10 greatest stop-motion animated motion pictures of all time, ranked

A girl smiles outside in Coraline.

Cease-motion animation is among the most inventive and beloved subgenres — and it solely appears to get higher with time. The best motion pictures on this class showcase the arduous work and artistry of the creative minds behind these tales, which frequently take a very long time to decide to movie. Every body is a painstakingly crafted murals, all geared toward creating immersive worlds filled with unforgettable narratives and characters.

From obscure trendy classics like The Wolf Home to genre-defining masterpieces like The Nightmare Earlier than Christmas, the perfect stop-motion animated motion pictures spotlight the complete potential of the medium to ship complicated tales alongside beautiful and distinct visuals. The craftmanship on show in these movies is a testomony to the facility of animation and those that boldly push the style’s boundaries to create enchanting realities.

10. James and the Big Peach (1996)

James faces a spider in Disney's James and the Giant Peach.
Walt Disney Footage

James and the Big Peach is a musical fantasy movie that depicts a one-of-a-kind journey throughout the ocean. It follows James Henry Trotter (Paul Terry), a younger orphan who misplaced his mother and father to a flying rhinoceros on his birthday. Uninterested in residing along with his oppressive aunts, Spiker (Joanna Lumley) and Sponge (Miriam Margolyes), James decides to flee to New York Metropolis by befriending a bunch of anthropomorphic bugs residing inside a magical large peach.

Three years after the success of The Nightmare Earlier than Christmas, director Henry Selick launched this 1996 style basic. The director brings Roald Dahl’s children’s book to life in a bright and inspiring, yet still slightly dark and emotional way. It may not have been a box office success, but the stop-motion animated film undoubtedly has a special place in the hearts of fans who regard it as a magical part of their childhoods.

9. Mary and Max (2009)

Max using his typewriter in Mary and Max.
Icon Entertainment International

Director Adam Elliot’s first animated feature film, Mary and Max, gained international acclaim and is now counted among the best Australian movies to date. It tells the story of a lonely eight-year-old named Mary Daisy Dinkle (Toni Collette), who strikes up an unlikely pen-pal relationship with 44-year-old Max Jerry Horovitz (Philip Seymour Hoffman), an obese man living with Asperger’s syndrome in New York City.

Mary and Max explores some truly dark subject matter in its attempt to depict its raw and authentic characters, who grapple with mental health issues, loneliness, and loss as their connection evolves in unexpected ways. The 2009 film manages to be both disturbing and heartwarming, which is a contradiction that’s complemented by its contrasting palettes. Max’s stark black-and-white world and Mary’s sepia suburbia also underscore the differences between the two characters’ lives and daily realities.

8. Anomalisa (2015)

Michael Stone running down a hallway in Anomalisa.
Paramount Pictures

Anomalisa is a psychological comedy-drama written and directed by Charlie Kaufman that follows the experiences of lonely and disillusioned customer service expert Michael Stone (David Thewlis). The protagonist has the unique problem of perceiving everyone around him as having the same face and voice, until he meets Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Their brief encounter in a Cincinnati hotel sparks a new energy in Michael, who desperately tries to cling to it.

Like many of Kaufman’s works, Anomalisa can be interpreted and characterized in many ways. Depending on the viewer, it could be a tragicomedy, a portrait of narcissism, or even a great existential movie that reminds audiences to break through the mundanity of daily life. Whichever the case, there’s no denying that Anomalisa is a work of art that will appeal to anyone who appreciates surrealism and ambiguity.

7. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (2022)

Pinocchio holding flowers in Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio.

Set in fascist Italy during the 1930s, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio tells the classic tale of a wooden puppet brought to life by the kindly toymaker Geppetto (voiced by David Bradley). As Pinocchio (Gregory Mann) embarks on a series of misadventures, he soon learns that the quest for true humanity is harder than he initially thought and will require sacrifices he may not be ready to make.

In drawing from Carlo Collodi’s 1883 Italian novel The Adventures of Pinocchio, co-directors Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson present a dark, unique, and enchanting reimagining of the puppet’s journey. Veering far from the more popular cheery and inspiring hand-drawn animation by Disney, del Toro’s rendition of the story leans into Geppetto’s loneliness, and includes a tragic backstory that involves the death of his son in an aerial bombing, which sets the tone for the entire film.

6. Chicken Run (2000)

The chickens in Chicken Run.
DreamWorks Pictures

Aardman Animations’ partnership with DreamWorks Animation would result in the massively popular Chicken Run. Directed by Peter Lord and Nick Park, the comedic adventure film is centered on a group of determined chickens who organize a thrilling escape from Tweedy’s Egg Farm. Led by the courageous Ginger (Julia Sawalha) and the talented Rocky (Mel Gibson), the chickens must learn to to fly before they meet their doom as pies.

Chicken Run would go on to become a critical and financial success, with its $106 million worldwide gross cementing its spot because the highest-grossing stop-motion animated film ever made. It’s simple to see why it’s so well-loved, because it’s inconceivable to not root for Hen Run‘s quirky characters, who give you wild methods to flee loss of life. It even earned a enjoyable sequel, Hen Run: Daybreak of the Nugget, which is among the must-see animated motion pictures of 2023.

5. Incredible Mr. Fox (2009)

Mr. Fox, Badger, and their friends all stand in a sewer together in Fantastic Mr. Fox.
twentieth Century Fox

Director Wes Anderson dipped his hand on this planet of animation with the beautiful Incredible Mr. Fox. The comedy movie, one other adaptation of a youngsters’s guide by Roald Dahl, follows the intelligent Mr. Fox (George Clooney), who, bored with residing an earthly life, returns to his wild and crafty methods by stealing from three imply and rich farmers. Nonetheless, his actions endanger his household and the whole animal group, driving them underground, the place they plot their subsequent transfer.

Anderson creates a vibrant world filled with bizarre, but lovable anthropomorphic animals, delivered to life because of distinct voice performances by Clooney, Meryl Streep, Willem Dafoe, and others. The director’s emblems translate splendidly into the medium, with the 2009 film’s satisfyingly symmetrical, colourful, and eccentric world thought of among the many auteur’s easiest. He would later work on one other stop-motion animated film, 2018’s Isle of Canine, which can be price trying out for followers of the style.

4. Alice (1988)

A girl stands in the middle of a room in Alice (1988).
First Run Options

Alice strips away any cheeriness or lightheartedness that audiences would possibly affiliate with Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. As a substitute, director Jan Švankmajer leans into the darkish elements of the story, utilizing a mixture of live-action and stop-motion animation to comply with Alice’s (Kristýna Kohoutová) journey into Wonderland.

Whether or not it’s taxidermied rabbits or weird puppets, there’s all the time some form of unsettling factor on this model of the story, which has Alice herself making questionable selections as she ventures deeper into the magical world. Past being a daring interpretation of Carroll’s work that many would agree is the extra correct model of the story, the surrealist Czech movie can be simply visually beautiful. With its meticulously designed set items and surprising transitions, the animated ’80s film has aged extremely effectively and continues to be price discovering for the primary time at the moment.

3. Coraline (2009)

Coraline crawls through a dark tunnel.

Primarily based on Neil Gaiman’s eponymous novella and directed by Henry Selick, Coraline is a darkish fantasy horror movie that follows the curious and considerably rebellious titular character (voiced by Dakota Fanning). After transferring to a brand new house, she explores and discovers a secret door that results in a parallel world. On this eerie alternate actuality, Coraline meets her Different Mom (Teri Hatcher) and Different Father (John Hodgman), who appear excellent at first, however are quickly revealed to have sinister plans.

Coraline is greatest remembered for its horrifying character designs and creepy moments, with the mother and father with buttons for eyes undoubtedly chargeable for numerous nightmares. Coraline helped put it studio, Laika, on the map, with the 2009 film continues to be largely thought of to be its greatest work up to now. With its extremely detailed units and well-written story, Coraline is an endlessly rewatchable movie that followers can maintain coming again to.

2. The Wolf Home (2018)

Characters around a dinner table in The Wolf House (2018)
Globo Rojo Movies

A inventive tour de power and a contemporary art-horror basic, The Wolf Home performs out like a darkish fairy story set within the woods. It follows a younger woman named Maria, who’s on the run from her remoted colony and ventures deep into the forest, the place she finds an deserted house. She errors it for refuge and seeks shelter inside, solely to seek out that it’s inhabited by sinister forces.

To grasp and admire Cristóbal León and Joaquín Cociña’s good masterpiece, it’s greatest to know the occasion it attracts on and closely references all through. The Wolf Home is impressed by the case of Colonia Dignidad, a colony established in post-World Battle II Chile that turned identified for its brutal therapy of dissidents. The fear, injustice, and ache from this era are mirrored within the inventive, but repulsive stop-motion artwork within the 2018 movie, which options genuinely disturbing imagery and avant-garde symbolism. It stands as one of many biggest and most necessary works within the subgenre.

1. The Nightmare Earlier than Christmas (1993)

Jack Skellington in Nightmare Before Christmas.
Buena Vista Footage Distribution

A spooky annual custom for a lot of followers across the globe, The Nightmare Earlier than Christmas takes viewers to the magical realm of Halloween City the place Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon), the Pumpkin King, reigns supreme. Uninterested in the identical routine 12 months after 12 months, Jack stumbles upon Christmas City and turns into enchanted by the vacation’s festive spirit. He’s decided to deliver Christmas to Halloween City, concocting a plan that ends in catastrophe.

Directed by Henry Selick and produced by Tim Burton, the movie was a essential success that might later go on to amass a large cult following. It launched a totally new world that combined Christmas cheer with Halloween fright, which was an odd mix that labored surprisingly effectively for audiences of all ages. The macabre vacation basic has earned its place in cinematic historical past as an everlasting masterpiece that underscored what was attainable by stop-motion animation.

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