Curating this list of the best animated movies ever sure brings back amazing memories of childhood. We still love watching these movies today!
There was a time when animated movies were just for children. But that’s been changing recently. Now, there’s a bigger focus on making something that will appeal to all ages and demographics. When done correctly, this genre has the potential to make characters and stories that will last for a lifetime.
For example, everyone remembers the story of a lion who wanted to be king. It’s also the perfect genre for exploring complex issues. From environmental issues to race relations, there’s a lot of conversations that can be started by an animated movie.
Animated films are also the perfect way to explore settings that wouldn’t be possible to create in real-life. For example, now audiences will be able to head to deep space or live in a city where animals are in control. This has given directors the ability to push the envelope, developing innovative technology to take audiences to distant planets or allow humans to live alongside cartoon characters.
Regardless of if you want something that will keep the kids happy or something that will entertain adults, there are a lot of animated movies to choose from. Let’s look at some of our picks for the best animated movies ever.
Pixar has always been one of the best animation studios in the world. But with this movie, they took things to the next level. Wall-E is a robot who is tasked with cleaning up the planet. One day he meets EVE and falls in love. He’ll follow her across the universe to help her out. But, there’s more to this quest. He also has the evidence needed to prove that Earth is now a habitable planet.
Beyond the cute robots and funny slapstick comedy, there’s a lot to like about this film. First, it brought some amazing new technology to the big screen. There are photorealistic backgrounds, making the wrecked planet that Wall-E inhabits feel like the real planet Earth. There’s also a strong message about the impact that a failure to take care of the planet can have. Because of this, it is one of the best animated movies ever and will connect strongly with both adults and children alike.
“I don’t want to survive. I want to live!”
The Night Before Christmas
Debate rages online about whether this a Halloween movie or a Christmas film. Either way, it’s an animated classic. In this movie, Jack Skellington the Pumpkin King from Halloween Town finds Christmas Town and is intrigued. So, he decides to bring this back to his home. To help him do this, Jack decides to abduct Santa. Dressed as Sandy Claws, Jack decides to deliver presents to the children himself.
Ever since it was released, the audiences have loved to trip into the world inspired by Tim Burton. Though he’s not the director of this film, his stylings still influence the overall feeling and tone of the movie.
Like many Burton movies, it seamlessly blends Gothic stylings and tone with a fairytale. Interestingly, this darker tone is what caused Disney to release it through Touchstone, as they thought it would be too scary for children. However, time has proven Disney wrong, with families around the world embracing this as one the best animated movies ever.
“They’re busy building toys and absolutely no-one’s dead.”
This is one of the most successful animated franchises in the world. The movies are based on the premise that when humans aren’t looking, toys come to life. Woody is the favorite toy but when Buzz Lightyear arrives, he starts to think that he might be replaced. So, Woody hatches a plan to get rid of Buzz.
Throughout the films, though, they become close friends. Each film has captured a new stage in the development of their friendship, as the audience watches them grow over time.
So far, Toy Story has spawned four critically acclaimed films. This makes it one of the most adored animated franchises on the planet. With excellent performances from Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, these films can make audiences of all ages genuinely care about the life of toys. With this franchise, Pixar has shown why they are one of the best animation production companies in the world.
Toy Story is hands down one of the best animated movies of all time.
“To infinity and beyond.”
The Lion King
Disney has produced dozens of animated classics. From Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty to Finding Nemo. But, to many people, this is the best film they have ever made. When Simba believes that he has killed his father, he decides to leave society. Running away, he collapses in the desert where he’s found by Timon and Pumbaa. They help him recover and help him to live a more relaxed much. But, when Simba learns what’s happened to Pride Rock in his absence, he realizes he needs to go back and claim his rightful place on the throne.
This movie has connected with audiences around the world. It’s one of the most emotional films that Disney has ever made. It also has some of the best songs featuring classics like Hakuna Matata and The Circle Of Life. And, of course, top-notch comedic relief from Timon and Pumbaa.
Though they remade it in 2019, we’d recommended sticking with the original, we believe that version is one of the best animated movies ever.
“Hakuna Matata” (It means no worries for the rest of your days. It’s our problem-free philosophy.)
Who Framed Roger Rabit
When Who Framed Rodger Rabbit was first released, audiences were stunned. This seamlessly blended the animated world and real human actors. It was unlike anything that had ever been seen before. But this movie goes far beyond a cheap gimmick. It also has an engaging story.
Filmed as a noir mystery, Rodger Rabbit is an animated character who gets framed for the death of his boss. So, he hires a private detective to clear his name. However, along the way, he discovers a dark unground world.
There are many ways that this film, which came out in 1988, was ahead of its time. The world the film created felt both outlandish and believable. Audiences still marvel at the special effects, particularly those shown during the tense final showdown. It also has a lot of animated characters that audiences would remember. It’s one of the only times where you’ll be able to see Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse in the same movie.
“I can give you stars. Just drop the refrigerator on my head one more time.”
James Cameron has long been renowned as one of the best directors of all time. From his work on Aliens and Titanic, he has built a huge audience profile. However, Avatar was where he got to show the world how innovative he could be.
In this movie, Jake is a paraplegic marine who gets sent to Pandora. There, he is made into an Avatar, a synthetic native which he can use his mind to control. However, as he learns more about the Na’vi, he falls in love, with both the people and the planet. Torn between two worlds, he’ll need to decide where his loyalties will lie.
When it was first released, Avatar was revolutionary. It was the first film to show what 3D technology could do. It incorporated animation and CG technology flawlessly, to create a whole new planet. Because of this, it became the highest-grossing film of all time, a box office record that only Avengers: Endgame was able to beat.
Joe Rogan talked about how Avatar captured something in the human psyche that speaks to everything we desire on a deep, spiritual level in his interview with Rob Lowe. Listen here. This is why it is our founder, Michelle’s choice for, not only the best animated movie, but the best movie of all time.
“I see you.” (Editor’s fave: “Make the bond!”) Alternative: “All I ever wanted was a single thing worth fighting for.”
Disney has never shied away from talking about controversial topics. This has never been more obvious than in Zootopia.
This film focuses on Officer Judy Hopps, a bunny. She’s the newest recruit to Zootopia PD. This is a city populated entirely by andromorphic animals, split into several different habitats. But, as she quickly learns, a lot of people feel that a bunny isn’t suitable for the task. But, as the city is struck by predators turning vicious and attacking prey, she decides to team up with a fox to get to the bottom of it.
There are plenty of important topics that are raised in this film. It touches on everything from class to racism. But the film balances everything perfectly. It delivers the message while still making sure that the audience has a great time. There are a lot of laughs along the way and a mystery that will keep audiences guessing until the end.
“Smart Fox. Dumb Bunny.”
The accomplishments of Western studios like Disney and Pixar can often dominate discussions about the greatest animated films of all time. But Japan also has a thriving animation industry, headed by modern master Hayao Miyazaki from Studio Ghibli. This is the man responsible for a string of hits like Princess Mononoke and My Friend Totoro, both of which could have easily made the list. However, we decided to focus on Spirited Away.
In this movie, Chihiro and her parents stumble upon a run-down amusement park. However, the fun doesn’t last long. Her parents are turned into pigs, as it’s explained that the park is designed for supernatural beings. In order to free her parents, Chihiro will need to work at the park.
This film, like many Studio Ghibli films, creates a unique style that will enthrall audiences. If you are looking for unique visuals, mixed with an engaging story, this is the film for you. If you’ve never seen an anime-style movie, this could be a great place to start.
“A heart’s a heavy burden.”
It would be difficult to make a list of the best animated movies ever without including Frozen. This film has become a global phenomenon. It’s toppled box office records and sold millions of albums. There have been plenty of merchandising opportunities for Disney. Everything from costumes to lunchboxes.
The movies themselves are delightfully fun. They tell the story of sisters Ana and Elsa. Elsa has magical ice powers, which she struggles to control, turning her kingdom into a land of snow and ice. Over the course of the films, she’ll learn how to harness her power. She’ll also discover where they came from.
With a bevy of iconic characters, like Olaf, there’s a lot for parents and children to love about this franchise. Also, like many Disney films, the soundtrack is amazing. Viewers will struggle to get songs like Let It Go and Into The Unknown out of their heads.
We’re pretty sure “Frozen!” would be the answer if you asked kids around the world what the best animated movie ever is.
“I’ll be a happy snowman in summer.”
This film can often get overlooked when making lists like this. However, this gem of a movie will entertain both children and adults. This movie follows the Iron Giant, a robot that has crash-landed on Earth. There he forms a bond with a young child, who decides to keep him in a junkyard. However, the military views the Iron Giant as a threat. They will stop at nothing to get their hands on him.
Brad Bird’s direction brings a lot of style to this film. For example, the robot was created using CGI. This gives it the otherworldly feel. It also does a great job of blending comedy, drama, and science fiction. Vin Diesel does the voice acting for the robot, using his distinctive growl to make it come to life. So, while it might be as prominent as some of the other films on this list, it’s still sure to entertain your family.
“You are who you choose to be.”
So tell us in the comments, what are YOUR best animated movies ever that didn’t make our top 10?
(So many come to mind!! Brave, Monsters Inc, Mulan, Meet the Robinsons, The Little Mermaid! We need another round…)
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