The Essential Disney Shorts

by Foux_du_Fafa | created - 19 May 2012 | updated - 19 May 2012 | Public
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1. Steamboat Willie (1928)

8 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Mickey Mouse, piloting a steamboat, delights his passenger, Minnie, by making musical instruments out of the menagerie on deck.

Directors: Ub Iwerks, Walt Disney | Star: Walt Disney

Votes: 5,618

This cartoon not only changed film history through its innovative use of sound; it introduced the world to a legend.

2. Flowers and Trees (1932)

Approved | 8 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

An evil tree stump, jealous of two trees in love, starts a forest fire.

Director: Burt Gillett | Stars: Esther Campbell, Marion Darlington

Votes: 1,659

The first cartoon in three-strip Technicolor, bringing a richness and opulence never before seen on screen.

3. Three Little Pigs (1933)

Passed | 9 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

When a hungry wolf starts blowing down some pigs' houses, they take refuge in their sensible brother's brick house.

Director: Burt Gillett | Stars: Billy Bletcher, Pinto Colvig, Dorothy Compton, Mary Moder

Votes: 4,017 | Gross: $0.25M

Upon release, this film caused a huge sensation with resilient Depression-era audiences. Nearly 80 years later, this short still stands up as a winning, musical adaptation of a classic fairy tale.

4. The Ugly Duckling (1931)

Approved | 7 min | Animation, Family, Short

A black duckling is rejected by its mother, a hen, but manages to prove his worth when a tornado threatens the hen's chicks.

Director: Wilfred Jackson | Star: Florence Gill

Votes: 858

This rendition of the classic Hans Christian Andersen story has a lot of charm, and contains some of the first instances of real pathos in animation. But what's more interesting is that it was remade a few years later...

5. Ugly Duckling (1939)

Approved | 9 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

A newborn cygnet searches for a family that will accept him.

Directors: Jack Cutting, Clyde Geronimi

Votes: 2,010

...in what would be the final Silly Symphony. Compared to the original eight years prior, the storytelling and artwork in the remake are far more sophisticated. The result is a beautiful film, and a testament to how far Disney came with the animated medium during the 1930s.

6. Brave Little Tailor (1938)

Approved | 9 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

When a giant threatens the land, the city folk mistake Mickey's boast of killing seven flies with one blow to be giants. He is then forced to fight the giant for real.

Director: Bill Roberts | Stars: Walt Disney, Marcellite Garner, Eddie Holden

Votes: 1,971

Mickey Mouse in one of his great roles, this time playing the accidental hero in a version of the Grimm fairy tale "Brave Little Tailor".

7. The Wise Little Hen (1934)

8 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

The hen is looking for someone to help her plant her corn. Peter Pig and Donald Duck both feign belly aches to get out of the chore. So, with help from her chicks, she plants it herself. ... See full summary »

Director: Wilfred Jackson | Stars: Florence Gill, Clarence Nash

Votes: 1,261

A fun little short featuring the first appearance of Donald Duck.

8. Don Donald (1937)

Approved | 8 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Donald is courting Daisy (called Donna, here in her first appearance) Duck in Mexico. He arrives on a burro, which doesn't get along at all well with her; she convinces him to buy a car. ... See full summary »

Director: Ben Sharpsteen | Star: Clarence Nash

Votes: 633

One of Donald's first solo cartoons, and the first to feature Daisy Duck (then called Donna).

9. The Old Mill (1937)

Approved | 9 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

We see the various birds, mice, and bats that have moved into an old windmill, followed by the frogs, crickets, and fireflies making their music in an adjacent pond. Then a storm comes, ... See full summary »

Director: Wilfred Jackson | Stars: Marie Arbuckle, Jean MacMurray, Louise Myers, Clarence Nash

Votes: 2,843

The first animated film to test the multiplane camera, a device that believably allowed multiple layers of depth in animation. The results are beautiful.

10. Goofy and Wilbur (1939)

8 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Goofy is going fishing with his best friend, Wilbur, a grasshopper.

Director: Dick Huemer | Star: George Johnson

Votes: 514

One of Goofy's first solo shorts, full of charm.

11. Alice's Wonderland (1923)

12 min | Animation, Comedy, Short

Alice visits an animation studio, where the animators show her various scenes on their drawing boards. A few of them: a cat dancing to a cat band; a mouse poking at a (live) cat until it ... See full summary »

Director: Walt Disney | Stars: Virginia Davis, Margaret Davis, Walt Disney, Hugh Harman

Votes: 481

Long before Mickey Mouse, and even longer before Walt Disney's feature-length "Alice in Wonderland", came a series of shorts where a real-world girl entered magical cartoon environments

12. The Band Concert (1935)

9 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Mickey and his band are determined to perform their music despite the interferance of Donald Duck and a powerful storm.

Director: Wilfred Jackson | Star: Clarence Nash

Votes: 2,194

Mickey's first appearance in colour is amusing and memorable.

13. Ferdinand the Bull (1938)

Approved | 8 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Little Ferdinand the bull is stung by a bumblebee when men come to pick a bull for a fight. When he gets in the arena, all he cares about are the flowers in the matador's hands.

Director: Dick Rickard | Stars: Don Wilson, Walt Disney, Milt Kahl

Votes: 1,895

An Oscar-winning tale of pacifism.

14. Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom (1953)

Approved | 10 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

A crash course on the history of Western musical instruments.

Directors: Ward Kimball, Charles A. Nichols | Stars: The Mellomen, Loulie Jean Norman, Charlie Parlato, Bill Thompson

Votes: 1,102

The first animated film in Cinemascope (widescreen); a wonderful experiment with stylish, limited animation; an Oscar winner - just a few of the things to say about this great short.

15. Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968)

G | 25 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Winnie the Pooh and his friends experience high winds, heavy rains, and a flood in Hundred Acre Wood.

Director: Wolfgang Reitherman | Stars: Sebastian Cabot, Sterling Holloway, John Fiedler, Jon Walmsley

Votes: 4,066

Probably the best of the featurettes featuring Winnie the Pooh, it's no wonder this won an Oscar for Best Short.

16. Clock Cleaners (1937)

Approved | 9 min | Family, Comedy, Animation

Mickey, Donald, and Goofy are cleaning a large clock. Among the complications: Mickey fights a sleeping stork that doesn't want to leave, Donald gets tangled up in the main-spring, and Goofy is inside the bell when the clock strikes four.

Director: Ben Sharpsteen | Stars: Pinto Colvig, Walt Disney, Clarence Nash

Votes: 1,604

17. The Tortoise and the Hare (1935)

Approved | 9 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

A Walt Disney Silly Symphony telling of the classic fable about a foot race between speedy Max Hare, aka The Blue Streak, and and Slow But Sure Toby Tortoise.

Director: Wilfred Jackson | Stars: Pinto Colvig, Eddie Holden, Ned Norton

Votes: 1,734

This adaptation of the Aesop fable features interesting characterisation, and set the standard for how to draw speed in animation.

18. Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)

G | 26 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

The classic Disney animated characters play the roles in this animated retelling of the Charles Dickens masterpiece.

Director: Burny Mattinson | Stars: Alan Young, Wayne Allwine, Hal Smith, Will Ryan

Votes: 8,171 | Gross: $21.00M

This fun special was the first new theatrical film to feature Mickey Mouse in 30 years, and also served as one of the first productions many of today's most esteemed animators worked on.

19. The Skeleton Dance (1929)

Approved | 6 min | Animation, Family, Short

The clock strikes midnight, the bats fly from the belfry, a dog howls at the full moon, and two black cats fight in the cemetery: a perfect time for four skeletons to come out and dance a bit.

Director: Walt Disney

Votes: 3,320

The first Silly Symphony.

20. A Symposium on Popular Songs (1962)

Passed | 19 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

Professor Ludwig von Drake plays a variety of popular music, all of which he wrote. First, ragtime: the Rutabaga Rag, with vegetables dancing in stop-motion. Next, the Charleston, with ... See full summary »

Director: Bill Justice | Stars: Paul Frees, Gloria Wood, Billy Storm, Skip Farrell

Votes: 204

Ludwig Von Drake hosts a musical variety show, featuring some of Disney's rare use of stop-motion animation.

21. Mickey and the Beanstalk (1947)

29 min | Animation, Short, Adventure

Mickey, Donald, and Goofy live in a land where everything is dried up and dead. The only food they have is one loaf of bread, even Donald's plans of killing their cow fail. So Mickey ... See full summary »

Directors: Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts | Stars: Walt Disney, Clarence Nash, Pinto Colvig, Sterling Holloway

Votes: 2,613

22. Thru the Mirror (1936)

Approved | 9 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Mickey has been reading Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There", and falls asleep. He finds himself on the other side of the mirror, where the furniture is ... See full summary »

Director: David Hand | Star: Walt Disney

Votes: 1,355

An absolutely entertaining pic

23. Gulliver Mickey (1934)

Approved | 9 min | Comedy, Family, Animation

Mickey is looking after the orphans. He tells them the story of Gulliver (with Mickey in that role) in Lilliput, though without the satire and bawdy bits. The story ends with Mickey fighting a giant spider, about twice his size.

Director: Burt Gillett | Stars: Walt Disney, Clarence Nash

Votes: 777

24. Orphan's Benefit (1934)

Approved | 8 min | Family, Animation, Short

Mickey puts on a big show to raise money for the orphaned mice.

Director: Burt Gillett | Stars: Pinto Colvig, Walt Disney, Florence Gill, Clarence Nash

Votes: 335

25. Ben and Me (1953)

Passed | 21 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

A mouse tells the story of how he guided Benjamin Franklin to success and prominence.

Director: Hamilton Luske | Stars: Sterling Holloway, Hans Conried, Charles Ruggles, Bill Thompson

Votes: 627

26. The Art of Skiing (1941)

8 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Goofy, staying at the Sugar Bowl resort, demonstrates the basics of downhill skiing, which the titles and announcer insist is pronounced "SHEEing". The equipment is, of course, of the era. ... See full summary »

Director: Jack Kinney | Stars: George Johnson, John McLeish, Hannes Schroll

Votes: 761