It goes without saying that Barbie is an icon. From showing young girls that women can be anything to teaching us important life lessons at the end of every illuminating movie and guiding us to dream big, Barbie is a generation-defying doll that has culturally changed the world. Greta Gerwig’s teaser for the highly anticipated live-action film that pays a flawless homage to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey essentially proves this point in just under a minute and a quarter. Barbieland is filled with hope and aspiration. Whatever the story may be, at the end of the day, Barbie and her friends always get what they want. Now that we’re pretty sure that none of these films will have anything to do with the new live-action feature, there’s a chance these films can evoke memories and help you get into the zone to enjoy this campy and emotional roller-coaster of a movie (I’m sure of this from watching the promotional material alone). Just as Google has turned pink for Barbie, let’s wear our pink-tinted glasses and step into the world of Barbie land.
Barbie And The Diamond Castle
Without a doubt, one of the best soundtracks of any kind of musical in the history of musicals, Two Voices, One Song, is the song Barbie and her best friend Teresa sing in the film. A favorite of many, this movie is now being applauded for its queer-coded messaging. The deep message of Barbie and The Diamond Castle is that friendship and companionship trump all material wants. In the modern world, Barbie’s little sister Stacy has a huge fight with her friend, and that’s when Barbie tells her the story of the Diamond Castle that was saved by two best friends that sound very much like herself and Teresa. It’s not a Barbie movie without a supervillainous evil witch or queen ready to take over the world, locked away, only to be awakened by Barbie’s presence. While there’s no Ken in Diamond Castle, there are a pair of twins that try to become knights in shining armor, only to be captured. It’s up to the best friends to save their new friends and the day in this world filled with magical accessories and ballads! What could be more entertaining?
Barbie In The 12 Dancing Princesses
Before the vocalizing harmony of Frozen 2 took over the world, there was Barbie In The 12 Dancing Princesses. This movie makes this list because it’s the epitome of synchronized dancing, albeit ballet; it’s a pink sight for sore eyes, just as we’re expecting from 2023’s Barbies and Kens. It’s also super impressive if you’re able to remember the names of the 12 princesses, but not quite as impressive as having them all look similar and dance perfectly. Ah, how we love computer-animated Barbie and her 11 sisters. Of course, does it qualify as a Barbie movie from the early 2000s if there’s no magic involved? The girls find themselves dancing all night, and because they’re princesses, their father decides to enlist a cousin of his to teach them how to be more proper. You can imagine what follows next, but you should watch it for the dancing at the very least.
The Barbie Diaries
A controversial pick for sure, but modern Barbie is so underrated. Yes, the animation on this one was almost intolerable, but you can’t deny that rockstar Barbie in Mean Girls world is so much fun. A taste of high school and how to deal with the cliched mean girl of teen movies, The Barbie Diaries is literally Mean Girls in animated form and a terribly famous IP rather than Lindsay Lohan. It’s definitely one of the funnier of all the animated films because of the fact that it is set in high school and in the modern world. Barbie’s never been cooler, and she may even ditch Ken for another man—scandalous. As much as this film is filled with tropes and screams 2006, it’s a complete bomb of a package that is entertaining from start to finish.
Barbie As Princess And The Pauper
A classic with a song beloved by all. Everyone wished they had a twin with a different lifestyle they could swap places with after seeing this film. It’s got all the quirk of Barbie and the Disneyness of Disney, making it the perfect animated film. Princesses, weddings, kidnappings—you name it, and it’s covered! But just because they look the same, how do they sing the same songs? Anyway, what this film really speaks to is that while everyone’s problems are different, they’re all equally important. Erika and Annalise are both worlds apart, but at the end of the day, they’re both going through “it,” but with the other’s help, they can overcome anything. This film definitely set a standard for Barbie movie soundtracks, though, and even some Disney songs can fall short in comparison!
Barbie In The Nutcracker
This list would be incomplete if we missed out on the original computer-animated Barbie movie, which basically began a revolution in the world of cinema. No one knew before The Nutcracker that Barbie movies could do so incredibly well. Even as the first 3D Barbie movie, this one arguably has one of the best dresses in all of Barbie Land. It’s especially fun to watch the Nutcracker fight a bunch of mice to save his kingdom, and Barbie flinging her ballet flat at one of them is definitely a highlight. If you’re planning on doing a marathon, we recommend starting with the OG to stay beautiful on the inside and the outside.
Now we’re almost done with this list, but there must be some honorary mentions for the films that did not make the cut. Barbie Of Swan Lake (Barbie turning into an actual swan, she’s perfect!), Barbie: Fairytopia (2005 was a good year, but you could just watch this for Bibble), Barbie As The Island Princess (don’t forget this has nine original songs and a Dr. Dolittle Barbie), and Barbie And The Magic of Pegasus (her first original princess fairytale adventure).
Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale
The campiest of the lot has to be Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale. The movie takes Barbie to Paris, and aside from the horrendous accents, it’s still a very entertaining film. Made in 2010, this film has all the glitz and glam of the magazine era of the late 2000s, with Barbie smack in the center of the fashion capital of the world. She has to save her aunt’s atelier, and she can do this with the help of some magical creatures she finds in the place. “Get your sparkle on” and watch this one for inspiration for your outfit to go see Barbie.
While there are many more Barbie movies that we’d like to have included in the list, these are the creme de la-creme of the lot. Which one would you replace or add to the list? Let us know in the comments down below, and show us your excitement for Barbie!