The Most Beautiful Animated Film: A Ranking of Breathtaking Visuals

Choose the cartoon you think is the most beautiful!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:17 (Updated on Dec 6, 2023 05:31)
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinion takes center stage! We're excited to present our latest ranking, "What is the most beautiful animated film?" Immerse yourself in a world of stunning visuals and unforgettable stories as you explore our carefully curated list of animated masterpieces. From classic tales to modern marvels, these films showcase the pinnacle of animation artistry. Be a part of the conversation and let your voice be heard! Cast your vote for your favorite or suggest a missing gem that deserves recognition. Dive into the enchanting world of animation and help us determine the most beautiful animated film of all time. So, grab your popcorn and let the magic unfold!

What Is the Most Beautiful Animated Film?

  1. 1
    Spirited Away (2001)
    Studio Ghibli · Public domain

    Spirited Away (2001)

    Hayao Miyazaki
    Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, this film is a masterpiece in storytelling, animation, and visuals. It's a coming-of-age story about a young girl who gets lost in a magical world and must find her way back home. The attention to detail in every scene is breathtaking.
    Spirited Away (2001) is a Japanese animated film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It tells the enchanting story of a young girl named Chihiro who stumbles upon a mysterious spirit world while moving to a new neighborhood with her parents. As she navigates through this magical realm and encounters various spirits, Chihiro must find the strength and courage within herself to rescue her parents and return home.
    • Release Date: July 20, 2001
    • Running Time: 125 minutes
    • Animation Studio: Studio Ghibli
    • Box Office: $347.7 million
    • Awards: Academy Award for Best Animated Feature
  2. 2
    This classic Disney film is a perfect example of animation at its finest. The story, music, and animation all come together to create a timeless masterpiece.
    The Lion King (1994) is a beautiful animated film that tells the story of Simba, a young lion prince who must navigate the challenges of becoming king and reclaiming his rightful place in the Pride Lands. With a captivating storyline and stunning animation, this film has become a classic in the world of animation.
    • Release Date: June 15, 1994
    • Genre: Adventure, Drama, Family
    • Runtime: 88 minutes
    • Animation Style: Hand-drawn animation with computer-generated imagery (CGI) elements
    • Music: Composed by Hans Zimmer, with songs by Elton John and Tim Rice
    The Lion King (1994) in other rankings
  3. 3
    Another Disney classic, this film was the first animated movie ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. The animation is stunning, and the story is a beautiful tale of love and redemption.
    Beauty and the Beast (1991) is an animated film that tells the enchanting story of a young woman named Belle who is taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle. Despite her initial fears, Belle befriends the castle's enchanted staff and learns to look past the Beast's exterior to recognize the kind heart and soul within. As the Beast's selfishness and arrogance begin to dissolve, a beautiful love story unfolds between Belle and the transformed prince.
    • Release Year: 1991
    • Running Time: 84 minutes
    • Animation Technique: Hand-drawn
    • Music By: Alan Menken
    • Lyrics By: Howard Ashman
    Beauty and the Beast (1991) in other rankings
  4. 4
    This film revolutionized the animation industry with its use of computer-generated animation. The story is heartwarming and the characters are unforgettable.
    Toy Story (1995) is a beloved animated film that follows the story of a group of toys who come to life when humans are not around. The film showcases the adventures of Woody, a loyal cowboy doll, and Buzz Lightyear, a fancy space ranger action figure. Together, they navigate the challenges of friendship, envy, and loyalty in the context of their owner Andy's coming of age.
    • Release Date: November 22, 1995
    • Running Time: 81 minutes
    • Genre: Animated, Adventure, Comedy
    • Rating: G
    • Box Office: $373.6 million
    Toy Story (1995) in other rankings
  5. 5
    A Pixar film about a lonely robot cleaning up a world destroyed by humans, this film is a visual feast. The animation is incredibly detailed and the story is both heartwarming and thought-provoking.
    WALL-E is a captivating animated film that was released in 2008. It tells the story of a small, lone robot named WALL-E, who is left on Earth to clean up the mess that humans have made after abandoning the planet. WALL-E's life takes an exciting turn when he meets EVE, a sleek and advanced robot sent to Earth on a mission. Together, they embark on an extraordinary adventure that will change the fate of humanity.
    • Genre: Animated Science Fiction
    • Director: Andrew Stanton
    • Music by: Thomas Newman
    • Running Time: 98 minutes
    • Production Company: Pixar Animation Studios
  6. 6
    Another Pixar film, Up tells the story of an old man who sets out on an adventure to fulfill his lifelong dream. The animation is stunning, and the story is both heartwarming and emotional.
    Up is a heartwarming and visually stunning animated film that was released in 2009. It follows the story of Carl Fredricksen, a retired balloon salesman who embarks on an adventure to fulfill his late wife's dream of exploring Paradise Falls in South America. Along the way, he meets a young wilderness explorer named Russell and encounters various challenges and unexpected friendships. Up showcases themes of love, loss, and the power of dreams. The film combines humor, emotion, and breathtaking animation to create an unforgettable cinematic experience.
    • Year of Release: 2009
    • Director: Pete Docter
    • Production Company: Pixar Animation Studios
    • Running Time: 96 minutes
    • Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family
  7. 7

    The Little Mermaid (1989)

    Walt Disney Animation Studios
    This Disney classic features some of the most beautiful animation ever put on film. The underwater scenes are particularly stunning, and the story is a timeless tale of love and sacrifice.
    The Little Mermaid (1989) is a beloved animated film that follows the enchanting story of Ariel, a young mermaid princess who dreams of exploring the human world. Created by Walt Disney Animation Studios, the film brought the classic fairy tale to life with its captivating animation and memorable musical numbers. Alongside its timeless storyline, the movie incorporated cutting-edge animation techniques and introduced memorable characters, making it a true masterpiece of animation.
    • Release Year: 1989
    • Genre: Animated Musical
    • Director: Ron Clements and John Musker
    • Running Time: 83 minutes
    • Rating: G
    The Little Mermaid (1989) in other rankings
  8. 8

    Princess Mononoke (1997)

    Hayao Miyazaki
    Another film from Hayao Miyazaki, Princess Mononoke is a visually stunning epic about the conflict between humans and nature. The animation is breathtaking, and the story is both thrilling and thought-provoking.
    Princess Mononoke (1997) is an epic Japanese animated film that explores the complex relationship between humans and nature. Set in the late Muromachi period of Japan, the movie follows the journey of a young prince named Ashitaka, who gets involved in a conflict between the forest gods and the human settlers who seek to tame the wilderness. The movie delves into themes of environmentalism, spirituality, and the struggle for balance between humans and their natural surroundings.
    • Release Year: 1997
    • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
    • Production Company: Studio Ghibli
    • Running Time: 134 minutes
    • Language: Japanese
  9. 9
    This Tim Burton masterpiece is a visual feast. The stop-motion animation is incredibly detailed, and the story is both spooky and heartwarming.
    The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) is a dark fantasy animated film that combines elements of Halloween and Christmas. It is set in a fantastical world called Halloween Town, where Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, becomes intrigued by the concept of Christmas and decides to take over the holiday. Directed by Henry Selick and produced by Tim Burton, this stop-motion animated masterpiece brings to life a visually stunning and unique story.
    • Release Year: 1993
    • Genre: Fantasy, Musical
    • Running Time: 76 minutes
    • Animation Technique: Stop-Motion
    • Music: Composed by Danny Elfman
    The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) in other rankings
  10. 10
    Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
    Hayao Miyazaki · Public domain
    Another film from Hayao Miyazaki, Howl's Moving Castle is a visually stunning adventure about a young girl who gets caught up in a magical world. The animation is breathtaking, and the story is both thrilling and emotional.
    Howl's Moving Castle is a visually stunning and enchanting animated film that was released in 2004. It is based on the fantasy novel of the same name by British author Diana Wynne Jones. The film follows the story of Sophie, a young girl who is cursed by a wicked witch and transformed into an old woman. She encounters a charming and mysterious wizard named Howl, who lives in a magical moving castle. Together, they embark on a captivating journey filled with magic, adventure, and self-discovery.
    • Country: Japan
    • Language: Japanese
    • Release year: 2004
    • Runtime: 119 minutes
    • Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance

Missing your favorite cartoon?


Ranking factors for beautiful animated film

  1. Visual artistry
    The overall visual appeal of the animation, including its color palette, design choices, and unique art style that make the film stand out. Evaluate the creativity, originality, and innovation in the animation technique used.
  2. Character design and animation
    Examine how the characters are designed and brought to life through animation. Consider the detail, expressiveness, and diversity of the characters' appearance, as well as the fluidity and believability of their movements and expressions.
  3. Backgrounds and environments
    Assess the beauty and intricacy of the settings and landscapes in the film. This includes the design and rendering of textures, lighting, and natural elements such as water, plants, and weather.
  4. Cinematography
    Consider the composition and framing of individual shots, the use of camera angles and movement, and the overall arrangement of visual elements that contribute to the beauty of each scene.
  5. Visual storytelling
    Evaluate the way the animation is used to help tell the story and convey important emotions and themes. This includes the use of visual metaphors, symbolism, and visual narrative techniques such as montage and transitions.
  6. Consistency
    A beautiful animated film should have a consistent visual style and tone throughout. This means that all elements, from character designs to backgrounds, work together seamlessly to create a cohesive and immersive experience.
  7. Emotional impact
    A truly beautiful animated film is one that touches the hearts of its audience and leaves a lasting impression through its visual splendor. Consider how the film's visual beauty contributes to an emotional response from viewers.
  8. Cultural and historical significance
    Some animated films may hold importance or beauty due to their cultural significance or the time period in which they were created. For example, the artistry of an older, hand-drawn animation may be considered particularly beautiful when compared to contemporary computer-generated films.
  9. Production quality
    High production quality is essential for creating a visually stunning animated film. This includes clean animation, smooth frame rates, and seamless integration of different visual elements.
  10. Influence and legacy
    Consider the impact of the film on the animation industry and future films. A truly beautiful animated film may inspire other animators, influence new techniques, or become highly revered within the animation community.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most beautiful animated film. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or cartoon is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 224 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each cartoon once every 24 hours. The rank of each cartoon is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most beautiful animated film

Animated films have been entertaining audiences for many years, and have become a beloved genre in the world of cinema. These films offer a unique blend of creativity and imagination, and have the ability to transport viewers to new and exciting worlds. From classic Disney films to modern Pixar releases, there are countless animated films that have captured the hearts of audiences around the globe. When it comes to the most beautiful animated films, the competition is fierce. These films are not only visually stunning, but also offer compelling stories and memorable characters. Whether it's the hand-drawn animation of Studio Ghibli or the cutting-edge computer graphics of DreamWorks Animation, there is no shortage of beautiful animated films to choose from. So, what is the most beautiful animated film? That's a question that has sparked many debates and discussions among film lovers. Some might argue that classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or Beauty and the Beast are the most beautiful, while others might point to more recent releases like Moana or Coco as examples of stunning animation. Ultimately, the answer is subjective and depends on individual preferences, but one thing is for sure: there is no shortage of beauty in the world of animated films.

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