While there are many charming, visually impressive, and strongly written animated feature films out there, some have risen above all the rest. Here, we’re looking back at the greatest animations of all time. Rather than picking our favorites, however, we’re turning to the IMDb ratings for answers.
The popular entertainment website has given every animated film a rating based on the votes of registered members on a scale of 1 to 10. We’ll be adding the highest-rated films to our lineup, assuming they’ve received 25,000 or more individual ratings. With the logistics out of the way, it’s time to be impressed by the best.
Updated on January 26th by Mark Birrell: With heavily-animated comic book movies gaining widespread popularity across the world and the distribution of Asian animation only becoming better and better in the West, animated movies have arguably dominated the entire market for some time now. We’ve updated our list to add 5 more of the highest-rated animated movies on IMDb right now to better help those looking for the best examples of the medium from around the world. From 80s legends to contemporary hits, these movies are must-sees for movie fans in general, regardless of how they feel about animation in general.
15. A Silent Voice (8.1)
An adaptation of the manga of the same name by Yoshitoki Ōima, A Silent Voice is a moving story about a young man who, after finding himself entering into adolescence with no friends and dealing with serious depression, seeks to make amends with the hearing impaired girl that he severely bullied years before.
Filled with plenty of the easygoing and relatable humor that comes with the style of animation that the movie uses, it’s ultimately an emotionally honest look at youth, love, and hope that has resonated with a huge number of film fans.
14. My Neighbor Totoro (8.2)
The first of several movies from the beloved Studio Ghibli on this list, My Neighbor Totoro remains one of the animation legend’s most iconic movies thanks to its innocent charms and adorable designs.
The story follows two sisters as they spend a summer at a cabin near a forest while their mother recuperates at a nearby hospital. With burgeoning imaginations and newfound anxieties to worry about, they begin to find help and comfort in a local magical creature that they name Totoro. The movie’s visual aesthetic is one of the most seminal in the history of animated movies, inspiring countless works and epitomizing the cottagecore style. Totoro himself would become the de facto mascot of the company, even being incorporated into their logo.
13. Howl’s Moving Castle (8.2)
A much later–but equally adored–offering from Studio Ghibli that was also spearheaded by the company’s most prominent figure, My Neighbor Totoro director Hayao Miyazaki, Howl’s Moving Castle is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Diana Wynne Jones.
The magical story revolves around a young woman who is cursed by an evil witch into premature old age, forcing her to seek out the dashing but unstable young wizard that she crossed paths with, in the hopes that her curse can be lifted. Set across the backdrop of a vicious and senseless war, the movie is an irresistible romance that has the power to go toe to toe with anything that even the all-powerful Disney can produce.
12. Toy Story 3 (8.2)
Though Toy Story‘s direct sequel was strong, the series’ third installment came out even stronger. Toy Story 3 has Andy’s toys getting bored with their existence as their owner grows older and they start collecting dust. However, after accidentally being donated to Sunnyside Daycare, the gang gets excited about the opportunity to be played with again. Their dreams come crashing down, though, as a revenge-driven teddy bear threatens their future.
The animations reached an all-time high as the story grew even larger and more emotional than the installments before it. The end was both moving and imaginative.
11. Up (8.2)
The year prior to Toy Story 3‘s massive success, Pixar released one of their most devoutly loved movies ever with this story of a cantankerous old man who embarks on a wild adventure after turning his home into a makeshift hot air balloon.
Often remembered for its emotionally charged opening, depicting the lifetime of circumstances that lead the main character to his lonely life of unfulfilled dreams, Up is packed with all the action and color of the animation studio’s most conventional hits but has inspired many with its standout creative choices.
10. Klaus (8.2)
A rare interloper into the mostly Disney-dominated world of Western animated movies, Klaus was produced by Sergio Pablos Animation Studios and distributed through Netflix, creating a welcomed change of pace for animated movie fans with its traditional style of animation.
A Christmas-themed story detailing the creation of Santa as the world knows him, Klaus has been counted up amongst some of Pixar’s biggest achievements thanks to its own talented voice cast and tearjerking moments.
9. Toy Story (8.3)
1995’s Toy Story tells the story of young Andy’s cowboy doll, Woody, who sees his world turned upside down after his owner gets a cool new spaceman action figure, Buzz Lightyear, for his birthday. As if jealousy wasn’t enough to deal with, Woody must also help Buzz figure out his place as a toy while fighting off threats from their toy-destroying neighbor, Sid.
The film’s innovative visuals, heartwarming story, and the creative plot has cemented it as a favorite of many.
8. Princess Mononoke (8.4)
This 1997 anime fantasy sees the peace between humans, gods, and animals crashing down in 14th century Japan. After Ashitaka becomes cursed with superhuman strength that will eventually kill him, he heads west in an attempt to find a cure and restore harmony to the land.
The colorful, detailed visuals were revolutionary at the time of the film’s release. Additionally, the moving score and epic narrative impressed viewers around the world.
7. Wall-E (8.4)
In 2008, Pixar came out with one of its most innovative stories of all time. Wall-E tells the tale of a little robot who has been left on Earth to clean up the garbage-covered landscape of the 29th century. However, after a futuristic robot named Eve visits from the Axiom spaceship and discovers a plant, the pair soon finds out that the fate of humanity lies in their hands.
With breathtaking snapshots of space, a human narrative, and an emotional drive, the film had a lot going for it. Wall-E figured out how to utilize all the best properties of animation.
6. Coco (8.4)
The final Pixar film appearing on this list is 2017’s Coco. Based on the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, the animated fantasy tells of a 12-year-old boy named Miguel, who hopes to become a famous musician. After learning of his song-filled heritage and accidentally falling into the Land of the Dead, however, Miguel learns about the things that matter most.
The film’s rich Mexican heritage, beautiful visuals, great much, and complex themes left viewers with an array of emotions.
5. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (8.4)
Sony Pictures broke into the acclaimed-animation game with its release of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in 2018. This animated superhero movie follows Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales, who develops special abilities after getting bitten by a spider. Though he struggles to handle his new powers, he soon confronts even bigger issues after Spider-Men from other dimensions fall into his own world.
The film’s unique art style was blended a whole bunch of humor, action, and emotion. The fleshed-out narrative made this one a standout.
4Your Name (8.4)
This 2016 romantic fantasy drama managed to become both a critical and commercial success by becoming the highest-grossing anime film of all time.
It follows two Japanese teenagers who find out they are linked to each other. After intermittently swapping bodies, they decide they should meet each other in real life. The movie was pretty and moving, scoring positive reviews from audiences across the world.
3. Grave Of The Fireflies (8.5)
Though Grave of the Fireflies is one of the oldest movies on this list, debuting in 1988, it has withstood the test of time. Based on the semi-autobiographical story of the same name by Akiyuki Nosaka, this war film tells the story of two siblings in Japan who attempt to navigate the end of World War II.
The powerful Studio Ghibli movie is definitely a lot sadder than most animated films. Nevertheless, it’s moving story is worth a watch.
2. The Lion King (8.5)
Disney’s highest-rated animation of all time is none other than 1994’s The Lion King. No, the live-action version just can’t compete. The original story told of a lion cub named Simba who is destined to rule over the Pride Lands. After believing he caused the death of his father, however, Simba runs away only to eventually return for the throne as an adult after his evil uncle Scar attempts to dominate.
The charming characters, breath-taking hand-drawn animations, and catchy songs have made The Lion King one of Disney’s most memorable classics.
1. Spirited Away (8.6)
Topping off the list as the highest-rated animation film of all time is this 2001 Japanese coming-of-age anime by Studio Ghibli. Spirited Away follows a 10-year-old girl named Chihiro whose parents get turned into pigs after coming across an empty amusement park. She soon comes in contact with a mysterious figure who informs her that the park is a holding place and it is up to Chihiro to restore her parents to their original form.
While the visuals are a huge talking point amongst fans, the creative story and haunting feel have kept it with them.