Most Iconic Princess Movies: Who is the Most Popular Princess?

official disney princesses
  • The first princess movie shown in cinema was in 1937
  • There are 13 official Disney princesses 
  • Frozen’s Elsa and Anna are NOT official Disney princesses
  • The most popular live action princess movie is The Princess Diaries

Princess movies have been a part of childhoods around the world for decades. Filled with adventure, valuable lessons, and lots of magic, they have shaped the way many of us see the world. Young or old, we all come back to our favorite royal heroines every once in a while.

Still, not all princess movies are made the same. Aside from thematic differences, they also differ in type. Some of them are animated, while some are live-action. Even though the magic of princesses was first introduced to us through animation, many prefer the live-action renditions. 

You must have at least once asked yourself, “Who is the most popular princess?” There are so many of them, so can you really choose one?

In this article, we’re going to go over some of the most-loved princess movies and see which princess stole the most hearts. We’re covering both animated and live action princess movies, so come along – it’s going to be a magical ride!

What Is the Oldest Princess Movie? 

The oldest princess movie is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Walt Disney brought us this iconic masterpiece back in 1937. That means that even though Snow White is only 14 years old, she’s been on our screens for almost a century! 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is both the first traditionally animated movie and the first Disney princess movie. But if we were to go a bit more technical, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the first full-length movie that paved the path for all other Disney princess movies.

Yes, Snow White set the tone for all other princess movies and gave fans a taste of the magic to come. She is also the blueprint for what it means to be a true, official princess. But there is one other movie before Snow White that featured a princess – The Goddess of Spring.

The Goddess of Spring

This movie is about Persephone – the first Disney princess, seeing that she’s the daughter of Zeus. Persephone has all the features a princess does. So why isn’t this movie considered the first of the many to come Disney princess films?

Simply because it wasn’t long enough. In fact, Persephone was kind of like a prototype for Snow White. Her movements and cheery personality are all way too similar to – in the words of the Queen’s mirror – the fairest young girl of them all.

If you want to watch all princess movies in order, check out this chronological timeline of Disney princesses and grab some popcorn!

Who Is the Most Popular Princess?

Even though Elsa and Anna are, factually, the most popular princesses, they’re not official Disney princesses. So, with them aside, who is the most popular princess? And remember, we’re talking about all princesses, not just Disney (Princess Buttercup from the Princess Bride, for example).

Play Like Mum researched and found that in all continents around the world, Cinderella is the most popular princess! But what about the rest?

On our list below, we’ll show you the most-loved princesses – old and new.

Old School Princesses 



Even though Snow White is the first one, Cinderella is the most recognizable princess, as well as the oldest (19 years old). Her pumpkin carriage and glass slipper are iconic even today!

A royal in every sense of the word, Cinderella showcased defiance and kindness and taught us the value of true love. 


Our first representative of the human-like princess, Ariel, gave us a lesson in sacrifice. She had a pleasant life under the sea, yet still chose to leave it behind in the name of love. Through her actions, Ariel taught us that sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone is worth it.


Our first non-royal princess, Mulan, deserved her spot as a princess through her bravery and perseverance. Mulan is also the first Asian princess to ever grace our screens. Mulan and her family taught us so much about Asian culture, including family love, sacrifice, and a valuable lesson on independence.

New Princesses 


Tiana is a true trailblazer. She’s one of the first princesses of color we’ve seen on-screen. Tiana Disney taught us that family is one of the most important things in the world. She also reminded us that chasing your dreams relentlessly isn’t always the best way to get them – sometimes, we just need to take a minute and think. 


Merida is both a royal and a super brave princess. Some think she’s the best of both worlds! Her fiery crimson hair is one of the most recognizable things about her, as are her bow and arrow. Merida taught us that there’s nothing like making your own way in the world.

She also reminded us that our fate is in our hands. All we have to do is have the courage to see it!



Moana is our Polynesian princess living on the fictional island of Motunui. She’s strong, intelligent, and independent. However, she also believes that our elders sometimes do know best. Instead of defying her dad at any cost, Moana found a way to both save her people and respect him.

Moana taught us a lot about believing in your dreams and doing everything to achieve them!

What Are Live Versions of Princess Movies?

Live versions of princess movies are movies made with real actresses. Traditionally, they are called live-action movies. Sometimes, these movies can also include some animated elements, which turn them into live-action animated movies

With the progress of cinema and especially special effects, live action princess movies have been on the rise. Old princess movies, like those about Princess Diana, now get a bit more details to them – and yes, they’re based on a real-life princess.

2014’s Maleficent is considered to be the first live-action Disney princess movie featuring Sleeping Beauty (Princess Aurora). Today, a popular live-action princess movie based on one of our beloved princesses is Beauty and the Beast. Released in 2017, this movie has Emma Watson portraying Belle. 

But the most popular princess movie? That title goes to Princess Mia from The Princess Diaries Movies.

Considered by many to be the most iconic princess movie out there, 2001’s The Princess Diaries is a masterpiece. Featuring Anne Hathaway as the lead, the movie is a fun watch that’s popular even today.

Even though this is part of the Disney princess movies franchise, it’s not a live-action rendition of a Disney princess. 

Once Upon a Time (TV Series)

But princess movies are not the only place where you can watch some brave young girls. Do you want to see all Disney princesses in one place? In a live-action show? Then Once Upon a Time is a must-watch!

This TV show debuted in 2011 and features both princesses and villains alike. If you haven’t seen it, we highly recommend you do!

Who Is the Most Loved Princess: The Conclusion

Even though research shows that Cinderella is the most loved princess, the choice is still up to you. Old fans of Walt Disney Pictures like Snow White, Cinderella, Mulan, and Ariel. Newer generations can see themselves more in Tiana, Merida, and Moana.

But do you know what’s the best part in all cases? Every young woman in these princess films is amazing in her own way and teaches us valuable lessons.

Today, you can watch princess movies on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and many other platforms. There is a good princess story in many films. Whether you’re a believer in true love or a strong, independent warrior – there is a princess out there for you

About the Author