The Ten Most Underrated Animated Movies of All Time

We've all seem some great animated movies. Shrek and every Pixar movie is popular for a reason. But what about all of those other great animated movies that no one has ever heard of? Some films just don't get the popularity they deserve. Here's a list of the ten most underrated animated movies of all time, in no particular order.

Whisper of the Heart - "Country Road" Theme Song

Whisper of the Heart (1995)

A young girl and aspiring writer, Shizuku, meets an interesting boy that both infuriates and intrigues her. He has a passion for making violins while she loves to write songs. Shizuku uses her new friend as inspiration to write her first serious story.

I just love this movie. It was produced by Studio Ghibli, a popular Japanese animation studio. They have plenty of other movies that have much more popularity than this, such as Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, and Spirited Away. Most people don't even think of Whisper of the Heart when they think of this studio. They should, because it has an amazing mix of romance and fantasy. Music also has a big part in this movie.

Cats Don't Dance - Big and Loud Part One

Cats Don't Dance (1997)

Set in the early days of Hollywood film, a cat named Danny moves out to Hollywood to become an actor. Unfortunately, he's told he can only play small roles and that cats, as well as all other non-humans, cannot make it in Hollywood. He and his animal friends, including a love interest, fight to show that cats DO dance.

I first saw this movie on cable. I taped it onto a blank VHS tape. Since then, I have watched it too many times to count. It's a musical, which is always good. The songs are great and the characters are loveable. My favorite is the villain, Darla Dimple. She's supposed to be like Shirley Temple, but blonde and evil. Her songs are the best.

The Pagemaster - Trailer

The Pagemaster (1994)

Richard Tyler is a scared little boy that sees the danger in everything. One night he goes to the library. A storm occurs and he is whisked away into a beautiful animated world. He is then helped along by several books as he works his way through different stories in order to get home.

Did you know that Macaulay Culkin was in an animated movie? Yep, he's the star of The Pagemaster. The movie starts and ends as live-action but the bulk of it is animated. The book characters, Fantasy, Horror and Adventure, are the best part. You also get the added perk of seeing Christopher Lloyd as a librarian/wizard.

Brave Little Toaster - The Appliances Clean House

The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

A family moves away, leaving some of their appliances in their old, empty home. These appliances, led by Toaster, are very adamant that they get reunited with their family. They go on an adventure to find their owners, coming upon all sorts of pitfalls on the way.

This was kind of an odd topic for a children's movie. It really makes you sad for your toaster and other objects. The best part of this movie was Blanky. It was an electric blanket that had the most adorable voice and mannerisms. It really made me want to go out and buy an electric blanket. Just as long as it talks.

Monster House - Trailer

Monster House (2006)

A young boy discovers that the creepy house across the street is actually eating people. He, with the help of his friends, tries to figure out a way for the madness to end.

I was pretty surprised at how scary this movie was. It definitely feels more adult than most kid's movies do. It had great animation and was genuinely scary. The characters were great, too. Weirdly, this movie didn't get nearly as much acclaim as it should have.

TMNT - Trailer

TMNT (2007)

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back. While Leonardo is away in Central America to 'find himself', there is new evil in New York City. He comes back to help, but he and Raphael begin to butt heads in a power struggle. Together, the turtles try to stop the evil sweeping the world.

I think the reason why most people didn't see this is because of the state of the Ninja Turtles franchise. The show just isn't what it used to be. Fortunately, TMNT is a lot better than you would expect. It seems to be made more for fans of the original series and comic book, rather than kids who are watching the show right now. Plus, it is a lot more gruesome than I expected. Have you ever seen a turtle kill someone? Now I have.

An American Tail: Fievel Goes West - The Girl I Left Behind

An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991)

Fievel, a brave little mouse, finds adventure in America's west. There he meets all sorts of characters, some nice and some unsavory. Can Fievel save this old west town?

Most everyone has seen An American Tail. Well, this is its sequel. The main reason why I think most people didn't see this is because of how bad animated sequels can be. This one was actually good, maybe even as good as the original.

Grave of the Fireflies - Trailer

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

A young boy and his little sister find themselves alone in Japan in World War 2. They fight to survive, often resorting to theft. They go through many trials and try their best to stay together.

This is another Studio Ghibli movie. Up until now, all the movies on my list were happy and fun. After all, that's what you expect with animation. That's not what you get with the Grave of the Fireflies, though. I tell you this with absolute certainty: this is the saddest movie I have ever seen. It tears your heart out. Still, it is important to see, even if it makes you bed-ridden with depression for a week.

Ferngully - Toxic Love

FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)

A teenage boy is working in a rainforest, marking trees that need to be cut down for harvesting. Through a twist of magic, he is shrunk down to the size of the faeries that inhabit the forest. There, he learns about the importance of trees and wildlife.

The movie definitely has a clear message. Don't cut down the rainforest. Besides that, it has a great line of characters. There is a funny bat voiced by Robin Williams, and evil pollution voiced by Tim Curry. You also see a romance bloom between the two main characters. It's just cute; this movie.

Cool World - Trailer

Cool World (1992)

A comic book creator finds that the Cool World he created is actually real. He ends up getting transported there, where a detective gets in his way.

This movie is similar to Who Framed Roger Rabbit? in that it blends live action and animation. Brad Pitt's character (yes, that Brad Pitt), is live action living amongst a world of cartoons. This movie is not as good as the others on the list, but it gets props for an interesting look and a then-unknown movie superstar.

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Comments 45 comments

tbartle profile image

tbartle 8 years ago from Missoula, Montana Author

It's really hard to pick a favorite, but I think of all of these, it goes for a tie with Whisper of the Heart and Cats Don't Dance. That's probably why I thought of them first for this article.

Whisper of the Heart because it is romantic and about writing (which is my passion and profession.)

Cats Don't Dance because it has great songs. I'm a sucker for musicals.


gamergirl profile image

gamergirl 8 years ago from Antioch, TN

For me it's Ferngully, by far.

"My name is Batty.." *toddles off singing*


tbartle profile image

tbartle 8 years ago from Missoula, Montana Author

Ferngully is definitely amazing. I'll agree with you on that.


DJ Funktual profile image

DJ Funktual 8 years ago from One Nation Under a Groove

I have already added a few of your choices to my queue, and for I thank you. I loved Monster House too. I never would have checked out Ferngully. And The Brave Little Toaster is cutest damn thing I've heard of today.

For me it has to be 1) The Secret of Nimh 2) Bill Plymton's The Tune 3) Waking Life 4) Bebe's Kids and 5) Osmosis Jones


tbartle profile image

tbartle 8 years ago from Missoula, Montana Author

Thanks, DJ!

I was actually thinking of adding The Secret of NIMH. And while I haven't seen Osmosis Jones, I hear is awesome. I might have to add that to my queue as well.


Teo 8 years ago

Awesome list here... I know most of these from my childhood; but I never heard of them again, after I started growing up... So sad. I think my favs here have got to be FernGully and Cats Don't Dance. I'd completely forgot about The Brave Little Toaster. And Grave of the Fireflies is a beautiful movie; but it's just too painful to want to rewatch it over and over again.


Terri Paajanen profile image

Terri Paajanen 8 years ago from someplace in Canada

Secret of NIMH is another awesome choice, but I'm just happy you have Ferngully in there. :)


tbartle profile image

tbartle 8 years ago from Missoula, Montana Author

I'm glad everyone likes Ferngully so much. It is one of the few movies on my list that I actually own on DVD. You can find it pretty cheap on Amazon. I may have to buy some of these on DVD because they're so amazing. Especially Cats Don't Dance.


jim10 profile image

jim10 8 years ago from ma

My kids loved the Brave Little Toaster. My oldest is now 8 but, we would watch it together all of the time. The rest on the list are pretty good too. I will have to check out Cats Don't Dance and Whisper of The Heart. I haven't even heard of them before.


alex d.z 8 years ago

ferngully is good, seeing it on the list was nostalgic. it reminds me of this film i once saw and forgot the name of. it was about woodland creatures defending the wood from big monsters ( diggers and other machines) and it featured gospel chickens. can anyone tell me what it is.

also i would watch paprika by satoshi kon and also wall-E is very delicatly beautifull. ummmm.... grave of the fireflies is the best anime ever made, also Porko roso is gud aswell :3

hope you check paprika out its one of those films that stay in your mind. xx


Melkat 8 years ago

Thanks for including "Grave of the Fireflies" in your list. I was teaching in Japan when this movie came out years ago and was give a homemade VHS copy by one of my high school students there. Even with my rudimentary Japanese (of course my copy had no sub-titles), it broke my heart over and over again -- and still does. Of course it's calculated to do just that, but I believe real-life versions of this story happened thousands of times in the closing days of that war -- and continue to happen wherever there is war today.

I urge anime fans to give this little movie a viewing. it's really suitable for almost all ages and tastes. I'd like to note that it has never "made me bedridden with depression", because of the sweet note of peace and redemption at the end. I say watch it, have a good cathartic cry (easier for us women, I know), then go donate to Doctors Without Borders or any other worthy organization that helps alleviate suffering in the wake of war and disasters around the world. In the end you will feel better, not worse.


mark 7 years ago

I cannot believe people liked happy feet and cars more than monster house... what is WRONG with people???


7 years ago

3 awesome animated films that didn't get too much credit were:: Osmosis Jones, Road to Eldorado and Sin Bad...


ChrisSnil profile image

ChrisSnil 7 years ago from United Kingdom

Some excellent choices here, great hub! For me anything by Don Bluth is a favourite, as well as some of the earlier Disney movies - Oliver and Company being a particular favourite :)


mememe 7 years ago

YOU SHOULD REALLY CHECK OUT UNICO!!!!!!!


Greta Lieske 7 years ago

The Pagemaster was my favorite! I also logged quite a few hours watching Ferngully. Such good movies!


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1kmjs profile image

1kmjs 7 years ago from Iowa

I agree with you on the TMNT as underated. I caught it on HBO a month ago and was expecting total cheese. It was actually very good. Good hub..I'll check out monster house.


budman 7 years ago

alex d.z

the name of the movie you're thinking of is " once upon a forest" i just recently found that out myself after years of wondering what it was.


budman 7 years ago

alex d.z

the name of the movie you're thinking of is " once upon a forest" i just recently found that out myself after years of wondering what it was.


skylimits 7 years ago

Get latest Movies Hollywood, Bollywood Animated series TV shows and many more to download free on Alternative links and choice is yours.........

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inmyheart320 6 years ago

To alex d.z, " it was about woodland creatures defending the wood from big monsters ( diggers and other machines) and it featured gospel chickens"

Is it "Once Upon a Forest"??


inmyheart320 6 years ago

I second the Don Bluth comment:)


catalystsnstars profile image

catalystsnstars 6 years ago from Land of Nod

HIYAO MIYAZAKI ROCKS!!!!


Brndn 6 years ago

Holy crap! An American Tale and its sequel are such amazing movies. Can't believe this is one of the first lists I've seen it show up on. I'll have to rewatch Ferngully, haven't seen it in awhile, and finally getting around to watching Grave of the Fireflies just now. Great list


Ramona Marozas 6 years ago

I'm going to watch all of these! Some of these I saw when I was younger and watching the trailers was like a blast into the past! I'm really excited to watch the ones I have not seen yet... Thank for making this!


Glimmer515 profile image

Glimmer515 6 years ago from Never Never Land

You have so many of my favorites on here!! Cats dont dance, cool world, Feival goes west, Brave little toaster!!!! Love them!


James 6 years ago

Nice collection on animated, really interesting post have great information about anime


Bleurgh 6 years ago

Something tells me you and the Nostalgia Critic would NOT get along.


Breonna 6 years ago

I love these selections


DavidSB 6 years ago

Great list.. Wall-E is awesome, if it doesn't pull at your heart strings your probably dead lol.. It is very rare for a movie to make my eyes water and that one did it...but i'm a softy sooo.. watching monster house now, thanks for the idea. i know this is for the 10 most underrated animations.. But If you have not seen the following u might want to... final fantasy movies you HAVE TO. get the directors cut for advent children if you can find it. loved all dogs go to heaven as a kid also terra firma was good and titan A.E. Princess mononoke another one to check out.. enjoy and thanks..


RobGems.ca 6 years ago

10/15/10

I Just Saw "Coraline" Last year & I Loved it; I understand that even though it was a hit, it was overwhelmed by the smash success of "Up". do You have a feeling that "Coraline" will Be an underated good animated film of the future? Really, I Think Coraline deseves better.

Other Underrated animated films I love:

1)Mad Monster Party (Once underrated, now a huge cult following exsists for this Mad Magazine Meets Rankin & Bass Film. I Suppose the sulrty Fransesca May be part of the attraction.)

2)Space jam (you either loved or loathed this film. Some thoufht this film was a 2-hour commercial endorsement For Michael Jordan. I Just thought that Lola Bunny was a sexy character that's underrated.)

3)The Aristocats(One Disney movie that doesn't get much attention,but was huge in 1970.)

4)James & The Giant peach (for some reson, Charlie & the chocolate Factory gets more attention when it Comes to Roald Dahl's characters.)

5)An extremely Goofy movie (not as good as it's predecessor,but not bad either.)

6)Chicken Little (Foxy Loxy's a Riot.)

7)The Emperor's new Groove (RIP, Eartha Kitt 1927-2008)

8)Kim possible: So Not The Drama (Issued only as a Direct-to video instead Of Theatrical, KP's Still a Sexy charmer to me.)

9)Animaniacs' Wakko's Wish (same as Kim Possible's Movie above, it was a direct-to-video release. A Little sappy here & there, but at least they allowed Minerva Mink To Appear in a (non-threatening)Role.)

10)The Man Called Flintstone (Check out the "Wilma As Columbia Torch lady" Logo. It's Neat!)

11)Hey There, it's Yogi Bear (another over-looked H-B Classic. Nice crooning by Yogi Imitating James Darren.)


Dan Rose 6 years ago

The Last Unicorn... best cartoon ever.


RobGems.ca 6 years ago

I just checked on last year's top animated movies, and found out that "Coraline" wasn't as obscure as I thought. it was #2 only behind "Up", and was nominated for best animated picture of 2009, though it lost out to "Up". Too Bad, I Thought it should've won.the movie that dominated both "Coraline" & "Up" of course was the seemingly unstoppable "Avatar". Oh well, Coraline Jones still rules in my heart.


Jim 5 years ago

Nocturna is the best animated movie I have ever seen. I'm not sure if it would be considered underrated or not (I haven't seen much mention of it on the Internet).


trialnerror 5 years ago

People looking for animated curiosities really should check out Yuri Norstein's "Tale of Tales". Also good is "The Secret of Kells", a Belgium - Irish - French effort too magical to describe.


DisneySonic1991 5 years ago

Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night kicks ass compared to Disney's version if you ask me!


Jennifer Barton 5 years ago

I loved all Don Bluth film f**k what the critics say they have shit for brain anyway


Taylor 5 years ago

Don't forget

1) Lady and the Tramp

2) Fox and the hound (although I cried like a baby)

3) Monsters Inc

4)A bugs Life


Sarrah 5 years ago

Most of those were my favs as a kid ;D


5 years ago

Wut about Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night?! I think it's quite underrated because if you want my opinion; it better than Disney!


JustineBates 4 years ago

Whisper of the Heart is totally underrated, and one of the better non-Hayao Miyazaki directed Studio Ghibli efforts (though Grave of the Fireflies takes that honor for me personally). Secret of NIMH is one of my favorites from long ago, along with Charlotte's Web. Some of the best anime movies, overlooked or not, can be found at www.filmcrave.com/list_genre_movie.php?genre=Anime


NornsMercy profile image

NornsMercy 3 years ago from Charlotte, NC

Geez, did Pagemaster really come out in '94...? It feels just like yesterday my mother bought us the bootleg from some street vendor. Great list! Love that you included Studio Ghibli movies as well.


Futamarka 3 years ago

В то время, на пике популярности, группу сравнивали с «Genesis» и «Yes». Но затем, в первую очередь из-за ее академизма, о музыке «Автографа» отзывались уже более сдержанно. После 1986, когда легализация рока в СССР приняла массовый и необратимый характер, «Автографа» со своей виртуозной и технически безупречной, но морально устаревшей музыкой оказался в тени. Он все больше времени проводил за рубежом, но, в конечном счете, не сделал имени там и потерял его здесь.


Mylindaminka 3 years ago

И, наконец, Четвёртое. Очень просится к Вашему повседневному макияжу лёгкий румянец. Пусть даже он будет просто телесного цвета, в тон блеску, но чтобы он был на пару тонов насыщеннее цвета Вашей кожи.

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