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The 40 best animated movies of all time, ranked

Let's face it: everything is better when it's animation. From Toy Story to Anastasia, these are the best animated movies of all time.

What are the best animated movies? This medium doesn’t always enjoy the finest reputation, with some people dismissing it as simple kids’ fare designed to entertain young minds and nothing more. Of course, these people couldn’t be more wrong.

Some of the best movies ever made happen to be animated. Below, we have some of the best Pixar movies, the best anime movies, and — bizarrely — one of the best war movies of all time. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get into it.

Best animated movies: Balto (1995)

40. Balto (1995)

There’s something really special about animated movies based on real events. The disconnect between the medium and reality couldn’t seem larger when, in fact, it’s the perfect way to put a new spin on historical events. Balto is based on the real-life story of an Alaskan sled dog who led a team across the state to deliver live-saving medicine to a remote town. In doing so, he saved the lives of many children, and became one of the most famous dogs in history.

The movie is your classic Amblin animation, with danger, adventure, and quirky animal characters everywhere. It also (as was the way in the ’90s) boasts the voices of stars like Kevin Bacon, Bridget Fonda, and Jim Cummings. And, if you feel like paying tribute to Balto, you can go check out the real statue featured in the movie which resides in Central Park.

Best animated movies: Spirit

39. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002)

Matt Damon voices a horse in an animated Western. …Need we say more? Okay, we’ll say more, just because this is a staple from our childhood. Spirit is a beautifully animated adventure through the old West, following a horse who is taken from his family by US cavalry soldiers. He has to get back home, all with the help of a Native American who takes a shining to him and a rockin’ soundtrack courtesy of Bryan Adams.

Seriously, this soundtrack is incredible. And it ends up giving Spirit a edge among the other animated films at the time, in the sense that it has a very distinct style. The animation is also glorious, and frankly, we have a theory that the Spirit-to-Yellowstone-fan pipeline is the strongest there ever was.

Best animated movies: Anastasia

38. Anastasia (1997)

Anastasia is one of the most magical musicals around and proves that animation isn’t just a storytelling medium – it is an art form that can visualize the intricate tunes of music and the fantastical feelings it can inspire. Also, let’s be honest: Rasputin still has the best villain song in animated existence, and I’ll debate any Disney fan on that fact.

Telling the story of an orphan, Anya (who has amnesia), on a journey to discover her past, Anastasia sees the innocent search for family become entangled with the legend of the missing Romanov Grand Duchess. As Anya seeks out her memories, traveling from Russia to France, suspicion and the curse of the evil sorcerer Rasputin follow her.

There are winged demons, choreographed dances, and some of the catchiest tunes you’ll ever hear in this film. Honestly, it is no wonder Anastasia is so acclaimed and has spawned a stage musical adaptation – it’s brilliant.

Best animated movies: Oliver and Company

37. Oliver & Company (1988)

Billy Joel voices a singing dog. What else do you need to know? In all seriousness, there may never have been a cooler animated movie than Oliver & Company. Based on the classic story of Oliver Twist, this Disney classic takes that familiar tale and sets it in ’80s New York, with a pop-laden musical soundtrack and, oh yeah, animals as the lead characters.

When it comes to the animation, it’s not easy to forget how Oliver & Company looks, because it feels so wholly original in comparison to the usual Disney fairytales. Every wide shot looks like a vintage painting of New York City, and every close-up is so densely packed with color and texture that you’ll want to hang every frame of the movie on your walls.

Best animated movies: An American Tail

36. An American Tail (1986)

Before the CGI days of new, there were still beautiful remnants of hand-drawn animation. A child’s movie that would only have been made in the ’80s, An American Tail, is the story of a young mouse, Fievel Mousekewitz, who gets lost during his family’s passage from Russia to America. At the time of its release, it became the highest-grossing non-Disney animated movie, which makes sense since it was produced by Steven Spielberg.

The movie heavily integrates themes of Jewish culture and immigration, and includes some more adult concepts, like that of Antisemitism and alcoholism. It’s beautifully animated, and the ending scene will certainly tug on your heartstrings after you’ve spent the entire movie rooting for  Fievel to get back to his family.

Best animated movies: Po and the rest of the Furious Five in the poster for Kung Fu Panda

35. Kung Fu Panda (2008)

On the record, we love all three of the Kung Fu Panda movies, but this first film in Po’s journey holds a special place in our hearts and is the perfect movie to get you hooked on this loveable franchise. Full of pointed style, jokes, and surprisingly mature themes centered around self-discovery and facing prejudice, Kung Fu Panda is truly a family movie for all ages and is a creative spin on the popular fantasy wuxia genre.

Directed by John Stevenson and Mark Osborne, Kung Fu Panda follows the panda Po on his journey to become the prophesized Dragon Warrior and save The Valley from the big bad snow leopard Tai Lung. During his training, he has to face constant negativity and sabotage, but ultimately Po grows and turns into a true hero. This movie is artistic, touching, and, to this day, is still one of our go-to recommendations for animation newbies.

Best animated movies: Anti-Pesto catching rabbits in Wallace & Gromit The Curse of the Were Rabbit

34. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

Some of the best animated movies are those where you constantly find easter eggs and hidden visual jokes on every new watch-through. And the 2005 stop-motion animation Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a prime example of a film that you can watch on repeat and still find something fresh to enjoy each time. A parody of classic monster movies, the film is filled with easter eggs, subtle jokes, and witty writing.

Centered around the inventor Wallace and his dog Gromit, the two’s life as pest control agents is turned on its head after an experiment goes wrong and a Were-Rabbit is created. The two have to fix their mistakes and stop the beast before the monster destroys all the town’s folks’ vegetables. This may sound like relatively low stakes, but with guns, plot twists, and high-speed chase scenes, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit will keep you hooked.

Best anaimated movies: Rango looking concerned with a hawk in the background in Rango

33. Rango (2011)

Rango isn’t just one of the best animated movies around; it is also one of the best westerns ever made and a must-watch for all our readers. An unsung masterpiece, the movie follows the pet chameleon Rango, who finds himself stranded in the Mojave Desert of Nevada. As Rango struggles to survive, he is thrust into the position of sheriff for a small town and has to uncover a conspiracy involving the community’s precious water supply. There are gunfights, misunderstandings, and plenty of dusty visuals that will stick in your mind for years to come.

Rango is a unique film that shows us a creative spin on typical heroes. Our titular chameleon isn’t a mysterious, seasoned stranger who rides into town and saves the day. Instead, he is an anxious fella who is just trying to do his best, and we love him for it.

Rataouille best animated movies

32. Ratatouille (2007)

Are we insane for thinking that Ratatouille is literally one of the greatest movies of all time? Possibly, yes. But that doesn’t make it any less of a fact. And don’t be put off just because it’s a movie about a rat: rats are cute, and saying otherwise is just down to prejudice.

Ratatouille is, obviously, a kids’ movie, first and foremost. It’s fun and silly and is perfectly paced to keep even the most obnoxious child entertained throughout. But with some wonderfully clever jokes and a real emotional heart, it truly does have something for everyone to enjoy.

It also has a message which, somehow, often gets confused. Ratatouille tells us that not everyone can be great at everything, but greatness can come from anyone. That’s pretty worthwhile.

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31. Transformers: The Movie (1986)

Transformers: The Movie is one of the most ’80s movies in history. What, exactly, does that mean? Well, it had a pounding synth-rock score featuring some shockingly uplifting power ballads; it’s silly and completely sincere and features Leonard Nimoy in a leading role. It’s fair to say that it did, to an extent, capture the essence of its era. It also happens to be completely brilliant.

Following all of our favorite Transformers uniting to take down the ultimate threat, Unicron, Transformers: The Movie immediately ups the stakes by slaughtering many beloved characters, not least Optimus Prime himself, Megatron, Ultra Magnus, and Starscream.

This paves the way for new faces to take center stage on the heart-pounding adventure, which is beautifully animated and wonderfully brought to life through the voices of its cast, including Orson Welles. Such is our love for this film that we’ve dubbed it the best Transformers movie of all.

Best animated movies: Lightning and Mater in Cars

30. Cars (2006)

Don’t click away! Let us fight our corner when it comes to Cars, we beg you. Cars has the most savage reputation when it comes to Pixar movies, and we think that’s unfair. In fact, we would go so far as to say it’s just as impressive as the likes of Toy Story or Ratatouille. Why? Well, the world-building, for one. There’s something so undeniably Americana about the world of Radiator Springs, and there’s no stone left unturned when it comes to the details.

From the electric nature of the racing scenes to the quiet quirk of the small-town troubles, Cars is vibes. We understand why people don’t like it, but we have to disagree. It’s a story of redemption, friendship, and drive (get it? GET IT?!) told through the lens of a perfectly animated depiction of what makes the American landscape great.

Best animated movies: Bob Hoskins in Who Framed Roger Rabbit

29. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a creative masterpiece that blended two realities: the human world and animation. A half-animated comedy that takes a note from some of the detective noirs of old, Roger Rabbit sees Bob Hoskins as Eddie Valiant, a private investigator who’s tasked with exonerating Roger Rabbit, a ‘toon’ who’s framed for murder.

Sounds a little wacky, right? Well, that’s indeed what this is, and that’s okay. Roger Rabbit is a movie that is perfectly made for its time and fits right into the string of other crazy comedies that occupied the ’80s. It can also be credited with sparking new interest in the golden age of animation and might have even contributed to the Disney Renaissance.

Best animated movies: Lilo and Stitch

28. Lilo and Stitch (2002)

Lilo and Stitch is the very definition of an animation with style. Blending futuristic alien technology with the gorgeous Hawaiian landscape, Lilo and Stitch is perhaps one of the more visually memorable Disney animations of the early 2000s. It’s also a tale that has some heartache tied into its foundation and is ultimately a story about fitting in and found families.

Plus, a soundtrack comprised of Elvis hits can’t be ignored. It’s just as fun as it is heart-wrenching, as adventurous as it is grounded, and just as classic-looking as it is innovative. In short, Lilo and Stitch is one of the most beloved and best Disney movies seen in recent years, and with good reason.

The ParaNorman cast

27. ParaNorman (2012)

One of the best kids movies to watch every Halloween, this Studio Laika homage to classic horror movies is fantastic. From its mature ideas to funny and heartfelt delivery, it’s suitable for all ages and a masterclass in stop-motion. If you’re struggling to wait around for Wednesday season 2, consider this nifty replacement with similar themes and aesthetics.

The story follows Norman, a teenager who can see and speak to the dead. When he gets wrapped up in a small-town conspiracy about a witch, he ends up learning lessons about bias, being the outsider, and empathy. While the messaging is appropriately strong for younger viewers, the screenplay’s subtlety never hits you over the head with anything.

There are a couple of sequences in this that are mind-blowing in their execution — the music, cinematography, and voice work are all essential pieces of this puzzle.

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26. World of Tomorrow (2015)

Nominated for Best Animated Short Film at the Oscars, Don Hertzfeldt’s first entry in his series of existential sci-fi shorts is as heartwarming as it is moving. Too all-encompassing to neatly present a synopsis to you here, we’d recommend going in blind to experience its absurd humor, slightly frightening observations on life, and simple musings that somehow feel earth-shattering.

This is one for those of you attuned to the likes of Marcel the Shell with Shoes On — pondering and curiosity on a grand scale distilled down into something digestible and comforting. You can find the shorts on YouTube for free, as well as on Blu-Ray.

Best animated movies: Beauty and the Beast

25. Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Enchanting in the truest sense of the word, Beauty and the Beast is a spellbinding tale as old as time that boasts some of the best Disney songs ever written. You don’t need us to tell you how good Beauty and the Beast is, though you can judge it by the historical precedent it set.

This was the first animated film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture at the 64th Academy Awards (Losing to Silence of the Lambs) and is arguably the finest film from the Disney Renaissance. Let’s not talk about the Disney Live-action remake — spare the children.

Best animated movies: Batman: Mask of The Phantasm

24. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)

Probably the best Batman movie ever made, Mask of the Phantasm is one of the greatest superhero stories ever told, perfectly capturing the brooding spirit of the Dark Knight’s comic book adventures and the tragedy of Bruce Wayne’s mission. Featuring some of the most stylish, gothic, and elaborate animation ever to grace the silver screen, this is a film that every Bat fan needs to see.

There are plenty of treasures to be found in the DC Animated Universe, but many folks hold this one in particular in extremely high regard because of its maturity and themes. Just as good as any new movies from DC.

Best animated movies: The Incredibles

23. The Incredibles (2004)

The Incredibles is probably as close as we’ll ever get tonally to a true Fantastic Four movie, and the story of the Parr family is widely considered one of the best superhero movies ever made. The film features some truly great action set pieces and well-developed characters, which are delivered with just the right amount of wit and flair. Basically, The Incredibles more than lives up to its name.

What really makes it stand out, though, is the noir slant on things. Stylistically, the sound and the cinematography create a unique world where the bureaucracy of an evolving world mixed with the fantastical blend into a super tasty cocktail.

Best animated movies: Kubo and the two Strings

22. Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

A stunning picture from Studio Laika, one of the few remaining stop-motion feature film studios, Kubo and the Two Strings tells the story of Kubo, a young boy with a magical shamisen who goes on a quest with a monkey and a beetle (it makes sense in context we promise) to stop his tyrannical grandfather, the Moon King from stealing his right eye.

While it was a box-office disappointment for Laika, Kubo is one of the most beautiful films of the last decade, balancing dark and mature themes with some great gags and wonderful world-building. Like most Laika movies, there’s a lot to chew on, and the stop-motion detail is unbeatable. Its voice cast includes the likes of Rooney Mara, and there’s quality in every corner of the frame.

Best animated movies: Zootopia

21. Zootopia (2016)

A buddy cop movie to rival Lethal Weapon, Zootopia partners up a fresh-faced bunny cop, Judy Hopps, with a con artist fox, Nick Wilde, as they try and hunt down a group of abducted predators. Smartly written and wildly entertaining, Zootopia is an important parable about the dangers of prejudice that never loses its sense of fun.

The city of Zootopia is an inspired creation that mixes incredibly imaginative architecture (Specifically designed for all animals who call the city home) and stunning animation to create something truly wonderful — that’s partly why Disney eventually greenlit Zootopia 2!

Best animated movies: How To Train Your Dragon

20. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Loosely based on a book of the same name, How to Train Your Dragon tells the story of Hiccup, a young Viking who, while attempting to become a brave dragon slayer like his father, ends up befriending a rare dragon known as a Night Fury.

Gorgeously animated and featuring some of the most spectacular visuals ever seen in an animated movie, How to Train Your Dragon is a feast for the eyes fit for a dragon. Still, the real reason this film earned a place on this list is the depth of its script.  How to Train Your Dragon is a beautiful and layered story that’ll leave any animal lover in floods of tears. And it’s worth watching all these years later, especially given there are great sequels to watch right after.

Best animated movies: The Lego movie

19. The Lego Movie (2014)

In 2014, The Lego Movie taught us that everything was awesome, which came as a bit of a surprise if we’re honest. Yes, let’s be clear: no one expected The Lego Movie to be any good.

Still, what could have been a cheap commercial for building blocks ended up being one of the most charming, colorful, and creative films of the 2010s. From the textured animation to the heartwarming core idea of everyone being essential to the world in their own way, the energetic ride is worth sitting through that song, especially now that we’re in the 2020s and it’s no longer playing on the radio 24/7. We have the Lego movies ranked if you’re after this kind of thing, specifically.

Best animated movies: The Mitchells vs The Machines

18. The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)

Anarchic, quirky, and wild, The Mitchells vs. the Machines follows the dysfunctional Mitchell family as they go on a road trip from hell to save the Earth from an army of rebellious robots. Uproariously funny and bursting with chaotic energy, this feel-good family film manages to be both a celebration of individuality and a tear-jerking reminder of the power of family.

In terms of animation, the film also serves as a reminder of the medium’s possibilities. The character designs couldn’t be further from the traditional Pixar style, so many animation studios seem to hold as the gold standard. Instead, the designs are deliberately cartoony, and the world brimming with details and character. Honestly, this is one of the best Netflix movies ever, and you should check it out if you haven’t already.

Best animated movies: The Nightmare Before Christmas

17. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

We love stop-motion here at The Digital Fix, and for most of us, The Nightmare Before Christmas was our introduction to the technique, so for that reason alone, it has earned a place on this list. Of course, it helps that Jack Skellington’s quest to steal Christmas from Santa is such a delightfully entertaining and macabre celebration of the two best holidays of the year, Christmas and Halloween.

Despite being a dark comedy, it has a cozy factor that has us returning to it year after year. Boasting some truly unforgettable songs, likable characters, and some of the most creative world-building ever committed to celluloid, Nightmare is a gothic triumph. Although, can we please start giving Henry Selick, who directed it, his due?

Best animated movies: Aladdin

16. Aladdin (1992)

Make way for Prince Ali! Easily one of the best Disney movies, and our editor’s personal favorite, is clearly Aladdin. The songs are great, the voice acting memorable (most notably Robin Williams’ unforgettable performance as the Genie), and it’s got the most exciting story of any film released during the Disney Renaissance.

What really separates Aladdin from the pack, though, is the fact that it’s undeniably funny. Sure, Beauty and the Beast and other Disney films from around the same time had jokes, but they just weren’t as consistently funny as Aladdin, mainly because they lacked Williams’ charm and the film’s real secret weapon Gilbert Gottfried’s Iago.

Best animated movies: The Iron Giant

15. The Iron Giant (1999)

A surprisingly complex and thoughtful examination of friendship, The Iron Giant is an ambitious and magnificent throwback to the sci-fi movies of the ’50s. While it didn’t land with general audiences when it was released in 1999, the film has gathered a cult following in more recent years and has rightly been recognized as one of the finest animated movies of the ’90s.

Some films have a solid standing in childhoods almost universally, is The Iron Giant is one such story, memorable for all the right reasons. Some of the finest kids movies have bittersweet touches, this one included.

Best animated movies: The Grave of the FIreflies

14. Grave Of The Fireflies (1988)

A reminder, if one was needed, that animation does not automatically mean ‘kid’s movie’ Grave of the Fireflies tells the heartbreaking story of Seita and Setsuko, two orphans trying to survive in the aftermath of the Bombing of Kobe during World War II.

Like a number of deeply affecting war movies, Grave of the Fireflies isn’t really the type of film you watch more than once, but it is a must-see. Harrowing and unflinching, the film serves as an indictment of war and the unseen cost of battle; still like the light of the fireflies that illumine the bomb shelter where Seita and Setsuko shelter, the film reminds us through its vivid animation and character work that joy can be found even in the darkness. Be warned, though, you will cry.

Best animated movies: Shrek

13. Shrek (2001)

Who doesn’t love Shrek? Michael Eisner, probably, but that’s another story. A twisted parody of fairy tales, Shrek farts in the face of Disney’s animated dominance and knocks the House of Mouse into the mud. Still, while it’s clearly tweaking Mickey’s nose, it never really comes across as mean-spirited.

Shrek’s deliberate teasing is, in fact, one of its greatest charms. The film’s cheeky and fun, with a great cast of lovable characters, and the animation is as breathtaking now as it was in 2001. Let’s hope we get news on the Shrek 5 release date soon!

Best animated movies: Toy Story

12. Toy Story (1995)

The impact Toy Story had on the animated genre cannot be understated. It’s basically the film that gave us Pixar, one of the biggest animation studios in the world, and it proved to the world that computer-generated animation wasn’t a pipe dream. We can argue about whether that was a good thing on another day because now we’re celebrating Toy Story.

As innovative as it is entertaining, Toy Story was a labor of love, and the effort to bring it to the big screen shows in every frame of the film. The casting is perfect, the story thoughtful, and the animation boundary-pushing. Honestly, few films are perfect, but Toy Story is as close as you can get.

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11. The Prince of Eygpt (1998)

Deliver us from lists of the best animated movies that don’t feature The Prince of Eygpt! A beautiful blend of traditional 2D animation and more modern 3D techniques, The Prince of Eygpt was Dreamwork Studio’s first real attempt to cast Disney from their throne as Hollywood’s top animation studio.

As a result, Prince features some staggering animation, a voice cast with more stars than the night sky, and a score so incredible it’s giving us chills just thinking about it! Yes, you were likely forced to watch it at least once every two years in school, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good.

Best animated movies: Only Yesterday

10. Only Yesterday (1991)

Only Yesterday is (in true Ghibli fashion) a surefire way to feel emotionally moved and left sniffling in your seat. Directed by Isao Takahata, known for other animated classics like Grave of the Fireflies and The Tale of Princess Kaguya, the film is significantly more optimistic than his past titles but still hits you right in the feels.

Only Yesterday is a slice-of-life drama following 27-year-old Taeko Okajima’s holiday in the countryside harvesting safflower. There, she reminisces about her childhood, sifting through forgotten memories as she begins to discover what she wants out of life. The film has garnered universal acclaim for its touching story, sporting the ever-impressive 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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9. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

One of the best Spider-Man movies ever, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse breathes new life into the beloved superhero with its fresh story and distinct comic book art style. It was the first film to feature Miles Morales as the wall-crawler and shows his struggle in coming to terms with his new identity and powers.

After Kingpin accidentally transports several alternate Spider-Men and Spider-Women into Miles’s dimension, the spider team must join up to save the multiverse before it collapses in on itself.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is full of love and reverence for the comics; down to its art style and self-referential humor, it’s a superhero fan’s dream. It also has some of the most creative and dynamically choreographed action scenes seen in animation today. Its sequel was also great (just read our Across the Spider-Verse review), but you can’t beat the OG.

Best animated movies: Chihriho in the Ghibli movie Spirited Away

8. Spirited Away (2001)

Nearly every Studio Ghibli movie is an animated gem. Still, no one can deny Hayao Miyazaki’s runaway success, Spirited Away, stands out as one of the house’s gems. The film is full of imagination, creating one of the most whimsical and detailed fantasy worlds ever seen. Spirited Away is almost impossible not to love.

Its story of a young girl stumbling into a bathhouse in the spirit realm to save her parents is a touching tale of courage that feels monumental while also warming hearts. After witnessing the beautiful art, links to Japanese mythology, and some of the best anime characters in the genre, it’s easy to see why this film has so many awards and is almost always on everyone’s top ten animated movies list.

Best animated movies: Ginger dig a tunnel in Chicken Run

7. Chicken Run (2000)

“Mrs Tweedy, the chickens are revolting!” Sometimes you just want to watch an animation that you know will make you laugh, and thankfully Aardman Animations’ claymation, Chicken Run, never fails to tickle our funny bone.

In fact, Chicken Run is one of the most quotable, well-written, and best examples of dry British humor you can watch. In an effort to avoid being turned into pies, a group of chickens set out to escape from Mr. Tweedy’s farm. Enlisting the help of a mysterious ‘flying’ rooster, they hatch an escape plan and work together to survive.

With messages like the triumph of the underdog and constant references to the wartime “keep calm and carry on” mentality, Chicken Run is not only hilarious but (thanks to its themes) also a clever reflection of British culture. The Chicken Run 2 release date is waddling its way to Netflix, so it is time to get excited, friends!

Best animated movies: Kaneda skids his bike in Akira

6. Akira (1988)

Akira is the film that fully brought Japanese animation to a Western audience, and if you’re an anime fan of any kind, it’s a must-watch. Taking place after World War III, Tokyo (now named Neo-Tokyo) has become a bustling dystopian hub full of high-tech gangs, civil unrest, and brutal violence. The film tells the story of two close friends in a biker gang, Kaneda and Tetsuo. After Tetsuo acquires telekinesis, he sets out on a destructive rampage putting himself and the fate of the world at risk.

Akira is a visual masterpiece, full of meticulous detail that you’ll struggle to see topped even in modern anime today. The art feels alive; it’s unapologetically gory, and perfectly matches the action-packed and savage cyberpunk setting of the film.

Best animated movies: Coraline climbs through a tunnel in Coraline

5. Coraline (2009)

Based on Neil Gaiman’s dark fantasy novella of the same name, Coraline is equal parts charming and disturbing. Since its initial release, the stop-motion animation has gathered international recognition and a massive cult following. It’s viewed by many as the pinnacle of scary movies for kids, thanks to its bleak aesthetics and striking character designs.

Telling the story of a young girl and her journey to an ideal world that turns out to be more nefarious than she could’ve ever imagined, the film feels complex, combining magical fantasy with chilling and morbid themes. Although it may cause a few nightmares, it’s safe to say Coraline is a spooky standout in both story and style.

Best animated movies: Your Name

4. Your Name (2016)

Who doesn’t love a romantic drama about star-crossed lovers and the space-time continuum? Produced by CoMix Wave Films, Your Name is about a high school girl in the countryside who keeps swapping bodies with a teenage boy in Tokyo. As the pair try and figure out what’s happening to them and live days in each other’s lives, the two grow to appreciate one another and form a bond that transcends distance, time, and even the aftermath of tragedy.

Your Name is hands down one of the best romance anime ever made. It is full of classic anime humor and tropes that anyone familiar with Japanese animation will recognize and love. Whether you’re an anime fan or not, Your Name stands as a stunning hand-drawn piece of storytelling that’s a must-watch, especially for couples looking to feel sentimental on date night.

Best animated movies: Song of the Sea wizard

3. Song of the Sea (2014)

Song of the Sea takes Irish folklore and turns it into one of the most charming films to hit the big screen in recent years. Coming from Tomm Moore, the director behind The Secret of Kells and Wolfwalkers, and studio Cartoon Saloon, it’s filled with magic and allegory and is a surefire favorite for any soft-hearted movie lovers out there.

The hand-drawn animation intertwines the exciting mythology of Celtic legends with a simple story about a brother and sister on a mission to return home. It’s a carefully crafted and universally relatable film about grief and coming to terms with things beyond your control.

Best animated movies: Satrapi in Persepolis

2. Persepolis (2007)

This coming-of-age animated drama tells the story of the Iranian revolution in 1978 through the eyes of a young woman. Based on the autobiographical graphic novel of the same name by Marjane Satrapi, the movie gives a thorough look at the history of the politically charged time. As we see Satrapi growing up during the revolution and its aftermath, the film introduces themes that will stay with us for life.

From politics, gender, religion, war, and culture, Persepolis is an immensely impactful war movie filled with meaningful subtext that never feels forced or overwhelming.

Best animated movies: Perfect Blue

1. Perfect Blue (1997)

Here we have an animated psychological thriller that’ll leave you questioning what’s real, what’s a dream, or if everything around you even exists. Perfect Blue was the legendary Satoshi Kon’s directorial debut, and it’s a brilliant feature that leaves you in a perpetual state of fear, constantly looking over your shoulder and jumping when you see your own reflection.

At first glance, the film appears to be about an idol’s transition from singing to acting, but when she starts receiving threats from an obsessed fan, Perfect Blue turns into something much more disturbing. Not many movies can garner as strong emotional reactions as this, and if you are a fan of psychological horror, it’s absolutely unmissable.

That’s your lot for animated movies, with our definitive top choices. If you want more, check out our guides on the best animated series of all time and the best anime series that you can watch right now.