Animated movies have their beginning back in the silent film era. Entertainment legend Walt Disney has been given credit for taking the genre mainstream. “Steamboat Willie” introduced Mikey Mouse in 1928. Mikey remains a beloved character at Disney’s theme parks a century later. Disney released a long string of animated films, many of which are considered the foundation on which later animated films were created. These include “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937), “Pinocchio” (1940) and “Fantasia” (1940).
To this day, the best animated films deliver lasting value to viewers of all ages. For proof, look no further than the ample slate of masterpieces from Pixar or Studio Ghibli. Not just visually exquisite, films such as “WALL·E” and “Spirited Away” imbue their fantastical adventures with intelligent commentary on humanity, nature and the interplay between the two.
One can watch these films as a child and then watch them again as an adult, picking up on different but equally impactful details and messages each time. That’s the power of great animation.
Then we have the films aimed primarily or even exclusively at adolescents and adults, which use animation as a gateway to boundless expression. Don Hertzfeldt’s “It’s Such a Beautiful Day,” for example, relays the mental breakdown of its protagonist through unique drawing styles and an offbeat tone. The cyberpunk classic “Akira” is likewise best-suited for an older crowd, as it dispenses with copious amounts of graphic violence. Needless to say, you have your options.
To determine the best animated movie of all time, 24/7 Tempo developed an index based on several measures from the Internet Movie Database and Rotten Tomatoes. The index is a composite of the movies’ IMDb rating, Rotten Tomatoes audience score and Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score. All ratings were weighted equally. Supplemental data on acting and directing credits came from IMDb.
The best animated movie of all time is “Grave of the Fireflies,” released in 1988 and directed by Isao Takahata. Here are the scores:
- IMDb audience rating: 8.5/10 (240,844 votes)
- RT Tomatometer score: 100% (40 votes)
- RT audience score: 95% (69,019 votes)