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The Best Disney Movie Kisses

Before Disney changed the Star Wars universe forever, snapped up the MCUand absorbed 20th Century Fox, the studio made its name in a very different genre: Animated fantasy. Sure, Disney has always made a lot of live-action movies in its long history, and yes, even some wartime propaganda. But even today, if you ask someone to describe a typical Disney movie, they'll probably describe starry-eyed heroines, charismatic animal sidekicks, a story based on a fairy tale, folktale, or fable, sumptuous musical sequences, and a happily-ever-after, sealed with a kiss.

Romance is particularly key to a whole lot of Disney movies. It's no mystery as to why: We all love these movies for the songs, the courageous heroes, the quick-witted heroines, and the humor, but watching two characters fall in uncomplicated love never fails to enchant. From magical kisses to smooches that mark a victory over evil, here are the best Disney movie kisses.

Snow White was a new kind of romance

When Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs came out in 1937, it blew audiences away with its rich animation and memorable performances. So innovative was Snow White, it changed the face of film forever: Filmmakers from Federico Fellini to Orson Welles were inspired by it, its success pushed MGM into green-lighting The Wizard of Oz, and, most magically of all, it made Disney the number-one stop for animated fantasy.

Snow White also started the Disney trend of ending with a very important kiss. The movie delivers its grand romantic finale without any character dialogue at all: The prince approaches Snow White's coffin, backed by a solemnly romantic song, and kisses her with uninterrupted grace. It makes you feel as though you're watching an animated ballet, so swift and sure is each movement.

Of course, the expectations of audiences and animators have evolved since then. While the couple in Snow White falls in love at first sight — or, well, song — and don't actually interact very much, now we like to see some back-and-forth. This concept even gets spoofed in Frozenwhere Anna's claims of falling in love in a single evening are treated with (correct) skepticism. Plus, one party is dead-ish during the kiss, which is not ideal, to say the least. But a kiss that magically saves someone's life and introduced the world to a series of stories that generations would fall in love with makes it all worth it.

Flower is twitterpated in Bambi

In Bambi, suddenly feeling warm and affectionate towards another woodland creature of the same species is called being "twitterpated." Friend Owl warns Flower, Bambi, and Thumper of the dangers of twitterpation. It can strike anyone, at any time (although it peaks in spring) and symptoms include weak knees, a spinning head (metaphorically, not in the Exorcist sense), and feeling light as a feather. It ends with completely losing your head (not in the French Revolution sense). This all sets up an adorable sequence of the three teenage animals experiencing puppy love ... or, well, skunk, deer and bunny love. It's all capped off by a funny and endearing kiss, bestowed upon Flower, the skunk.

Flower is the first of the trio to become twitterpated, falling for the charms of a giggly, eyelash-fluttering fellow skunk. When the two kiss, a red blush seeps from Flower's cheeks, down his body, and up his tail. The animation is adorable, and it's perfectly complemented by the score, which moves from playful and bouncy to sweet and romantic as Flower discovers there's more to life than hanging out with one's woodland buddies.

Lady and the Tramp made meatballs romantic

Before 1955, spaghetti and meatballs may have been one of the least romantic dinners you could order on a date. The potential for sauce splashes, dropping pasta, and garlic breath were just too risky. But that year, Lady and the Tramp came out, and suddenly, sharing a long strand of pasta seemed like a viable way to accidentally-on-purpose lock lips. The scene is not just one of Disney's best kisses, it's one of the most famous in cinema history. If that's not impressive enough, get this: For one of its  artists, it was also the very first scene he worked on as a Disney artist.

Willie Ito landed a job at the studio based on his high school sketches and the recommendation of Supervising Animator Iwao Takamoto, who saw his potential. When Ito reported for his first day of work, he was given the confusing instruction to head to the Lady Unit — which turned out to be Lady and the Tramp. He was immediately assigned to work on the spaghetti scene, following animator Frank Thomas and supervised by Takamoto. Ito didn't predict the legacy of the scene he drew on his very first day on the job, but he's definitely proud of it. "I always feel that, 'Wow, that particular scene did make an impact.' It makes me feel good," he told ABC News in 2018.

Prince Phillip has to fight for that kiss in Sleeping Beauty

No one ever said that getting true love's first kiss was easy. Just ask Prince Phillip of Sleeping Beauty fame.

In case it's been a while since you watched the 1959 movie, Phillip is the prince Aurora falls in love with when they meet in the forest. Shortly after this tete-a-tete, she succumbs to a curse that was cast on her by the witch Maleficent when she was an infant, and falls into an eternal sleep. Only true love's kiss can wake her from her deathlike slumber. Re-enter Phillip, who hacks his way through a forest of thorns sent by Maleficent, then fights the witch herself, transformed into a dragon with "all the powers of hell." He defeats her, finds Aurora sleeping — beautifully, of course, with nary a trace of drool or eye crust — and kisses her. She wakes up and smiles, they reunite with her parents, and everyone except Maleficent lives happily ever after.

Look, we all know how this fairy tale ends. No one watches Sleeping Beauty and wonders if she'll be woken up or not. But waltzing alongside these characters through a curse, a banishment, a love-at-first-sight musical number, and a battle scene makes this romantic pay-off feel truly magical. Plus, Prince Phillip, unlike his predecessors in Cinderella and Snow White, actually gets to have a personality!

The Princess and the Frog reworks a classic fairy tale

By 2009, Disney was no longer regurgitating fairy tales in their most familiar forms. Their adaptation of The Princess and the Frog opens with a reading of the traditional story, then flips it for a more modern and satisfying ending ... that still involves a magical kiss.

Unlike her shallow but sweet friend Charlotte, intelligent and practical Tiana believes that the only way to get what you want is to work for it. Charlotte is ready to pucker up and kiss a frog if it will turn him into a prince, but Tiana thinks that's disgusting, and, more importantly, too good to be true. The twist in the tale arrives when Prince Naveen, transformed into a frog, begs her to kiss him, thus lifting his enchantment. She does it in exchange for the promise of money to fund the restaurant she dreams of opening ... only to end up as a frog herself. The kiss only works if it's from a princess.

In the end, Tiana and Naveen, having fallen in love, accept their froggy fate. When they kiss at the apex of their all-animal wedding, however, they regain their humanity: Their marriage has made Tiana a legitimate princess. But of course, the real magic lies in the fact that they had committed to a life together, no matter the cost.

Aladdin gets romantic help from the Magic Carpet

Even Disney princes — including the fake ones — need a wingman to help them win their princess. Aladdin is lucky enough to have two. Genie gives him the parade, the jewels and the elephant, while the magic carpet is the vehicle for the star-strewn date that convinces Jasmine he's the suitor that suits her.

The mischievous flying rug also intervenes in another important romantic moment. Aladdin and Jasmine's date ends with their first kiss, Romeo and Juliet-style. She's leaning over her balcony, he's standing on a magic carpet below. But while there's definitely romantic tension in the air, they fail to connect. It takes an impatient little boost from the magic carpet to actually get the couple to lock lips. 

This scene plays out slightly differently in the 2019 live-action Aladdin. The magic carpet still gives Aladdin a push – but only so he's standing face-to-face with Jasmine. In this newer version, the humans actually initiate the kiss, without quite as much direct intervention from their furniture. And if you're not enjoying these changes to the classics, remind yourself that Disney's live-action remake trend can't last forever.

The Lion King has an unconventional but romantic kissing scene

Many of Disney's protagonists are not physically capable of engaging in what humans would call a kiss. Yet one of the most beloved kisses in Disney history involves lions, whose jaws are better suited to locking onto prey than locking lips. Despite these potential obstacles, the scene showing  Simba and Nala falling in love is indisputably one of Disney's most romantic ... even if it's technically more of a licking, head-rubbing scene.

This is thanks in large part to the song it's set to. The Lion King soundtrack contains many classics: The movie claimed three of the five available slots for Best Song at the 1995 Oscars. Ultimately, the award went to this scene's "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," which surprises no one who has seen the sequence in question. However, while music may be the food of love, it doesn't get all the credit. Nala and Simba were already friends (and, er, possibly half-siblings?) with a playful, unguarded relationship that survives their years apart. Suddenly seeing each other all grown up was bound to prompt some capital-f Feelings. The characters fit together, the animation is a visual journey, and the music is still played at weddings. It's the perfect kissing scene — and definitely the best ever framed by a meerkat and a warthog — meat-ripping jaws and all.

Tangled makes us grateful for that happy ending

Disney movies might end happily, but that doesn't mean they don't go to some dark places before they get there. In the case of 2010's Tangled, the characters' first kiss is all the sweeter because it comes after a moment that is pretty grim.

Towards the end of the film, Rapunzel's wicked mother/kidnapper Mother Gothel stabs her daughter/victim's love interest Flynn, who was trying to help Rapunzel escape a life of imprisonment. Rapunzel trades her freedom for the chance to heal him with her magic hair — but Flynn cuts her hair off, destroying its magic, so she can be free. This also drains away Gothel's false youth, which had been powered by Rapunzel's magic. She falls out of the window and crumbles into dust. Seriously grim, right? Before he dies, Flynn tells Rapunzel, "You were my new dream," and she replies, "And you were mine."

Luckily, Rapunzel's tears also have healing powers, and Flynn is revived. He makes a characteristically flirtatious quip and then she grabs him, they hug, and she kisses him. But for a moment, it really seems as though Disney was going to let its handsome male lead die. Watching both of these outsiders pull back from the brink and finally find happiness is all the more emotionally rewarding as a result.

A kiss brings beauty back in Beauty and the Beast

Many Disney movies that revolve around princesses end with the heroine falling in love. But in 1991's Beauty and the Beast, it's the not-so-conventionally-handsome prince who obsesses over true love.

Here's a refresher. A rude young prince is cursed by a witch, turning him into a big, hairy, minotaur-esque creature. His servants become anthropomorphic household appliances, and his fairy tale castle gets a haunted mansion makeover. The witch gives him a path to redemption, in the form of a rose: If he hasn't found true love by the time the last petal falls, this new beastly form becomes permanent.

Years go by, and he becomes known as the fearsome Beast. Then, he unexpectedly meets bookworm and village oddball Belle. He kidnaps her father, she comes to rescue him — you know, the usual meet-cute routine. They clash immediately, but as time passes, their bickering resolves into romantic tension. Then, a frenzied mob comes to kill him, a climactic battle is fought, and she confesses her love at the last possible moment. At last, his humanity is restored.

Disney apparently draws the line at human-on-undetermined-beast kissing, so the couple don't kiss until after he's returned to his princely form. But when they do kiss, it causes a magical fireworks show that restores everything in the castle to its original nature. Literally the kiss of life.

You probably cried through the kiss in Up

On its surface, Up is a 21st-century take on the classic explorer adventure, combined with an odd couple comedy and some talking dogs. But it wouldn't have half the heart it does without the love story that starts it all.

The opening sequence of Up wields the full force of the knockout emotional punch Pixar has been inflicting on us since 1995. In a dialogue-free montage, inspired by the Super 8 movies of director Peter Docter's childhood, we watch Ellie and Carl's whole life play out. Their wedding is glimpsed, they fix up their first house, they picnic and watch the clouds go by, they settle into their careers. Setbacks big and small occur, but they always find time for candlelit dances in the living room.

Finally, we see an elderly Ellie in the hospital, reading the Adventure Book they aspired to fill with trips to far away places. At this point, most viewers are sobbing, so they may not see Carl kiss Ellie gently on the forehead, a gesture that silently sums up his devotion to her. In the next scene he is alone in the gloom following her funeral. Many Disney kisses mark the start of their characters' love stories. This one is heartbreaking because it comes at the end.

Kissing is a major plot device in The Little Mermaid

A kiss is not just a kiss in The Little Mermaid: It's a matter of hanging onto your soul. Human-obsessed mermaid Ariel rescues Prince Eric from a shipwreck and falls in love. To get to him, she trades her beautiful singing voice for legs in a deal with the fabulous sea witch Ursula. If Ariel can get Eric to kiss her within three days, she can keep her legs. If not, she goes back to being a mermaid, and Ursula keeps her poor unfortunate soul.

Once on land, Ariel tries to charm Eric into kissing her, with help from the ocean's greatest conductor, Sebastian. But it takes a battle with a giant Ursula and Ariel's dad's blessing to bring the two together. At the end of the movie, Ariel walks out of the ocean, finds Eric on the beach, and he sweeps her into his arms for a kiss that goes on so long, the scene melts into their wedding day. Sure, this kiss took a whole lot of work to earn, but it's worth the wait.

The kiss in the Lizzie McGuire Movie is endearingly awkward

Lizzie McGuire spent both seasons of her namesake series failing to recognize that her best friend Gordo had a massive crush on her. She also didn't realize that she'd be much better off with sweet, nerdy Gordo than friendly but oblivious Ethan.

Which is why it's great that we got to have The Lizzie McGuire Movie. It takes a school trip to Rome, a treacherous pop singer love interest, and an afterparty for Lizzie and Gordo to finally share a kiss — and an awkward one at that. But really, it's all the more heartfelt for being slightly uncomfortable.

Unfortunately for Lizdo stans, there is no happily-ever-after here. In 2019, work started on a reboot following adult Lizzie. However, Lizzie's actress, Hilary Duff, confirmed in an interview with Vulture that Lizzie is engaged to someone else. "We wanted it to hurt everyone a little bit, and it'll continue to hurt," she said, sadistically. Hearts leapt when Lamberg officially joined the cast in November, but bad news followed. That version of the reboot was put on ice in January 2020, following creator Terri Minsky's departure. We may never know whether that kiss was the first of many, or just a one-off.

The Princess Diaries demonstrates leg-popping romance

Disney kisses are some of the first many of us ever watch, so it's not surprising that they become the standards by which we measure our own romantic experiences. The Princess Diaries both parodies and pays tribute to this idea of the movie-perfect kiss.

San Francisco resident Mia is 15 and deeply uncool when she learns that she is, in fact, a princess of Genovia. It's somewhere in Europe, it's tiny, it's famous for its pears. When her formerly dismissive classmates find out, her crush Josh asks her to a beach party. She goes with him, breaking plans with her friend Michael, who is secretly into her. Mia wants to have her first kiss at the party, and imagines her leg will pop up, the way it does for heroines in movies. But when Josh tries to kiss her as they hide from paparazzi in a shed, her leg gets caught in a fishing net.

Mia has her first kiss later with Michael, at the ball where she accepts her royal title. Her leg pops up with magical ease, accidentally flicking a switch that turns on the fountain behind them. We might laugh at Disney for being sappy, but sometimes, sappy is exactly what we want.