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