15 big Disney movies that are surprisingly not on Disney+

You'd think Disney+ would have every Disney movie ever made but these are 15 notable films that have yet to debut on the streamer.
Tomorrowland Premiere in Tokyo
Tomorrowland Premiere in Tokyo / Anadolu Agency/GettyImages

It's easy to assume a streaming service owned by Disney would have just about everything the studio has made over the years. Disney+ does boast an extensive library ranging from classic theatrical releases to Disney Channel original films to stuff from The Wonderful World of Disney. There are a few missing from the Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures, and other studios under the Disney umbrella, but if it's made by Disney, it should be on Disney+.

But it doesn't always work that way. Amazingly, some notable Disney films are not on the streamer. While some omissions are obvious (The Lone Ranger), others are surprising, from movies part of a series to stuff that was a true hit yet somehow can't be shown. Maybe it's rights issues or other problems, but you might be surprised to see how these 15 Disney films can't be found yet on Disney+ and how home video is the only way to find some. 

15. Now You See Him, Now You Don't

Believe it or not, at one point, Kurt Russell was a Disney teen heartthrob. His big role was Dexter Riley, a college student who got into a variety of hijinks. While Disney+ has The Computer That Wore Tennis Shoes and The Strongest Man in the World, the middle part of the trilogy is missing. It has Dexter stumbling onto an invisibility formula and has to keep a step ahead of mobsters wanting it themselves. There's a lot of typical silly Disney comedy while Russell makes the part engaging. It's past time Disney+ added it just to wrap up the trilogy. 

14. Tower of Terror

Disney's track record with movies based on theme park attractions is hit and miss, but this 1997 Wonderful World of Disney film was a good success. It adapts the popular ride as Steve Guttenberg is a reporter looking into a supposedly haunted hotel. A young Kirsten Dunst is his niece aiding him, and for network TV, the film has some great effects and scary scenes. It also has an intriguing mythology as to why this hotel is cursed, and even without the Twilight Zone overtones, it's fun. It should be on Disney+ to be as good a ride as the actual Tower is. 

13. The Watcher in the Woods

In the 1980s, Disney was trying to shift its image from usual family films to darker fare. A good example is this moody 1980 film where two teenagers find something sinister about their new mansion in the woods. Bette Davis is chilling as the housekeeper, who may have a witchy side as the film amps up the thrills and tension for a scary wrap-up. A flop in its time, it's attained a cult following since, so it deserves a Disney+ release to let modern audiences appreciate it more. 

12. Something Wicked This Way Comes 

Disney and Ray Bradbury may not be an obvious mix, and the production was reportedly a mess. Yet this moody piece has a lot going for it as two boys are mixed in with a carnival whose owner (Jonathan Pryce) offers some truly devilish delights. Jason Robards is the grandfather trying to fight him with a good cast, including Diane Ladd. The movie is much darker than usual Disney fare with a wicked finale, so it may be too scary for modern viewers but could still work, especially at Halloween.

11. Air Bud

Now this makes no sense. Type in "bud" on a Disney+ search, and you'll get scores of movies in the "Buddies" franchise. Yet the one that started it all is nowhere to be found. This beloved film has a young boy bonding with a runaway Golden retriever who becomes a basketball team mascot, firing them to victory. This leads to the classic moment where, with a player down, they get Bud in the game, as there is "no rule that says a dog can't play basketball." It kicked off a franchise, so the fact it's not on Disney+ is a baffler. 

10. Tomorrowland

True, this movie was a box office flop, but then Disney+ has quite a few of those on the service. Given the star power of George Clooney and director Brad Baird, not to mention such a prominent release and a tie-in to the parks, this should be an easy choice for Disney+. This tale of a young woman (Britt Robertson) finding a secret history of super-scientists boasts great visuals and effects, and while the script is weak, its message of exploring the future is good. So having it absent from Disney+ is a pretty glaring omission. 

9. A Far Off Place

This 1993 film is notable as the first starring role for a young Reese Witherspoon. She and Ethan Randall are friends whose parents are killed by African poachers. Joining a native guide, they embark on a trip that's the equivalent of walking from Miami to New York. Even at this young age, Witherspoon shows the talent that would make her a future Oscar winner in a film that has more grit and power, as well as gorgeous African settings. Witherspoon's star power alone should have landed this on Disney+ by now rather than being forgotten.

8. Son of Flubber

The Absent-Minded Professor was one of Disney's most loved 1950s hits. It and the 1997 remake Flubber are both on Disney+, but Son of Flubber isn't. Fed McMurray is back as the quirky professor who tries to use the gravity-defying Flubber in new ways. That includes helping the high school basketball team break the laws of physics to win a game in a stunt-filled comedy. The damage it does leads to a court case with a fun conclusion, and it's strange Disney doesn't have this alongside the original comedy. 

7. Life Size

Lindsay Lohan has a good presence on Disney+, between big screen hits such as Freaky Friday and The Parent Trap to several Disney Channel original films. Which is why it's amazing that one of her most loved Disney films isn't on the service. Life Size premiered on The Wonderful World of Disney on ABC with Lohan as a girl missing her late mother. She uses a magic spell to bring her back but instead turns her doll into a live woman, played by Tyra Banks. The pair have surprisingly good chemistry in a film packed with humor and heart. It's attained a cult following, so maybe past time Disney finally added it to the service. 

6. Make Mine Music

Disney+ is home to almost every classic Disney animated film. Except this one. It's an anthology movie composed of different small segments, lacking a cohesive story, so maybe that's why. Yet there are gems, such as the beautiful adaptation of "Peter and the Wolf"; the fun take on "Casey at the Bat"; and the moving emotional "The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met." It's not among Disney's more famous golden age animated works, but it still deserves to be featured along with the other animated films of that era. 

5. The Jungle Book 1994

There are a few versions of The Jungle Book on Disney+, from the original animated classic to the 2016 live-action remake. Yet this 1994 adaptation isn't one of them. It's based more on the original book with Jason Scott Lee as Mowgli, the boy raised among the animals. This one is more action-oriented without talking animals but has a great supporting cast of Lena Headey, John Cleese and Sam Neill. Given they have so many other versions of the story on Disney+, you'd think Disney could add this one, too, just for completion's sake. 

4. Dick Tracy

While not the box office hit hoped for, Warren Beatty's adaptation of the famed comic strip character does have a good following. There's a great cast, with Al Pacino going wild as villain Big Boy and Madonna perfect as femme fatale Breathless Mahoney. The terrific art deco style adds more to it, making it stand out from generic comic book movies. The likely reason it's not on Disney+ is that Beatty and Disney have been in an on/off legal battle for decades regarding the character rights. If that can be solved, this would be a great addition to the Disney+ lineup.  

3. The Brave Little Toaster

Technically made by Hyperion Pictures, a Disney off-shoot in the late 1980s, this animated classic soon became a Disney Channel mainstay. It shows talking home appliances that go on a quest to find their missing owner. The movie is loved for its wonderful animation, delightful songs, and its message to never give up despite the odds. It does seem issues with Hyperion are why it's not on the service, and one hopes that can be solved so a new generation can discover this masterpiece of 1980s animation. 

2. Angels in the Outfield

It really is amazing one of Disney's most loved films of the 1990s has yet to hit the streamer. A remake of a 1950s film, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a boy abandoned by his dad, who sarcastically says he'll come back "when the Angels win the pennant." The boy's prayers for that are answered by an angel (Christopher Lloyd) whose buddies help the team to a stunning winning streak. Danny Glover, Tony Danaza, and others provide a good supporting cast with a warm-hearted finale, so it's odd this and its sequels aren't on the service. 

1. Song of the South 

Yes, it's pretty obvious why this movie isn't on Disney+. Despite the classic song "Zip a Dee Doo Dah," good animation and the fact it inspired Splash Mountain, Disney prefers to imagine this movie never existed. The problematic portrayal of the post-Civil War South has been a problem for years to the point there hasn't been a physical release of it since 1985. Even if fans demand it, it's unlikely Disney ever puts this film out there, even for its historical significance.