I would highly recommend any one of these films, shorts or shows to anybody who hasn’t had the pleasure of seeing them yet. These are my top 50 favourite pieces of animation, so I’ll be giving each of them more attention here on Feeling Animated in time.
Of course, the world of animation is vast, so this list isn’t exhaustive! If your favourite piece of animation isn’t on this list, that doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t like it. I know that anime isn’t very well represented, with just five films and no shows, but I honestly haven’t seen enough anime series to have a top five, let alone more. I do love the 2011 version of Hunter x Hunter, and Ouran High School Host Club!
I’ve organised the films by studio – every piece is (roughly) in order of preference within the different categories. I hope you find some new gems to explore!
*Note: I made this top 50 around 2015, so I would probably replace a few of these films now. That said, I do still love all the pieces on this list!
- Beauty and the Beast. Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise. Walt Disney Pictures, 1991.
- The Rescuers Down Under. Directed by Hendel Butoy and Mike Gabriel. Walt Disney Pictures, 1990.
- Mulan. Directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook. Walt Disney Pictures, 1998.
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise. Walt Disney Pictures, 1996.
- Tarzan. Directed by Chris Buck and Kevin Lima. Walt Disney Pictures, 1999.
- Tangled. Directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard. Walt Disney Pictures, 2010.
- Treasure Planet. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. Walt Disney Pictures, 2002.
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Directed by William Cottrell, David Hand, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pierce and Ben Sharpsteen. Walt Disney Pictures, 1937.
- Peter Pan. Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske and Jack Kinney. Walt Disney Pictures, 1953.
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Directed by John Lounsbery and Wolfgang Reitherman. Walt Disney Pictures, 1977.
- The Prince of Egypt. Directed by Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner and Simon Wells. DreamWorks Animation, 1998.
- How to Train Your Dragon. Directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders. DreamWorks Animation, 2010.
- Rise of the Guardians. Directed by Peter Ramsey. DreamWorks Animation, 2012.
- The Road to El Dorado. Directed by Bebo Bergeron, Will Finn, Don Paul, David Silverman and Jeffrey Katzenberg. DreamWorks Animation, 2000.
- Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. Directed by Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook. DreamWorks Animation, 2002.
- Finding Nemo. Directed by Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich. Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios, 2003.
- WALL-E. Directed by Andrew Stanton. Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios, 2008.
- The Incredibles. Directed by Brad Bird. Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios, 2004.
- Toy Story 3. Directed by Lee Unkrich. Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios, 2010.
- Up. Directed by Pete Docter and Bob Peterson. Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios, 2009.
- Spirited Away. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Studio Ghibli, 2001.
- Laputa: Castle in the Sky. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Studio Ghibli, 1986.
- My Neighbour Totoro. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Studio Ghibli, 1988.
- Howl’s Moving Castle. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Studio Ghibli, 2004.
- The Secret World of Arrietty. Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi. Studio Ghibli, 2010.
- The Iron Giant. Directed by Brad Bird. Warner Bros. and Warner Bros. Animation, 1999.
- The Land Before Time. Directed by Don Bluth. Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment, 1988.
- Anastasia. Directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Fox Animation Studios, 1997.
- FernGully: The Last Rainforest. Directed by Bill Kroyer. FAI Films, Kroyer Films and Youngheart Productions, 1992.
- The Wild Thornberrys Movie. Directed by Cathy Malkasian and Jeff McGrath. Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies and Klasky-Csupo, 2002.
- The Wild Thornberrys. Created by Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó, Steve Pepoon, David Silverman and Steven Sustarsic. September 1, 1998 – June 11, 2004.
- Rugrats. Created by Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó and Paul Germain. Nickelodeon. August 11, 1991 – June 8, 2004.
- Recess. Created by Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere. ABC and Disney Channel. August 31, 1997 – November 5, 2001.
- As Told by Ginger. Created by Emily Kapnek. Nickelodeon. October 25, 2000 – November 14, 2006.
- Hey Arnold!. Created by Craig Bartlett. Nickelodeon. October 7, 1996 – June 8, 2004.
- Dexter’s Laboratory. Created by Genndy Tartakovsky. Cartoon Network. April 27, 1996 – November 20, 2003.
- Gravity Falls. Created by Alex Hirsch. Disney Channel. June 15, 2012 – February 15, 2016.
- Teen Titans. Created by Glen Murakami. Cartoon Network. July 19, 2003 – January 16, 2006.
- Phineas and Ferb. Created by Dan Povenmire and Jeff Marsh. Disney Channel. August 17, 2007 – June 12, 2015.
- Ed, Edd n Eddy. Created by Danny Antonucci. Cartoon Network. January 4, 1999 – November 8, 2009.
- Destino. Directed by Dominique Monfery. Walt Disney Pictures, 2003.
- Paperman. Directed by John Kahrs. Walt Disney Pictures, 2012.
- Get a Horse!. Directed by Lauren MacMullan. Walt Disney Pictures, 2013.
- What’s Opera, Doc?. Directed by Chuck Jones. Warner Bros., 1957.
- The Blue Umbrella. Directed by Saschka Unseld. Pixar Animation Studios, 2013.
- Steamboat Willie. Directed by Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney. Walt Disney Pictures, 1928.
- Duck Amuck. Directed by Chuck Jones. Warner Bros., 1953.
- Gertie the Dinosaur. Directed by Winsor McCay. McCay and Vitagraph Company of America, 1914.
- The Wrong Trousers. Directed by Nick Park. Aardman Animations, 1993.
- Mouse in Manhattan. Directed by Joseph Barbera and William Hanna. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1945.