Often dismissed as a children’s genre, animated movies have a storytelling technique that is suitable for all ages and beyond. Their storyline and themes are relatable if not realistic.
We’ve selected 20 best-animated movies of all time based on their storyline, importance, or just for pure nostalgia.
I watched Kimi No Nawa or Your Name as a young adult and it was my first introduction to the world of Japanese animation and how profound their stories are.
Watch this 2016 animated movie for just absolutely fantastic visuals, its music, and last but not least, its love story.
The Jungle Book
I first watched the 1967 Disney adaptation as a little kid, and Mowgli was all I wanted to be. Living in a forest, talking to animals, befriending a black panther, and having a family of wolves, Mowgli was a symbol of envy for me and my friends.
Watch this movie for its moral themes, for the hidden but important message of human vs nature, and lastly for the theme of friendship.
This list of 20 best-animated movies of all time will be left short without Frozen on it. It was the very first time when a princess didn’t need saving by relying on a prince.
Watch this 2013 animated movie for its very memorable songs like ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman?’ and ‘Let it Go’ or for the theme of familial love. But, mostly watch it for Olaf, a tiny snowman who loves warm hugs.
A 1992 animated movie about magic carpets that can fly and a wish-granting genie? Aladdin definitely deserves a place on this list.
Aladdin is the story of a poor boy who falls in love with a princess but is unable to marry her due to his status. Jafar, an iconic villain invites him to enter a cave that stores a wish-granting lamp.
I recently watched Coco, and I still found myself crying listening to the song ‘Remember Me’. Coco, released in 2017 won the Academy Award for the Best Animation Movie and it’s well deserved.
A movie to learn from, Coco is about pursuing one’s dreams and about familial love. How our loved ones protect us, even after death. The animation in this movie is visually mesmerizing and the songs remain on your lips long after the movie ends.
My Neighbor Totoro
My Neighbor Totoro is a 1988 animated movie that has supernatural elements in a simplistic and rural setting. A Hayao Miyazaki work, produced by Studio Ghibli, Totoro is a fan favorite.
The storyline follows a father and his two young daughters who are relocating to the countryside where their mother is hospitalized. The wonders of a child’s innocence are fully animated in this movie. This is the story of two lively but lonely children who find an unlikely friend called Totoro.
Spiderman Across the Spider-Verse
A 2023 American animated sequel to Spiderman Into the Spider-Verse (2018), Spiderman Across the Spider-Verse astounded me with its graphic visual animation and music.
The movie did financially well, and the fans and critics couldn’t stop appreciating the artwork of this movie. The movie ended on a climax, and now the fans are anticipating a quick release of the third movie in this series.
The Lion King
The first time I watched The Lion King, after seeing Mufasa drown in a crowd of wildebeests my parents lied to me that he went for a vacation along with them, which probably saved me from a lot of trauma.
Watching the 2019 remake, it’s a realization that The Lion King has an epic feel to it. From its storyline to music and the biblical elements, the movie is definitely one of the best-animated movies of all time.
Ratatouille is the reminiscence of the streets of Paris, the night view of the lit-up Eiffel Tower, and the recipe of a farmer’s common dish.
With the catchphrase of ‘Anybody can cook!’, this animated movie takes you on a hilarious journey of a street rat who can cook.
This 2003 adventure-comedy animation captured the whole world’s attention for a long time after its release. Every kid had to have a Nemo fish doll or a pet clownfish to fulfill the fantasy of being a part of Nemo’s world.
The story revolves around a father clown fish who is overprotective of his son but soon loses him in a moment of distraction. The movie then follows Nemo and his adventurous journey.
An emotional and moving animated movie by Pixar Up is one of the best-animated movies of all time.
It is a story about a couple who always sought to go on an adventure together but every time life interfered, until it was too late. Carl, a former balloon salesman after his wife’s death ties helium balloons to his house and decides to fly to Paradise Falls, a place he always wanted to go with his wife.
One thing I love most about Japanese animated movies is the incorporation of their culture, folklore, and myths in the stories that elevate the stories to a newer level.
Inspired by Shinto folklore, Hayao Miyazaki gave us a work of riveting and enthralling animation in 2001 Spirited Away.
Toy Story is a 1995 animated movie about the world of toys and this franchise followed to have 4 more parts made in the next two decades after.
Every child is attached to their toys and their companion at home. But what happens when we grow too old to play with them, what do the toys feel? The movie’s unique storyline and themes made it a beloved of all the children through two decades.
Disney Princesses have been an integral part of life growing up. The animated movies, their dolls, and the story were very much a part of my everyday.
Cinderella is one of my favorite princesses. She is hardworking, optimistic, and a kind girl.
Cars is a 2006 animated movie set in the world of racing cars. Lightning McQueen, voiced by Owen Wilson is one of my favorite animated characters.
Lightening McQueen is a rookie who wants to prove himself but his overconfidence stalls him from achieving his aims. But a series of incidents help temper his confidence and he ends up making many friends.
Tangled is the story of Princess Rapunzel who lives in a secluded tower with her mother, Gothel, and aspires to one day go out and explore the outside world.
The movie still reminds me of the gorgeous scenes of sky lanterns. It’s a comedy, a musical, and a fantasy-adventure animation.
We usually like to watch beautiful animations of animals or people, but Shrek did the opposite and we still fell in love with this green creature.
This 2001 fantasy movie is about a grumpy ogre, who likes his privacy and space. But an incident sets him off on a reluctant adventure of saving a princess from the dragon.
Another Disney Princess that I adore is Merida, with her wild red curls and unsophisticated mannerisms. Born in a noble family, she is a rebel and an object of her mother’s annoyance.
This 2012 movie is about familial relationships and tells us how fragile they are and should be taken care of.
Kung Fu Panda
Set in ancient China, this 2008 animated movie shifted us to the world of kung fu and martial arts.
An unlikely animal to practice Kung fu would be the Panda, known for their lazy habitat. But this animated movie, made us cheer the underdog in his quest to become qualified for the title of Dragon Warrior.
Big Hero 6
Baymax and Tadashi are two of my favorite animated characters from this 2014 animated movie, Big Hero 6.
Set in the future, the story follows Hiro Hamada, a 14-year-old prodigy who spends time betting on robot wrestling matches. His elder brother, Tadashi, advises him to use his brain for good and introduces him to his newest invention, Baymax, an adorable healthcare robot.