It's summer, and you know what that means: guilt-free movie binging! After more than a year full of nerve-racking accommodations and the absence of an eventful Summer 2020, for most people, the least we can do is sit back, relax, watch a good throwback movie, and allow ourselves to fall into the arms of nostalgia (even for times a lot of us weren't even alive to witness). Don't know where to start? Don't worry, because listed below are fifteen universally admired throwback movies that are available on Disney+!
1. Freaky Friday
This movie starring Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis is a 2000s classic that is based on the 1976 film of the same name. The movie follows a mother (Curtis) and daughter (Lohan) through viewing each other's lives from the other's shoe...literally. After going to a Chinese restaurant one night and recognizing that they can't see eye-to-eye, both Ana (Lohan) and Tess (Curtis) wake up the next morning in the other's body, which they will spend a while in, and learn a very important lesson about judging others from the outside. While this movie may be unrealistic, for reasons other than the plot itself, it is definitely a must-watch/re-watch because of the amazing acting by both Lohan and Curtis, and the undeniable mother-daughter connection that they both entail.
This 80s hit begins with Madison (Daryl Hannah), a mermaid, saving Allen (Tom Hanks), a human, from drowning. They both get separated for twenty years until Madison comes back to find him, which results in them finding love. However, a dilemma arises when Allen has to decide whether sacrificing his life as a human is worth it for the sake of being with the woman he loves. Plus, there's an evil scientist added to the mix who causes even more problems. One thing to note, however, is that this movie can get sappy at times. So, if you aren't a fan of cheese, this movie may not be for you.
3. Three Men and a Baby
This classic comedy of the late 80s, based on the 1985 French film called Trois Hommes et un Couffin (Three Men and a Cradle), follows three bachelors (Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Danson) as they find a baby on their doorstep and attempt to take care of it through drug deals, work problems, and their own personal love lives. Three Men and a Baby is a great movie for any age, especially if you love babies.
4. While You Were Sleeping
Want to head back into the 90s for two hours? This movie, which stars Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman, is perfect for that! Lucy (Bullock), a transit worker, saves her longtime crush, Peter, from an oncoming train. After he gets hospitalized and goes into a coma, his family believes that Lucy is his fiancée, resulting in them taking her into their home. However, the situation gets complicated when Lucy falls in love with Peter's brother Jack (Pullman). If you're into simplistic romance, this is a great movie for you and can provide an engrossing two hours.
5. Return to Oz
This Wizard of Oz sequel follows Dorothy as she is pulled back into the land of Oz and finds out that the Emerald City is in ruins. After discovering that the devastation is due to an evil empire coming into power, Dorothy does anything and everything to set her locked-up friends, Tin Man, Lion, and the Scarecrow, free, as well as saving the city from further destruction. If you were a fan of The Wizard of Oz, this movie is a great pick for you!
6. Miracle on 34th Street
This 1947 holiday classic features a man (Edmund Gwenn) getting institutionalized after claiming that he is Santa Claus and a lawyer (John Payne) defending him in court. This heartwarming movie will for sure leave you both tearing up and laughing at times.
7. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
After a professor (Paul Lukas) and his assistant Conseil (Peter Lorre) take on the mission of uncovering the truth behind reports of a sea monster attacking ships in the Pacific Ocean and ending up getting stranded in the Bay Area, they get invited on an expedition to search for the said monster. This iconic movie, based on a book of the same name and released in 1954, was Disney's first-ever successful attempt at the science-fiction genre and has been noted to be one of Disney's best live-action — which is a well-deserved title.
Two decades after Mickey Mouse first debuted on Plane Crazy, the first Fantasia was released, which was Walt Disney’s successful experiment at creating an animation that was suited for all audiences — not just children. This movie is a collection of animated versions of greatly appreciated Western classical music (e.g. Rite of Spring, originally composed by Igor Stravinsky). Fantasia became so popular that sixty years later, the 2000's version of the film was released. If you're a Mickey Mouse fan or just love classical works, this movie is great for you and will for sure take you back to the early 1900s!
9. The Sound of Music
A tuneful and heartwarming story based on the real-life story of the Von Trapp Family singers, one of the world's best-known concert groups in the era immediately preceding World War II. The film is about a young Austrian woman, Baronin (Julie Andrews), studying to become a nun in Salzburg in 1938 who is sent to the villa of a retired naval officer and widower to be governess to his even children. After bringing love and music into the lives of the family through kindness and patience, Baronin marries the officer, and together with the children, they find a way to survive the loss of their homeland through courage and faith. This iconic 1965 film is great to watch with family or even friends!
10. Hocus Pocus
This 1993 comedic fantasy stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, and Bette Midler as a trio of witches, the Sanderson Sisters, who get resurrected by Max, a teenager who, along with his little sister and his long-time crush, challenges the legend of the sisters. Now, with the help of a magical cat, the three teens go on a mission to stop the witches from becoming immoral. Although this movie wasn't particularly loved, it is a great throwback — especially for Halloween.
11. Remember the Titans
Set in Virginia in 1971, Remember the Titans is about a football team that has to learn, for the first time, how to deal with racial diversity, not only in their school but on the field. The football players are not the only ones that have to overcome their diversity and work together. The coaches are also subject to conflict when coach Bill Yoast is forced to step down as head coach and be replaced by Herman Boone (Denzel Washington). The team learns to accept each other and work together, but the rest of the school and the town are not as quick to accept the newfound brotherhood on the football field. This film, based on a real story, demonstrates the ability of a town to overcome prejudice and work together as a team. This movie isn't just for sports fans; anybody of any age can learn something from it.
12. The Princess Diaries
This 2000s film series follows a shy 16-year-old, Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway), on her journey after her mother reveals that she is related to a member of the Royal Family in a small European country of Genovia. From laughs to tears, this movie is a great throwback for today's teenagers!
13. Pirates of the Caribbean
The film series follows a pirate, Jack Sparrow (played by Johnny Depp), and blacksmith Will Turner (played by Orlando Bloom) as they search the seas for Elizabeth Swann (played by Keira Knightley). In the first movie, Jack attempts to steal back the infamous Black Pearl ship. The duo saves Swann and are in for a surprise twist when they find the current crew of the Black Pearl is cursed as the undead for stealing the cursed treasure. This movie is easily one of the most loved pirate films and is definitely worth watching as a throwback!
The movie Avatar is about Jake Sully, a former U.S. Marine paralyzed from the waist down. He is selected to participate in a mission to the distant world of Pandora after his twin brother Tommy is killed during a robbery. Here, Parker Selfridge orders him to mine for valuable minerals scattered throughout the forest of Pandora in exchange for an operation on the legs. Jake uses an avatar identity, allowing him to communicate with the Na’vi people. In this body, he gets the opportunity to walk once again. He learns the language and culture in order to infiltrate the Na’vi people and gather information for his superior, but instead, falls in love with the forest and a female Na’vi named Neytiri. Jake’s bond with the native tribe in Pandora over a period of three months changes him. He loses sight of his initial goal and starts to have trouble differentiating between what is real and what is a dream. Later, Jake plans on remaining in his avatar persona and going against his colonel, who wants to exterminate the Na’vi people. This movie is great for a throwback since it shaped many of the childhoods of today's teenagers.
15. High School Musical
This film series isn't unknown to any current teenager. Starring Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tislade, and many more, this movie/musical follows Troy (Efron) and Gabriella (Hudgens) through their journey of becoming a couple and getting faced with relationship obstacles, such as school and a drama queen “villain” named Sharpay (Tisdale). High School Musical isn't just a movie, but also a time capsule and is definitely a must-re-watch sort of film/series.
You know what they say - some films are so great that you have to watch them over and over again. Sometimes, movies remind you of a certain period of time that you missed, or they allow you to experience a time you never got to. Disney has shaped generations of childhoods and it's always good to re-watch movies from when your life may have been a bit simpler. Hopefully, the 15 movies listed above motivate you to indulge in the throwback whenever you're bored this summer.