Best 100+ Animation Features

by Rad82 | created - 10 May 2013 | updated - 13 Oct 2018 | Public

As a big animation fan and as promised, I present this small collection of animation feature films that found their way into this personal favorite list of mine.

They cover pretty much all production years and countries. Special emphasis for choosing was given to animation art and design as well as plot and how memorable each film was.

Shorts and Series were deliberately excluded from this list. I wanted to include "only" feature films of full length (50+ min). In addition, sequel Films were usually worse so they were also excluded.

Finally, I also avoided selecting some Disney classics from last century (20th), which I did enjoy as a kid, but I wouldn't really recommend to new viewers (few exceptions) since modern cinema has shifted too much in style since then and naturally, people's tastes as well. So don't headbutt me on this.

Order is more or less irrelevant. Feel free to recommend more foreign animation films, including stop-motion, puppet, silhouette, rotoscope and experimental animation.


NOTES: 1.Special mention goes to Akira even if the movie left too much to be desired, that was only seen in the excellent manga.

2. Honorary mention to: Felidae, A Bug's Life, Arcadia of my Youth, My Neighbor Totoro, EoE, Princess Arete, Urusei Yatsura 2:Beautiful Dreamer, Patlabor 2, My Dog Tulip, Wicked City, Macross: Do you Remember Love, Sky Crawlers, Swan Lake, Twelve months, My Beautiful Girl Mari, Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Wererabbit, Animal Treasure Island, Sea Prince and the Fire Child, Junkers Come here, The Secret world of Arrietty, Furusato Japan, Sita Sings the Blues, Flushed Away, Hotel Transylvania, Ninja Scroll, My Neighbours the Yamadas, Suicide Shop, Letter to Momo, A Cat in Paris, Only Yesterday, Metegol, Animatrix, Rabbi's Cat, Roujin Z, Boy and the World, Monster House, Space Jam.


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1. Spirited Away (2001)

PG | 125 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

96 Metascore

During her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Daveigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, Miyu Irino, Rumi Hiiragi

Votes: 656,345 | Gross: $10.06M

---Spirited Away--- The Pinnacle of Fantasy Animation Storytelling. A magical journey like no other! Miyazaki at his absolute BEST !!

2. Fantastic Planet (1973)

PG | 72 min | Animation, Sci-Fi

73 Metascore

On a faraway planet where blue giants rule, oppressed humanoids rebel against their machine-like leaders.

Director: René Laloux | Stars: Barry Bostwick, Jennifer Drake, Eric Baugin, Jean Topart

Votes: 25,613 | Gross: $0.19M

---Fantastic Planet--- A timeless film regarding the study of species societies, our environment and our needs, with extraordinary creativity and depth. Favorite Laloux Film that even made it as far as to the Cannes.

3. The Triplets of Belleville (2003)

PG-13 | 80 min | Animation, Comedy, Drama

91 Metascore

When her grandson is kidnapped during the Tour de France, Madame Souza and her beloved pooch Bruno team up with the Belleville Sisters--an aged song-and-dance team from the days of Fred Astaire--to rescue him.

Director: Sylvain Chomet | Stars: Michèle Caucheteux, Jean-Claude Donda, Michel Robin, Monica Viegas

Votes: 50,715 | Gross: $7.00M

European modern artwork at it's peak. Subtle, funny, trippy, touching and even surreal, but always in a good way too. Words fall short in this unbelievable French visual treat.

4. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Not Rated | 89 min | Animation, Drama, War

94 Metascore

A young boy and his little sister struggle to survive in Japan during World War II.

Director: Isao Takahata | Stars: Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Akemi Yamaguchi, Yoshiko Shinohara

Votes: 237,158

---Grave of the Fireflies--- Probably the most heartrending & realistic drama till date. Every single person should have watched this.

5. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

TV-MA | 83 min | Animation, Action, Crime

76 Metascore

A cyborg policewoman and her partner hunt a mysterious and powerful hacker called the Puppet Master.

Director: Mamoru Oshii | Stars: Atsuko Tanaka, Iemasa Kayumi, Akio Ôtsuka, Kôichi Yamadera

Votes: 129,951 | Gross: $0.52M

---Ghost in the Shell--- Cyberpunk classic with more than meets the eye.

6. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

PG | 76 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

82 Metascore

Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but his attempts to bring Christmas to his home causes confusion.

Director: Henry Selick | Stars: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O'Hara, William Hickey

Votes: 301,115 | Gross: $75.08M

Burton's true masterpiece even though he didn't direct it. A "poem" I find myself revisiting almost every year or two.

7. The Story of the Fox (1937)

63 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

When Renard the Fox's mischievous pranks go too far, King Lion is forced to attempt to bring the trickster to justice.

Directors: Irene Starewicz, Wladyslaw Starewicz | Stars: Claude Dauphin, Romain Bouquet, Sylvain Itkine, Léon Larive

Votes: 1,169

---The Tale of the Fox--- As sly as a Fox. As cunning as a Fox. 10 years in the making, this genius piece of masterwork that is teeming with black humor and constant innovation is one of the finest gems you'll ever find in the history of puppet animation.

8. Waltz with Bashir (2008)

R | 90 min | Documentary, Animation, Biography

91 Metascore

An Israeli film director interviews fellow veterans of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon to reconstruct his own memories of his term of service in that conflict.

Director: Ari Folman | Stars: Ari Folman, Ron Ben-Yishai, Ronny Dayag, Ori Sivan

Votes: 55,205 | Gross: $2.28M

---Waltz with Bashir--- A horrifying Anti-war Drama Documentary that even manages to be beautiful beyond words.

A Cinema experience that I'll probably never forget.

9. Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000)

R | 103 min | Animation, Action, Fantasy

62 Metascore

When a girl is abducted by a vampire, a legendary bounty hunter is hired to bring her back.

Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri | Stars: Andrew Philpot, John Rafter Lee, Pamela Adlon, Wendee Lee

Votes: 29,307 | Gross: $0.15M

Kawajiri's Masterpiece. Terrific Atmosphere and Direction that transcends the medium. Easily puts other Vampire and action movies to shame.

10. Monsters, Inc. (2001)

G | 92 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

79 Metascore

In order to power the city, monsters have to scare children so that they scream. However, the children are toxic to the monsters, and after a child gets through, 2 monsters realize things may not be what they think.

Directors: Pete Docter, David Silverman, Lee Unkrich | Stars: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Mary Gibbs, Steve Buscemi

Votes: 819,352 | Gross: $289.92M

Favorite Pixar Plot!

11. Princess Mononoke (1997)

PG-13 | 134 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

76 Metascore

On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami's curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Yôji Matsuda, Yuriko Ishida, Yûko Tanaka, Billy Crudup

Votes: 345,646 | Gross: $2.38M

---Princess Mononoke--- A powerful and emotional epic adventure, concerning nature's immeasurable value to all beings. Unforgettable music too.

12. Rurouni Kenshin: Trust and Betrayal (1999)

TV-MA | 118 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

In the era of Japan's Meiji Restoration, an assassin regains his humanity.

Stars: Mayo Suzukaze, Junko Iwao, Nozomu Sasaki, Masami Suzuki

Votes: 13,224

---Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal--- An emotional, dark, beautiful and amazingly directed samurai film, giving a great feel of that Era in history, with an incredible score that even chills bones at times.

13. Mind Game (I) (2004)

103 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

66 Metascore

After a deadly encounter with two yakuza, a loser with a crush on his childhood girlfriend goes to heaven and back, embarking on a psychedelic self-discovery experience with her and his friends.

Directors: Masaaki Yuasa, Kôji Morimoto | Stars: Kôji Imada, Sayaka Maeda, Takashi Fujii, Seiko Takuma

Votes: 8,439 | Gross: $0.04M

A surreal, trippy unconventional journey of life, with exquisite use of colors and unique animation design.

14. Paprika (2006)

R | 90 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy

81 Metascore

When a machine that allows therapists to enter their patients' dreams is stolen, all Hell breaks loose. Only a young female therapist, Paprika, can stop it.

Director: Satoshi Kon | Stars: Megumi Hayashibara, Tôru Emori, Katsunosuke Hori, Tôru Furuya

Votes: 71,883 | Gross: $0.88M

---Paprika--- A real visual feast and certainly a mustwatch for Dreamers. Satoshi Kon's favorite.

15. Inside Out (I) (2015)

PG | 95 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

94 Metascore

After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions - Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness - conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school.

Directors: Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen | Stars: Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling

Votes: 620,731 | Gross: $356.46M

The Revival of Pixar's talent in fantasy & inventive script!

16. WALL-E (2008)

G | 98 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

95 Metascore

In the distant future, a small waste-collecting robot inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.

Director: Andrew Stanton | Stars: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Fred Willard

Votes: 1,004,665 | Gross: $223.81M

A picture is a thousand words in this beautifully crafted apocalypse movie. Reminiscent of Kubrick's Space Odyssey.

17. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

PG | 117 min | Animation, Adventure, Fantasy

86 Metascore

Warrior and pacifist Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Sumi Shimamoto, Mahito Tsujimura, Hisako Kyôda, Gorô Naya

Votes: 151,989 | Gross: $0.50M

---Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind--- Miyazaki's first masterpiece. Nature is always worth fighting for.

18. Persepolis (2007)

PG-13 | 96 min | Animation, Biography, Drama

90 Metascore

A precocious and outspoken Iranian girl grows up during the Islamic Revolution.

Directors: Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi | Stars: Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Gena Rowlands, Danielle Darrieux

Votes: 88,935 | Gross: $4.45M

An emotional autobiographical social study of a little girl that grows up in harsh times. B&W filming at it's best.

19. The Dark Crystal (1982)

PG | 93 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

66 Metascore

On another planet in the distant past, a Gelfling embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of a magical crystal, and so restore order to his world.

Directors: Jim Henson, Frank Oz | Stars: Jim Henson, Kathryn Mullen, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz

Votes: 62,328 | Gross: $40.58M

Frank Oz's best work, and undeniably the most rich fantasy world in puppetmaster animation ever made. Attention to detail is beyond belief. Meticulous work that passes the test of time.

20. Daliás idök (1983)

79 min | Animation, History, War

The tragic medieval tale of a man of inhuman strength, fierce temper and a desire for noble knighthood. While on the run as a murderer, he finds new life as a knight, only to face disillusionment, the horrors of war and ugly human vices.

Director: József Gémes | Stars: Adrienne Csengery, Gyula Szabó

Votes: 132

---Heroic Times--- A dark, grim tale through the medieval era morals. War, jousting & knighthood clash with man's ambitions & deceit. Awe-inspiring narration and beautiful painted animation reminiscent of Al. Petrov works is the bread and butter of this rare underrated Hungarian gem.

21. Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (1999)

R | 102 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy

59 Metascore

A traumatized member of an elite para-military police force falls for the sister of a female terrorist courier who died in front of him on duty.

Director: Hiroyuki Okiura | Stars: Michael Dobson, Yoshikazu Fujiki, Sumi Mutoh, Moneca Stori

Votes: 15,303 | Gross: $0.09M

---Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade--- A dark tale with decent allegory, social commentary and food for thought in it's core.

22. Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

PG-13 | 92 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

73 Metascore

On Christmas Eve, three homeless people living on the streets of Tokyo discover a newborn baby among the trash and set out to find its parents.

Directors: Satoshi Kon, Shôgo Furuya | Stars: Tôru Emori, Yoshiaki Umegaki, Aya Okamoto, Shôzô Îzuka

Votes: 31,928 | Gross: $0.13M

Refreshing, enjoyable and above all humane. Another Satoshi Kon miracle.

23. When the Wind Blows (1986)

Not Rated | 84 min | Animation, Comedy, Drama

A naive elderly British rural couple survive the initial onslaught of a nuclear war.

Director: Jimmy T. Murakami | Stars: Peggy Ashcroft, John Mills, Robin Houston, James Russell

Votes: 9,944 | Gross: $0.01M

A humane and sorrowful tale about the destructive nature and aftermath of War.

24. A Thousand & One Nights (1969)

X | 128 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

The incredible and often tragic adventures of Aladdin as he travels through the Middle East in search of love, fortune, and power.

Director: Eiichi Yamamoto | Stars: Sachiko Itô, Haruko Katô, Noboru Mitani, Hiroshi Akutagawa

Votes: 521

---One Thousand and One Nights---

25. The Book of the Dead (2005)

Not Rated | 70 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy

The story takes place as Buddhism is being introduced to Japan from China. Iratsume, a woman of noble descent, one night sees a luminous vision that she believes to be the Buddha, ... See full summary »

Director: Kihachiro Kawamoto | Stars: Kyôko Kishida, Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, Rie Miyazawa

Votes: 207

---The Book of the Dead--- Kawamoto's Magnus Opus in Puppet stopmotion Animation.

26. Mary and Max (2009)

Not Rated | 92 min | Animation, Comedy, Drama

A tale of friendship between two unlikely pen pals: Mary, a lonely, eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max, a forty-four-year old, severely obese man living in New York.

Director: Adam Elliot | Stars: Toni Collette, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eric Bana, Barry Humphries

Votes: 165,087

An Australian production, that surprised me in the best possible way.

27. Time of Eve (2010)

106 min | Animation, Drama, Romance

In a not too distant future, a young man's outlook on his home android begins to change after tracking the android's behavioral log to a mysterious cafe.

Director: Yasuhiro Yoshiura | Stars: Jun Fukuyama, Kenji Nojima, Rie Tanaka, Rina Satô

Votes: 3,403

---Time of Eve--- A modern cafeteria where humans and androids do not discriminate and Asimov Laws apply. Try to tell the difference. Watch the movie version.

28. The Thief and the Cobbler (1993)

G | 90 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

A lonely princess and a poor cobbler fall in love while trying to retrieve three magical orbs that were stolen by a bumbling thief, all while outwitting a powerful sorcerer as adventure and comedic pop culture references abound.

Director: Richard Williams | Stars: Vincent Price, Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Beals, Bobbi Page

Votes: 3,606 | Gross: $0.67M

Insanely animated with double the frames per second, this work of art was finally restored to the original Masterpiece that blows Aladdin miles away. Make sure you watch the "Recobbled Cut Mark IV" restored version, to fully enjoy the original intended experience for this milestone in animation history.

29. Time Masters (1982)

78 min | Animation, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Piel, a 7 or 8 year old boy, is alone on the desert planet Perdide, only survivor of an attack by giant hornets. Calling for help, Piel's father's friend Jaffar keeps contact with the kid ... See full summary »

Director: René Laloux | Stars: Jean Valmont, Michel Elias, Frédéric Legros, Yves-Marie Maurin

Votes: 5,077

---Time Masters--- A terrific journey of exploration to one's self, values and individuality. Animation design is much simpler than in Fantastic Planet, but the ideas presented make up for it.

30. Toy Story (1995)

G | 81 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

95 Metascore

A cowboy doll is profoundly threatened and jealous when a new spaceman figure supplants him as top toy in a boy's room.

Director: John Lasseter | Stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney

Votes: 891,876 | Gross: $191.80M

The Movie I loved as a kid and made me aware of Pixar's talent.

31. The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)

Not Rated | 80 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

A handsome prince rides a flying horse to faraway lands and embarks on magical adventures, which include befriending a witch, meeting Aladdin, battling demons and falling in love with a princess.

Directors: Lotte Reiniger, Carl Koch

Votes: 5,478

---The Adventures of Prince Achmed--- An enjoyable classic which happens to be the first fully animated feature to have been "saved". Spectacular Silhouette Animation even by today's standards.

32. Waking Life (2001)

R | 99 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy

83 Metascore

A man shuffles through a dream meeting various people and discussing the meanings and purposes of the universe.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Ethan Hawke, Trevor Jack Brooks, Lorelei Linklater, Wiley Wiggins

Votes: 60,863 | Gross: $2.89M

A dreamer's "Wet Dream". Loved it for the philosophical aspects it explores too.

33. Cat City (1986)

96 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

In the year 80 AMM (After Mickey Mouse) on planet X the crime-syndicated Cats try to erase the Mouse-population once and for all. A scientist of the mice, prof. Fushimishi seems to have ... See full summary »

Director: Béla Ternovszky | Stars: Miklós Benedek, Gyula Bodrogi, Ilona Béres, Péter Haumann

Votes: 9,415

---Cat City--- Funny, witty and above all refreshing. Hungary really surprises on this one.

34. Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (2004)

PG-13 | 100 min | Animation, Action, Drama

66 Metascore

In the year 2032, Batô, a cyborg detective for the anti-terrorist unit Public Security Section 9, investigates the case of a female robot--one created solely for sexual pleasure--who slaughtered her owner.

Director: Mamoru Oshii | Stars: Akio Ôtsuka, Atsuko Tanaka, Tamio Ôki, Kôichi Yamadera

Votes: 36,343 | Gross: $1.04M

---GITS Innocence--- Only a collaboration between Ghibli, Production I.G. and Oshii, could pull off such a perfect blend of CG animation and hand-drawn animation design. The result is a true feast for the eyes that along with Kawai Kenji's engaging, mesmerizing music provides an immensely unique and memorable experience.

35. The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1978)

73 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

A young boy becomes an apprentice for a mysterious sorcerer, working at the sorcerer's strange and sinister mill where secretive black magic is being taught and performed at a very heavy price.

Director: Karel Zeman | Stars: Ludek Munzar, Jaroslav Moucka, Christian Brückner, Friedrich Schütter

Votes: 950

---The Sorcerer's Apprentice---

36. Ratatouille (2007)

G | 111 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

96 Metascore

A rat who can cook makes an unusual alliance with a young kitchen worker at a famous restaurant.

Directors: Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava | Stars: Brad Garrett, Lou Romano, Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm

Votes: 644,816 | Gross: $206.45M

Cooking was never before so interesting. Noteworthy plot.

37. Belladonna of Sadness (1973)

Unrated | 86 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy

70 Metascore

An evil feudal lord rapes a village girl on her wedding night and proceeds to ruin her and her husband's lives. After she's eventually banished from her village, the girl makes a pact with the devil to gain magical ability and take revenge.

Director: Eiichi Yamamoto | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Katsuyuki Itô, Aiko Nagayama, Shigako Shimegi

Votes: 4,264 | Gross: $0.11M

---Belladonna of Sadness--- A true arthouse of an adult-themed animation film.

38. Porco Rosso (1992)

PG | 94 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

83 Metascore

In 1930s Italy, a veteran World War I pilot is cursed to look like an anthropomorphic pig.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Shûichirô Moriyama, Tokiko Katô, Bunshi Katsura Vi, Tsunehiko Kamijô

Votes: 78,510

---Porco Rosso--- One of Ghibli's personal favorites.

39. The Pied Piper (1986)

Not Rated | 53 min | Animation, Fantasy, Horror

The story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin with a twist.

Director: Jirí Barta | Stars: Oldrich Kaiser, Jirí Lábus, Michal Pavlícek, Vilém Cok

Votes: 1,101

---The Pied Piper of Hamelin--- The definition of arthouse in wooden stop-motion. A grim, dark and at times grotesque tale inspired from the classical Piper story.

40. A Scanner Darkly (2006)

R | 100 min | Animation, Crime, Drama

73 Metascore

An undercover cop in a not-too-distant future becomes involved with a dangerous new drug and begins to lose his own identity as a result.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Robert Downey Jr., Rory Cochrane

Votes: 106,731 | Gross: $5.50M

Another Rotoscope great by Linklater, with professional actors as usual. Based on one of Philip Dick's scenarios.

41. Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

PG | 101 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

72 Metascore

A video game villain wants to be a hero and sets out to fulfill his dream, but his quest brings havoc to the whole arcade where he lives.

Director: Rich Moore | Stars: John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Sarah Silverman

Votes: 381,730 | Gross: $189.42M

Surprisingly creative. A mustsee for any "gamer" at heart.

42. Up (2009)

PG | 96 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

88 Metascore

78-year-old Carl Fredricksen travels to Paradise Falls in his house equipped with balloons, inadvertently taking a young stowaway.

Directors: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson | Stars: Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai, John Ratzenberger, Christopher Plummer

Votes: 940,249 | Gross: $293.00M

Pixar's emotional roller-coaster road-trip.

43. Ice Age (2002)

PG | 81 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

60 Metascore

Set during the Ice Age, a sabertooth tiger, a sloth, and a wooly mammoth find a lost human infant, and they try to return him to his tribe.

Directors: Chris Wedge, Carlos Saldanha | Stars: Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Ray Romano, Goran Visnjic

Votes: 443,868 | Gross: $176.39M

The Animal "pack" we really adored in 21st Century animation.

44. Fimfárum Jana Wericha (2002)

100 min | Animation, Comedy, Fantasy

A farmer who takes to drink and meets the devil; a young boy who has to spend the night in a haunted pub; a man who grows horns overnight; a man who bets and argues with his wife; and a ... See full summary »

Directors: Aurel Klimt, Vlasta Pospísilová | Stars: Ota Jirák, Jan Werich

Votes: 455

A true treasure of Czech legendary fables. Stop-motion galore.

45. Renaissance (2006)

R | 105 min | Animation, Action, Sci-Fi