The 30 Best Animated Movie Characters Of All Time

We took on the impossible task of choosing our favorite animated characters of all time. Join us as we count down the top 30!

Dug in Up

The best animated movie characters don’t feel animated. When done right, these characters make us forget that they were drawn on cells, or more recently, created with ones and zeroes in a computer. From Mickey Mouse captaining a steamboat to Buzz and Woody soaring above the cars in their neighborhood, these characters transcend our imagination and suspend our disbelief.

We’ve put together a list of the 30 best animated movie characters of all time. Our criteria included how memorable the characters were, how much of an impact they made on the cultural landscape, and how much they’ve connected with audiences. We’ve got a separate list for best animated TV characters, so you won’t see any of those here. Obviously a list like this is extremely subjective, so we’re eager to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments.

Without further ado, here are the 30 Best Animated Movie Characters of All Time.

30 Frozone (The Incredibles)

Frozone in The Incredibles

Upon its release, The Incredibles surprised everyone. Pixar was already well-known for creating beloved family fare, but this was something new. Brad Bird’s superhero tale was frank, honest, mature, and surprisingly dark. It was able to be all of these things while also remaining a funny, exciting superhero film. Plenty of characters in the film left a memorable mark on us, from Jason Lee’s villainous Syndrome, to Edna ‘E’ Mode, voiced by Brad Bird himself. But for this list, we just couldn’t resist singling out Samuel L. Jackson’s Frozone.

Frozone is effortlessly cool (no pun intended), endlessly funny, and an absolutely badass hero. When you cast Samuel L. Jackson in a role, you know he’s going to provide a unique spark to the character. But seeing him inject his fiery, passionate voice into this ice-wielding hero is absolutely delightful. His chemistry with Craig T. Nelson’s Mr. Incredible is wonderful to witness. It really feels like an aged, authentic friendship, thanks to the two veteran actors' easygoing banter.

29 Baloo (The Jungle Book)

Mowgli and Baloo in The Jungle Book

Though he was reimagined this year as a photorealistic CGI creation voiced by Bill Murray in Jon Favreau’s Jungle Book, Baloo will always remain in our hearts as the traditionally animated bear voiced by Phil Harris in the 1967 Disney film.

Baloo is the friend we all wish he had when we were Mowgli’s age. He’s carefree and easygoing, he’s encouraging and positive, and he loves a good nap. Some might say he encourages laziness, but they’re missing the bigger picture! Listen to the lyrics of “Bare Necessities” and you realize Baloo isn’t imparting such a bad lesson on young Mowgli. He’s urging Mowgli not to stress the small stuff, and to just appreciate the simple things in life, whether those are ants under a boulder or fresh bananas from a tree. Casting away unnecessary anxieties and stress is a lesson we could all use in this day and age.

28 Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)

Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty

Sometimes a character comes along and strikes such a deep chord with audiences that they become impossible to forget. They become so embedded in our cultural consciousness, we have no choice but to cast Angelina Jolie as them in a forgettable live-action reboot years later. Okay, so this case may be specific to Maleficent.

From the moment she appears forth from a burst of green flames in Sleeping Beauty, it’s clear that Maleficent is a villain to be reckoned with. Sporting a horned headpiece and accompanied by her pet crow, she curses the poor princess. Eleanor Audley voices Maleficent with a savory, crawling menace in her voice. She’s a scary character even before she transforms into a terrifying dragon in the film’s climax. Maleficent won’t be the only animated villain to appear on this list, but she is certainly one of the most intimidating. There’s a reason we’re still talking about her, 57 years after her first appearance.

27 Mr. Fox (Fantastic Mr. Fox)

Fantastic Mr Fox

In hindsight, the merging of Roald Dahl and Wes Anderson makes perfect sense. Both artists have a droll, dry wit, and an appreciation of the macabre. Even more fitting is the fact that Anderson chose Fantastic Mr. Fox, of all the Dahl stories, to adopt. Anderson is an expert at creating quirky, exquisite worlds, and this world of foxholes, gardens, and tunnels was a perfect channel for his creative energies. Presented in beautiful stop-motion animation, Anderson created one of his best works with Fantastic Mr. Fox.

At the center of this tale is the endearing, charismatic, and lovable Mr. Fox. George Clooney lent his old school, gravelly charm to the voice of this charming creature. Mr. Fox is a lovable rogue, who clearly cares for his family, but has a hard time shaking the rebelliousness nature of his past. The funny running “cuss” joke is a perfect detail that rounds out this character even more. Anderson lifted a curtain and gave us a glimpse inside a ticking, whirring, constantly moving diorama of a world. The beating heart at the center of that world is the extremely fantastic Mr. Fox.

26 Lilo (Lilo & Stitch)

Lilo and Stitch

Lilo & Stitch is often overlooked when talking about the great Disney animated films. It came near the tail end of their 2D animation era, before 3D features like Tangled and Frozen ushered that division away entirely. While the movie was well received upon its release, it didn’t capture the zeitgeist in the way that something like Frozen, or even The Little Mermaid, from years earlier, did. It’s a shame, because Lilo & Stitch really is a gem of a movie, and it features one of the most authentic, heartrending, and loving sisterly relationships put on film.

Lilo, like so many Disney protagonists, is an outsider. She doesn’t fit in. While other girls are practicing hula dancing, she’s listening to Elvis records and lashing out in school. The movie doesn’t sidestep the sadness of her situation. She’s being raised by a struggling older sister, and the danger of being taken away by child services looms large. Anyone who has ever felt left out can empathize with Lilo. Scenes of her getting teased by classmates are heart wrenching. Her fights with her sister seem organic and authentic. All the trials Lilo faces early in the film make the third act so much more heartwarming and satisfying. If you haven’t recently, give Lilo & Stitch another look.

25 Snow White (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves)

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves started it all. This list wouldn’t exist without this film. The first feature length animated film from Disney broke new ground and changed people’s ideas of what animation could do. So much has happened in the world since the movie premiered in 1937, but the magic of the story still holds. Among its many achievements, it also introduced us to the very first Disney princess.

Disney’s Snow White is sweet, kind, and gentle. Scenes like the iconic one in the forest show us just how beloved she was as a character by the animators and writers. They could have chosen any fairy tale to make into their first feature, and they chose Snow White. Her scenes with the dwarves are as funny and endearing as they were in 1937. The lasting power of Snow White’s story is undeniable. Show this film to a modern child and you can bet they’ll still get scared of the spooky forest and the evil witch, they’ll cry when Snow White eats the poisoned apple, and they’ll cheer when her true love breaks the spell.

24 Scar (Lion King)

Scar in Disney's The Lion King

It was a hard call choosing which character from The Lion King to recognize. A certain meerkat and warthog could both easily claim this spot. In the end, however, we chose to recognize one of animation’s greatest villains: the lion Scar. (Sorry Timon and Pumbaa! Consider this your honorable mention.)

Scar is an animated villain who has real weight to him. He has gravitas. He has class. Much of this is owed to the phenomenal voice work done by Jeremy Irons. He smoothly walks the line between sophisticated Bond villain and feral, wild animal, inspiring awe and terror simultaneously. The wonderful writing of the film also contributes to Scar’s greatness. Inspired by Hamlet, this African-set epic feels appropriately grandiose and timeless, just like Shakespeare’s original play. Scar, assuming the Claudius role, genuinely feels like a traditional Shakespearean villain: scary, funny, menacing, and charming. The animators, the writers, and Jeremy Irons all work together to make this villain complex, dynamic, and thoroughly captivating.

23 Jack Skellington (The Nightmare Before Christmas)

Nightmare Before Christmas

Though it was released 23 years ago, The Nightmare Before Christmas is still all around us. Jack Skellington’s face adorns many a t-shirt, hoodie, coffee mug, and backpack, even to this day. Nightmare, and Jack specifically, tapped into a dark recess of the public imagination that many people maybe didn’t even realize existed. Tim Burton and Henry Selick created a modern fairy tale that twists and skews childhood nostalgia into something warped and darkly beautiful. And at the center of this twisted fable is the Pumpkin King himself.

With his spindly limbs and round skull head, the character design of Jack Skellington would have been enough to imprint him onto our collective consciousness for years. But it’s Jack’s inner workings that make him truly unforgettable. Adults and children alike can see themselves in Jack Skellington, a well-meaning creature who makes honest mistakes. Add to this inner conflict the wonderful songs (sung by composer Danny Elfman) and you’ve got a Pumpkin King you won’t soon forget.

22 Winnie the Pooh (The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh)

Winnie the Pooh - Disney

Coming in as the oldest character on this list, Winnie the Pooh made his debut in a collection of stories published by A. A. Milne in 1926. Though he has since gone on to appear in more books, a television series, and comic books, we’ve elected to consider him as a film character for the purposes of this list. Many of his most famous moments occur in the 1977 musical, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, from his flooded tree-home to his horrifying nightmare about honey.

Winnie the Pooh has been a staple for young children for decades, and it’s easy to see why. He’s sweet, simple, and lovable. Winnie is a good friend and a warm, pleasant personality. Compared with some of the other members of the Hundred Acre Wood, he’s a perfect role model for young children. The very conceit of the show, with Christopher Robin using his imagination to bring his stuffed animals to life, encourages creativity and imagination in young children.

21 Boo (Monster's Inc.)

Mary Gibbs aka BOO in Monsters Inc

Pixar’s Monsters Inc. tells the story of monsters Mike and Sully (two wonderful characters in their own right) who work at a factory that harvests the screams of young children as energy. Their world is turned upside down when a child returns to their universe from the human world. That child is Boo, and she is our 21st favorite animated movie character of all time.

The wonderful thing about Boo is how the animators and writers are able to create such an authentic, real relationship between her and Sully, without using any real dialogue of hers at all. Boo is only old enough to mumble a few nonsense words. Rather than cast an adult to try to imitate a child’s voice, the director got one of the storyboard artists to bring his daughter, Mary Gibbs, to the recording studio. From there, the recording artists played with Mary, had her Mom tickle her and take toys away, and generally just follow her around with a microphone. What they recorded became the various sounds and noises that you hear Boo make in the film. The authenticity of those emotions really comes through in the film and paired with John Goodman’s warm, comforting voice, the two of them really make for one of the loveliest friendships ever portrayed on screen.

20 Kronk (The Emperor's New Groove)

Kronk and Yzma from The Emperor's New Groove

The Emperor’s New Groove is much better than it has any right to be. The writing is sharp and clever, and the entire film is filled with great characters. Even among Emperor Kuzko, Pacha, or Yzma though, one character stands out. It is the hilarious doofus, Kronk, voiced impeccably by the great Patrick Warburton.

Kronk joins the ranks of great animated villain sidekicks. The oafish sidekick is a tried and true archetype, but Kronk brings that trope to new heights. Some highlights include Kronk’s self-made sleuth music, his fumbling of the poisonous dishes, and of course, his deep connection with squirrels. The character of Kronk is unapologetically silly, and never fails to leave us with a big grin on our faces. Kronk’s unflappable loyalty to Yzma and his childish naivete make it impossible not to love him. The character’s popularity was even enough to spawn a direct-to-DVD spinoff film, Kronk’s New Groove, but we’d recommend sticking with the original film.

19 Toothless (How to Train Your Dragon)

Toothless in How to Train Your Dragon

From the earliest days of cinema, filmmakers have included silent characters in their films. Obviously silent film stars like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin had to convey a number of emotions and ideas using only their facial expressions and a few title cards. After sound was incorporated into film, characters like Harpo from the Marx Brothers mined laughs out of his silent mugging. This tradition continues on today, and some of our favorite animated characters became our favorites without ever having to utter a single word. One such character is the dragon, Toothless, from How to Train Your Dragon.

Besides the challenge of making an audience connect with a mute character, the filmmakers had the additional hurdle of having to design a dragon that could appear menacing at first, then quickly transition into being cuddly and adorable. They succeeded in every way. Toothless just about steals the film. He’s the pet, and the friend, everyone wishes they had.

18 Roger Rabbit (Who Framed Roger Rabbit)

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

In an alternate reality, cartoon characters walk alongside and interact with human beings. The cartoons live in Toontown, Los Angeles, and they act in short films and features. One of these A-list cartoon movie stars, Roger Rabbit, is accused of murdering a wealthy businessman. This is the story of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Robert Zemeckis, Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a smash hit when it was released and is still a beloved classic in the hearts of many. Charles Fleischer played the voice of Roger Rabbit, and in fact donned a bunny costume and stood in on set to interact with his co-star, Bob Hoskins, for much of the filming. Roger is the amalgamation of many cartoon characters, most notably Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Porky Pig. It’s no wonder the movie was such a hit. Brimming with imagination and wit, the film, like Roger Rabbit himself, is a pure joy from start to finish.

17 Mulan (Mulan)

Mulan and Mushu in Mulan

Mulan is inspiring. Children, both boys and girls, can look up to the character of Mulan and find a true role model. She’s strong, independent, and does what she believes is right, even if it means defying an unfair society. Even in 2016, the discussion of diverse representation on screen is still a hotly debated topic. In 1998, Disney released a film that focused on an Asian woman who was smart, resourceful, and genuinely heroic.

“Reflection” is still a deeply poignant and heartfelt song, relatable for anyone who has struggled with their identity and place in the world. The training sequence set to “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” is just as uplifting, inspirational, and funny as it was when the movie was first released. With Mulan, Disney continued their tradition of adapting historical events into children’s animated features. In Mulan, they found a character who could be a role model to young girls and boys everywhere.

16 Ginger (Chicken Run)

Chicken Run Animated Movie

Chicken Run is one of the most pleasant movies we’ve ever seen. It’s warm, funny, and just all around delightful. Incidentally, all of these adjectives describe the protagonist at the center of the film: a chicken named Ginger, voiced by Julia Sawalha.

From the makers behind Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run tells the Great Escape-style tale of a flock of chickens trying to escape the evil clutches of their farmers. After numerous failed attempts, a new hope is found in Rocky, an American circus rooster voiced by Mel Gibson.

Though Rocky is the catalyst for the plot, we see the world through the eyes of Ginger. Ginger is a sweet, but determined young chicken with a heart of gold. She is lovable in every sense of the word. Because we care so deeply about Ginger as a character, the movie has a real sense of stakes that is missing from a lot of major blockbusters. The escape attempts are genuinely suspenseful, and the story is as thrilling as it is hilarious.

15 Dug (Up)

Dug in Up

The creators at Pixar weren’t the first people to speculate what a dog might say if given the ability to talk, but their version certainly might be the most memorable. In the film, Dug is a Golden Retriever who wears a collar that gives him the ability to speak. He joins cantankerous old man, Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner), young Wilderness Explorer, Russell (Jordan Nagai), and a large exotic bird called “Kevin”.

Dug is immediately hilarious and endearing. He’s a simple character with simple motivations. The adorable pet introduces himself by saying “I just met you and I love you.” His signature catchphrase, “squirrel!” was so popular it seems to have become a shorthand for people joking about short attention spans. Dug is voiced by one of the screenwriters, Bob Peterson. Also, a fun piece of trivia: Dug first appeared in Ratatouille as the shadow of the dog that barks at Remy.

14 Jasmine (Aladdin)

Aladdin and Jasmine

We could argue for days about who the best Disney princess is. For our money, one of the tops has to be Jasmine from Aladdin. Jasmine is witty, fierce, and independent. For children and pre-teens, Jasmine was the cool idol that we aspired to be like. She too had an overbearing and often embarrassing parent. Audiences connected with Jasmine.

There’s real chemistry between Jasmine and Aladdin. There’s a reason “A Whole New World” is still cited as one of the most romantic moments in movie history. Soaring over the rooftop palaces of Agrabah on the magic carpet, audiences fell in love with Jasmine just as Aladdin did. We genuinely care about the two of them as a couple, and it’s hard to see them ripped apart by Jafar and other nefarious forces. Another Disney character will make an appearance later on down this list (can you guess which one?) but the movie would truly not be the same if it weren’t for the Princess Jasmine.

13 Remy the Rat (Ratatouille)

Remy in Ratatouille

There’s a universal quality to Remy the Rat. Every person on Earth has, at some point, been rejected from something they want to do because of their status. Maybe you were too little to get chosen for the kickball team at recess, or you were too short to play basketball in high school, or you were passed over for a job because of your background. Remy represents a shared experience among the downtrodden. All he wants to do is cook. It’s his passion. Unfortunately no one will let him, because he’s a rat, and rats don’t cook. This is the driving force behind Pixar’s wonderful 2007 film, Ratatouille.

So what can Remy do? He wants to prepare fine meals for elite French patrons, but he can’t get anywhere near a kitchen. He gets his chance upon meeting the clumsy Alfredo Linguini. The two of them work together, with Remy controlling Alfredo from under his chef’s hat, so that they both can achieve their dreams. The premise is outlandish, but the film is grounded in real human emotions and experiences.

12 Chihiro (Spirited Away)

Spirited Away, Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki

To watch Spirited Away is to be swept up into a fantasy world brimming with imagination and wonder. The various creatures and spirits that inhabit this dark wonderland are awesome and strange to behold. As an audience, we need a realistic guide to ground us during our journey through this magical place. That guide comes in the form of Chihiro, a rambunctious 10-year-old girl.

En route to her new home, Chihiro’s parents take a wrong turn and they wind up in a magical world. After ignoring the advice of a young boy, Chihiro is horrified to find out that her parents have been transformed into pigs. To save them, she must solve the mysteries of this bizarre spirit world, encountering giant babies, faceless spirits, and a bathhouse-managing spider.

Chihiro is the perfect character to take this awesome and terrifying journey with. She’s curious and adventurous, but also timid and frightened. She acts like a true 10-year-old. We see the beauty of this mysterious realm through her young eyes.

11 Donkey (Shrek)

Shrek 5 Release Date 2019

Shrek burst onto the scene without warning in 2001, becoming a sensational box office hit for Dreamworks. The entire film was filled with skewed versions of famous fairy tale creatures, including the titular, flatulent ogre, the vain and evil king, and the property-conscious three little pigs. Out of this colorful cast of characters, one emerged as the true scene-stealer.

Eddie Murphy as Donkey was the breakout character from this breakout film. His rapid fire, smartass dialogue was a perfect fit for the talented comedian. Cracking wise about sulfur farts and noble steeds, Donkey shines as an example of the perfect combination of character and actor. While the central focus of the movie is the budding romance between Shrek and Fiona, the friendship/antagonism between Shrek and Donkey provides much of the laughs. Even after countless sequels and spinoffs, Donkey’s dialogue in the first film still never fails to make us laugh.



As we mentioned with Toothless earlier, there is an incredible ambition to including a silent character in your film. Pixar did something even more incredible with WALL-E. They made a (mostly) silent character the central protagonist of their film. More than that, Wall-E is the only character on screen for the entire first act of the film. This is bold, ambitious filmmaking by any standard, let alone in the realm of children’s animated features.

Using only sound effects like buzzes and whirs, and the occasional droned “WALL-E”, the writers were able to craft a complex, fascinating protagonist whom the audience can care deeply about. When he meets Eve, a more advanced robot, an entire romance emerges through only beeps and boops. WALL-E harkens back to the silent age of cinema. The audience becomes invested in characters who never speak a single full sentence. Alternately dark, hilarious, tender, and adventurous, WALL-E, the movie, is perfect, and WALL-E, the character, is damn near unforgettable.

9 Cruella de Vil (101 Dalmations)

Cruella De Vill in Disney's 101 Dalmations

Cruella de Vil, Cruella de Vil, if she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will…” Roger bangs out this iconic tune on a piano in the attic as a luxury red sports car roars down the street. A former schoolmate of his wife’s is coming to visit. As he sings on, a spidery silhouette appears in the door. Cruella de Vil has arrived, and one of the most famous cartoon villains of all time has been introduced.

Fashion-obsessed and entirely ruthless, Cruella de Vil commands every scene she enters. Speaking in an exaggerated posh voice, Betty Lou Gerson makes Cruelle completely unforgettable and iconic. She’s a character that we love to hate. Her desire to make fur coats out of Pongo and Perdita’s new family is all-consuming. She is deliciously evil and, as Roger so eloquently sings, “To see her is to take a sudden chill.” You said it, Roger.

8 Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro)

My Neighbor Totoro

The second Studio Ghibli film to appear on this list, My Neighbor Totoro, explores melancholy through fantasy, in a way that is very similar to Spirited Away. Unlike Spirited Away, however, a character in My Neighbor Totoro has transcended film talk to become a cultural icon, especially in Japan. That character is, of course, the wood spirit Totoro.

Totoro, with his soft, plushy body, and fuzzy, rabbit-like ears, is the embodiment of all that is good and simple. In the film, he befriends Satsuki and Mei, two young girls growing up in post-war Japan. The post-war setting provides a tragic background against which the wondrous fantasy adventures play out. Totoro himself is immediately lovable. He’s a true gentle giant. Anyone who watches the film wants to snuggle up on his soft belly like Mei does in the forest. My Neighbor Totoro, like all Hayao Miyazaki films, traffics in gorgeous visuals and inventive storytelling. Watching My Neighbor Totoro is like drifting through a pleasant dream, and who better to accompany you on this dream than the adorable Totoro.

7 Goofy (A Goofy Movie)

Max, PJ, Goofy, and Pete in An Extremely Goofy Movie

Debuting in 1932, Goofy has been a cultural icon, and a favorite cartoon character to millions of children, for over 75 years. He has appeared in many movies, including Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas and An Extremely Goofy Movie. Goofy has transformed repeatedly throughout that time, but his essence has always remained the same. He’s endearing and lovable. He’s silly and simple. He’s a good friend to Mickey and a good father to Max.

The key to Goofy’s longevity is his versatility. He seems equally authentic as the silly neighbor or the harried father. In Once Upon a Christmas, his story is perhaps the most touching. His attempts to maintain his child’s belief in Santa Claus are so heartfelt and so endearing that it’s impossible not to love him. Throughout the different roles he has inhabited since his creation in 1932, his inherent goodness has never been shaken. Goofy has always been, and will always be, a lovable goofball.

6 Woody (Toy Story 1, 2, and 3)

Toy Story - Sad Woody

There’s been a fan theory floating around the internet for a long time that in Toy Story, Andy’s parents are actually divorced. That’s why we never see anything of his father. The theory says this is why Andy finds such a connection with Woody and Buzz. Both toys represent authority figures who are father-like in their own way.

Whether or not this theory holds water is debatable. We will say, however, that if Andy were looking for a father figure, he could do a lot worse than a character like Woody. Woody the Sheriff is loyal, noble, and funny. And while he tries hard to be his best, he also makes mistakes. He has his foibles, like his intense jealousy of Buzz in the first film. These vices serve to make this toy character all the more human. In a stroke of brilliant casting, Tom Hanks was chosen to provide the voice of the honest, do-gooder everyman Woody. Hanks reliably brings his signature wit and warmth to the character. We’ve loved partaking in Woody’s adventures for three films now, and, if we’re to believe Pixar, at least one more ride in the saddle is on the way.

5 The Iron Giant (The Iron Giant)

Iron Giant Flying

Initially a flop at the box office, The Iron Giant has gone on to become a cult favorite, with many citing it as one of the best animated movies of all time. Directed by Brad Bird, the film has adult themes that go above and beyond what is expected of a children’s film. At the center of this Cold War tale is the titular robot, voiced by Vin Diesel.

After investigating a meteor site near his hometown, Hogarth Hughes (Eli Marienthal) discovers an enormous robot eating at the power lines. The two become quick friends, and Hogarth makes it his mission to protect the Iron Giant from nefarious military operatives who would use the being as a weapon.

The Iron Giant deals with what it means to be human. In one poignant scene in the film, Hogarth discovers the Giant is equipped with dangerous weapons. “You are what you choose to be,” Hogarth tells the worried robot. This proves to be true, as the Giant sacrifices itmself to save the town near the end of the film. The Giant is fascinated with Superman comics, and it’s clear why. He empathizes with the tale of a powerful alien creature who chooses to use his powers for good, not evil. Along the way, we grow to love the Iron Giant as much as Hogarth does.

4 Genie (Aladdin)

Genie in Aladdin

Casting celebrities as cartoon characters wasn’t necessarily in vogue before 1992. Sure, it happened occasionally. But more often than not, cartoons were left to professional voice actors, and movie stars kept to live action. That all changed when directors John Musker and Ron Clements chose to cast Robin Williams as the Genie in Aladdin. The Genie became an extension of Williams's comic persona. The film gave Williams license to tap into his personal madcap energy, flying through impressions and funny voices as quickly as he could think of them. As he riffed and improvised, the artists created beautiful animations to accompany him. In the animated world, Williams finally found the visual imagination that matched his mental capacity

Genie was a beloved character from the second he erupted from Aladdin’s lamp in this classic film. Now, with Williams's passing, Aladdin stands as one of many beautiful tributes to this comedy legend, and a perfect visual showcase for his talents.

3 Dory (Finding Nemo)

Finding Dory

Could there be a more endearing character than Dory from Finding Nemo? Clearly not, as her popularity warranted a sequel that focused on her and has since gone on to demolish the box office this summer.

From the moment she collides head-on into Marvin in the first film, audiences everywhere knew there was something special about Dory. Her short-term memory loss gives her a childlike innocence, and her unrelenting optimism makes her the perfect travel partner. Ellen DeGeneres absolutely nails the comic timing of the fish and finds a deep well of emotion to tap into. There’s real poignancy to the scene where she tells Marvin that he alone helps her to remember. Though she may be simple, Dory has a naive wisdom to her. Her famously funny lines are often quoted, and even today, you’ll see her blue and yellow visage adorning t-shirts and lunch boxes. The world is in love with Dory.

2 Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse

He’s got the most famous silhouette in the world. He’s a mascot for an entire film industry, numerous theme parks, and television shows. He’s possibly the only character on this list who could feasibly be considered a “brand”. Not bad for someone who started out as a steamboat captain.

Mickey Mouse claims the number 2 spot on our list. From that iconic first appearance, Mickey has appeared in countless shapes and forms. He has meant different things to different people. He’s helped folks through hard times, and been a source of joy for countries in dark periods. Through it all, Mickey Mouse has never lost his sincerity or his sense of innate decency. His high-pitched voice and buttoned shorts are recognized across every country throughout the world. Those big ears have been around for close to 100 years, and you can bet they’ll still be here 100 years from now. Mickey Mouse is an icon, a legend, a star. And he’s our second favorite animated character of all time.

1 Gromit (Wallace and Gromit)

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit

The third and final silent character on this list, and the number one best animated character of all time, has to be Gromit. That wise, expressive, intelligent claymation dog has captivated our hearts since he was introduced with his owner, Wallace, in 1990.

Gromit could very well be considered among the ranks of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin as one of the great silent film actors. This is pretty impressive, considering he’s a ball of clay. But the animators devote such an intimate and loving attention to Gromit’s every facial expression, he truly feels as full and complex as any great actor.

Gromit is the perfect partner to Wallace. While Wallace is silly, naive, and eccentric, Gromit plays the epitome of a straight man. He drinks his tea, reads his paper, and rolls his eyes at his ridiculous owner. Importantly though, the two’s friendship is never questioned. Though they’re very different, they have genuine love and respect for each other. Like Laurel and Hardy or Abbott and Costello, the chemistry and charisma between Wallace and Gromit make them one of Hollywood’s greatest comedic duos. And Gromit, that lovable beagle, has earned his place as the greatest animated character of all time.


What do you think? Did your favorite animated character make the list? Let us know in the comments below!

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