The Perfect Shots of Disney Animation

A new montage gathers the best of the best.

When it comes to getting that one perfect shot, animators have an especial opportunity. After all, they’re not dependent on the right lighting, or the perfect camera angle or focal length, they aren’t too reliant upon performance or production design, costuming or hair and makeup. All an animator needs to make their “shot” perfect is the right kind of eye and the corresponding skills to realize what it envisions. This is, of course, by no means an easy process, and in some regards it’s more difficult than live-action cinematography, but whatever the cause for distinction, here at One Perfect Shot/Film School Rejects we hold animation to a higher bar and scrutinize just a little harder the frames we post as “perfect.”

And movie for movie, shot for shot, the one animation studio that surpasses all others in its quest for perfection is, obviously, the Walt Disney Company, who for close to a century have been injecting cinematic aesthetics into their animated films, taking them beyond the realm of children’s entertainment and gracing them with a finesse, sophistication, and epic beauty that you won’t find really anywhere else this side of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli (which Disney now owns).

If there’s anyone outside the OPS inner circle who understands our appreciation for perfection, it’s Jorge Luengo Ruiz, one of the first video essayists we featured on a regular basis and the mastermind behind the Perspectivas column we ran in our early days, which was built around his work. Given all this, you might think his latest piece, “The Most Beautiful Shots in the History of Disney” was tailor-made for us and topic-wise it is, but the shot selection is all Jorge, and he’s made – as expected – some outstanding choices. Focusing his erudite eye only on the classically-animated offerings of the studio, he’s compiled a breathtaking montage that captures the majesty and magic of Disney animation and truly earns a place in the pantheon of perfect galleries.

Included below the embed is a list of the films Jorge used here, but chances are you won’t need it, so iconic are the shots that represent them.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Pinocchio (1940)
Fantasia (1940)
Dumbo (1941)
Bambi (1942)
Cinderella (1950)
Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Peter Pan (1953)
Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Sleeping Beauty (1959)
One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)
The Sword in the Stone (1963)
The Jungle Book (1967)
The Aristocats (1970)
Robin Hood (1973)
The Rescuers (1977)
The Fox and the Hound (1981)
Oliver & Company (1988)
The Little Mermaid (1989)
The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Aladdin (1992)
The Lion King (1994)
Pocahontas (1995)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
Hercules (1997)
Mulan (1998)
Tarzan (1999)
Fantasia 2000 (1999)
Dinosaur (2000)
The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
Lilo & Stich (2002)
Treasure Planet (2002)
Brother Bear (2003)
Meet the Robinsons (2007)
The Princess and the Frog (2009)
Tangled (2010)
Wreck- It Ralph (2012)
Frozen (2013)
Big Hero 6 (2014)
Moana (2016)