14 Best Animated Movies Of All Time (According To IMDb)

A lot of quality anime content has been released over the past decades, making audiences realize that anime movies are not just for kids. These anime express a special depth with intense stories, complex characters and reflections on the various problems of the world.

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This type of cinema is not afraid to look at the realities of life, which is one of the reasons why it attracts a large number of viewers interested in observing stories that do not hide important details. Over the years, a lot of high-quality anime movies have been produced, but some stand out from the rest and are works of art.

Updated March 30, 2022 by Hannah Saab: As more and more of the best animated films ever made go mainstream, fans of the genre are likely exploring and discovering other critically acclaimed animated films. That’s why it’s no surprise that the best animated movies on IMDb continue to change as more and more users give their opinion on Ghibli classics and contemporary entries in the genre worth watching.

14 Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) – 8


Nausicaä flies over the canyons

• Available to stream on HBO Max.

Of the many Ghibli films that are among the highest rated animated films on IMDb, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is a real star. It tells the story of the titular princess Nausicaa, a brave and compassionate character who always tries to help those around her.

In the film, the princess sets out to find a cure for the deadly miasma spewed from the toxic jungle in an effort to save both her people and the environment. His mission is complicated by politics, which require him to use strategy and skill to protect his village.

13 Castle in the Sky (1986) – 8


• Available to stream on HBO Max.

Castle in THE sky chronicles the life and experiences of Sheeta, the rightful ruler of Laputa who shows she can live up to the title. She’s an important Ghibli heroine who insists that kindness can be the greatest weapon and a source of strength.

With memorable, well-written villains like Colonel Muska and some truly unforgettable scenes, it’s an underrated animated film from the studio in its early years. It’s still worth watching today, if only for that powerful scene where Sheeta explains the power of love.


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12 Perfect Blue (1997) – 8


perfect blue

• Available for rental on Apple TV+.

perfect blue is Satoshi Kon’s masterpiece and first feature film. The project is based on Yoshikazu Takeuchi’s novel, which bears the same name. The script tackles topics of harassment, bigotry, and terror, and Kon’s hard work to incorporate these aspects helped the film become a hit with critics and audiences alike.

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The protagonist, Mima’s crisis becomes an opportunity to show the depth of anime cinema. The plot features the protagonist’s descent into personal hell, where a harsh and unforgiving story goes beyond mere spectacle, becoming an unprecedented piece of art.


11 Akira (1988) – 8


• Available to stream on Hulu.

Katsuhiro Otomo’s great storytelling skills are on display in Akira, a complex story that transcends other works of science fiction. This anime film has deep characters that explore real-world realities such as excessive military power, making the production a key Japanese anime film.

The film was adapted in 1988, five years after the manga was launched. The story takes place in 2019 in Neo-Tokyo, after an apocalypse caused by World War III. This production did a great job of showing the expressiveness of its characters against a turbulent setting.


ten The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (2010) – 8.1


Kyon and Haruhi as they appear in The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya tells the disturbing story of the SOS Brigade, a club with a close-knit group of friends who know each other extremely well. When their members start to disappear, Kyon seems to be the only one who cares, until she realizes no one seems to remember the club and their friendships.

The gripping drama film seamlessly blends the elements of thriller and mystery, with each new twist ensuring there’s never a dull moment. Audiences can’t help but be drawn into the puzzle, right to its crazy conclusion.


9 Wolf Children (2012) – 8.1


First of all, Wolf children may seem like an animated movie with a ridiculous plot, but fans of the movie know it’s deeper and more poignant than it first appears. It revolves around its protagonist Hana’s experience as a single mother, who fell in love and had children with a werewolf.

Things change for Hana after her husband dies in an accident, as she is now alone and responsible for raising her children – it’s not an easy task for humans, so the fact that they are at half werewolf makes it even harder.


8 A Silent Voice: The Movie (2016) – 8.1


Shouko gets on the train in A Silent Voice.

• Available to stream on Netflix.

Based on a manga of the same name, A silent voice centers on the story of Shoya Ishida, a high school bully who grew up to be an outcast who regrets his actions. When he’s down, he decides to reconnect with a particularly memorable victim, making amends and learning more about himself in the process.

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The hard-hitting animated film deals with some emotional themes, revolving around trauma and mental health. His bold portrayal and commentary on change and forgiveness will have fans feeling like they’ve taken this important journey with Shoya.




7 Magnetic Rose (1995) – 8.2


An astronaut holding a gun in Magnetic Rose (1995).

Three astronauts are on a mission in an area full of galactic junk in magnetic rose. In this thrilling film, they discover an artificial satellite in the shape of a rose, endowed with a mysterious force of attraction. They realize too late the true power of what they have found.

Besides the interesting premise, the appropriate use of music and visual details captivated the audience. The film is scripted by Satoshi Kon and directed by Kōji Morimoto, who shed light on the anime from a poetic perspective.


6 My Neighbor Totoro (1988) – 8.2


Totoro and his friends on a tree

• Available to stream on HBO Max.

With a tempered plot and beautiful visual aspects, My Neighbor Totoro is one of the best Japanese animated films. Animation details bring each character to life in a unique way, and they look real and believable with dramatic (and subtle) facial expressions.

The film was so successful that Totoro became Studio Ghibli’s mascot. Japan made the character one of the most popular in the country, and the film features heartwarming themes of love, friendship, and family.


5 Howl’s Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) – 8.2


• Available to stream on HBO Max.

Studio Ghibli animation is impressive in Howl’s Howl’s Moving Castle and has been well received by fans, who also love the studio for its heartfelt stories. The animation details show a natural fluidity in the actions of the characters and it achieves a harmony with that which gives a special identity to the plot.

The story surrounds a curse on Sophie, one of Ghibli’s best female characters, who then seeks help from a powerful magician. The intense storyline, soundtrack, and beautiful imagery made this anime a big hit, making it one of the most popular movies in Japan.


4 Princess Mononoke (1997) – 8.4


• Available to stream on HBO Max.

Some films are considered perfect by audiences and critics alike, due to various aspects, such as technical quality and the ability to communicate a well-written story. Princess Mononoke is one of those films that everyone should see at some point in their life.

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Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Princess Mononoke focuses on a moment when modernity and tradition meet in a confrontation between humanity and nature. Here, not a single character stays neutral, and each shows an enormous depth that makes the film so appealing.


3 Your Name (2016) – 8.4


• Available for rental on Apple TV+.

your name quickly became the world’s highest-grossing anime of 2016, managing to displace Taken away as if by magicwhich had held the top position since 2001. The premise explores themes around Japanese traditions, gender identity, and strong emotions, with drama and romance often heightened with humor.

Many people are fans of the film’s visual beauty, which is achieved through its impeccable light management, providing a more realistic perspective. Viewers hurt and laugh with this story, which explores how a relationship emerges after two people swap bodies.


2 Tomb of the Fireflies (1988) – 8.5


• Available for rental on Apple TV+.

The film version and the book version of the Grave of the Fireflies are heartbreaking, and it’s known for having one of the most emotional endings among the Ghibli movies. The film’s story shows the truth about war that is often silenced by more action-packed storylines, following two siblings surviving on the streets during World War II.

Studio Ghibli manages to adapt Akiyuki Nosaka’s novel perfectly. The masterpiece, directed by Isao Takahata, exudes artistic beauty in its technical details while transporting the viewer closer to the cruelty of war. It shows that these children are surrounded by adults who show no interest in helping them, even though they are clearly suffering.


1 Spirited Away (2001) – 8.6


• Available to stream on HBO Max.

When it was first released in 2001, it had already become a classic, due to its excellence in its technical aspects, soundtrack, character handling, accurate storytelling, and great storytelling. Besides, Taken away as if by magic won numerous awards, including the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

Every detail of the film comes to life allowing the viewer to experience the adventures of Chihiro as she discovers a dangerous new kingdom full of malevolent forces. Hayao Miyazaki directed and wrote the screenplay for this blockbuster, where the world of the living mingles with the world of spirits.

NEXT: The 10 Best Spirits & Creatures In Spirited Away

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