Worst Live Action Disney 52

Watch the 52 worst live action Disney films, one every week, in 2015.

Many of my first cinematic experiences came from Disney. Films like Treasure Island, The Love Bug, and That Darn Cat! borrowed from the local library were a highlight of my childhood. But it occurred to me that I’ve only really seen the classics. What would it be like to watch the 52 worst live action Disney movies? What, I wonder, is lurking in the shadows of the Magic Kingdom?


What indeed?

I like the idea of looking at the worst films, because I believe we can learn as much about society from our failures as from our successes. Throughout the decades these films, good and bad alike, have helped form the foundation for entire generations who have since grown up. What portions of that foundation would we rather forget? I have only seen seven of the 52 movies I have selected, and most of those I saw as a kid, so I am eager to go and uncover these potentially unfortunate films.

In order to pick the worst 52 live action Disney movies, I had to define both “live action” and “the worst.” I based my determination of which films were live action on the Wikipedia list of Walt Disney Pictures films. For my purposes, I did not include live action/animation hybrids (largely to avoid having to hunt down a bootlegged copy of Song of the South). I also excluded nature documentaries and concert videos, as I don’t feel it is fair to pit scripted films against footage of lemmings or pop stars as they appear in the wild. 



Finding objective criteria to define which 52 were the worst proved more difficult. In an ideal world, I would have based this on critical opinion. Unfortunately, Rotten Tomatoes, the most reliable online aggregator of professional film reviews, is only really reliable for films released in the last couple of decades. As such, I turned to IMDb user ratings, which had the benefit of covering every film in question. Unfortunately, the IMDb ratings showed a strong bias towards older films, with films released more recently getting on average much lower scores. To compensate for this imbalance, I sorted the films by decade; any given movie would only be compared to the ratings of its contemporaries. I selected a number of films from each decade proportional to the total number of films released:

Disney Math

By all accounts, I’m probably taking this way too seriously.

The final result is 52 films, spread across Disney’s history, which have been deemed by the online film community to be worse than others released in their respective decades.

Here are some effects that I predict from a year of watching the worst that live action Disney has to offer.

1) Due to the amount of time spent watching decades-old kids’ films, I will likely begin integrating corny outdated slang into my daily lexicon.

2) I will notice an improvement in my general mood. After spending a year watching a movie I hate every week, a year of watching cheery Disney fare will produce a positive effect on my disposition.

3) I do not anticipate the experiment having any noticeable effect on my dreams or sleep patterns.

4) There is a good chance that I will start pretending animals/cars are talking with me.


I’m looking at you, Herbie.

That’s all for now. It’s time to start Worst Live Action Disney 52.

Rob Roy: The Highland Rogue (1953)

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