The Best Mickey Mouse Cartoon Shorts, Ranked – MovieWeb

Mickey Mouse is one of the most iconic characters ever created. He started out in a series of Disney shorts, and these are some of the best.
When it comes to iconic cartoon characters, few have come anywhere near the status of Mickey Mouse. Created by Walt Disney, the mouse has been the face of the company since the very beginning and is still highly recognized today. Like many legends from the golden age of animation, Mickey originally starred in a series of shorts. These shorts were to be seen in theaters, often times preceding movies. Mickey was beloved right from the start, and his shorts were among the most popular in Disney's catalog.
Today, we will be taking a look at some of the best animated shorts featuring the classic Disney mouse. Mickey's longevity has ensured that generations upon generations recognize him, and fans owe it to themselves to go back to the beginning to see the best the character has to offer.
According to Disney legend, one of Mickey's original names was Mortimer Mouse. While this hasn't been officially confirmed, Mortimer is the name of a classic character who made his debut in this short. Mickey's Rival sees Mickey take his beloved Minnie Mouse on a picnic. Things don't go as planned when Minnie's ex-boyfriend Mortimer shows up. Mortimer makes it his mission to humiliate Mickey and win Minnie back.
In early shorts, Mickey has a temper problem that usually causes more problems than it solves, such as the case here. Mickey's jealousy only serves to make Mortimer look better in comparison. The slapstick in this short is top-notch, and the audience wants nothing more than to see Mortimer get his comeuppance. Mickey's Rival is a classic short that shows just what Mickey will do to win Minnie's affection.
One of the key elements that made the Mickey shorts work was the side characters. Mickey's Service Station has one of the best examples of Mickey interacting with these equally beloved characters. Mickey, Donald, and Goofy work as mechanics at a service station. The trio must work on Pete's car, and they are under a fierce time constraint. What follows is some very Three Stooges-esque slapstick as they cause more damage than they fix. The hijinks of these well-meaning characters as they desperately try to avoid the wrath of Pete is exactly the type of thing that made these shorts so beloved in the first place.
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Slapstick and humor like this aren't seen as much in animation today, and that is a shame. The short isn't overly violent, but it still shows the characters being hurt in humorous ways, which they always simply walk off. This short premiered in 1935, five years before Bugs Bunny made his first appearance. It likely isn't a stretch that this short, along with some others, helped inspire the slapstick shenanigans Bugs would be known for.
In 1951, Walt Disney released the classic film Alice in Wonderland. While this movie and Disney go hand in hand, it wasn't actually the first time the studio dabbled in the classic Lewis Carroll story. In 1936, Mickey went on his own adventure loosely based on the story. Mickey reads Alice Through the Looking Glass before falling asleep. He then dreams that he goes on his own wonderland adventure after entering through his mirror. This short has some vibrant early color and shows the fantastical world of wonderland is as beautiful as ever.
Mickey encounters all kinds of unique creatures, as everything in this world is alive. Some highlights of this short are Mickey performing a delightful tap dance routine, and him dancing with a Greta Garbo-inspired Red Queen. Thru the Mirror combines the imaginations of Lewis Carroll and Walt Disney in a perfect way, and shows Walt's admiration for the story 15 years before he officially adapted it.
The best way to explain Mickey's Birthday Party is 'happy.' Mickey's friends gather to celebrate his birthday, a simple premise that allows for some sweet moments and joyful interactions. The short has cameos galore and shows the admiration the characters have for the titular mouse. Of course, things don't go exactly as planned, mostly thanks to Goofy. Goofy is in charge of the cake, and this is easier said than done. Goofy repeatedly tries to bake a simple cake, often with hilarious results. With the clock ticking, Goofy rushes to bake the cake before party time.
Admitting defeat, Goofy decides to buy a store-bought cake and pass it off as his own. This seems to work fine until he trips and drops the cake right on Mickey's head. Mickey actually finds this amusing, and the short ends with him laughing along with his friends. Mickey's Birthday Party is a lighthearted short that is sure to put a smile on anyone's face. Seeing Mickey interact with all of his friends is heartwarming, and of course, it wouldn't be a classic Mickey short without some laughs along the way.
The classic Mickey shorts were anything but linear, meaning each short can take place whenever Walt wanted it to. Mickey was also able to show up in various adaptations, such as this short version of a popular Grimm's fairy tale. Mickey was known to be cocky, and this extends to any time period he is placed in. In Brave Little Tailor, he is a tailor who spreads a rumor that he has single-handedly killed seven giants. The kingdom is terrorized by a giant, so the king hires Mickey to do the job.
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The reluctant tailor takes the job in hopes of wooing Princess Minnie. Seeing Mickey try to live up to his fake reputation lends itself to quite a few comedic moments. Ultimately, it is Mickey's skills as a tailor that ultimately subdue the giant. This short is one of the favorites among Mickey fans, and for good reason. The humor is top-notch, and the animation is as gorgeous as ever.
Pluto has always been Mickey's loyal best friend, and this is one of the best shorts featuring them. Mickey looks to enjoy a day at the golf course. Pluto is along as Mickey's caddy, and he points to where the ball lands. Pluto eventually encounters a mischievous gopher, and the war is on. As Mickey is enjoying time golfing, Pluto is trying to rid himself of the annoying gopher who is ruining Mickey's game. By the end of the short, the hill is covered in holes made by the two, making golfing a much easier task. If a gopher waging war on a golf course sounds familiar, that is because it is a subplot in the classic comedy Caddyshack. Despite the similarities, it isn't known if this was a coincidence or a deliberate reference.
Contrary to popular belief, Steamboat Willie wasn't the first produced Mickey Mouse cartoon. It was the first to actually be widely released, however, meaning this is where the character's popularity first started. The short opens with arguably the most iconic image of Mickey, with the mouse at the wheel of a boat happily whistling and taping his foot. Mickey isn't actually the captain, though, but simply a crew member with dreams of having his own ship. The real captain is Pete, who had appeared several times prior to this short. Steamboat Williw also features the first appearance of Minnie and introduces one of the most famous romances in all animation. If not for this legendary short, Mickey Mouse would likely not be as popular as he became.
Donnie is a freelance entertainment writer with a passion for film. Horror is his specialty, but he loves any genre. In his spare time, he enjoys writing, reading, gaming, and watching movies.


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