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Top 10 Underrated Disney Heroes

VO: Lisa Yang
These Disney heroes don’t get the recognition they deserve! Ms. Bianca from the Rescuers, Emperor Kuzco from The Emperor’s New Groove, Helen Parr/Elastigirl from The Incredibles, Robin Hood, Basil from the Great Mouse Detective, Jessie from Toy Story, Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame are all the silent heroes!

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Top 10 Underrated Disney Heroes

Is a little recognition too much to ask for? Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for top 10 Underrated Disney Heroes.

For this list, we’re taking a look at major Disney characters that risked a lot for what seemed like little recognition in the long run. We’ve naturally excluded any villains, as well as side characters that aren’t necessarily considered heroes.

#10: Miss Bianca

“The Rescuers” franchise (1977-90)

She may be small and sweet, but this little mouse is feisty when she needs to be. When Bianca reads Penny’s letter at the Rescue Aid Society headquarters, she jumps into action to save her. Penny is an orphan who is being abused by the terrifying Madame Medusa in the bayou. Before even reaching Penny, Bianca and her partner Bernard gets thrown out of a car, shot at, and even attacked by crocodiles. Despite all of this, Miss Bianca stays positive and fights to save Penny, transforming her from an abused orphan to a happy little girl. She proves herself to be equally daring in the 1990 follow-up, when Miss Bianca and Bernard set out to save a little boy.

#9: Emperor Kuzco

“The Emperor’s New Groove” (2000)

At first, Emperor Kuzco is a selfish and cruel ruler who doesn’t care for the people that he considers below him. Sometimes the most heroic thing someone can do is admit they were wrong and change. When Kuzco fires his advisor Yzma, she plans to kill him so she can rule. The assassination fails and Kuzco is turned into a llama instead. Becoming a llama really humbles Kuzco so after he defeats Yzma with the help of Pacha, he rights all of his wrongs. He lets Pacha keep his land and becomes the ruler his people deserve – and the hero we do as well!

#8: Helen Parr / Elastigirl

“The Incredibles” (2004)

Elastigirl isn’t just a hero, but a bonafide superhero. Yet, she always seems to be left out in favor of her husband, Mr. Incredible. She may not have super strength, but that’s kind of overrated anyway. Elastigirl has enough of her own tricks, like her super flexible body, intelligence, and the ability to fly a military jet. She puts all of these skills to use when she’s fighting crime, sneaking through an enemy base, or trying to keep her family safe. It’s thanks to her that the villainous Syndrome doesn’t kill Mr. Incredible, and she plays a huge part in defeating the bad guy and saving the world.

#7: Robin Hood

“Robin Hood” (1973)

Robin Hood is both a thief and a hero. So maybe it’s this moral ambiguity that often leaves him forgotten. Now we all know the Robin Hood motto of “steal from the rich and give to the poor,” but this sly fox takes it one step further to take down a tyrant prince. When Prince John takes over ruling for his brother King Richard, the power seriously goes to his head. He starts over taxing the citizens, puts innocent people into the dungeon, and takes ruling advice from a snake. In response to this tyranny, Robin does what any self-respecting bandit would do: share the prince’s wealth, rescue the lovely Maid Marian, and take John out of power for good.

#6: Basil

“The Great Mouse Detective” (1986)

Basil may come across as rude and cold at first glance, but by the end of the movie, he proves himself to be selfless, brave, and of course heroic. When Olivia comes to Basil for help finding her father, it doesn’t take long for him to uncover that Professor Ratigan, his arch-nemesis, is behind it. Using his Sherlock level detective skills, he uncovers something much more sinister than a simple kidnapping. Ratigan is planning to kill Queen Mousetoria so that he can rule over the entire mousedom. Luckily, Basil is on the case and he outsmarts Ratigan and risks his life to save the day.

#5: Milo James Thatch

“Atlantis: The Lost Empire” (2001)

Milo may have started out as a clumsy scholar, but using his brains, passion, and courage, he becomes the savior of Atlantis. His first heroic move is giving the Atlanteans their identity back by translating an ancient tablet that they couldn’t read themselves. The tablet is of vital importance since it explains that the Heart of Atlantis, a giant crystal, is the source of their power. Rourke, the leader of the expedition, tries to steal the heart for profit. Milo isn’t about to sit back and let this happen, so he rallies an army to save the day or at least - die trying.

#4: Jessie

“Toy Story” franchise (1995-)

Her previous owner, Emily, sadly abandoned this fiery cowgirl. This leaves her with a fear of abandonment and claustrophobia. Throughout the franchise, Jessie shows that, despite her past, she is brave, resourceful, and a force to be reckoned with. Her heroism is especially evident in the animated short “Toy Story of Terror” where she gets a leading role. When all the toys are kidnapped and locked away in a creepy motel, it’s up to Jessie to save them. Like the true hero she is, she overcomes her fears to free the gang and gets them back into Bonnie’s loving arms.

#3: Esmeralda

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1996)

Let’s get one thing straight: Esmeralda is not a damsel in distress. She is an awesome gypsy who stands up to tyranny and injustice no matter what it costs her. She was the first person to stand up and show compassion for Quasimodo when the crowd at the Festival of Fools tortures him, but this also gets her Frollo’s unwanted attention. She also saves the tough guy Phoebus from drowning when he’s hit with an arrow. Seriously, what would these guys do without her? When she is tied at the stake she could have probably saved herself, but instead she spits in Frollo’s face, showing her iron spine even in the face of the flames.

#2: Hercules

“Hercules” (1997)

He puts the glad in gladiator, but his heroic deeds are definitely underrated. Hercules was born a god, but he was kidnapped and stripped of this status by Hades. When Hercules learns the truth of his parentage, he wants to prove himself a hero and goes above and beyond to make this happen. He kills multiple monsters, including a Hydra with regenerating heads, stops natural disasters, and foils’ Hades plot to take over the world. He also helps some bad guys see the light and change their ways. Meanwhile, Megara starts off working for Hades, but makes the ultimate sacrifice to save Herc. Fortunately, Hercules goes to the underworld to save her soul, showing off his heroic and romantic side.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Kidagakash "Kida" Nedakh

“Atlantis: The Lost Empire” (2001)


“Inside Out” (2015)

#1: Quasimodo

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1996)

To understand just how brave Quasimodo is, you have to understand where he came from. He was told that he was useless, unwanted, and a monster since he was a baby. He was raised by Frollo, who killed his mother and who kept the hunchback hidden away in a bell tower his whole life. Despite all this psychological abuse, he still found the courage to leave the cathedral and help other victims escape Frollo’s wrath. He ultimately saves Esmeralda from burning at the stake and defeats Frollo once and for all. After all that, he doesn’t even get the girl of his dreams, but at least society finally embraces him as the hero he is – as should we!

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