10 Disney Movies That Celebrated Anniversaries In 2021

The Walt Disney Company is closing in on its 100th birthday, having turned 98 this very October. With an entire catalog of films and multiple theme parks celebrating them, that is no small feat for the company behind Mickey Mouse. Disney has attracted a large fanbase that continues to grow with each new entry, spanning multiple franchises and subsidiaries.

Related: 5 Good Disney Characters Fans Hated (& 5 Villains They Loved)

Naturally, the films developed by Disney have their own legacy, and a few also celebrated major birthdays this year. Whether classic films, underrated gems, or modern entries, these films have left their mark on audiences everywhere.

It is difficult for fans to believe that Moana, the most recent release on this list, is now five years old as of 2021. With its memorable soundtrack, likable cast, and gorgeous water animation, Moana has aged spectacularly since its release. It also introduced the world to star Auli'i Cravalho, who has enjoyed an illustrious career since.

Just recently, the titular protagonist showed up for a cameo in Ralph Breaks The Internet alongside fellow Disney Princesses. The future for Moana looks bright, and with a highly-anticipated TV spin-off in development, the film is well on its way to becoming a modern classic.

Monsters, Inc. was Pixar's fourth feature-length film ever released in theaters, high off the release of Toy Story 2. While the film took a mostly comedic tone, the odd friendship between James 'Sully' Sullivan and a human girl named Boo served as the major heart of the film. Although it has a prequel in Monsters University, fans remain hopeful for a sequel reuniting Boo and Sully.

Monsters, Inc. also produced a spin-off series known as Monsters At Work, a Disney+ exclusive show. It brings back beloved characters from the movie, alongside a few new faces working at Monsters, Inc.'s Laugh Floor.

An underrated gem amongst Disney's animated canon, Atlantis: The Lost Empire was released during one of Disney's middling eras. Due to the studio looking for a more action-packed animated entry, Atlantis was a more intense film than some of Disney's earlier entries. The tonal whiplash alienated audiences, leading to the cancellation of a theatrical sequel.

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Despite its lukewarm reception, Atlantis has a small yet loyal fanbase who has learned even the most obscure facts surrounding the movie. With a rumored live-action remake in the works, Atlantis fans have plenty to look forward to in coming years.

Based on the Victor Hugo novel of the same name, The Hunchback of Notre Dame stands out as one of Disney's darker animated films. While nowhere near as bleak as its source material, Hunchback tackled themes such as disability, race, and religion with a mature outlook.

Some fans of the movie take umbrage with the comedic singing gargoyles and its much lighter sequel, finding it disrespectful to Hugo's work. In response, Disney released a musical adaptation with a more faithful plot and a chorus of saints to replace the gargoyles.

As one of only three films to receive a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards, Beauty and the Beast is widely regarded amongst the best of Disney's animated films. A hallmark of the Disney Renaissance, Beauty and the Beast features a touching score by Howard Ashman and a well-rounded protagonist in the bookish Belle.

Since its Oscar-winning release, Beauty and the Beast pushed Disney to capitalize on the film's success. It remains a staple fixture of the company to this day, spawning numerous sequels, a live-action remake, a Broadway musical, and a Disney Parks restaurant guests can eat at.

The Great Mouse Detective, released in 1986,  serves as an animated adaptation of the children's series Basil of Baker Street. The premise of the series was a novel one, focusing on mice who lived in 221B alongside Sherlock Holmes and solved crimes in the same vein as the great detective.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Encanto, Disney's Latest Animated Feature

While Disney has seemingly forgotten about The Great Mouse Detective, the film's fans regard it as an underrated entry. The film's villain, Professor Ratigan, earns particular love for Vincent Price's performance and his unapologetically evil demeanor.

While Disney fans debate over whether or not it was better than The Great Mouse DetectiveThe Fox and the Hound still served as a fundamental piece of viewers' childhoods. The film told the story of the unlikely friendship between the titular characters Todd and Copper, which spans their entire lifetime as the two grow up.

Unlike the original novel, The Fox And The Hound ends on a happier note, with the friendship triumphing as Copper protects Todd from his hunter owner. While nowhere near as tear-jerking as Bambi, the film's climax still leaves misty eyes to this very day.

Adapted from Dodie Smith's 1956 novel, 101 Dalmatians survives today with television spin-offs, audio dramas, and plenty of live-action adaptations, sequels, and prequels. This animated love letter to dogs is now 60 years old as of 2021, only five years younger than its original source.

This film also introduced many viewers to Cruella De Vil, one of the most iconic Disney villains today. With her no-nonsense attitude and unique taste in fashion, this version of Cruella inspired many future incarnations of the classic character.

Released in 1951, Alice In Wonderland was not the first time Walt Disney set out to adapt Lewis Carroll's children's book to animation. It was, however, the first feature-length attempt at the project, and judging by its longevity, the most successful.

Related: 10 Best Disney Witches In Movies & TV, Ranked

These days, Alice In Wonderland is most remembered by younger Disney fans for the live-action remakes starring Johnny Depp and Mia Wasikowska in a darker Wonderland. Now that the original is 70 years old as of this year, hopefully younger Disney enthusiasts can rediscover it for a newer generation.

Despite animators going on strike that very year, 1941's Dumbo proved to be a major success with film-going audiences at the time. While it was produced on a cheaper budget than fellow films Cinderella and PinocchioDumbo has plenty of poignant moments that resonate with viewers.

At the same time, Dumbo maintains Disney's more controversial legacy with regards to racial stereotypes, and it is one of many films in their catalog with a disclaimer on Disney+ warning viewers of its content. It has not fared much better in modern times, with only a lackluster Tim Burton remake that strips most of the charm from the original movie.

Next: 10 Disney Deleted Scenes We're Glad They Cut

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