When we grow up, we put away childish things—or at least try to. And sure, we’ve given a lot of deep cinematic thought to adult tastes: to the best movie sex scenes, romantic comedies, horror movies and Hitchcock classics.
But animation is something we’ll never be able to shed. It’s in our DNA as moviegoers. For all of us, watching animated movies was our most formative film experience. Animation inculcates a sense of wonder: a love for the natural universe, for talking animals, wooden boys and adventure.
Nostalgia aside, we polled over 100 experts in the field—from directors like Fantastic Mr. Fox’s Wes Anderson and Wallace & Gromit’s Nick Park, to critics and hardcore fans alike. The bigger discovery was seriousness: Embedded in Disney’s fantasies, we saw politics. Studio Ghibli awakened us to ecological disaster, Ralph Bakshi to race and sex. Animation has grown up, sometimes uneasily, right before our eyes.
Our authoritative ranking of the best animated movies ever made will make you feel both old and young—in a good way, we promise. Return to the timeless classics from Hollywood and around the world. Films that make you weep, laugh, sing and wish upon stars.
Written by Geoff Andrew, Dave Calhoun, Cath Clarke, David Ehrlich, Tom Huddleston, Guy Lodge, Trevor Johnston, Joshua Rothkopf and Keith Uhlich.