Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
It should come as no surprise that Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is the first entry to our list of important animated Disney films. Why is that? Well it was of course not only the company’s but the world’s first feature length American animated movie. That’s something that demands prestige on its own but the film is fantastic as well even without that fact. It set the scene for the following 80 plus years of animated films. It’s hard to imagine how incredible it must have been to see this film when it was first released, I can only imagine the hype was similar to that of Avatar when that was first released. Upon watching the premiere, the audience were so impressed by what they had just watched that they gave a standing ovation that lasted a staggering 10 minutes (one minute can seem long enough when applauding). The film was also praised by the academy and given a unique award that feature one Oscar as well as seven miniature Oscars too, they can be viewed at the Disney Family Museum. It’s safe to say that this film changed the world of entertainment and without it who knows what the fate of this now multi-billion-dollar company would have been.
Disney’s second theatrical release and still revered as one of, if not the best animated film ever created. After the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves Walt Disney was aware that if he wanted to repeat his success, he’d have to make something even grander. Pinocchio is darker, more complex and richer with a story that spans over several settings and such using various new animation techniques, some of which have not been done since. It was a testament to what the company could achieve and a declaration that things would only advance and get better over time. Though the previous film certainly had a notable soundtrack Pinocchio’s was truly iconic, not only did it receive multiple Academy Awards but the song When You Wish Upon A Star went on to become an anthem for the company and it is still used today.
Naturally the company’s earliest releases all hold a certain importance for its future, these are the films in which Disney cut his teeth so to speak. When Fantasia was first released in 1940 it was considered a huge flop, equal in its failure to Snow White in its success. However, what was achieved here was truly ground breaking. Disney used pieces of classical music to create 9 short animations. These are considered to be early precursors to the modern music video as well some of his most finely tuned work. Cinemas that screened this film were actually required to install a multichannel sound system that was something of a precursor to surround sound systems.