Most Artistic Animated Films

So on my recent post debating the merits of CG vs Hand Drawn animation I made the bold statement ‘if I made a list of the most artistic animated movies close to half would be CG’.  Well, it got me wondering and it turns out I lied.  Only 4 out of my Top 20 Most Artistic Animated Films are CG but that’s not half bad given the medium has been around way less time.

To me each of these 20 films are artistic masterpieces and stunning however they are drawn or created.  Art is completely subjective so I thought it would be kind of futile for me to try and explain what I think is beautiful or artistic.  I will just let the images speak for themselves.  If you haven’t seen any of these movies I highly recommend it.

Since again art is in the eye of the beholder please share with me your lists instead of merely critiquing mine (I mean what am I going to say ‘I think it is stunning and you don’t and there you have it).

My Top 20 Most Artistic Animated Films
20. Secret of Nimh

artistic119. Prince of Egypt

artistic218. Book of Life

artistic317. Waltz with Bashiir

artistic416. Tarzan

tarzan and jane15. Up

artistic514. Sleeping Beauty

sleeping-beauty-woods-213. Ponyo

artistic612. Alice in Wonderland

Alice-march-hare-mad-hatter11. Ratatouille

ratatouille-paris-pixar-dvdbash10. Les Triplettes de Belleville

artistic79. Lion King

artistic88. Princess Mononoke

princess mononoke7. Persepolis

persepolis26. Tale of Princess Kaguya

tale-of-princess-kaguya-15. Song of the Sea

song of the sea24. Wall-e

walle3. Spirited Away

artistic92. Bambi

bambi21. Fantasia


35 thoughts on “Most Artistic Animated Films

  1. Mmm…interesting collection. It’s too bad that you have obviously never watched the work of Satoshi Kon, or I guess at lest one of his movies would be on the list (for a taste of his brilliance, he did a one-minute short called Ohayo which you can easily found at youtube…his last work, sadly)

    I already mentioned a few of my favourites, but here are some which don’t make your list: The Adventures of Prince Achmed, A Nightmare before Christmas, the dream and story sequences (not the whole movie) of Watership Down and Disney’s various Acid Sequences,

    1. I haven’t heard of Satoshi. Thanks for the recommendation! I will definitely check it out. I actually haven’t seen Prince Achmed either but want too. It’s on my list. I debated about Nightmare. I just couldn’t take one off for it but it is a worthy entry for sure. Same with Watership Down. I love it. I have it on criterion collection and its gorgeous. I guess you could say they are strong honorable mentions. There’s never enough slots on these lists. 🙂

      1. I just saw Satoshi did Paprika. That has also been on my list. It looks stunning. I checked off Ghost in the Shell and Akira last month so I’m getting there.

      2. Don’t miss out on Perfect Blue. A little warning, though: His movies tend to be very disturbing. They are certainly no easy fare and clearly made for adults (in the themes which are discussed). That’s why I recommend the One-shot, first. It shows his talent and creativity while being more “mainstream” than his usual work.

      3. Cool and thanks for the warning. More adult than Akira?

      4. Out of curiosity did you ever see Tale of Princess Kaguya? It has a very different female character than we typically get in western movies. The way she chooses obedience over independence was in a way admirable but also tragic. To me it was a very gentle movie kind of like Bambi and so beautiful but I can see some thinking it’s boring but I enjoy the pace

  2. Awesome list, Rachel! Still, I’d have likely replaced a couple of these with say Brother Bear, Treasure Planet, & maybe even Princess & The Frog. Nevertheless, awesome list!

    1. Thanks. Cool suggestions. Treasure Planet and Princess and the Frog would be strong honorable mentions. Beautiful.

      1. I think if I had put Frozen on the trolls brains would have exploded but I dont disagree it is beautiful.
        Tangled is another good choice especially the lanterns. So much beautiful artistry. Thanks

  3. This is a good list. I have seen half of them, but I wonder if you have heard of the sad story of Richard Williams’ 30-year quest to create the greatest animated film ever made, only to be foiled by studio commercialism. Terrible.

      1. You can watch Nostalgia Critic’s review of Thief and the Cobbler for further information but yes, it is a very sad story.

      2. Yes. I also wonder if you heard this line from his Top 11 South Park episodes video:
        “If you’ve ever known a Mormon, you know they are unusually nice and ethical and not angry and just PLEASANT. Oh, I’m sure there are some asshole Mormons out there, but I haven’t met them yet. I haven’t even met a person who met a Mormon who was an asshole yet.”

      3. Ha. Thanks. Was that from Doug or South Park? Hope we can live up to that kind of reputation. 🙂 I like to think we are a pretty nice lot. Some bad apples sure but for the most part we try

      4. Doug said that. South Park said basically the same thing, except in addition to mocking the story of the foundation of the religion in the 1800s.

        They also said that Mormonism is the one true religion that will make it into Heaven. But Hell is the cool place where all the fun people are partying, and Heaven is a nightmare-inducing land of cheerful boring Mormons who never do anything more interesting than play charades and write moralistic songs and plays.

      5. Ha or watch a bunch of Disney movies 😉 It’s easy to turn any group into caricatures but we have variety of personalities and interests just like anyone else. Sure we don’t drink or sleep around but we have plenty of non-charades fun.

        Anyway, I don’t mind anyone joking around about my faith. I realize we are a conservative simple people and I can take a joke. It’s all in fun.

        But let’s get back to animation/movies here. I try to use my other blog for these kinds of discussions if that’s ok.

      6. What would you say is the most artistic animated film you’ve seen?

      7. Good question. Probably WALL-E. It’s heavily inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey, and I appreciated it more when I had seen that movie.

  4. Nice list. I’m glad your list represents how beautiful 2D animation can be. In my opinion, no CG film has ever nor will ever be as beautiful as the best of 2D and stop-motion animation. The Tale of Princess Kaguya, The Lion King, Coraline, Pinocchio… those are the truly artistic movies in my opinion.

    1. Thanks! Those are stunning choices. I think a CG film like Wall-e is on the same level as the 2D but I learned from making this list it is more the exception than the rule. My hope is that a studio like Laika has done for stop motion will emerge for 2D. We are still getting 2D from overseas and lots of 2D on television so I’m not as much of a deathsayer to 2D as some people.

      Anyway there are so many beautiful films. Neat to have 3 from last year. Great time to be an animation fan!

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