Last Updated on October 6, 2021 by
Are you looking for a great animated movie? There are tons of animated movies out there. But far from all of them are worth watching. There are also many types of animated movies, for example, cartoons, clay animation, and everything in between. They do not necessarily have to be 100% animated.
We hope you like our list of the top animated movies. Many of them are classics, whilst others are underrated and generally forgotten. The movies are listed in no particular order. Let’s dig in.
Top animated movies
Spirited Away, 2001
Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpiece is a Japanese “Alice in Wonderland” with as much imagination and is just as strange, if not even stranger. Girl Chihiro ends up in a world of all kinds of ghosts and strange creatures, where she has all the suits to fit in and does not reveal that she is human. And then she has to help out in a bathhouse. Spirited Away is a wonderful family movie, a fairy tale that everyone can appreciate and enchant.
The Secret of NIMH
Brisby & NIMH’s Secret is almost the perfect animated feature film. It has everything that made the best Disney movies great and much more. A tragic background and dark history. It has a fantastic design, both characters, and environments and then also has great mystery. The mouse Mrs. Brisby must fight for her life to get the rats to help cure her sick son.
She represents all the determination and courage we wish for in a true hero. Mrs. Brisby is not only one of the few female film heroes but in fact one of the greatest and bravest warriors in film history.
Watership Down, 1978
The long flight is nicely animated and a fine depiction of how people work in groups and in exposed situations. Although it is colorful rabbits that have the lead role. The film has an incredibly strong mood, but it’s a bleak, dark one. This and some individual elements mean that the film is not very child friendly. We would probably say that The Long Escape is, if not the first, so in which case one of the first animated films aimed more at adults.
Grave of the Fire Flies, 1988
Grave of the Fire Flies or The Grave of Fire Flies is really anything but a children’s movie and it is so serious that it could just as well have been a feature film. But we suspect that the combination of animation with the heavy action and the environments is well chosen. Had it been an at least as a well-made feature film, Grave of the Fire Flies would probably have been largely unbearable. It takes place right after the bomb over Hiroshima. Grave of the Fire Flies is not just an animated masterpiece, but a masterpiece such as a film and story.
Walt Disney’s other animated feature film may be the one to place first on our list. It has everything that made Snow White good, but at the same time, a more elaborate and content-rich script and is generally a more varied film. Wonderful characters, beautiful music and almost grotesque elements. The cell animation itself is pure and cuts perfection and beats everything else that has ever been done. Characters never become more real and vivid in any other classic animated film, neither in Walt Disney’s nor in others’ films.
Havoc in Heaven 1965
A classic story from Chinese mythology and folk religion told where ancient mythological images come to life through simple animation. The film is based on the first part of “Journey to the West”, the part that is usually called “Havoc in Heaven” or rebellion in heaven where the monk breaks the sky. King Markatta – the Monk King or Sun Wukong – is the most famous of mythological characters in China, loved by children all over the world. He has also given rise to a variety of films, TV series, comic books, and art. For example, Japanese Dragon Ball and Starzinger are adaptations of the famous fairy tale. There has been talk of restoring it and making a new release. Unfortunately, the project seems to have stopped.
Alice in Wonderland 1951
Walt Disney’s most beautiful and aesthetically most accomplished film, Alice in Wonderland, will be the second to qualify for the list. It is almost unlikely how well Lewis Carrol’s book will live. The only thing that prevents Alice in Wonderland from getting higher is the extremely thin action and the form of the road movie. But otherwise, it would not have been Lewis Carrol’s famous tale.
Your Name (Kimi no na wa) 2016
Two young people separated at a distance but bound to each other by fate. Nice story, superbly told and incredibly beautiful. Big success number one in Japan in 2016 and one of the very best films of the 21st century to date.
Animal Farm, 1954
Early animated feature film based on George Orwell’s classic Animal Farm. The animals revolt on a farm and the farmer is chased away. who own the rice have different perceptions of what equality means and who can actually be regarded as equality. Well made, simple and has both an interesting style and depth.
When the Wind Blows, 1986
As modest in form as the action is black. One of few animated feature films with only two people in the lead role. There is tragic, black and dry humor that sets the tone throughout the film. And then there is a lot of kindness and reconciliation. Do not be fooled by the fact that it is so unassuming in form and tone. This is a masterpiece.
Perfect Blue 1997
This feels like David Lynch and Alfred Hitchcock would have teamed up and made an animated feature film. Perfect Blue is a bizarre story about celebrity, fanatics, murder, and insanity. Unfortunately, the characters feel quite impersonally designed and the animation is, in the simplest way, like a cheap, older animation series where only a single small detail is allowed to move in a single image. My advice is to be tolerant of this and to be drawn into the atmosphere.
When Marnie Was There (2014)
A great movie from Studio Ghibli. Anna is sent to live with relatives in a village on the coast. There is an abandoned house where she meets Marnie, a mysterious girl. But who is Marnie really? A ghost? A projection or something that Anna dreamed? A mysterious, atmospheric movie with a lot of heart.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 1937
The world’s first animated feature film took children and adults worldwide by storm. A classic fairy tale, charming characters, brilliant animation, and memorable music. Well, it’s actually a little scary for the youngest.
My Neighbor Totoro 1988
Miyasaki’s My Neighbor Totoro is the perfect children’s movie in every way. We don’t have the hysterical, boosted tempo of so many modern American films. My neighbor Totoro, the pace is slow and told from the child’s exploratory perspective.
Princess Mononoke 1997
Princess Mononoke is an adult fantasy epic about man’s destructive attitude to nature. Interesting, well made and deep. Surprisingly high intellectual aspirations and unfortunately something well long for their own good. But regardless of whether you can handle all or not, I think most people appreciate the film’s qualities.
The Lion King 1994
We may have overlooked that the film is based, or rather copied by a Japanese publisher. We also ignore that the film has a couple of the most annoying sidekicks in film history. In fact, many people still love Timo and Pumba. Above all, the Lion King is well-made and well-told, nicely drawn and well animated.
Howl’s Moving Castle, 2004
The visual style from Spirited Away is still there, but Miyasaki’s next movie was quite different. The imagination is true, but it is far from being as vivid. The Living Castle is a general and allegorical tale of aging. The girl Sofi meets a witch who turns her into an old pal. The hunt for the witch and the recapture of the youth begins. The home base becomes Howl’s castle-like steampunk machine on legs.
Ghost in the Shell 1995
Can a Machine Have a Soul? A female cyborg cop and her partner are chasing a hacker called a “puppet master”. Ghost in the Shell was a compelling anime that many have seen, loved and inspired. The design of both characters and environments is first class, the film contains magnificent music and an interesting act. Best and most memorable are the more philosophical elements that revolve around thoughts about machines and whether they can have a soul.
Mary & Max, 2009
Puppet animation about an 8-year-old girl and a 40-year-old couch potato who begin to exchange letters with each other in the ’70s. A friendship begins that lasts for 20 years, though at a distance. Will they ever meet? Charming characters and equally charming history, with a hint of irony and black humor. You can’t help but love this movie.
The pictures and color management are absolutely amazing. The atmosphere is somewhat out of place, the characters are insanely nicely drawn and the imagination in the scenographic design is great.
A Pixar movie that has something a little more than just a nice surface? The Short Circuit clone Wall-E and EVE are wonderful characters and the film has a good and actually slightly more original action than usual. But most of all, you can appreciate the somewhat slow tempo in most of the film and the environmental depiction. But okay, annoying people in the spaceship that most resemble plastic caricatures pull the rating down. Maybe real indeed. Pixar must always make fun of it in some way or another. But in any case, the fabric is enough for a really good animated movie and it is definitely Pixar’s best.
Happy, cozy and easy-going Disney movie with lovely cats. The plot is really a pretty simple kidnapping story. It is straight, unpretentious and without extremely sentimental elements. They have also switched to a slightly simpler, cleaner and more comic cartoon style compared to previous films. This is far from a disadvantage and reinforces the colors and clarity of the style that goes hand in hand with the light and humorous basic tone of the film.
The Triplets Of Belleville (2003)
Madame Souza teams up with the Belleville Sisters to rescue their granddaughter who has been kidnapped during the Tour de France. Eventful, fun, humorous, and a super cartoon French animation.
Corpse Bride, 2005
Tim Burton reprises the visual style from the doll animation A Nightmare Before Christmas, though it translates into a digitally animated version. In fact, Corpse Bride is the first feature film made with a digital still camera. and it’s actually made with dolls, just like the previous movie. In fact, this is one of my Burton favorites. How would you feel if you were persecuted by a ghost who was completely convinced that you married her?
How to Train Your Dragon, 2010
A real starter that became a much bigger success than anyone thought. A young Viking takes up the hunt for a dragon. But the meeting will not be what he thought. The relationship between the two becomes strong and a deep friendship emerges. A lot of humor, cool action scenes and overall a visual celebration. So very stylish but at the same time a surprisingly personal movie compared to so much else in recent years.
Beauty and the Beast 1991
Walt Disney made a comeback with Beauty and the Beast after a series of half-assed ease. The company invested tremendously with time and resources on this particular film and did everything to make it the success the company needed. It got right this time. They went back to a more mature and serious tone, thereby attracting families.
Frost was the best Walt Disney movie in a very, very long time and holds a well-known high ranking among the very best films created by the group. Amazingly well done, strong characters, imaginative roles and a magical story with a lot of heart about close friendship.
The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993
Tim Burton’s Christmas musical uses classic puppet animation where Everything is orchestrated with tremendous precision. The film is also delicious with many cool characters, memorable music, and musical numbers. Poor Jack Skellington finds the Christmas spirit and wants to implement this in Halloween Town. You try to take over Christmas, but it is not quite as Jack intended.
A Chinese Ghost Story: The Tsui Hark Animation, 1997
Hong Kong’s first animated feature film stood for Tsui Hark, with an imaginative reinterpretation of the feature film of the same name. A tax collector does not get it easy when he comes in contact with ghosts and demons. Many funny creatures and scenes that have probably been a source of inspiration for Spirited Away.