Excited about Disney's upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid? It's time to get ready for the movie's release with our blog list of the greatest Disney duos.
Friendship is, of course, a key theme in the vast majority of Disney movies. And the following classics have warmed our hearts and ignited our emotions. Scroll down to see if your favourite is included.
1. Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket (Pinocchio, 1940)
A wooden puppet who wants to become a real boy, and his walking, talking conscience, embodied as a chirpy insect. It really shouldn't work, yet this endearing friendship is at the heart of Disney's timeless 1940 masterpiece. Pinocchio and Jiminy share many adventures together that seal their bond, including a hair-raising escape from the belly of whale Monstro.
2. Dumbo and Timothy (Dumbo, 1941)
Friends that get absolutely smashed together, stay together. In the heartrending Dumbo, our anxiety about the young elephant's separation from his mother is alleviated by his amusing bond with circus mouse Timothy. The aforementioned drunk scene with the pink elephants is both creepy and a pivotal friendship moment in Disney lore.
3. Mowgli and Baloo (The Jungle Book, 1967)
What friends don't enjoy a good old singalong together? In Disney's groovy 1967 adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, there's more than enough scat jazz to go around. The story centrally pivots around man-cub Mowgli and laid back bear Baloo, who roam around to the foot-tapping sound of 'The Bear Necessities'. In the 2016 remake, Bill Murray brought his signature laconic tones to the role of Baloo.
4. Robin Hood and Little John (Robin Hood, 1973)
Britain's most famous outlaw tale, Robin Hood, gets an anthropomorphic twist in this Disney favourite. (It's poised to get a live-action Disney+ remake soon.) Robin himself is retooled as a fox, and his loyal sidekick Little John is a bear (voiced by Phil Harris, who also voiced Baloo in The Jungle Book).
5. Bernard and Bianca (The Rescuers, 1977)
Now, here's a Disney gem that only seems to be remembered by a select few. In the same year we got the first Star Wars movie, the Mouse House unleashed a charming story of two mice who set out to rescue a kidnapped girl. The contrasting chemistry between chic Bianca and nervy Bernard propels the movie along with humour and warmth.
6. Todd and Copper (The Fox and the Hound, 1981)
One of Disney's darker and more mature films, The Fox and the Hound takes a decidedly more poignant look at friendship. When a hounddog and a fox form an unexpected bond, they can't anticipate what problems it will bring. They're supposed to be mortal enemies, and as Todd and Copper mature, they struggle with their pre-determined roles in life.
7. Aladdin and the Genie (Aladdin, 1992)
The classic fairy tale Arabian Nights gets a dazzling Disney twist in one of their greatest films of the 1990s. One of the key 'Disney renaissance' films (which started with The Little Mermaid), Aladdin hinges on the friendship between the title character and Robin Williams' Genie. As the latter schools the former on magic and true love, it builds to a final scene that still leaves us teary-eyed. Will Smith took on the Genie role in the 2019 live-action remake.
8. Timon and Pumbaa (The Lion King, 1994)
Although The Lion King is fundamentally a powerful story of fathers and sons, it contains one of Disney's funniest duos. Said friends are Timon and Pumbaa, a meerkat and a warthog, who school exiled lion prince Simba with their song 'Hakuna Matata'. Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner replaced Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella in the 2019 remake.
9. Woody and Buzz (Toy Story, 1995)
As in real life, not all Disney friendships start on a positive note. In the groundbreaking Toy Story, the first feature film from Pixar, Tom Hanks' cowboy Woody initially detests flashy spaceman Buzz (Tim Allen). The manner in which they must learn to work together to escape the clutches of the neighborhood bully makes this animated smash a workout for the emotions. It's sad, funny and thrilling all at once, a companionship that's been further developed in three fantastic sequels.
10. Mulan and Mushu (Mulan, 1998)
A young woman must disguise herself as a man to serve as a warrior in this sweeping Disney animation. Mulan is a trendsetting Disney heroine, breaking down gender boundaries wherever she finds them. But there's room for humour in the film too, as Ming-Na Wen's title character bonds with Eddie Murphy's motor-mouthed dragon Mushu. Just don't expect to see the latter character in the glossy-looking remake that's coming soon.
11. Mike and Sully (Monsters Inc, 2001)
Here's one of our favourites: a loyal sidekick duo where one is a walking eyeball, and the other a walking fuzzball. Disney-Pixar's utterly delightful Monsters, Inc. shows us that the monsters who live in our closet have feelings too. And this is expressed in the brilliant banter between our central characters, voiced with relish by Billy Crystal and John Goodman.
12. Lilo and Stitch (Lilo & Stitch, 2002)
A young Hawaiian girl and a dog-like alien form an irresistible companionship in Disney's hand-drawn adventure. Lilo & Stitch comes from the directorial duo of Chris Sanders and Dean DuBlois, later of How To Train Your Dragon fame. And its central duo demonstrates that friendship can cross all boundaries, even intergalactic ones.
13. Marlin and Dory (Finding Nemo, 2003)
What's a neurotic clownfish to do when scouring the ocean for his lost son? The answer: team up with a short term memory-ridden regal blue tang who, against the odds, will become a valued friend. Disney-Pixar's gorgeous and engrossing family blockbuster shows, via the chemistry between Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres' characters, that friendship really can come from anywhere.
14. Carl and Russell (Up, 2009)
Disney duos often cross the age divide, and Up is a classic example. Following that tear-jerking opening montage, set to Michael Giacchino's Oscar-winning score, we're in desperate need of an uplift. And we get it in the form of Ed Asner's cranky Carl, who ties balloons to his house and floats away – only to discover that boy scout Russell (Jordan Nagai) is also along for the ride.
15. Sven and Kristoff (Frozen, 2013)
Frozen and its 2019 sequel put sisterhood ahead of everything else, with Anna and Elsa (Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel) inspiring a whole new generation of Disney fans. But let's not overlook the film's inter-species friendship between Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his loyal reindeer Sven. Even when one half of the duo can't speak, they communicate volumes through wonderful facial expressions.
16. Happiness and Sadness (Inside Out, 2015)
Our emotions must learn to work together in order so that we can cope with life's challenges. That's the concept of Disney-Pixar's audacious and brilliant Inside Out, which humanises abstract concepts to funny and deeply moving degrees. Essentially, it's a coming-of-age story set inside a young girl's head, and the agent of her eventual maturity is the presence of Happiness and Sadness working perfectly in tandem. The terrific vocal performances of Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith are what really sell it.
Did we miss out your favourite Disney duo? If we did, tweet us your own choice @Cineworld. Hit the link below to get your tickets for The Little Mermaid, releasing at Cineworld on May 26th.