Animation Domination Part 3: Top 25 Best Animated Feature Films of all time.
Welcome to part 3 of Animation Domination. The final part of our three part tribute to animation is ending with a BANG! Not a whimper.
25. The Princess & The Frog. 2009.
Most famous for being the first animated film with a Black princess as well as the last hand drawn animated Disney feature film, The Princess and The Frog was both the end of an era and a beginning of a new one for princesses representing all colors of the rainbow. Boasting a talented cast such as Anika Noni Rose, Keith David, Terrence Howard, Bruno Campos and Jenifer Lewis, The Princess and The Frog was a lovely swan song for an era we all still cherish to this day.
24. Big Hero 6. 2014.
At first glance it’s a typical superhero movie that Hollywood seems not to be able to get enough of, but it’s really so much deeper than that. It’s a story ultimately about loss and friendship. Filled with humor and heart, Big Hero 6 is a classic the making. The film won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature and got its own television follow up series simply called Big Hero 6: The Series.
23. The Jungle Book. 1967.
The classic Jungle Book still charms and delights all these years later. The story of jungle boy Mowgli, the big cuddly bear Baloo and others is a funny and exciting adventure with some memorable and iconic songs and indelible characters. Who didn’t grow up singing “the bare necessities” a thousand times a day?
22. Lady and The Tramp. 1955.
This classic 50’s tale of two dogs, one a classy, elegant, house dog named lady and the other a mangy, sly stray dog named Tramp was and still is a romance for the ages. It was basically Romeo and Juliet without the murder\suicide thing. It’s most notable for two reasons: It was the first animated film to be filmed in the Cinemascope widescreen film process, and second, we all remember the iconic spaghetti scene that cinched this film’s status as an animated masterpiece.
21. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. 1999.
By 1999, South Park had become a sensation across the world. Everyone fell in love with the world’s most foul mouthed and crass little F&^%#!ers and their little town with the most incompetent adults you ever did see. This popularity led to 1999’s Bigger, Longer & Uncut, bringing Kyle, Stan, Kenny, Cartman and all of South Park to the big screen. The film was a box office and critical success, and became one of the funniest films animated or live action ever made.
20. Beavis and Butthead Do America. 1996.
After four seasons with these two idiots, America was going to finally get Beavis and Butthead on the big screen. The film is one of the rare examples of a very successful translation of a television series to a feature film. The film is non stop laughs with surprisingly a well fleshed out story, it’s no wonder it became one of the greatest movies of the 1990’s.
19. Spiderman: Into The Spiderverse. 2018.
Into the Spiderverse told the story of Mile Morales, a totally new type of Spiderman, and gave us a super unique type of animated film that was literally a comic book come to life. The movie took its cues from the MCU by giving us a massive crossover of multiple Spidermen\Spiderwomen across the multiverse, as well as provide plenty of humor, heart, and a rich coming of age story. But, without a doubt it’s the incredible animation style that gives the film it’s special quality: Straight ripped out of a comic book panel mixed with trippy dream like visual effects.
18. Monsters Inc. 2001.
We all know and love the story of Sully, Mike and Boo, Monsters Inc provided many laughs and a whole bunch of heart, and I can’t remember a time that I didn’t know and love this movie. With incredible voice talents of Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Jennifer Tilly, Steve Buschemi and James Coburn, this film is a class act family film all the way.
17. Joseph: King of Dreams. 2000.
A great film adaptation of the classic bible story of Joseph from the Book of Genesis and how he went from a big dream having farm boy to the king of Egypt. I have fond memories as a kid watching this film with my family and it’s powerful message, amazing voice acting, incredible storytelling and rich animation still holds up today.
16. The Prince of Egypt. 1998.
Another truly iconic and fantastic film adaptation of a classic bible story of Moses, who we all know famously parted the red sea and got his people freedom. The Prince of Egypt is not only iconic because of the great voice performances, powerful story & message, and its rich animation, but the music was on a whole other level. Its most famous song “When You Believe” by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston winning the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
15. Bambi. 1942.
Bambi’s one of those iconic films that is well known for reducing us to tears, and we all know the part that does it. But it’s also just a wonderfully whimsical, sweet, gripping, funny, and entertaining film that ages like fine wine. One of the earliest Disney films that would influence many others throughout the decades.
14. My Neighbor Tortoro. 1988.
This is a film that has been embedded into my brain ever since I saw it as a small child. I barely remember much of it but I distinctly remember the bus stop scene in the rain where Satsuki sees Totoro for the first time. The film is pure magic from beginning to end, stirring up feelings of wonder and representing the mysteries of the world in the eyes of children. The film has become a true cultural icon and the character of Totoro is as famous to Japanese children as Winnie The Pooh is to British ones and Mickey Mouse is to American ones. What the film lacks in a real plot it more than makes up for in indelible and lovable characters, amazing hand drawn Japanese anime style and deep, rich meaning and heart.
13. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? 1988.
Loosely based off of the 1981 novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? This film would create a whole new type of animated style of film: The blending of animation and live action. Now, there had been some super early Disney films that have done this before such as 1964’s Mary Poppins and 1971’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks, but never had it been done as successfully and expertly before Roger Rabbit, that also perfected (for that time) the technology to make the animation and live action blending to look seamless and natural. Roger Rabbit is a great mystery\ noir film with great comedy and it holds up spectacularly.
12. Up. 2009.
This simple little story about a little old man, a perky little boy and a flying house has become a landmark for Pixar films and animation in general since. The story is surprisingly touching and heartwarming, and the characters are lovable and funny. The film would go on to get nominated for five Academy Awards and win two for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score.
11. Mulan. 1998.
Mulan is a 90’s gem and one of the greatest princess stories ever told. The film gave us a great look into Chinese culture, and that authenticity is what makes it a classic. The film also boasts great messages like female empowerment, equality and the importance of family. The incredible voice talents include Ming Na Wen, BD Wong, James Hong, Harvey Fierstein and Eddie Murphy.
10. Aladdin. 1992.
Aladdin 1992 is truly a magical ride from beginning to end. This is the movie of many 90’s babies’ childhoods and deservedly so because it’s just flat out entertaining and special. The musical numbers we all know by heart and the performances were what made the film sing, especially the iconic performance of the late great Robin Williams as The Genie. We sadly lost both Robin and Gilbert Gottfried since the film, but we’ll always have their iconic work in the Aladdin franchise to remember them by.
9. Shrek. 2001.
We all know the name. We all know the green skin and pointy, oddly shaped ears. Shrek was a complete original story set in a world with numerous iconic fairytales and yet his story has become one of the most beloved of them all. A classic and hilarious movie with an iconic cast consisting of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow, only enhances the strength of the smart script and relatable story. This is a movie that is truly made for all ages, but a lot of elements in the film such as slightly strong language and witty innuendo was purely made to delight the adults.
8. The Little Mermaid. 1989.
The Little Mermaid has been enchanting audiences for years and it doesn’t have any sign of slowing down. With a great story, lovable characters, memorable songs and a beautiful hand drawn animation style, The Little Mermaid is a true classic that will always have that special something to make the audience fall in love with it time and time again.
7. The Iron Giant. 1999.
This amazing film was the directorial debut of Brad Bird… yeah, that Brad Bird. Based on the 1968 novel The Iron Man by Ted Hughes, The Iron Giant tells a story of a giant robotic creature from outer space and a curious little boy. Believe it or not, the film underperformed at the box office back in ’99, grossing only $31.3 million worldwide against a $50 million dollar budget. However, over the years it has gained cult status, and considered by many to be a true modern day animated classic.
6. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. 1937.
The one that started it all. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs was the first official full length animated feature film ever made as well as the very first Disney animated film ever made. There had been shorts that were sort of tests for animation, but, it was this baby that took it and ran with it to the point of uber success and acclaim. It’s a classic fairytale story based off of the famous Grimm fairytale published in 1812. This version, however, is much less dark and far more magical and whimsical. Snow White really is the fairest of them all.
5. Batman: Mask of The Phantasm. 1993.
Mask of the Phantasm is in my opinion a top 5 Batman movie of all time, and obviously because it’s here, I consider it one of the greatest animated films ever made, especially as a film adaptation of a tv series. The movie is so rich with drama, romance, humor and incredible action, like the iconic chase scene, that is perfectly in line with the tone and style of Batman: The Animated Series. The Animated Series was always so much more about the character of Bruce Wayne and Batman than just the typical superhero fare and the movie does an excellent job of enhancing that with an origin story as well as a strong romantic story drive. Bruce Wayne is given impressive amounts of depth here, as well as the love of his life Andrea Beaumont. The mystery is tight and the animation is top notch. Batman may have never been repped better.
4. The Incredibles. 2004.
Brad Bird struck gold again with 2004’s masterpiece, The Incredibles. The story of a superhero family whose problems aren’t so super. The film is so widely beloved that everyone was agonizing over the wait for the sequel that was promised since the film came out. The best thing about the film is how it was proof positive that animation was NOT just for the kiddies. Plenty of adults can identify with and laugh at Bob and Helen’s issues as spouses and parents. Action packed, hilariously funny and full of heart, The Incredibles are just… well, incredible.
3. Toy Story. 1995.
Hard to get any better than Toy Story. A truly iconic film that started the whole Pixar empire. The first full computer animated film, and perhaps the very best of them all. With a group of iconic characters voiced by such legends as Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, John Ratzenberger, Annie Potts, Wallace Shawn and Jim Varney, Toy Story will always be a king in the world of animated classics.
2. Beauty and The Beast. 1991.
Truly one of the greatest love stories ever told. The iconic ballroom scene will never be topped when it comes to oozing romance scenes. A film with a deep message about beauty being in the eye of the beholder, the film still resonates today. With plenty of iconic songs, memorable characters, funny and sweet moments, and a love story for the ages, Beauty and The Beast is a mighty beast that will never be slain.
- The Lion King. 1994.
For me, there was no other choice for number 1 than this all time classic. The Lion King was perfection in so many ways: The iconic circle of life opening, the beauty of the animation, especially of Africa, the characters we all know and love, the deep and moving story and definitely Hakuna Matata. This is a film that will not ever be surpass. I’m sure the 2019 version was good too, but, there’s no matching or topping a masterpiece.
Thanks for taking this journey with me down cartoon lane. Parts 1 and 2 are also available:
Animation Domination Part 1: Top 10 Greatest Animated Sitcoms Ever Made.
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