christmas Movies

This Christmas favorite is a classic big-screen darling. Even though the festivities don’t last all year long, heartwarming Christmas movies like this one are always a go-to when you need a big dose of feel-good storytelling. Bringing postwar New York to the screen and adding a festive warmth and witty comedy to it only makes the movie more enriched and traditional. Overall, the George Seaton project is a timeless tale about faith and hope.

13 Flight of the Navigator (1986)

flight of the navigator

Flight of the Navigator

Release Date
August 1, 1986

Main Genre

1h 30m

Mark H. Baker , Michael Burton , Phil Joanou

In Flight of the Navigator, 12-year-old David gets his head injured in the forest and unintentionally presses fast-forward on his life. Waking eight years later, in 1978, but not having aged a bit, the mystery of his whole situation is head-scratching. But the news of a UFO discovery eases his worries and soon, he joins a group of aliens piloting their orb ship home.

An Excellent Sci-Fi Kids’ Adventure

Disney movies have an interesting way of making childhood stories adventurous. The movie not only acts as a nostalgic trip to the simpler days of drive-ins and Atari but in doing so, fashions a dazzling story about a kid’s curiosity and that summer sense of limitless possibility.

12 Big (1988)


Release Date
June 3, 1988

In Big, Tom Hanks stars as Josh Baskin, a 13-year-old boy who wishes to become an adult. When he wakes up the day after a freak accident, he finds himself in the body of a full-grown 30-year-old man. Even though the movie stars as a hilarious fish-out-of-water scenario, Hanks makes it his own by traveling to New York City, getting a low-level job, impressing the owner, and even winning himself a potential love interest. The entire time, though, Josh is trying to cling to childhood innocence, because let’s be honest, the corporate world bites the naivety right off our hands.

A Classic of the Body-Swapping Type Genre

Big is one of those movies you put on a Friday night while snuggling into your blanket with a cup of hot chocolate. Sure, the film slams you with hard-hitting truths about adulthood, but director Penny Marshal makes every scene seem natural and unforced. Warm, fuzzy, and sometimes shocking, Big is a timeless classic that celebrates being young and carefree.

11 Hocus Pocus (1993)

Hocus Pocus follows Max, a curious teenager who has recently moved to Salem with his family. When Max accidentally lights the Black Flame Candle, he reawakens the diabolical Sanderson Sisters and brings them back from 17th-century Salem to the present day. Played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, the three witches are in a complete mood of mischief while also seeking immortality. To do that, they suck the happiness out of innocent children and terrorize the entire town.

Halloween-Themed but Appropriate All-Year Round

We all have at least a few Halloween memories from our childhood that still haunt us. For those who don’t, there is always this glorious and ghostly classic from Disney that leaves the audience spooked every season. The magical comedy is a delight for all ages.


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10 The Indiana Jones Saga (1981-2008)

With the newest Indiana Jones film, Dial of Destiny, still buzzing about, now is a perfect time to catch up on the continuing adventures of this action-hero archaeologist with the classic Indiana Jones saga. Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, and The Last Crusade make up an excellent globe-spanning trilogy that sees Henry Walton Jones Jr. (Harrison Ford) fight Nazis, unearth ancient artifacts, and crack wise.

The Most Perfect and Adventurous Romp

Each film in the trilogy carries with it a unique location paying tribute to the classic adventure serials from the 1930s. A fourth film also exists, but most would rather forget that it does. These films would further the career of Harrison Ford a short time after his popular role in Star Wars, and later cement him as a household name.

9 Hello, Dolly! (1969)

Hello Dolly!

Hello Dolly!

Release Date
December 16, 1969

Barbra Streisand , Walter Matthau , Michael Crawford , Marianne McAndrew , E.J. Peaker , Danny Lockin , Joyce Ames , Tommy Tune , Judy Knaiz , David Hurst , Fritz Feld

Directed by the legendary Gene Kelly (Singin’ in the Rain, On the Town), Hello, Dolly! sees Barbra Streisand play the role of Dolly Levi, a matchmaker in New York who faces her toughest challenge yet in the form of Horace Vandergelder. If you’ve ever seen Pixar’s Wall-E, you may recognize portions of Hello, Dolly! from the title character’s humble little hovel, as well as from a handful of other scenes throughout.

Even if you’re not a fan of musicals, there’s something to be said for the infectious, upbeat optimism found throughout this film and other works by Gene Kelly. Featuring catchy songs and stunning dance performances, Hello, Dolly! is the type of film that’s hard to come by in the modern day. It would win multiple Oscars during its initial theatrical run, but would otherwise fail to make a significant financial return.

8 The Princess Bride (1987)

Believe it or not, there are still a handful of people who haven’t seen The Princess Bride yet. Directed by Rob Reiner (This is Spinal Tap, Stand by Me), this film is considered by many to be one of the highlights of the 1980s, in addition to being one of Reiner’s best films. In a twist on a standard fairy tale, a pair of lovebirds — specifically, a beautiful princess and a sword-swinging farmhand — find their relationship challenged by all kinds of nastiness.

A Pure Delight

Cary Elwes and Robin Wright lead this iconic fantasy film, with memorable appearances by Fred Savage, Andre the Giant, Chris Sarandon, and Christopher Guest. The Princess Bride remains beloved by practically everyone who has seen it, and when the prospect of a potential remake came about in late 2019, the negative reception was both immediate and immense.

7 Return to Oz (1985)

Return to Oz

Return to Oz

Release Date
June 21, 1985

Walter Murch

Walter Murch’s Return to Oz may not be what you expect from a Wizard of Oz sequel. Taking a distinctly darker approach to this classic fantasy setting, Dorothy returns to the magical Land of Oz after it has been conquered by the Nome King. Tasked with returning the kingdom to its prosperous roots, she’ll have the help of new friends as Oz turns into something far different from anyone could’ve imagined.

A Creative and Compelling Adaptation

A more faithful adaptation of the early Oz novels by L. Frank Baum, Return to Oz was the subject of mixed reviews and poor box-office returns. However, the film’s inspired visuals and special effects are a sight to behold. While it may be a little too much to handle for younger audiences, the level of creativity on display is stellar.

6 Tron (1982)



Release Date
July 9, 1982

Speaking of effects and creativity, enter Tron, directed by Steven Lisberger. When Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) finds himself transported into the world of a mainframe computer, he must complete a variety of dangerous programs in a neon-drenched world to escape. Visually inspired by early video games, Tron‘s most distinctive characteristics are its early CGI effects and its utilization of cel animation in creating a distinctly futuristic setting.

A Sci-Fi Classic

Do Tron‘s effects hold up? Well, no. But from a film-making standpoint, Tron would innovate in the world of special effects in multiple ways. It would also set the stage for a legacy sequel, Tron: Legacy, almost thirty years after its release. Even if it’s not all that convincing, it’s a visually iconic film that remains the subject of countless homages and references across all forms of media.

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