August 21st, 2014

100 best animated films

I’m a sucker for these “100 best” lists, even if I’ve never heard of the people doing the choosing.

So I couldn’t resist this one, where I discovered I’d never even heard of most of the animated movies they’ve listed, except for the Disney ones and a few of the Pixar ones.

The fact that they chose “Pinocchio” as number one puzzles me. I saw it as a child and liked it, but no more than any other Disney favorites, which for me were “Snow White,” “Lady and the Tramp,” “Cinderella,” “Fantasia,” and “Alice in Wonderland.” The last, with its surrealism, and Lady and the Tramp, with its adorable dogs, may have been my special favorites. Somehow I was fortunate enough to completely miss “Bambi,” which reportedly has traumatized several generations of children. Not me.

But animation and cartoons in general tend to puzzle and disturb me. I’ve written about the problem before, here:

Cartoons were…my nemesis. I didn’t like them, although they were ubiquitous on TV. I didn’t like watching the creature being flattened and then springing back up again. I didn’t like the characters walking off cliffs and not realizing it for a moment, and then falling. I didn’t like the pummeling and the mayhem; I felt it as more real than I knew it should be perceived. And in some strange way I sometimes even had trouble following the plot.

Was that because I wasn’t interested? Or was it because I was repelled, or because I was particularly cartoon-challenged? Probably a combination of all three, because the phenomenon persisted into adulthood and involved even some cartoons whose content didn’t especially repel me. I used to like animated Disney movies, but have never liked Pixar, in part because the images seem “wrong” to me in some difficult-to-define way.

Sometimes there’s too much going on visually in cartoons, too; I get distracted. I sometimes fail to get the joke in non-animated cartoon squares (like the ones in a magazine) because I focus on the wrong detail or misinterpret details in odd ways.

There’s much more at the link, including an interesting discussion in the comments section, where I add, “I have an uncanny valley the size of the Grand Canyon.” And if you wonder what the uncanny valley is, here’s where I talk about that.

And now I have to say that this entire post has made me realize that at this point there’s hardly a topic that interests me that I haven’t written about before—and quite a few that don’t really interest me, too. That’s what happens when you’ve been blogging for almost ten years.

Ten years! When I started, if you had told me I’d be doing this for ten years I would have said you were a lunatic. Now I sometimes wonder whether I’m the lunatic. But no, merely eccentric and verbose—and interested in a lot of things.

36 Responses to “100 best animated films”

  1. Mac Says:

    What really bothers me is when I don’t remember that I’ve written about something before. I actually reviewed a Miles Davis album (Miles Ahead) twice, at an interval of six years, and only after publishing the second one did I begin to have a feeling that I might have said those things before. Kind of distressing.

    There’s something about cartoons that’s always bothered me, too, but I don’t think it’s the same thing. I really don’t know how to describe it. The mayhem maybe is part of it, but I think that in itself is only an aspect of the overall weirdness that is always just a bit disturbing to me on some level.

    I have to admit that I’ve become a bit of a Pixar fan, though, after feeling for sometime that there was just something wrong and unappealing about the texture of the drawings (or “drawings”). That aspect has gotten better, and they do tell some good stories, e.g. Up, at least the first half or so of it.

  2. neo-neocon Says:


    I think that forgetting thing happens to all of us.

    I’ve written many thousands of posts over a ten-year period, so it’s more that I’m amazed that I seem to remember most of them. Forgetting some isn’t so strange, is it?

  3. Will Says:

    Bambi was tough going, I remember tears. But for me, it was Cruella DeVille. I had nightmares for a while. Later in life I hooked up with a few Cruellas, but that’s for another post…

    Forgetting ain’t so bad sometimes.

  4. Sharon W Says:

    Every time I see the scene in Prince of Egypt where the mother of Moses sends him off in the basket, I get emotional. The music, the animation…very moving to me. My youngest and I bonded watching animated features. There is 8 years and 5-1/2 years between he and his siblings, so at that point of life I was available to actually relax and enjoy movies together.

  5. DNW Says:

    Cartoons were…my nemesis. I didn’t like them, although they were ubiquitous on TV. I didn’t like watching the creature being flattened and then springing back up again. I didn’t like the characters walking off cliffs and not realizing it for a moment, and then falling. I didn’t like the pummeling and the mayhem; I felt it as more real than I knew it should be perceived. And in some strange way I sometimes even had trouble following the plot.

    Was that because I wasn’t interested? Or was it because I was repelled, or because I was particularly cartoon-challenged? Probably a combination of all three, because the phenomenon persisted into adulthood and involved even some cartoons whose content didn’t especially repel me. I used to like animated Disney movies, but have never liked Pixar, in part because the images seem “wrong” to me in some difficult-to-define way.


    I don’t recall ever having a really visceral reaction to a cartoon apart from one I saw on TV that infuriated me as a really small child. I dimly remember it had something to do with babies floating across the sky in a boat of some kind, and they would crawl out over the gunwales and nearly fall to their deaths before somehow being rescued by other crawling babies. I felt cheated that these witless cherubs didn’t plunge to their well deserved deaths. It might have been on Disney Sunday … but that is just a guess.

    Anyway about 6- or 7 years ago I went on a shopping spree for DVD packs of cartoons to keep a couple of young boys occupied while their mother and I tried to relax evenings at the “cottage”. No TV there. They could use the laptop to watch them, or one of those annoying little DVD players even my hunting buddies now pathetically tote around.

    It’s amazing what’s in a package of 100 or 300 or whatever “Cartoon Classics”. Remembered quite a few of them … and oddly the general context of seeing them … maybe on an overcast Saturday morning in the late fall, sitting on the living room floor. None of those “Clutch Cargo” reruns or “Davy and Goliath” crap fortunately. Likewise for puppets in underwater cars and such.

    A few of those quasi communist “award winning” European art cartoons with dreary humanist themes, were included however.

    That said, wasn’t a bad deal; a complete set of Rocky and Bullwinkle will set you back quite a bit more.

    RE Plot. Pretty much the same here. I wasn’t aware there even was such a thing as a “plot” until I got to high school. And if you watch old black and white movies, of the kind that were commonly shown on TV when you and even the next generation were small – comedies, B westerns and gangster dramas – it’s easy to see why. Things just seemed largely to happen at random: “Zaniness”, “Idiot Plots” people chasing each other around shouting and/or shooting.

    Plot? What plot?

  6. Ymarsakar Says:

    I want to put up my list.

  7. Ymarsakar Says:

    Sword of the Stranger

    For these times, it’s perfect.

    Westerners should watch it in the JP language with English subtitles. It hits upon the same topics of authority and evil as people write about in the 21st century, without being about the 21st century and its corrupt politics.

  8. blert Says:

    “Beauty and the Beast” HAS to be #! in animated films.

    It was the only animated film to ever be in serious competition for Best Oscar, and NOT as the animated category!

  9. Skullbuster Says:

    Best is # 13 Disney’s Fantasia in college with the right chemicals. Made in 1940.

  10. Ymarsakar Says:

    Blert, you should check out Heroic Age then, a Japanese series that has some of the same elements or esthetics.

    Higher level though.

  11. OldTexan Says:

    Wow and thank you again for your site, you are kind of a touchstone for me and I would suppose others of your regular readers. I agree about the animated stuff, I avoid it all whenever possible. I wanted the cat to catch the annoying tweety bird and later for the coyote to catch the roadrunner and I have no explanation for that except I was tired of the crap over and over.

    As for Bambi that was Walt’s worst legacy for all of us hunters. By hunting season all of the little Bambi’s (fawns) are weaned and ready to be out on their own. Male deer, bucks, are meaner than hell and beat each other to death early in the fall to build their harems of multiple does.

    Disney hated hunters and guns and he along with Warner bros. was good at making us into mean, stupid Fudds who don’t care about the environment and game management. Sorry but that’s my take on his Bambi crap.

    As for the rest of the animated stuff my wife takes my grandkids to the movies from time to time and I do anything possible to have other pressing stuff to do. I seem to always find subliminal commie messages in the scripts and get way to upset at the brainwashing of kids.

  12. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    For me, the trauma was Maleficent, the evil fairy in “Sleeping Beauty.” The movie came out when I was three or four, and my poor father took me to the theater, thinking he was giving me a treat. I had to be removed from the theater when she appeared and for years thereafter, woke screaming from nightmares in which she played a starring role. “Bambi,” by contrast, was nuthin’.

  13. Ymarsakar Says:

    People who dislike Western propaganda should move to Japanese entertainment. The virus is transmitted through English, changing languages disrupts the Left’s propaganda arm.

  14. T Says:

    We all quibble with such lists (I think Alice in Wonderland should be much higher than # 81), but it was also nice to see some of Ray Harryhausen’s work included.

    My real criticism is the absence of The Song of the South the first film ever to feature the combination of live action and drawn animation which was so well exploited in later movies such as Roger Rabbit.

    Neoneocon, as for 10 years. Thanks for your persistence, perseverance and commentary. It is our privilege to be a small part of this experience.

  15. Patrick Says:

    Saw Pinocchio when I was 5 or 6 years old and remember being frightened by something or other in it (maybe a donkey thing?), that movie stayed with me for quite a few years. Oddly, have never seen it since. I think now my vote would go to “The Incredibles”.

  16. kolnai Says:

    I’m not a cartoon fan at all, but I have one exception: Hayao Miyazaki, and I would have put “Spirited Away” at number one, without any hesitation.

    “Spirited Away” is not just the best animated film I’ve ever seen, it’s one of the best films I’ve ever seen. Off the top of my head I’d put it in my top 20. (“Totoro” at number three is quite overrating that film, however. I suppose it has been more influential than his other films, so if that’s the barometer, I get it.)

    Japanese anime at the highest levels (I stress that qualification) is pretty tough to beat. Another great director/writer in that class, Makoto Shinkai, made a film called “Children Who Chase Lost Voices” which is quite moving.

    Some people don’t like the anime style, and I’m not really into it myself. But the films – or at least the best films – of Miyazaki and Shinkai are so good that they can overcome that hurdle.

    By contrast, I can’t really get into American animated films, and even as a kid I was never more than tepid toward them. I thought “The Incredibles” was ok, I guess. More recently “The Lego Movie” had some clever bits, though it took a nosedive at the end.

  17. carl in Atlanta Says:

    T at 10:36pm last night:

    Song of the the South has been de facto banned due to PC.

    Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, Zip-a-dee-ay
    My, oh my, what a wonderful day…..

  18. T Says:

    Carl in Atlanta,

    I know why it isn’t there. My point is that if one manufactures a list based upon consensus reality, then it really isn’t a fair or true list. For example, I live in Pittsburgh, my list of the top three sports teams ever is 1) The Steelers; 2) the Penguins; 3) the Pirates. Nice, objective list, that!

    On second thought, isn’t ANY list of “The Best 100 Anything” just consensus reality from the get-go?

  19. Tom Says:

    >>Don’t lie, to yourself or others<< Yes, Pinnochio is great.
    So is Spirited Away (Totoro at #3 is the first too-high pick)

    Pink elephants on Parade (#6 Dumbo) is also perhaps more memorable to me as an adult than when young.

    (for adults, Groundhog Day is still better.)

    With 4 kids, the cartoon-movies have been great for learning English (in Slovakia), tho most classics are also translated into Slovak (good for my Slovak).

    More than 10 years of Neo — some of us even remember your pre-blogging comments on Michael Totten's blog! (He is at least getting paid for writing now — you seldom note any of his stuff tho?)
    Thanks for keeping it up so well, for so long.

    One of your most memorable pieces for me is the twirling dancer — which direction?

    Your so-accurate comments about Obama and America and PC are so sad for me, ex-pat tho I am.

  20. Artfldgr Says:

    I think that forgetting thing happens to all of us.

    no… not all of us..
    some of us are cursed with the kind of memory people fantasize about… its useful, but its also emotionally costly… after all, forgetting things is also good for social cohesion (among other things). but it come at the price of memorizing bad things in such detail you can relive them over and over without their ever fading and you dont need ptsd to do that.

    sadly, in some people, this is also combined with the fact that your a target… making your life and memory a hellish nightmare you cant escape…

    (not to mention that others who do forget tend not to value the idea of focusing on what they do to increase the surfeit supply of good memories vs bad ones – why bother if most of the bad you forget? well. some of us dont ever forget)

  21. Artfldgr Says:

    stay away from the Loc-Nar….

  22. Rufus T. Firefly Says:


    A note of gratitude from a frequent reader/lurker. As co-originator of a blog ( that has seen major traffic and significant lulls in its 5(?) year history, I know how odd and sometimes frustrating it can be to put thousands of words to keyboard and never be entirely sure if they are well received, or received at all. I’ve never commented here before (and don’t comment anywhere except the aforementioned threedonia), but I thought I’d break that rule today to let you know how much I appreciate your work.

    I don’t remember when I first discovered your writing, or through what website (possibly Glenn Reynolds or Jeff Goldstein), but I do remember being sort-of astounded when I first read your work. So much of the Interwebs can become an echo chamber, the same people making the same points over and over. Even when those people are brilliant and the points are important it can still get tiresome. Somehow your writing always seems fresh. You bring just enough of a slightly skewed perspective to current events (and are such a good writer), that I find myself checking in here more and more to read your thoughts on the day’s events (and checking in elsewhere less and less).

    I just re-read those last two sentences and I think I figured out what it is that makes your posts different: You are a ridiculously curious person and you are sincere and genuine.

    That’s it! That’s why I like coming here. You have an almost child-like curiosity about what you see around you yet you seem to have no biases (or fear of being wrong) that keep you from following a trail wherever it leads. In other words, you have the cool clear eyes of a seeker of wisdom and truth, yet there’s that up turned chin and the grin of impetuous youth.

    Thanks for 10 years of posts that I’m still trying to slog through and I raise a glass of gin and vermouth to the next 10! Rest assured there are hundreds (thousands?) like me out here reading your words of wisdom and hope yet keeping mum in the comments. You do good work.

  23. Mac Says:

    True about the forgetting, Neo, since I’ve been web-publishing (it wasn’t a blog for the first few years) for about the same length of time as you.

    It occurs to me that part of the reason it seems distressing is that at our age ten years (or in the case I mentioned, six years) doesn’t seem very long. At least it doesn’t to me. I certainly wouldn’t have been surprised in 1975 that I didn’t remember something I’d written in 1965 (not that I wrote anything besides term papers then). But that decade was way longer than 2004-2014.

    By the way, I think I’m overstating it to say I’m a Pixar fan. More accurately, I have enjoyed some of their work. Which is a lot more than I can say for what I’ve seen of Disney-type animations over the past 20 years or so, based on very minimal acquaintance with them.

  24. Artfldgr Says:

    Hail Hail threedonia…

    (Marx brothers… though i think it was freedonia, which is kind of better than the batardization of latvia that X-Men have for the villians home)

  25. Artfldgr Says:

    I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way…

  26. Jim Sullivan Says:

    Wow. Art with the Heavy Metal reference. Cool.

  27. Artfldgr Says:

    Fritz… they killed fritz!!!

    just for you Jim, i am throwing that in as a “Wizards” reference AND a “Fritz the cat reference”… (Though i hated rotoscoping)

    (some) Fav Artists…
    Burne Hogarth
    R Crumb (cause walking down the street is like being in an R Crumb Comic strip)
    Gilbert Shelton
    Ralph Bakshi
    and so many more… 🙂

  28. neo-neocon Says:


    Yes, ten years is the blink of an eye at this point.

    However, at “our age,” forgetting things has a more frightening aspect. Everyone I know “of a certain age” gets worried when they forget things, although when they were young they sometimes forgot things, too.

  29. neo-neocon Says:

    Rufus T. Firefly:

    AND, what’s more, I get musical comedy references:

    Seriously, though, I very much appreciate your words of praise. The commenters are what (who) keep me going here. That, and my ridiculous curiosity 🙂 .

    By the way,as a child I saw Robert Morse in one of his first starring Broadway roles, “Take Me Along.” He was 28 but he played a 16-year-old, and he stopped the show.

  30. Jimbo Says:

    Uggh, I have lurked here for years, but the kid movie that leaves a scar made me remember one, I am sure many of you have intentionally forgotten.

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

    It featured a long nosed trollish man who could smell children, and of course he was hunting the children in the movie. I had night mares about that guys grotesque nose and his sniffing sound. At first was mortal terror, then later on I slept with my baseball bat under my bed, and wished that guy would come sniffing around. Glad I never saw anyone dressed like him around Halloween, I would have gotten into trouble.

  31. neo-neocon Says:


    Maybe you just don’t remember that you sometimes forget 🙂 .

    Seriously, though–I know what you mean. I have been accused on many occasions of a similar annoying inability to forget slights, disappointments, etc.. I also have a weird ability (which my loved ones can definitely come to resent at times) of usually being able to recreate entire conversations: “then you said…then I said.”

    Not that I’m always right, or that my memory is perfect. It’s not. But (at least so far—knock wood) it has usually held me in good stead.

  32. neo-neocon Says:



    But I still link to Totten quite often.

    Do you mean this article? Or this one?

  33. reticent Says:

    neo, I read in spurts and so usually cannot make timely comments, but I wanted to chime in with my appreciation for your work along with that of the commentators here. What’s most important to me is your care in analyzing issues, going well beyond reflexive conservative talking points of the day. I don’t like being blindsided by arguments or details I’d never heard of or considered. Your blog gives me a penetrating look at the issues you cover, for which I’m exceedingly grateful.

  34. DNW Says:

    “neo-neocon Says:
    August 22nd, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Rufus T. Firefly:

    AND, what’s more, I get musical comedy references ”

    Geez. I know that song. Didn’t a woman sing it?

    YouTube. I’ll find it

  35. DNW Says:

    Re. Neo’s song: “I believe in you”

    Huh, can’t find what I remember from the radio. Probably from the car radio. Kind of an uptempo, jazz-like rendition.

  36. SCOTTtheBADGER Says:

    DNW, you are correct, the first time the song is in the musical, J Pierrpont Finches girlfriend Rosemary sings it to him.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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