5. Aladdin - great story and omg the villain is actually thwarted by the hero (Aladdin tricks Jafar into trapping himself in the lamp). So rare in Disney movies lately.
4. The Rescuers - my #2 fav from the animal years, good voice acting, delightful eccentricity, classic
3. The Lion King - just great all around, no towering strengths but no weaknesses. Lame ending though where the Hyenas have to do Simba's dirty work.
2. Pinocchio - best of the early years hands-down. Dark and a bit disturbing (see the scene where they turn into donkey's - no punches pulled there) with one of the most iconic sidekicks of all time in Jiminy Cricket. No do-nothing damsel in distress either, which was common in those days.
1. Hunchback of Notre Dame
a. It has a wonderful, empowered female lead, who is at least as heroic as either of the male heroes, yet it's not this forced 'girls can do anything boys can do' message that saturates the last 25 years (which I hate - it should be a given that girls are capable and powerful, not something you have to force down the audience's throat).
b. Great score - Bells of Notre Dame and Hellfire are two of my top 10 favorite disney songs of all time
c. It has a happy ending, but a natural one as well. There isn't some tacky 'everything is solved' moment (like, say Little Mermaid, where king Triton all of a sudden has this herebefore unknown ability to make Ariel human). Quasi has his moment of redemption, yet Phoebus gets the girl.
d. It has an extremely complex plot for a Disney film, exemplified by the fact that the Church and the Law are the bad guys. This isn't the first Disney movie to take a stance like this (Robin Hood does it as well, and others touch on the subject) but it's the one that does it the best and takes it to the greatest extreme. We also get the Hellfire interlude where we see Frollo's internal struggle with his emotions in a way we rarely get to see the villain and, even though we know he is evil, we realize that he doesn't THINK he's evil. It is one of the only moments in the Disney library where we get to see that "evil" can come from a misguided attempt to be righteous. Deep **** man.