The 100 best animated movies: animation experts

Experts including Disney and Pixar directors, Wes Anderson, Nick Park and Carlos Saldanha vote for their favorite animated movies



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How did we choose the 100 best animated movies of all time? We went straight to the experts and asked them to tell us their personal top ten films. From there we calculated the top 100 overall best animated movies. Here you'll find the personal selections of people including Ed Desroches (the current president of the International Association of Animated Film), Steve Alpert (who has held executive positions at both Disney and Studio Ghibli) and the anime specialist Helen McCarthy. Explore their top tens here.

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Abigail Addison

Abigail Addison is associate director of Animate Projects and a freelance arts producer.

Alice first revealed the creative potential of animation to reinvent the everyday when I saw it as a child, and its uniqueness has stayed with me since. The dark imaginings that legendary Czech artist Jan Švankmajer shares in this, his first feature, are truly outstanding. Don Hertzfeldt’s It’s Such a Beautiful Day is heartbreaking in its frank depiction of the bleakness of its everyman character Bill’s daily struggles and his battle with mental illness. Hertzfeldt uses simple hand-drawn animation (which in the third chapter is combined with experimental optical effects) and an indifferent voiceover to produce a deeply moving film. Hertzfeldt is truly one of the best animators producing independent creative work today.”

Steve Alpert

Steve Alpert has been an executive with both the Walt Disney Company and Studio Ghibli.

“One important thing about all the films I chose is that they were made against a backdrop of the filmmakers being told they couldn’t do what they had set out to do. Hayao Miyazaki was told that the story of Nausicaä was too ambitious for an animated film; before Isao Takahata made Grave of the Fireflies, he was told he couldn’t do a film about World War II (Japanese prefer not to think about it); Walt Disney was told Fantasia wouldn’t be commercially successful (it wasn’t); John Lasseter was told no one would want to watch a computer-animated feature whose characters were ordinary toys; Beauty and the Beast set out to be an operetta, and the studio’s businessmen thought it wouldn’t sell; Andrew Stanton was told he couldn’t make a film like Wall-E with no dialogue at all in the first half hour; Pete Docter was told no one would watch Up because the main character was old. Miyazaki always said that adversity during the production process made the films better. Maybe it’s not just a coincidence that many of the films I think are best had to struggle just to get made.”

Darren-Jon Ashmore

Darren-Jon Ashmore is a researcher of animation history and teaches the subject at Akita University in Japan.

Jerry Beck

Jerry Beck is an animation historian and producer. His books include The Animated Movie Guide, Looney Tunes: The Ultimate Visual Guide and The 50 Greatest Cartoons.

“An additional list of ten runners-up: Fritz the Cat, Mr. Bug Goes to Town, Little Prince and the Eight Headed Dragon, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Three Caballeros, Ice Age, The Simpsons Movie, Melody Time.”

Giannalberto Bendazzi

Professor Giannalberto Bendazzi is the author of several books, including Cartoons: One Hundred Years of Cinema Animation.

“My nominations for the ten best animated feature films are…three.”

Joe Curzon

Joe Curzon runs Otaku News, a website for fans of Japanese culture with a focus on anime and manga.

Ed Desroches

Ed Desroches is president of the International Animated Film Association and is an animator, Web designer, instructor and computer geek.

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