Time Out's 50 greatest animated films, with added commentary by Terry Gilliam

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In celebration of the release of Pixar's 'Up' and Wes Anderson's beautiful stop-motion rendering of Roald Dahl's 'The Fantastic Mr Fox', Time Out ushers in the help of master animator Terry Gilliam – whose own partially animated 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' opens in cinemas this month – to run down 50 of the greatest animated features of all time

Click here for 40 through to 31

50. Heavy Metal (1981)

Directed by Gerald PottertonLick my love pump!
As an exercise in nakedly exploiting the sweaty peccadilloes of the teenage male, ‘Heavy Metal' would appear at first glance to be a sure-fire winner: an adaptation of stories stripped from the pages of ultraviolent French sex-comic, Métal Hurlant, with a slew of churning metal anthems booming over the top. It's everything an adolescent boy could wish for, non?

Sadly, it's not the breast-filled bloodbath of orgiastic carnage set to the savage cacophony of Iron Maiden and Sabbath that one remembers. What we're in fact offered is a jarringly discontinuous parade of badly drawn cockamamie featuring heavy-set, matronly women riding tigers to the strains of art-rock also-rans Devo covering ‘Working in a Goldmine’ or Stevie Nicks bleating away over an inscrutable snippet of hamstrung space opera. At the time though, it was boss! ALD
Watch a blast of ‘
Heavy Metal

Read the Time Out review of 'Heavy Metal'

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs.jpg

49. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

Directed by Phil LordThis time, the food fights back…
Too soon? Perhaps, but we’re convinced that this maddeningly ingenious and wildly original smart kids’ adventure will one day take its rightful place in the animated pantheon. In time-honoured cartoon fashion, ‘Cloudy… ’ takes a simple idea – scientist creates machine that turns water into food – and milks it for all its worth: you want spaghetti tornadoes? Ice-cream snowfalls? Palaces made of jelly? Killer Gummi-Bears? ‘Cloudy… ’ has it all.

But perhaps the film’s most notable characteristic is it’s absolute refusal to fall prey to this century’s most annoying cartoon bugbear: cultural referencing. From the industry in-jokes of ‘Shrek’ to the soul-searching self-help psychology of the ‘Ice Age’ movies, animators seem to have forgotten how to make movies for kids without patronising their parents. ‘Cloudy… ’ gets the balance just right, with a winning parade of witty asides, outrageous sight gags and beautifully judged character moments. TH
Watch the great Bruce Campbell introducing the movie

Read the Time Out review of 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs'

Final Fantasy.jpg

48. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)

Directed by Hironobu SakaguchiAll fur coat, no knickersWith its impenetrable plot, lazy voice casting and dialogue that sounds as if it’s been mangled through an online interpreter, there’s little to be said for the narrative elements of this CGI spin-off of the enduring computer game franchise. But turn the sound down and slap some mellow beats into the CD player – we suggest Slowdive or mid-period Simple Minds – and you’ve got yourself some serious ambient eye candy. Full-tilt gun battles, ethereal aliens and stately space action fills every frame, and with the sound off you have the added bonus of having to invent your own plot, which will almost certainly be more cogent than the one the filmmakers came up with. ALDWatch the trailer that promised so much…

Read the Time Out review of 'Final Fantasy'

Sleeping Beauty.jpg

47. Sleeping Beauty (1959)

Directed by Clyde GeronimiDisney meets Nick Cave.Everything about ‘Sleeping Beauty’ is huge and grand, from its wildly kinky villain and wonderful score to the sweeping, colourful animation. The only quibble is that they are all put to the service of a story that doesn’t really actually get round to going anywhere. It might well have its roots firmly set in the elemental undertow of classic fairy tale, but any such tale needs to be adapted for its age, and while the basic premise is sound as a pound, there’s hardly enough going on in this Disney adaptation to get it over the finishing line. The design and animation remain a marvel, but the vague miasma of nightmares past that drip from every frame – added to the torpid plot – has dated the film rather badly. ALD
Watch the Disney Princess legacy…

Read the Time Out review of 'Sleeping Beauty'


Paprika.jpg

46. Paprika

Directed by Satoshi KonBrain-bending pop-cultural noir from the pulp MiyazakiPushing through the fourth wall and throttling your brain into submission, 'Paprika' posits the notion that the psyche unbound would be the most destructive force on earth as a therapeutic invention for making dreams come to life falls into the wrong hands. The scenario is home to an array of brash set-pieces which take place in both modern-day Japan and the noirish inner world of one police detective’s mind. They usually consist of a fantastical parade of childhood icons and Freudian nightmares that edge ever closer to the real world. It’s a playful, complex psychological disaster movie with dark sexual undertones that happens to have been animated in the eye-scorching style of early-morning kids' TV fodder. PF
Watch the unhinged mind-parade

Read the Time Out review of 'Paprika'


Transformers - The Movie.jpg

45. Transformers – The Movie (1986)

Directed by Nelson ShinIn space no-one can hear you, StarscreamThe final film role of Scatman Crothers….and, yes, Orson Welles also snaffled up a madballs array of vocal talent that takes in Eric Idle, Casey Kasem and Leonard Nimoy for an adventure that somewhat desperately announced itself to be ‘Beyond Good. Beyond Evil. Beyond Your Wildest Imagination.’ Despite being loud, muddled and cheesy, it’s still a wonder that it failed to pull in audiences. But for those who did manage to mither their parents into taking them along, it was event cinema of Death Star proportions and the very zenith of the animator’s art. ALDWatch the trailer to ‘Transformers’ Read the Time Out review of 'Transformers – The Movie'

Waking Life.jpg

44. Waking Life (2001) / A Scanner Darkly (2006)

Directed by Richard LinklaterI think the technical term is ‘talky’?Definitive take-‘em-or-leave-‘em entries, Richard Linklater’s pioneering philosophical doodle ‘Waking Life’ is known best as the film that brought the term Rotoscoping to the unwashed masses. In basic terms, it’s a process that involves animating live footage which gives the actions and movements a realist sheen, but also allows lots of room for experimentation when it comes to size, colour and context. The resultant film was essentially an animated version of the director’s meandering debut, ‘Slacker’, which pieced together a selection of tortuous conversations and monologues and threw a brilliant tango soundtrack over the top. ‘A Scanner Darkly’ saw a more refined and fluid use of the technique, this time roping in a host of A-listers (Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr, Winona Ryder) to act out a Philip K Dick story about a mind-expanding drug that is sweeping the nation and the newly developed government software that allows one to enter the mind of another. While neither quite managed to attain the much-sought-after status of ‘mind-blowing’, they sure were real purty. DJWatch a typical scene from the film here

Read the Time Out review of 'Waking Life' here

Read the Time Out review of 'Through a Scanner Darkly' here

Happy Feet.jpg

43. Happy Feet (2006)

Directed by George MillerIt’s ‘March of the Penguins’ with tap.Hard to believe the director responsible for the post-apocalyptic ‘Mad Max’ trio could have turned his hand to something as schmaltzy as an animated coming-of-age musical starring a dancing penguin. But mawkish moments aside, ‘Happy Feet’ is a joyous little toe-tapping extravaganza quite unlike any other animated film to date. Granted, the production team didn’t have to worry about creating complex, interactive backgrounds since the setting itself is a total whiteout, but the fluidity of the characters and some of the set pieces are exquisitely rendered. What impresses most, though, is the way the film switches, without warning, from a cute song-and-dance comedy – with some classic tunes – to a dark, stark and shocking ecology message about habitat destruction and animal incarceration. The result is a children’s film that engages the full gamut of emotions. Miller is currently working on follow-ups to both of his franchises: ‘Happy Feet 2 in 3D’ and ‘Mad Max 4’. Hope they don’t muddle up the rushes in the editing suite. DA See the penguins do Boogie Wonderland

Read the Time Out review of 'Happy Feet'

Fritz The Cat.jpg

42. Fritz the Cat (1972)

Directed by Ralph BakshiWho’s the cat that won't cop out when there’s danger all about?A hippy redneck cat boppin’ and scattin’ his way across Harlem in search of reefer, sex and shits ‘n’ giggles may seem perfectly reasonable subject matter for an animated film these days. But in 1972, things were a little different. Despite being unnecessarily crass in places and occasionally – albeit unconvincingly – veering off toward the right wing, Bakshi’s adaptation of cartoonist Robert Crumb’s feline funster comic strip made a mint at both the regular box-office and on the bongo circuit. A rash of sequels followed, including ‘The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat’, ‘Saigon Fritz’ and ‘Fritz's Adventures in Boobland’, but none had the swagger or groove of the original. ALDClick here for the trailer
Read the Time Out review of 'Fritz the Cat'

FernGully.jpg

41. FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)

Directed by Bill KroyerCharming kiddie flick for lentil-lovers everywhere.
With the recent release of satellite imagery depicting the continuing destruction of vast swathes of rainforest, this is a timely moment to revisit Bill Kroyer’s 1992 eco-flavoured, fantasy fable about a fairy charged with helping to protect her little pastel-coloured glade from the advancing ‘humans'. An unabashed dig at international logging and the destruction it causes to both flora and fauna, Kroyer’s ahead-of-its-time film wins no prizes for animation (despite a few inventive, near-psychedelic sequences) and the music sucks big time. But its message was always loud and clear – despite falling on deaf ears. DA
Watch some eco base-jumping

Read the Time Out review of 'FernGully'

Click here for 40 through to 31

Author: Derek Adams, Dave Calhoun, Adam Lee Davies, Paul Fairclough, Tom Huddleston, David Jenkins & Ossian Ward



Users say

66 comments
Joel
Joel

The Guys Who made this website really flopped don't you think?

Sam
Sam

WHY ISN'T THE LION KING IN THIS LIST!!!

Mark
Mark

James Cameron's "Avatar" is essentially a re-make of "Fern Gully"

chris haigh
chris haigh

pokemon movies and seasons are the greatest of all time

d
d

The comment you tyabcbfdmodgfvkpe in this box will appear on the site

camberwell carrot
camberwell carrot

Yeah, Substance D, the drug in *through* A Scanner Darkly is pretty much the opposite of mind expanding and at no point does anyone enter the mind of anyone else through the use of a machine. Lazy.

Sindelle
Sindelle

This list is awful....as soon as I saw Paprika was towards the end and got beat out by such films are Fern Gully you lost all credibility

Anthoni
Anthoni

Such a shame that The King and the Mocking Bird (Le Roi et l'oiseau) was overlooked, great watch and great story.

Daniel
Daniel

the problem with a top 50 list is that "Cloudy with a chance of meatballs" ends up on a "top" list.

It looks like a nice tool, but it seems like these
It looks like a nice tool, but it seems like these

It looks like a nice tool, but it seems like these should be cllaed loading animations' or something besides preloaders'.Calling them prelaoders' seems to be an attempt to glorify them as if they are doing' something.When I look for preload' I am looking to load something before it is needed, not show something that the user does not even want to see, while you load the real value after the fact.What if preloaders' were something that loaded the actual content before it was requested?!If everyone develops preloading into their apps, we will not need these pesky animations.Imagine the worldwide rejoicing!

Assweeser
Assweeser

"software that allows one to enter the mind of another" did not appear in ASD.

Me of Course
Me of Course

I hope this list is not in order from worst to best because no way did happy feet beat sleeping beauty, I mean for goodness sake they never aged the poor penguin! They just made him bigger. The most irritating thing is that it served no purpose! I mean it wasn't even cute anymore, just severely disturbing.

Tulika
Tulika

Cloudy with a chance of meatballs is just an amazing movie !!!!!!!!!! Do try and watch it...........

PritsWire
PritsWire

No Up? No Sword in the Stone? No Alice in Wonderland? No Ponyo? No How to Train Your Dragon? No Waltz with Bashir?!

Kev
Kev

Ciro, I like your list as well. Mzuri sana!

Liz
Liz

You missed so many amazing movies, like how could you not include the Lion King, or Beauty and the Beast? you also missed out on Howl's Moving Castle, but included some really lame movies like Cloudy with a chance of meatballs. you shouldn't worry about trying to not over-repersent studio's you should try to make an accurate list with the best animated movies, Also you didn't include Grave for the Fireflies, hands down one of the best animated movies ever, and Up. needs some serious editing,

LipFusion
LipFusion

Great article on this famous story..Thanks for sharing with us

Phloof
Phloof

how in the hell paprika is ranked 46th. That movie was truly a work of of art from one the greatest animators of all time. Paprkia should of deserved to be featured as top ten. I'm displeased to quite few animated movies ranked poorly by some carp such as beavius and butt head, and happy feet. You people should seriously review these things more thoroughly.

GlassesEye9
GlassesEye9

Terrible list. Just terrible. How do crappy movies like Happy Feet, Transformers, Lord of the Rings, Beavis and Butt-Head, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and Final Fantasy make this list, while films like Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Finding Nemo, Kiki's Delivery Service, Wallace & Gromit, and Toy Story 2 are left out? You guys are really bad at this.

matty
matty

wow, when a masterpiece like Beauty and the Beast (not to mention countless others) are left off the list, yet Ferngully and the Aqua Teen movie are included, y'know something's wrong. Mostly alright list, but there are some movies missing that should be illegal to leave off, and seriously some included that make me question my faith in humanity.

Michael
Michael

I have a lot of issues with this half thrown together article piece..for one every single animated film that was put up was put down for pretentious reasons by the article writer and Terry Gilliam..two you left out of the most important animated films of all time Fullmetal Alchemist:Conqueror of Shamballa yet you put Aqua Teen Hunger Force Movie on this list?Really?The fullmetal alchemist film should be on this list alone just for its lush and beautifully fluid animation!Its a crime that its not on this list!South Park the movie a musical masterpiece?I can't take you or this article seriously after such a laughable comment like that..at least you had enough common sense to put Spirited Away and Akira on this list and Toy Story is one of the most overrated films made in the last 15 years no doubt.The list was somewhat interesting but far to predictable and idiotic for my taste.

heykyleinsf
heykyleinsf

I was hoping #50 would be #1 Hanover Fiste: He never did... anything that was... illegal... [pauses] Unless you count all the times he sold dope disguised as a nun!

yogesh
yogesh

up Lion king Wall-e Bolt These masterpieces coudn't make it to the list??? Cant trust these reviews.

jaykay
jaykay

Fantastic list.and im glad that The Lion king didnt make the list even thought its a good movie it very much ripped off Kimba The White Lion. Pretty surprised that the aqua teen movie made it.as for Happy feet yeh its not best at being political but its still somewhat of a enjoyable film.not for me tho but for kids.

fung0
fung0

You missed "The Thief & the Cobbler," which even in its tattered 'workprint' form is one of the greatest animated films ever.

Ciro
Ciro

The following is my list of movies I liked (not top movies, but what I really enjoyed, period) not included in this list (many created after the article was written, most of them CGI) and in no particular order. BTW, very good work, I would love to have more articles like this one, thanks a lot. - Battle for Terra - Despicable me - Dragon Hunters - Howl's Moving Castle - Bolt - Flushed away - Horton hears a who - How to train your dragon - Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius - Monsters vs Aliens - Monsters Inc. - Monster House - The Polar Express - Shrek - The ugly duckling and me - Fritz, the cat - Charlotte's web - The Rescuers Down Under - Titan A.E

sam
sam

LOl The lion king didnt even make the top 50 this review sucks

jared
jared

concurs with daniel. happy feet was wrong on so many levels. occasionally funny and rousingly musical, but failed in its purpose to make a political statement. and seriously? ferngully? ew.

Rooster
Rooster

and where's Surf's Up? You missed one there dude's

Half these movies... aren't that good.
Half these movies... aren't that good.

I'm surprised that Spirited away wasn't on there. And c'mon. Transformers was ooooook, but not reeeaaally good enough to be on the list, and Happy feet was just the same.

rahbret
rahbret

though I must say I appreciate them appreciating totoro.

rahbret
rahbret

wow the reviewers are imbeciles.. waking life had more substance than any other movie on ths particular pages, and the holo scanners of a scanner darkly do not let you enter the minds of the people under survailence, in the movie or the book. they also have a picture from fantastic planet gandahar... what the hell doods? what's confusing about princess mononoke? why are inept dopes being allowed to make these reviews?

manfred
manfred

Agree with daniel, Happy Feet was an atrocious movie.

pklat
pklat

and...uh...yes, just for the sake of lessening the domination of japanese and hollywood movies, Vampiros en la Habana is at least as good as quite a few things that made it to the list. must be other things out there.

pklat
pklat

for the people that keep complaining about Lion King missing from the list, author has mentioned it in review of Bambi, and more or less explained why it is not here. glad to see Myazaki dominate the list. deserved it. Gilliam said everything about the South Park. And glad to see "When the wind blows" here. Was hoping to see more obscure early animations i'm largely unfamiliar with. But that's just because i was hoping there might be something brilliant down there. really nothing?

Miles
Miles

Paprika isn't by Miyazaki, not even a little bit. If you are trying to call Satoshi Kon a 'pulp Miyazaki', then it is very confusing. I really enjoyed that movie, but it is not Miyazaki.

arei
arei

This was published before Up came out? Then how is Cloudy With a Chance on here? That came out months after Up did.

Daniel
Daniel

Happy feet????? That cannot be right. It was one of the worst movies I've seen ever. Animated or not, 2d or 3d, it was definitely horrible. Ok, you have some incredible movies, and you've also got some movies I haven't seen here either, that's why I cannot refere to the whole list as a fluke... but I insist: having happy feet in here is a swift kick in the nuts.

ningen
ningen

I should have stopped at the "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs." Ridiculous list.

Riley Escobar
Riley Escobar

One more thing- Starchaser came out in 1985 and was the first cartoon I ever saw with swearing...so maybe I'm a bit partial. But it is not biased to say the movie is waaay badass.

Riley Escobar
Riley Escobar

"Starchaser: the Legend of Orin"- or "the Best Star Wars Knock-Off Ever." The movie used some of the first computer graphics seen in an animated film, which are quite seamless even today. "Dag Debrimi," the Han Solo-like character, is drawn in the likeness of Humphrey Bogart as opposed to Harrison Ford. I like Indiana Jones as much as the next guy, but in a perfect world, wouldn't Bogart have made a better Han Solo?

daveed
daveed

I'm surprised Waltz with Bashir did not make the list.

xak
xak

heavy metal kicked all these movies butts, hands down, no questions asked.....Taarna is GOD.

jiock22
jiock22

@Exurban Mom The Iron Giant is on the list at number 15. A brilliant film - agreed.

Sam
Sam

Why, why why is FINAL FANTASY THE SPIRITS WITHIN here? Also, why can't your critics distinguish between A SCANNER DARKLY and WAKING LIFE - same director sure, but completely different films (one better, one worse) Would you put all of NICK PARK's films down under one heading - or MIYAZAKI's? Weeeeeird...



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