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Best Animation Movies

Feb/10/2022 / by Abhijit Masih
Image courtesy of Mateusz Butkiewicz via Unsplash

Even before your taste in movies graduated to action, romance and drama, I am sure you were in love with the talking animals and the world of cartoons. Almost 9 out of 10 people begin their cinematic journey with films with an animation film. The world of Animation films is not limited to the PG-13 population alone but transcends to the refuge of adults as well. 

The animation movie genre has grown so much over time that even the Academy Awards were forced to create a special category for it in 2001.  Animated films have grown ever more spectacular and engaging as more and more people realize that it is not just a medium for kids and has raked in billions of dollars at the box office. 

It would not be wrong to state that some of the most emotional and well written stories have been narrated through an animated film and have therefore managed to create a respectful status in the sea of entertainment and movies. 

Here we present the best animation movies films that have not only tasted critical success but also left their mark on storytelling as a whole. These movies made their mark due to their artistic merit and excellent storytelling and that will continue to be regarded as the best animated movies of all time. 

Finding Nemo

Released in 2003, the film centers around Nemo, an adventurous young clownfish, who is unexpectedly taken from his Great Barrier Reef home to a dentist’s office aquarium. It’s up to his worrisome father Marlin and his friendly but forgetful regal blue tang fish Dory to bring Nemo home — meeting vegetarian sharks, surfer dude turtles, hypnotic jellyfish, hungry seagulls, and more along the way. From Pixar’s stable, the film teaches lessons about the importance of family, acceptance, kindness, and love. It is also an exciting tale of adventure in the journey to overcome an adversity through teamwork. This comedy- adventure film was written and directed by Andrew Stanton and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The fifth film to be produced by Pixar Animation Studios, it received critical acclaim and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature which makes it a contender for the best animation film of all time. 

Toy Story

This was the first fully computer-animated feature film and the first by Pixar. The film was a precursor to the films to follow in the genre that kept the theme centered on humor. The film’s success was due to the usage of primal language of childhood and in making a team of lovable toys that feel more like old friends. Woody and Buzz Lightyear (Tom Hanks and Tim Allen) make for a stellar comedic odd couple, and Randy Newman’s ‘You Got a Friend in Me’ still gets us every time. The film was so successful that it was followed by numerous sequels, each of which had similar successes. However, the original Toy Story is a pure example of creative brilliance and a film that changed the course of Animation film making since its release in 1995. 

How To Train Your Dragon

Another of the Animation heavyweights has been DreamWorks and has been successfully following the mantra of creating, building and exploiting franchise properties. How to Train Your dragon was the first installment in the trilogy to follow. The 2010 film revolves around a boy and his favorite pet. The boy here is a misfit and somewhat a nerd in the Viking family, and the pet a powerful dragon. Together, the unlikely heroes fight against the odds to save both their worlds. How to Train Your Dragon is an excellent book-based adventure comedy that includes fantasy that will put your child and even you in a magical world of dragons.  It received wide acclaim for its animation, voice acting and writing and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature but lost out to Toy Story 3. It is definitely one of the top animation movies of all time and a must watch for all ages. 

The Incredibles

The film, another gem in the crown of Pixar was released in 2004 and was a huge hit. It is one of the better computer generated films of its time and was hugely successful cause like all good animated films; it is made for both kids and adults alike. Writer and -director Brad Bird managed to get comic mileage out of “Superheroes” trying to fit into a normal middle-class society. The superheroes portrayed here are a family with regular family problems and weaknesses. When they’re finally called to action, the thrills come not only from the Incredibles saving the world, but from the freedom to be their true selves. The film was a few years ahead of the now regular superhero films that have been coming out of the woodworks. The Incredibles received rave reviews from critics and audiences and went on to win two Academy Awards including the one for best Animated feature. It was selected by the American Film Institute for its top 10 animated films list and is definitely a film that appeals to kids and parents alike. 

Beauty and the Beast

This animated musical romantic fantasy was released the Disney in 1991 and is based on the 1756 French fairy tale of the same name. Beauty and the Beast is a story about the relationship between the Beast – a prince, who is magically transformed into a monster as punishment for his arrogance, and Belle – a young woman whom he imprisons in his castle. The film received widespread critical acclaim for its romantic narrative, animation and musical numbers. Beauty and the Beast won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, the first animated film to ever win that category. It also became the first animated film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. This was before Animation as a category was introduced at the Oscars.  The title song sung by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson was a huge hit and won a Grammy for both that year. Beauty and the Beast is one of Disney’s most elegant animated offerings and definitely one of the best animation movies from the 1990s.

The Lion King

The original Lion King came out in 1994 and was a runaway success released by Walt Disney.  The original film received critical acclaim and praise for its music, story, and animation. The Lion King original motion picture soundtrack was a top-selling soundtrack which included Elton John’s Circle of Life. The Lion King received four Golden Globe Award and Oscar nominations. The success of the 1994 original inspired the reboot by Disney in 2019. It is a photorealistic computer-animated remake of Disney’s animated 1994 film of the same name. The plot of the film revolves around a pride of lions that rule over the animal kingdom. It is a story about King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi and their newborn son – Simba. After the murder of his father, Simba the young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery. The films – both original and the remake got huge reception at the box office and were nominated for numerous awards and are one of the best animation movies from Disney.


The film features the voices of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, and Santino Fontana. The film received praise for its visuals, themes, musical numbers, screenplay, and vocal performances, especially those of Bell, Menzel, and Gad. The film is energetic, humorous and perhaps the first Hollywood film to warn of global cooling rather than warming. The story of the film is about the newly crowned Queen Elsa who accidentally uses her power to turn things into ice to curse her home in infinite winter. Her sister Anna teams up with a mountain man, his playful reindeer, and a snowman to change the weather condition. This Disney effort is a delight from beginning to end and one of the good animation movies to include in your watch list.


This film is part of the list because it just tore up the previously accepted rulebook for making animated fairytales. While the beast in Beauty and the Beast was accepted, here was an ugly green ogre projected as the hero and a prince with all the semblance of a Disney hero – the villain. Shrek parodies other fairy tale movies, particularly from the Disney fold. The film which came out in 2001, ushered in a new era of animation filmmaking that had pop-culture references and still remains a path breaking film and hilariously funny. The story revolves around Shrek voiced by Mike Myers, who goes on a quest to rescue the feisty Princess Fiona voiced by Cameron Diaz. Along with him is Donkey voiced by Eddie Murphy who is a laugh riot. Shrek sparked a motion picture phenomenon and captured the world’s imagination. Shrek won the first ever Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, beating Pixar’s Monsters, Inc and is easily one of the best animated films of all time. 

Kung Fu Panda

Another beauty from DreamWorks Animation, the first of the Kung Fu Panda came out in 2008 and since then there have been two sequels in the last decade. Jack Black is the voice of Po, a noodle-slurping dreamer who must embrace his true self-fuzzy flaws in order to become the real Dragon Warrior. Filled with great humor, groundbreaking animation, and an all-star cast including Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan and Dustin Hoffman. The endearing story is about Po, a clumsy panda but who is a kung fu fanatic who lives in the Valley of Peace and works in his goose father Mr. Ping’s noodle shop. Kung Fu Panda has fantastic visuals and the main reason for its success is that the story is great and Po the panda is among the best animated characters ever. It is certainly one of the best animation movies and we just can’t wait for the Kung Fu Panda 4 to be released. There is more to be excited about as DreamWorks Animation CEO has said that there may be three more sequels after Kung Fu Panda 3, bringing it to a six-film series.

Sleeping Beauty

This is amongst the best classic animation films, which was released by Walt Disney way back in 1959.  The film is a wonder and thrilling adventure woven together in a grand legend that transcends time. It is the story of the evil and jealous fairy Maleficent, one of the most spectacular villains of the animated world that casts a curse on the kingdom’s beloved Princess Aurora. After being snubbed by the royal family, the malevolent fairy places a curse on the princess which can only be broken by a prince, along with the help of three good fairies. The classic Disney film will charm the young and tickle adults alike and is a magnificent animation achievement of the time that offers suspense, action and humor, in a truly beautiful package.

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