Below are my personal favorite animated films. I do not claim that this list is comprehensive in any way, it is only comprised of the 100 best animated films I have seen in my lifetime. Though I have seen hundreds more, I decided to limit it to 100 because, well, it has a nice ring to it.
Also, I should note I only considered feature-length films that were fully (or very near fully) animated. By animated, I mean either hand-drawn, stop-motion, digitally rendered, or a mix of these techniques.
Films I excluded due to not meeting these conditions include: A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), A Close Shave (1995), Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966), A Grand Day Out (1989), James and the Giant Peach (1996), The Pagemaster (1994), Space Jam (1996), Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988), and The Wrong Trousers (1993).
Without further ado…
#100: A Goofy Movie (1995)
Disney delivers a surprisingly heartfelt film telling the endearing story of a single father trying to reconnect with his teenage son. What follows is a cross-country romp packed with memorable characters, wacky hijinks, as well as some unexpected, sincere moments.
#99: Anomalisa (2015)
Written and co-directed by Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich, Adaptation), this stop-motion film follows a man named Michael and his mental breakdown while on a business trip in Ohio. A dark exploration of regret, love, and escape from mundanity.
#98: A Scanner Darkly (2006)
Based on the Philip K. Dick novel of the same name, A Scanner Darkly‘s plot is as unique as its creation process. The entire film was shot using actors in real sets before being completely animated through the process of rotoscoping. The film’s director, Richard Linklater, first used this process on his film Waking Life in 2001.
#97: Fantastic Planet (1973)
One of the few foreign films to make the list that do not originate from Japan, Fantastic Planet is a wildly original and bizarre hand-drawn film. While the story’s message may seem bland, its sheer weirdness is worth the watch alone.
#96: Watership Down (1978)
Adapted from the book of the same name, this film follows a tribe of rabbits forced to flee their warren when it is threatened by humans. Don’t let the cute rabbits fool you, this film is a dark, violent look at racism, exile and totalitarianism. You’ve been warned.
#95: The Rescuers (1977)
Shelved by Walt Disney for its political overtones, The Rescuers was given new life a decade later when the company moved its senior animators from the highly successful Robin Hood to finish the film. The result is a charming film with beautiful artwork.
#94: The Fox and the Hound (1981)
A tender tale of a relationship between two friends and the forces that influence both of their lives. The Fox and the Hound marks somewhat of a turning point for Disney’s animated films away from action and songs to a more mature, moralizing lesson on societal relationships.
#93: Hercules (1997)
Released during the “Disney Renaissance” of the mid-to-late 1990s, Hercules failed to live up to the success of its peers. Not that it is a failure by any means. Hercules showcases some of the finest animation and memorable characters the studio produces during this period.
#92: Wizards (1977)
Following the successes his previous “underground” animated films, Ralph Bakshi, delves into the genre of sci-fi/fantasy. Though certainly less adult than his previous films, Wizards packs no less impact, touching on terrorism, war, propaganda and fascism.
#91: The Secret of Kells (2009)
Another excellent animated film from France. The Secret of Kells is a wonderful coming-of-age tale set against the beautiful backdrop of Ireland. This film stands out for its gorgeous art style that remains a unique change of pace from films made before and since.