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.
Rolf Giesen is a German screenwriter, curator and author, whose books include Animation Under the Swastika and Chinese Animation.
John Grant has written many books, including Encyclopedia of Walt Disney’s Animated Characters, Masters of Animation and The Young Person’s Guide to Bullshit.
“I know that’s only 70 percent of ten, but I ran out of gas.”
Justin Johnson works with the BFI Film Fund on animation films. He also programs films at the BFI, including this year’s Studio Ghibli retrospective.
2. When the Wind Blows
3. Toy Story 3
4. Grave of the Fireflies
5. The Nightmare Before Christmas
6. The Boy Who Wanted to Be a Bear
7. 5 Centimeters Per Second
8. Jason and the Argonauts
9. Spirited Away
Michelle Le Blanc and Colin Odell
Michelle Le Blanc and Colin Odell are authors and critics whose books include works on Studio Ghibli and anime.
“There have been cinema adaptations of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for a century, some of them animated, but none of them match the surreal and occasionally deeply macabre Jan Svankmajer filmAlice, which seamlessly segues from live action to the animated world as we follow Alice on a nightmare journey. Wonderful and shocking. The Iron Giant takes a children’s book by poet laureate Ted Hughes as its source but sets its story in Cold War America. Brad Bird’s feature debut makes for a delightful and intelligent cel-animated story, where robots, politics and childhood friendship combine in a film that is exciting and genuinely moving. Whisper of the Heart is Yoshifumi Kondô’s story of burgeoning love between two teens—a young violin maker and his friend who aspires to be a writer. With the exception of some fantasy background sequences, this is an anime that could just as easily have been filmed as a live-action piece, and is a lovely coming-of-age drama.”
Kevin B. Lee
Kevin B. Lee is a filmmaker, critic, video essayist and the cofounder of dGenerate Films. He was supervising producer for Ebert Presents: At the Movies.
“I absolutely love these movies, but I’m not satisfied with my list. I know this list is embarrassingly top-heavy with titles from the past decade, but animation features have simply exploded in number, depth and variety just within that brief period. On the other hand, I have to point out that narrowing the parameters to just feature-length animation privileges U.S. and Japanese productions, which I think distorts the full picture of great movie animation. If this exercise could include shorts, this list would be very, very different in makeup—in terms of time periods, nations and styles, we’d have a much richer selection to draw from, so to speak.”
Nathan Loofbourrow is president of the Animation Guild. He previously worked as a technical director at DreamWorks on films such as Kung Fu Panda.
1. Watership Down
2. The Nightmare Before Christmas
3. Grave of the Fireflies
4. How to Train Your Dragon
5. It’s Such a Beautiful Day
7. Toy Story
8. Allegro Non Troppo
9. Heavy Traffic
10. Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit