film The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Animated Movies  

Ranker Film
12.6k votes 936 voters 7.6k views 25 items

List Rules Vote up the animated movies that define the genre and should be required viewing for beginners in an Intro to Animated Films class.

Kids grew up watching animated movies and there isn't an adult or child around who couldn't tell you their all-time favorites. Whether it was made through labor-intensive cell animation, people modeling small characters out of clay, or artists using computers for modern day computer generated action, animated movies have been a big part of our lives. However, maybe you want to broaden your animation knowledge beyond the realm of films you loved as a kid. There are some animated movies everyone should watch if they want to have a solid grasp on the genre. Which of the thousands released is the best of them all? 

If you're not an animation connoisseur, the list below features some animation for beginners. Only a scant few films can be considered to be the very best of such a wide reaching, diverse field. Some of the most popular animated movies easily top the charts as the greatest movies of all time and even the illustrious Academy of Motion Pictures began giving out Oscars for the Best Animated Film each year. This list is going to limit Disney a little bit - otherwise they would dominate the whole thing. You also won't find any anime here, simply because that genre deserves a list of its own!

The cartoons on this list comprise many of the most famous animated movies ever made. Watching them is essential for any fan of film!

If you're new to the genre, you can consider this list an intro to animated movies. Here, you will find all of the must-see animated movies. Check out the films below and give your favorites a thumbs up! 

list ordered by

1
728 25
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Toy Story Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles 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

2
614 44
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Finding Nemo Ellen DeGeneres, Willem Dafoe, Eric Bana 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

3
618 52
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Shrek Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers Shrek is a 2001 American computer-animated fantasy-comedy film produced by PDI/DreamWorks, released by DreamWorks Pictures, directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, featuring the voices of ...more

4
569 64
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The Little Mermaid Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll 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

5
560 74
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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Billy Gilbert, Pinto Colvig, Jimmy MacDonald 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

6
531 70
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Up Christopher Plummer, Ed Asner, Laraine Newman 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

7
535 79
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Ice Age Jack Black, Ray Romano, Jane Krakowski Ice Age is a 2002 American computer-animated comedy adventure film directed by Carlos Saldanha and Chris Wedge from a story by Michael J. Wilson. It was produced by Blue Sky Studios and ...more

8
181 6
The Lion King is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Animated Movies
The Lion King Whoopi Goldberg, Jeremy Irons, Matthew Broderick 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

9
480 95
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WALL-E Sigourney Weaver, Laraine Newman, Kathy Najimy 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

10
489 108
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The Nightmare Before Christmas Paul Reubens, Catherine O'Hara, Danny Elfman Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D is a 2006 3D version of the 1993 film of the same title directed by Henry Selick and written by Caroline Thompson.

11
471 122
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Frozen Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Alan Tudyk 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

12
164 12
The Incredibles is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Animated Movies
The Incredibles Samuel L. Jackson, Holly Hunter, Jason Lee The Incredibles is a 2004 American computer-animated comedy superhero film written and directed by Brad Bird and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It was the sixth film produced by Pixar ...more

14 Celebrities Who Are Heirs

13
416 137
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Inside Out Amy Poehler, Diane Lane, Mindy Kaling 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

14
408 142
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Fantasia Walt Disney, Corey Burton, Leopold Stokowski Fantasia is a 1940 American animated film produced by Walt Disney and released by Walt Disney Productions. With story direction by Joe Grant and Dick Huemer, and production supervision by Ben ...more

15
356 131
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The Iron Giant Jennifer Aniston, Vin Diesel, Cloris Leachman The Iron Giant is a 1999 American animated science fiction comedy-drama film using both traditional animation and computer animation, produced by Warner Bros. Animation, and based on the 1968 ...more

16
372 153
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The Lego Movie Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks, Alison Brie Lego: The Piece of Resistance is a 2014 animation, action and comedy film written and directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller.

17
134 21
Ratatouille is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Animated Movies
Ratatouille Peter O'Toole, Janeane Garofalo, Will Arnett Ratatouille is a 2007 American computer-animated comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the eighth film produced by Pixar, and was co-written ...more

18
317 157
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Coraline Teri Hatcher, Dakota Fanning, Ian McShane Coraline is a 2009 American stop-motion animated 3D dark fantasy film based on Neil Gaiman's 2002 novel of the same name. It was produced by Laika and distributed by Focus Features. Written and ...more

19
128 23
Monsters University is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Animated Movies
Monsters University Helen Mirren, Kelsey Grammer, Billy Crystal Monsters University is a 2013 animation adventure comedy film directed by Dan Scanlon.

20
268 179
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The Secret of NIMH Shannen Doherty, Wil Wheaton, Derek Jacobi 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

21
67 48
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Animated Movies
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Peter Kay Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a 2005 British stop-motion animated comedy film. The film was produced by Aardman Animations in partnership with DreamWorks Animation, and ...more

22
54 54
Spirited Away is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Animated Movies
Spirited Away Miyu Irino, Bunta Sugawara, Ryunosuke Kamiki 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

23
177 230
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What's Opera, Doc? Mel Blanc, Arthur Q. Bryan What's Opera, Doc? is a 1957 American animated cartoon short in the Merrie Melodies series, directed by Chuck Jones for Warner Bros. Cartoons. The Michael Maltese story features Elmer Fudd ...more

24
133 231
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Watership Down John Hurt, Denholm Elliott, Richard Briers 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

25
32 243
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Persepolis Sean Penn, Catherine Deneuve, Iggy Pop Persepolis is a 2007 French-Iranian-American animated film based on Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical graphic novel of the same name. The film was written and directed by Satrapi with Vincent ...more