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The best movies on Disney+ right now (November 2023)

Disney+ is one of the best places to stream some of the best movies available. The pace at which the streamer adds original content may be inconsistent, but legacy additions help maintain its mainstream appeal. That’s in large part thanks to reliable brands like Star Wars, Marvel, and National Geographic being constant contributors to the catalog. Having a diverse library is an important asset to help a streamer to stand apart in a packed market, and this monthly guide will help you sift through the Disney+ movie selection for the best titles to stream right now.

If you’re not already fully invested, the Disney Bundle is also worth your money. With this package, customers gain access to Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu’s ad-supported plan for just $13 a month. Given the diversity of content on offer from these platforms, that’s a respectable value.

If you want to expand your search, we’ve also rounded up the best shows on Disney+, as well as the best movies on Netflix, the best movies on Amazon Prime, and the best movies on Hulu.

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) new

Spider-Man: Far From Home
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Jake Gyllenhaal
Directed by Jon Watts

The streaming availability for Spider-Man movies isn’t always clearcut due to the complicated licensing rights between Disney/Marvel Studios and Sony. However, Disney+ now adds director Jon Watts’ sophomore endeavor from his trilogy with Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his friends find themselves facing catastrophic supervillain threats while on a school trip across Europe, with the young man struggling to balance his life as a student with that of a hero with deadly serious responsibilities. Jake Gyllenhaal gives a spirited and connivingly entertaining performance as Mysterio, a disgruntled former Stark Industries employee looking to upend Peter’s life to tarnish Tony’s legacy.

Captain Marvel (2019)

Captain Marvel
64 %
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn
Directed by Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden

With Marvel Studios and director Nia DaCosta’s sequel The Marvels releasing in theaters, now is the best time to revisit the 2019 original. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s Captain Marvel chronicles the origin story of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and her road to becoming one of the most powerful figures in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Carol finds herself stuck in the middle of an intergalactic conflict while trying to recollect the memories of her life on Earth. Set against the backdrop of the ’90s, the movie puts an entertaining superhero spin on the Top Gun formula, tying together elements of this world’s past with the events that would eventually lead to Avengers: Endgame.

Deadpool (2016)

65 %
Genre Action, Adventure, Comedy
Stars Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein
Directed by Tim Miller

A spinoff X-Men movie from the Fox era of the franchise, director Tim Miller’s Deadpool was a surprise hit for the superhero genre. Led by the funny and charismatic Ryan Reynolds as the titular antihero, the movie follows the tragic origins of Wade Wilson and his relentless hunt for the man who ruined his life.

As tragic as his origins are, Deadpool seamlessly weaves in the character’s signature raunchy comedic edge from the comic book source material. The movie’s success further popularized the idea of R-rated superhero productions, with Reynolds’ casting proving to be a match made in heaven.

Deadpool 2 (2018)

Deadpool 2
66 %
Genre Action, Comedy, Adventure
Stars Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin
Directed by David Leitch

Director David Leitch takes the reins for Deadpool 2, which sees the beloved Merc With a Mouth take on a wider array of threats from the X-Men universe. Wade forces the X-Force superhero team to help save a young mutant boy from a ruthless time-traveling soldier named Cable (Josh Brolin).

Overall, Deadpool 2 doubles down on the action and comedic elements that made the original such a hit, and it largely pays off. Reynolds’ performance as the foul-mouthed mercenary with a heart of gold is as charismatic as fans would hope, and his chemistry with Brolin’s Cable is effortlessly entertaining.

Haunted Mansion (2023) new

Haunted Mansion
Genre Fantasy, Comedy
Stars Rosario Dawson, Chase W. Dillon, LaKeith Stanfield
Directed by Justin Simien

Continuing the trend of Disney looking at anything and everything it has IP-wise to turn into a live-action film, director Justin Simien brings the Haunted Mansion theme park ride to the big screen. Haunted Mansion follows the the supernatural exploits of Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) and Travis (Chase W. Dillon), as the pair form a team comprised of characters played by LaKeith Stanfield, Danny DeVito, Owen Wilson, and Tiffany Haddish to exorcise the titular mansion.

Though the movie doesn’t do anything spectacular in terms of scares or humor, this impressive ensemble cast puts together a charming and entertaining show. It’ll be an especially fun movie night for families during this Halloween season.

Werewolf by Night (2022)

Werewolf by Night
Genre Action, Fantasy, Horror
Stars Gael García Bernal, Laura Donnelly, Harriet Sansom Harris
Directed by Michael Giacchino

Technically qualifying as a TV special and short film all at once, director Michael Giacchino’s Werewolf by Night is arguably the most inventive production from Marvel Studios in recent years. The composer for Matt Reeves’ The Batman made a strong impression with this feature, telling the story of a group of treasure hunters competing to find an ancient relic — all the while the titular Werewolf stands against them.

Gael García Bernal puts on a standout performance as the conflicted Jack Russell, backed up by Giacchino’s direction and a compelling story by Heather Quinn and Peter Cameron. Complete with smart use of practical effects and stunning black-and-white cinematography to capitalize on the vintage “creature feature” atmosphere, the standalone Werewolf by Night is a refreshing and much-needed change of pace for the MCU.

Logan (2017)

77 %
Genre Action, Drama, Science Fiction
Stars Hugh Jackman, Dafne Keen, Patrick Stewart
Directed by James Mangold

Perhaps one of the best superhero movies in general, director James Mangold brought to screen Wolverine’s best theatrical outing in Logan. Set in an alternate canon separate from the mainline X-Men movies, this gritty tale sees a punished and battered Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) in a post-apocalyptic countryside where mutants are vehemently persecuted, killed, and experimented on for nefarious purposes.

Along the way, the aged pair ends up defending a young mutant girl named Laura from the mutant-hunting Reavers. A masterful blend of the superhero, neo-noir, and Western film genres and bolstered by Oscar-worthy performances from Jackman and Stewart, Logan is one of the most impactful comic book movies since The Dark Knight.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man: Homecoming
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction, Drama
Stars Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr.
Directed by Jon Watts

As the most lucrative singular superhero in pop culture, it was only a matter of time before Spider-Man was rebooted into Marvel Studios’ MCU. Tom Holland’s iteration of the Wall-Crawler came in Captain America: Civil War, but Spider-Man: Homecoming is the hero’s first solo outing.

Directed by Jon Watts, Peter finds himself grappling with the burden of being a responsible hero who still has to balance his day-to-day life as a high schooler, and he’s faced with Michael Keaton’s imposing Vulture as the villain leads crime sprees powered by alien technology. Spider-Man: Homecoming was a solid debut for the MCU’s rendition of this young hero, with Keaton’s villainous performance being a highlight.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023) new

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Genre Science Fiction, Adventure, Action
Stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista
Directed by James Gunn

After an extended delay, James Gunn finally came back to put his finishing touch on the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy with Vol. 3. Set after the events of Avengers: Infinite War and Endgame, Quill and the rest of the misfit superhero crew are still dealing with the death of their timeline’s Gamora.

Now joined by an alternate version of Gamora introduced in Endgame, the Guardians take off on a mission to rescue Rocket Raccoon from the High Evolutionary (played by Chukwudi Iwuji), an alien cyborg scientist who seeks to create his twisted idea of a perfect society. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has been praised for its relentlessly emotional approach and sendoff for this beloved team of underdog superheroes.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) new

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Genre Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx
Directed by Marc Webb
Despite being the series’ early end, Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has its redeeming qualities. Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy graduate from high school and are enjoying their blossoming relationship as the former breaks the promise made with her late father to stay away from her. That promise was an effort to keep Stacy safe from the dangerous superheroics of Peter’s alter ego, and that comes back to haunt the hero as the Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) and Electro (Jamie Foxx) burst onto the scene. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 admittedly suffers from elements of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 by way of an unfocused plot and several characters vying for screen time. However, the powerful performances by Garfield and Stone, the high stakes, and the emphasized theme of responsibility should resonate with fans.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Genre Science Fiction, Adventure, Action
Stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista
Directed by James Gunn
Following up on the immense critical and commercial success of the original installment, James Gunn returns to the directing chair for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The movie takes place not long after the events of the first outing, with the dynamic main cast members (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel) reprising their roles as an unlikely collection of superheroes. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 sees the titular spacefaring team get involved in helping Peter Quill uncover the mystery of his parentage. This sophomore venture was well-received for building on the endearing relationships between the ragtag bunch of heroes and doubling down on the underlying emotional theme of the found family.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

The Amazing Spider-Man
Genre Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans
Directed by Marc Webb
Though the film series didn’t pan out as initially hoped, director Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man was still an admirable take on the beloved Wall-Crawler in its own right. The movie plays out the origins of this rebooted universe’s Peter Parker (played by Andrew Garfield) as he navigates the coming-of-age troubles of high school life and his overwhelming superheroic persona. But in a tragically grim turn of events, Dr. Curt Connors is mutated into a violent humanoid reptile following a medical experiment, testing the budding Spider-Man’s abilities and newfound burden of responsibilities. Thanks to the electric dynamic between Garfield’s Spider-Man and Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy, The Amazing Spider-Man is a solid adventure defined by passionate performances.

The Slumber Party (2023) new

The Slumber Party
Genre Comedy
Stars Darby Camp, Emmy Liu-Wang, Valentina Herrera
Directed by Veronica Rodriguez
Even if Disney+ isn’t releasing high-profile blockbusters, the streamer still occasionally adds endearing family-friendly efforts to change the pace. Directed by Veronica Rodriguez, The Slumber Party follows a group of middle schoolers trying to retrace their steps in the wake of a birthday sleepover gone comically wrong. As the story revolves around the group of friends trying to find the birthday girl gone missing-in-action, Megan, Paige, and Veronica get entangled in a string of colorful hijinks. This delightful coming-of-age comedy premiered on Disney Channel and was made available to stream the following day on Disney+.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy
Genre Action, Science Fiction, Adventure
Stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista
Directed by James Gunn
James Gunn and co. have wrapped up their beloved trilogy of movies, and the original Guardians of the Galaxy still holds up well today. Released in 2014 not long after the hype of The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy successfully raised the bar at the time for how creative superhero team-up movies can be. Starring Chris Pratt, Zoë Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel, this MCU caper follows an unlikely group of antiheroes-turned-heroes who find themselves on the run when they steal one of the most important artifacts in the universe. What spawned into some of the strongest movies in Marvel Studios’ catalog, James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy managed to turn a ragtag group of characters into household names.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
68 %
Genre Adventure, Action, Science Fiction
Stars Hayden Christensen, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman
Directed by George Lucas
While George Lucas’ Star Wars Prequel Trilogy was largely seen as uneven, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith ended it on a strong note. Set during the waning days of the Clone Wars with the Republic fighting off the Separatists, Anakin Skywalker (played by Hayden Christensen) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Ewan McGregor) deal with a myriad of grim revelations threatening the stability and well-being of the galaxy. Between General Grievous wreaking mayhem as General of the Separatist army; Palpatine being outed as the Sith’s shadow puppet master; and two brothers-in-arms being turned cruelly against each other, this sci-fi epic is filled with dramatic spectacle. Revenge of the Sith lives up to the space opera atmosphere of the franchise and is packed with emotional weight to transition seamlessly into A New Hope.

Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) new

Avatar: The Way of Water
Genre Science Fiction, Adventure, Action
Stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver
Directed by James Cameron
It was over a decade in the making, but director James Cameron finally followed up on 2009’s Avatar with The Way of Water. The movie was released to resounding commercial success, once again pushing the boundaries of visual effects in filmmaking. Avatar: The Way of Water sees Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldaña return as the Na’vi duo faces a renewed threat of human invasion. The two seek refuge among the aquatic Metkayina clan, expanding upon this still-budding universe’s expansive worldbuilding. The Way of Water managing to up the visual flair from its predecessor is quite the feat, considering the 2009 film’s effects still hold up fairly well.

Finding Dory (2016)

Finding Dory
Genre Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family
Stars Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Ed O'Neill
Directed by Andrew Stanton
Finding Nemo was one of the most groundbreaking animated movies over 20 years ago, and the sequel does a respectable job of continuing this beloved story. This time following the lovably forgetful regal blue tang fish, Finding Dory sees the titular character as she embarks on an ocean-wide journey to reunite with her estranged parents. It’s up to Marlin and Nemo to find her when things go south, and Pixar’s animation combined with the story’s emotional resonance shines through to ensure Finding Dory is a worthy sequel.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) new

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Genre Adventure, Action
Stars Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman
Directed by Steven Spielberg

In preparation for Harrison Ford’s last hurrah as Indiana Jones, Disney+ is adding the series’ beloved classics. Directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg, Raiders of the Lost Ark marks the debut of the fan-favorite adventurer trying to stop Nazi forces from securing a dangerous treasure.

The movie was revolutionary for its time, pushing the boundaries for action set pieces and the evolution of the pulpy adventure genre. Indiana Jones is still an iconic character, with the swashbuckling archeologist’s first theatrical outing holding up well even today.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) new

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Genre Adventure, Action
Stars Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Ke Huy Quan
Directed by Steven Spielberg

Director Steven Spielberg followed up on the blockbuster hit that was Raiders with the solid Temple of Doom. The plot follows Harrison Ford’s treasure-hunting adventurer arriving in India to retrieve a mystical stone and stop a bloodthirsty cult. The local villagers are desperate for Indy’s help, as the Thugee cult indulges in ritual sacrifices, sacrifices, and blood magic.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was well-received for its intense new story and darker approach, though, it was more controversial in the ’80s for its comparatively bleak atmosphere to Raiders.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) new

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Genre Adventure, Action
Stars Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Denholm Elliott
Directed by Steven Spielberg

Once again helmed by Spielberg, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was a strong finish to the original three movies. While Temple of Doom was technically a prequel to Raiders, Last Crusade moves the timeline forward as Indy travels around the world to rescue his missing father Henry Jones (played by Sean Connery).

Jones Sr. went missing on a hunt for the Holy Grail and was held hostage by Nazis. Temple of Doom retroactively received the positive reception it deserved, but Last Crusade does well to reintegrate the lighter, swashbuckling atmosphere of the first movie.

Spider-Man 2 (2004) new

Spider-Man 2
Genre Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Stars Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco
Directed by Sam Raimi
Disney+’s Spider-Man catalog continues to grow, including Sam Raimi’s sophomore effort. Now with two years under his belt as New York City’s neighborhood hero, Spider-Man 2 has the character go up against the infamous Doctor Octopus. In the wake of the tragic death of Otto Octavius’ wife, he dons this villainous persona to recreate the unstable experiment that killed her. It’s tough for any movie to follow up on the praise of its predecessor, but Spider-Man 2 was widely acclaimed as the best in Raimi’s trilogy. The story is an emotionally powerful continuation of Peter’s character arc, filled with tragedy, redemption, and triumphant perseverance.

Spider-Man (2002)

Genre Fantasy, Action
Stars Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst
Directed by Sam Raimi

Spider-Man distribution rights are something of a tussle between Sony and Disney, but Disney+ now hosts some excellent legacy movies. Sam Raimi made his mark on the beloved character’s history with the Tobey Maguire-led Spider-Man.

Co-starring Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane, James Franco as Harry Osborne, and Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin, 2002’s Spider-Man is a soulful origin story with exhilarating action. It still holds up well over 20 years later and is a love letter to the iconic superhero’s comic book lore.

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Avengers: Endgame
Genre Adventure, Science Fiction, Action
Stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo
Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

The Marvel Cinematic Universe built itself into a wildly lucrative property since 2008’s Iron Man. 11 years later, Avengers: Endgame was released to become a pop-culture phenomenon and the crossover event of the decade.

Reeling from the catastrophic events of Infinity War, the Avengers gather who remains to lead a final assault on the galactic conqueror Thanos. The Russo brothers managed to make Endgame a satisfying payoff to 11 years’ worth of mythos and cap off the Infinity Saga.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Avengers: Infinity War
Genre Adventure, Action, Science Fiction
Stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo
Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

One of the biggest comic book movie events in recent years, Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War is a jam-packed crossover event. The first in a two-part story with the sequel Endgame, Infinity War finally sees the cosmic threat Thanos — played menacingly by Josh Brolin — take his universe-wide fight to Earth and its mightiest heroes.

It delivers a long-awaited series of clashes and interactions between various heroes and villains, and is a major bright spot in the MCU’s catalog. Infinity War is constantly tense with action and revelations, setting the stage for this universe’s biggest narrative payoff.

Bears (2014)

Genre Documentary
Stars John C. Reilly
Directed by Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey
For those looking to take a break from dramas and action, Disney+ has plenty of engaging nature documentaries to get lost in. Coming from the company’s Disneynature brand, Bears is a beautifully executed documentary film following the ventures of a loving bear family. Narrated by actor John C. Reilly, the movie begins with a brown bear dubbed Sky and her cubs as they awaken from hibernation, and it continues to see the family venture across the landscape to find food and avoid the natural perils that pose threats to them.

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Captain America: Civil War
Genre Adventure, Action, Science Fiction
Stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson
Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Marvel Studio’s Captain America trilogy raised the stakes with The Winter Soldier, often praised as being among the MCU’s best. Steve Roger’s trilogy closer, Civil War, was another solid follow-up this time functioning as a sort of mini Avengers film. In the aftermath of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the titular superhero team finds themselves starkly divided when pressures of international oversight mount over metahuman activity. Effectively divided into “Team Captain America” and “Team Iron Man,” Captain America: Civil War pits friends against friends in an explosive story.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira
Directed by Ryan Coogler

Since the tragic passing of actor Chadwick Boseman, the sequel to Black Panther was always going to have a somber atmosphere about it. However, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever succeeds in being a tasteful and touching tribute that advanced the story from this corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In the wake of King T’Challa’s death, the leaders of the nation need to rally together as Namor — the king of an ancient underwater civilization — leads an assault on Wakanda. Angela Bassett, in particular, leads the film with a commanding performance.

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

Wreck-It Ralph
Genre Family, Animation, Comedy, Adventure
Stars John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer
Directed by Rich Moore
The 2012 animated comedy Wreck-It Ralph is a great choice for family entertainment, and it takes a clever meta spin on the video-game-to-movie adaptation. It colorfully brings to life the nostalgic days of arcade gaming with charismatic characters played by the likes of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch, and more. Wreck-It Ralph follows the story of the titular video game villain that tires of the role of the antagonist and chooses to pursue his dream of becoming a hero.

Finding Nemo (2003)

Finding Nemo
Genre Animation, Family
Stars Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould
Directed by Andrew Stanton

Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios can always be trusted to put together a memorable animated family movie. 2003’s Finding Nemo has since been regarded as a modern classic, transcending the decade it debuted in theaters.

Starring the likes of Ellen DeGeneres, Geoffrey  Rush, and Willem Dafoe, Finding Nemo tells the story of an overprotective clownfish named Marlin who goes on an ocean-wide quest with his forgetful friend Dory to find his lost son Nemo. The movie was released to critical acclaim for its charming brand of humor and heartfelt story that appeals to all audiences.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan
Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Widely considered to be one of the best movies to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is an impressive sophomore entry in the titular hero’s film series. While most things in the mainline MCU aren’t particularly gritty, The Winter Soldier serves as an effective action-thriller with some conspiratorial intrigue. In this story, Captain America and Black Widow team up to uncover the seedy underbelly of S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as the sudden reappearance of the ominous Winter Soldier. It’s a refreshing change of pace, injecting a welcome dose of dramatic grit into this vast cinematic world.

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Solo: A Star Wars Story
Genre Science Fiction, Adventure, Action
Stars Alden Ehrenreich, Joonas Suotamo, Woody Harrelson
Directed by Ron Howard
Though it underwhelmed at the box office, Lucasfilm’s Solo: A Star Wars Story managed to garner a moderately positive critical reception for its efforts. Solo sees the origin story of Han Solo played by Harrison Ford whom fans have long since come to know and love, with actor Alden Ehrenreich putting up an admirable performance as the young scoundrel on a series of high-octane space heists. From street kid to infamously talented bounty hunter, this Han is joined by a colorful and entertaining supporting cast, including Donald Glover’s take on a young Lando Calrissian and Game of Thrones alum Emilia Clarke’s portrayal of original character Qi’ra.

Return of the Jedi (1983)

Return of the Jedi
Genre Adventure, Action, Science Fiction
Stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Directed by Richard Marquand
Even if it doesn’t quite hold up to the astronomically high standards set by A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi is still a deeply rewarding conclusion to one of the greatest movie trilogies. After the revelations and fallout of Empire‘s climactic events between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, the young Jedi sets out on a mission to destroy the Empire’s second Death Star and defeat them for good. The Ewoks may overstay their welcome, but Return of the Jedi is similarly climactic and a resounding finish to Luke’s hero’s journey.

Avatar (2009)

83 %
pg-13 162m
Genre Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver
Directed by James Cameron
It’s been a few months since Disney+ pulled Avatar so that people would watch it again in theaters. But now that Avatar: The Way of Water is here, James Cameron’s beautifully realized vision has returned. Sam Worthington stars as Jake Sully, a disabled Marine who is given the chance to replace his late brother in the Avatar program on the alien world, Pandora. Under the orders of Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), Jake’s mind inhabits an alien body similar to the Na’vi, Pandora’s native race. It’s Jake’s job to win the trust of the Na’vi, but his growing love for the Na’vi girl, Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), makes him realize that he’s on the wrong side.

Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther
88 %
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o
Directed by Ryan Coogler
The original Black Panther movie was an unexpected cultural phenomenon in 2018, on its way toward becoming one of the most successful superhero films ever made. Credit for that in large part goes to director Ryan Coogler, the late Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther, and a terrific supporting cast. Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger also gave T’Challa an incredibly compelling villain whose own tragic backstory challenges the Black Panther’s worldview. When Killmonger threatens to take over Wakanda itself, T’Challa will have to find it within himself to become the hero and the king that his people need.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

The Nightmare Before Christmas
82 %
pg 76m
Genre Fantasy, Animation, Family
Stars Chris Sarandon, Danny Elfman, Catherine O'Hara
Directed by Henry Selick
The Nightmare Before Christmas is perhaps the only Christmas movie that’s fit for Halloween — and vice versa. Tim Burton and director Henry Selick’s masterfully realized stop-motion animated masterpiece is probably keeping Hot Topic in business after all of these years. But this film is also beloved for its catchy tunes by Danny Elfman, and for the lovable hero, Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon). Jack is the master of all things Halloween, and yet dreadfully bored by all of it. When he discovers that Christmas is a thing, Jack doesn’t hesitate to hijack the holiday and put his own spin on “Sandy Claws.” Needless to say, Jack’s take on Christmas really freaks out the human world. It also endangers his friends in Halloween Town.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
65 %
pg-13 133m
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk
Directed by Gareth Edwards
With the release of the political sci-fi thriller series Andor, it’s a good time to revisit Rogue One, one of the very best Star Wars movies of the Disney era. Director Gareth Edwards delivered a beautiful stand-alone film that serves as a prequel to the original Star Wars. Felicity Jones headlines the cast as Jyn Erso, a rebellious thief who is recruited to locate a former associate in order to receive a message from her long-missing father, Galen (Mads Mikkelsen). But soon enough, Jyn, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), and a ragtag team are on a suicide mission to steal the Death Star plans from the Empire in a desperate bid to save the Rebel Alliance.

Toy Story (1995)

Toy Story
95 %
g 81m
Genre Animation, Adventure, Family, Comedy
Stars Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles
Directed by John Lasseter
Toy Story was a game changer in every sense of the word for Pixar, Disney, and the entire animation industry. Prior to 1995, hand-drawn 2D animation reigned supreme. As Disney and Pixar’s first full-length computer-animated film, Toy Story was a revelation at the time. And it is still a technical marvel nearly three decades later. Tom Hanks stars as the voice of Woody, a cowboy action figure who is the favorite toy of a boy named Andy. Or at least he was until space ranger Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) came along. Woody’s attempt to get rid of his rival puts both toys in danger. And they can only save each other by working together.

The Princess Bride (1987)

The Princess Bride
77 %
pg 99m
Genre Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Comedy, Romance
Stars Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin
Directed by Rob Reiner
William Goldman got the chance to adapt his novel The Princess Bride for director Rob Reiner, and the result was a cinematic classic. Cary Elwes stars as Westley, a farm boy who falls in love with Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright) at an early age. After years apart, Westley re-enters Buttercup’s life as the Dread Pirate Roberts. To save Buttercup from a forced marriage to Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), Westley makes some unlikely allies including Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) and a gentle giant named Fezzik (Andre the Giant). And in a clever framing device, the story unfolds as a bedside tale told by a grandfather (Peter Falk) to his sick grandson (Fred Savage).

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

Who Framed Roger Rabbit
83 %
pg 104m
Genre Fantasy, Animation, Comedy, Crime, Family
Stars Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Joanna Cassidy
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
You’ve never lived until you’ve seen Donald Duck and Daffy Duck in an increasingly violent piano duel at the Ink and Paint Club. In the alternate world of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Disney and Warner Bros. Toons live side by side in Toontown. But when one of the cartoon industry’s biggest stars, Roger Rabbit (Charles Fleischer), finds himself wanted for murder, he turns to Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins). Back in the day, Eddie and his brother were the go-to private investigators for Toons. However, Eddie’s been in a funk ever since his brother was killed by a Toon. Fortunately for Roger, Eddie steps up when the malevolent Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd) and his weasels hunt them down.

Frozen (2013)

75 %
pg 102m
Genre Animation, Adventure, Family
Stars Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff
Directed by Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

How many times can you watch Frozen? Only your children know for sure. With the 10th anniversary of its release coming up soon, it has to be said that Frozen has earned its place in Disney history as perhaps the studio’s most popular film since the ‘90s. Idina Menzel stars as Elsa, the estranged Princess of Arendelle who is ostracized from the kingdom because of her incredible ability to bend ice and cold to her will. Kristen Bell also stars as Elsa’s sister, Anna. The sisters haven’t seen each other in years, but they will have to emotionally reconnect if they want to save the kingdom and each other.

Star Wars (1977)

Star Wars
90 %
pg 121m
Genre Adventure, Action, Science Fiction
Stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Directed by George Lucas

Forty -five years ago this week, the original Star Wars hit theaters and changed the movies forever. It was subsequently given the “Episode 4: A New Hope” name, but to the first generation of fans, it all starts here. In a desperate bid to keep Darth Vader (David Prowse with James Earl Jones as Vader’s voice) from retrieving the plans for a super weapon called the Death Star, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) hides them with two droids. From there, destiny awaits a restless young man named Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), an exiled Jedi called Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), the Wookie Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), and the scoundrel known as Han Solo (Harrison Ford). Even after all of these years, it’s still a rousing space adventure.

Inside Out (2015)

Inside Out
94 %
pg 95m
Genre Animation, Family, Adventure, Drama, Comedy
Stars Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader
Directed by Pete Docter
If you don’t mind having a good cry, then Inside Out remains a stunning addition to the Pixar library with a unique original story. Almost the entire movie takes place within the mind of a young girl named Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), through the emotions personified as Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phylis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). When Riley is overwhelmed by despair following a difficult move, Joy is alarmed by the growing presence of Sadness. But soon, both avatars are lost in Riley’s mind, with no easy way to rejoin the rest of their companions. They will have to trust and appreciate each other in order to make it home.

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Monsters, Inc.
79 %
g 92m
Genre Animation, Comedy, Family
Stars John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Mary Gibbs
Directed by Pete Docter
Monsters, Inc. is one of Pixar’s finest films from its early years, and it features a great comedic duo in John Goodman and Billy Crystal. In an alternate world populated by monsters, energy is only available from harnessing the screams of human children. Mike (Crystal) and Sullivan (Goodman) are two monsters who are assigned to the scare floor before they accidentally bring a girl named Boo (May Gibbs) back from the human world. When Mike and Sully try to protect Boo from harm, they also discover secrets that may bring down Monsters, Inc. for good.

Turning Red (2022)

Turning Red
83 %
pg 100m
Genre Animation, Family, Comedy, Fantasy
Stars Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh, Jordan Fisher
Directed by Domee Shi
If you’re wondering if Pixar’s latest film lives up to its legacy, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Turning Red takes place two decades ago, and follows a 13-year-old girl named Meilin “Mei” Lee. Mei is at a time in her life when her body is changing in strange ways, like transforming into a giant red panda whenever she feels any strong emotion. Is it a curse or a blessing? It turns out that Mei’s distant ancestors had a mystical bond with red pandas. Unfortunately for Mei, she has to find her own answers. And it’s a good thing that she has friends who love her, regardless of whether she’s a red panda or not.

Iron Man (2008)

Iron Man
79 %
pg-13 126m
Genre Action, Science Fiction, Adventure
Stars Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges
Directed by Jon Favreau
Before Jon Favreau wowed Star Wars fans with The Mandalorian, he helped found the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man. Unlike many of its MCU brethren, this movie feels a lot more grounded as Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has an epiphany after getting kidnapped by terrorists in Afghanistan. Instead of selling weapons, Tony decides to create an armored suit unlike anything ever created before under the wary eyes of his employee, Virginia “Pepper” Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and his shady business partner, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges). Iron Man set the template for almost every comic book movie that came after it. And it’s now available to stream in its IMAX-enhanced aspect ratio.

Encanto (2021)

75 %
pg 102m
Genre Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Stars Stephanie Beatriz, María Cecilia Botero, John Leguizamo
Directed by Byron Howard, Jared Bush
Following up on the success of Moana, Disney and songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda have once again made beautiful music together in Encanto. This also happens to be the 60th animated film produced by Disney Pictures. Within the film, a Colombian family, the Madrigals, are blessed with unique magical powers that make them the protectors of their small town. However, Mirabel Madrigal (Stephanie Beatriz) isn’t like the other members of her family. She doesn’t have any magical ability of her own, and she is painfully ordinary. Yet when the magic powering her family is threatened, Mirabel may be the only one who can save them all.

The Avengers (2012)

The Avengers
69 %
pg-13 143m
Genre Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo
Directed by Joss Whedon
It’s not an exaggeration to say that The Avengers changed the game for superhero movies. Marvel Studios’ first-ever team-up film brought together Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) together under the watchful eye of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to take on Thor’s estranged brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston). The heroes’ frequent personality clashes are even more engaging than the fights. Regardless, the climactic Battle of New York features the heroes at their best as they take on an alien invasion. It’s almost a perfect superhero film, even though it was upstaged by its sequels.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
82 %
pg 124m
Genre Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure
Stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Directed by Irvin Kershner
Widely considered the best installment of the entire sci-fi saga, The Empire Strikes Back is the chapter that featured the most dramatic character arcs of the original trilogy and established both their legacies and the tragic events that intertwined their destinies. Not only that, but it also introduced some of the franchise’s most popular supporting characters, Lando Calrissian and Boba Fett, and featured one of the trilogy’s most memorable battles, set on the frozen planet of Hoth. After the heroic events of A New HopeThe Empire Strikes Back offered a far more somber exploration of the gritty realities of war against an oppressive, formidable force led by a seemingly indestructible foe: Darth Vader.

Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)

Raya and the Last Dragon
74 %
pg 107m
Genre Family, Fantasy, Animation, Action, Adventure
Stars Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Izaac Wang
Directed by Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada
A lone warrior sets out to reunite the fractured land of Kumandra by reassembling a powerful magical artifact in this feature from Walt Disney Animation Studios. Part martial arts adventure, part heist film, and soaked in visually stunning images and wonderful fantasy elements, Raya and the Last Dragon is a story about the families we create for ourselves and the strength it takes to build trust after a tragedy. Kelly Marie Tran voices Raya, a capable, independent warrior who must journey to the far corners of her world to bring it together. She’s joined by the dragon Sisu, voiced by Awkwafina, as well as a host of other colorful characters portrayed by Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Sandra Oh, Benedict Wong, and Alan Tudyk, among others.

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Guillermo Kurten
Freelance Writer, Entertainment
A University of Houston graduate in Print Media Journalism, Guillermo has covered sports entertainment and practically all…
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