The Best '80s Cartoon Movies

List Rules
Vote up your favorite animated films that were released in the 1980s

The 1980s brought a ton of explosive, bright, fun cartoon movies to the silver screen. Classic 1980 animated movies like Disney's The Little Mermaid and Oliver & Company delivered amazing musical hits, while All Dogs Go to Heaven and The Land Before Time kickstarted a generation full of kids who would become forever nostalgic for these heart-wrenching '80s cartoon movies. 

One man - who's films are included in this list -  has left an indelible imprint on the history of animated films: Hayao Miyazaki. The visionary Japanese animator and director produced some of his most well-regarded work in the 1980s, including such titles as My Neighbor Totoro, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, and Kiki’s Delivery Service. Also in this list of the best ‘80s cartoon movies, you’ll find Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the genre-bending neo-noir caper that blends live action and animation, with cartoon characters interacting directly with humans.

Vote up the best old '80s cartoon movies, and be sure check back to see how your favorites get ranked.

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  • The Return of the King
    26
    John Huston, Casey Kasem, Roddy McDowall
    136 votes
    • Released: 1980
    • Directed by: Arthur Rankin, Jr., Jules Bass
    The Return of the King, is a 1980 animated musical television film created by Rankin/Bass and Topcraft. The film is an adaptation of the The Return of the King, the third book in The Lord of the ...more
  • Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland
    27
    Mickey Rooney, Rene Auberjonois, Michael Bell
    147 votes
    • Released: 1989
    • Directed by: Masami Hata, William Hurtz
    Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, known in Japan as simply Nemo, is a 1989 Japanese/American animated feature film directed by Masami Hata and William T. Hurtz. Loosely based on the comic strip ...more
  • The Snowman
    28
    David Bowie, Raymond Briggs, Mel Smith
    129 votes
    • Released: 1982
    • Directed by: Dianne Jackson
    The Snowman is a 1982 short animated film adaptation of the children's book by English author Raymond Brigg.
  • The Flight of Dragons
    29
    James Earl Jones, John Ritter, Harry Morgan
    135 votes
    • Released: 1983
    • Directed by: Arthur Rankin, Jr., Katsuhisa Yamada, Jules Bass, Fumihiko Takayama
    The Flight of Dragons is a 1982 animated film produced by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin, Jr. and loosely combining the speculative natural history book of the same name by Peter Dickinson with the ...more
  • The Secret of the Sword
    30
    Alan Oppenheimer, Lou Scheimer, George DiCenzo
    115 votes
    • Released: 1985
    • Directed by: Bill Reed, Marsh Lamore, Lou Kachivas, Ed Friedman
    He-Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword is a 1985 American animated feature film produced by Filmation. Although released before the series She-Ra: Princess of Power began, the film was a ...more
  • Daffy Duck's Quackbusters
    31
    Mel Blanc, Julie Bennett, Roy Firestone
    112 votes
    • Released: 1988
    • Directed by: Greg Ford, Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, Terry Lennon, Robert McKimson
    In this animated feature, wealthy J.P. Cubish has promised his fortune to anyone who can make him laugh. After Cubish dies, Daffy Duck, who won the job of personal court jester, lands the ...more

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  • Fire and Ice
    32
    Randy Norton, Cynthia Leake, Steve Sandor
    104 votes
    • Released: 1983
    • Directed by: Ralph Bakshi
    This fantastical animated movie by cult filmmaker Ralph Bakshi finds the villainous Nekron and his mother, Queen Juliana, attacking the human race from their frigid fortress. Creating mass ...more

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  • Rock & Rule
    33
    Catherine O'Hara, Don Francks, Susan Roman
    95 votes
    • Released: 1983
    • Directed by: Clive A. Smith
    Rock & Rule is a 1983 Canadian animated musical science fiction fantasy film from the animation studio Nelvana. It was produced and directed by the company's founders, Michael Hirsh, Patrick Loubert, ...more
  • Luxo Jr.
    34
    89 votes
    Luxo Jr. is a 1986 American computer-animated short film produced by Pixar and directed by John Lasseter. The two-minute short film revolves around one larger and one smaller desk lamp. The larger ...more
  • Fist of the North Star
    35
    Jōji Yanami, Toshio Furukawa, Akira Kamiya
    101 votes
    • Released: 1986
    • Directed by: Toyoo Ashida
    Fist of the North Star is a 1986 Japanese animated film adaptation of the manga series of the same name. It was produced by Toei Animation, the same studio who worked on the TV series that was airing ...more

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  • Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone
    36
    Hiromi Tsuru, Toshio Furukawa, Akira Kamiya
    110 votes
    • Released: 1989
    • Directed by: Daisuke Nishio
    Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone, originally released theatrically in Japan as simply Dragon Ball Z and later as Dragon Ball Z: Return My Gohan!! for its Japanese VHS and Laserdisc release, is the fourth ...more
  • Asterix in Britain
    37
    Roger Carel, Pierre Tornade, Graham Bushnell
    78 votes
    • Released: 1986
    • Directed by: Pino Van Lamsweerde
    In this animated feature, Roman troops are storming through Europe in the first century B.C., and just a sliver of British soil remains free of Caesar's grasp. After learning of the British plight, ...more

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  • Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure
    38
    Jōji Yanami, Hiromi Tsuru, Toshio Furukawa
    96 votes
    • Released: 1988
    • Directed by: Kazuhisa Takenouchi, Minoru Okazaki
    Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure, is the third Dragon Ball feature film, originally released in Japan on July 9, 1988 at the "Toei Manga Matsuri" film festival as part of a quadruple feature along ...more
  • Wicked City
    39
    Takeshi Aono, Ichirō Nagai, Toshiko Fujita
    81 votes
    • Released: 1987
    • Directed by: Yoshiaki Kawajiri
    Wicked City is a 1987 Japanese OVA horror neo-noir film directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, based on Hideyuki Kikuchi's novel of the same name. The story takes place towards the end of the 20th century ...more
  • Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies
    40
    Jōji Yanami, Hiromi Tsuru, Naoko Watanabe
    90 votes
    • Released: 1986
    • Directed by: Daisuke Nishio
    Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies, known in Japan as Dragon Ball during its initial theatrical release and later retitled Dragon Ball: Shenron no Densetsu for its home video release, is the ...more
  • Project A-ko
    41
    Hirofumi Banba, Tessho Genda, Daisuke Gori
    79 votes
    • Released: 1986
    • Directed by: Katsuhiko Nishijima
    In the wake of a massive asteroid impact, two new students arrive for their first day at Graviton Academy: red-headed A-ko (Miki Itô), a young girl with psychokinetic abilities, who is skilled in the ...more

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  • Dragon Ball: Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle
    42
    Jōji Yanami, Hiromi Tsuru, Naoko Watanabe
    88 votes
    • Released: 1987
    • Directed by: Daisuke Nishio
    Dragon Ball: Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle is the second animated feature film based on the Dragon Ball manga by Akira Toriyama. It was originally released in Japan on July 18, 1987 at the ...more
  • American Pop
    43
    Ron Thompson, Mews Small, Jerry Holland
    83 votes
    • Released: 1981
    • Directed by: Ralph Bakshi
    This animated trek across the musical landscape of the 20th century begins with young immigrant Zalmie (Jeffrey Lippa) arriving in New York City. He's addicted to show business, but an accident ruins ...more

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  • Hey Good Lookin'
    44
    Philip Michael Thomas, David Proval, Richard Romanus
    69 votes
    • Released: 1982
    • Directed by: Ralph Bakshi
    Hey Good Lookin '​ is a 1982 American animated comedy film written, directed, and produced by Ralph Bakshi. The film takes place in Brooklyn, New York, during the 1950s and focuses on Vinnie, the ...more

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  • Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise
    45
    Hirotaka Suzuoki, Bin Shimada, Kazuyuki Sogabe
    72 votes
    • Released: 1987
    • Directed by: Hiroyuki Yamaga
    Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise is a 1987 Japanese animated science fiction film and the first film produced by Gainax and Bandai Visual. It was directed and written by Hiroyuki Yamaga. ...more
  • Time Masters
    46
    Alain Cuny, Yves Brainville, Sady Rebbot
    67 votes
    • Released: 1982
    • Directed by: René Laloux, Tibor Hernádi
    Les Maîtres du temps is a 1982 Franco-Hungarian animated science fiction feature film directed by René Laloux and designed by Mœbius. It is based on the 1958 science fiction novel L'Orphelin de ...more