The 100 best animated movies: animators and filmmakers

Experts including Disney and Pixar directors, Wes Anderson, Nick Park and Carlos Saldanha vote for their favorite animated movies
By Time Out contributors |
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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 animators and filmmakers including the Aardman directors Peter Lord and Nick Park (creators of Wallace and Gromit), the Alien designer HR Giger, the prolific animator Bill Plympton and the independent animated filmmaker Don Hertzfeldt. Explore their top tens here.

RECOMMENDED: Explore the 100 best animated movies ever made

Animators and filmmakers: A-D

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“This was tough, because most of my favorite animations are shorter than 60 minutes, and it hurts to make a list that doesn’t include Bruce Bickford, Yuriy Norshteyn, Looney Tunes and the Fleischer brothers (among others).”

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“Never has there been made—in animation or otherwise—a more solid, emotional, character-driven story than Dumbo, and it is produced with lush simplicity and grace. This is a true cinematic treasure on all levels. It is animation at its finest. Snow White is transportive and gothically theatrical, hugely influenced by the silent-era melodramas that proceeded it. The audience is escorted into the pages of a storybook world never quite achieved before or since. And how much more adult in theme can a movie get than Bambi? ‘You’re alone in this world…so get up!’”

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My Neighbor Totoro is a childhood fantasy of cat buses and flying monsters, twisting together Shinto, folktales and children trying to cope with an absent mother. I could have chosen ten Studio Ghibli films and it’d still be a great list. Only Yesterday is a beautiful and understated Studio Ghibli film directed by Isao Takahata. It reminds me of a piece of French New Wave, a contemporary woman’s reminiscences about childhood set against her present life, which gains extra resonance through the fact that it is animated. Every gesture and glance is so orchestrated, yet looks so natural. Akira was the monster that made me realize that all the animation I’d loved as a child was Japanese: Ulysses 31The Mysterious Cities of GoldThunderCats…”

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Animators and filmmakers: E-G

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“I’m not super qualified here. I haven’t seen a ton of movies, but will cast my votes just the same, aiming for Chris Sullivan’s Consuming Spirits to get ranked as high as possible. And when your list comes out I’ll watch more films.”
 

Animators and filmmakers: H-K

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Animators and filmmakers: L-N

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Simone Massi

Simone Massi

Simone Massi has created 15 award-winning animated short films in his native Italy.

  1. Alice
  2. The Dog, the General, and the Birds
  3. Il cavaliere inesistente
  4. The Magic Flute
  5. Gwen, the Book of Sand
  6. Heroic Times
  7. The Illusionist
  8. The Masters of Time
  9. When the Wind Blows
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Fantastic Planet was cowritten and production-designed by Roland Topor, who is a key talent for me; his designs are so surreal and nightmarish that they turn the film into a total work of art. Blood Tea andRed String is an obsessive, stop-motion labor of love made by one woman over a 13-year period. It feels sort of like a bad dream that Beatrix Potter might have had. It’s weird and disturbing and cute and melancholy, all at the same time. In The Tale of the Fox, I love the way Ladislaw Starevicz’s puppets move. They’re just so alive and excitable. Just an incredible feat of vision and technique. It’s Such a Beautiful Day is a great example of personal filmmaking on a grand scale—totally homemade and intimate, but amazingly ambitious and profound at the same time.”

Animators and filmmakers: O-Q

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Animators and filmmakers: R

Animators and filmmakers: S

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Prince Achmed is one of the first animated features ever, and it’s still stunning. Silhouette animation magic. Fehérlófia is a film that’s incredible with color. Raw, beautiful, cel-painted, it’s narrative and abstract at the same time.”

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“I show Svankmajer’s Alice a lot when I’m teaching. I find it amazing for its exquisite camera and deep understanding of myth and dream, while still being true to the story. I became an animator after seeing Yellow Submarine, and fell in love with George Dunning’s experimental work. Toy Story opened up a new way to tell a story. It made young people think animation was new and special. James and the Giant Peach changed the way we think of stop-motion. Something had to move away from drawing just to bring n a new way of telling a story with a different perspective on space.”

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“Yes, I know Snow White is kind of corny, but it was the film I saw as a child that first sucked me into the world of animation. I could put any one of the early Disney oeuvre here instead—PinocchioPeter Pan,Cinderella. Or Fantasia, which is infamously uneven, but I don’t care. It featured the work of my first animation hero, Preston Blair, with his dancing hippos. I first learned to animate from Blair’s $1.50 how-to book. The Incredibles is my favorite Pixar movie, because of its 1950s vision-of-the-future sets, just as promised by the Ford Times when I was a kid (a magazine for Ford automobile owners); hats off to Brad Bird, the funniest man, who added bite to Pixar. Tubby the Tuba was so bad that it inspired all the rest.”

 
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Animators and filmmakers: T-Z

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