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The Best '80s Cartoon Movies

Updated October 14, 2020 8.2k votes 1.3k voters 52.9k views46 items

List RulesVote 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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  • 1
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    The Little Mermaid

    Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes

    Released1989

    Directed byRon Clements, John Musker

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  • 2
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    The Secret of NIMH

    Shannen Doherty, Wil Wheaton

    Released1982

    Directed byDon Bluth

    More The Secret of NIMH 

    ‘The Secret of NIMH’ Scarred A Generation Of Children (And Has An Even Weirder Backstory)#303 of 541 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

  • 3
    269
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    The Land Before Time

    Diana Ross, Frank Welker

    Released1988

    Directed byDon Bluth

    More The Land Before Time 

    #56 of 375 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime#161 of 198 The Greatest Animal Movies Ever Made

  • 4
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    An American Tail

    Christopher Plummer, Madeline Kahn

    Released1986

    Directed byDon Bluth

    More An American Tail 

    #134 of 305 The Funniest '80s Movies#103 of 277 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

  • 5
    254
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    Who Framed Roger Rabbit

    Kathleen Turner, Christopher Lloyd

    Released1988

    Directed byRobert Zemeckis

    More Who Framed Roger Rabbit 

    #82 of 1,141 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time#56 of 924 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

  • 6
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    The Fox and the Hound

    Kurt Russell, Mickey Rooney

    Released1981

    Directed byRichard Rich, Art Stevens, Ted Berman

    More The Fox and the Hound 

    #26 of 298 The Best Duos of All Time#1 of 18 The Saddest Movies In Which No One Actually Dies

  • 7
    220
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    All Dogs Go to Heaven

    Loni Anderson, Dom DeLuise

    Released1989

    Directed byDon Bluth, Gary Goldman, Dan Kuenster

    More All Dogs Go to Heaven 

    Animation Is The Only Thing Keeping 'All Dogs Go to Heaven' In The Kids' Films Genre#105 of 136 The Scariest Animal Horror Movies Ever Made

  • 8
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    The Last Unicorn

    Jeff Bridges, Christopher Lee

    Released1982

    Directed byArthur Rankin, Jr., Jules Bass

    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

    More The Last Unicorn 

    'The Last Unicorn' Is A Beloved Cartoon More Disturbing And Sad Than We Remember#52 of 77 The Very Best Fairy Tale Movies

  • 9
    181
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    The Great Mouse Detective

    Vincent Price, Basil Rathbone

    Released1986

    Directed byDavid Michener, Burny Mattinson, Ron Clements, John Musker

    More The Great Mouse Detective 

    #48 of 248 The Best Whodunit Movies#43 of 58 The Best Disney Animated Movies

  • 10
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    Oliver & Company

    Billy Joel, Bette Midler

    Released1988

    Directed byGeorge Scribner

    More Oliver & Company 

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  • 11
    138
    54

    Mickey's Christmas Carol

    Gene Kelly, Ethel Merman

    Released1983

    Directed byBurny Mattinson

  • 12
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    The Brave Little Toaster

    Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz

    Released1987

    Directed byJerry Rees

    More The Brave Little Toaster 

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  • 13
    186
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    My Neighbor Totoro

    Noriko Hidaka, Ikue Ōtani

    Released1988

    Directed byHayao Miyazaki

    More My Neighbor Totoro 

    There's Totally a My Neighbor Totoro Sequel, But You Can Only See It At The Ghibli Museum#11 of 14 '80s Movie Fan Theories

  • 14
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    The Black Cauldron

    John Hurt, John Huston

    Released1985

    Directed byRichard Rich, Ted Berman

    More The Black Cauldron 

    #468 of 727 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time#96 of 113 The Absolute Worst Animated Movies

  • 15
    133
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    The Transformers: The Movie

    Orson Welles, Judd Nelson

    Released1986

    Directed byNelson Shin

    More The Transformers: The Movie 

    #177 of 537 The Best Animated Films Ever#241 of 512 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

  • 16
    144
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    Kiki's Delivery Service

    Kikuko Inoue, Kappei Yamaguchi

    Released1989

    Directed byHayao Miyazaki

    More Kiki's Delivery Service 

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  • 17
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    84

    Akira

    Takeshi Kusao, Mami Koyama

    Released1988

    Directed byKatsuhiro Otomo

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  • 18
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    Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

    Jōji Yanami, Yoshiko Sakakibara

    Released1984

    Directed byHayao Miyazaki

    More Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 

    #48 of 84 The Best Fantasy Worlds#8 of 15 VHS Covers That Sold A Totally Different Movie

  • 19
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    Castle in the Sky

    Megumi Hayashibara, Mayumi Tanaka

    Released1986

    Directed byHayao Miyazaki

    More Castle in the Sky 

    #5 of 141 The Best Old School Anime From 1999 And Before#31 of 81 25+ Anime With Great Rewatch Value

  • 20
    103
    66

    The Care Bears Movie

    Mickey Rooney, Melleny Brown

    Released1985

    Directed byArna Selznick

    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

    More The Care Bears Movie 

    #10 of 12 Movies That Weren't Supposed To Be Scary But Terrified You As A Kid#67 of 199 The Best G-Rated Animation Movies

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    Vampire Hunter D

    Kaneto Shiozawa, Ichirō Nagai

    Released1985

    Directed byToyoo Ashida

    More Vampire Hunter D 

    #30 of 254 The Best Anime Movies of All Time#170 of 174 The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1980s

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    ducktales

    BEST 80 CARTOON

    More DuckTales 

    #6 of 344 The Best Kids Cartoons of All Time#16 of 631 The Best Cartoons of All Time

  • 23
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    G.I. Joe: The Movie

    Don Johnson, Burgess Meredith

    Released1987

    Directed byDon Jurwich

    More G.I. Joe: The Movie 

    #58 of 139 The Greatest Kids Movies Of The 1980s#23 of 38 The Best Alien Movies Of The '80s

  • 24
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    Heavy Metal

    John Candy, Harold Ramis

    Released1981

    Directed byGerald Potterton

    More Heavy Metal 

    #51 of 115 The Best Movies to Watch on Mushrooms#213 of 306 The Greatest Movie Themes

  • 25
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    The Return of the King

    John Huston, Casey Kasem

    Released1980

    Directed byArthur Rankin, Jr., Jules Bass