100 Greatest Animated Films

(NEW June 2018) Animated films are not their own genre, but their own medium. Film transforms the millenia-old ability to directly place color and lines on paper into a way to create entire worlds. This selection runs the gamut from family-friendly musical comedies to documentaries and mature explorations of the world around us. What they all share is a the ability to let the viewer catch a glimpse of the sublime.  You can see a list of sources used to compile the list here.

 
 
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#1) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

(1937 - dir. David Hand and others)

This is the big one - the one the changed moviemaking forever. Snow White's triumph as a piece of art is matched by its financial and cultural success. Disney's power to shape and move billions of childhoods was made possible by this incredible piece of filmmaking. 
READ: The women behind 'Snow White' by CineSuffragette

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#2) Spirited Away

(2001 - dir. Hayao Miyazaki)

Less than two decades old, Miyazaki's film is widely regarded as the greatest animated Japanese film ever made. The story of a 10-year-old girl moving between worlds resonates deeply, reminding one of Alice in Wonderland alongside older Western and Japanese myths.
READ: The Little Things: An Appreciation of Spirited Away at Tor.com

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#3) Toy Story

(1995 - dir. John Lasseter)

Like Snow White, Toy Story is one of those rare single films that you can point to as having changed the medium forever. It pioneered a new way of doing animated, and showed it could have just as much heart as traditional styles. 
READ: How Toy Story changed movie history at TIME

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#4) Beauty and the Beast

(1991 - dir. Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise)

The 1991 film is the most critically-acclaimed exemplar of the 'Disney Renaissance.' Nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards back in a time when animated films were informally excluded from those sorts of accolades, Beauty and the Beast managed to dazzle and romance both adults and children at the same time.
READ: An Architectural Analysis of the Film Beauty and the Beast at Interiors.com

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#5) The Lion King

(1994 - dir. Rob Minkoff, Roger Allers)

Easily the most singable of the Disney Animated Classics, The Lion King was an instant hit. The exciting, moving story was inspired by Shakespeare, but is its own beast. 
READ: Disney's "War Efforts": The Lion King and Education for Death

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#6) Fantasia

(1940 - dir. James Algar, Norman Ferguson)

Fantasia was not popular with audiences when it was first released, but over the decades many of its scenes have become iconic. This type of marriage of filmic movement and music was a grand experiment. 78 years later, music videos are commonplace, but no one has been able to hold a candle to Disney's achievement.
READ: Fantasia (1940) at DecentFilms

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#7) Pinocchio

(1940 - dir. Norman Ferguson, T. Hee)

Pinocchio's gorgeous animation and moving story are part of Disney's brilliant follow-up to Snow White. Does any other children's film explore so successfully what it means to be human?
READ: Review of Pinocchio by Roger Ebert

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#8) My Neighbor Totoro

(1988 - dir. Hayao Miyazaki)

Miyazaki's story of two girls befriended by woodland spirits has charmed audiences for 30 years. (Yes, 30!) Miyazaki developed the idea for Totoro while planning a children's book. Now, the creature has become one of the most recognizable characters in the world.
READ: My Neighbor Totoro: A Visual Appreciation at Nerdist

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#9) The Iron Giant

(1999 - dir. Brad Bird)

This Cold War parable was the first feature film Brad Bird directed. He was an animator for Disney, working on The Fox and the Hound and The Black Cauldron. He would lated direct The Incredibles and Ratatouille. You can see Bird's mastery of both forms in The Iron Giant - seamlessly combines the CGI giant with the subdued hand-drawn animation used for the rest of the film.
READ: The Iron Giant is a masterpiece and is on Netflix right now at GQ

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#10) Bambi

(1942 - dir. James Algar, Samuel Armstrong)

Bambi is both the cutest Disney Animated Feature and the most heartbreaking. The animators studied deer and rabbits to make their characters realistic - but their oversized eyes and childish features make them some of the most adorable of all Disney's creations. But then, there is shocking tragedy at the heart of the film that transforms it into a powerful coming-of-age tale.
READ: How Disney’s 1942 Film Bambi Came to Be Influenced by the Lush Landscapes of the Sung Dynasty in Smithsonian Magazine

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#11) Grave of the Fireflies

(1988 - dir. Isao Takahata)

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#12) Princess Mononoke

(1997 - dir. Hayao Miyazaki)

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#13) Shrek

(2001 - dir. Aron Warner)

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#14) The Nightmare Before Christmas

(1993 - dir. Henry Selick

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#15) Akira

(1988 - dir. Katsuhiro Otomo

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#16) Finding Nemo

(2003 - dir. Andrew Stanton)

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#17) Toy Story 2

(1999 - dir. Ash Brannon, John Lasseter)

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#18) Monsters, Inc.

(2001 - dir. Pete Docter and John Lasseter)

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#19) Who Framed Roger Rabbit

(1988 - dir. Robert Zemeckis)

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#20) One Hundred and One Dalmatians

(1961 - dir. Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske)

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#21) Yellow Submarine

(1968 - dir. George Dunning)

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#22) Aladdin

(1992 - dir. John Musker, Ron Clements)

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#23) South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

(1999 - dir. Trey Parker)

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#24) Cinderella

(1950 - dir. Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson)

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#25) Up

(2009 - dir. Bob Peterson, Pete Docter)

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#26) The Incredibles

(2004 - dir. Brad Bird)

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#27) The Jungle Book

(1967 - dir. Wolfgang Reitherman)

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#28) Persepolis

(2007 - dir. Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud)

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#29) Dumbo

(1941 - dir. Norman Ferguson, Samuel Armstrong)

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#30) Duck Amuck

(1953 - dir. Chuck Jones)

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#31) WALL-E

(2008 - dir. Andrew Stanton)

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#32) Watership Down

(1978 - dir. Martin Rosen)

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#33) Kiki's Delivery Service

(1989 - dir. Hayao Miyazaki)

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#34) Chicken Run

(2000 - dir. Nick Park, Peter Lord)

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#35) Fantastic Planet

(1973 - dir. Rene Laloux)

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#36) The Secret of NIMH

(1982 - dir. Don Bluth)

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#37) Alice

(1987 - dir. Jan Švankmajer)

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#38) Steamboat Willie

(1928 - dir. Ub Iwerks, Walt Disney)

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#39) How to Train Your Dragon

(2010 - dir. Chris Sanders & Dean DeBlois)

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#40) Waking Life

(2001 - dir. Richard Linklater)

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#41) Ratatouille

(2007 - dir. Brad Bird)

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#42) Ghost in the Shell

(1995 - dir. Mamoru Oshii)

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#43) Toy Story 3

(2010 - dir. Lee Unkrich)

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#44) The Little Mermaid

(1989 - dir. John Musker, Ron Clements)

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#45) The Man Who Planted Trees

(1987 - dir. Frederic Back)

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#46) Fantastic Mr. Fox

(2009 - dir. Wes Anderson)

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#47) Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

(2005 - dir. Nick Park & Steve Box)

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#48) The Adventures of Prince Achmed

(1926 - dir. Carl Kock, Lotte Reiniger)

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#49) Animal Farm

(1954 - dir. John Halas, Joy Batchelor)

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#50) The Triplets of Belleville

(2003 - dir. Sylvain Chomet)

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#51) Sleeping Beauty

(1959 - dir. Clyde Geronimi)

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#52) When the Wind Blows

(1986 - dir. Jimmy T. Murakami)

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#53) Ice Age

(2002 - dir. Chris Wedge)

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#54) Fritz the Cat

(1972 - dir. Ralph Bakshi)

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#55) Antz

(1998 - dir. Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson)

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#56) Waltz with Bashir

(2008 - dir. Ari Folman)

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#57) What's Opera, Doc?

(1957 - dir. Chuck Jones)

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#58) Tokyo Godfathers

(2003 - dir. Satoshi Kon)

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#59) Only Yesterday

(1991 - dir. Isao Takahata)

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#60) Mind Game

(2004 - dir. Masaaki Yuasa)

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#61) Lady and the Tramp

(1955 - dir. Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson)

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#62) Gertie the Dinosaur

(1914 - dir. Winsor McCay)

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#63) Lilo & Stitch

(2002 - dir. Chris Sanders)

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#64) The Cat Came Back

(1988 - dir. Cordell Barker)

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#65) The Prince of Egypt

(1998 - dir. Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner)

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#66) Inside Out

(2015 - dir. Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera)

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#67) Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion

(1997 - dir. Hideaki Anno, Kazuya Tsurumaki)

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#68) Whisper of the Heart

(1995 - dir. Yoshifumi Kondo)

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#69) Coco

(2017 - dir. Lee Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson)

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#70) Allegro non troppo

(1976 - dir. Bruno Bozzetto)

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#71) The Hunchback of Notre Dame

(1996 - dir. Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise)

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#72) A Bug's Life

(1998 - dir. Andrew Stanton, John Lasseter)

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#73) Ninja Scroll

(1993 - dir. Kevin Seymour, Yoshiaki Kawajiri)

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#74) Zootopia

(2016 - dir. Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer)

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#75) Dimensions of Dialogue

(1982 - dir. Jan Švankmajer)

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#76) Tale of Tales

(1979 - dir. Yuri Norstein)

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#77) Red Hot Riding Hood

(1943 - dir. Tex Avery)

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#78) The Street

(1976 - dir. Caroline Leaf)

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#79) Castle in the Sky

(1986 - dir. Hayako Miyazaki)

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#80) Gerald McBoing-Boing

(1950 - dir. Robert Cannon)

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#81) Porco Rosso

(1992 - dir. Hayao Miyazaki)

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#82) Snow-White

(1933 - dir. Dave Fleischer)

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#83) Street of Crocodiles

(1986 - dir. Brothers Quay)

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#84) Coraline

(2009 - dir. Henry Selick)

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#85) Pas de Deux

(1968 - dir. Norman McLaren)

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#86) Father and Daughter

(2000 - dir. Michael Dudok de Wit)

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#87) It's Such a Beautiful Day

(2012 - dir. Don Hertzfeldt)

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#88) Kung Fu Panda

(2008 - dir. John Stevenson and Mark Osborne)

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#89) King-Size Canary

(1947 - dir. Tex Avery)

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#90) Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs

(1943 - dir. Robert Clampett)

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#91) The Bugs Bunny/Road-Runner Movie

(1979 - dir. Chuck Jones, Phil Monroe)

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#92) One Froggy Evening

(1955 - dir. Chuck Jones)

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#93) Frozen

(2013 - dir. Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho)

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#94) Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

(2004 - dir. Mamoru Oshii)

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#95) Mulan

(1998 - dir. Barry Cook, Tony Bancroft)

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#96) Alice in Wonderland

(1951 - dir. Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson)

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#97) The Illusionist

(2010 - dir. Sylvain Chomet)

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#98) The Skeleton Dance

(1929 - dir. Walt Disney)

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#99) Metropolis

(2001 - dir. Rintaro)

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#100) The Lego Movie

(2014 - dir. Christopher Miller, Phil Lord)

View this list on iCheckMovies.com
View this list on Letterboxd.com

LIST NOTES:

Films from Each Decade:
1910s: 1
1920s: 3
1930s: 2
1940s: 7
1950s: 9
1960s: 4
1970s: 7
1980s: 14
1990s: 20
2000s: 24
2010s: 9

Oldest Film: 1914, Gertie the Dinosaur
Newest Film: 2017, Coco

Years with the most represented films:
5, 1988 (My Neighbor Totoro, Grave of the Fireflies, Akira, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Cat Came Back)
5, 2001 (Spirited Away, Shrek, Monsters, Inc., Waking Life, Metropolis)

Directors with Multiple Films Listed:
6, Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Kiki's Delivery Service, Castle in the Sky, Porco Rosso)
5, Clyde Geronimi (One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Lady and the Tramp, Alice in Wonderland)
4, Chuck Jones (Duck Amuck, What's Opera, Doc?, The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie, One Froggy Evening)
4, John Lasseter (Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., A Bug's Life)
3, Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille)
3, Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up, Inside Out)
3, Wilfred Jackson (Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, Alice and Wonderland)
3, Norman Ferguson (Fantasia, Pinocchio, Dumbo)
3, Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL-E, A Bug's Life)
2, James Algar (Fantasia, Bambi)
2, Samuel Armstrong (Bambi, Dumbo)
2, Tex Avery (Red-Hot Riding Hood, King-Size Canary)
2, Sylvain Chomet (The Triplets of Belleville, The Illusionist)
2, Ron Clements (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid)
2, Walt Disney (Steamboat Willie, The Skeleton Dance)
2, John Musker (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid)
2, Mamou  Oshii (Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence)
2, Nick Park (Chicken Run, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit)
2, Chris Sanders (How to Train Your Dragon, Lilo & Stitch)
2, Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline)
2, Jan Švankmajer (Alice, Dimensions of Dialogue)
2, Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday)
2, Gary Trousdale (Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
2, Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3, Coco)
2, Kirk Wise (Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame)