The Top 15 Animated Films of All Time

June 28, 2010 at 4:38 pm (Movies)

1.   The Lion King (1994)-No other animated film has had this deep of a cultural impact. I’ve seen the show at Disneyworld, I’ve watched the film countless times, and no other animated film hit the same emotional level or  come near that feel of an epic conflict. The Lion King is a film that effortlessly and perfectly blends action, comedy, and sweet drama to make it a film children and adults will see for years to come. There’s not a single person who doesn’t know the song “The Circle of Life”, and this movie goes beyond with it’s dramatic weight and at times unmistakable comedy. This film has in being a modern classic, and the best animated film of all time.

2.   Up (2009)-I know I’ve said this hundreds of time, but no animated film has come close in the way that Up connected with me. Up inspired a true sense of wonder while on screen, and by the time the credits had rolled I wasn’t ready to leave. It’s a true mastery of filmmaking (10 minutes into the film without any dialogue we have a perfect understanding and sense of sympathy for the main character), and not only left me in a state of excitement and joy throughout most of the film, it also brought me to tears many times, crafting three of Pixar’s best, most realistic and most enduring characters to date. You care for them all, and throughout all the tears, and the moments of pure thrill, you can’t wait to continue your adventure with them.

3.   Toy Story 1 (1995)/Toy Story 2 (1999)/Toy Story 3 (2010)-I had just finished my review of the third installment in the Toy Story series, and after thinking it through I didn’t consider it fair for the three films to take up three separate spots on the list, especially when you could consider the three films one long story of three equally excellent films. The film series has followed me throughout my childhood, and held a special place in my heart all these years. They’re what made Pixar famous, and for good reason, when it comes to animated storytelling, it doesn’t get much better than this.

4.   How to Train Your Dragon 3D (2010)-This may come as a shock to some, but whenever I got the chance to see this film back in March, I was completely blown away. Part of this film’s achievement is in how a seemingly forgotten child of animation production (Dreamworks Animation) crafted a truly amazing work of animated cinema. Whenever we were taken to the skies, I was in complete awe. The characters are all greatly done, the animation is gorgeous, and to this date it’s my favorite 3D film thanks to how well it’s used to strengthen the flight scenes.

5.   Aladdin (1992)-This film withstands as one of my favorite two dimensional animated films from Disney back in the 90s. The film crafts a truly memorable villain and hero, and brings that sense of amazement with a loveable genie and pure scale of storytelling that Disney really knows how to do. It’s one of the few perfect animated movies, and I could watch it time and time again.

6.   Finding Nemo (2003)-When it comes to sheer beauty of an animated film, Finding Nemo is definitely Pixar’s Mona Lisa. Not only did Pixar make some loveable characters that are still quoted by children to this day even though it was a film popular in my childhood (ask any kid who Crush the Turtle is), but it also creates this beautiful world, an inspiring two hour quest (spoiler alert, they find Nemo), and some beautifully diverse characters.

7.   Ratatouille (2007)-This was one of those animated films that the movie’s perfection slowly seeped in on me. Ratatouille serves to me as Pixar’s most mature piece, not only by the design of the characters and the film’s slower pace, but just by how poignant the film can be in its message. The play between Patton Oswalt’s Remy and Peter Sohn’s Emile is absolutely hysterical at times and is some of Pixar’s best work, but the rest of the film only further cements the beauty of making such a beautiful film out of a rat as a main protagonist.

8.   The Incredibles (2004)-Possibly serving as Pixar’s most visually diverse but at the same time one of their most beautiful, The Incredibles was the team’s first and incredibly successful foray into the world of the superhero genre, and created more excitement and tension than a lot of live action super hero films try to achieve. The action scenes are gorgeous, the voice cast is amazing, and by the end of the film we’ve went through this adventure that is truly adventurous.

9.   The Fox and the Hound (1981)-This film holds a special place in my heart as it was the first film I ever saw, and the first VHS I ever owned. (Consider the fact that I was born in 1992.) The film jumpstarted my interest in film (although a lot more simple at that time), and to this day stands as a testament to friendship.

10.   Monsters Inc (2001)-I got to see this film in my fourth grade year, right after touring the WC Handy museum, and I distinctly remember myself and my classmates quoting this film for weeks and months to come. Monsters Inc, although a little more shallow on the dramatic end, is still a incredibly fun and funny ride, and serves as a testament to Pixar’s enduring creativity.

11.   Hercules (1997)-It’s a little odd that one of my memories that stands out the most about this film were the toys from McDonald’s and how much I wanted to play with the toy of the giant lava titan. I still have the plates from the film, and still remember how much fun this film was. The score for the film, as for so many Disney films, is unforgettable, and the sheer quality of animation especially towards the end of the film is amazing. It’s funny, it’s heartwarming, the characters are great and fun, and by the end you get the feeling of accomplishment.

12.   WALL-E (2008)-To this day WALL E stands as one of the most artistically strong Pixar films with it’s messages of isolation and at by the end of the film consumerism greed. The film does look beautiful and is one of my favorite films thanks to the sheer likeable-ness of WALL E and the beauty of its message and its many scenes in space, but when it came to it it wasn’t higher on my list thanks to the fact it’s a little hard to sit through.

13.   The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)-Possibly being one of my favorites thanks to the musical quality in the film, Hunchback of Notre Dame institutes some of the most haunting and rousing musical numbers in the film, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that the movie has some insanely like-able characters and humor.

14.   Lilo and Stitch (2002)-This film is still quoted to this day and vastly remembered by those of my age. I was in the perfect age demographic when this film came out and I remember begging my parents to go see it. While it didn’t really break ground in terms of characters or the quality of animation, the film has some rousing music and is a great and heartwarming time that kept many kids my age laughing for weeks.

15.   Robin Hood (1973)-As I was beginning to look through the list of all the animated films that had ever been  made, this one caught my attention by just how much I remember really enjoying it.

Honorable Mentions-

  • The Princess and the Frog (2009)
  • Kung Fu Panda (2008)
  • Shrek 1 (2001)/Shrek 2 (2004)


  1. The James said,

    There were some great films on that list. The lion king definitely deserved number 1 though, it is one of the best films ever made. Up was also amazing (one of the few animated films to make me cry) and while it has more re-watch-ability, I think I enjoyed Wall-E better on my first run though.

  2. earlman27 said,

    Yeah both Up and Lion King inspire an emotional response few animated films can for me. WALL E was really good towards that middle act where it straddles the line of action film and art piece. I just didn’t find it as fun or rewatchable as some of the other films on the list, but it is definitely one of the most beautiful (it got a 5 out of 5 in my book).

  3. Anupam Sen said,

    I dnt understand why movies lik Kung Fu Panda and Ice Age are missing from the list

  4. earlman27 said,

    I really dug Kung Fu Panda and it was in my honorable mentions, however I don’t feel like that film is quite as classic-worthy as the lower ranked films in the Top 15. It’s a huge step for Dreamworks Animation, but it doesn’t quite match the quality of some of Disney and Pixar’s middle of the road. The Ice Age film series was a big part of my childhood (I’ve seen all the films in theaters with some extension of my family), but once again the quality just isn’t as great. Had it been the Top 25, definitely, and it definitely stands as one of my many favorites.

  5. KingreX32 said,

    LOL I notice the trend there most of those are pixar movies. I freaking love those im 18 and i can sit down anyday and watch a load of pixar movies. To this day i have yet to see a bad one. I loved Cars. OH!! and Titan A.E is an awesome animated flick too.

  6. earlman27 said,

    haha yes Pixar is the modern king of animation, however they owe a lot of their success to Disney and I owed it to my childhood to mention a lot of their movies, especially The Lion King as the Number One obviously. Pixar has a perfect streak so far. I remember Titan A.E., although that movie scared the bejeezus out of me as a kid.

  7. KingreX32 said,

    I agree with you there. Pixar movies can even get me tearing up abit. Like the starting of finding Nemo and Up.

  8. earlman27 said,

    Totally Pixar films hit me on an emotional level like no other. They make me cry, they inspire me, they find my inner kid, and they give me that sense of wonder.

  9. KingreX32 said,

    Agreed. When a movie is capable of doing things like that you know its well done.

    Unless it makes you walk away with a feeling of disgust. Like that movie Legion. Craptastic.

  10. earlman27 said,

    Totally agree, Legion was absolute garbage.

  11. Nolanator said,

    The only one that I would add to my list is The Simpsons Movie. My favorite TV show= my 2nd favorite animated movie (behind Toy Story).

  12. earlman27 said,

    I totally forgot about The Simpsons Movie. Not sure though if it’d make it into my top 15 even though i loved that movie.

  13. KingreX32 said,

    While I loved the Simpsons movie I dont think it should have been on the list either.

    I loved Inglorious Bastards but when compared to movies like The Hurt Locker or Precious I dont think it really deserves an Acadamy Award.

  14. daredevil said,

    kung fu panda is one of my favourite films.i am suprised why it is not in the top 15 animated films.i hav seen it 3times and the more i see the more i love.lion king is surely the best animated film i hav ever seen.

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