The Top 10 Animated Films Ever Made

When you start naming “Top 10” anythings, you’re bound to ruffle some feathers. Which I think is cool. I love this kind of conversation, so feel free to leave comments. Believe me, it was hard for me to not just list every Pixar film that’s come down the line because those guys can do no wrong (except Cars…I’m just not redneck enough to get into a movie about Nascar).

And this is probably one of the only “Top Animated Films” lists that won’t include Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or Bambi. I’m sorry. Just because something is old, or “the first”, it doesn’t make it good. Or interesting. In my less-than-humble opinion, Snow White is one of the most overrated, boring films to come down the pike. But Ed, you might say, It was a technological breakthrough in animation. It was the first of its kind. Yea, well, just because something is different doesn’t mean its good. Just ask Paris Hilton’s parents.

So here we go. The best in animation, according to me….

10. Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
 There is a moment in this film that always blows me away. Jack Skellington has gone off to become the new and improved Santa Claus and his #1 fan Sally is home lamenting because she knows something’s not right. While Sally is singing her ballad she steps through a gate and swings her head to the side. That moment right there is so smooth…so perfect…it’s almost hard for me not to believe it’s not a person in a big Sally costume. And there’s also the Oogie Boogie song.

9. Flushed Away
 I’ll admit it. I haven’t liked anything else this guy has done. And yes, that includes the Wallace and Gromit series. So my expectations for this were pretty low. Not only did this movie blow me out of the water, it also made Kate Winslet more attractive. The fun action peppered with jabs at America (and the UK) cracked me up. This movie probably would have ranked higher on my list if the characters didn’t look so much like those Wallace and Gromit idiots.

8. The Prince of Egypt
 Like The Nightmare Before Christmas, there’s one scene in this film that sticks in my head, but with a much larger emotional attachment. It comes at the climax of the film when Moses parts the Red Sea. That whole scene…the animation as the water rushes into the sky, the swelling music…and then the eerie silence…it gives me chills just writing about it and gets my heart beating like Ed Grimley in the presence of Pat Sajak.

7. The Emperor’s New Groove
 How is this cartoon not more popular than it is? Hey, I’m not the biggest David Spade fan either, but when he’s on, he’s on. And in this film, he’s on. Emporer’s plays like a Disney film done by the kids of the filmmakers: sick and tired of the schmaltz and cheese, they’re gonna show us that cartoons can be sarcastic, too. A cartoon that knows it’s a cartoon and says What the heck. Let’s just have fun with this one.

6. The Simpsons Movie
 Admit it. You were just as shocked into hysterical laughter as I was to see Bart’s junk.

5. Shrek
 I can still remember thinking to myself Cartoons aren’t supposed to be this irreverently funny while I was in the theater holding my side trying to stop laughing so I could hear the next joke. Like The Emporer’s New Groove, Shrek takes the world of children’s stories and pokes it in the eye as it dumps ice cubes down its shirt.

4. The Incredibles
 Are you kidding me? Superheroes more believable than their Marvel or DC cousins, an amazingly animated landscape, harrowing action (it’s hard to beat that jungle chase scene), all delicately painted around a couple struggling to keep their marriage together…wow. Well done, Pixar.

3. Aladdin
 Just the fact that the animators were able to keep up with Robin Williams’ mile-a-minute freestyle is a feat in itself. Disney loves putting our heroes in a spot where you think There’s no way they can get out of this. But when I watched this, I remember saying OK really, there’s no way he’s getting out of this one. One of these good guys is gonna die.

2. Finding Nemo
 Man, when things come together at Pixar, they really come together, don’t they? Everything from the casting down to the most intricate detail in a random air bubble was spot on. This is one of the few films you could pop into your player, press pause at any spot and the image frozen on your screen will be the very essence of art. You’d just look at it and say Wow. That’s beautiful. And hey, any film that is clever enough to incorporate the old Monty Python “Bruce” sketch gets extra credit.

1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
 Only Steven Spielberg would be able to get Warner Brothers and Disney to shake hands and agree to let their greatest cartoon characters appear side by side in the name of good moviemaking. Considering this was done before the computer animation technology we have today, it’s amazing how they got this film to work.
Yes, those are actual guns and beer bottles floating around in the air, not CG recreations, and the way they orchestrated the chaos in the Ink & Paint Club is beyond me. Roger Rabbit is a movie that loves movies and is a love letter to an era that may be gone but won’t soon be forgotten.

Yay for cartoons.



  1. I just have to say I like the Wallace and Gromit movies a whole lot more than you do–I think they’re genius–and I also think you’ve left out the greatest of the Disney animated movies, “Pinocchio.” It is a beautiful, emotionally rich film that stands the test of time. But I certainly agree with a lot of the films you’ve listed, especially “The Incredibles” and “Nightmare Before Christmas.”

  2. Ok, a side note about Cars…it’s not about Nascar, it’s about the Piston Cup. It’s my son’s favorite movie. In fact, he’s having a Cars birthday on the 9th.
    Aside from that my favorite animated movie of all time is “The Little Mermaid”. My second favs are “Toy Story” and “The Lion King”. These two are probably because I used to watch them with my 2 oldest boys who are now 14 and (almost) 12, so they have deeper meaning for me. My 14 year old learned about grief watching “The Lion King”. Plus, the music is terrific. Just my 2 cents!

  3. Hey, good effort making a list and all. It’s bound to get people on you. So I’ll jump on myself and just say Wall-E and Kung Fu Panda are better than half the movies you’ve got on here, and I’m just going by what came out this summer. The way I figure, any list that has Prince of Egypt and Flushed Away on it needs a little abuse. Good post!

  4. This should probably be “The Top 10 American Animated Films Ever Made” because in my opinion Akira, The Triplets of Belleville, Paprika, Tekkon Kinkreet, and My Neighbor Totoro, all go above Prince of Egypt, Flushed Away, and Finding Nemo at least.
    I’m not trying to be snobby – all these films had wide release in the US. It’s cool if you don’t like anime, but any list that is “The Top 10 Ever” should maybe take a little more world-wide stance.

  5. Eh, I’m not sold. I liked the soundtrack to “Triplets” better than the film itself, and I wasn’t impressed with “Akira” or “Totoro”. But that’s what’s fun about these lists. At the end of the day, it’s all just a matter of opinion. My list stands! :)

  6. so yeah – um…. no. flushed away? Prince of Egypt? hell no. i agree with the Lion King post – SO MUCH BETTER. or pocahontas, mulan, anything but the previos two posts i mentioned. disney isn’t the only animated movie producers and i dislike their generalized, ‘women always need to be rescued’ but they have awesome movies. and the few that have heroic women: pocahontas, mulan, should be mentioned. go disney!!

  7. I still think the Nightmare before Christmas should be in the top 5, if your list is in order of popularity!
    I say this for Jack Skellington is a legend and has both adults and kids as fans, which is unusual for an animation made so long ago, but still making its rounds…and has merchandise and action figures after it!

  8. These are so subjective it makes it almost impossible to rank–do you rate the story–the characters, the voices, the graphics, –having worked in video and tv production years ago I know for me a good song goes a long way in making the images I am watching more interesting and appealing—so much computer stuff now makes me marvel at the way it used to be done–and kids are overwhelmed by the pace of most animated stuff now—seems overdone to me and really hurts the need for a good storyline….

  9. “Cloudy with a chance of meatballs” rocked and “Up” was rather good also. I would probably have to include at least one of these to your list.

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