The Screening Room Blog
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Top 10 Animated Films
Hello everyone,

This month, we're celebrating the release of "The Simpsons Movie" by choosing our top 10 animated films.

From Woody and Buzz to the Disney princesses, which animated characters have found a special place in your hearts? Is animation just for the kids, or have Pixar and Japanese anime widened its appeal to you?

The Screening Room's Top 10 Animated Films

Do you agree? Which favorites of yours have we missed out? Share your thoughts!

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You left out Spirited Away??? Many people consider that to be better than Princess Mononoke. Please consider adding that to your list.
Where is Shrek?
How could you have left out the loveable green Ogre and his sidekick Donkey, who opened our hearts and minds to a terrific story and humor that hits home for all ages.

While I can appreciate the desire to give anime it's due, I was disappointed to see this omission.

Like an ogre and an onion, the movie itself has layers... everything from the 3 Blind Mice to the bold resistance of the Gingerbread Man.
I am surprised to see that "Spirited Away" is not on the list. The charachters in the movie and the setting (esp the train ride) are magical.
True, the "Toy Story" film remain Pixar's greatest storytelling achievements, but "The Incredibles" gave us amazing action -- the final showdown with Syndrome's giant robot is astounding -- and a warm lesson about family. I'd give "Monsters, Inc." similar kudos -- the scenes with all the doors toward the end is a blast, a little reminiscent of Terry Gilliam's "Brazil." Another great story told through animation is Warner Brothers' often overlooked "The Iron Giant." The script by Tim McCanlies is wonderful and the mood and look of the film is a welcome departure from the usual Disney fare. And it too was directed by Brad Bird, who directed "The Incredibles."
I think some of the movies that barely missed the best list were...

"The Last Unicorn" 1982, one of the early celebrity voiced movies with Alan Alda and Mia Farrow.

"Ninja Scroll" 1993, was one of the early 90's anime films to boost up anime to the masses along with "Akira" and "Ghost in the Shell"

Disney's "Aladin" 1992 and "The Little Mermaid" 1989, brought Disney back into a string of great animations after blunders like "The Great Mouse Detective" 1986, and "The Black Cauldron" 1985

I have to go against "The Transformers" 1986 being on the bad movie list. As 1986 goes, showing mass robot death in a movie scarred some children including myself for quite a while.
I agree with many of your choices for best animated films. Princess Mononoke was a gem that few have seen, and even less fully appreciate. I also enjoy the addition of the South Park movie to the list, providing some (much needed) adult comedy.
It's sad that the choices here do not really include some fine European films ... one should not forget "Allegro non Troppo", which was at the time considered a Fantasia compliment, and is in fact a nice companion film ... although as the review mentioned above, not necessarily for kids. Another was (not sure of the title) called "Fantastic Planet" which was very original. And of course, though he does not get much credit Ralph Bashki, if his films are not mentioned, at least his work should.

It would be nice, if all these could be shown in one place ... so everyone could see them ...
You list South Park and leave off BOTH Ghost in the Shell films? Their exploration of the meaning of being "human", and what makes us different from machines, is not only relevant but prescient.
Wrong, wrong, wrong!
1) Lady and the Tramp
2) Mulan
3) The Secret of NIMH
4) The Dot and the Line
5) Snow White
6) Monsters Inc.
7) Fantasia ( you mentioned it - ok)
8) Lion King
9) Roger Rabbit (partial animation, but brilliantly done)
10) Hemo, the story of blood (an oldie, but memorable)
I'm quite surprised that you would choose Princess Mononoke over Spirited Away, which is pretty widely accepted as Mr. Miyazaki's best (and it won an oscar too).

Also, I would never put Akira in the top 10 - certainly it did important things for Japanese animation in general, but as a movie it crams 700+ pages of (excellent, epic) manga into 90 minutes of confused, violent mush. I regularly re-watch Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and a number of other Studio Ghibli films, but once was more than enough for Akira.
What about Cars, Finding Nemo, Madagascar, and so many others that didn't make your list !!
I can't believe "the Incredibles" isn't on the list! One of my all time favorite movies, animated or not. Fabulous scenery and design, wonderful story.
My top 10 Best Animations Are;
1. My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988)
2. Castle in the Sky (Hayao Miyazaki, 1986)
3. Kiki's Delivery Service (Hayao Miyazaki, 1989)
4. Howl's Moving Castle (Hayao Miyazaki, 2004)
5. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)
6. Appleseed (Fumihiko Sori, 2004)
7. Finding Nemo (John Lasseter, 2003)
8. The Hobbit (Jules Bass, 1977)
9. The Last Unicorn (Jules Bass, 1982)
10. Heavy Metal (Gerald Potterton, 1981)
Top 10 Animated Films :

Disney's 'The Fox and the Hound' is one of my all time favourites that I think you've missed out on. It's probably the best animated film about friendship to the very end. I saw it when I was 4 and it remains a trasure to this day.
Anyone for The Incredibles. It deserves to be here.
I believe DreamWorks Animation's "Shrek" (2001) has truly deserved its place in the Top 10. It is a story that appeals to the audience at many levels, from toddlers to their grandparents. The wit and humor of Shrek and Fiona's unconventional love story has made many adults re-think their attitude towards animation.
I'm seventeen, and one of my favorite Disney movies from my childhood is The Great Mouse Detective. Possibly my most favorite. I can't believe you put it down so harshly. Lackluster? Unappealing? What do you mean? Mouse Detective holds a lot of memories for me. The last fight scene between Ratagan and Basil was stunning. I loved it. You'd better reconsider.
What about Cars? Possibly the best animation ever and a great story!!!

Final Fantasy looked so real, it was a real ground breaker in animation.

The Incredibles is #1 for me. Great animation and a really great plot.

Madagascar. You've got to move it, move it.

Ratatouille. This movie was an instant classic.

Shrek. Only the first one was a classic. Great animation with the lighting and shadows and a great story.
You missed

A film by Frédéric BACK
I've always loved The Iron Giant. I saw it alone in the theater when it came out, and then I have been watching it with my son since he was small. It has a pro-peace message, uses quirky retro 50's A-bomb warning clips, a sweet and clever side with a young hero and even some popular voices (Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr, and the dad from Frasier). If you haven't seen it yet, you are missing out. A great teaching tool with humor and story line.
I must say that in the year 2007, it is highly dissapointing that you would choose the racist Jungle Book as one of the top 10. Perhaps Schrek could replace it?
Al from Brooklyn
A reasonably good list, overall, but where is Brad Bird's beautiful and touching The Iron Giant? It has great laughs and moments of drama as great as you'll find anywhere.

Or, perhaps his work with Pixar, like The Incredibles.

And if you consider both traditional cel animation and CG, what about stop-motion, like the great Aardman films -- Chicken Run and Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit ...
You've put together a great list. Just one thing. Add in Spirited Away from Studio Ghibli at #1 and move Toy Story out.
I have to wonder: on what basis can you really compare the works of Studio Ghibli, Disney, and Pixar (the dominant contenders here)?

I have my favorites from each of these groups, but I don't really see any objective basis for comparing (say) "Spirited Away" with "Sleeping Beauty", even though they share some common themes.

Even using my own biases, I find it nearly impossible to pick just ten, but here they are anyway:

1) The Incredibles
2) Whispers of the Heart
3) My Neighbor Totoro
4) Monsters Inc.
5) Tarzan
6) El Dorado
7) Atlantis
8) Peter Pan
9) Mulan
10) The Castle of Cagliostro

Are there great works that aren't on my list? Of course. Would my list be the same if you asked me this question tomorrow? Probably not.

Does it matter? Not in the least.
A few obscure selections indeed! But how could you overlook the only animated film nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award--Beauty and the Beast? Truly an oversight for a list that seems to have a curious field of view.
Anybody for The Land Before Time? I always thought that movie was overlooked.
Any list of animated movies that doesn't mention "The Iron Giant" is incomplete at best. It's one of the most affecting, touching movies I've ever seen, animated or not. And it's absolutely oozing with personality. How many animated "kids movies" do you see taking on topics like the Red Scare and the Cold War in such a zany yet at the same time heart-breaking way?
Definately Heavy Metal and Howls Moving Castle should be included.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within! Talk about ground breaking animations. It looks so real you could be exused for missing it as animation, but its genius should not be overlooked!
Created in 2001 there are still few films that rival the detail. The story line is powerful, and still relevent today.
1. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (Writen: Hironobu Sakaguchi)
2. Fushugi Yugi (Writen: Yuu Watase)
3. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki)
4. Mulan (Disney)
5. Iron Giant (Director: Brad Bird)
6. The Last Unicorn (Director: Jules Bass)
7. I group this as one, but all the classic christmas films (Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, etc) You know the ones we watched as a kid and the ones we watch with our kids every year - Now that is staying power!
8. Steamboat Willie (Disney was born)
9. Fantasia 2000
10. Shrek
I do not know what was your "basis of selection" ... but if you are looking at timeless classics, you did leave out Snow White, and Peter Pan... Or if you were looking for pioneering "firsts", I think Steamboat Willie was a first feature short (before Mickey Mouse was born), and Snow White was the first full-length animated feature film. Toy Story was perhaps the first full length computer animation, Final Fantasy is the only one in real CGI (although, some "movements" are too slow for an action movie theme. There have been several stop-motion animations, but Chicken Run was beautiful story-telling, although wasn't Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas a fantastic piece of stop-animation? (Or am I mistaken) Your inclusion of The Jungle Book way down the list was acceptable to me, albeit, as an animation addict from childhood, that movie had stayed in my "dreams" the longest ever... That was the first attempt ever to create "a 3-D environment": the jungle scenes, floating down the river scene, the canyon effect, the temple ruins, (I suspect, this movie inspired Steven Spielberg in a big way to start off the Indiana Jones movies with The Temple of Doom).

Anyway, other bloggers' comments do show that you have offended a few people by non-inclusion of their favorites, but many more by bashing their favorites. It is a tough deal to just select "ten" and to "rank" them, rather than listing them alphabetically (my sympathies! for a thankless attempt). But I did feel a little put off when NO ONE mentioned Ice-Age in their favorites...

Did you have to put down Happy Feet and Mouse Detective, when you had a better selection in Spongebob and Rugrats (probably you did not want to hurt the feelings of toddlers)...

A suggestion (since you have started something great) list all the animated features and get votes from people who have actually seen them... Go for a qualitative vote rather thatn quantitative (ie Would you like to watch with your family ( ), with your parents ( ), with your chilrdren ( ), will you enjoy it the third time ( ), can you tolerate it the second time, would you MIND renting it to watch ( )... questions like that will give you the "weighted" statistics for rankings in different categories.
I haven't heard of most of the movies on the list.

I'd add Lion King. Maybe Aladin. MAYBE The Brave Little Toaster, but I might just have an emotional tie to that movie, I don't know how good it really is.
I loved a Japanese film "Totoro",and must have watched it a dozen times with my kids.
The Little Mermaid, and Toy Story are right up at the top of my list too.
I don't like the new breed of animated films made to appeal to adults like the Shrek series. If I wanted to watch fart and burp comedy I would watch a movie not a cartoon.
To everyone on the "Cars" bandwagon, cute movie. remake of "Doc Hollywood". Not worthy of a top 10.

No one mentioned "Nester, the Christmas Donkey". I personally think "Heavy Metal" should have been in the top 10 along with Transformers (1986).
Whoever made this list jumped off the crazy train because you left off probably the best cartoon movie ever made: Beauty and the Beast. It's a classic!
That's a fine list with a lot of holes. I like the idea of posting a complete list and let the people vote. I'm not the avid animation guy I was in my youth but here are some of my thoughts.
Final Fantasy-the spirit within (simply amazing)
Beauty & The Beast ( the moment of the ball room dance)
Okay, we have a list for the "Top Ten Live-Action Family Films" and a list for the "Top Ten Animated Films" - where, then, is the list for "Top Ten Animated Family Films?" While I agree with the list for the most part, Akira (super gory) and South Park (super vulgar) are hardly family-friendly; Princess Mononoke and Grave of the Fireflies just barely scrape by as being appropriate for young teens. It would be nice to have a top ten list for family-oriented animated films, so we could see more focus on gems like Spirited Away and the Lion King.

As for me, I love watching Anastasia with my kids - historically inaccurate it may be, but the songs are catchy and the characters are strong. They understand Anya is just as much a fairy tale as Cinderella or Snow White. (And perhaps only SLIGHTLY less true-to-life than Mulan...)
I didn't think The Jungle Book belonged on the list of the best, nor Princess Mononoke and South Park. Many people have mentioned Spirited Away as a better Miyazaki pick, and South Park, though entertaining, is not a good enough MOVIE to be in this list. The Jungle Book is one of the more boring Disney movies, a product of that dead era during the '60s and '70s after Uncle Walt's death, when no one had any idea what kind of movie to make. The songs are its only saving grace (and they are very good songs), but the rest of the movie crawls. It doesn't have the excitement and savagery that made the books so interesting.

Here are some better picks:

Dumbo - Simple, elegant story, can make a grown man cry.
Bambi - THE most visually beautiful Disney film, hands down.
Lady and the Tramp - Another Disney, a very fine movie with lots of action, excitement and romance, with an original story.
An American Tail - a very clever, brutal and surprisingly complex movie about immigrants in the early 20th century (that they're mice has little significance)
The Plague Dogs - a horrifying movie for grown-ups -- seriously don't ever let your kids watch this. Made by the good people who broght us Watership Down.
The Lion King - Hamlet with singing lions and lots of bright colors
The Little Mermaid - the first broadway-style Disney musical
Cats Don't Dance - beautifully animated cartoon movie about talented animals in Hollywood

Your worst-of list is hardly the worst I can think of. You're ignoring Rock-a-Doodle and Rover Dangerfield (which, by the way, is exactly what it sounds like), just to name a few.
Disney's Snow White was all hand drawn, had no computer gimicks, was conceived by artists and did not rely on technical shortcuts.It remains the most moving, best edited and most beautiful film. The fact that hardened Hollywood actors and producers of the time openly wept and sobbed at the end is very telling. You also neglected to list the extraordinarily beautiful "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by Czech stop motion master Jiri Trnka. It is astonishing, and is the height of enchantment.
What? No "Warriors of theWinds"?
Although I agree with your choice for Toy Story, I have to say that you left out some of the best Asian animated films like Hayao Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. I think that most will agree that these should be a part of the list.
"Incredibles" was incredible. What a creative prism through which to examine the stereotypical American-middle-class-family dynamics. The transformation of Violet from "shrinking" to a girl of confidence and poise, the rekindling of the Parr's romance, and Dash getting to finally express himslef freely...a great film, let alone animated film. (I still get choked up every time the plane explodes, leaving Mr. Incredible a broken man)
Anyone remember Titan AE? That was the crossroads of Animation where East met West, Hand drawn met CGI, And even where themes from the past, stories from the present and visions of the future collided. I think it at least deserves a mention.

1. Mulan
2. Bambi
3. Snow White
4. Cinderella
5. Shrek
6. Finding Nemo
7. Monster, Inc.
8. American Tail
9. The TRansformers (1986)
10. The LAst Unicorn
The Screening Room brings you the inside track on all aspects of the movie business around the globe. Find out what presenter Myleene Klass has been up to, and send us your comments and suggestions for our Top 10 movie list of the month.
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