Animated

The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time 

Ranker Film
Updated July 16, 2019 894 votes 105 voters 1.7k views 27 items

List Rules Vote up the best intelligent movies, or those that are smart, clever, etc.

As children, we don't always notice how intelligent and/or clever animated movies can be, but in fact, they often are. Animated flicks and cartoons are typically targeted toward children, however, adults are usually the ones taking kids to the movies, so it only makes sense the writers add a little something for adults in there too. Of course, these thought-provoking elements don't have to be geared specifically for adults, as most (if not all) animated films set out to teach kids lessons and values, or even change their perspective on certain issues. 

These intelligent animated flicks don't have to just teach lessons or provoke thought, however. The best animated films are almost always quite clever, and often appeal to a wide audience—not just young children. Take Toy Story 3, for instance. By the time it came out, any kid who saw the original in theaters was a teen or young adult. Even then, it was funny, emotional, and clever—offering something for everyone. Another prime example of an intelligent animated movie is Inside Out. In fact, how do you get "smarter" than a film about the mind? As far as animated films go, you might not.

Whether it's an animated film that makes you cry, or one with witty jokes snuck in for adults, there's a range of intelligent animated films out there. Check out the list of movies below and vote for your favorites, or those you think are best. You can also vote down movies accordingly, and even add your own ideas of smart ones to the list. 

list ordered by
1
WALL-E is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
Sigourney Weaver, Laraine Newman, Kathy Najimy

Released: 2008

Directed by: Andrew Stanton

WALL-E is a 2008 American computer-animated science-fiction comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Andrew Stanton, the story follows a ...more

More WALL-E 

#6 of 590 The Best Animated Films Ever The Most Fascinating Facts You Didn't Know About WALL-Elisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
The Lion King is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
Whoopi Goldberg, Jeremy Irons, Matthew Broderick

Released: 1994

Directed by: Rob Minkoff, Roger Allers

The Lion King is a 1994 American animated musical epic film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 32nd animated feature in the Walt Disney ...more

More The Lion King 

#9 of 376 The Best Musical Movies of All Time 'The Lion King' Fan Theories That Just Might Be Truelisted on The Best Soundtracks and Scores by Elton John

3
Mulan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
Eddie Murphy, Ming-Na Wen, George Takei

Released: 1998

Directed by: Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook

Mulan is a 1998 American animated musical action-comedy-drama film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan. The 36th animated feature in the Walt ...more

More Mulan 

#24 of 590 The Best Animated Films Ever #164 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies 'Mulan' Fan Theories That Just Might Be True

4
The Incredibles is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
Samuel L. Jackson, Holly Hunter, Jason Lee

Released: 2004

Directed by: Brad Bird

The Incredibles is a 2004 American computer-animated superhero film directed by Brad Bird. A family of undercover superheroes, while trying to live the quiet suburban life, are forced into ...more

More The Incredibles 

#4 of 590 The Best Animated Films Ever The Incredibles Fan Theorieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
Up is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
Christopher Plummer, Ed Asner, Laraine Newman

Released: 2009

Directed by: Pete Docter

Up is a 2009 American 3D computer-animated adventure comedy-drama film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Pete Docter, the film centers on an ...more

More Up 

#5 of 590 The Best Animated Films Ever The Most Adventurous Quotes From Disney and Pixar's 'Up'listed on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
Toy Story is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles

Released: 1995

Directed by: John Lasseter

Toy Story is a 1995 American computer-animated buddy-comedy adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by John Lasseter, Toy Story was the ...more

More Toy Story 

#2 of 590 The Best Animated Films Ever The Best Toy Story Characters in the Whole Series, Rankedlisted on The Highest Grossing 90s Movies

7
Inside Out is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
Amy Poehler, Diane Lane, Mindy Kaling

Released: 2015

Directed by: Pete Docter

Inside Out is a 2015 American 3D computer-animated comedy-drama film directed by Pete Docter. In the mind of a young girl, five personified emotions - Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), ...more

More Inside Out 

#14 of 590 The Best Animated Films Ever #750 of 1,196 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
Finding Nemo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
Ellen DeGeneres, Willem Dafoe, Eric Bana

Released: 2003

Directed by: Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich

Finding Nemo is a 2003 American computer-animated comedy-drama adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Written and directed by Andrew Stanton, it ...more

More Finding Nemo 

#3 of 590 The Best Animated Films Ever #97 of 1,009 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Filmslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

9
Spirited Away is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
comicspies1 added Miyu Irino, Bunta Sugawara, Ryunosuke Kamiki

Released: 2001

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

Spirited Away is a 2001 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli. The film stars Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki, Takeshi Naito, ...more

More Spirited Away 

#12 of 590 The Best Animated Films Ever The Best Anime Like 5 Centimeters Per Secondlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

10
Watership Down is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
John Hurt, Denholm Elliott, Richard Briers

Released: 1978

Directed by: John Hubley, Martin Rosen

Watership Down is a 1978 British animated adventure drama film written, produced and directed by Martin Rosen and based on the novel of the same name by Richard Adams. It was financed by a ...more

More Watership Down 

#178 of 590 The Best Animated Films Ever #273 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

11
Brave is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
Emma Thompson, Craig Ferguson, Billy Connolly

Released: 2012

Directed by: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman

Brave is a 2012 American computer-animated fantasy comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It was directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, and ...more

More Brave 

#385 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #89 of 243 Critically Acclaimed Movies That Kinda Suck #18 of 70 The Very Best Fairy Tale Movies

12
Lilo & Stitch is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
Tia Carrere, Ving Rhames, Kevin Michael Richardson

Released: 2002

Directed by: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders

Lilo & Stitch is a 2002 American animated action-adventure comedy-drama film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures on June 21, 2002. The 42nd ...more

More Lilo & Stitch 

#29 of 590 The Best Animated Films Ever #105 of 119 The Very Best Movie Franchises 'Lilo & Stitch' Fan Theories That Just Might Be True

13
Beauty and the Beast is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
Angela Lansbury, Frank Welker, Jerry Orbach

Released: 1991

Directed by: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

Beauty and the Beast is a 1991 American animated musical romantic fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 30th film in the Walt Disney ...more

More Beauty and the Beast 

#93 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #36 of 508 The Best Duos of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

14
Despicable Me is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand

Released: 2010

Directed by: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud

Despicable Me is a 2010 American 3D computer-animated comedy film directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud. When a mastermind (Steve Carell) uses a trio of orphan girls as pawns for a grand ...more

More Despicable Me 

#10 of 590 The Best Animated Films Ever #176 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies The Best Despicable Me Characters in the Whole Franchise, Ranked

15
Snow White and the Seven... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
Billy Gilbert, Pinto Colvig, Jimmy MacDonald

Released: 1937

Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, Ben Sharpsteen, William Cottrell, + more

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a 1937 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by RKO Radio Pictures. Based on the German fairy tale by the ...more

More Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 

#138 of 351 The Best Movies Based On Books #38 of 590 The Best Animated Films Ever #24 of 376 The Best Musical Movies of All Time

16
The Lion King is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
The Lion King Donald Glover, Beyoncé, James Earl Jones

Released: 2019

Directed by: Jon Favreau

The Lion King is a 2019 American live-action epic musical drama film directed by Jon Favreau, and a remake of the 1994 animated film. When tragedy strikes home, Simba (Donald Glover) must step ...more

More The Lion King 

#116 of 165 Live Action Films with the Best CGI Effects #152 of 209 The Best Adventure Movies The Best Songs on Beyoncé's 'The Lion King: The Gift' Soundtrack

17
Isle of Dogs is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray

Released: 2018

Directed by: Wes Anderson

Isle of Dogs is a 2018 American stop-motion animated adventure film directed by Wes Anderson. In a dystopian future Japan in which dogs have been quarantined on a remote island, a boy ventures ...more

More Isle of Dogs 

#287 of 341 The Best Movies All Hipsters Love #83 of 100 The Greatest Dog Movies Of All Time

18
Mary and Max is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
Eric Bana, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Toni Collette

Released: 2009

Directed by: Adam Elliot

Mary and Max is a 2009 Australian stop motion animated comedy-drama film written and directed by Adam Elliot and produced by Melanie Coombs. The voice cast included Philip Seymour Hoffman, Toni ...more

More Mary and Max 

#254 of 590 The Best Animated Films Ever #39 of 81 The Best Movies About Depression #18 of 38 The Funniest Australian Movies Ever Made

19
The Brave Little Toaster... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
MarySmith1 added 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

More The Brave Little Toaster 

#459 of 724 The Best Cartoons of All Time #267 of 351 The Best Movies Based On Books Why 'The Brave Little Toaster' Was The Scariest Horror Movie You Never Realized Was A Horror Movie

20
Song of the Sea is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan, Pat Shortt

Released: 2014

Directed by: Tomm Moore

Song of the Sea is a 2014 Irish animated fantasy film by Cartoon Saloon that is directed by Tomm Moore. The traditionally animated film, which began production soon after the release of The ...more
21
The Lego Movie is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks

Released: 2014

Directed by: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

The Lego Movie is a 2014 3D computer-animated adventure comedy film directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. An ordinary Lego minifigure (Chris Pratt) who finds himself being the only one ...more

More The Lego Movie 

#437 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #365 of 1,196 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

22
The Plague Dogs is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
Patrick Stewart, John Hurt, Nigel Hawthorne

Released: 1982

Directed by: Martin Rosen

The Plague Dogs is a 1982 British adult animated drama film based on the 1977 novel of the same name by Richard Adams. The film was written, directed and produced by Martin Rosen, who also ...more

More The Plague Dogs 

#88 of 151 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made #181 of 199 The Biggest Tearjerker Movies of All Time

23
Anomalisa is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
Jennifer Jason Leigh, David Thewlis, Tom Noonan

Released: 2015

Directed by: Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman

Anomalisa is a 2015 American stop-motion animated comedy-drama film directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson. A lonely customer service expert (David Thewlis) perceives everyone (Tom Noonan) ...more

More Anomalisa 

#12 of 25 Great Movies About Sad Bastards #58 of 85 The Best Stop Motion Movies

24
Frozen is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Alan Tudyk

Released: 2013

Directed by: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

Frozen is a 2013 American 3D computer-animated musical fantasy–comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 53rd animated feature in the ...more

More Frozen 

#56 of 376 The Best Musical Movies of All Time 22 Insanely Smart Fan Theories About Frozenlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

25
The Secret of Kells is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time
MarySmith1 added Brendan Gleeson, Mick Lally, Paul Tylak

Released: 2009

Directed by: Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey

The Secret of Kells is a 2009 French-Belgian-Irish animated fantasy film by Cartoon Saloon that premiered on 8 February 2009, at the 59th Berlin International Film Festival. It went into wide ...more

More The Secret of Kells 

#747 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #232 of 317 The Best Movies for Kids