The history of animated movies is a long one as it all started with moving drawings and now it has evolved to such an extent that sometimes it becomes difficult to believe that the animated characters or our toon heroes do not exist in reality. Newer methods of animation make the characters seem lifelike, particularly when presented in HD or Ultra HD. Whether we agree or not, animation has played a pivotal role in changing the film industry.
Creators have used Animated Movies as a perfect medium to present any imaginative story and that too with utmost perfection. Despite the long history, there have been only three instances when animated films have been nominated for Best Picture category at the Oscars (we are not referring to the Best Animated Feature Film category) – and they are – Beauty and the Beast, Up, and Toy Story 3. And, only one of them (Beauty and the Beast) has won the said prestigious award but in the category of best original music score so far.
Best Animated Feature Films
Ever since the introduction of the Best Animated Feature Film category, the medium of animation has gained strong recognition. Though many of these movies are primarily aimed at children, the movie studios like Pixar, Disney, Dream animations and Studio Ghibli ensured that these films are equally enjoyed by adults alike.
In fact, Disney is one of the modern animation pioneers who made the animation feature films quite popular in the 20th Century, thanks to its union with Pixar in 2006 and together they have created best animation magic possible on screen. But the animated films are not just limited to them, now there are many independent filmmakers and animation creators who had put on some splendid work effort to create equally magical animated films.
So, in the honor of great work produced in the animated genre, we are listing down our 10 best picks for the animated feature films of all time. You surely need to watch these movies with your kids before they grow up.
In one of the interviews, director of the film “Wall-E”, Andrew Staton said, “I just thought that was the saddest character I had ever heard of, and I loved it”. This is what Andrew thought after hearing about the lead character of the film.
The movie follows the story of a lonely trash cleaning robot left on the Earth who is given the task to clean the waste on the Earth. He spends his days tidying up a planet, one piece at a time but during 700 years, Wall-E has developed a personality. He’s more than a little lonely until he falls in love with another robot sent back to the Earth on a scanning mission. Together they both embark on an adventurous journey that somehow changes the fate of humanity.
It was a novel look at the possibility that a robot could become a real hero and he actually could have real feelings. The movie focuses on visual storytelling without any dialogues and still, it hits on every emotional aspect to deliver a touching story. It also gives a strong message about the environment and anti-consumerism. It is considered as one of the best films Pixar has ever released and happened to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film category.
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The Iron Giant
Before coming up with Ratatouille and The Incredibles, director Brad Bird gave the world his beloved and exciting animated creation known as “The Iron Giant”. In this animation adaption of Ted Hughes children’s book, the story shows an emotional journey of a giant alien who crash-lands on the Earth from outer space and his looks resemble a robot.
The alien is then befriended by a local 9-year-old boy, who must do whatever he can to save the misunderstood robot. There is a paranoid government agent, who is determined to destroy it completely. The story sounds like a no big deal today, but it was an instant classic in 1999.
The film failed at the box office and was only able to garner less than half the amount of a total $70 million budget. It has still managed to become a cult favorite because of how it turns a simple science fiction premise into a heartfelt statement about heroism.
Many people and critics consider Spirited Away as one of the best animated movies ever made. Why? Known as Studio Ghibli’s masterpiece, Miyazaki nailed the combination of telling a compelling story with an impressive animation style.
The story beautifully narrates the tragic journey of a 10-year-old girl named, Chihiro. She while moving to a new home with her family stumbles across a seemingly abandoned amusement park, where her parents under a mysterious spell turn into giant pigs. She then meets mysterious Haku, who further explains that the park is a resort for supernatural beings and she must work there to free herself and her parents.
The movie then follows her journey through the park and how bravely and courageously not only she survives there but also works in surroundings full of ghosts and demons in order to free her parents.
The Japanese film is the second-highest-grossing animated film of all time. The animation, most of it hand-drawn, feels alive in a way that it has nothing to do with computers and everything to do with the power of limitless human imagination as It takes you to a place you can’t get to by other means.
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Directed by Pete Docter, Inside Out is easily the toughest and most complex movie Pixar has ever released and is also considered as one of the best animated films of this decade. The film is an emotional roller-coaster ride full of five emotions namely Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust and it can be enjoyed by both adults and children.
It follows the story of a young girl named Riley whose world turns upside down after moving across the country. How she has a very tough time adjusting to the new surroundings. The movie then follows how these emotions play in her head, as she sorts through them and discovers that sometimes one has to feel sad too in order to properly process things.
The film is quite revolutionary in its portrayal of human emotions and dramatic psychology. It gives a beautiful message to every child out there that Life is not always full of hundred percent happiness and that is fine too. Sometimes a little bit of every emotion like sadness, fear, anger, and disgust is necessary to be felt or else everyone would be just inhumane.
As we mentioned above, this classic movie is considered as one of the finest animations work of Pixar and is directed by Brad Bird. The film is a perfect example of how anyone can achieve his dreams if he is willing to put in all the hard work. Everything is possible if one has the attitude of never giving up on himself.
The movie narrates a story of a rat named Remy who has a remarkable culinary talent and hence dreams of becoming a great chef. He moves to Paris to follow his dream and there to help his cause. He meets a boy named Linguini who doesn’t know anything about cooking. With his help, Remy gets to put his Culinary skills to test in the kitchen. He also has to stay in hiding at the same time, with hilarious consequences.
It is a classic tale of how the rat turns out to be an unlikely hero that ends up showing his mettle under both tough and pressure situations. He finally overcomes every kitchen challenge to fulfill his culinary dreams of becoming a great chef. This animation is fast-paced and highly recommended for people of all ages.
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Toy Story 3
There is no doubt that the kids while watching Toy Story movies will be surely entertained by the antics of all the toys on screen as the brilliant animation brings a cast of toys to life with endearing personalities of their own. While most of you might have seen the Toy Story movie series and it was really tough to pick a single movie from the franchise but Toy Story 3 is considered as one of the best animated films of the century and really demonstrates the high bar which Pixar has set when it comes to animation.
The third installment of the classic franchise follows the story of now a grown-up Andy and his toys who are mistakenly given to a daycare facility and their journey back to home. If you have not watched the first and second Toy Story movie yet, then do watch them before watching this one.
These films were never really about toys as a materialistic plaything but they were all about a state of childhood wonder and its emotional nostalgia. It depicts a childhood phase which you can really only appreciate after it has concluded and someone new is playing with your old toys. Hence this movie is considered as one of the best animation movies with a perfect blend of all childhood memories and its sentiments.
Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs
This 1937 Disney classic was easily the stepping stone that has led to the massive growth of the genre of the animated feature films. It is quite amazing to think that, with all of the advances in animated movie making technology, the first-ever full-length animated film holds up as well as it does.
The movie follows a beautiful princess named as Snow White who is exiled by her evil Queen stepmother out of jealousy with the intention of getting her killed. The princess runs into the forest and there she is rescued by seven dwarfs who become an integral part of her life.
Then the queen with her desire to kill Snow White brings a poisoned apple to her, who after taking a bite falls into a death-like sleep state. It can be broken only by a kiss from a prince.
The movie was a brilliant accomplishment of its time and brought the world some of the most amazing animations for the era. The film is the 10th highest-grossing movie of all time in the United States and Canada and is a fascinating fairy classic still loved by all.
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Katsuhiro Otomo’s animated film Akira has earned the cult status among fans and critics all across the world. Akira is based on Otomo’s manga series of the same name. It is set in the futuristic world of Neo-Tokyo, a city where a nuclear explosion takes place after an experiment conducted by the government on children goes awry.
31 years after the explosion, a bike gang leader named Kaneda tries to save his friend Tetsuo from a secret government project named as Akira. In all the chaos generated while battling with government agents, politicians, and scientists, Tetsuo develops some strange supernatural powers. He harnesses it to threaten and fight them in the final battle which takes place in Tokyo Olympiad and expose all the secrets related to that experiment.
This frenetic cyberpunk animation showed that cartoons across cultures could address larger social issues. As this movie is a little bit intricate and also contain some evocative animation images, hence it is not recommended for the faint-hearted viewers but there is a definitely a reason that this movie is still resonant in the animation film industry.
The Night Before Christmas
If you have not watched this film yet, then do it at the earliest. This classic Tim Burton’s artistic creation is one of the pioneers in the stop-motion animation films that instantly triggered a cult following. The movie can also be played on Halloween as well as Christmas and will still keep you engaged and entertained.
The movie revolves around Halloween town’s beloved pumpkin king Jack Skellington, a skeleton tired with his same usual boring routine of scaring and frightening people year after year. He gets very delighted and excited when he accidentally discovers a wondrous jolly world of Christmas Town. Enticed by its splendor and to end his boredom, he decides to bring Christmas under his control by kidnapping Santa Claus as he thinks he could do the job better.
The movie follows his misadventures in trying to get his spooky town to accept the more joyful holiday and the plot becomes quite engrossing when his obsession towards Christmas increases and leads to some unexpected things. The film also has some really good music and is overall a visual feast to watch.
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Beauty And The Beast
This influential and classic piece of animation is not only considered as one of the finest animations work of Disney but has also become a staple for every household with children.
When Beauty and the Beast were premiered at a small scale, Disney didn’t know if it would be loved by the people and critics because it was an animated film. But the gamble paid off and the film received a standing ovation from a seasoned crowd of moviegoers at the New York film festival. The next year, it became the very first full-length animated feature film in cinema history to be nominated for Academy Award for Best Picture.
The movie follows the romantic tale of an arrogant prince who after offending a beautiful enchantress, disguised as an old woman, gets transformed into a hideous beast. He is destined to remain in that transformed state and has time until his 21st birthday to learn the true meaning of love and gets love in return.
Years later, his chance of salvation appears in the form of a village girl named Belle who reaches the prince’s castle after looking for her lost father. Her father is held as a prisoner by the Beast in his castle. The plot becomes interesting as she swaps places with her father and starts to appreciate her captor eventually falling in love with him. Painstakingly and meticulously crafted, without any doubt this film is a timeless classic and is much more than just an influential animated film.
With such great animated movies available (some of the very best listed above) the sky is the limit for the story being told and the story being interpreted by the viewers. It is quite fair to say that animation is no longer just a genre but is more of a medium nowadays that lends itself to such diverse and detailed story-telling in numerous ways or styles possible.
It is certainly not just for kids and there is probably no such story in today’s time that cannot be told through amazingly created animation films. We hope that the above-mentioned list of best animated movies will not only help you to introduce your children to some very exciting and enthralling animated film characters who display all kinds of human emotions in the best way possible on screen. These films also bring back your childhood nostalgia and its beautiful memories every single time you watch them.