The 10 Most Controversial Disney Animated Movies

Disney is known for its groundbreaking animated films, but in recent years, it's become clear that some of them haven't gone out of style.

Disney has produced some of the most memorable animated films ever brought to the big screen. They craft beautiful stories and touching stories with memorable, eye-pleasing animation. The company has undoubtedly left its mark on the childhoods of countless fans and will continue to do so for decades to come. The company's first animated feature film was "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" in 1937, and their animation studio has been legendary ever since.

That's not to say Disney isn't controversial -- especially when it comes to its animated films, which have come under fire for various reasons. Disney has enriched the childhood of countless children, but it also troubled countless fans.

Turning Red (2022)

The controversy surrounding the Disney Pixar film Turned Red was largely an overreaction to the film's allegory. This 2022 film tells the story of a young girl who grows into a teenager and experiences new feelings during adolescence. The result was that she turned into a giant panda.

The Atlantic notes that the sex debate is completely baseless. However, this did not stop people From protesting the movie and refusing to let their kids watch it based on their preconceived notions. While the red panda represents puberty, it's not as sexy as it's claimed to be.

Pocahontas (1995)

After controversy over Peter Pan's (1953) portrayal of Native Americans, many felt that Disney's 1995 animated film Pocahontas could rectify this. However, this attempt to possibly make things right backfired, as many aspects of Pocahontas are still notorious today. As CBR reports, Pocahontas is Disney's first animated film based on history, and the studio isn't too impressed with what's actually going on.

The filmmakers also appear to have declined to consult Powhatan Renape Nation regarding accuracy. As a result, the film received many complaints about its inaccuracies regarding Pocahontas and the colonization of America at the time. Pocahontas is definitely a controversial Disney film, but despite its flaws, it meant well and is still beloved to this day.

Lady And The Tramp (1955)

"Lady and the Tramp" was released in 1955, based on Ward Green's short story "Happy Dan, the Cynical Dog". It is Disney's fifteenth animated film and the first feature-length feature shot in CinemaScope. Lady and the Tramp remains a classic for many fans heart, but some aspects of Lady and the Tramp haven't aged well.

Has several politically incorrect and insensitive elements, namely the infamous Siamese cat song, for which Disney received backlash. These cats are offensive anti-Asian stereotypes that cannot be ignored. Also considering Pedro the Chihuahua and Boris the Wolfhound, the film is full of racial stereotypes. In 2019, Disney tried to right some of those wrongs with its live-action "Lady and the Tramp," which is releasing directly on Disney+.

Alice In Wonderland (1951)

Alice in Wonderland is Disney's thirteenth animated film, and it is one that has lived on in the hearts of fans for generations. Perhaps the most controversial part of the movie is the most memorable. From a suspicious caterpillar to a creepy floating cat to some simple psychedelic sequences, Alice in Wonderland quickly gained a reputation after its release.

As the BBC points out, Alice in Wonderland is an animated Disney film aimed at children, but is in many ways a drug fable. From a caterpillar with a hookah to a magic mushroom, there are plenty of hints of drug use in this children's film.

Dumbo (1941)

One of Disney's most-watched films to date, Fantasia was released in 1940, and although it is celebrated today for its distinctive, visually stunning style, the film ultimately cost Disney at the time. That's when Dumbo shows up. When the film was conceived, it was intended to have an easy-to-understand concept that would help recoup the money Fantasia lost the company, though it wasn't without controversy.

A scene in the movie where Dumbo gets drunk and goes on a psychedelic trip was addressed and canceled in the 2019 remake. More controversial, however, were the singing crows, which KTLA reported were a nod to a "racist bard show" in which white performers blackfaced. Their leader is also named Jim Crow, which may be an insensitive reference to America's history of racism.

Peter Pan (1953)

Disney's adaptation of Peter Pan was their fourteenth animated film, and their last film to be distributed by RKO Broadcasting Pictures before their own distribution company was formed. Peter Pan (also known as "The Boy Who Won't Grow Up") was a controversial story from the start Started off because of its somewhat dubious subject matter.

Not only has Disney's adaptation been criticized for being dark and disturbing, but the film has also come under fire for its insensitive portrayal of Native Americans. Smithsonian Magazine reported that the film "doubled down on racial stereotypes" involving Native Americans on Neverland. This includes the song "What Makes a Red Man Red".

Aladdin (1992)

Aladdin is the fourth film released during the Disney Renaissance. The film is based on the Arabic folktale of the same name, and received some backlash for being culturally insensitive.

The film revolves around a young man looking for a way to get better in life and get the help he needs from a genie. However, writer and lecturer Dr Jack Shaheen objected to the offensive lyrics about Arabs in "Aladdin" and changed them in the original film's soundtrack, according to the BBC. He said Aladdin was a reminder that "hateful Arab stereotypes are as ubiquitous as Aladdin's magic lamp."

The Little Mermaid (1989)

A remake of "The Little Mermaid," using computer-generated animation and live-action elements, will be released in 2023, but it doesn't. Meaning the original animated film didn't make a mark on Disney's younger fans -- and This is generally considered a good thing, because who wouldn't want to grow up surrounded by classic Disney movies? However, the young mermaid also has a downside, Ariel's legacy.

Many fans thought Ariel was too young to marry Prince Eric. There's also controversy over who Ariel gave up on in order to get a man. However, co-director Ron Clement disagreed with the image of Ariel. Clements told The Hollywood Reporter, "To me, she is like anyone who dreams of being part of a world very different from her own, no matter how impossible that may seem."

The Three Caballeros (1944)

In all of Disney's greatest Of the venerable animated flicks, their seventh - "Three Horsemen" - could easily be considered one of the most forgotten. The film's blend of live-action and animated sequences, broken down into seven segments, is a bit overwhelming for younger audiences.

However, the somewhat complex plot of The Three Horsemen was not the cause of the controversy, but rather Disney's questionable portrayal of Mexican culture. Disney+ even responded to the controversy by issuing a warning before the movie aired on the streaming service. The text in the warning reads: "This program contains negative portrayals and/or abuse of people or culture. These stereotypes were false then and are false today."

Bambi (1942)

Bambi was controversial for well-known reasons . The most memorable (and traumatic) scene in Bambi is when the fawn's mother is killed by a hunter, and Disney notoriously didn't shy away from showing this gruesome scene to their young audiences.

The move caused such backlash that Disney reconsidered including these dark scenes in their films. Thor reports that the trauma of Bambi's mother's death even led Walt Disney to cancel Torasty's death in Lady and the Tramp (1955).

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