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Top 10 British Disney Stories

VO: Richard Bush WRITTEN BY: Kimberley Payne
We all love a bit of Disney, don’t we. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 British Disney Stories. For this list, we’re looking at Disney and Disney-Pixar films that are all or partly set in Britain, or are inspired by British tales.

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Top 10 British Disney Stories

We all love a bit of Disney, don’t we. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 British Disney Stories.

For this list, we’re looking at Disney and Disney-Pixar films that are all or partly set in Britain, or are inspired by British tales.

#10: “Brave” (2012)

With a stellar line-up of Brit performers, “Brave” brought amazing accents, a strong heroine, and an all-round memorable movie. As one of Disney’s few forays into Scotland, they certainly did the Highlands justice. Although “Brave” isn’t Pixar’s most commercially successful film, it has developed a devoted following all of its own – with plenty of quotes to memorize off by heart, and pivotal scenes to recreate. There’s a lot of love for Merida amongst fans, most of which are pretty damn envious of her archery skills, not to mention her amazing hair.

#9: “Basil the Great Mouse Detective” (1986)

If you’re going to re-tell a British story (and make it about anthropomorphic mice), it’s always a good bet to pick one of the classics. Sherlock Holmes is exactly that, but the Disney take is quite a bit different to your average adaptation of the super sleuth. “The Great Mouse Detective” is actually inspired by the “Basil of Baker Street” books by Eve Titus, which centre on the eponymous rodent who lives in a tiny roadside hole on, you guessed it, Baker Street. A movie built on all the familiar Holmes tropes, it’s Victorian England – only animated.

#8: “The Sword in the Stone” (1963)

A legendary movie in more ways than one, here’s where Disney cashes in on the mystic mythology of the Monarchy. The historical accuracy of the King Arthur story is usually up for debate, but it clearly made for an especially magical Disney film. And true or not, we all want to believe that a King really was chosen based on his ability to pull a sword from a stone. This is the ultimate underdog story – thereby playing to another British truism – and a rags-to-riches tale that’s steeped in Medieval charm.

#7: “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” (1971)

Enter, Angela Lansbury. A bona-fide British treasure nowadays, but before she became a Disney fan favourite for playing Mrs. Potts in “Beauty and the Beast,” she was taking the lead in “Bedknobs and Broomsticks.” With a darker setting than a lot of Disney films, the children at the heart of the story are evacuated from London during World War Two, and put into the care of Lansbury’s character, Miss Price. One thing leads to another, and the kids soon learn that their custodian is training to become a witch. It’s a spell-binding tale, all round.

#6: “One Hundred and One Dalmatians” (1961)

If you’re a dog person, chances are that this is one of your favourite Disney films of all time. It is packed with pooches, and it’s definitely one of Disney’s most adorable tales. But, if there’s one way to add a little extra charm to the titular tribe of Dalmatian puppies, it’s by giving them all British accents. It’s not all fun, games and cuteness, though. This film also has one of Disney’s most disliked villains. The clue’s in the name, really. They just don’t come any crueler than Cruella de Vil.

#5: “Robin Hood” (1973)

You don’t need to have seen this movie, or any other Robin Hood film, to know the age-old story. The legend is famous all around the world, but it all takes place in and around Nottingham’s Sherwood Forest. The Disney version is clearly one of the best retellings, though. How do you take a universally liked character and improve him? Well, you make him a fox for starters. This film follows that tried and tested Disney process of turning historical figures into walking, talking animals – and giving them some catchy songs to sing. And, it’s one of the best examples of that process out there.

#4: “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” (1977)

You might question whether Winnie the Pooh belongs on this list, since Pooh Bear and all of his buddies live deep in the fictional land of the Hundred Acre Wood... But, that wood was actually based on Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, and the original Pooh stories were of course written by the English author, A. A. Milne. Milne based it all on the stuffed toys owned by his son, Christopher, imbuing everything with a quintessential Englishness. Since then, Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and the rest have become classic Disney characters. And the search for honey has become a never-ending quest.

#3: “Peter Pan” (1953)

At this point, there are so many film versions of the “Peter Pan” story that it feels as though we’ve seen it from every possible angle. But, Disney were one of the first, and this adaptation is still one of the best. From Peter’s shadow-chasing arrival, to his titanic tussle with the malevolent Captain Hook, there’s a lot crammed into the complete caper. Every child dreams of going to Neverland and staying young forever, and this film – aided by Pixie Dust – takes us there. That said, the most recognizable scene is arguably back in London, as Peter, Wendy, John and Michael scale Big Ben.

#2: “Alice in Wonderland” (1951)

Lewis Carroll’s classic tale of one girl’s journey down the rabbit hole is fantasy fiction at its finest. So much so, that any adaptation was running the risk of ruining the magic. But, Disney pulled it off in the early 1950s, with a psychedelic stroll through Wonderland that turned Alice into a cinematic icon – almost a century after she first graced the page. A movie boasting a gloriously weird ensemble of brilliantly unexpected characters, it also completely re-invented tea party etiquette. The ever-angry Queen of Hearts; a drowsy doorknob; and a rabbit with poor time-keeping skills… What more could you need?

#1: “Mary Poppins” (1964)

A watershed moment for Disney as a whole, and the best of break-through roles for Julie Andrews, “Mary Poppins” manages a peculiar balancing act – of being undeniably Disney, but also brilliantly British as well (minus Dick Van Dyke’s accent). Any child that watched this one was left with a longing for a Mary Poppins of their own – a nanny who could make everyday life amazing. Whether it’s jumping into chalk drawings or floating through laughter, all while singing arguably the greatest Disney soundtrack of all time, it’s almost impossible not to enjoy this movie!

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