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The Best '80s Cartoon Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated November 21, 2019 8k votes 1.1k voters 45.4k views 46 items

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. Classics like 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 '80s cartoon movies, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section! 
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list ordered by
1
The Little Mermaid is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll

Released: 1989

Directed by: Ron Clements, John Musker

The Little Mermaid is a 1989 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on the Danish fairy tale by Hans ...more

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#18 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #98 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
The Secret of NIMH is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Shannen Doherty, Wil Wheaton, Derek Jacobi

Released: 1982

Directed by: Don Bluth

The Secret of NIMH is a 1982 American animated fantasy adventure drama film directed by Don Bluth in his directorial debut. It is an adaptation of Robert C. O'Brien's 1971 children's novel Mrs. ...more

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‘The Secret of NIMH’ Scarred A Generation Of Children (And Has An Even Weirder Backstory) #93 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #188 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

3
The Land Before Time is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Diana Ross, Frank Welker, Judith Barsi

Released: 1988

Directed by: Don Bluth

The Land Before Time is a 1988 American-Irish animated adventure drama film directed and co-produced by Don Bluth and executive produced by Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy, and ...more

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#30 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #120 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

4
The Fox and the Hound is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Kurt Russell, Mickey Rooney, Corey Feldman

Released: 1981

Directed by: Richard Rich, Art Stevens, Ted Berman

he Fox and the Hound is a 1981 American animated drama film based on the Daniel P. Mannix novel of the same name, produced by Walt Disney Productions and released in the United States on July ...more

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#46 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #122 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

5
Who Framed Roger Rabbit ... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Kathleen Turner, Christopher Lloyd, Bob Hoskins

Released: 1988

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a 1988 American live-action/animated fantasy-comedy film directed by Robert Zemeckis. The screenplay by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman is based on Gary K. Wolf's ...more

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The Best 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Quotes Aren't Bad They're Just  Drawn That Way #28 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
An American Tail is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Christopher Plummer, Madeline Kahn, Dom DeLuise

Released: 1986

Directed by: Don Bluth

An American Tail is a 1986 American animated musical adventure film directed by Don Bluth and produced by Sullivan Bluth Studios and Amblin Entertainment. The film tells the story of Fievel ...more

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#138 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #74 of 292 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

7
All Dogs Go to Heaven is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Loni Anderson, Dom DeLuise, Vic Tayback

Released: 1989

Directed by: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, Dan Kuenster

All Dogs Go to Heaven is a 1989 American–Irish animated musical adventure comedy film directed and produced by Don Bluth and released by United Artists and Goldcrest Films. The film tells the ...more

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#27 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #146 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #114 of 292 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

8
Oliver & Company is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Billy Joel, Bette Midler, Cheech Marin

Released: 1988

Directed by: George Scribner

Oliver & Company is a 1988 American animated musical buddy comedy-drama film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released on November 18, 1988 by Walt Disney Pictures. The 27th ...more

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#90 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #205 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books

9
My Neighbor Totoro is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Noriko Hidaka, Ikue Ōtani, Sumi Shimamoto

Released: 1988

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

My Neighbor Totoro is a 1988 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli. The film – which stars the voice actors Noriko Hidaka, Chika ...more

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There's Totally a My Neighbor Totoro Sequel, But You Can Only See It At The Ghibli Museum #327 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #185 of 410 The Best Rainy Day Movies

10
The Great Mouse Detectiv... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Vincent Price, Basil Rathbone, Frank Welker

Released: 1986

Directed by: David Michener, Burny Mattinson, Ron Clements, John Musker

The Great Mouse Detective is a 1986 American animated mystery film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation, originally released to movie theaters on July 2, 1986 by Walt Disney Pictures. The ...more

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#109 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #62 of 110 The Best Disney Animated Movies of All Time

11
The Last Unicorn is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Jeff Bridges, Christopher Lee, Angela Lansbury

Released: 1982

Directed by: Arthur Rankin, Jr., Jules Bass

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial The Last Unicorn is a 1982 American animated fantasy film directed and produced by Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass. It was produced by Rankin/Bass for ITC Entertainment, and animated by ...more

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'The Last Unicorn' Is A Beloved Cartoon More Disturbing And Sad Than We Remember #368 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #55 of 88 Animated Movies That Make You Cry the Most

12
The Brave Little Toaster... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Joe Ranft

Released: 1987

Directed by: Jerry Rees

The Brave Little Toaster is a 1987 American animated musical comedy-adventure film adapted from the 1980 novel, The Brave Little Toaster: A Bedtime Story For Small Appliances by Thomas Disch. It ...more

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Why 'The Brave Little Toaster' Was The Scariest Horror Movie You Never Realized Was A Horror Movie #317 of 717 The Best Cartoons of All Time #215 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

13
Mickey's Christmas Carol... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Gene Kelly, Ethel Merman, Victor Borge

Released: 1983

Directed by: Burny Mattinson

Mickey's Christmas Carol is a 1983 American animated fantasy short film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and released by Buena Vista Distribution. It was directed and produced by Burny ...more
14
Kiki's Delivery Service ... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Kikuko Inoue, Kappei Yamaguchi, Akio Ōtsuka

Released: 1989

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

Kiki's Delivery Service is a 1989 Japanese animated fantasy film produced by Studio Ghibli. It was written, produced and directed by Hayao Miyazaki as an adaptation of the 1985 novel of the same ...more

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#95 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #275 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

15
The Black Cauldron is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
John Hurt, John Huston, Nigel Hawthorne

Released: 1985

Directed by: Richard Rich, Ted Berman

The Black Cauldron is a 1985 American animated dark fantasy adventure film released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 25th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics, it is loosely based on the first ...more

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#401 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #64 of 110 The Best Disney Animated Movies of All Time

16
Castle in the Sky is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Megumi Hayashibara, Mayumi Tanaka, Ichirō Nagai

Released: 1986

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

Castle in the Sky is a 1986 Japanese animated adventure film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and is also the first film produced and released by Studio Ghibli. The film was distributed by ...more

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#94 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #312 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #294 of 410 The Best Rainy Day Movies

17
Akira is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Takeshi Kusao, Mami Koyama, Tesshō Genda

Released: 1988

Directed by: Katsuhiro Otomo

Akira is a 1988 Japanese animated cyberpunk action film directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, written by Otomo and Izo Hashimoto, and featuring the voices of Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama, and ...more

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The Best Akira Quotes #119 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #287 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

18
The Transformers: The Mo... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Movieguy36 added Orson Welles, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy

Released: 1986

Directed by: Nelson Shin

The Transformers: The Movie is a 1986 animated feature film based on the animated TV series by the same name. It was released in North America on August 8, 1986 and in the UK on December 5, ...more

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#52 of 174 The Greatest Comic Book Movies of All Time #26 of 52 Which Nerd Favorite Has The Most Annoying Fans?

19
Nausicaä of the Val... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Jōji Yanami, Yoshiko Sakakibara, Ichirō Nagai

Released: 1984

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is a 1984 Japanese animated post-apocalyptic fantasy adventure film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, based on his own 1982 manga of the same name. ...more

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#208 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #354 of 851 The Best Anime Series of All Time #578 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

20
The Care Bears Movie is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Mickey Rooney, Melleny Brown, Cree Summer

Released: 1985

Directed by: Arna Selznick

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial The Care Bears Movie is a 1985 Canadian animated fantasy film, the second feature production from the Toronto animation studio Nelvana. One of the first films based directly on a toy line, it ...more

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#146 of 318 The Best Movies for Kids #10 of 12 Movies That Weren't Supposed To Be Scary But Terrified You As A Kid

21
Vampire Hunter D is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Kaneto Shiozawa, Ichirō Nagai, Kazuyuki Sogabe

Released: 1985

Directed by: Toyoo Ashida

Vampire Hunter D is a 1985 Japanese horror/science fiction OVA film produced by Ashi Productions, in association with Epic/Sony Records, CBS Sony Group Inc. and Movic. The screenplay is based on ...more

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#489 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #26 of 1,083 The Best Anime Movies of All Time

22
Heavy Metal is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
John Candy, Harold Ramis, Eugene Levy

Released: 1981

Directed by: Gerald Potterton

Heavy Metal is a 1981 Canadian adult animated anthology science fiction fantasy film directed by Gerald Potterton and produced by Ivan Reitman and Leonard Mogel, who also was the publisher of ...more

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#356 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #132 of 347 Movies with the Best Soundtracks

23
G.I. Joe: The Movie is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Don Johnson, Burgess Meredith, Sgt. Slaughter

Released: 1987

Directed by: Don Jurwich

G.I. Joe: The Movie is a 1987 animated film spin-off from the animated series G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, based on the original Hasbro toyline. It was produced by Sunbow Productions and ...more

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#387 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #287 of 304 The Best Military Movies Ever Made

24
Grave of the Fireflies ... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Yoshiko Shinohara, Akemi Yamaguchi, Ayano Shiraishi

Released: 1988

Directed by: Isao Takahata

Grave of the Fireflies is a 1988 Japanese animated drama film written and directed by Isao Takahata and animated by Studio Ghibli. It is based on the 1967 semi-autobiographical novel Grave of ...more

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#233 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #310 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #282 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

25
Daffy Duck's Quackbuster... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '80s Cartoon Movies
Mel Blanc, Mel Tormé, June Foray

Released: 1988

Directed by: Robert McKimson, Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, Greg Ford

Daffy Duck's Quackbusters is a 1988 Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies film with a compilation of classic Warner Bros. Cartoons shorts and animated bridging sequences, starring Daffy Duck. It was the ...more

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#193 of 439 The Funniest '80s Movies #57 of 101 The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s #63 of 199 The Best G-Rated Animation Movies