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10 best underdogs in Disney animated movies



Everyone loves an outsider, and it’s a story trope that probably dates back to the beginning of literature, not to mention cinema. And there’s probably no better source for these triumphant stories than storytelling giant Walt Disney Pictures.

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Watching beloved Disney characters and heroes rise from their ashes to overcome the villain or obstacles that stand in the way of their goal is an age-old tradition for all Disney fans. As the home of some of the most beloved characters in all of fiction, it’s no surprise that most of them are tried, true, and triumphant underdogs.

ten Dumbo – Dumbo (1941)

Dumbo holding the tale of Timothy Q. Mouse

Since there is no better place to start than the beginning, it is only fair that the famous flying elephant, Dumbo, starts the list. Dumbo was not only one of the studio’s first films, but one of their most cherished and beloved oppressed characters. Going from an embarrassing clown act to a feat of high-flying aerial wonder is quite a leap for anyone.

Dumbo might earn most of her praise for her wide-eyed cuteness, but her story is a classic tale that has inspired many more since. Disney basically created the archetype for Rudolph the red nosed reindeer and other similar stories.

9 Cinderella – Cinderella (1950)

Cinderella and Prine Charming greet each other at the ball

It may seem unusual for Cinderella to make an appearance on this list, but fans shouldn’t forget that she is the best example of a rags-to-riches story. Cinderella never wanted to become a princess with all the pomp and glamor that the title offers. At the end of the day, all she wanted was to go to the ball.

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While this could easily be one of the most stereotypical fairy tales in the studio, Cinderella made her wish come true by continually being kind and compassionate, even when the world around her wasn’t. It’s cliché, but it’s still one of the biggest examples of how a little kindness can go a long way.

8 Nemo – Finding Nemo (2003)

Nemo and Dora swimming in the water.

Similar to Dumbo, the adventures of Nemo in The world of Nemo and the struggles he goes through are all a tall order for a little guy in a big world. Consider the following: Nemo has every odds against him from birth. He has a bossy father who stifles his development, and he has moved away from home dozens of kilometers from the reef. It would be impossible to see him as anything other than an outsider.

While the movie is more about Marlin as the main character than his son, Nemo is going through some basic development that changes him for the better. This fin might just be lucky after all.

7 Aladdin – Aladdin (1992)

Aladdin characters

Replace Cinderella’s fairy godmother with a genius voiced by Robin Williams and Aladdin is essentially a similar story. But since Cindy didn’t have to face an evil wizard to make her happy forever, Aladdin has more than enough reason to outdo her.

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Yes, it’s a rag-to-riches story, but Aladdin’s adventures are easily the most perilous. He goes from a thief living on the streets to one of Disney’s most recognizable heroes, a diamond in the rough if ever there was one.

6 Milo Thatch – Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)

Atlantis The Lost Empire Disney Movie

Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a Disney sci-fi masterpiece, as well as one of the most underrated gems in the Disney library, and Milo Thatch is easily one of the most underrated outsiders in the world. studio history. At first glance, Milo is the epitome of the nerdy stereotype, but he finds himself on a grand quest where he’s not only known for his brain but uses it to save the day.

Milo isn’t just a geek who becomes a hero at the end of the movie, he’s a hero who draws on his intellect, skills, and knowledge to overcome conflict. He’s smart, he’s brave, but most of all he’s consistent.

5 Simba – The Lion King (1994)

Simba may not seem like an underdog, at first he is basically royalty by birth after all. But his exile from Pride Rock forces him to embark on a character development journey. With a little help from a certain baboon swinging a stick, he is able to overcome his fears and doubts and reclaim the throne.

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He might not be the most famous underdog on this list, but his film is arguably the most beloved. From the exiled lion cub to the ruler of all Pride Lands, Simba’s tale is practically Shakespearean in its narrative, making it the shining gem of the Disney Renaissance.

4 Hercules – Hercules (1997)

Disney hercules

When his theme song is literally “Zero to Hero,” there’s no way Herc won’t be mentioned on this list. But where Simba rose from little to king, Hercules became a god. Stripped of his immortality, thanks to the villainous plot of the villainous Hades, he had to regain his status as an Olympian by becoming a “true hero,” but, as any true Disney buff knows, it takes more than a few fallen monsters to walk through. this distance.

While he still retained his divine strength, Herc still had to learn that there are forces greater than his impending divinity. As cliché as the “Look Into Your Heart” message may be, Zeus was not wrong. Fortunately, neither did Wonderboy.

3 Quasimodo – The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1996)

“They just don’t make them like they used to be” is a phrase often used to describe Disney’s adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Not only is this film one of the most mature and moving plays the studio has ever released, Quasimodo is going through the most heartbreaking development of any Disney character.

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The world is cruel and mean, but through his emotional journey with Esmerelda, Phoebus, and the Gargoyles, Quasi also learns just how accepted he can be. His happy ending might not be what audiences were expecting, but it’s definitely the one he and his beautiful soul deserved.

2 Nick and Judy – Zootopia (2016)

Judy and Nick in Disney's Zootopia

Nick and Judy are both mentioned because not only are they both a pair of Disney outsiders, but their stories both take divergent approaches to achieving the same end goal. Both overcome societal prejudices and struggle to achieve their goals. Where Judy’s obstacles are directed more towards her stature rather than her only species, Nick is almost entirely against her vulpine status and her devious and harmful stereotypes.

What sets their story apart is how grounded it is in reality, and not just for the residents of Zootopia. Societal pressures and prejudices are all too real for many fans and can be a devastating stumbling block for anyone. Nick and Judy demonstrate how not only can they be beaten, but they can be beaten by anyone.

1 Mickey Mouse – Miscellaneous

Mickey Mouse Minnie Mouse

Not only is Mickey the leader of the club, but he has been continually chosen and recast as Disney’s most famous underdog. From the earliest Willie Steamboat to more modern examples, like The three Musketeers, Mickey can start at the bottom, but he always ends up at the top.

His outsider nature is what makes Mickey one of the most iconic cartoon characters of all time. He’s pretty much the epitome of all that is positive, and there is nothing better than seeing such a cute and perky character repeatedly triumph over the villain and win the heart of lovely Minnie over and over again. The formula works for a reason.

NEXT: Disney’s Top 10 Mickey Mouse Cartoons (In Chronological Order)

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