Disney movies are known for being heartwarming, cute, funny, inspirational, and sweet. But they also feature some of the most dazzling artwork ever committed to film. In honor of "Hunchback of Notre Dame" turning 25, here are some of the most beautiful Disney movies ever made.
Walt Disney's ambitious animated anthology features beloved star Mickey Mouse, the fearsome demon of "Night on Bald Mountain," dancing hippos, frolicking centaurs, and fairies painting flowers with the colors of the seasons. It remains a stunning work of art.
'Sleeping Beauty' (1959)
The look of "Sleeping Beauty" was based on medieval tapestries, as well as Italian Renaissance paintings. Maleficent was inspired by Czechoslovakian paintings of the devil, and Princess Aurora was modeled on another movie princess, "Roman Holiday" star Audrey Hepburn. All of this adds up to one of our favorite Disney classics.
'Beauty and the Beast' (1991)
This Oscar-winning fairy tale romance was the second Disney film to combine computer animation with hand drawing and the results are spectacular, as witnessed in the stunning detail of the ballroom scene (pictured here).
The team of animators drew on descendants of the real Pocahontas (as well as supermodels like Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell) to create the title character and for the seeping nature backgrounds, took inspiration from earlier Disney films, including "Sleeping Beauty." For Meeko raccoon, they turned to a classic Little Golden Book.
'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' (1996)
Quasimodo might not be the prettiest Disney character, but the Paris he lives in is drawn here in all its impressive glory. Before bringing the fabled Notre Dame cathedral to life, animators took a trip to Paris to study the elaborate architecture in person, including the hidden room where our hunchbacked hero lives.
"Mulan" has so many beautiful settings, from the dramatic fireworks-laden showdown to this gorgeous landscape with cherry blossoms. The production team based their designs on Ming and Ching dynasties and sought a style that was reminiscent of Chinese watercolors.
'Treasure Planet' (2002)
Transporting "Treasure Island" into space meant swapping out endless ocean for starry skies and nebulae. The eye-popping space battles between colorful pirate ships put those old metal ships to shame. The look was inspired by classic early 20th-century illustrators Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth.
'Atlantis: The Lost Empire' (2001)
To create the legendary lost city of Atlantis, animators looked at the architecture of ancient civilizations such as Mayan, Indian and Tibetan. When Milo and the team of explorers finally sees the city emerge, it's breathtaking.
Animators journeyed to Norway to study the culture, the epic landscape and all that snow for this update on "The Snow Queen." Elsa's ice palace is a thing of unparalleled beauty, as is the frozen harbor with its stranded ships that serves as the scene for the film's climactic showdown.