7 All-Time Greatest Animated Movies According to IMDb

World Premiere of Disney-Pixar's Wall-E - Arrivals
World Premiere of Disney-Pixar's Wall-E - Arrivals / Frazer Harrison/GettyImages

For a long while, animated movies were believed to be meant only for children. Not anymore. Recent years have seen adults being an enthusiastic audience, along with kids, thronging to the theaters as soon as the film is released. 

Animation has become a powerful medium of storytelling for filmmakers, who gain the freedom to use a riot of colors and engaging visuals to convey emotions and thoughts in a manner that moves the viewers’ hearts. According to IMDb, here are the top seven greatest animated movies ever made that the audience vouch for as the best. 

1. Spirited Away, 2001 - The Coming-of-Age Fairy Tale

Studio Ghibli is synonymous with high-quality animated productions. Among all its masterpieces, the 2001 film Spirited Away remains a step above the rest. The reason why it resonated the most with the audience worldwide is because of its universal appeal.

Animation director Hayao Miyazaki, in his magnum opus, tells the coming-of-age story of a ten-year-old girl named Chihiro who is transported to the mysterious world of magic inhabited by ancient spirits and mystical beings. Through her journey into the realm, she learns several life lessons. The mysterious entities she comes across and the incredible world-building in the movie offer the audience an unforgettable immersive experience. 

2. The Lion King, 1994 - Disney’s Animated Masterpiece

If there’s one story that’s been told in various ways yet has found its audience every time, it’s the story of Simba. Still, Disney’s 1994 animated masterpiece The Lion King has a special place in the hearts of many, even three decades after its release. 

The iconic evergreen film takes its inspiration from Shakespeare’s Hamlet and beautifully narrates the young cub Simba’s triumph over his evil uncle Scar’s schemes to become a great king like his father, Mufasa. People couldn’t help but fall in love with the fantastic landscape of the Pride Lands or how the film portrayed the intense feelings of betrayal, hope, and the sense of duty to one’s homeland. 

3. Grave of the Fireflies, 1988 - A Heartbreaking Tale of Tragedies

Unlike the earlier lighthearted animated movies that people believed catered more to kids, the 1988 film Grave of the Fireflies burst that misconception with an intense depiction of war and its grave effects on human lives, meant mainly for adults. 

It’s a heartbreaking tale of tragedies that befalls two young Japanese siblings, Setsuko and Seita, and how they try to survive the atrocities of World War II. The epic movie doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to highlighting the plight of civilians during the war that rages between powerful nations. It also captures the beauty of perseverance against the backdrop of loss and suffering. 

4. WALL-E, 2008 - Pixar’s Love Across the Galaxy

For the first time, Pixar took a detour from its family-centric themes and did a deep dive into a social critique of corporate consumerism in its 2008 animated feature WALL-E. On another note, the movie also goes forward into the distant future with a robot being the sole inhabitant of the deserted Earth.

It effectively shows how the Earth has been destroyed by trash, and if humans are complacent about being controlled by large corporations, we become nothing but robots. We can see how it hit a nerve with the audience. 

5. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, 2018 - A Superhero’s Outstanding Re-Introduction

The 2018 computer-animated production Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse came at a time when the world of cinema was filled to the brim with superhero flicks, and yet it came as a breath of fresh air. With excellent visual designs and a comic-style narrative flow, the on-screen extravaganza offered the viewers a breathtakingly immersive experience unseen in the Spidermanverse. 

Millions were ready to go on the thrilling journey of self-discovery Miles Morales was on as the newly power-packed Spiderman. The compelling side characters combined with the spectacular soundtrack made it a movie worth watching many more times.

6. Toy Story, 1995 - The Most Memorable Pixar Production

Toy Story was released in 1995 and, to everyone’s surprise, became a phenomenal success with its masterful animation and storytelling. The toys were the only characters in the story, but they were an adorable bunch that parents and children alike took to with all their hearts. 

Pixar hit the jackpot by making an animated feature instantly relatable to adults and kids. Sheriff Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the other characters went on an incredible journey that pulled at the heartstrings of everyone, making it an immensely memorable watch. 

7. Coco, 2017 - A Family-Friendly Fun Fare

In 2017, Pixar outdid itself with the animated movie Coco. The film follows the journey of an aspiring musician Coco who wants nothing but to pursue his passion for music against his family’s wishes. 

In a joyride across the land of the dead, the viewers are gently reminded of important family values–honoring ancestors and respecting our elders. The spectacular visuals of the exotic and nuanced world-building offer the viewers a delightful treat.


Films that move the audience to tears, make them laugh out loud, and leave them speechless with wonder are the only ones that stay fresh in their minds decades after the end credits roll on. These animated moves tick all these boxes; if you haven’t watched them, it’s time to.