10+ Disney Movies That Actually Dealt With Real Issues

Just because a film may revolve around a gang of talking cars or anthropomorphic insects, doesn't mean that they still can't hit hard.

In fact, there are a number of Disney movies that have tackled some pretty heavy topics over the years.

See for yourself and check out these 10+ Disney movies that actually deal with real issues.


This is an emotional timebomb from start to finish. UP's ability to articulate the impact of losing a life partner is one of the film's greatest achievements.

Make sure you've got the tissues at the ready.


Walt Disney Pictures

Losing a parent is one of the hardest things to have to go through.

It's one of life's horrible realities. Onward addressed this topic in a completely sensitive yet hilarious manner.

*A Bug's Life*.

Upon the first watch, you may not suspect A Bug's Life to be a well of Lockean philosophy - but it's there!

"People (the Ants) shouldn't be afraid of their government (the Grasshoppers). Governments should be afraid of their peoples."

*Horton Hears A Who*.

Walt Disney Pictures

You could have just as easily called this film The Inherent Ethical Issues of Isolationism. But I suppose the title isn't quite as catchy.

Dr. Seuss was ahead of his time.

*Cars 2*.

Walt Disney Pictures

OK, so maybe it's the worst Disney/Pixar film of all time?

That doesn't take anything away from the fact that Cars 2 has a lot to say on the topic of climate change.

*Finding Dory*.

In Finding Dory, the forgetful fish's memory lapses became much more serious.

Much heavier emphasis is put on communicating the pains of Dory's mental impairment, as opposed to before when it was something to be laughed at.


The hazards of colonialism and issues of racism are central to Pocahontas.

I'm certainly not going to argue that the film succeeded by any means, but they at least deserve partial points for attempting such a daunting task.

*Lilo & Stitch*.

Walt Disney Pictures

Grieving can leave you with a sense of feeling lost. It can transform us into something we're not. This is one of the main themes in Lilo & Stitch.

"Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind...or forgotten."


Coco is attempting to reshape our entire perspective on the topic of death.

Rather than view it as something to fear, the film attempts to humanize death as an unavoidable constant. One that must be accepted in order to fully embrace life.


Walt Disney Pictures

Wall-E is a cynical portrayal of humankind and an ominous reminder of a future yet to come.

It speaks to the dangers of consumerism as well as the refusal to acknowledge the impacts of climate change.

*The Incredibles*.

One of the more subtle components to The Incredibles was the film's commentary on the far-reaching implications of government and its ability to regulate society. That's a pretty leftist stance, coming from Disney.

*Toy Story 3*.

Walt Disney Pictures

This film absolutely guts me every time I watch it. In one fell swoop, Toy Story 3 teaches us how to cope with abandonment.

It teaches us how to let go and that it's OK to grow up.

*Big Hero 6*.

Yet another Disney film that teaches its viewers how to cope with and overcome grief.

What makes Big Hero 6 unique is the way it focuses on the process of letting go.

*The Hunchback Of Notre Dame*.

Walt Disney Pictures

This entire film is one giant Public Service Announcement regarding the inherent dangers of religious fanaticism and elitism.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: this is the darkest Disney film of all time.

*Inside Out*.

Walt Disney Pictures

The greatest part about Inside Out was how it effortlessly expressed the impact and importance of balanced emotions.

Furthermore, how those emotions have a direct effect on our overall mental health.