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Timon and Pumbaa
Credit: Disney

Ranking the Best Disney Movie Duos

Over the years, Walt Disney Entertainment has introduced us to many diverse friendship duos that have appeared in countless movie classics. Because Disney characters, in general, can come in all different shapes, sizes, and species, such callouts in accordance with equally distinguishable personality traits make for a broad range of unique, versatile relationship dynamics. As is the case in real life, great friendships aren’t limited to merely establishing common grounds with someone who is just like you in every single way. The strongest bonds go above and beyond to also include a proper balance of attractive opposites and lighthearted banter. Therefore, trying to pinpoint which Disney movie duos rank strongest in the “best friends” category requires tallying up all the marks taken from a detailed rating system in varying categories.

We’re ranking eight great Disney Movie Duos on a scale from 1 to 5 (5 being the highest) in four categories. Category 1: Complementary Companionship. Does this duo represent the classic example of opposites attracting? Category 2: Mutual Mindedness. Do they share similar thoughts, feelings, and values? Do they ever have twin moments or say the same thing at the same time? Category 3: Friendly Friction. Does the pair provide a balance of banter, onscreen chemistry, and comic relief? Category 4: Comrade Charisma. What is their combined likability or appeal to audiences?

 

8. Luca and Alberto, Luca (13/20)

The title protagonist in Disney/Pixar’s Luca shares many commonalities with his best friend Alberto—the biggest and most obvious being that they are both sea monster boys who happen to transform into humans when dry and on land. Together, they navigate the ropes of acceptance, trying to hide their true identities in a new world they long to be a part of despite the underlying fears of having their more nautical natures resurface.

Luca and Alberto

Credit: Disney/Pixar

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Complementary Companionship (1/5): While the two boys do have their fair share of differences, with Alberto being the bolder and more daring one in the bunch, as far as Complementary Companionship goes, the duo just doesn’t score very highly. While being a sea monster/on-the-land human may arguably make for a complementary species in most cases, the fact that this nature applies to both boys does not signify that they are attracting opposites to one another. Instead, it only pits the two of them together more, in a world where they are the same but opposite everyone else. 

Mutual Mindedness (4/5): What is arguably a weakness in the aforementioned category works to the advantage of the Luca-Alberto team in regard to Mutual Mindedness. Because the two are in remarkably similar situations, they tend to think a lot alike. They both have a common goal—eventually getting a Vespa and opting for a life on land. And because they understand that folks are leery of sea monsters, they are of the same mind in having each other’s back in the quest to mindfully avoid being found out. For this, we give them a 4. Preventing them from scoring a full 5 points is the fact that, while similarly minded in most ways, the two do eventually foster independent long-term goals.

Friendly Friction (2.5/5): Luca and Alberto score a barely-above median 3 points as far as Friendly Friction goes. For the most part, their representative antithesis of one another is balanced out almost equally by their overarching similarities. All the same that particular climactic moment in the film laden with drama and feelings of betrayal helped to tip the balance a bit, which is why the score is higher than the would-be 2.5 halfway point.

Comrade Charisma (5/5): Even in a setting that originally hates sea monsters, Luca and Alberto manage to charm their way into the hearts of all those in their storyline. What’s more, even Luca’s opposite-minded parents come to accept. And for those at home watching, the likability permeates well beyond the screen. What’s not to like about these two and the friendship they foster? 

Tallying up all the marks, Luca and Alberto as a Disney Duo score a grand total of 13 points out of a possible 20.

Related: ‘Luca’ Makes a Splash as the Perfect Family Movie Night Pick for Memorial Day Weekend

7. Lilo and Stich, Lilo & Stitch (14/20)

When Disney’s Lilo & Stitch first hit theaters back in 2002, we got to make the acquaintance of two unlikely oddballs. One is a misunderstood human girl living in Hawaii named Lilo, while the other is the extraterrestrial Experiment 626, better known as “Stitch.” Because neither one fits in with their own kind, the two form a pretty strong attachment to one another, going on to become another classic example of an iconic Disney Duo.

Complementary Companionship (5/5): In this category, Lilo and Stitch together score a perfect 5. The fact that they are different species with vastly opposite circumstances and somehow find relatability is the true demonstration of opposites attracting.

Mutual Mindedness (3/5): While more alike than not, in regards to interests and having fun together, each member of the duo is too different in nature to really claim a mutual mindset. Sure, Lilo introduces Stitch to new interests—all of which he takes to just fine—but on the flip side, there really isn’t anything that Stitch contributes to the team that is equally as influential to Lilo. All the same, their common interpretation of ’ohana is enough to give them a greater-than-midway advantage in regards to scoring. 

Friendly Friction (2/5): Again, Lilo and Stitch don’t score too highly in this category. Sure, they are great as a team, working well in tandem with each other, but for the most part, neither one sasses the other or exhibits any form of banter, teasing, or other chemistry. The closest we get to friction are minor tense moments in the film, like Lilo getting defensive over Stitch touching a picture of her parents or feeling betrayed by his “leaving” her. Then there’s that initial shock when she first finds out that he is an alien. And let’s not forget that Stitch was set on destruction, which in hindsight was a very anticlimactic subplot that never really materialized. With all that, Lilo and Stitch only score 2 points at the very most.

Comrade Charisma (4/5): While there are many who would attest to the likability of Lilo and Stitch as a team, there are too many mixed reviews across the board about one or both of them. Some feel that Lilo isn’t as likable as she could have been, for instance. We understand she has issues, but some of her flawed actions like locking her sister out of the house, hitting and biting, and other lash-out moments do paint her in a less-than-favorable light. Therefore, we are unable to award them with a perfect score but have bestowed them 4 points instead.

In adding up all the points Lilo and Stitch garner together as a team, they score 14 out of a possible 20.

6. Lumiere and Cogsworth, Beauty and the Beast (15/20)

These two very animated inanimate object personalities really help to lighten the mood in the storyline for both versions of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. While their extended group of friends does include many more members of the castle staff, these two have a comradery between them that seals the deal on them being a plucky pair.

Complementary Companionship (4/5): One is an enlightening sort of fellow while the other just doles out the cynicism like clockwork. They were two very different men who served the Prince long before their transformations into Candelabra and Clock and are now even more opposite, given that they aren’t even the same “items.” Despite these differences, however, they do successfully complement one another as companions. On that note, we award the duo 4 points.

Mutual Mindedness (1/5): About the only common objective the two characters share with one another is the desire to break the spell over the castle. After that, they couldn’t be more opposite each other in just about everything. Lumiere has hope, optimism, and—let’s face it—he was the mastermind behind giving Belle the famous “Guest” treatment that went down in history as the film’s most iconic musical moment. Cogsworth, by contrast, is very by-the-books, uptight, and fearful of any rule-breaking. Therefore, for their sole mutuality, Lumiere and Cogsworth score a lowly 1.

Friendly Friction (5/5): The lack of Mutual Mindedness highlighted above does, ironically, play to the advantage of Lumiere and Cogsworth, having received the highest markings in the category of Friendly Friction. With a full 5 points, the pair presents the perfect example of lighthearted back-and-forth banter, teasing, and bonding with a side of bickering. They are always arguing with one another, minus any real animosity, and deliver on the right amount of comic relief needed for such a plot as this.

Comrade Charisma (5/5): Lumiere and Cogsworth are counted as contested favorites among fans of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on such an enormous level. Therefore, it goes without saying that together they receive the highest-ranking score of 5 in this category.

By adding up all the numbers, the Disney Duo of Lumiere and Cogsworth boast a total of 15 points out of a possible 20.

5. Chip and Dale (16/20)

These two have been Disney Animation mainstays since their first appearance back in 1943. But since then, they’ve appeared in countless works, including their popular series Chip ‘n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers back in 1989 and the more recent live-action/animation hybrid film of the same name earlier this year. While their relationship as twins and/or brothers was reduced to that of best friends in the latest rendering, one fact that hasn’t changed is that you can’t have one without the other.

Complementary Companionship (1/5): While every character is unique, Chip and Dale may very well be one the most similarly grouped twosomes in all of Disney history. And for that reason alone, they score a lowly 1 on the scale Complementary Companionship. Even that is a generous marking, given the only arguably viable character contrasts between them are in the nose and teeth.  

Mutual Mindedness (5/5): While their similarities are a weakness in the aforementioned category, they serve as the highest strength in regard to the category of Mutual Mindedness. Chip and Dale have been a team working in tandem for so long that they can practically read one another’s minds. They often know what the other is about to say and do at the exact moment. For that, we give them a 5.

Friendly Friction (5/5): Even in their earliest representations, they had squabbling chipmunk moments. Later productions created the right amount of distinction to carry out an equally right amount of friction, like what we see in the presentations of both characters in Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers. Here they once again score a perfect 5.

Comrade Charisma (5/5): Because they are such iconic classics in Disney history, Chip and Dale are very likable buddies. Whether you prefer them as mischief makers or as rescue rangers, they are a likable pair. And that is why we again give them a 5.

In tallying all their marks, Chip and Dale boast a grand total of 16 points out of a possible 20.

4. Mike and Sulley, Monsters, Inc. (17/20)

This monstrous duo first arrived on the scene back in 2001 with the computer-animated hit Monsters, Inc. A follow-up prequel, Monsters University from 2013, shed even more light on the pair’s college days and how they went from rivals to frenemies and then later friends.

Complementary Companionship (4/5): Just about the only thing that Mike and Sulley have in common is the fact that they are both monsters. Even so, they couldn’t be more different as far as monsters go, both in looks and personality. So, in being as diverse as can be while still sharing the commonality of both being monsters, we award this pair a number 4.

Mutual Mindedness (3/5): As we mentioned previously, Mike and Sulley are known to have very deviating personalities and sometimes equally polar opposite motives. But at other times, they do have common goals, and that’s when they work well together. Because such times are minimally more common than not, we’re giving them a score of 3.

Friendly Friction (5/5): There is no doubt about the fact that Mike and Sulley have terrific on-screen chemistry. In fact, their banter and delightful discord are a very defined part of who they are as a set. So in the category for Friendly Friction, they get a number 5.

Comrade Charisma (5/5): This monstrous set is greatly loved across the board by Disney fans of all ages. This is surprising given the fact that monsters are frequently thought of as scary and intimidating. All the same, Mike and Sulley make it work and therefore score another 5 in the standing for Comrade Charisma.

In adding up the grand total of all their rankings, Mike and Sulley score a solid 17 out of a possible 20 points.

3. Buzz and Woody, Toy Story (17/20)

We’re not “toying” around when we say that this iconic duo of the popular Disney/Pixar Toy Story franchise is one of the most beloved ones of all time. Despite getting off on the wrong foot, Buzz and Woody do eventually form a deep bond of friendship that’s extended well beyond four feature films and multiple spinoff specials.

Complementary Companionship (3/5): Woody is a cowboy sheriff, whereas Buzz is a space ranger. The two couldn’t be any more different. But they are both toys and do tend to be on the same side of the spectrum a fair share of the time as well. So, for that reason, we’re assigning them a number 3 rating.

Mutual Mindedness (4/5): In most of their adventures, Buzz and Woody do share a similar undeniable mindedness in whatever it is they are striving to accomplish. Even in such situations as the first film, where they initially start out in opposition, by the end of the story, their common objective is to get back to Andy. Because they are more alike than not where it really matters, Buzz and Woody get a 4 in the Mutual Mindedness category.

Friendly Friction (5/5): These two toys have excellent onscreen chemistry with all the right points of tension in all the right places. Their lighthearted bickering and constant banter are legendary. It goes without saying Buzz and Woody score a perfect 5 here.

Comrade Charisma (5/5): The timeless popularity of the Toy Story franchise seals the deal about Buzz and Woody’s likability with the public more than anything. So, again Buzz and Woody earn 5 points in the Comrade Charisma category as well.

With all numbers calculated, Buzz and Woody score a grand total of 17 out of a possible 20 points.

2. Judy and Nick, Zootopia (17.5/20)

This unlikely duo, comprising of a law-enforcing bunny cop named Judy Hopps and the shifty rule-bending fox, Nick Wilde, first made their debut back in 2016 with the release of Disney’s computer-animated hit Zootopia. Since then, they’ve taken their rightful place alongside many other iconic Disney friendship pairings as one of the more modern examples of such collaborations.

Complementary Companionship (5/5): Judy and Nick couldn’t be more opposite. As we mentioned previously, Judy is all about serving and protecting as a model police officer, even though she happens to be a bunny with the odds against her. Nick, on the other hand, lives up to his stereotypical fixed nature as a hustler and a deceiver—even if his heart is in the right place (which he denies that it is). As different species and opposite personality types, the two are like chocolate and vanilla. But being such makes for a most befitting combination just the same. Therefore, we give Team Judy and Nick the highest honor of a number 5 in the category for Complementary Companionship.

Mutual Mindedness (2.5/5): Because the two virtually have nothing in common in the way of how they choose to live their lives and motivation for what they live for in the day-to-day, they fall short of hitting the mark in receiving a high score where Mutual Mindedness is concerned. All the same, once Judy forces Nick to join her in her mission, the two do work well together in trying to achieve the goal at hand, with Nick using his street smarts to help Judy out and even going as far as to defend her to Chief Bogo. Later on, the two even act out an excellently plotted foiling scheme to expose the opposite side. So, in tallying up those more menial yet meaningful demonstrations on Mutual Mindedness, Judy and Nick earn 2.5 points.

Friendly Friction (5/5): Their stellar onscreen deliverance of beautifully orchestrated bickering and banter throughout the entire film should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that Judy and Nick absolutely epitomize what it means to demonstrate Friendly Friction. They were absolutely made to clash, being the very animal antithesis of one another yet somehow making it work to their advantage in exuding optimal onscreen chemistry. With that said, Judy and Nick get high marks with a score of 5 points.

Comrade Charisma (5/5): While complete contrasts, Judy and Nick are equally likable with audiences all around. And Zootopia is just one of those movies you can’t help but like, no matter your age, interest, or even species, for that matter. Hands-down, Judy and Nick again get a “high 5” where Comrade Charisma is concerned.

With all point totals tallied up, Nick and Judy stand at a final score of 17.5 out of a possible 20.

1. Timon and Pumbaa, The Lion King (20/20)

This is perhaps one of the most widely renowned animal duos in all of Disney’s history, and with good reason. This wonderful warthog-meerkat collaboration first came into being with Disney’s animated adaptation of The Lion King back in 1994. Since then, their popularity and fame with fans have only grown more pronounced, with a spinoff series and many other reprisals throughout the years. And the more recent live-action remake of The Lion King back in 2019 further fortified their stardom with a renewed interest and perspective.

Timon and Pumbaa

Credit: Disney


Complementary Companionship (5/5): Pumbaa being a portly warthog and Timon being a much-smaller meerkat establishes the perfect complement to their character presentations. And such a stark contrast just can’t be outdone—another reason why welcoming Simba into their league doesn’t seem so unlikely as far as these two are concerned. For that, we can’t help but credit Timon and Pumbaa with a perfect 5.

Mutual Mindedness (5/5): While Timon and Pumbaa exemplify the idea that opposites attract, they also give new meaning to the concept of great minds thinking alike. They are always right on track with one another’s thoughts, feelings, and sameness in motivation. Their approach to life is taken from the same worry-free philosophy—“Hakuna Matata.”  So, again we award Timon and Pumbaa with 5 points.

Friendly Friction (5/5): While living in just about the perfect demonstration of mutual harmony, Timon and Pumbaa do have a humorous, ongoing exchange with one another that never ceases. Playful banter, teasing, and constant back-and-forth witticisms provide the perfect dose of comic relief for this film as well as in all the other works in which Timon and Pumbaa have appeared. There’s never a dull moment with these two, and for that, we again credit them with a number 5 ranking.

Comrade Charisma (5/5): We’ve already established that this famed pair exudes optimal popularity where audiences are concerned. And they’re likable fellows with those they come in contact with in their stories as well—this cannot be denied. So again, Timon and Pumbaa get a 5 in the category of Comrade Charisma.

There you have it, with all 5s in every ranking, Timon and Pumbaa beat out all others as the best Disney Movie Duo with a perfect 20 out of 20!

Timon and Pumbaa

Credit: Disney

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Throughout the extensive history of Walt Disney Entertainment, we’ve seen many other onscreen demonstrations of fellowship, friendship, and companionable cliques in addition to those we have highlighted here. And fans are prone to have their own personal favorites among these picks as well as those not necessarily included here. While differences of opinion may persist, and there are some who may or may not agree with the final results we have presented, one thing we can all agree on is that Disney does a great job in introducing us to lovable friends we feel we can count as our very own personal pals and wish to have by our sides in real life.

About Laura

Laura Catherine aka “LC” is a writer who resides in Maryland with her family and several pets. She visits Walt Disney World whenever she can. Additionally, she is a published author of three novels, a children’s book, and has a passion for gardening.