10 Best Male Main Characters In Disney Movies Who Are Not Princes

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10 Best Male Main Characters In Disney Movies Who Are Not Princes

With the release of Strange World in 2022, Disney has released sixty-one animated feature films since 1937. The vast majority of them rank among the best-animated movies ever made. This is thanks to a number of factors, including phenomenal animation, memorable stories, catchy songs, and likable characters.

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Disney is well known for its fairytale stories and has a large cataloge of prince characters to fight evil, or characters who become princes by marrying fair princesses. Of course, not every Disney film is a fairy tale, and they have plenty of non-royalty male characters for audiences to fall in love with.

10 Bernard

Originally working as a janitor at the Rescue Aid Society, Bernard (Bob Newhart) was spontaneously chosen by Miss Bianca (Eva Gabor) to be her partner in rescuing a girl named Penny (Michelle Stacy). The two prove to be an effective pairing, and Bernard is officially made a member of the society. In time, he even plucks up the courage to ask Miss Bianca to marry him.

Related: 10 Great ‘Disney’ Movies Based on Stories That Aren’t Fairy Tales

Bernard is a well-mannered, modest, and polite individual who has earned his position in the RAS. In contrast to Miss Bianca’s courageous personality, Bernard is more timid and superstitious, preferring to air on the side of caution. Still, he would never abandon someone in need, and when the situation calls for it, he can find his courage.

9 Tarzan

Tarzan-Disney

After his parents were killed by the leopard, Sabor (Frank Welker), Tarzan (Alex Linz and Tony Goldwyn) was taken in by the gorilla, Kala (Glenn Close). He had difficulty fitting in, especially in the eyes of his adoptive father, Kerchak (Lance Henriksen). In his adult years, things become more complicated when he meets fellow humans who have come to study the gorillas.

While not as well-developed as other male characters from the Disney Renaissance, Tarzan has a few things going for him. He has a real fascination for discovery and readily consumes as much about human culture as quickly as possible. The general turmoil of being caught between two worlds also makes for good drama.

8 Bolt

Bolt
Image via Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Having been raised his whole life on a television set, Bolt (John Travolta) thinks that he has superpowers and is saving the world from Dr. Calico (Malcolm McDowell). When his human partner, Penny (Miley Cyrus) is kidnapped for a cliffhanger ending, Bolt freaks out and escapes the studio to find her. This results in him getting knocked unconscious and transported to New York City.

Related: 10 Best Post-Renaissance Disney Movies to Watch on Disney+

Bolt is an entertaining protagonist with a larger-than-life persona. He is caring, faithful, and loyal to his friends and allies, and even after he discovers his powers were a lie, refuses to give up until he is reunited with Penny. This also serves as a strong story for accepting one’s natural limitations, but still being able to recognize what talents are present.

7 Pinocchio

Pinocchio-2

An old puppet maker named Geppetto (Christian Rub) wishes on a star that his newest puppet, Pinocchio (Dickie Jones), would be a real boy. A Blue Fairy (Evelyn Venable) hears him and brings the puppet to life. Though he is still made of wood and paint, he can become a real boy if he proves himself brave, truthful, and unselfish.

Pinocchio is one of the best child characters in any Disney film. He is wide-eyed and eager to explore this new world he has been put into, but his lack of understanding means he can be tricked into doing bad things. However, this doesn’t make him a bad kid, as he learns from each experience and remains polite and kind.

6 Peter Pan

Peter Pan and Tinker Bell flying in Disney's Peter Pan
Image via Disney

Known as the boy who never grows up, Peter Pan (Bobby Driscoll) comes from the magical island of Neverland. Using pixie dust and happy thoughts, he flies around the world and offers children the chance to join his Lost Boys and remain youthful forever. Normally he only takes boys, but he agrees to take Wendy Darling (Kathryn Beaumont) so she can tell stories to him and the Lost Boys.

Related: How WWII and the Law Almost Killed Disney’s ‘Peter Pan’

Peter Pan is the perfect representation of a young boy’s imagination. He is a free spirit of adventure who lives carefree and doesn’t think of long-term consequences, preferring to have fun at the moment. The movie shows how this mentality can be good through Peter’s bravery and courage, but also how you’ll never be able to grow and develop if you don’t move past it.

5 The Tramp

The-Lady-And-The-Tramp-Disney

A notorious street dog, the Tramp (Larry Roberts) spends his days mooching off food from humans and rescuing his fellow strays from the pound. One day, he met Lady (Barbara Luddy), a cocker spaniel whose owners are expecting a baby. At first, he doesn’t think much of her, but after saving Lady from some street dogs and showing her around town, a romance begins to bloom.

The Tramp certainly lives up to his name with his carefree lifestyle, preferring to have fun whenever he wishes in whatever way he fancies. Sometimes this can come at the expense of others, such as when he gets Lady sent to the pound while showing her how to chase chickens. Despite this, he has a good heart and always helps those in need.

4 Jim Hawkins

Jim Hawkins on a space ship in Treasure Planet
Image via Walt Disney Pictures

As a child, Jim Hawkins (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) watched as his father left home and never returned, causing him to grow up lost and confused. One day, a dying alien crashes outside his mother’s inn, which is soon burned down by pirates following him. Jim escapes with a map that leads to the fabled Treasure Planet, which he hopes to use to rebuild the inn.

Related: Why ‘Treasure Planet’ Was Such a Spectacular Sci-Fi Flop

Jim’s early trauma has left him rebellious and with feelings of self-doubt. His quest for treasure is as much about proving to himself that he is capable of something great as it is about fixing his mother’s business. Through his friendship with the cyborg, Long John Silver (Brian Murray Bell) he discovers a talent for quick-thinking and facing new problems head-on.

3 Kenai

Brother-bear-kenai

The youngest of three brothers, Kenai (Joaquin Phoenix) is eager to become a man in the eyes of his tribe but frustrated that his chosen totem animal is a bear. Moreover, an encounter with a bear that stole the tribe’s salmon results in the death of his eldest brother, Sitka (DB Sweeney). Kenai kills the bear in revenge, but this angers the ancestral spirits, who turn him into a bear.

Kenai’s character growth is some of the strongest among Disney’s forgotten films. He begins the story headstrong, arrogant, and self-centered, unable to see the bigger picture. Through his changed perspective, he realizes how his actions affect those around him, and that true maturity comes from accepting responsibility for those actions.

2 Ralph

Wreck it Ralph attends Bad Anon group meeting with iconic video game villains
Image via Disney

As the villain of the game Fix-It Felix, Ralph (John C. Reilly) is always defeated and forced to live in the garbage dump. Naturally, he can’t help but wonder what being a hero is like. One day, he decides to win a medal in another video game, which leads to a game-hopping adventure and a friendship with fellow outcast, Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman).

Ralph’s story is a beautiful and relatable tale of self-acceptance. Because everyone sees him as nothing but a villain, he struggles to see his worth a time and feels that the only way to do so is to prove to others what he’s capable of. In the end, after all of his adventures, Ralph realizes that he always had the qualities of a hero and didn’t need to prove it to anyone but himself.

1 Quasimodo

Quasimodo sitting on a gargoyle overlooking Paris in The Hunchback of Notre Dame

After killing a fleeing Romani woman, Claud Frollo (Tony Jay) discovered that she had a hunchbacked baby. Forced to raise the child as his own, Frollo placed him in the bell tower of the Notre Dame Cathedral and named him Quasimodo (Tom Hulce). As the decades pass, Quasimodo spends his time looking down on the streets of Paris and wondering what it would be like to walk among the people.

Related: 10 Scariest Animated Disney Movies Of All Time

Twenty years of social isolation have left Quasimodo emotionally stunted, so he acts and speaks much like a shy child. Though he has experienced his fair share of prejudice, he chooses to see the world as good, especially after making friends with the Romani woman, Esmeralda (Demi Moore). This friendship inspires him to fight back against Frollo’s manipulations and preserve that goodness where he can.

Next: The 10 Strongest Female Disney Characters Who Are Not Princesses

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