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The Best Intelligent Animated Movies of All Time

Updated July 16, 2019 1.3k votes 125 voters 2.5k views27 items

List RulesVote 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. 

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  • 1
    WALL-E
    59
    25

    WALL-E

    Sigourney Weaver, Laraine Newman

    Released2008

    Directed byAndrew Stanton

    WALL-E is a 2008 American computer-animated science-fiction comedy film produced by Pixar... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 2
    The Lion King
    56
    23

    The Lion King

    Whoopi Goldberg, Jeremy Irons

    Released1994

    Directed byRob Minkoff, Roger Allers

    The Lion King is a 1994 American animated musical epic film produced by Walt Disney Feature... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 3
    Mulan
    49
    23

    Mulan

    Eddie Murphy, Ming-Na Wen

    Released1998

    Directed byTony Bancroft, Barry Cook

    Mulan is a 1998 American animated musical action-comedy-drama film produced by Walt Disney... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 4
    Up
    46
    23

    Up

    Christopher Plummer, Ed Asner

    Released2009

    Directed byPete Docter

    Up is a 2009 American 3D computer-animated adventure comedy-drama film produced by Pixar... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 5
    The Incredibles
    46
    24

    The Incredibles

    Samuel L. Jackson, Holly Hunter

    Released2004

    Directed byBrad Bird

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  • 6
    Inside Out
    40
    21

    Inside Out

    Amy Poehler, Diane Lane

    Released2015

    Directed byPete Docter

    Inside Out is a 2015 American 3D computer-animated comedy-drama film directed by Pete Docter.... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 7
    Toy Story
    46
    28

    Toy Story

    Tom Hanks, Tim Allen

    Released1995

    Directed byJohn Lasseter

    Toy Story is a 1995 American computer-animated buddy-comedy adventure film produced by Pixar... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 8
    Finding Nemo
    42
    26

    Finding Nemo

    Ellen DeGeneres, Willem Dafoe

    Released2003

    Directed byAndrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich

    Finding Nemo is a 2003 American computer-animated comedy-drama adventure film produced by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 9
    Spirited Away
    28
    14

    Spirited Away

    Miyu Irino, Bunta Sugawara

    Released2001

    Directed byHayao Miyazaki

    Spirited Away is a 2001 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 10
    Lilo & Stitch
    32
    23

    Lilo & Stitch

    Tia Carrere, Ving Rhames

    Released2002

    Directed byDean DeBlois, Chris Sanders

    Lilo & Stitch is a 2002 American animated action-adventure comedy-drama film produced by Walt... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 11
    Watership Down
    28
    21

    Watership Down

    John Hurt, Denholm Elliott

    Released1978

    Directed byJohn Hubley, Martin Rosen

    Watership Down is a 1978 British animated adventure drama film written, produced and directed... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 12
    Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
    24
    20

    Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

    Billy Gilbert, Pinto Colvig

    Released1937

    Directed byWilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, Ben Sharpsteen, William Cottrell

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  • 13
    Despicable Me
    28
    25

    Despicable Me

    Steve Carell, Jason Segel

    Released2010

    Directed byPierre Coffin, Chris Renaud

    Despicable Me is a 2010 American 3D computer-animated comedy film directed by Pierre Coffin... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 14
    Beauty and the Beast
    27
    25

    Beauty and the Beast

    Angela Lansbury, Frank Welker

    Released1991

    Directed byGary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

    Beauty and the Beast is a 1991 American animated musical romantic fantasy film produced by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 15
    Brave
    28
    26

    Brave

    Emma Thompson, Craig Ferguson

    Released2012

    Directed byMark Andrews, Brenda Chapman

    Brave is a 2012 American computer-animated fantasy comedy film produced by Pixar Animation... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 16
    The Lion King
    10
    9

    The Lion King

    Donald Glover, Beyoncé

    Released2019

    Directed byJon Favreau

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  • 17
    The Brave Little Toaster
    12
    13

    The Brave Little Toaster

    Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz

    Released1987

    Directed byJerry Rees

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  • 18
    Isle of Dogs
    16
    20

    Isle of Dogs

    Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton

    Released2018

    Directed byWes Anderson

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  • 19
    Mary and Max
    15
    18

    Mary and Max

    Eric Bana, Philip Seymour Hoffman

    Released2009

    Directed byAdam Elliot

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  • 20
    Song of the Sea
    16
    20

    Song of the Sea

    Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan

    Released2014

    Directed byTomm Moore

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  • 21
    The Lego Movie
    20
    30

    The Lego Movie

    Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell

    Released2014

    Directed byPhil Lord, Christopher Miller

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  • 22
    Anomalisa
    14
    21

    Anomalisa

    Jennifer Jason Leigh, David Thewlis

    Released2015

    Directed byDuke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman

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  • 23
    The Plague Dogs
    11
    19

    The Plague Dogs

    Patrick Stewart, John Hurt

    Released1982

    Directed byMartin Rosen

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  • 24
    The Secret of Kells
    10
    18

    The Secret of Kells

    Brendan Gleeson, Mick Lally

    Released2009

    Directed byTomm Moore, Nora Twomey

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  • 25
    Frozen
    19
    33

    Frozen

    Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel

    Released2013

    Directed byChris Buck, Jennifer Lee

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