My Top Ten Animated Movies

Nov 12, 2003 (Updated Apr 1, 2012)

The Bottom Line My Top Ten Animated Movies - a list that I hope you'll at least partly agree with!!

I’m old enough to realise that I’m not too old to enjoy cartoons… so here’s my list of favourites! For some of these I’ve had to dredge through matter that’s so old it’s more white than grey… There’s a bit more emphasis on more recent movies but there’s a few golden oldies here too. Disney feature heavily were not responsible for every entry in my top ten. My preference goes towards movies that made me laugh as well as having a good storyline and animation.

So here goes…

At Number Ten…

Toy Story - The first solely computer-generated animation was groundbreaking at its time. Even today the animation looks pretty good even though techniques have been improved massively since then. The storyline was pretty good, and the humour worked quite well, while the endearing characters made it an enjoyable movie rather than simply a demonstration of a new technique.

At Number Nine…

The Aristocats - I know it was slated by some critics, but this was a really nice, sweet story with some great songs and a loveable rogue and dodgy butler as main characters… what more could you possibly want? Well, I liked it, anyway.

At Number Eight…

The Prince of Egypt - This animation about the life of Moses wins major bonus points for originality. I found it particularly interesting how his relationship with Pharaoh (whom he grew up with) was portrayed completely differently, and yet believably to how you would generally imagine it. Some of the scenes, most notably a dream sequence where hieroglyphics come to life, are spectacular.

At Number Seven…

Bambi - Unless you have no heart at all (and yes, I’m talking about you, Carl), you will have loved this one. It’s not as funny as some but is very sweet, and shows that Disney isn’t afraid to tackle difficult subjects occasionally. And there’s a cute little skunk (I always loved Looney Tunes’ “Pepé la pú” character too), which give it bonus points in my book.

Yes, I know. I am strange.

At Number Six…

Toy Story 2 They improved not only the animation but also the humour in this one (though I know a lot of people who prefer the first one). Great parody sequences of Star Wars and other films increase the number of laughs significantly, while the story’s natural progression from the first film and the same endearing characters ensure that this is a great movie for adults and children alike.

Oh, and the Martians are just too cute! (They cry “Oooh, the mystic portal” when about to go through luggage control – my favourite part of the movie!)

At Number Five…

Ice Age – This wasn’t Pixar but the animation was just as good, and to back that up it had a great storyline and some very funny moments. The main characters were ones you could really care about.

At Number Four…

Antz - Although kids will enjoy this one, it is extremely funny for adults. Well-educated adults, anyway – the humour is mainly of a socio-political nature, and requires some understanding of Communism and Marxism– it’s the best animated satire since Animal Farm. Animation not quite as good as some of the other computer-generated jaunts, but it’s still pretty good. Woody Allen voices the star character perfectly.

At Number Three…

Dumbo - The crows, I just love them crows… “I seen a horsefly, I even seen a HOUSEFLY, but I ain’t never seen no ELEPHANT FLY!”. The story is moving and hilarious by turns, and it’s a movie you can watch over and over again. If you don’t like this then you have no soul… like Carl… :-P

At Number Two…

A Bug’s Life - Very funny, great animation, good characters, hilarious out-takes at the end. Makes fun of earlier Pixar movies too (one of the outtakes is the main character saying, “To infinity, and beyond! Sorry, I just couldn’t resist it….”) It’s similar to Antz in some ways, but a far better option for the kiddies.

And at Number One…

Finding Nemo - Pixar’s finest hour. The story of Marlin’s hunt for his son Nemo is a great, the animation fantastic, and it’s one of the funniest films of any type I’ve ever seen. Dory, a forgetful but friendly fish, stands out as one of the most endearing characters in a long time. Just brilliant. But…

I can’t demote The Jungle Book to second place – it’s always been my favourite. The story, animation, jokes etc are great. But what makes this one stand out is the excellent songs and characters – from the loveable bear Baloo, crazy King Louie to the sinister tiger, Sheer Khan… Oh and the vultures are great to!

So it’s a tie for top spot. These two are both so good I would rate them 100 out of 100!

Honourable Mentions

Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Shrek (deserved a place really but couldn’t separate it from Toy Story and it just lost out by about a millionth of a point)

Thanks for reading. If you agree / disagree with my choices, leave a comment and let me know!

Update 30.04.04

Since I wrote this I saw Loony Tunes: Back In Action, which although it did also feature live acting, I think counts as an animated movie since the real stars of the show are the animated ones! Featuring Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, it also has cameo appearances by such characters as Yosemite Sam, Porky Pig, Speedy Gonzales (one of my favourite parts of the film is those two discussing how political correctness is killing off their characters), and a whole host of other WB favourites. It’s great fun and, to me, has more than enough in it to keep both kids and adults happy.

I also realised after posting my top ten that I’d left out an extremely good one that I don’t think all that many people have heard of - Osmosis Jones. Featuring Bill Murray as a very unhygienic zoo worker (the live-action parts in this one are extremely short), this features the voice talents of Chris Rock and David Hyde-Pierce, and a highly original plot. It works on 3 levels – kids, adults, and people with a certain amount of medical knowledge (it’s set inside Murray’s body!). In case you wondered which category I fall into.. it’s all three!!

One final one I doubt you’ll have heard of. It’s a little British affair called “Famous Fred” – doesn’t really qualify as a “movie” since it’s only about half an hour long. But it’s really cute and funny, about a cat who used to lead a sedentary lifestyle by day – but by night he was a famous musical star in the neighbourhood! If you can find it it’s well worth watching. 

** UPDATE ** - you can now read more in my review of Famous Fred

From the comments section

Other movies that I didn’t particularly mention (though that doesn’t necessarily mean I haven’t seen them / don’t like them!) are:

Beauty And The Beast
The Lion King
The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Little Mermaid

Recent Honorable Mentions (2005 or later)

Cars - there's more to life than just racing!
Chicken Little - a fun modernising of an old Russian folk tale
Ice Age 2: The Meltdown - the trouble with ice is, it has a tendency to melt...
The Wild - zoo animals try to make it out in the real wild...
Flushed Away - against all odds, being flushed down to toilet turns out not to be a bad thing...
Happy Feet - tap-dancing penguins!
Surf's Up - surf-boarding penguins!
Ratatouille - there's a rat in my kitchen, what am I going to do?!?!
Kung Fu Panda - a fun animation about kung fu and noodles!
WALL-E - PIXAR's 2008 release is even better than Finding Nemo!!
Space Chimps - particularly if you're a sci-fi fan!
Igor - Frankenstein is spoofed in this enjoyable animated movie
Bolt - A TV superdog doesn't realise it's not real...
Monsters vs Aliens - just what it says on the tin!  Highly enjoyable.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs - the third Ice Age film turned out to be extremely good!
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - a downpour of burgers in this funny, entertaining movie by Sony Pictures Animation
UP - well, what can I say about PIXAR's tenth movie?  It's absolutely magnificent in every way!
Dinosaur - sort of a Jungle Book for dinos!  The script is too generic but it's relatively well developed and even now looks amazing.
The Princess and the Frog - Disney go back to their roots with spectacular results - Randy Newman's fantastic jazz soundtrack blends perfectly with some great characters and loads of humour.  A real winner!
How to Train Your Dragon - Dreamworks do it again with a thoroughly entertaining tale that, despite stereotypical characters, leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside and will have you smiling most of the way through.
Despicable Me - an enjoyable story of a master criminal's attempts to take over the world being thwarted by his growing attachment to a trio of orphans he adopted to help him bypass his enemy's defence system.
Duck Tales: The Movie - not as good as the series, but still fun as Scrooge, nephews and niece find a lamp with a genie in it...
The Three Musketeers - Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy star in an insane take on the Alexandre Dumas' book
Battle for Terra - an under-rated little gem, like Avatar but without many of the cliches...


I must also give a special mention to Spirited Away - it was the first anime I saw and it's going to be a long time after writing this before I might be able to think about doing an anime top ten, and it is animation after all. It's also wonderfully surreal, and just generally wonderful. Almost as good - though not quite - is My Neighbour Totoro, which I defy anyone to watch without being utterly charmed by.


Also I should mention Claymation - see my essay on it with links to all the Aardman films (Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run, Curse of the Were-Rabbit) here.

Thanks as always for reading / rating!


My Top Ten Lists:

My Top Ten Computer-Animated Movies

The Top Ten Movies of All Time
Romantic Comedies
Science Fiction Films
Top Ten Star Trek Movies
Top Ten Science Fiction Series
Top Ten Spoof Movies
Top Ten Musicals
Best Lines in Film History


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