Everything is new, you’re never too old to watch animated movies and cartoons. Some films are closer to one heart, some of them have us nostalgic and make us want to relive our childhood days. Animation offers artistic expression to its writers, something no other medium can do. Now you can watch these animated movies with your children or relatives that are available to download to Netflix. Others may still consider the “best” animation to offer the exotic appeal of anime or the avant-garde style of artists outside the mainstream. The one thing that these diverse traits share in common is that they are devoid of aspects of live-action; everything else goes.
With this wide variety of animated movies in mind, we’ve combed streaming on Netflix through the available features to show you the best of the best. For all, there’s something here, from Disney movies, Oscar-nominated cartoons, classics, and recent films, all reflecting a beautiful range of forms of animation.
Here are all the best-animated movies to stream to Netflix in random order!
Klaus is a Spanish film with a majority of English dialogues, a retelling of how Santa came into being. This film’s art and animated style is unique as it feels like 3d but its 2d animation originally. Characters are animated in 2d and then certain items are created using animation in 3d and lighting is done to make the eyes feast. It has gained critical praise for its distinct style and direction. It follows a postman named Jesper Johansson whose father sent him, as a punishment for his laziness, to a distant island named Smeerensburg. Now, within a year, he must deliver six thousand letters, unless he is banished from his family estate.
2. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
If, say, burgers started falling from the sky whenever you’re really hungry — or whenever you’re really hungry — would it seem like a dream come true? This, and other snack-based rainfall, is loosely inspired by the picture book of the same name in the forecast of this animation feature. Bill Hader voices an uncomfortable, unaccomplished scientist in the film who attempts to invent a system that transforms water into food when an economic crisis hits his region. But as his creation is mistakenly fired into orbit, which is where the meatballs come in, as well as a lot of silliness, things go awry. It’s just what you expect from a solid animated movie, in other words.
3. The Grinch
The Grinch, but hear us out — The remake of this tried-and-true holiday classic by Illumination actually succeeds in adding new taste to a very familiar character. Benedict Cumberbatch’s Grinch has a fairly simple backstory, unlike other adaptations of the classic Dr. Seuss story: he grew up in an orphanage and is jealous of the family’s yuletide warmth of everyone. He’s surprisingly relatable as an adult, living alone with only his dog and having to force himself into any sort of social interaction. The Grinch is worthy of a holiday watch, a truly emotional retelling of a well-tread tale. Also, Tyler, a remix of the classic “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” was made by the Creator, and it totally slaps.
4. The Lorax
The Lorax might not be the most often revisited work of Dr. Seuss, with the holiday-themed The Grinch taking an interest in festive rewatches, or Green Eggs and Ham is the first reads of many kids, but it may just be his most thoughtful. This adaptation definitely applies to the original of the children’s author — like by adding a teen love story voiced by none other than Zac Efron and Taylor Swift — but it takes the whimsical drawings of Seuss to the screen and preserves its ecological spirit, while the titular character tries to protect his home from intrusive devastation. It shouldn’t take Danny DeVito’s furry, little orange guy to make you care about the environment, but nevertheless, after one watch, this kid’s flick will have you devoted to the sanctity of the trees.
5. Ralph Breaks the Internet
Wreck-It ‘s perfect Ralph. A masterpiece that absolutely told his title character (John C. Reilly) a perfect beginning-to-end arc and absolutely did not need a sequel. And still, one was offered to us by Disney. And by stealing the blueprint from their peers/rivals in film, they completely explained its existence: Pixar. As the Toy Story franchise continued to work because of its willingness to increase all its colors, more darkness, more humor, more pieces of action set, Ralph Breaks the Internet also does so. Ostensibly, this is a family film for kids to enjoy. A film that dismisses its predecessor’s Gen-Z ready Internet comparisons Gen-X-leaning arcade video game comparison points (my goodness, how I love Taraji P. Henson’s Buzzfeed-skewering Yesss). And then, it’s also a film that culminates with a viscerally disturbing creature created of the insecurities and paranoid impulses of Ralph surrounding his friend Vanellope (Sarah Silverman), literally. And I love every damn second of it.
Breadwinner is a film that discusses some hard subjects in intense patriarchies, terror struck states or nations, such as problems for women and children. It tells us the story of an eleven-year-old girl living in Kabul, Parvana, who usually helps her father sell goods on the market one day when her father is taken away by the Taliban, and now she has to save her family and find her father. As she went through numerous stages and difficulties to save her father, her journey was full of difficulty. It is based upon Deborah Ellis’ book of the same name. It was nominated for the Academy Awards as well.
7. Mary and the Witch’s Flower
Created by former artists from Studio Ghibli, this Japanese film contains stunning, fantastic imagery that looks close to telling a magic tale. Inspired by The Little Broomstick, Mary and the Witch’s Flower, a classic children’s novel, Mary and the Witch’s Flower follow the mystical journey of a young girl sent to live in the country, who stumbles across a charming broomstick and a woodland flower that takes her away to a magic secret school. There, like a storybook, a wildly fantastical adventure told by strong animation unfolds.
8. My Life as a Zucchini
Don’t let the title confuse you: This isn’t a Veggie Tales episode or even an animated children’s slapstick flick. In reality, My Life as a Zucchini is an extremely emotional Swiss-French animated film about a boy nicknamed Courgette (or Zucchini in English) who, when his mother dies, is thrown into the foster care system. It’s clear why the film was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards, made exquisitely in stop-motion animation, but its real power lies in what a special story it is about finding our own families when the one at home is not what it should be.
9. I Lost My Body
It is a French animated film that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, winning the coveted Nespresso Grand Prize, making it the first animated film in history to do so. It tells the story of a child named Naoufel, who lives in Morocco and wishes to become an astronaut and a pianist, capturing his daily life on a tape recorder. The first shot in which a cut-off hand escapes from a dissection laboratory with one crucial goal: to return to its body so that it is told in flashbacks by Naoufel ‘s hand and his story.
It should come as no surprise that the student short animated by director Shane Acker that inspired this project caught the attention of Tim Burton and led the filmmaker to produce the length of the feature. Set in an apocalyptic universe torn between machine and man, with shades of goth and steampunk aesthetics, it’s both intensely disturbing and wildly unique. It’s an innovative look at what holding onto civilization and humanity could look at when everything turns towards darkness, as it follows the journey of a rag doll named 9 (voiced by Elijah Wood), who rally others like himself to stand up to the menacing machines.
11. Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling
Since Rocko’s Modern Life was on the air, it was a hot, hot minute. It was known for its earnest charm, slapstick comedy, and social satire, as a beloved ’90s Nickelodeon cartoon. With a bit of a twist, Static Cling brings all that same charm: the special takes place in the present. After spending 20 years caring for space with Rocko and his mates Heffer and Filburt, they return to a present-day O-Town full of smartphones, coffee shops, and other technological marvels of the 21st century. To Rocko’s dismay, his favorite TV show, The Fatheads, went off the air as well. Rocko sets out to locate Rachel Bighead, the founder of The Fatheads, who was originally identified as Ralph in the original series and has transitioned in Rocko’s absence. Rachel is hesitant to abandon her life selling ice cream influenced by Fatheads, and Rocko must encourage her to return to O-Town and support the series revive. Static Cling is an apt addition to the series, completely nostalgic and truly warm as ever.
12. A Whisker Away
Cats also show up in anime films, including Studio Ghibli hits such as Kiki’s Distribution Service, Whisper of the Heart, and The Cat Returns, as signs of good luck in Japanese culture (and just being generally cute). For this new Netflix original, these are simple inspirations, and the sweet feline imagery is what will pull you in. About a teenage girl who acquires the ability to transform into a cat, doing so in order to get closer to the boy she’s pining over from school, it’s the story of first love and embracing an identity that will leave you purring. For a movie about cats, it’s enchantingly human.
13. A Silent Voice
A silent voice is or may be named an animation film in a Japanese animated film and is the film on this list with the most tragic plot. The movie was produced by Naoko Yamada and directed by Kyoto Animation. It tells the story of a boy named Shoya Ishida who used to bully a deaf girl named Shoko Nishimiya to transfer her to a new school and now, years later, he has set out to make amends with her. It’s his chance of redemption. The movie is based on a manga. The only thing you can do whether you like your name or all of Makoto Shinkai’s job is to watch it.
14. Incredibles 2
From beginning to end, Incredibles 2 remains a complete delight. The narrative is broken into two plotlines by writer-director Brad Bird, one following Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) as she tries to restore the Supers’ good name, and one second following Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) as he tries to raise the children. While the plotline of Elastigirl has all the colorful action thrills that we expect from a superhero film, the film hits a whole new dimension when Mr. Amazing bravely struggles to lift a hyperactive Dash (Huck Milner), an angry Violet (Sarah Vowell), and a superpower-bursting Jack-Jack. With its sequels, Pixar has been uneven, but Incredibles 2 is a simple triumph for the film powerhouse.
15. The Little Prince
It’s not every day you get to see a modern animated adaptation of an iconic bestselling story like The Little Prince, but thanks to Netflix and the talented cast and crew assembled to bring Antoine de Saint-Exupéry‘s story to life, a whole new generation can now enjoy the classic tale. Now, while it’s not a point-by-point translation of the story, it pays tribute to the favorite characters and scenes of the novella. The Fox, The Snake, and The Rose are all present, and they are brought to life in contrasting animation styles that help conjure up images of the original drawings alongside the modern computer-generated characters common in today’s children’s movies. The book’s plot, which itself appears as a plot within a broader narrative story following The Little Girl (Foy) and her uptight, hyper-organized Mother (McAdams), is also characterized by this distinction. Their addition brings a new wrinkle to a familiar story, but when it sticks to the original tale, the movie’s at its best.