57 user 13 critic

Walt Before Mickey (2015)

2:35 | Trailer

Watch Now

With Prime Video

Based on the book "Walt Before Mickey" covers the early years of Walt Disney's career.


Khoa Le


Timothy Susanin (book), Diane Disney (foreword) (as Diane Disney Miller) | 3 more credits »



Learn more

More Like This 

Walt Disney (2015–2016)
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Two-part biographical documentary on the life, career and legacy of Walt Disney. Making use of recently released archive footage, interviews and classic scenes from his films.

Stars: Rebecca Gethings, Walt Disney, Margaret Winkler
Singled Out (TV Movie 2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

Los Angeles based group of best friends dealing with being single for one reason or another.

Director: Andrew Pinon
Stars: Mackenzie Astin, David Dastmalchian, Trish Doolan
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Author P.L. Travers reflects on her childhood after reluctantly meeting with Walt Disney, who seeks to adapt her Mary Poppins books for the big screen.

Director: John Lee Hancock
Stars: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Annie Rose Buckley
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Romantic Comedy starring Serah D'laine, Timothy Woodward Jr, Bevin Prince and Jodie Sweetin. Redefining Love is the story of 6 people who are all trying to figure out what love means to them.

Director: James Seppelfrick
Stars: Serah D'Laine, Jodie Sweetin, Timothy Woodward Jr.
Please Give (2010)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In New York City, a husband and wife butt heads with the granddaughters of the elderly woman who lives in the apartment the couple owns.

Director: Nicole Holofcener
Stars: Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

When Jeff discovers that the bowling alley he manages is being sold, he must do everything he can to save the place he's come to call home.

Director: Kendall Goldberg
Stars: Jon Heder, Jim O'Heir, Jeremy Shada
Baby Animals in the Wild (2015–2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

"Baby Animals In The Wild is a humorous narration driven series based on a day in the life of a broad range of extremely cute baby animals from a wide variety of natural environments around the world." - Wildbear Entertainment

Stars: Luisa Prosser
Warrior Road (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An adventure of the soul. JOSEPH is a young, painfully shy writer in the waterlands of South Carolina. After robbing a rural juke joint with two lower-class buddies and joy-riding up the ... See full summary »

Director: Brad Jayne
Stars: Lorenzo James Henrie, Kristopher Higgins, Eddie Hassell
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

When the manager of an old-school bowling alley discovers the owner's plans to sell, saving Winky's World means pulling himself out of the gutter, too.

Director: Kendall Goldberg
Stars: Maya Erskine, Jon Heder, Anna Konkle
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A young Indian man relocates to 1970s Chicago to become an engineer, but when his job falls through, resorts to an elaborate charade with misfit friends in order to woo his childhood sweetheart.

Director: Lena Khan
Stars: Danny Pudi, Rizwan Manji, Jon Heder
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

When struggling voice actress, Gloria, discovers her agent failed to tell her that her claim-to-fame cartoon is being remade, she sets her sights on reprising her role as the famous BioBoy.

Director: Kendall Goldberg
Stars: Candi Milo, Ryan Stiffelman, Nico Aguilar
Animation | History

A grumpy old man mentors a rebellious and love lorn teenager telling about Polish priest Maxamillian Kolbe. Kolbe's faith and compassion ultimately lead him to sacrifice his life for another in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.

Stars: Ashley Greene, Hector Elizondo, David Henrie


Cast overview, first billed only:
Thomas Ian Nicholas ... Walt Disney
Jon Heder ... Roy Disney
Armando Gutierrez ... Ub Iwerks
David Henrie ... Rudy Ising
Jodie Sweetin ... Charlotte Disney
Taylor Gray ... Friz Freleng
Kate Katzman ... Lillian Disney
Conor Dubin Conor Dubin ... Charles Mintz
Hunter Gomez ... Hugh Harman
Timothy Neil Williams Timothy Neil Williams ... Fred Harman
Ayla Kell ... Bridgit
Arthur L. Bernstein ... Frank Newman
Frank Licari ... George Winkler
Flora Bonfanti ... Margaret Winkler
Natasha Sherritt ... Edna Disney


Based on the book "Walt Before Mickey" covers the early years of Walt Disney's career.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for period smoking throughout, mild thematic elements and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook




English | Spanish

Release Date:

14 August 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Walt Antes de Mickey See more »

Filming Locations:

DeLand, Florida, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The original title of the screenplay of Walt Before Mickey was originally titled The Dreamer. See more »


Walt visits his brother in a hospital operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs in a scene during the 1920s.

The Department of Veterans Affairs was not created until 1989 and its predecessor, The Veterans Administration, was not created until 1930. See more »


Roy Disney: You gotta get your head outta the clouds.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, we are told that the story is "based on the book by Timothy Susanin, forward by Diane Disney Miller." It's supposed to be "foreword," not "forward." This error is one of the most common in English and does not speak highly of the technical team's literacy level. See more »


Features Alice's Wonderland (1923) See more »


Just A Wish
Written By Jeremy Rubolino, Andrew Capra, and Rob Graves
Performed by Julie Zorrilla
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Misses the magic in favor of all the incredulity
10 December 2015 | by StevePulaskiSee all my reviews

Walt Disney is one of the biggest enigmas ever bestowed upon cinema. Many know his name, but few know his personal story or his personal struggle to get to be the renowned, billion dollar entity that he is currently seen as today. Because of that, "Walt Before Mickey" is an ideal biopic, telling us the story of Walt Disney well before Mickey Mouse was even a thought in his mind. Presumably, it'd be a film that would not only demystify a man, but an empire, and give us a more intimate glimpse at someone who has been ritualistically accepted the unmatched soul of animated creativity.

"Woulda, coulda, shoulda," is the moral of "Walt Before Mickey," which, other than one strong thematic point it chooses to emphasize quite regularly, is an overwrought and cheesy biopic, brimful of oversimplifications and embellished emotions. Walt Disney is played by Thomas Ian Nicholas of "American Pie" fame, an actor with a lot of attractiveness, but no discernible soul or personality he's willing to etch into the role. The film concerns Walt Disney's humble beginnings as a local farm boy, strictly dictated by his father and misunderstood by his whole family. Ever since his youth, he has dreamt of being a cartoonist, to the point where he has drawn random, animated animals on the walls of his father's barn in order to fulfill his desires for creative expression.

"Walt Before Mickey" focuses on Walt's struggle to prove himself a gifted animator in a money driven world, as well as his fight the restrictive and debilitating copyright laws that allow studios to own the rights of the animators' work without any question. Such fundamental ideas would be instrumental to a great film if Khoa Le's project wasn't more intent on inciting an emotional response than it was one would that would impact its audience on a level they'd remember in the long term.

The problem with "Walt Before Mickey" is it chooses to embellish its subjects in an emotionally manipulative sense, or one that sacrifices their humanity in favor of cheap pathos. As a result, the film suffers from not only being a believable project, but one that has any other intention aside from capitalizing off of the recognizable qualities and the enigma behind Walt Disney's name.

Le and screenwriters Arther L. Bernstein and Armando Gutierrez do capitalize on Walt's intention to be entirely full of integrity and good will, never making him out to be an entirely greedy soul nor one concerned with immediate monetary compensation. In fact, it's quite admirable how Bernstein and Gutierrez take Walt's story and emphasize fundamental elements about an artist staying true to himself and the repeated failures many will have to go through in order to obtain noteworthy, if any, success. Most of this compelling subtext, however, is undercut, by the film's need to emphasize every emotional occurrence in the film in a boisterous and overwrought manner that does nothing for the film as a whole aside from bring down its thematic credibility.

"Walt Before Disney," through its directorial and narrative woodenness that would make contemporary independent Christian cinema seem like believable fare in the modern day, makes soap operas pragmatic in the kind of drama and incredulous circumstances most of them conjure up. It's a film intent on embellishing every emotional circumstance and not thinking twice about constructing a scene that isn't built off of dimestore pathos nor incredulous circumstances. It's one of the year's most glaring missed opportunities, as it turns a story of incredible significance into a cheap and forgettable trite in an independent film that bites off far more than it can chew.

15 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 57 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed