Toy Story, Moana Among Top 20 “Certified Fresh” Animated Movies

Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks studios headline a list of 20 award-winning “Certified Fresh” animated movies sure to satiate your appetite for animation.

Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks studios headline a list of 20 award-winning “Certified Fresh” animated movies sure to satiate your appetite for animation.


20. The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

Number of Reviews: 259
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91%

Sitting appropriately at the twenty-spot, The LEGO® Batman Movie, although a clever follow-up to the massively successful The LEGO® Movie, falls just short of the critical acclaim of its predecessor (also on the list). Batman, the irreverent, lone wolf of a superhero, (voiced by Will Arnett) is once again up against arch-rival, The Joker—who in a hilarious plot, must somehow exact revenge on Batman who insists The Joker isn’t as important to him as The Joker thinks he is.

The film debuted to overall positive reviews and despite a somewhat slim drop-off, was still a smash hit, grossing over $312 million worldwide—proving the blockbuster LEGO® franchise is here to stay.

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19. The Incredibles (2004)

Number of Reviews: 235
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 97%

The Incredibles stands the test of time as it’s been more than a decade since the film was released (doesn’t seem that long ago at all). Talks of a 2018 sequel absolutely make my heart flutter with joy!

The story follows the lives of two aging superheroes in Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl who must now cope with the idea of existing as regular clock-punching, home-making citizens. A prevailing theme in the movie is that of normalcy and what it really is—the idea that the superheroes’ extraordinary abilities must remain hidden due to public ostracism. But Bob is itching for more and eventually gets his chance to flex his superhero muscles when a mysterious communication summons him to a remote island for a top-secret assignment.

The film grossed over $630 million worldwide and was met with critical acclaim, receiving the 2004 Annie Award for Best Animated Feature, along with two Academy Awards. It became the first entirely animated film to win the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.

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18. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Number of Reviews: 203
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 98%

Don’t let its slim representation on this list fool you. Dreamworks is no stranger to amazing animated films. The same studio that brought us Shrek, Madagascar, and Kung Fu Panda, introduces a world of Vikings and dragons in its blockbuster film How to Train Your Dragon. In the movie, we follow a maturing Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) who is the son of a Viking chief and must capture a dragon in order to mark his passage into manhood and prove his worthiness to the tribe. Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse provide voices for the DreamWorks Animation production.

The film, which would become the first of a series of films bearing the same title, grossed just under half a billion dollars in revenue. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score at the 83rd Academy Awards. It also won 10 Annie Awards, including Best Animated Feature.

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17. My Life as a Zucchini (Ma vie de courgette) (2017)

Number of Reviews: 111
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 99%

After his mother’s sudden death, Zucchini is befriended by a police officer, Raymond, who accompanies him to his new foster home, filled with other orphans his age. At first, he struggles to find his place in this, at times, strange and hostile environment. But with Raymond’s help and his newfound friends, Zucchini eventually learns to trust and love, as he searches for a new family of his own. Though we have become accustomed to CGI animated films, My Life as a Zucchini treats us to yet another enjoyable animation style which is a fresh change-up.

The film, from a financial standpoint ($8 million budget), was considered a commercial failure ($5.6 million box office) but received universal acclaim, including a nomination for Best Animated Feature Film at the 89th Academy Awards, losing to Zootopia. That’s pretty stout company!

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16. Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

Number of Reviews: 188
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 97%

Not only will the stop-action animation blow your mind but the storyline is amazing! Kubo and the Two Strings is an action-adventure set in Japan. A kindhearted Kubo (Art Parkinson – “Game of Thrones”) lives a humble life with his ailing mother miles away from the village. Kubo goes into town during the day to make a living off of amazing stories he tells from what seems like suppressed memories. But his relatively quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a spirit from his past which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta. The movie includes vocal performances by Academy Award winner Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes and Rooney Mara and is anchored by an amazing visual style that has become LAIKA studio’s calling card.

The film won the BAFTA for Best Animated Film and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Visual Effects, becoming the second animated film to be nominated in the latter category following The Nightmare Before Christmas. The film grossed $74 million worldwide.

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15. Ratatouille (2007)

Number of Reviews: 244
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96%

Ratatouille is another Disney/Pixar film that delivers both amazing imageries and captivating plotlines. A rat named Remy dreams of becoming, of all things, a great chef one day, despite the disapproval of his family and the obvious problem of being—well—a rat. Remy eventually finds himself ideally situated beneath a Parisian restaurant made famous by his culinary hero, Auguste Gusteau. Remy forms an unlikely partnership with a garbage boy named Linguini (Lou Romano), who discovers Remy’s amazing talents. They strike a deal, ultimately setting into motion a plan that turns the culinary world of Paris upside down.

The film grossed $620.7 million at the box office and received universal critical acclaim. The film would later win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and be voted one of the 100 greatest motion pictures since 2000.

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14. Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015)

Number of Reviews: 159
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 99%

Look, guys! A non-Disney/Pixar movie cracked the top twenty. Though nowhere near the mega-budgets of its list mates, Shaun the Sheep Movie made the most of its $25 million budget by grossing over $106 million worldwide at the box office. It would also go on to be nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 88th Academy Awards.

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13. Moana (2016)

Number of Reviews: 233
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96%

Moana is one of my favorite films to watch with (or without) my daughter (don’t judge me). It is yet another Disney film that delivers a powerful plot and stunning visuals. In the movie, we follow the beautiful young adventurer Moana (Auliʻi Cravalho) on a journey to find herself and salvation for her home island of Motunui. She is accompanied by a rambunctious demigod Maui (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) who is just as arrogant as he is petulant. Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, all along the way.

The film went on to gross over $643 million worldwide. Along with Zootopia, it marked the first time since 2002 that Walt Disney Animation Studios released two feature films in the same year. It received two Academy Award nominations at the 89th Academy Awards: one for Best Animated Feature and another for Best Original Song (“How Far I’ll Go”).

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12. Finding Dory (2016)

Number of Reviews: 286
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94%

Who can forget the forgetful blue tang fish, Dory from the remarkable underwater adventure Finding Nemo? It would seem that Dory’s famous line “just keep swimming” would prove to be a self-fulfilling prophecy for the Pixar franchise as the sequel would swim its way to yet another critically acclaimed masterpiece. After its release in 2016 Finding Dory somehow managed to top its prequel’s commercial success to become Pixar’s second movie to cross the 1 billion dollar mark (along with Toy Story 3), making it the 25 highest grossing film of all time.

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11. The LEGO® Movie (2014)

Number of Reviews: 229
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96%

You gotta love Chris Pratt, who lends his vocal talent to the character Emmet in The LEGO® Movie. Emmet is an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average guy who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person in the LEGO® universe and is somehow the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant with a dumb name (Lord Business) voiced by Will Ferrell. Needless to say, Emmet is hopelessly underprepared and in an adventurous yet hilarious chain of events manages to pull it all off.

The film won the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film, the Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Animated Feature, and the Saturn Award for Best Animated Film; it was also nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film and an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song for “Everything Is Awesome”. Definitely a must-see for any LEGO® enthusiast.

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10. WALL-E (2008)

Number of Reviews: 248

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96%

Although not my personal favorite of the movies listed, Wall-E was an overwhelming blockbuster and critical success, grossing over $530 million worldwide and grabbing a heap of hardware. The film, set in intergalactic, post-world universe, features WALL-E, a small waste-collecting robot and unlikely hero, who inadvertently embarks on a journey that will ironically determine the fate of mankind.

The film also received the 2008 Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film, the 2009 Hugo Award for Best Long Form Dramatic Presentation, the final Nebula Award for Best Script, the Saturn Award for Best Animated Film and the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature with five nominations. As if that wasn’t enough Wall-E and company even made Time Magazine‘s “Best Movies of the Decade”.

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9. Toy Story (1995)

Number of Reviews: 78
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%

When Toy Story was released in 1995 it completely took movie world by storm. Toy Story was the first feature-length, computer-animated film and the first feature film produced by Pixar. It was the first time the world was introduced to the now iconic duo of Woody and Buzz Lightyear (pictured). The film received three Academy Award nominations, including Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song for “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”, as well as winning a Special Achievement Academy Award.

Toy Story earned over $373 million at the worldwide box office back in 1995. Making it the highest grossing opening weekend for a movie. The film is now considered by many critics to be one of the best animated films ever made.

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8. Pinocchio (1940)

Number of Reviews: 45
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%

Yet another Disney movie that has been widely accepted as a solid gold classic. The movie is based on a series of stories by 19th-century Italian author Carlo Collodi. Interestingly enough, Pinocchio was originally criticized for being a softer more playful version of the original story, yet the film’s message proved impactful for children, even leading to a version being later released for educational purposes.

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7. Finding Nemo (2003)

Number of Reviews: 256
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 99%

Finding Nemo is another Disney/Pixar classic that takes you on a journey with the movie’s protagonist Nemo who becomes estranged from his father and must find his way back home. Nemo, who has been sheltered his entire life must prove, despite his perceived disabilities, that he is just as capable as any fish—a lesson his overprotective father must learn the hard way. We are also introduced to the lovable Dory who suffers from memory loss but is integral in Nemo finding his way.

The film is the best-selling DVD title of all time, with over 40 million copies sold as of 2006, and was the highest-grossing G-rated film of all time before Pixar’s own Toy Story 3 took its spot. The film would go on to gross an insane $940 million worldwide.

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6. Up (2009)

Number of Reviews: 287
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 98%

If you tell me you didn’t at least tear up in this movie, I will call you a liar. The movie follows Carl Fredricksen who is a 78-year-old balloon salesman, who his entire life, had longed to travel the world with his wife. One day Carl decides to tie thousands of balloons to his house to take flight and finally see the world.

Up opened the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, becoming the first animated and 3D film to do so. The film became a great financial success, accumulating over $735 million in its theatrical release. The film received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, making it the second animated film in history to receive such a nomination, following Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

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5. Zootopia (2016)

Number of Reviews: 250
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 98%

Zootopia is by far one of the most “woke” films on this list. The film uses nuance and classic Pixar personification to address the social issues of prejudice and bigotry. A very naive Judy Hopps, a bunny from a rural farm town, is dropped into the fastpaced urban metropolis of Zootopia. Once there, she is forced to face the realities of the world she had hoped she could be anything she wanted to be in.

Zootopia was internationally acclaimed and grossed over $1 billion worldwide, making it the 28th highest-grossing film of all time. The film won the Academy Award, Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice Movie Award and Annie Award for Best Animated Feature Film, as well as receiving a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film.

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4. Toy Story 2 (1999)

Number of Reviews: 163
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%

Andy is off to summer camp and the toys are home alone. Woody who doesn’t realize he’s a highly valued collectible, end’s up getting kidnapped by a deranged toy collector and it’s up to Buzz and the rest of the toys to rescue him. We’re also introduced to a few more recurring characters that we fall in love with.

Disney initially envisioned Toy Story 2 as a direct-to-video sequel. The film began production in a building separated from Pixar, on a small scale, as most of the main Pixar staff were busy working on A Bug’s Life (1998). When story reels proved promising, Disney upgraded the film to theatrical release, but Pixar was unhappy with the film’s quality. Lasseter and the story team redeveloped the entire plot in one weekend. Although most Pixar features take years to develop, the established release date could not be moved and the production schedule for Toy Story 2 was compressed into nine months.

— Wikipedia

Toy Story 2 grossed over $497 million, and received universal acclaim from critics, with a rare 100% rating on the website Rotten Tomatoes. Toy Story 2 has been considered by critics to be one of few sequel films to outshine the original.

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3. Toy Story 3 (2010)

Number of Reviews: 291
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 99%

This is easily my favorite Toy Story movies of the series. We see a now all grown up college-bound Andy who has become seemingly indifferent to the toys he once cherished so much. We also see the characters we have grown to love in the previous two films face a far more significant threat. Woody and gang go on an adventure to maintain their relevance in Andy’s life.

Toy Story 3 became the second Pixar film to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. The film received four more Academy Award nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Sound Editing, Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, winning the latter two. Toy Story 3 grossed over $1 billion worldwide, becoming the third highest-grossing animated film of all time and the first animated film to generate $1 billion in ticket sales.

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2. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Number of Reviews: 47
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 98%

Everyone knows the story of Snow White. Heck, most of us know it because of this very film. The story was said to have grossed 8.5 million Depression-era dollars in rentals after its theatre release in 1937. In 1989, the United States Library of Congress deemed Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry and is ranked in the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest American films, who also named the film as the greatest American animated film of all time in 2008.

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1. Inside Out (2015)

Number of Reviews: 324
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 98%

Highly lauded for its light-hearted take on cognitive, developmental, and clinical psychology, Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out delivers a remarkable story of a young girl (Riley) who is plucked from the hometown she loves and dropped into an alien environment miles away. Joy, the movie’s protagonist, tries to manage what are referred to as Riley’s “core memories” with the help and at times hindrance of Riley’s other major emotions, Anger, Sadness, Disgust, and Fear.

The film grossed $857 million in worldwide box office revenue and received several awards, including a BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, Critics’ Choice Award, Annie Award, Satellite Award, and an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The film was also named the seventh “Best Film of the 21st Century So Far” in 2017 by The New York Times.

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