Behind every great Disney movie is a great story and an amazingly talented group of artists. Sometimes learning about the backstory and creation of the movies is as much fun as the movie itself!
Here are seven movies that share the history behind some of our favorite Disney classics.
The Boys documentary is the real story of the iconic music duo, the Sherman Brothers. Together they wrote the songs for such beloved films as Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. They are also the great minds behind the theme park classics “It’s a Small World,” “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,” and “In the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room.”
It may appear that this is simply a magical story of brotherly love and success — but everything is not as supercalifragilisticexpialidocious as it seems.
Saving Mr. Banks is the based-on-a-true-story story of Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) trying to convince writer P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to sign over the rights to her book Mary Poppins. Travers is quite uptight and possessive of her character — but as you learn about her childhood and inspiration for Mary, you understand why.
Another documentary, this time on the history and creation of Pixar. The Pixar Story details the trials and tribulations, struggles and successes of the first years of the studio, and is a must-watch for any Pixar fan.
Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston were two of Walt’s “Nine Old Men” — his original animators. The two worked together on dozens of Disney classics including Snow White, Cinderella, Peter Pan, The Aristocats, and Lady and the Tramp (to name a few). Frank and Ollie were best friends, and when they retired they even moved in next door to each other! (I’m not crying, you’re crying.)
This documentary is the Frank and Ollie story told by Frank and Ollie themselves, and I promise you’ll have a big smile on your face the whole time.
Did you know Walt Disney once played Peter Pan in a school play? Finding Neverland tells the story of J.M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) and how he wrote Peter Pan. (Fair warning, grab the tissues.)
6. Waking Sleeping Beauty
Don Hahn (producer, The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast) directed and co-produced this fascinating documentary that covers the inner workings of the Disney studio from the 1980s through 1994. Highlights include the beginning of the Disney Animation Renaissance and the Michael Eisner drama. Disney nerds — you cannot miss this one.
Of course we had to include a documentary about Walt on the list! Walt: the Man Behind the Myth is narrated by Dick Van Dyke, and has interviews with almost 50 imagineers, animators, and more. Featuring never-before-seen footage of Walt, this movie will give you a real appreciation for the man behind all the magic.
What’s your favorite Disney “behind the magic” movie? Let us know in the comments!
Interested in Disney history and Imagineering details? Take a look at these recent posts:
- 4 Trees You'll Only Find at Disney Parks
- 6 Retired Disney World Animatronics We Miss
- Do You Remember These 9 Short-Lived Disney Attractions?
- I Bet You Don't Know Which Attraction Was Inspired by Fantasia!
- What's Left of Disney-MGM Studios 30 Years Later
- 10 Walt Disney World Attractions Walt Had a Hand in Creating
Click below to subscribe to the AllEars® newsletter so you don’t miss any of the latest Disney news!