Disney Plus: 23 Hidden Gems And Forgotten TV Shows And Movies

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After all the hype, the Disney+ streaming service has arrived. As expected, the new offering is loaded with things to watch, including a practically never-ending list of Marvel and Star Wars titles. There’s also so many cartoons, and some truly exciting movies from the 1980s and ’90s.

Navigating such a vast library can be a bit challenging, though. With so much at your fingertips, it can be hard to know what to look for. What’s more, there are many movies and TV shows released over the years that were either overlooked originally or have simply been forgotten over time.

That’s where we come in. After combing through the exhaustive lineup of titles in the Disney+ library, we’ve come up with the 23 best hidden and forgotten gems the service has to offer. Take a look below and let GameSpot help guide the way through all Disney+ has to offer, including movies starring Kurt Russell and a chimp.

1. Fantasia (1940)

What started out as a Mickey Mouse animated short became an incredible feat for Disney. It’s hard to believe that Fantasia was released in 1940 because, honestly, the animation is just so good. This is a Disney staple that many have yet to experience. Now, thanks to Disney+, that can be rectified. -Chris E. Hayner

2. The Barefoot Executive (1971)

Sure, we all know Kurt Russell as an iconic movie star. In the ’70s, though, he was a Disney star, appearing in a number of films for the company. The one you should definitely revisit–or watch for the first time–is The Barefoot Executive. What’s it about, you ask? Just Russell’s character and a chimp taking over a TV network. No big deal. -Chris E. Hayner

3. The Million Dollar Duck (1971)

Remember that Aesop’s fable “The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg?” Well, in 1971, Disney made that into a movie about a duck. Yep, it’s a duck that lays eggs made of gold, and everyone wants it. I don’t particularly remember much about this movie, but I do remember as a child being obsessed with becoming a millionaire because of a waterfowl pooping out gold. This movie is right around the end of an era where Disney was pumping out family-fun comedies, right before that weird dark-era of movies. It’s light-hearted fun–and it has gold in it. -Mat Elfring

4. The Black Hole (1979)

Remember like 15 seconds ago when we mentioned that dark era of Disney movies? 1979’s The Black Hole was the movie to kick off that era. Because of Star Wars’ success, Disney wanted to make a movie about space, but got something really bleak instead. The movie follows an exploratory craft that finds a stranded ship outside of a black hole. Inside, there’s a scientist and a bunch of robots with a dark secret. The twist in the movie is pretty screwed up for what’s supposed to be a kids’ movie. I highly recommend watching this, but I will warn you, it’s a tad boring at times. -Mat Elfring

5. The Muppet Movie (1979)

The Muppet Movie was the first time Jim Henson’s creations hit the big screen and still remains one of the most entertaining movies for the characters. Hit the road with Kermit the Frog and his friends and rewatch the Rainbow Connection scene over and over again until you’re an emotional mess. -Chris E. Hayner

6. Adventures of the Gummi Bears (1985)

There are plenty of beloved Disney animated TV shows. We all love DuckTales and Chip N Dale’s Rescue Rangers. You know what show doesn’t get enough love, though? Adventures of the Gummi Bears, which is loosely based on candy. The series was surprisingly action-packed and gave the gummy candies an actual mythology that saw them sometimes at odds with evil humans. Cartoons were weird and amazing in the ’80s, and Adventures of the Gummi Bears is a prime example of that. -Chris E. Hayner

7. Return to Oz (1985)

This sequel to The Wizard of Oz is absolutely one of the most disturbing movies you’ll ever see. Set after Dorothy’s adventure to Oz, she’s now institutionalized and heading toward electro-shock therapy (no, seriously) when she winds up back in the magical land. Interestingly, though a sequel, Dorothy is a much younger girl in Return than in the original Wizard of Oz. And instead of her beloved dog Toto, she now has a talking chicken. It’s a weird and wonderful movie. -Chris E. Hayner

8. The Black Cauldron (1985)

It’s the film that nearly sunk an animation studio! At the time, The Black Cauldron was a huge creative swing for Disney–and one the remains very entertaining. However, it was also not the type of film people expected from Disney. It was dark, dangerous, and downright scary. It also happened to cost a lot of money, with a budget that ended up around $44 million. In theaters, it made about half that and was beaten by–of all things–The Care Bears Movie. It deserves better than that, so go discover this one. -Chris E. Hayner

9. Flight of the Navigator (1986)

Quite simply, Flight of the Navigator is one of the most entertaining all-ages sci-fi movies of the 1980s. It answered the question of how amazing it would be for a kid to drive a spaceship. Thankfully, in this case, he does it with a wacky robot that’s voice by Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens. This movie has it all: cute aliens, time travel, and Sarah Jessica Parker playing a NASA intern. -Chris E. Hayner

10. The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1988)

The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ran for four seasons across the Disney Channel and the ABC network, quite possibly making it the first Pooh Bear series for today’s adult millennials. Featuring all of the classic Pooh characters like Piglet, Tigger, Owl, Eeyore, and more, this series leaned heavily into adventures that did not necessarily involve Christopher Robin. -Mike Sorrentino

11. Willow (1988)

I probably haven’t watched Willow in 20 years, but as one of those ’80s children, I do remember being very excited to watch it in theaters. I occasionally say, “You ARE great,” just like Warwick Davis did. And one of the bands I was in had a song simply describing how great we remember the movie being. In it, Willow has to watch over a small child and protect her from an evil queen. It’s the quintessential ’80s fantasy movie. You probably forgot about its existence, like I did. -Mat Elfring

12. Turner & Hooch (1989)

It’s a movie starring Tom Hanks and a cool dog as a cop and his canine sidekick. What’s not to love? Turner & Hooch is a staple of ’80s movies, and if you somehow haven’t seen it yet, this is your lucky day. -Chris E. Hayner

13. Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992)

The second installment in the genetically modified family trilogy might, somehow, be the best. The goofy scientist played by Rick Moranis previously shrank his children, but what happens when he turns a baby into a giant? Only wonderful things, we promise. Don’t you want to watch a 100-foot tall baby chasing an ice cream truck? Of course, you do. -Chris E. Hayner

14. Rookie of the Year (1993)

Did he just say “Funky butt-lovin’?” I guess, since I’m the resident Illinoisan, I should talk about this movie. As a young boy, living in the shadow of the country’s Second City, I truly wished I could be on the Chicago Cubs–which at the time was a garbage fire of a team, even with Mark Grace and Ryne Sandberg playing for them. The movie is about a kid who breaks his arm and develops super-pitching powers after it heals. Joining an MLB team is every kid’s dream. -Mat Elfring

15. Blank Check (1994)

What if money really were just a toy? The movie Blank Check turns that idea into a kid’s dream come true. Thanks to a car crash and a man irresponsible enough to let a kid (Brian Bonsall) write whatever cash amount he wants into a check, the film is pure wish-fulfillment. Bonsall’s Preston Waters proceeds to buy a tricked out mansion complete with a water slide. While I cannot vouch if the film has aged well, it does contain a look at Apple in the early ’90s since the Macintosh (in name and computer) plays a prominent role. -Mike Sorrentino

16. Camp Nowhere (1994)

Everyone loves a good story about summer camp. Now, I never went to a summer camp, but I dreamed of going to one to growing up. Camp Nowhere is why I had this dream. It’s about kids being forced to go to summer camp, and they totally don’t want to. So they make up a fake camp, take their parents’ money, and party all summer long. It’s another “kids rule the world” movie, but it’s totally not a Lord of the Flies situation. It’s the ’90s, so it’s all about having fun and spending all your money on dumb–but totally awesome–toys. Also, a kid plays the “National Anthem” on an electric guitar while standing on the roof of a cabin, which is the most patriotic thing in all of cinema. -Mat Elfring

17. Heavyweights (1995)

Everyone loves a good story about summer camp. Now, I never went to a summer camp, but–wait, this feels very familiar. Heavyweights is about a summer camp for overweight kids that gets purchased by a fitness guru (Ben Stiller), and the kids come together to teach him a lesson in humility. It’s very fun, and I love it. However, what’s more important is what happened to the antagonist, Tony Perkis, after the events of the film.

Here’s a theory I’ve had for years: Heavyweights is a prequel to Dodgeball, and after the events of Heavyweights, Tony Perkis (Stiller) began selling healing crystals door-to-door (that’s canon in the movie). He was a failure, obsessed with fitness, and gave up, gaining weight. He somehow found motivation, lost all his weight, and changed his name to White Goodman (also played by Stiller), opening up Globo Gym in the movie Dodgeball. Both the logos for Perkis Power and Globo Gym have a few similarities as well. -Mat Elfring

18. Tom and Huck (1995)

It’s the story of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn as told by everyone you cared about in the mid-1990s. Jonathan Taylor Thomas is Tom, Brad Renfro is Huck, and Rachel Leigh Cook–before smashing a kitchen in her drugs are bad PSA–Becky Thatcher. This movie is pure ’90s goodness and the kind of timewarp you’re going to want to check out. -Chris E. Hayner

19. Kazaam (1996)

Yes, this movie exists. No, it probably shouldn’t. At the height of Shaquille O’Neal’s popularity, he made a lot of interesting choices–from playing some kind of superhero in Steel to having his own fighting video game in Shaq-Fu. None is more puzzlingly magnificent than Kazaam, though. In it, he plays a genie that gives a kid three wishes, while shenanigans ensue. It didn’t do well at the box office because, well, look at it. It’s the perfect movie to check out now that Disney+ is beamed into your home, though. -Chris E. Hayner

20. Jack (1996)

The concept of the movie is an odd one, but it’s executed so well. Robin Williams plays a child that ages at a far more accelerated rate than normal, leaving him looking like a middle-aged man that’s experiencing the world for the first time. Jack sees him finding his first friends, going to school, and truly enjoying himself for the first time, while also coming to grips with the fact that his life is going to be short. It’s a fantastic portrayal for Williams and one that often goes overlooked. -Chris E. Hayner

21. Recess (1997)

Everything about Recess is good, from the group of kids it follows, to playground king Bob, to Randall–the weasel of a kid constantly snitching on his classmates. Recess is, plain and simple, just a great cartoon about life on the playground. Luckily for you, Disney+ also had the spin-off movies from the show, as well. -Chris E. Hayner

22. Phil of the Future (2004)

Phil of the Future is a very weird show. It centers on a family from the future that winds up trapped in the modern day when their time-traveling RV breaks down. Yes, it’s a silly and, honestly, a dumb premise. However, it’s also a pretty entertaining show when Phil (of the future) gets sent to modern-day high school. -Chris E. Hayner

23. Waking Sleeping Beauty (2010)

If you grew up watching Disney cartoons, this is a documentary you need to see. Waking Sleeping Beauty documents the rise and fall of Disney animation between 1984 and 1994, culminating with the releases of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. For a documentary released by Disney, it’s shockingly critical of a number of company decisions and shows just how bad things were at the studio in the 1980s. However, it’s also a story filled with hope about a group of artists who simply wanted to draw cartoons like the ones they grew up watching. -Chris E. Hayner

Source: Game Spot Mashup