Adaptations

The Best Disney Movies Based on Books 

Ranker Film
Updated November 5, 2019 2.7k votes 117 voters 1.7k views 50 items

List Rules Vote up the best Disney movies that are based on or inspired by literature.

Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse, but some of his company's most beloved characters come from literature. The best Disney movies based on books feature complex stories told simply. Many Disney movies based on fiction are also fairy tales. Some of the best Disney films based off books have even been nominated for Academy Awards.

What Disney movies adapted from books will you find on this list. Alice in Wonderland has to be near the top. Based on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, this 1951 Disney film follows a precocious young girl as she journeys down the rabbit hole. Disney revisited the story in 2010 with a live-action film starring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. The Little Mermaid is another good Disney movie based on a book.

The Brothers Grimm's “Rapunzel” served as the inspiration for the 2010 Disney musical Tangled. Other good Disney movies based on books include The Jungle Book, Cinderella, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Did you know so many Disney movies were based on books? Vote the best films up to the top of this list and please add any good flicks we may have missed.

list ordered by
1
Pinocchio is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
Mel Blanc, Cliff Edwards, Frankie Darro

Released: 1940

Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, T. Hee, Bill Roberts, Hamilton Luske, Ben Sharpsteen, + more

Pinocchio is a 1940 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Productions and based on the Italian children's novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. It was the ...more
2
Bambi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
Sterling Holloway, Sam Edwards, Cammie King

Released: 1942

Directed by: James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Paul Satterfield, Bill Roberts, Norman Wright, + more

Bambi is a 1942 American animated drama film directed by David Hand, produced by Walt Disney and based on the book Bambi, A Life in the Woods by Austrian author Felix Salten. The film was ...more
3
The Absent-Minded Profes... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
Fred MacMurray, Keenan Wynn, Paul Frees

Released: 1961

Directed by: Robert Stevenson

The Absent-Minded Professor is a 1961 American film distributed by Walt Disney Productions based on the short story "A Situation of Gravity" by Samuel W. Taylor. The title character ...more
4
The Jungle Book is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
Clint Howard, George Sanders, Louis Prima

Released: 1967

Directed by: Wolfgang Reitherman

The Jungle Book is a 1967 American animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions. Inspired by the Rudyard Kipling's book of the same name, it is the 19th animated feature in the Walt Disney ...more
5
Swiss Family Robinson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
John Mills, Dorothy McGuire, Tommy Kirk

Released: 1960

Directed by: Ken Annakin

Swiss Family Robinson is a 1960 British-American family film starring John Mills, Dorothy McGuire, James MacArthur, Janet Munro and Tommy Kirk in a tale of a shipwrecked family building an ...more
6
The Chronicles of Narnia... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
Liam Neeson, Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy

Released: 2005

Directed by: Andrew Adamson

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a 2005 fantasy adventure film directed by Andrew Adamson and based on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first published ...more
7
Lady and the Tramp is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
Peggy Lee, Stan Freberg, Dallas McKennon

Released: 1955

Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi

Lady and the Tramp is a 1955 American animated musical romance film directed by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, and Hamilton Luske. The romantic tale of a sheltered uptown Cocker Spaniel dog ...more
8
Treasure Island is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
Patrick Troughton, Bobby Driscoll, Robert Newton

Released: 1950

Directed by: Byron Haskin

Treasure Island is a 1950 live action adventure film produced by Walt Disney Productions, adapted from the Robert Louis Stevenson's 1883 novel Treasure Island. It stars Bobby Driscoll as Jim ...more
9
101 Dalmations is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
Rod Taylor, Paul Frees, J. Pat O'Malley

Released: 1961

Directed by: Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi, Wolfgang Reitherman

One Hundred and One Dalmatians, often written 101 Dalmatians, is a 1961 American animated adventure film produced by Walt Disney Productions and adapted from Dodie Smith's 1956 novel of the same ...more
10
20,000 Leagues Under the... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
Kirk Douglas, Peter Lorre, Paul Lukas

Released: 1954

Directed by: Richard Fleischer

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a 1954 American Technicolor adventure film starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas and Peter Lorre. It was the first CinemaScope science fiction film and ...more
11
Mary Poppins is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Elsa Lanchester

Released: 1964

Directed by: Robert Stevenson

Mary Poppins is a 1964 American musical fantasy film directed by Robert Stevenson and produced by Walt Disney, with songs written and composed by the Sherman Brothers. The screenplay is by Bill ...more
12
Snow White and the Seven... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
Billy Gilbert, Pinto Colvig, Jimmy MacDonald

Released: 1937

Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, Ben Sharpsteen, William Cottrell, + more

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a 1937 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by RKO Radio Pictures. Based on the German fairy tale by the ...more
13
Sleeping Beauty is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
Marvin Miller, Mary Costa, Verna Felton

Released: 1959

Directed by: Clyde Geronimi

Sleeping Beauty is a 1959 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney based on The Sleeping Beauty by Charles Perrault and Little Briar Rose by The Brothers Grimm. The 16th ...more
14
Cinderella is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
June Foray, Mike Douglas, Verna Felton

Released: 1950

Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi

Cinderella is a 1950 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. Based on the fairy tale "Cendrillon" by Charles Perrault, it is ...more
15
The Parent Trap is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
Maureen O'Hara, John Mills, Hayley Mills

Released: 1961

Directed by: David Swift

The Parent Trap is a 1961 Walt Disney film. It stars Hayley Mills, Maureen O'Hara and Brian Keith in a story about teenage twins on a quest to reunite their divorced parents. The screenplay by ...more
16
Old Yeller is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
Chuck Connors, Fess Parker, Dorothy McGuire

Released: 1957

Directed by: Robert Stevenson

Old Yeller is a 1957 American family tragedy film produced by Walt Disney. It stars Tommy Kirk, Dorothy McGuire and Beverly Washburn. It is about a boy and a stray dog in Texas. It is based upon ...more
17
The Little Mermaid is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll

Released: 1989

Directed by: Ron Clements, John Musker

The Little Mermaid is a 1989 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on the Danish fairy tale by Hans ...more
18
Peter Pan is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
June Foray, Bobby Driscoll, Heather Angel

Released: 1953

Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney

Peter Pan is a 1953 American animated fantasy-adventure film produced by Walt Disney and based on the play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up by J. M. Barrie. It is the 14th film in the ...more
19
Oliver & Company is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
Billy Joel, Bette Midler, Cheech Marin

Released: 1988

Directed by: George Scribner

Oliver & Company is a 1988 American animated musical buddy comedy-drama film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released on November 18, 1988 by Walt Disney Pictures. The 27th ...more
20
The Fox and the Hound is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
Kurt Russell, Mickey Rooney, Corey Feldman

Released: 1981

Directed by: Richard Rich, Art Stevens, Ted Berman

he Fox and the Hound is a 1981 American animated drama film based on the Daniel P. Mannix novel of the same name, produced by Walt Disney Productions and released in the United States on July ...more
21
Winnie the Pooh is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
John Cleese, Craig Ferguson, Tom Kenny

Released: 2011

Directed by: Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall

Winnie the Pooh is a 2011 film directed By Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall, and written by Burny Mattinson.
22
The Chronicles of Narnia... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
Liam Neeson, Tilda Swinton, Peter Dinklage

Released: 2008

Directed by: Andrew Adamson

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is a 2008 epic fantasy film based on Prince Caspian, the second published, fourth chronological novel in C. S. Lewis's epic fantasy series, The ...more
23
101 Dalmatians is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
Hugh Laurie, Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels

Released: 1996

101 Dalmatians is a 1996 family comedy film written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Stephen Herek. It is the second adaptation of Dodie Smith's 1956 novel The Hundred and One ...more
24
The Rescuers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
Bob Newhart, Eva Gabor, Geraldine Page

Released: 1977

Directed by: John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman, Art Stevens

The Rescuers is a 1977 American animated adventure film produced by Walt Disney Productions and first released on June 22, 1977 by Buena Vista Distribution. The 23rd film in the Walt Disney ...more
25
The Jungle Book is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Disney Movies Based on Books
The Jungle Book Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba

Directed by: Jon Favreau

The Jungle Book is a 2016 fantasy adventure film directed and co-produced by Jon Favreau. Based on Rudyard Kipling's eponymous collective works and inspired by Walt Disney's 1967 animated film ...more