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Underappreciated Movies On Disney+ That Nobody Is Talking About

After months of eager anticipation, Disney+ is now live. With it comes a slew of family-friendly movies and TV shows, many of which have never before been available on another streaming platform. Much of the hype around Disney+ has focused on the service's original content, including shows like The Mandalorian and Marvel's upcoming MCU slate, in addition to its extensive catalog of Marvel and Star Wars titles and a treasure trove of Disney Animated Classics

But that's only scratching the surface of what Disney+ has to offer. Alongside the wealth of mega-blockbusters and beloved animated staples, the service also boasts hundreds of other Disney shows and films dating all the way back to the 1930s. These include a number of films you may have loved as a child but haven't watched in years — especially if you grew up in the '80s and '90s — as well as a host of undiscovered gems you likely haven't seen yet. We're here to highlight some of the most worthy films streaming on Disney+ that may not make headlines or receive a lot of attention, but are definitely worth taking the time to watch, beginning with the most recent films you may have already forgotten, and working our way back.

Bruce Willis discovers his inner child in The Kid (2000)

For anyone whose adult life bears little resemblance to the person you thought you'd be when you grew up, Disney's The Kid is for you. The Kid follows Russ Duritz (Bruce Willis, in a rare action-free comedic role), a jaded image consultant whose sense of morality, ethics, and childlike wonder are all buried deep beneath his drive for success at all costs. But when a young boy named Rusty (Spencer Breslin) shows up uninvited in his house, both are horrified to realize that they're the same person at different ages. Rusty is particularly disappointed that Russ hasn't fulfilled any of the hopes and dreams he had for himself as a child. 

Predictably, Russ and Rusty go on to learn valuable lessons from each other throughout The Kid, and each comes out of their magical encounter better than when they began. But although there's a lot to appreciate here thematically, the main reason to watch The Kid is for the enchanting chemistry between Willis and Breslin, who play wonderfully off each other and do a great job convincing us that they're the same person. It's especially fun to watch their shared mannerisms and expressions, and their reactions to discovering they have the same weird habits and ticks. 

The Three Musketeers (1993) is a lively take on Alexandre Dumas' classic novel

There have been a number of Three Musketeers adaptations over the years, with new takes seemingly perpetually on the horizon, but never has one been more fun than the 1993 version which stars Kiefer Sutherland, Oliver Platt, and Charlie Sheen as the titular musketeers Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, with Chris O'Donnell as young up-and-comer d'Artagnan. The Three Musketeers follows d'Artagnan as he heads to Paris in order to join the king's musketeers, only to find the musketeers disbanded per the order of the sinister Cardinal Richelieu (a deliciously slimy Tim Curry), who plans to assassinate the king and seize the throne for himself. d'Artagnan winds up joining forces with three musketeers who refused to capitulate to Richelieu's orders, and together, they work to stop Richelieu and save the kingdom. 

While every iteration of The Three Musketeers has been jam-packed full of high-stakes adventure and swashbuckling action, Disney's script infuses the classic tale with a generous dose of humor and merriment. With thrilling swordfights, excellent casting, and a script that strikes the perfect balance of excitement, suspense, humor, and inspiration, The Three Musketeers is a surefire way to entertain viewers of all ages. 

Whoopi Goldberg transforms a terrible choir into a divine musical sensation in Sister Act (1992)

The '90s were a golden age for high-concept comedies. Case in point: Sister Act, the story of a rough-around-the-edges Reno nightclub singer who goes into hiding in a San Francisco convent after witnessing a murder, and winds up revitalizing the nuns' struggling choir in the process. Whoopi Goldberg stars as Deloris Van Cartier, who later assumes the identity of reluctant nun Sister Mary Clarence. She's joined by Maggie Smith as the Reverend Mother and Harvey Keitel as Deloris' murderous ex-boyfriend Vince, with a supporting cast that includes Kathy Najimy, Wendy Makkena, and Mary Wickes as the various colorful choir members. 

The story of Deloris hiding out in the convent choir and bonding with the community of nuns is amusing enough, but what really elevates Sister Act are the songs. Not only does Deloris' presence inject new vitality into the music the choir performs, but she also livens up both the singers and the church itself, drawing in new parishioners who are curious about the energetic music they've heard drifting out of the sanctuary doors. Thanks to its endearing characters and toe-tapping tunes, Sister Act was successful enough to inspire an entertaining sequel in 1993 (also streaming on Disney+), as well as stage musical version in 2006. A third film is currently in the works for Disney+. 

Ethan Hawke bonds with man's best friend in White Fang (1991)

If what you're looking for most in a new streaming service are heartwarming stories of friendship between humans and dogs, look no further than Disney's 1991 historical adventure White Fang. Based on Jack London's 1906 novel, White Fang is the story of young explorer Jack Conroy (Ethan Hawke) and his unlikely bond with an orphaned wolfhound during the Klondike Gold Rush. Over the course of the film, both Jack and White Fang face tremendous adversity, but together, they're able to rise above their unfortunate circumstances and form a bond more valuable than the gold that motivates most of the other characters in the film. 

White Fang is one of the more understated films on this list; despite the bear attacks and brutal dogfights, it's mostly a quiet, contemplative tale of kindness overcoming violence, and the tremendous value of a friend who truly understands you. Whether you're a sucker for heroic dog movies, or just someone who enjoys a strong story of unlikely friendship, White Fang is a lovely film filled with beautiful snow-covered scenery and featuring a characteristically understated, heartfelt performance from Ethan Hawke. 

The Rocketeer (1991) features a soaring superhero we can still believe in

Before Tony Stark built his first Iron Man suit, before Captain America emerged from the ice, Disney gave us a different type of superhero in The Rocketeer. The soaring tale, which is set in a sepia-hued 1938, follows Cliff Secord (Bill Campbell), a pilot who happens upon a backpack rocket which had been developed by legendary innovator Howard Hughes (Terry O'Quinn) and which has attracted the interest of a group of Nazis who hope to duplicate the technology in order to invade the United States. Aided by his girlfriend, Jenny (Jennifer Connelly) and his friend Peevy (Alan Arkin), Cliff uses the rocket to become the heroic Rocketeer, facing off against both Nazis and American gangsters. 

Although The Rocketeer (helmed by Captain America: The First Avenger director Joe Johnston) predates the MCU by nearly two decades, it contains everything we've come to expect from a modern-day superhero blockbuster. There's the thrilling montage of Cliff testing the rocket and fine-tuning his powers, a cast of larger-than-life villains, a sweeping score, some gravity-defying aerial battles (complete with massive explosions), and even the inclusion of a couple of Oscar-winning actors in Arkin and Connelly. Whether you've already worked your way through Disney+'s extensive Marvel catalog and are still on the hunt for more exciting superhero fare, or are simply in the mood for a non-Marvel superhero flick, The Rocketeer is sure to fit the bill.

Classic cartoons meet gritty noir in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

More than three decades after the film's initial release, Who Framed Roger Rabbit still remains a marvel of filmmaking, seamlessly blending classic hand-drawn animation with a hard-boiled live-action mystery. To this day, few other movies have even attempted so ambitious a fusion, and one could argue that none have done it as successfully as Roger Rabbit. The film follows detective Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins), an alcoholic private investigator who's developed an intense hatred of "toons" ever since one killed his brother. Initially hired by the head of a major cartoon studio to dig up dirt on the wife of Roger Rabbit, the studio's biggest toon star, Eddie finds himself caught up in a real-life murder investigation when Roger is accused of killing his wife's lover. 

On paper, it doesn't sound like the plot of a movie for kids, but somehow, the film's inclusion of its toon characters makes it work. Characters are killed by falling safes and pianos, adultery is emphasized through exuberant games of patty-cake, and the most grisly violence — such as slowly dissolving characters alive in vats of acid — is bloodless and directed at toons, which somehow makes it palatable and even fun for younger viewers, while also giving adults plenty to enjoy. In seamlessly merging multiple genres and techniques that seemingly have no business going together, Who Framed Roger Rabbit manages to be a film that is not just innovative, but also hilarious, surprising, and wholly appealing to audiences of any age.

Three Men and a Baby (1987) offers a lovably bro-tastic take on parenting

There's a lot to eye-roll about in Three Men and a Baby, which sees three successful New York City bachelors (Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Danson) find themselves the unlikely caregivers for an abandoned infant (the biological daughter of Danson's Jack), who was left on their doorstep by her overwhelmed mother (Nancy Travis). It's hard to believe that any adult humans — much less intelligent, successful humans — would be as woefully inept at taking care of a child as the three friends are at the beginning of the film, and much of the movie's plot, which revolves around a smuggled package of heroin, feels almost cringingly contrived. The three heroes also have some seriously antiquated views of women (at one point, one of them asks his girlfriend for baby knowledge, which he assumes she possesses solely because she's a woman).

And yet, there's something undeniably endearing about this tale of three ultimate dudebros falling — completely against their will — head over heels in love with a tiny baby. While the drug smuggling subplot propels much of the stakes of the film, the real joy of Three Men and a Baby is in watching the main characters learn to change diapers, make up bottles, and sing their little girl to sleep. It's a delightful ode to parenting, friendship, and unconventional families. If you haven't gotten enough of their honorary family dynamic after one movie, there's always the sequel, Three Men and a Little Lady, which is also on Disney+. 

A kid is abducted by friendly aliens in Flight of the Navigator (1986)

Although it may come off as a little (okay, a lot) cheesy now, in the '80s, Flight of the Navigator was the ultimate in pre-teen wish fulfillment. While walking through the woods to pick up his hated younger brother, 12-year-old David (Joey Cramer) gets abducted by aliens, then returns eight years later — having not aged a day — to learn that he's the only one who can save a spaceship full of weird and lovable aliens. Not only does David get to save his new friends and pilot an awesome spaceship, but he also learns to appreciate the brother who irritated him so much at the beginning of the movie, enabling him to mend their relationship when he eventually returns to his time. 

Although some of the (very early) CGI special effects that were so impressive in the '80s understandably haven't aged particularly well, the story and the adorable aliens (realized through Jim Henson-esque puppetry) still hold up as a lighthearted, awe-filled adventure. Also starring a young Sarah Jessica Parker as a sympathetic NASA intern and Paul Reubens (a.k.a. Pee-Wee Herman) as the voice of Max, the sentient alien spaceship, Flight of the Navigator is an exciting and entertaining romp through time and space. It may not actually transport viewers back to their childhoods, but it can at least remind us all of the fun and wonder of being a kid.

Dorothy finds that Oz has become a dystopian nightmare in Return to Oz (1985)

The Judy Garland-led film The Wizard of Oz is a beloved classic, but far less well-known is its much darker 1985 sequel, Return to Oz, which sees Dorothy Gale (Fairuza Balk) committed to a mental asylum six months after the tornado that sent her to Oz, in order to treat her persistent "hallucinations" of that far-away world. However, before Dorothy can receive electrotherapy, the asylum is struck by lightning and Dorothy escapes. After falling into a river and nearly drowning, Dorothy awakes in Oz, but it's not the Oz she remembers — the Emerald City has been destroyed by the rock-controlling Nome King, and a headless witch named Mombi is ruling over what remains. 

Much like Dorothy's original trip to Oz, she gradually assembles an eclectic group of fantastical allies to help her in her quest to overthrow Mombi, defeat the Nome King, and return Ozma, the rightful ruler of Oz, to the throne. Unlike The Wizard of Oz, Return to Oz is not a musical, and it trades much of the original film's lightheartedness and innocence for a more somber take on the magical land over the rainbow. Still, Return to Oz is filled with references to the original that are sure to delight fans of the Judy Garland film, and the story it tells is an imaginative and fresh take on the world we all thought we knew.

A group of kids get caught up in a Wild West gold heist in The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975)

While the family-friendly Disney+ catalog is heavy on superhero and animated fare, it's fairly light on Westerns. One of the few that's included on the streaming service is The Apple Dumpling Gang, which follows a gambler of questionable morals named Russell Donovan (Bill Bixby) who is duped into caring for three orphaned children. While Donovan initially wants nothing to do with the kids, he comes to care for them over the course of the film, and they in turn help him out of a complicated predicament involving two different gangs — one of which is the "Hashknife Outfit," made up of the comedic duo of Tim Conway and Don Knotts — who are all angling for control of the gold mine that the children inherited.  

The Apple Dumpling Gang was the first of several films to feature the pairing of Conway and Knotts, and is an excellent showcase for their silly slapstick humor, while still focusing mostly on the children in order to appeal to younger viewers. At the time of its release, The Apple Dumpling Gang was considered by critics to be a little overly saccharine and rote, but watching it today, its lovable characters, energetic plot, and ridiculous hijinx are a pleasant and cheerful callback to a simpler time for family films.

Angela Lansbury takes a group of siblings on a magical adventure in Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

Often compared to the much more successful Mary Poppins, which also blended animation with a live-action fantasy experienced by a magical woman and a group of enthralled children, Bedknobs and Broomsticks follows a group of siblings who are evacuated during the Blitz into the care of Miss Eglantine Price (Angela Lansbury). They come to find out that Miss Price is actually a witch in training, who is teaching herself magic via a correspondence course, in the hopes of using what she learns to help the British war effort. Miss Price trades the children a magical bedknob in exchange for their promise to keep her secret, but they soon wind up journeying to London together on the enchanted bed after Miss Price's magical school closes, in pursuit of the final spell in her course. 

Once there, the children and Miss Price find themselves wrapped up in a magical, musical adventure that takes them into fantasy worlds populated by animated creatures. Although Bedknobs and Broomsticks never quite managed to rise out of the shadow of Mary Poppins (despite its inclusion of David Tomlinson, who starred as Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins and Emelius Browne in Bedknobs and Broomsticks), it's still a sweet and charming escapade filled with memorable songs and beautiful animated sequences that's sure to put a smile on the face of anyone in search of a little magic. 

A shipwrecked family has an island adventure in Swiss Family Robinson (1960)

Long before Cast Away and Lost taught us that getting shipwrecked on a tropical island was something to be feared, Swiss Family Robinson preached the opposite message, showing that actually, washing up on a remote sandy shore might not be all that bad. The tale follows the Robinson family — William (John Mills), Elizabeth (Dorothy McGuire), and their three sons Fritz (James MacArthur), Ernst (Tommy Kirk), and Francis (Kevin Corcoran) — who find themselves shipwrecked on an island after being chased by pirates into a hurricane. Making the best of their circumstances, the family builds an impressive treehouse, becomes acquainted with the local wildlife, and begins to make a new life for themselves on the island. But when pirates threaten the Robinsons — as well as the friends they've made in "New Switzerland" — the family has to get creative in order to defend their new home.

Although there are actually two versions of Swiss Family Robinson available on Disney+ (both of which are loose adaptations of the 1812 novel Der Schweizerische Robinson), the 1960 version is by far the more successful and critically appreciated of the two. Even now, many decades after the film's release, one can't help but get swept up in the thrilling adventures of the Robinsons, especially when it comes time for them to construct innovative booby traps all over the island in order to fend off the pirates.