"When we constantly ask for miracles, we're unraveling the fabric of the world. A world of continuous miracles would not be a world, it would be a cartoon."

-Douglas Coupland

Animated movies take you to a different world altogether. With cartoon movies, the storytellers can portray surreal universes, alternate realities, and fantastic situations and stories. This was somewhat limited a decade ago, but with the recent progress in CGI technology, the difference between animated movies and feature films is thinning. They have begun to use motion capture technology to display accurate facial expressions in animated movies, making the characters seem life-like.

However, even if the plot is serious, animated movies are supposed to be relaxed and entertaining, although they are fiercely critiqued by the critics. The primary target audience are children and young moviegoers, although more mature themes and scripts are attracting adults too.

INDEX

Cartoon movies contain good humor, song and dance sequences, and most importantly, the content is not violent and explicit. This makes them safe to be watched by children of all ages, although the movies with adult themes do require parental guidance. They also are a testament of immense creativity of storytellers where a new movie with an innovative storyline is released almost every two years. This makes the job of making a list of best animated movies all the more difficult.

Old Cartoon Movies

(1940 to 1979)

These movies laid groundwork for a whole generation of cartoons that spanned almost 5 decades. The techniques used here ranged from the exhaustively rich detailed full animation by Walt Disney to the efficient and budget-friendly techniques used by Hanna-Barbara. Unlike today's computer-aided graphics, these movies required painstaking effort, in the way of cartoon drawings, manually drawn. In good quality animation, as many as 18 frames would be used per second. So, you can imagine the number of sketches that would be required for a full length feature! Next time you watch these classics and crib about the lack of detail and how they don't measure up to today's high standards of filmmaking, just think about the effort the cartoonists have put into it.

1940-1949

Fantasia (1940)

Pinocchio (1940)

Dumbo (1941)

Mr. Bug Goes to Town (1941)

The Reluctant Dragon (1941)

Bambi (1942)

Victory Through Air Power (1943)

The Three Caballeros (1944)

Handling Ships (1945)

Make Mine Music (1946)

Robert Cormack (1946)

Fun and Fancy Free (1947)

William Morgan (live-action) (1947)

Melody Time (1948)

Wilfred Jackson (1948)

Water for Firefighting (1948)

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)

Alice in Wonderland (1949)

1950-55

Cinderella (1950)

Johnny the Giant Killer (1950)

Alice in Wonderland (1951)

The Night Before Christmas (1951)

The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep (1952)

The Scarlet Flower (1952)

The Snow Maiden (1952)

Bonjour Paris! (1953)

Peter Pan (1953)

Animal Farm (1954)

Hansel and Gretel: An Opera Fantasy (1954)

The Enchanted Boy (1955)

Lady and the Tramp (1955)

1956-60

The Enchanted Village (1956)

The Secret of Magic Island (1956)

The Twelve Months (1956)

The Big Fun Carnival (1957)

Hemo the Magnificent (1957)

The Snow Queen (1957)

Beloved Beauty (1958)

A Deadly Invention (1958)

The Tale of the White Serpent (1958)

1001 Arabian Nights (1959)

The Adventures of Buratino (1959)

Sleeping Beauty (1959)

Alakazam the Great (1960)

It Was I Who Drew the Little Man (1960)

1961-63

The Key (1961)

One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)

The Orphan Brother (1961)

Arabian Nights: The Adventures of Sinbad (1962)

Gay Purr-ee (1962)

Heaven and Earth Magic (1962)

Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962)

Doggie March (1963)

The Sword in the Stone (1963)

1964

Astro Boy: Hero of Space

Hey There, It's Yogi Bear!

William Hanna

The Incredible Mr. Limpet

Is There Intelligent Life on Earth?

Of Stars and Men

Return to Oz

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer

1965

The Edgar Bergen Charlie McCarthy Show

Gulliver's Travels Beyond the Moon

The Man from Button Willow

Pinocchio in Outer Space

Willy McBean and his Magic Machine

1966

The New Alice in Wonderland

Alice of Wonderland in Paris

The Man Called Flintstone

1967

Asterix the Gaul

Jack and the Beanstalk

Jack and the Witch

The Jungle Book

Mad Monster Party

The Wacky World of Mother Goose



1968

Adam 2

Asterix and Cleopatra

Yellow Submarine

1969

A Boy Named Charlie Brown

A Christmas Carol

Flying Phantom Ship

The Nonexistent Knight

Tintin and the Temple of the Sun

The Wonderful World of Puss 'n Boots

1970

Aladdin and His Magic Lamp

Cleopatra: Queen of Sex

Dougal and the Blue Cat

The Phantom Tollbooth

Santa and the Three Bears

Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town

1971

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Benny's Bathtub

The Cat in the Hat

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

The Legend of Robin Hood

The Point!

1972

The Adventures of Pinocchio

Fritz the Cat

The Lorax

Marco Polo Junior Versus the Red Dragon

Snoopy, Come Home

The Three Musketeers In Boots

Tintin and the Lake of Sharks

Treasure Island

1973

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Adventures of Mowgli

Charlotte's Web

The Glorious Musketeers

Robin Hood

1974

Adventures of Sinbad the Sailor

Journey Back to Oz

The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat

Oliver Twist

The Year Without a Santa Claus

1975

Coonskin

Dick Deadeye, or Duty Done

Everybody Rides the Carousel

Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid

The Last of the Mohicans

Tubby the Tuba

1976

Puss 'n Boots Travels Around the World

Rudolph's Shiny New Year

The Smurfs and the Magic Flute

The Twelve Tasks of Asterix

1977

5 Weeks in a Balloon

Down and Dirty Duck

The Easter Bunny is Comin' To Town

Fantastic Animation Festival

A Flintstone Christmas

Gulliver's Travels

The Hobbit

Journey to the Center of the Earth

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

The Mouse and His Child

Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown

Raggedy Ann Andy: A Musical Adventure

The Rescuers

Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Wizards

1978

Black Beauty

The Lord of the Rings

The Stingiest Man in Town

The Talking Parcel

The Water Babies

1979

The Adventures of Sinbad

The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie

The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone

Gulliver's Travels

Jack Frost

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Les Misérables

Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July

Scooby Goes Hollywood

Taro the Dragon Boy

Modern Classics

(1980 to 1999)

There was this time between the late 1980s and 1990s where there was a transition in the style of cartoons. Computers were just being used to aid animation effects. Although a fully computer-aided animated movie named Toy Story came out in 1995, filmmakers did not abandon the traditional style altogether. A classic example of this is the Batman: The Animated Series franchise and its spin-offs. Enthusiasts still prefer the old 2D style of animation for DC comics superhero movies. Although they do use computers to render graphics, but that only adds to the rich detail of 2D techniques. The following movies are from this era, a time in transition, where people finally began to accept the digitization of cartoon movies.

1980

Animalympics

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!)

Gnomes

Pinocchio's Christmas

Scruffy

Snow White Christmas

The Return of the King

Yogi's First Christmas

1981

American Pop

The Fox and the Hound

The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie

1982

Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales

Disney's Halloween Treat

The Flight of Dragons

The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat

The Last Unicorn

Mighty Mouse in the Great Space Chase

The Secret of NIMH

The Wizard of Oz

Yogi Bear's All Star Comedy Christmas Caper

1983

Abra Cadabra

Mickey's Christmas Carol

Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island

Fire and Ice

The Legend of Hiawatha

Twice Upon a Time

Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore

1984

The Adventures of Pinocchio

Gallavants

The Soldier's Tale

1985

The Adventures of Mark Twain

Bigfoot and the Muscle Machines

The Black Cauldron

A Christmas Special

The Life Adventures of Santa Claus

The Pied Piper of Hamelin

The Secret of the Sword

Starchaser: The Legend of Orin

1986

The Adventures of the American Rabbit

Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation

The Cosmic Eye

Dot and Keeto

Dot and the Whale

GoBots: War of the Rock Lords

The Great Mouse Detective

Heathcliff: The Movie

Jiminy Cricket's Christmas

My Little Pony: The Movie

Robotech: The Movie

Skeletor's Revenge

Sophie's Place

The Transformers: The Movie

1987

The Amazing Mr. Bickford

The Chipmunk Adventure

DuckTales: Treasure of the Golden Suns

The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones

Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night

Robotix: The Movie

Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers

The Wind in the Willows

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Yogi's Great Escape

Yogi Bear and the Magical Flight of the Spruce Goose

1988

Akira

Daffy Duck's Quackbusters

Felix the Cat: The Movie

Garfield: His 9 Lives

Happy Birthday, Garfield

Oliver Company

Rockin' with Judy Jetson

Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School

Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Yogi and the Invasion of the Space Bears

1989

Asterix and the Big Fight

The Brave Frog

The Little Mermaid

Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland

A Tale of Two Toads

1990

DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp

The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship

Jetsons: The Movie

The Mind's Eye: A Computer Animation Odyssey

The Nutcracker Prince

The Prince and the Pauper

The Rescuers Down Under

TaleSpin: Plunder Lightning

1991

Aeneid

Beauty and the Beast

Darkwing Duck: Darkly Dawns the Duck

Garfield Gets a Life

The Little Engine That Could

Pirates of Dark Water: The Saga Begins

Puss in Boots

Rock-a-Doodle

A Wish for Wings That Work

1992

After School Tinker Bell

Aladdin

Beauty and the Beast

Evil Toons

Freddie as F.R.O.7

Frosty Returns

The Little Mermaid

Pinocchio

Sinbad

Thumbelina

Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation

Tom and Jerry: The Movie

1993

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

Happily Ever After - AKA: Snow White 2

The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Thief and the Cobbler

The Three Musketeers

We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story

1994

A Troll in Central Park

Asterix in Amerika

Cinderella

Dragon Ball Z 10: Broly - Second Coming

The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure

Leo the Lion: King of the Jungle

The Lion King

Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights

Thumbelina

Yogi the Easter Bear

1995

Alice in Wonderland

A Close Shave

Gargoyles the Movie: The Heroes Awaken

A Goofy Movie

Gumby: The Movie

Heidi

Magic Gift of the Snowman

Pocahontas

Sleeping Beauty

The Snow Queen

Snow White

Toy Story

1996

Aladdin and the King of Thieves

All Dogs Go to Heaven 2

Beavis and Butt-head Do America

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

James and the Giant Peach

The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists

The Snow Queen's Revenge

Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie

Space Jam

1997

Anastasia

Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas

The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue

A Christmas Carol

Hercules

The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island

Mighty Ducks the Movie: The First Face-Off

Mondo Plympton

Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin

The Ugly Duckling

1998

An All Dogs Christmas Carol

Antz

A Bug's Life

Hercules: Zero to Hero

Hercules and Xena - The Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus

The Lion King II: Simba's Pride

Mulan

Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World

Pokémon: The First Movie

The Prince of Egypt

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie

The Rugrats Movie

Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island

The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Treasure

1999

Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein

Bartok the Magnificent

Batman Beyond: The Movie

Fantasia 2000

The Iron Giant

The King and I

Madeline: Lost in Paris

Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas

The Nuttiest Nutcracker

Olive, the Other Reindeer

Puss in Boots

Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost

South Park: Bigger, Longer Uncut

Street Fighter Alpha: The Movie

Tarzan

Tarzan of the Apes

Toy Story 2

Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving

Modern Animation

(2000 to 2014)

Exquisite detail-that's what any cartoon film buff says if he is asked about the animation movies of today. Special computer farms are used to process how thousands of strands of hair will behave as the character moves in the animated universe. The character of Mike Sully in the movie Monsters Inc. had reportedly five and a half million strands of hair on his body, and a single computer took 670 hours to render one second of the movie with the character in it. Such is the extent to which the filmmakers are going to entertain the audience. Computers have revolutionized animated feature films, a luxury the past could not afford. Yes, there have been movies with less emotion and more techniques, but filmmakers have kept the essence of the animated movies where it should be-the heart.

2000

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker

Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins

Casper's Haunted Christmas

Chicken Run

Dinosaur

An Extremely Goofy Movie

Monster Mash

The Road to El Dorado

Rugrats in Paris: The Movie

Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders

Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists

The Tigger Movie

Titan A.E.

Tom Sawyer

2001

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius

Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse

Monsters, Inc.

Mutant Aliens

Osmosis Jones

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys

Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase

Shenmue: The Movie

Shrek

Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring

2002

Cinderella II: Dreams Come True

Hey Arnold!: The Movie

Ice Age

Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie

Lilo Stitch

Mickey's House of Villains

The Powerpuff Girls Movie

The Princess and the Pea

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

Tarzan Jane

Treasure Planet

Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year

2003

101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure

Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman

Brother Bear

Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure

The Cunning Little Vixen

The Fairly OddParents: Abra-Catastrophe!

The Night B4 Christmas

Finding Nemo

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown

The Jungle Book 2

The Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration

Looney Tunes: Back in Action

Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Kids

My Little Pony: The Princess Promenade

Piglet's Big Movie

Rugrats Go Wild!

Scooby-Doo and the Legend of the Vampire

Scooby-Doo and the Monster of Mexico

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

Son of Alladin

Stitch! The Movie

2004

Ark

Clifford's Really Big Movie

The Fairly OddParents: Channel Chasers

G.I. Joe: Valor vs. Venom

Home on the Range

The Incredibles

Kangaroo Jack: G'Day U.S.A.!

The Lion King 1½

Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers

Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas

Naruto the Movie: Snow Princess' Book of Ninja Arts

Pokémon: Jirachi Wishmaker

Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys

The Polar Express

Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy

Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster

Shark Tale

Shrek 2

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

Teacher's Pet

Tom and Jerry: Blast Off to Mars

Winnie the Pooh: Springtime with Roo

2005

The Batman vs Dracula: The Animated Movie

Care Bears: Big Wish Movie

Chicken Little

Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone

Disaster!

Escape from Cluster Prime

Hoodwinked!

Kim Possible: So the Drama

Klay World: Off the Table

Kronk's New Groove

The Legend of Frosty the Snowman

Lil' Pimp

Lilo Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch

Madagascar

Mulan II

My Scene Goes Hollywood

Pooh's Heffalump Movie

The Proud Family Movie

Scooby Doo in Where's My Mummy?

Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story

Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild

Tarzan II

Tom and Jerry: Blast Off to Mars

Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry

The Batman vs Dracula: The Animated Movie

2006

The Ant Bully

Bambi II

Brother Bear 2

Cars

Codename: Kids Next Door: Operation Z.E.R.O

The Fox and the Hound 2

Happy Feet

Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms

Ice Age: The Meltdown

Krishna

The Land Before Time XII: The Great Day of the Flyers

The Legend of Sasquatch

Live Freaky! Die Freaky!

Livin' It Up With Bratz

Monster House

Naruto the Movie: Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom

Open Season

Over the Hedge

PollyWorld

Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles

Romeo Juliet: Sealed with a Kiss

Superman: Brainiac Attacks

Tony Hawk in Boom Boom Sabotage

Ultimate Avengers

Ultimate Avengers 2

The Wild

2007

Alice in Wonderland: What's the Matter With Hatter?

Battle for Terra

Bee Movie

Beowulf

Chill Out, Scooby-Doo!

Cinderella III: A Twist in Time

Dante's Inferno

Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams

Doctor Strange

Futurama: Bender's Big Score

Happily N'Ever After

Hellboy: Blood and Iron

Highlander: The Search for Vengeance

The Invincible Iron Man

Jungle Book: Rikki-Tikki-Tavi to the Rescue

The Land Before Time XIII: The Wisdom of Friends

Meet the Robinsons

Persepolis

Ratatouille

Robin Hood: Quest For The King

Shrek the Third

The Simpsons Movie

Superman: Doomsday

Surf's Up

The Ten Commandments

The Three Musketeers: Saving The Crown

TMNT

Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale

We Are the Strange

2008

Batman: Gotham Knight

Bolt

Dead Space: Downfall

Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight

Futurama: Bender's Game

Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs

Garfield's Fun Fest

Ghatothkach: Master of Magic

Horton Hears a Who!

Justice League: The New Frontier

Kung Fu Panda

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

A Miser Brothers' Christmas

Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow

Open Season 2

The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie

Scooby-Doo! and the Goblin King

Space Chimps

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

The Tale of Despereaux

Tinker Bell

The Toe Tactic

Turok: Son of Stone

WALL-E

Waltz with Bashir

2009

Afro Samurai: Resurrection

A Christmas Carol

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show

Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder

Garfield's Pet Force

Green Lantern: First Flight

The Haunted World of El Superbeasto

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Monsters vs. Aliens

Planet 51

The Princess and the Frog

The Prodigy

Scooby-Doo! and the Samurai Sword

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure

Wonder Woman

2010

Alpha and Omega

Batman: Under the Red Hood

A Cat in Paris

Care Bears: Share Bear Shines

Chico and Rita

Despicable Me

The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie!

How To Train Your Dragon

Halo Legends

The Illusionist

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole

Mars

Megamind

Planet Hulk

Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey

Ramayana: The Epic

Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo

Shock Invasion

Shrek Forever After

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

Tangled

Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue

Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes

Toy Story 3

Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie

2011

The Adventures of Tintin

All-Star Superman

Arthur Christmas

Batman: Year One

Cars 2

Dead Space: Aftermath

Dwegons

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos

Gnomeo Juliet

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights

Happy Feet Two

Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil

Kung Fu Panda 2

Mars Needs Moms

Open Season 3

Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension

Puss in Boots

Rango

Rio

Seer

Thor: Tales of Asgard

Tom and Jerry and the Wizard of Oz

Top Cat: The Movie

Winnie the Pooh

2012

Arjun: The Warrior Prince

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Part 1

Brave

Cheech Chong's Animated Movie

Chhota Bheem and the Curse of Damyaan

Delhi Safari

Foodfight!

Frankenweenie

Gladiators of Rome

Heart String Marionette

Hotel Transylvania

Ice Age: Continental Drift

It's Such a Beautiful Day

Justice League: Doom

A Liar's Autobiography

The Lorax

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

Norm of the North

The Outback

An Oversimplification of Her Beauty

ParaNorman

Pokémon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice

Poe

Rise of the Guardians

Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie

Seer 2

Starship Troopers: Invasion

Strange Frame: Love Sax

Superman vs. The Elite

War of the Worlds: Goliath

The Waterman Movie

Where the Dead Go to Die

Wreck-It Ralph

Zarafa

2013

Alpha and Omega 2: A Howl-iday Adventure

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Part 2

Chhota Bheem and the Throne of Bali

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

The Croods

Despicable Me 2

Doraemon: Nobita no Himitsu D?gu Museum

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods

Epic

Escape from Planet Earth

Free Birds

Frozen

The House of Magic

Iron Man: Rise of Technovore

Monsters University

Planes

Princess Twins of Legendale

Seer 3

Tarzan

Turbo

2014

Asterix: The Land of the Gods

Book of Life

The Boxtrolls

How to Train Your Dragon 2

The Jungle Book

Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return

The Lego Movie

Mighty Raju : Rio Calling

Mr. Peabody Sherman

Naruto Shippuden the Movie: 7

The Nut Job

Pinocchio

Planes: Fire Rescue

Rio 2

The Pirate Fairy

Stand By Me Doraemon

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