Great animated movies

Tonight I caught a few minutes of The Incredibles.  This is a fun movie.  This movie has it all, for adults of a certain age.  I’m a sucker for super-hero movies anyway going way back.  I had my own Superman cape when I was five.  And I used it, when I wasn’t killing fish or riding a horse.

I suspect that parents of young children would find movies such as The Incredibles more amusing than their children.  Isn’t that often the case with animated movies today?  The combination of “supers” being sued for saving people and their middle-age spread and parenting problems was unbeatable.

Whenever I see anything of this movie, I always think of my friend, the great Roman Fabrizio and his wife and kids.

Moreover, The Incredibles has one of the funniest characters in all these digital animated features.

Almost as funny as Skrat.

If only I had cool music like The Incredibles for PODCAzTs… I might do them again.

On the other hand, I think Toy Story is the saddest movie ever made.  Wall-E might have been third… right after Toy Story II.

So… a question leading to an eventual poll.

What are your favorite animated movies (sad or not)?

Make some suggestions and maybe I can put a poll together.

Parents… you know far more of these movies than I do.

Just a bonus… here is Edna Mode from The Incredibles on super hero capes.

The campy voice is, I understand, from the male director of the film.  As a male it gives you the creeps, but as Edna Mode it’s just right.


And can we forget one the best scenes?


Did you see the Hai Karate?  Only men… and alas women (s0rry) of a certain age…

And for the trads…



I just realized how seriously out of my depth I am.

I think readers better help me organize this list.


One of the readers was kind enough to send a possible list for a poll.  She wrote:

Here are the animation polling results from the comments as of 8pm EST.  I tried to accurately record the number of mentions for each film and then tallied the highest number of mentions in comments for the following categories.

Poll Categories:

Full Length Animated Film

The Incredibles
Finding Nemo
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Toy Story

* The above films had at least 6 mentions in the comments.  If we expand to at least 5 mentions we would then also include:

My Neighbor Totoro
Spirited Away
Toy Story 3

** Expanding to include those with 4 mentions:

Beauty and the Beast
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Despicable Me
Monsters, Inc.
Princess Mononoke
Toy Story 2

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. disco says:

    The Land Before Time. It’s a classic. Three-horns don’t play with long-necks.

  2. Dorcas says:

    I just finished watching How to Tame Your Dragon, which was pretty cute. My favorites are Finding Nemo and Horton Hears a Who (the new one.) Hi-lariaous.

  3. contrarian says:

    1. WALL-E. Phenomenal film. As this is just a blog comment, I’ll leave it at that.
    2. UP. The whole film is inspirational, and the first fifteen or so minutes are….genius.
    3. The Lion King.
    4. The Incredibles.
    5. Monsters, Inc.
    A good argument could rearrange the order of three through five. But I don’t think I’d budge on one or two.

  4. QMJ says:

    The Incredibles is definitely a good one. Two more that I thoroughly enjoy are Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (non-stop laughing) and Tangled. Tangled is the type of movie that would normally be at the bottom of my list, but for Maximus and Pasqual alone it rocks.

  5. My favorites are The Incredibles, A Bugs Life, Hoodwinked, Wall-E, Ratatouille, Toy Story I & II, and Megamind, and Finding Nemo, in which Dori was a total hoot!

  6. jilly4ski says:

    For computer animated movies I like Meet the Robinsons, Tangled, Shrek, UP, and The Incredibles (actually I like a lot of the new animated movies) I love the hamster in Bolt, Dori in Finding Nemo, Cars, etc.
    For regular animated movies, I like Sword in the Stone, Beauty and the Beast, The Great Mouse Detective, and Sleeping Beauty, Anastasia, and Swan Princess just because it doesn’t take itself seriously at all and has hilarious characters.

  7. mea culpa says:

    Cloudy with Chance of Meatballs, just for the fun of it.


    Despicable Me. All manner of good.

  8. anthtan says:

    Only Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks features so far? How about a bit of Studio Ghibli? I recommend Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro and Princess Mononoke (with a little reservation because of the pagan elements).

  9. Tina in Ashburn says:

    harrumph. The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show was never a movie, therefore I cannot vote.

  10. GeekLady says:

    Well, I can answer for both myself and the three year old, our favorite animated movies are the ones that are complex, both in story and characters. We enjoy most of the Pixar movies, including The Incredibles. We’ve never bothered with A Bug’s Life or Cars, but GeekBaby loves Ratatouille. He also loves the Wallace & Gromit shorts, and will ask for specific episodes. But his latest movie addiction has been the Miyazaki films: Ponyo, My Neighbor Totoro, and Spirited Away. That last one scared him a little the first couple of times he watched it. But getting a little scared occasionally is good for him.

    I’m just profoundly grateful he doesn’t insist on Bob the Builder. *shudder*

  11. Margaret says:

    Anastasia (shocked it hasn’t been made into a stage musical yet)
    The Incredibles
    Toy Story I-II-III
    Yellow Submarine
    Charlotte’s Web

    Loved The Secret of NIMH as a child but haven’t re-watched as an adult…

    (Can I sneak in two well-done series? Redwall and Phineas and Ferb…) :)

    And now a question– I had always assumed Edna Mode was supposed to be a recognizable parody of some figure in the fashion world, and that unfashionable I just didn’t know who it was. So– is Edna cut from whole cloth (pun intended) or is she an inside joke? She is one of my favorite film cameos ever, especially when she sends Helen/ElastiGirl back to reclaim Bob/Mr. Incredible– “Go, confront the problem. Fight! Win! “

  12. bmccoy says:

    I’ve always loved 101 Dalmatians. I also love Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame. When I was little I had never noticed how much Catholicism was intertwined with the music and the plot, but I certainly notice it now. I also remember that when I was younger I saw Finding Nemo in theaters at least five times, Dory is just to funny. I remember being worried it would never come out on DVD; it did, and I was relieved. Tangled is also a movie I enjoy even now. I also caught The Incredibles tonight with my sisters, Edna is admittedly my favorite.

  13. Peggy R says:

    I have thought about my rankings of Pixar films as well. I’d include another CGI film too.

    1. Finding Nemo. The little one and I loved “Beyond the Sea”
    2. The Incredibles. Love Edna Mode! [Youngest is 8 and still wears a cape w/Batman mask outside! I reminded him what Edna Mode said.]
    3. Toy Story II. [I find TS1 less likable. Woody is a selfish guy.]
    4. Wall-E. I heard all these complaints about little dialogue. We all liked it.
    5. Meet the Robinsons. We like this author of the George Shrinks book (& PBS show) too.
    6. Shrek 1 was funny. The rest, meh. Not okay w/innuendo in kid’s film. [Dreamworks has too much innuendo vis a vis Pixar/Disney]
    7. Bolt is very funny and sweet!
    8. Flushed Away is funny even tho Dreamworks.
    9. UP is good too, of course. Timeline off. Asner was a kid when Munson was exploring. Yet, Munson more agile and as young as an aged Asner? Kid, bird, dogs cute!

    1. Ratatouille. Rats in a kitchen! Ugh. In spite of being Parisienne.
    2. Madagascar 1 & 2. I’ll grant the penguins are hilarious, but the innuendo very bothersome.
    3. I just don’t like the “Land Before Time” series. Theme song good.
    4. Cloudy…Meatballs grossed me out. I don’t mix my foods. Ugh.
    5. Cars. So so.

  14. Geoffrey says:

    Can’t go wrong with Disney movies like Aladdin and The Lion King. My favourite would have to be the Hunchback of Notre Dame for its Catholic elements. It came out when I was in high school preparing for Confirmation, and this animated film opened my eyes to the Church’s heritage: Latin and chant.

    And what other Disney animated film has the villain’s song actually be a prayer to the Blessed Virgin… addressing her as “Beata Maria” and all. Granted, it wasn’t a very nice prayer, but it was a prayer nonetheless…

    I recently saw Toy Story 3 and thought it was quite good.

  15. Geoffrey says:

    I forgot to mention: When I was a child, I could not get enough of Disney’s animated “Robin Hood”!

  16. holeksa says:

    Sleeping Beauty….not a streak of grey here….loving it.
    Pinocchio, if only it was that easy to tell, with a twitch of the nose. Oh and the whale, one can’t for get the puns.

  17. nola catholic says:

    As Father Z said, perhaps there needs to be some organization. Everyone has their favorites. And there are so many choices. Honestly, who’s to say that the Lion King is better than Beauty and the Beast? I suggest 4 categories. Here are some of my favorites (in no particular order):

    1. Pixar
    Toy Story and Toy Story III (one of the saddest Disney movies I’ve seen), Finding Nemo, Ratatouille (especially for the foodies!), Up

    2. Disney (non-Pixar) Male Lead
    The Lion King, Peter Pan, The Sword in the Stone, Aladdin

    3. Disney (non-Pixar) Female Lead
    Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Mulan, Pocahontas

    4. Other
    The Land Before Time – what more need be said, one of the great epic children’s movies. So popular it spawned 12 sequels. None as good as the original though.
    Spirited Away – another reader mentioned it, and I definitely second it. This is definitely one of the more powerful and symbolic animated movies I’ve seen
    How the Grinch Stole Christmas – a holiday classic!

    All of these are great for various reasons. If I had to pick one from each category it’d be:
    1. Pixar: Toy Story III
    2. Disney Male Lead: The Lion King
    3. Disney Female Lead: Beauty and the Beast
    4. Other: The Land Before Time

  18. carl b says:

    Lion King and Cars

  19. pseudomodo says:

    I would have to say that the greatest animations (adjusting for time and space) had to be the out of this world imagination of Betty Boop by the great Max Fleischer and music by Cab Calloway….


  20. The Incredibles is one of the only (if not THE only) Disney movies that has a family with both a mother and a father in it. Almost every single other Disney movie has one or no parent families: Aladin, Toy Story, Lion King (Dad dies), Little Mermaid… the list goes on

  21. andrewnhan says:

    Up is really good.

  22. Sliwka says:


    To add to the list of “full family” disney stories: 101 Dalmations, Lady and the Tramp, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Mulan.

    I’d maybe caveat your statement by saying it is one of the only recent animated disney movie with a mother and father.

    Some of my favourite features: Fantasia (the original), Land Before Time, Sword in the Stone.
    For series that are just too good not to mention: Wallace and Grommit, and Pingu, and Batman: The Animated Series from the 90’s.
    For Shorts: Most National Film Board Films (Neighbours, The Sweater, Blackfly, The Big Snit, Log Driver’s Waltz, The Cat Came Back–can all be seen at
    Stan Brakhage’s Dante Quartet (and similar films) are also very cool. Like moving Jackson Pollock paintings,

    I really reccomend the NFB films.

  23. Lurker 59 says:

    Let me add four that others have not covered

    The Iron Giant <– my favorite animated movie
    Princess Mononoke
    Grave of the Fireflies <– One of the saddest movies you will ever see

  24. DrTenochtitlan says:

    There are some excellent selections on this list, and I’d agree with virtually all of them. For myself, however, let me recommend “The Secret of Kells”. The story follows a fictionalized version of the creation of the Book of Kells. A young boy (meant to be a young St. Brendan) is taken in by his uncle who is an abbot and the head of his order. Vikings are constantly threatening to destroy the abbey, and so he seeks to build a wall high enough and strong enough to keep them out. Soon, a master illuminator arrives by the name of Aidan, with his cat Panger Ban (based on the famous poem of the same era). While Brendan is told never to leave the abbey, Aidan sends him into the forest to get materials for more ink. There, he meets Aisling, a forest spirit who becomes his friend.

    The story is rich in Catholicism and Irish culture, and shows the gradual supplanting of paganism by Christianity in a generally positive and non-judgmental light. The entire film is animated in the style of a moving illuminated manuscript, and is one of the most unique films in many years. I *highly* recommend it.

  25. Jack Hughes says:

    Embarissing though this is for a guy to admit, “Beauty and the Beast” is one of my favorite annimated films tying in first place with “The Sword in the Stone”.

    The music of Anastasia is wonderful as is the cheeky fox that is Robin Hood.

    I must admit “An American Tail” is also close to my heart

  26. Midwest St. Michael says:


    I cannot believe nobody said Kung Fu Panda!

    My wife and I took our kids and I cannot recall laughing out loud and so continuously in any other animated movie.

    (number two was not as good…..looking forward to number three)


  27. Ellen says:

    Margaret, Edna Mode’s look is based on Edith Head (the bangs). Head wasn’t nutty like Edna, so I assume that was right out of the director’s imagination.

    My favorite animated films: Well, I am old school and I love Pinocchio and Dumbo. From the modern – I love The Incredibles, Toy Story, and Up from Pixar. Recently, I have loved How to Train Your Dragon and Tangled.

  28. ejcmartin says:

    The Iron Giant – directed by Brad Bird who also directed The Incredibles. Based upon the Ted Hughes story. Tears well up in my eyes every time at the climax of the film.

    The family also likes the CCC movies on the some of the saints and the movie The Miracle Maker on the life of Christ.

  29. JonPatrick says:

    1. Dumbo
    2, Pinocchio
    3. Toy Story

    My kids grew up so I never got much beyond Toy Story.

  30. pelerin says:

    1. Bambi
    2. Lady and the Tramp
    3. 101 Dalmatians

  31. zapman449 says:

    Fr. Z: With your love of cooking, you really need to add Ratatouille to your list of movies to see, and the reflection on criticism at the end is wonderful.

    And to break from the Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks triumvirate, I’d suggest anything by Hayao Miyazaki… Spirited Away is a brilliantly imagined world, and Howl’s Moving Castle is amazing. While you’ll certainly not approve of the driving ethos behind some of the movies (hyper-environmentalism would be the largest offender… Latent Shinto themes would be another[1]) they are brilliantly imagined and very engrossing stories. Spirited away would be fine for a 9-10 year old, Howl’s Moving Castle might need a little more maturity… say 12-13. Other suggestions: ‘Castle in the Sky’, and ‘Princess Mononoki’

    I’d also throw in a vote for Apple Seed, though it certainly shouldn’t be for young children…


    [1] though if you’re looking for a faithful, fully Catholic animated film, I’m not sure you’ll find one.

  32. Christopher says:

    1) Fantasia: The rendition of Night on Bald Mountain, following with the chanting of Ave Maria and power of Light over Darkness is one of the most potent scenes ever rendered in an animation. Disney outdid themselves on this project. Very Catholic. (Category: Disney – Non-Pixar)

    2) Disney’s A Christmas Carol (the rendition starring Jim Carrey as voice actor): The artwork was simply beautiful. (Category: Disney – Non-Pixar)

    3) Monsters Inc. (Category: Disney – Pixar)

    Beyond the realm of Cartoons and similar effects:

    Ray Harryhausen had (for his time) great contributions towards animation.

    1) The old Clash of the Titans. (Category: Stop-Animation)
    2) The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. (Category: Stop-Animation)
    3) Jason and the Argonauts. (Category: Stop-Animation).

  33. Inigo says:

    1. Tangled (The perfect Catholic love story if you don’t count the magical themes. I mean there is no love at first sight thing, they get to know each other gradually throughout the film, and the climax…simply genius: total mutual self sacrifice)
    2. Lion King (If you are european, and know what a monarchy is, this movie takes you back to the middle ages, or biblical times like King David and Solomon. Shows you also why a state not firmly based in divine (and natural) law is doomed.)
    3. Toy Story (This actually is emotionally a pretty deep movie if you think about it.)
    4. The Incredibles (The family model is great. Lots of children, real life struggles, and the plot is also realistic.)

    If you think about it this whole super-hero idea is deeply Catholic. Some elect people are chosen to leave their lives behind, or at least handle it totally secondary, to complete a mission to save people, with extraordinary abilities given to them by something unexplainable. This is a description of Catholic priests! They even get a super-suit, with cape (sorry Edna)!

  34. Laura says:

    Ok, there are TWO glaring ommissions from these lists! How can we leave out FINDING NEMO and my new favorite: DESPICABLE ME!? Fr Z, you have to watch DESPICABLE ME — you will laugh and laugh. (You might tear up too) Can’t say enough good things about it. For a Pixar-like animated film this one beats The Incredibles and UP HANDS DOWN!

  35. robtbrown says:

    Disney: Pinocchio and Peter Pan.

    My favorite is a short, One Froggy Evening.

  36. Von Baroketch says:

    Best animated film: Walt Disney’s version of Pinocchio. Look for the Marian elements given to the Blue Fairy.

    Worst animated film: Howard Ashman’s version of The Little Mermaid, which could be reviewed as, “A father learns to accept his daughter’s unnatural and forbidden love.”

  37. benedetta says:

    We subscribe to Monsters, Inc., firstly and then pretty much everything Pixar including the shorts. Also like animated shorts generally but in order to find film fests of these one needs to be in an urban market. Despicable Me is a current favorite. Old Disney preferred, then Nemo and Lion King but generally not into Disney.

    After Monsters Inc., on heavy rotation for a lad from about 5 years up, the Iron Giant and My Neighbor Totoro.

    While patiently waiting for the awesomely talented people at Pixar to craft the next release, the fallback would be old footage of Stooges, Abbott & Costello, and selected Buster Keaton. In the younger years there was an initial fear, a frightened initial reaction, sadly, to seeing something on the screen in black and white. Fortunately that was a very temporary and initial response, we got over that and we like seeing what things were like in the old days and appreciate the humor. Note to parents also that for introducing Stooges it is best to wait until after children are clear that it is humor and entertainment and the Stooges do not offer wise course of action in preschool setting when a peer mows over your block tower or any other excellent suggestions for dealing with difficult or problematic interpersonal relationships. Teach all the usual things and the necessary self-control and, then enjoy Stooges…first things first.

    Generally an advocate for great animation for whole families to watch together, not kids in isolation. The best stuff is meant to be enjoyed by all.

  38. Maybe I’m just not a categorizer, but to me it’s difficult if not impossible to put all these movies into categories, each being so unique really, but thanks to all here who offered their views and assistance along these lines. For this same reason, I think, it’s also hard for me to pick favorites.

    It’s also hard to imagine grouping the older animated films in with the Pixars, etc. What I love about the older films, such as Pinocchio, is how they so clearly extol and reward virtue. The contemporary animated films are great at exposing our many vices, while at the same time making us laugh at ourselves. I have to agree with Father Z, that The Incredibles is incredibly good, perhaps the best of this latter genre, with UP being a very close second.

    And then there is a series of movies, not quite animated, so really in a class of their own, but I think also very much worth honorable mention here…the Muppet movies. Among these, The Great Muppet Caper is at the top of my list.

  39. benedetta says:

    Also want to note there is an old Jim Henson series available streaming on netflix, called the Storyteller which has some ancient myths and a few old Russian folktales, great productions. A bit scary so not for younger kids but older ones once they have read the Greek myths.

  40. Matthew the Publican says:

    Disney’s The Brave Little Toaster, hands down!

  41. Mike says:

    Ratatouille, as I like to cook it, and the film is excellent. I was watching the first part of it last weekend, after dining on Ratatouille, and my friend, who had not seen the film, noticed how Remi, the main character, is obviously a sanguine, his brother, a phlegmatic, and most of the chiefs are cholerics…an interesting take, from the temperaments point of view, on a fine film.

  42. JP Borberg says:

    I think two Pixar shorts are pure genius: Presto and Grei’s Game.

  43. Philangelus says:

    My Neighbor Totoro. I’d seen it twice even before I had kids, and by now I’ve seen it fifteen times. Amazing artwork and a sweet story. Very human.

  44. worm says:

    Monster’s Inc.

  45. Joe in Canada says:

    … sed haud magnae cappae?

  46. cblanch says:

    For my preschoolers: Up
    Finding Nemo

    For my tastes: Up
    The Incredibles
    Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
    Toy Story 3

  47. o.h. says:

    1. Miyazaki’s films, especially Spirited Away
    2. Rocky & Bullwinkle. I don’t care that they’re not featured films.
    3. Jan Svankmajer’s Alice. The best version of Alice in Wonderland, ever.
    3a. Svankmajer’s Faust. Eschews Goethe and goes directly to the European tradition of the Faust marionette plays.
    4. Wallace and Gromit, Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
    5. Shakespeare, The Animated Tales. Again, not feature films, but beautiful and original pieces (using the original language, not rephrased) by talented Russian directors and animators.

  48. disco says:

    I can’t believe no one said An American Tail. That’s a great one and it touches my heart because the cats are villains, just like real life.

  49. albinus1 says:

    I’m very partial to an animated movie from the late 80’s called The Brave Little Toaster, in which a group of household appliances go in search of their owner, who has gone off to college. Sort of like Toy Story, I supposed, but with household appliances instead of toys. But I was in graduate school when I saw it, so I can’t speak to how kids would react to it.

  50. Titus says:

    A lot of people seem to be recommending, or at least questioning the absence of, a couple of anime works: I think that’s a sufficiently distinct genre as to require separate treatment.

    Re: “modern” non-Pixar Disney: most of these are just plain garbage. The Lion King is widely loved, but really, let’s be honest: it’s a weak-plotted movie propped up by a bunch of pagan nature-worship and recycled 1960s drivel. No offense intended to the chap who saw it as a natural-law morality play, but I’m not sure that’s really there. And after that, why bother thinking about them? I see someone mentioned The Hunchback of Notre Dame: but the Disney movie is hardly even the same story as the Hugo novel.

    Now the votes:

    1. The Incredibles — one of my favorite movies period.
    2. Wall-E/Up — these are pretty comparable, I feel
    3. A Classic Disney work should go here, but I’m having trouble picking which (Sleeping Beauty? Cinderella? Pinocchio?) There are several contenders.

    Finding Nemo, Toy Story, and Ratatouille were all fun, but I don’t think they worked quite as well as those above. They earn “honorable mention.” Cars goes another tier down, as probably the weakest Pixar film (but still quite funny at that).

  51. Titus says:

    P.S. re: Wallace & Gromit: these are fantastic shorts, but it’s stretching to call clay-mation “animation.” These should also go in a distinct category. Also, the feature-length Curse of the Were-Rabbit was something of a let-down; it felt like an over-stretched short.

  52. jarhead462 says:

    Ellen- Definitely Edith Head, but I detect a touch of Linda Hunt in there as well.

    Semper Fi!

  53. benedetta says:

    Also agree with Wallace & Gromit, Aardman Animation, awesome. Also try a quirky British show “Brum” — late 80s/early 90s?

  54. benedetta says:

    While we’re at it Looney Tunes, still good.

  55. lgreen515 says:

    Finding Nemo. “Just keep swimmin’, just keep swimmin’.”

  56. benedetta says:

    Sorry keep forgetting. Also Pingu. With this last suggestion that should do it!

  57. At a certain point, someone will have to volunteer to create a list.

  58. o.h. says:

    Must add: Lotte Reiniger’s 1926 The Adventures of Prince Achmed, using silhouette animation. This is the oldest surviving animated feature film, and still mesmerizes. An excerpt:

  59. Konichiwa says:

    Computer animation that I love most are The Incredibles and all the Toy Story films. I like the humor and the overall package of them. I could watch those films over and over without getting tired. Finding Nemo was great, but not as high on my list as the previously mentioned ones.

    I haven’t seen Tangled or some of the newer ones that preceeded it, so I can’t share my opinion of them.

    As for the other animations, my favorite are the Miyazaki works especially My Neighbor the Totoro, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke. However there require more stamina from me as some parts can get slow as creative and funny as they are. I’d catch myself falling asleep at some point when I watch these films again. To me, they’re great but they stay on the DVD shelf for a long time after being watched the first time.

  60. APX says:

    The only animated movies I ever really watched growing up were Disney movies, so this list is a little limited.

    -The Little Mermaid (Probably the best Disney Soundtrack out there, and I’m not ashamed to say I still sing it in my car.)
    -Aladdin (Another musically amazing movie, that makes for some good songs to sing on those long lonely drives. It’s more fun to sing with friends, though.)
    -Winnie the Pooh (This movie has so much Canadian history, I can’t help but feel a little bit proud of it)
    -Beauty and the Beast (Every time I’d get sick at school and would have to go to the baby-sitter’s, I’d watch this movie all afternoon. I’ve probably seen it 50+ times)
    -Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
    -The Lion King (The first CD I ever bought was the Lion King Soundtrack, which I no longer have after my brother “borrowed” it…permanently.)
    -Robots (Maybe it’s just me, but there’s a lot of adult humour strewn throughout this movie, to the point it almost makes me feel like I need to go to Confession.)

    Disney really started to go downhill after Mulan, especially soundtrack-wise.

  61. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Nobody has mentioned Over the Hedge, from DreamWorks animation. Hilarious.

  62. Tangled definitely takes the top spot for me. I just loved everything about it. What can I say? I’m a sap. Others that immediately come to mind are Toy Story, Mulan, and Shrek, though I thought the Shrek sequels were very disappointing.

  63. irishgirl says:

    The last couple of years, I saw three animated movies: UP, Bolt (I’m a dog lover, can’t help it) and The Tale of Despereaux. I liked all three of them.
    When I was a kid, my parents took me and my sisters to a lot of the animated Disney films, mostly at a drive-in theater (us kids could wear our jammies!). I think we saw Dumbo, Peter Pan, Fantasia, Cinderella, and Pinocchio. Bambi made us cry!
    I’m surprised no one has mentioned How The Grinch Stole Christmas (the original one). Boris Karloff was a hoot as narrator and voice of the Grinch!
    I also liked Wallace and Gromit-the Brits really have a way with humor! Gromit had more smarts!

  64. irishgirl says:

    I know that these were not movies, but I loved them on TV as a kid-Rocky and Bullwinkle, and Mighty Mouse. (yeah, I’m ‘dating’ myself here!)
    And can’t forget Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera cartoons (Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Jetsons)!

  65. Lucas says:

    Any Pixar movie is always great. Well almost, I’m not a big fan of Cars 2.

    My son loves Kung Fu Panda and we like #2 much better than 1. Studio Ghibli is great, especially Ponyo.

  66. jarhead462 says:

    irishgirl- Disney Classics at the drive-in- in our pj’s- We did that too! I love Pinocchio and Fantasia, Snow White, Cinderella, Dumbo- all of them actually.
    FWIW-I think The Lion King is terribly overrated- I mean…FART jokes?? and that insipid Elton John song- I don’t think you can compare “Can you feel the love tonight” with “When you wish upon a star”….but that’s just me.

    Semper Fi!

  67. introibo says:

    All of the Pixar movies are great, although the first Cars didn’t do much for me. Haven’t seen Cars II yet. Bolt (directed by Lasseter of Pixar), Megamind . Tangled was decent; with the songs, I can foresee yet another Disney musical. Fantasia 1 and 2..really liked the Rhapsody in Blue sequence from #2.
    Maybe Munson in ” Up” retained his youth from some type of fountain of youth down South America way.

  68. Mrs. Bear says:

    Before we started Homeschooling – and my daughter was in Gr. 1 – on a rainy day they watched The Incredibles. My daughter had nightmares and was terrified. From what I recall – it was because of the part when Mr. Incredible found the bones of his friend in a cave. She was so spooked by that and a few other parts that showed bad people doing bad things to others. (usually they are “dark” characters. I then realized that even the G movies or TV shows had to be monitored not necessarily for that sort of thing but also for the adult content that goes over kids heads. Why do they need to do that anyway?

  69. BLB Oregon says:

    “UP. The whole film is inspirational, and the first fifteen or so minutes are….genius.”

    Absolutely. Worth the price of admission.

  70. kab63 says:

    I agree with those who recommend Miyazaki and I am surprised none of them brought forward Nausicaa. Her love, peacefulness and self-sacrifice for her people are some of the most (unconscious) references to Christ in animation.

  71. Christopher says:

    I forgot about the Pink Panther.

  72. I’m not much of film watcher, but I think that Pixar animated films are generally superior to regular Disney and Dreamworks. Regarding classic cartoons, I always preferred Warner Brothers to the competitors.

    When I was once sick, I had the time to watch both Kung Fu Panda and Wall-E at one time; both I found quite well-done, with the Panda film being superior overall. I found them so interesting that I listened to their directors’ commentaries — something that I’ve never done before or since. That was surprisingly rewarding. The unevenness of Wall-E was due to the directors building the whole film around the opening scenes: Wall-E working alone and then meeting up with the sleek Eve. The rest of the film was an afterthought and was subject to constant changes. Kung Fu Panda on the other hand seemed far more integrated, although I think the contents of the Dragon Scroll seems a bit too much — what? The kind of stuff they teach in contemporary public schools? However, it did seem that the story emphasized virtue in some ways.

    I’d recommend any Christian artist to read Dorothy L. Sayer’s book “The Mind of the Maker”, which strongly encourages an integrated approach to making based on the Creeds. A work of art, she writes, ought to be conceived of whole and entire, it ought to be true, it ought to be executed with high technique, and it ought to please an audience.

  73. PJ says:

    Definitely Kung Fu Panda. The characters were great – especially that wise old turtle:

    “You are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow’s a mystery, but today is a gift – that is why it is call the present.”

    (I think I may have heard this before somewhere. )

    I particularly like this quote because a gift implies a giver.

  74. Denita says:

    I love The Incredibles, too. I’m not a parent, but I still love a lot of the Disney/ Pixar films.
    WALL-E is another favorite. I also love Dreamwork’s Chicken Run, Flushed Away, and of course, Wallace & Gromit.
    I agree about Edna. She’s sort of the Edith Head for Supers. I love what she says about “super models” : Stick figures with lips ( or something like that).

  75. mike cliffson says:

    Wallace and Grommet too Brit?

  76. ckdexterhaven says:

    To the people asking about Edna- yes she’s modeled after Edith Head, but also after Anna Wintour, the editrix of Vogue magazine. In looks as well as attitude. Although Edna has a heart, some suspect Wintour doesn’t. ;)

    Incredibles is my favorite Pixar. My favorite movie line ever- animated or live action is when Dash (after being told he shouldn’t win the race b/c it’s not fair), says “when everybody’s special, then no one is.” Talk about being right on the money.

    My favorite little short from Pixar is “Bounding”. I laugh every time.

    Who ARE you people who like Land Before Time? I just looked up the word treacly in the dictionary, and there was a picture of Land Before Time!

  77. Sacristymaiden says:

    Ok, so I’m not really into the more foreign films like Ponyo, but this is a list of films that my I (and most of my family) have seen through the years.

    For the slightly older kids (10+) or with editing for young’uns for scary elements/crude humor:
    *How to tame your dragon (very entertaining, but not little ones per the scary & dragon element)
    *The Incredibles ( a GREAT family film!)
    Despicable Me (fun, but with a bit of crude humor)
    Kung Fu Panda (ok, a touch of buddism)
    *Ice Age II, III (entertaining, but with some crude humor and scariness in #III)

    Tried and true on small ones:
    *Finding Nemo (little ones loved this one!)
    *Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs (very fun and not mentally strenuous)
    *Tangled (very fun, even the 15 yr old boy liked it)
    **Ratatouille (a perennial favorite–the food element, rats in the kitchen, puppets, etc.)
    Toy Story III (ok, the toy element was the most fun)
    **Ice Age I (a big favorite, Skrat is hilarious & Sid has so many memorable one-liners)
    UP (I never saw this, but the little kids say some of it was pretty funny)
    Chicken Run (this one was a bit alarming for little ones at first. I personally did not like the fact that the theme music for the nasty Mrs. Tweety was Bach’s Ave Maria.)

    Untested on the little kids:
    *Meet the Robinsons (saw this @ college and thought it very funny and entertaining
    Cars (meh. Ok.)
    Mulan (Ok. Some memorable songs and funny parts)
    Fantasia (always heard so much about this. We never finished it when I was a kid, my brother and I got too scared at one point & never did finish it.)

    Oldies but Goodies:
    **Winne the Pooh ( the never failing and always popular)
    Robin Hood (very fun albeit non-historical really)
    *Dumbo (good)
    Peter Pan (ok)
    *Cinderella (a favorite with most little girls while not with most boys for obvious reasons)
    **Bambi (another perennial favorite)
    **Pinocchio (very memorable)
    Snow White (ok, a bit scary in parts perhaps)
    **Loony Tunes (!!! especially the older ones)

    And probably a lot more that have fallen through the cranial cracks of advancing old age…

  78. JohnE says:

    My son likes the Miyazaki films. I do too, although a few can get a little environmentally heavy-handed, and what’s with the effeminate father in Ponyo? Otherwise the animation is beautiful and really creates an atmosphere that immerses you. So much so that I’ve drifted off occasionally — think of the kids in Totoro waiting for the bus in the rain.

    Samurai Jack and The Spectacular Spiderman are a couple of my favorite animated series, along with The Avatar of which the movie The Last Airbender is based. The animated series is much better though — especially the prince who finally converts to the good side, and his patient uncle.

  79. Okay… who will make the list?

  80. benedetta says:

    I am willing to compile our list but to clarify — would it be, top feature length animation films, taking, the top several from comments here? Would we also want a top animated shorts (including Pixar, Wallace & Gromit and cartoons new and old days)?

  81. jarhead462 says:

    benedetta- I think you are on the right track- separate catagories. Perhaps Full Length feature films- Animated short films to include 15 to 30 min. animated t.v. shows, and another for animated shorts, i.e. Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, etc.
    For that last entry, I would ask if anyone remembers those great Tex Avery shorts, like SSSHHHHHHH!
    Semper Fi!

  82. benedetta says:

    jarhead462, I don’t know Tex Avery, will look that up. Also I could add Underdog. And also SpongeBob who uniquely and cheerfully appears not to possess one mean bone in his body (which of course lacks all skeletal material, being an intertebrate). Very difficult in our Ironic Times to be so successful over so long a period of time with a naive character such as that for protagonist. For Looney Tunes fans the name “Leopold” will conjure great memories.

    No one has mentioned Batman or Hall of Justice animation but possibly for shorts that could have support. I am not up on them but I understand from a friend in the know that there are different series of animated Batman with different strengths for each.

  83. benedetta says:

    Also Veggie Tales.

    Technically Wallace & Gromit is not traditional animation but the painstaking but amazing work of claymation. If we include that then a certain age group may also want the Davy & Goliath series of claymation. I guess Pingu falls into this category.

    Film fests which curate and offer international animation are really great if you have the opportunity to attend one. Sometimes they break down by age-appropriate. And what is so interesting is that there are animators in every place on the globe who, in order to be enjoyed by the maximum possible audience, unlimited by language or age group (since included are those who may not be able to read subtitles) do beautiful work with music or sort of “dialogue” (as in something like Pingu) of gesture and sort of voice inflection by character voice, and still often with those terms able to create a story or narrative of depth and beauty.

  84. amenamen says:

    The wonderful adventures of Wallace, the British inventor, and Gromit, his (much smarter) dog, are great for kids.

    Wallace and Gromit: A Grand Day Out
    (They run out of cheese for their crackers, so they go to the moon to get more)
    Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers
    (Hi-tech mechanical “trousers” take Gromit for his “walkies.” But a very bad penguin uses
    them for his own purposes.)
    Wallace and Gromit: A Close Shave
    Wallace and Gromit: Cracking Contraptions
    Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit
    Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death

  85. sophiamarie3 says:

    Up…Best animated movie I’ve ever seen!

  86. inIpso says:

    KUNG FU PANDA!!!!! Legend has is that his legendary skills were the stuff of legend!!!!

  87. benedetta says:

    Charlotte’s Web, Lady and the Tramp

  88. Peggy R says:

    Additional thoughts, not to complicate my prior list.
    –I grew up pre-VCR. Haven’t watched too much classic Disney. [Busy w/AMC classic films instead!] Our boys don’t watch princess films, needless to say. So, not attached to classic good Disney animation myself. Most D animation ie, Lion King+ seems too PC anymore. A princess for each ethnicity.
    –Glad some one mentioned Veggie Tales. If we’re talking feature length, Jonah is the one.
    –KFP1 quite good. F5 were silly in KFP2. Poh’s well-done story, however, caused our little boys to fall apart. One had constructed the same scenario in his mind for his bio-parents.
    –I think animated TV series is a rather wide open category. I’d judge it beyond the intent here. And I guess the Muppet films don’t really qualify since they involve live action and open up to lots of other types of films. That’s just me trying to help set parameters for a big job.

  89. AnAmericanMother says:

    Did anybody else notice that in Robin Hood the song about Bad King John – “The Phoney King of England” – is actually an expurgated version of an amazingly naughty song — ostensibly written by Rudyard Kipling and the reason he was denied the Laureate because Queen Victoria Was Not Amused.
    Don’t know if that’s true, but I laughed out loud at that song the first time I saw the movie and then had to say, “Oh nothing, nothing!” to my kids.

  90. sejoga says:

    I love, love, love Ratatouille and The Secret of NIMH…. among countless other animated flicks that are already mentioned or maybe aren’t as worthy of mentioning.

    Father, I see you say you want a list made…. are you just wanting a compilation of what has been mentioned here? I suppose I could go through the posts and make a list tomorrow but I don’t know quite what you want out of the list…

  91. teomatteo says:

    My list:
    1) pinocchio
    2) polar express
    3) incredibles
    4) jungle book
    5) up
    6) finding nemo
    7) ratatouille
    9) snow white
    10) walli

  92. Eric says:


    Rats like dragons should NEVER be good guys.

    I may be a little biased against this movie since I had to run out to the car during the evacuation/infestation scene to get a crow bar to pry my wife off the ceiling of the theater.

    For my money either of the two Veggie Tales movies are as good as any.

  93. doozer125 says:

    I can’t believe that no one said The Fantastic Mr. Fox! It may be claymation (I think…) but it is a great movie!

  94. nola catholic says:

    Well, Father Z. wanted a list. I am happy to oblige seeing as I cannot sleep at the moment. I have gone through all the comments and counted the number of times each film was recommended. The following films were recommended by 10 or more commenters (in no particular order):

    The Incredibles
    Finding Nemo
    Toy Story (the series – I lumped the three together)
    The Lion King
    Finding Nemo
    Wallace and Gromit (any)

    One poster argued for the exclusion of Wallace and Gromit because it is clay-mation. However, if we’re being purists about animation, that would also exclude computer animation. Because of the heavy support for W&G, I included them in the list. This list seems to be the best we can do, since there isn’t really agreement on categories. It also seems to be a sufficient number to vote. Any more and I feel that it would be hard to get decent vote percentages for any one or two as the votes would be so spread out. However, since Fr. Z will be the one posting the list to vote on, and it’s at his discretion, the following films were closest to the 10 or more recommenders mark (additionally all of the following films were recommended more than 6 times). That way he can include more if he wants to:

    Kung Fu Panda
    Spirited Away
    The Land before Time

    Obviously there will always be great films left out on lists like these, and I think there were some excellent films not mentioned or recommended by many people unfortunately. However, if we are going to have to settle on one list generated by the recommendations made in the comments, I think the first one I listed above should suffice. I hope this helps!

  95. nola catholic says:

    My apologies for accidentally having listed Finding Nemo twice in the list I created.

    Also, as I look back at the list I made, I can’t help but wonder how Tangled made it on there. To me, of the ones on the list Tangled, Finding Nemo, and W&G are the only three that don’t seem to have very well developed or in-depth themes in them. Of those three, W&G and Nemo are both far funnier than Tangled. Both also have more well developed and more interesting characters than Tangled. Tangled also has a far more stereotypical and predictable storyline with predictable elements (evil old lady as villain, princess/damsel in distress, flawed but determined hero). Change the names and settings and this movie is Cinderella, Snow White, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, Frog Princess, or any number of films all over again. Of course, I guess Tangled is the newest so it sticks in people’s heads. But I guess the poll will do the work of separating the wheat from the chaff.

  96. Christopher says:

    A suggested list:

    Favourite Animated Movie (by company, this allows for more animations as a collective, but reduces individual value in a sense):
    [*] Pixar (Toy Story, Cars, UP, Monsters Inc., Wall-E Etc)
    [*] Disney Classic (Little Mermaid, Fantasia, Pinnochio, Lion King Etc)
    [*] Dreamworks (Shrek, Kung-Fu Panda, The Prince of Egypt etc)

    The problem is, the favourite movie is subjugated to a category rather than as an individual title. Maybe Father Z could post it in seperate posts, devoting one post to Pixar, another to Disney and so forth? All under the category of animation.

  97. EegahInc says:

    Almost 100 comments and no mention of Watership Down (1978)? The excellent, but practically forgotten, The Mouse and His Child (1977) I can understand. But no Watership Down? Get thee all to Netflix now.

  98. UPDATE:

    One of the readers was kind enough to send a possible list for a poll. She wrote:

    Here are the animation polling results from the comments as of 8pm EST. I tried to accurately record the number of mentions for each film and then tallied the highest number of mentions in comments for the following categories.

    Poll Categories:

    Full Length Animated Film

    The Incredibles
    Finding Nemo
    Kung Fu Panda
    The Lion King
    Toy Story

    * The above films had at least 6 mentions in the comments. If we expand to at least 5 mentions we would then also include:

    My Neighbor Totoro
    Spirited Away
    Toy Story 3

    ** Expanding to include those with 4 mentions:

    Beauty and the Beast
    Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
    Despicable Me
    Monsters, Inc.
    Princess Mononoke
    Toy Story 2

  99. AnAmericanMother says:

    The book The Mouse and His Child is incredible (though incredibly dark). I didn’t realize there was a cartoon. Is it as strange as the book (and do they cover the doctrine of the Last Visible Dog?)

  100. EegahInc says:

    AmericanMother, I actually saw The Mouse And His Child in the theaters when it was released and it did eventually come out on videotape, but alas, there’s no DVD to be found. I think it’s on YouTube, though. And yes, the Last Visible Dog is in there.

  101. BenedictXVIFan says:

    Beauty and the Beast
    The Jungle Book

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