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10 Disney Movies with Secret Christian Messages

10 Disney Movies with Secret Christian Messages

Who doesn’t love Disney movies? The music, the imagination, the sense of wonder, it all tugs at some small part of ourselves that just never grew up. Over the years, Disney movies have taught viewers many things: to believe in yourself, to chase your dreams, and recently, to have courage and be kind. While Christians have occasionally sparred with the company over its methods and representation, there’s no denying the House of Mouse has a permanent place in our childhood nostalgia. However, what if I told you several films by Disney also had Christian messages hidden in their background?

From princesses who pray, to miracles from heaven, the classic films from Walt Disney Studios incorporate more spiritual elements than you may realize. Don’t blink, or you may miss the secret lessons about having faith and finding God in these 10 Disney movies!

*(Image Credit:Walt Disney Studios)

  • 1. "Snow White" Starred a Devout Christian

    1. "Snow White" Starred a Devout Christian

    Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first animated movie ever made by Disney, and the film has actually held up pretty well over the years. True, it’s not as coherent or empowering as new works like Frozen, but it is the only Disney movie to feature an openly Christian princess. Some viewers may recall that halfway through the storyline there’s a brief scene where Snow White is shown praying. With head bowed and hands clasped together, she asks God to bless the seven little men who have been so kind to her. It’s a short, but nonetheless poignant display of faith that you won’t find in most modern films.

    *(Image Credit:Walt Disney Studios)

  • 2. "The Jungle Book" Quotes Scripture

    2. "The Jungle Book" Quotes Scripture

    A minor spoiler for this early Disney classic; the final act of The Jungle Book ends with a climactic battle between Shere Khan and the lovable Baloo. During the scuffle, Baloo is tragically “killed” while protecting Mowgli, which galvanizes the boy into fighting back with his newly acquired fire. Afterword, the assembled animals take a moment to mourn their fallen brother, and that’s when Bagheera does something truly surprising.

    Taking the weeping Mowgli aside, Bagheera gently reminds him that “greater love hath no one, than he who lays down his life for his friends.” What viewers may not realize is the panther is actually quoting a verse from scripture, John 15:13. Of course, it turns out Baloo was only unconscious, and the tender scene is quickly replaced with laughter. However, this does nothing to negate the power of the words, or the one who inspired them.

    *(Image Credit:Walt Disney Studios)

  • 3. "The Sword in the Stone" in the Churchyard

    3. "The Sword in the Stone" in the Churchyard

    The Sword in the Stone often gets overlooked by the casual Disney viewer. The movie largely features a handful of random stories loosely tied together by a few characters, so it’s understandable if the film never makes anybody’s “Top 10” list. Still, there’s a moment toward the end which all Christians should appreciate. In the opening monologue, it’s established the fabled “sword in the stone” was considered a miracle to the English people, but quickly wound up forgotten after nobody could free it.

    Fast forward a couple years, and a desperate young Arthur is shown running through the street looking for a sword for his foster brother. It’s only then we see where the sword has been resting all this time; in a churchyard. The people of England acknowledged where true authority really lies, and when the sword is finally pulled from the stone, spectators name it for what it is, “A miracle ordained by heaven”. Christian symbolism doesn't get much better than that.

    *(Image Credit:Walt Disney Studios)

  • 4. "The Lion King" is "The Prodigal Son" with Animals

    4. "The Lion King" is "The Prodigal Son" with Animals

    The Lion King has often been called “Hamlet with animals”, but an argument could be made for The Prodigal Son as well. Like the youngest son in Christ’s parable, Simba lives a life of privilege while ignoring all responsibility. The only thing he cares about is the day when no one will be able to tell him what to do. So, after a series of events lead him away from home, Simba decides to embrace a Hakuna Mattata (i.e. foolish) lifestyle. While the prodigal son eventually finds himself eating pig’s feed, Simba ends up dining on grubs, until each one realizes he must return home and face the reality of his actions.

    Though the reunion with Simba’s father differs from what’s written in Luke 15, it still captures the stark emotion of a father waiting for his wayward son to come home.

    *(Image Credit:Walt Disney Studios)

  • 5. "Cinderella" is All about Grace

    5. "Cinderella" is All about Grace

    When it comes to strong female heroines, Cinderella can usually be found somewhere near the bottom of the list. For years she’s been accused of being a pushover, someone who just lets herself be bossed around and never does anything to help herself. Why should she get a happy ending? Shouldn’t those only go to the people who deserve them? Well, that’s not what Jesus said.

    The Bible is, in essence, a story of God’s grace, and the whole point of grace is that’s its undeserved. In fact, Jesus told several parables to illustrate how his grace didn’t depend on good works. Just like Cinderella, humanity did not deserve the blessings they received. We may scoff when the fairy godmother makes Cinderella beautiful, but the truth is Christ does the exact same thing for us.

    *(Image Credit:Walt Disney Studios)

  • 6. "Robin Hood"is Nothing without Friar Tuck

    6. "Robin Hood"is Nothing without Friar Tuck

    Robin Hood may be the hero of many a legend, but he wouldn’t get very far without Friar Tuck. The same holds true for the animated Disney version as well. The humble friar consistently serves as a model of truth, justice, and encouragement throughout the story. He’s the one who initially reunites Robin and Maid Marian by inspiring them to overcome their differences, and when the cruel sheriff tries to extort the poor citizens of Nottingham for his own gain, the good friar doesn’t take it lying down.

    Disney’s Friar Tuck serves as an example all Christians should aspire to. Ultimately, it’s the threat of losing him which spurs Robin and his allies to finally take back their home. It just goes to show that a true disciple of Christ can have an impact well beyond their own life. We can even change the course of a kingdom.

    *(Image Credit:Walt Disney Studios)

  • 7. "Lilo & Stitch" Features God’s Nicest Angel

    7. "Lilo & Stitch" Features God’s Nicest Angel

    Lilo & Stich is easily one of the most underrated Disney movies of all time. Created during the animation Dark Age, the film takes a modern approach and introduces viewers to a little Hawaiian girl named Lilo. From the beginning, its clear Lilo isn’t like other girls her age. She’s socially awkward and more than a little strange, but for the most part, Lilo is just lonely. These feelings of isolation eventually leads Lilo to seek out help from God.  

    Kneeling by her bed, Lilo begins to pray. “It’s me again,” she tells God, “I need someone to be my friend. Someone who won’t run away. Maybe send me an angel, the nicest angel you have.” Smash-cut to an image of Stitch, the crazy alien who Lilo later mistakenly adopts as a dog. Perhaps it was only meant as a throwaway joke, but Stitch does eventually save Lilo and reunite her family, so maybe the Lord does work in mysterious ways?

    *(Image Credit:Walt Disney Studios)

  • 8. "Tangled" is a Gospel Allegory

    8. "Tangled" is a Gospel Allegory

    In the opening of Disney’s Tangled, audiences learn that the main character, Rapunzel, was born a princess in an enchanted kingdom. However, one night she is kidnapped by an evil witch and taken to a tower far away from her mother and father. Hoping to find their missing daughter, the king and queen create a festival where every year lanterns are set off to light her way back home. There’s more to add to the story but you can probably see where this is going. In its own strange way, Tangled stands as a perfect allegory for the Gospel of Christ.

    Rapunzel represents humanity, who has grown comfortable in her prison but can’t ignore the light which shines in the darkness. The devil is signified by the witch, who tries to convince Rapunzel to forget the lights and stay locked away in her tower. Lastly, God can be found in the parents, who without fail, continue to shine their light in the hopes of bringing their lost child back home.

    *(Image Credit:Walt Disney Studios)

  • 9. "The Small One", A Forgotten Christmas Story

    9. "The Small One", A Forgotten Christmas Story

    Admittedly, this one is a bit of a cheat. The Small One is not a feature-length film but an animated short based on a book of the same name by Charles Tazewell. The story tells of a young boy who is forced to sell his beloved donkey after it grows too old for the farm. However, once in the market the boy discovers the only one willing to pay for the donkey is the local tanner. Devastated, the boy breaks down in tears when a kind man comes up and asks if the donkey is for sale.

    The good man needs a gentle donkey to carry his pregnant wife to Bethlehem, and as the company departs, the boy sees a bright star appear in the sky above them. The Small One has largely been forgotten by audiences, but it remains a touching story which will move Christian adults and children alike.

    *(Image Credit:Thinkstock)

  • 10. "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" Talks about God Everywhere

    10. "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" Talks about God Everywhere

    On second thought, to call The Hunchback of Notre Dame’s Christian message secret would be a mistake. Christian imagery is everywhere in this film. The movie opens with the main villain trying to kill the protagonist as a baby, only to be stopped by a Church deacon who invokes the true power of the Holy Spirit. Later on, the film’s heroine sings a song in which she talks to God and reminds viewers what prayer really looks like. Even the villain clashes with faith, wrongly believing his piety makes him a better Christian than everyone else.

    When it comes to Disney movies, you won’t find one that incorporates God more than The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

    *Editor's Note: The following was drawn from 5 Disney Movies with Secret Christian Messages. To read the original article, follow this link.

    **(Image Credit:Walt Disney Studios)

    *Published 7/28/2017