Animated films have their own category at the Oscars for a reason. They are unique and unlike any other type of movie. Animated movies have the capabilities to do so much more than live-action films, which is probably why critics are very fond of them. These movies have far more creative liberties and can thus bring something completely to the table that most other movies aren’t able to do themselves.
With both Pixar and Disney being the powerhouses of animation, other animated films are looked highly upon by critics. The fact that an animated film takes so long to create gives producers, writers, and animators the time to really perfect their projects.
Rotten Tomatoes has a way to analyze films. For many films, there needs to have been at least 40 critic reviews in order to be considered “the best of Rotten Tomatoes,” and even after that, the movie is shuffled into a list of the top 100.
From there, the critic scores speak for themselves. For an animated film to have the highest critic score, it needs to be spectacular since a large number of animated films have high critic scores. In fact, there is a numerous animated films that have 98% and higher critic scores on Rotten Tomatoes.
With that said, here are the 18 Best Animated Movies Ever According To Rotten Tomatoes.
18. Up (98%)
Up is the 2009 Pixar animated film about Carl Fredricksen who travels to Paradise Falls after he’s kicked out of his home. The movie currently has a 98% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes.
It won two Oscars, one for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score and one for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year. It was also nominated for two other Oscars: Best Writing, Original Screenplay and Best Achievement in Sound Editing.
After his wife, Ellie, passes away, Carl becomes your typical grumpy old man. He attaches a ton of balloons to his house and uses this to travel to Paradise Falls, a place that he and Ellie always wanted to visit. He picks up some stragglers on the way and has to find out what is more important in life. It’s probably one of Pixar’s most beloved films.
17. How to Train Your Dragon (98%)
Coming in with a 98% score on Rotten Tomatoes, How to Train Your Dragon is a DreamWorks Animation film that grown in popularity over the years. It even has a sequel, a series on Netflix, and four short films. It was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year in 2011, but lost out to Pixar’s Toy Story 3.
The movie follows Hiccup, a viking who doesn’t really fit in with the other vikings. He’s forward thinking, plus he’s not all that into the idea of killing dragons once he meets Toothless, a supposedly dangerous dragon who ends up becoming his friend.
After trying to hide his friendship with Toothless, all havoc breaks loose and Hiccup has to do what he can to convince his friends and family that dragons aren’t all that bad. It’s a story about adventure, friendship, and the virtues of right versus wrong.
16. Inside Out (98%)
Inside Out is known as the animated kids film that made every child in the theater cry. The 2015 Pixar film won the Best Animated Feature Film of the Year at the Oscars in 2016. It was also nominated for Best Writing, Original Screenplay too. It currently has a 98% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes.
The movie follows Joy, the happy part of a child’s brain, as she and Sadness try to make their way back to brain central after becoming displaced. The movie tugged at all the right heart strings and had one of the most heartbreaking scenes involving the death of an imaginary friend.
15. Zootopia (98%)
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Zootopia has a 98% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. The 2016 film won an Oscar in the category of Best Animated Feature Film of the Year at the Oscars in 2017, beating out tough competition including Moana, Kubo and the Two Strings, and My Life as a Zucchini.
Zootopia follows Judy, a bunny from the country who wants to become a cop in the city. After working hard her entire life, Judy moves to Zootopia where she isn’t taken seriously as a cop.
She teams up with Nick Wilde, a fox with a sketchy past, to solve a diapering predator case. Once things start going well for Judy, though, she realizes that she’s created some prejudice behaviors that reflect current modern society today.
14. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (98%)
The first ever animated Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has a score of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film hit theaters in 1937 and was the first full length movie to use what’s now considered to be traditional animation. It’s based off of a Grimm brothers fairy tale and won an honorary Oscar a year after it premiered.
For anyone who might have been living under a rock for the past eighty years, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs tells the story of Snow White, a girl who finds the seven dwarfs after leaving her evil step-mother.
13. My Life as a Zucchini (98%)
There’s a chance you might not have heard of My Life as a Zucchini. However, if you have, then you know that it’s pretty spectacular. Also known by My Life as a Courgette, the Swiss/French film has a current Rotten Tomatoes critic score of 98%. It was nominated for an Oscar, but lost to Zootopia.
The film is a bit twisted. It follows Icare, who prefers to be called Courgette, after his drunken mother dies. This leads to him being sent to live in an orphanage where he learns about love.
The movie is only a little over an hour long, and while it had an $8 million budget, it made less than $6 million at the box office. However, the movie has done great since hitting streaming services, making up for the lack of profit.
12. 101 Dalmatians (98%)
The movie 101 Dalmatians, also known as One hundred and One Dalmatians, is a different kind of Disney film that has a 98% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s based off of the 1956 book written by Dodie Smith.
The movie led to a live-action remake in 1996 that starred Glenn Close and Jeff Daniels. It also starred Hugh Laurie of House and Mark Williams of the Harry Potter franchise before they became more recognizable.
The movie follows a litter of dalmatians who are kidnapped because the evil Cruella de Vil wants to use their fur for coats. Cruella de Vil has become one of the most well known Disney villains in history. Roger and Anita are the human protagonists in this story. They choose to keep all 101 puppies at the end of the film and start a huge family together.
11. Long Way North (98%)
Long Way North is a 2015 French/Danish animated movie that has a 98% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. It follows a Russian aristocrat as she goes on an excursion to save her family’s reputation back at home. The film is 80 minutes long and only made $1.2 at the box office.
The movie revolves around Sacha, who is searching for her grandfather. He’s a well-known scientist who never returned from an exploration. With questions swirling around as to what happened to her grandfather, Sacha decides that she must go on a quest to find either where her grandfather is, or, at the very least, find out what happened to him.
She does this even though her parents tell her she shouldn’t. The movie received great reviews from audiences and won a prestigious Audience Award at the renowned Annecy International Animated Film Festival.
10. In This Corner of the World (98%)
In This Corner of the World is a film from 2016 that has a 98% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. The film follows an 18 year old who gets married while living in Hiroshima during World War II. It’s a sad story, as the main protagonist actively struggles with her life due to the effects of war. It even gets to the point where she must actively force herself to continue to live.
The movie garnered a lot of attention and has made over $22 million at the box office, with the budget having only been $2.2 million. The film almost didn’t happen, as the team behind it had to crowd fund in 2015 in order to gain enough funds to back the film even though the film came to light in 2012.
9. Toy Story 3 (99%)
Toy Story 3 was supposed to be the conclusion to the Toy Story tale, although a fourth film in the franchise is now in development and will be released in 2019. The 2010 film has a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes and won two Oscars– one for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year and one for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song.
It was also nominated for Best Achievement in Sound Editing and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay the same year.
The movie continues the story of Woody, Buzz, and the gang as they have to move on from Andy’s house and maneuver their way around a daycare. Once they realize that the daycare is essentially corrupt and not safe for them, they work together to escape.
8. Finding Nemo (99%)
Pixar’s 2003 film, Finding Nemo, was one of their greatest successes. It even came with a sequel, Finding Dory, which was also loved by audiences. However, it was Finding Nemo that received a 99% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes.
The movie also won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature and was also nominated for Best Writing, Original Screenplay, Best Music, Original Score, and Best Sound Editing.
The movie follows both Nemo and his dad, Marlin, after Nemo is captured and trapped in a fish tank at a dentist’s office. During the journey, Marlin finds Dory, a fish with short term memory loss who helps him find Nemo, who is quite a distance away from home. The sequel follows Dory as she becomes lost after trying to find her own parents.
7. Shaun the Sheep Movie (99%)
While some might be skeptical of Shaun the Sheep‘s 99% Rotten Tomatoes score, the critics have spoken with this one. The movie, which is based off of the stop-motion animated television show Wallace and Gromit, was even nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year, but lost out to Inside Out.
Stop-motion doesn’t receive the most love, with only Laika, who is know for Coraline and ParaNorman, being the most direct competition. However, critics call Shaun the Sheep movie both smart and hilariously funny.
6. Song of the Sea (99%)
The 2014 film, Song of the Sea, follows a young boy and his sister who has the power to turn into a seal. The movie received a 99% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes and was nominated for an Oscar, although it lost out to Big Hero 6. It’s an Irish film and thus has deep roots in Irish culture.
The movie is only about an hour and a half long. The protagonist, Ben, is incredibly hostile towards his sister, blaming her for his mom never being around. Everything comes together, though, as Ben and his sister work together to save the spirit world.
5. Toy Story 2 (100%)
Toy Story 2 is the sequel to the original Toy Story. It has a perfect critic score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie follows Woody after he’s stolen by someone who wants to sell him for a bunch of money. It turns out that Woody is actually pretty valuable. His backstory is revealed throughout the film. The movie also introduces Andy’s new toys, Jesse the cowgirl and Bullseye the horse.
Pixar has wiggled its way to the forefront of animated movies. As one of the ultimate powerhouses, it only makes sense that multiple of their movies are the highest rated on Rotten Tomatoes. With most sequels not usually doing too great– with the exception of a few select films such as Rocky II and The Godfather II–Toy Story 2 certainly made its way into an elite group.
4. Tower (100%)
The 2016 film, Tower, is essentially a recounting of the grave events of 1966. For those who might not know, in 1966 a gunman climbed to the top of a clock tower at the University of Texas in Austin and opened fire, killing 16 people. Tower uses not only animation, but also real testimonies and footage taken from the actual day.
The film is considered an animated documentary and originally premiered at the South by Southwest film festival before it made its rounds for a larger audience. Despite the fact that it is combined with non-animated pieces, the film is still considered to be an animated film.
3. Pinocchio (100%)
Pinocchio is a Disney classic that has a 100% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. The 1940 film received a lot of love back in the day, but is still known as one of the greatest Disney films of all time among adults and children alike. While the film only had a little over a $2 million budget, it made $84.2 million at the box office, and made an even more ridiculous amount after the fact.
The movie is based off of the novel entitled The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi and follows Pinocchio and his quest to become “a real boy.” It was Disney’s second full-length animated film.
Without the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio wouldn’t even exist. Thankfully, both films did wonderfully in theaters, leading to the creation of future Disney feature films.
2. Only Yesterday (100%)
The 1991 movie, Only Yesterday, has a 100% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. It follows a white collar worker as she travels around. During her journey, she remembers what her childhood was like while living in Tokyo, Japan. While it is originally from 1991, it was released in 2016 in English for the 25th anniversary, and it’s this release that led to the 100% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Critics call Only Yesterday a much-needed surprise. Many criticized the fact that it took so long for it to be translated into English, as the film originally did really well in Japan.
The story flips most traditional stories on their heads. Instead of a young girl wishing to visit the big city, this is the story of a young girl wanting to leave the city and go to the countryside. Once she’s an adult, she’s allowed to do that, as she remembers longing to do so as a child.
1. Toy Story (100%)
Toy Story is probably one of everyone’s favorite animated films of all time. A true classic, the 1995 movie has a 100% critic score. It created a revolution in animated movies and started the trend for Pixar for creating great animated feature-length films.
The movie revolves around Woody and his toy friends, as they maneuver around the human world. Everything in the movie goes great until Andy, their human child, is given a Buzz Lightyear toy.
Woody becomes stressed that Buzz will take his place in Andy’s life and become Andy’s new favorite toy. This leads to both Buzz and Woody becoming lost and having to work together to find their way home. It is a true classic.
Do you agree with the critics at Rotten Tomatoes? What is your favorite animated movie? Let us know in the comments!
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