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10 Animated Movies that Give Great Life Lessons

Updated on October 30, 2015

Animated movies have not only evolved in terms of graphics through the years, but the lessons that they impart are also becoming more and more applicable to real life. More often than not, parents would play a movie and leave the children glued to the screen as they go about their daily work. What they fail to see is that these animated movies could also be something that could relate to them and to their own busy lives as well. These movies do not only serve to entertain kids, but remind adults about things that they may have forgotten as they get busier with work and with life in general.

Here are 10 animated movies that give great life lessons to kids and to kids at heart:

  • Aladdin (1992) It’s your typical romantic story of a poor boy falling in love with a rich girl. Of course, what makes the story not so typical is the fact that Aladdin has a magic lamp that turned him into an actual prince. Despite his riches however, Jasmine, the princess with a strong mind remains unimpressed. Aladdin learns that money is not the answer to everything, something that people often forget in the real world. With Jasmine falling in love with the street rat in him, he also realizes that staying true to who you really are is always better than pretending to be someone you are not.

  • Toy Story (1995) – Who could ever forget the love-hate relationship between Woody and Buzz Lightyear? Being Andy’s favorite toy for the longest time, Woody starts feeling threatened when Buzz steps into the picture, thinking that he has been replaced in Andy’s heart. As the entire story unfolds however, Woody realizes that he doesn’t have to be the center of attention all the time. This is very applicable in the world today, with people often looking for praise and admiration from other people all the time. It shows that it is okay to share the limelight with others, and an open and welcoming mind in the midst of change is a better stand to take than selfishness.

  • Mulan (1998) – Mulan lives in a setting where culture dictates how women are meant to stay at home and wait for a proper husband to come, something that would drive feminists crazy. What Mulan has proven in this heavy tale is the fact that women are just as capable as men in terms of strength, intellect and honor. It also shows that restricting yourself to everyone else’s expectations is not the best way to live a full life. In the end, Mulan definitely did everyone proud with the big mark that she made on history, especially her family who was just as bound to their culture and beliefs as everyone in the beginning.

  • Shrek (2001) – Shrek was an ogre whom everyone feared, while Fiona was a princess waiting for her prince. Shrek enjoyed his solitude and was usually resentful of anybody who destroyed his peace and quiet. In a chain of unexpected events, Shrek finds himself bound in a tale that speaks of friendship and love as he and the other characters fight for what is rightfully theirs. Once again, the story shows the importance of opening up to the unknown and stepping outside of your comfort zone. It also emphasizes that it is always necessary to go beyond mere appearances and focusing on what really counts. It teaches lessons on standing up for what you believe in and building relationships with those you would never even consider connecting with before. In the end, Shrek showed everybody how something believed to be savage and fearful can actually be gentle and lovable. He proved that you should fight for what you know is true no matter who you are and what you do.

  • Ice Age (2002) Ever heard of the saying “birds of the same feather flock together”? This is a stereotype that has often been taught to people, causing you to restrict your list of friends and acquaintances to those whom you have seen to relate to the most and shutting out those who do not meet your initial standards. The movie Ice Age however, shows that even those who have the strongest differences can become friends. With Manny the mammoth, Sid the sloth and Diego the saber tooth tiger forming an unlikely bond with a human child, this shows that looking beyond the differences can result to priceless experiences and lifelong friendships.

  • Finding Nemo (2003) – Finding Nemo brought us the most lovable school of fish we’ve ever seen, with the father and son tandem of Marlin and Nemo and their forgetful friend Dory jumping from one adventure to another. Remember Dory’s tune that probably got stuck in your head after watching it? “Just keep swimming” through any challenge or disability and you’ll find what you’re looking for in the end.

  • Kung Fu Panda (2008) – The panda bear Po is definitely one of the most memorable characters imaginable, with his chubby frame and high spirits often causing him more harm than good. Suddenly finding himself among legendary kung fu masters, he is said to be the city’s only hope against the vicious villain. The downside? Nobody believes he can do it, not even himself. Kung Fu Panda shows that although having outside support is great, trusting in your own abilities is still the best way to achieve success.

  • Up (2009) – People started to look at love differently when they met Carl and Ellie Fredericksen in Disney Pixar’s 2009 release, Up. It introduced young audiences to the idea of love, loss and death and reminded adults to make the most of what they have while it’s still there. It also shows the difficulty of moving on, especially if you have lost what you believe to be your one true love. Despite all the difficulty and grief however, the movie also teaches its audiences that these can be used to fuel your dreams and that a loss should never be reason enough to stop from having new adventures everyday.

  • How to Train Your Dragon (2010) – How to Train Your Dragon shows that stereotypes are often inaccurate. In the case of Hiccup, the hero of the story, his dream of being a great dragon slayer is hindered by his beliefs which go against everything that a dragon slayer should be. However, he decides to stick to what he believes, showing their entire village that society’s norms do not necessarily dictate who you should be as a person. His conviction even proved everybody wrong, showing that being different can also be used as a strength in following your dreams.

  • Megamind (2011) Megamind has always seen himself as the ultimate evil overlord and has accepted for a long time that this is the only path he is destined to take. When his nemesis who represents the good side is suddenly defeated however, he finds himself in control of his own destiny. He realizes that despite his evil past, he can actually shift his direction and take control of a better and more positive future.

These movies show that animation is not only something made for kids to enjoy and learn from. Looking at all the life lessons that each of these movies impart, animated movies are for every single human being who could use a few reminders on how life should be lived and enjoyed regardless of their age.

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