The 20 Best Animated Movies Streaming on Netflix

Movies Lists Animated
Share Tweet Submit Pin
The 20 Best Animated Movies Streaming on Netflix

While Netflix hasn’t ponied up for the streaming rights of many of the biggest animated features from studios like Pixar, they do have some delightful films for both kids and adults among their animated streaming offerings. But since there’s no “Animated Movies” section on Netflix, finding them on the site can be a chore. We’ve gone through all the kids and grown-up sections—finding films from Ireland, France and England, and from the ‘40s through last year—to select 20 great animated movies streaming on Netflix. If you just want to find movies for the little ones to watch, you can also check out our guide to The 35 Best Kids Movies Streaming on Netflix. Here are the 20 best animated movies streaming on Netflix:

20. Antz

Year: 1998
Directors: Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson
Before Dreamworks became a powerhouse with Shrek and Madagascar, the newly founded company recruited an all-star cast for Antz: Woody Allen, Dan Aykroyd, Anne Bancroft, Danny Glover, Gene Hackman, Christopher Walken and many more. Released in the same year as Pixar’s A Bug’s Life, Antz follows the inspiring story of a lowly worker ant Z (Woody Allen) who tries to work his way up the social ladder in the ant colony while falling in love with Queen Ant’s daughter, Princess Bala (Sharon Stone).—Eric Gossett

19. Phineas and Ferb The Movie

Year: 2011
Directors: Dan Povenmire, Robert Hughes
Tucked among The Disney Channel’s awful TV lineup is an 11-minute show packed with intersecting plot lines, adventure in suburbia, intrigue and a pet platypus doubling as a super agent. “Hey Ferb, I know what we’re going to do today,” Phineas says each show before launching into his latest ambitious plan to pass the summer days, whether it’s building a giant tree house that transforms into a giant robot or filming a movie or creating a time machine. Unlike most Disney shows, the kids have a deep-seated affection for both siblings and parents—even as Candice tries to bust her brothers. Creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh met while working on The Simpsons. Povenmire later worked on Family Guy, and the cleverness of those shows has wore off on both. And the movie captures all that’s great about the show.—Josh Jackson

18. A Cat in Paris

Year: 2010
Directors: Jean-Loup Felicioli, Alain Gagnol
The beautifully drawn panorama of the city at night is what first catches your eye as A Cat in Paris begins, and the fast-paced, action-packed story keeps you enthralled throughout the entirety of the film. The story follows a cat who leads a double life, living the typical, pampered existence as a young girl’s pet and companion during the day and moonlighting as a cat burglar’s sidekick (pun definitely intended) each evening. The story incorporates themes of loss, friendship, moral standards and the search for truth, while bringing the cat’s owners together in a delightful, if not somewhat predictable turn of events as the story unfolds. A Cat in Paris is definitely a great movie for the whole family to watch; funny, sweet, visually striking, suspenseful, captivating and overall simply trés bien.—Ann-Marie Morris

17. Hercules

Year: 1997
Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker
Hercules was another staple in Disney’s reign during the ‘90s. Released in 1997, it was stuck in between 1996’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame and 1998’s Mulan. Featuring voice contributions from Tate Donovan, Danny Devito and James Woods, the film follows the harrowing adventure of Greek demigod Hercules. After he’s banished to earth by his evil uncle Hades, Hercules must learn to become a “true hero” and go back home to Olympus to defeat Hades once and for all. It’s not the most substantial of Disney films, but it’s fun all the same.—Eric Gossett

16. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Year: 1977
Directors: Jon Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman
Bringing A.A. Milne’s classic 1920s series of books to the big screen, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh merges together a trio of short films, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966), Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968) and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974), along with a new entry from Milne’s A House at Pooh Corner. The musical affair was full of delightful songs like “Rumbly in My Tumbly” and “The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers,” and the animation was true to the style of Milne’s original books. Netflix has several Pooh movies available (Piglet’s Big Movie, Springtime with Roo, Poo’s Heffalump Movie), all keeping that innocent 100 Acres Wood style, but this one—the last animated feature that Mr. Walt Disney was involved with—remains the best.—Josh Jackson

15. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Year: 1996
Directors: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
Based on the French, gothic novel of the same name, this film comes to us in Disney animated musical drama format. Definitely one of Disney’s darker animated classics, the film follows Quasimodo, the somber, deformed bell-ringer of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, who lives hidden from the exterior world. The score, composed by Alan Menken and written by Stephen Schwartz, makes the film’s lessons against superficiality a bit more uplifting than they would be otherwise.—Alexa Carrasco

14. The Prince of Egypt

Year: 1998
Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
The scene where Moses parts the seas in this animated musical is a truly epic moment. An adaptation of the Book of Exodus, the biblical DreamWorks release follows Moses in his climatic quest to free the slaves from Egypt—all of which can be summed up by the line “Let my people go!” The score was composed by Hans Zimmer, who collaborated with Stephen Schwartz on “When You Believe,” which won Best Original Song at the 1999 Academy Awards. Disclaimer: Kids might argue plot lines are factual history at a later date.—Alexa Carrasco

13. Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Year: 1988
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Bob Hoskyns is a P.I. charged with exonerating the titular Mr. Rabbit in a noir send-up to old-school animation. The 1940s world of Toontown is a place where toons and people intermingle, and Kathleen Turner voices Roger’s bombshell girlfriend Jessica Rabbit. This imaginative mix of live action and animation remains an original a quarter-century later.—Josh Jackson

12. The Emperor’s New Groove

Year: 2000
Director: Mark Dindal
The lasting appeal of this 2000 animated buddy comedy from Disney can likely be attributed to some truly genius voice casting: there’s David Spade as a vain emperor-turned-llama, John Goodman as a lovable peasant, Patrick Warburton as a dim-witted and deep-voiced palace guard and, of course, the perfect Eartha Kitt as the deliciously evil usurper of the throne. The story is fairly predictable, but the fun Peruvian setting is visually appealing and the fast-paced story allows for moments of lighthearted comedy that welcome repeat viewings. Also, the fact that it’s a Disney movie with no hokey musical numbers is a plus.—John Riti

11. A Monster in Paris

Year: 2011
Director: Bibo Bergeron
One of the most American-style animation films from France, A Monster in Paris is set in 1910. Expect to see some lovely landmarks and monuments in this comedic tale of two unlikely partners saving a misunderstood monster who has landed in Paris.—Madina Papadopoulos

10. Wind in the WIllows

Year: 1949
Directors: James Algar, Jack Kinney
Disney’s adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows is one half of a great film. After Bambi came out in 1942, Disney didn’t release a full-length animated film for almost eight years. Throughout the ‘40s they released a series of pictures that packaged together various shorter films, both animated and live-action, under names like Make Mine Music and Fun and Fancy Free. (This is also the era that brought us Song of the South, which is partially animated, partially live action, and almost entirely indefensible.) The last of these package films was called The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad and combined two half-hour short features based on The Wind in the Willows and Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. After that initial theatrical run Disney split the two featurettes, with Sleepy Hollow becoming a genuine Disney classic and Halloween staple, and The Wind in the Willows best being known for inspiring the Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride attraction at Disney parks and the evil weasels from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Unfortunately Sleepy Hollow is no longer available on Netflix Instant, but The Wind in the Willows is, bundled together with a handful of various Disney shorts. Despite the budgetary and staffing issues that persisted at Disney during and immediately after the war, it’s a beautiful example of classic Disney animation from Disney’s “Nine Old Men,” with a crazed lead character perfectly suited for cartoons. Neither a short nor a full-length film, the half-hour Wind in the Willows and its erstwhile companion helped prepare theaters and audiences for Disney’s triumphant feature-length return Cinderella just four months later. It’s available on Netflix as part of a Disney animated collection.—Garrett Martin

9. How To Train Your Dragon 2

Year: 2014
Director: Dean DeBlois
No, it’s not quite as good as the original, but it’s easy to forget just how great that first feature was, especially after it was snubbed by the Academy in favor of Toy Story 3. As my son put it leaving the theater: “If I’d seen that movie a million times, I’d want to see it a million more.” In the sequel, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is no longer the outcast of the village, as dragons and Vikings are living peacefully. Instead, he’s preparing to succeed his father as chief of the village, something he’s not sure he wants to do. When he discovers an evil trapper building an army of dragons, Hiccup once again must rise to the challenge. It’s as heart-rending as the first film and led to Netflix ordering an original HTTYD animated series.—Josh Jackson

8. Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?

Year: 2013
Director: Michel Gondry
Michel Gondry rightly realized that a conversation with anyone—even a fascinating one with brain-mountain Noam Chomsky—wouldn’t a compelling film make, so he took the literal headsplitting harangues and humorous asides and casually genius monologues from his hours spent in Chomsky’s company, transforming them into a freeform animated film seemingly borne from countless Lite Bright decks and exhausted visits to Pink Floyd laser light shows at his local planetarium (wherever that may be; they are legion). Their talk spans the breadth of Chomsky’s life, from his juvenile beginnings as a nascent, intuitive over-thinker to his current tenure at MIT, where he can say pretty much whatever he wants to and it will still ring with the vigor of an ineffably, fortuitously agglomerated cloud of the best-arranged neurons our world has to offer. Whatever you think of Chomsky’s politics or his general attitude, through animation Gondry finds the perfect tone in which to approach Chomsky: laced equally with patience and glee. —Dom Sinacola

7. The Boxtrolls

Year: 2014
Directors: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi
“They’ll gnaw your knees!” “They’ll pick their teeth with your bones!” No, the citizens of Cheesebridge are not talking about Ariana Grande fans, they are talking about boxtrolls, creatures who live in the underbelly of Cheesebridge and are vastly misunderstood. Boxtrolls are curious, kind little monsters, but Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley), a man desperate for prestige, wants to use them for his own selfish gain. You see, Snatcher desires a “White Hat,” the ultimate status symbol in Cheesebridge. Consistently denied of a hat, he decides to start a smear campaign against the boxtrolls so that he can kidnap and kill all of them, forcing the powers-that-be in Cheesebridge to finally award him his coveted hat. Standing in Snatcher’s way is Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright), a young boy adopted by the boxtrolls as a baby, and Winnie (Elle Fanning), the daughter of Cheesebridge’s most elite aristocrat (Jared Harris). As is typical with many children’s films, no adults will listen to our two heroes as they speak out in support of the boxtrolls, so they must take matters into their own hands. The Boxtrolls is the third feature film from Laika Studios, whose previous two entries were the thrilling Coraline and the superb ParaNorman. While The Boxtrolls doesn’t soar quite as high as those two films, it comes pretty darn close. The animation is breathtaking, the boxtrolls themselves are lovely little heroes, and the theme of being true to oneself comes across as very honest. It is the type of movie that kids will love, as it involves thrilling action and relatable characters. More importantly, it is the type of movie that parents will probably enjoy even more than their little ones.—Andy Herren

6. Chicken Run

Year: 2000
Directors: Peter Lord, Nick Park
If any of the brilliant Wallace and Gromit films aren’t on Netflix Instant, then Chicken Run (made by the same Aardman Animations studios) is certainly the next best thing. The 2000 movie should hardly be classified as a consolation prize, though—with its unique stop-motion clay animation and slapstick sense of humor, this story of a group of chickens who plot their escape from a farm mill provides just as many genuinely hilarious moments as it does thrilling action sequences. It’s an impressive feat of both animation and storytelling, with some spot-on voice acting to boot—what’s not to love about Mel Gibson voicing a slick Rhode Island Red named Rocky?—John Riti

5. It’s Such a Beautiful Day

Year: 2012
Director: Don Hertzfeldt
In which a stick-figure named Bill navigates a strange world made stranger by a brain which refuses to leave him be, coming to grips with depression, mental illness, and, ultimately, mortality. If you’ve had the distinct pleasure of watching Don Hertzfeld’s 2015 short, World of Tomorrow, then you’re aware what kind of empathy the artist can wring from simple geometry and the fully formed universes of personality and character he finds within such elemental shapes. Assembled from three related short films, It’s Such a Beautiful Day is as devastating as it is hilarious, but so is everything Hertzfeldt touches, using markedly beautiful narrative structure and spare aesthetics to tell poignant stories that rarely ever actually seem all that poignant. It’s only after you realize that it was a stick-figure, a made-up barely-real cartoon, who just reached into your chest and squeezed your heart until you couldn’t breathe, that Hertzfeldt’s brilliance becomes clear: There is so much life in this film —Dom Sinacola

4. Fantasia

Year: 1940
Directors: Various
Fantasia lost a lot of money when it was released in 1940. (Disney’s earliest features didn’t have a great box office track record at the time—Pinocchio and Bambi also lost money, making three of the company’s first five features financial failures.) It’s not entirely hard to see why: it’s a largely narrative-free film built entirely around classical music. Its commercial prospects were as dim in 1940 as they would be today if the film was being released for the first time. Of course it’s gorgeous, an astounding marriage of art and music featuring some of the most iconic and transcendent images in animation, along with what’s perhaps Mickey Mouse’s most famous appearance (and maybe just a little bit of schmaltz during the Pastoral Symphony and Dance of the Hours segments). The show-closing combo of Night on Bald Mountain and Ave Maria remains one of the most powerful passages in animation. It can be a bit musty at times, but it’s also one of the most conceptually daring and experimental films ever released by a major studio, and a crucial part of animation history.—Garrett Martin

3. Robin Hood

Year: 1973
Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
Robin Hood came along in what may be seen as one of Disney’s more fallow (or at least unremembered) periods in the early ‘70s, but it’s among their better efforts from the era, capturing much of the same charm as the earlier Sword and the Stone. It’s a somewhat simplistic retelling of the old Robin vs. King John story, but the voice-acting is superb and the surprisingly mature story is suitable for both children and adults in equal measure. It’s the kind of straightforward adventure story that no longer gets made unless the film is meant to appeal as a full-fledged comedy at the same time. Robin is a great hero, though—enough that my childhood self always found great appeal in this movie and the imagined thrill of splitting an arrow down the middle with a spectacularly placed twang of my imaginary bow.—Jim Vorel

2. Mulan

Year: 1998
Directors: Barry Cook, Tony Bancroft
It seems like all of Eddie Murphy’s best comedic performances since Coming to America are animated. His little dragon Mushu is a sharp source of humor in this otherwise touching retelling of a Chinese folktale—a wonderful move by Disney to give its target market a strong heroine, whose bravery and sense of duty and honor is admirable. Gorgeously animated with rich, saturated colors, the 2-D film is populated by three-dimensional characters. And in a story about honor, the studio brings just the right Eastern touches to pay due respect to China’s history.—Josh Jackson

1. The Secret of Kells

Year: 2009
Directosr: Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey
Set in 8th-Century Ireland, our hero is the 12-year-old apprentice Brendan, who befriends a forest spirit namd Aisling in his quest to protect The Book of Kells from Viking invaders. The Secret of Kells’ hand-drawn style gives it a gorgeous and breathtaking visual flair, a charm most of its contemporaries lack.—Josh Jackson