With Finding Dory currently in theaters, I thought it was only fitting to do a top 10 best Pixar movie list. Pixar has given us some of the best animated movies of recent memory. Dating all the way back to 1995, Pixar changed the game with its computer generated animation. Even today, older Pixar movies like Toy Story still look flawless and haven’t aged one bit. Pixar is also known, when they’re at their best, to give gems that both adults and children can love. I still find myself loving movies like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles just as much as I did when I was a kid. So, what makes a great Pixar movie? It has to have a memorable, original story. It has to have great characters. It has to have plenty of clever humor, for adults and kids. Finally, it has to have an emotional scene or two, which a lot of Pixar films are known to have. Now with those credentials in mind, here are my ten greatest Pixar movies of all time!
10. Ratatouille – 2007
A rat who can cook makes an unusual alliance with a young kitchen worker at a famous restaurant.
Sadly, when most people think of Pixar films, Ratatouille is one that never really comes to mind. This is an overlooked gem. Brad Bird returned to direct this one, after he did The Incredibles three years before. Where this film and The Incredibles are similar is the incredible animation. The animation is flawless. It won Best Animated Feature Film at The Academy Awards, despite not doing so great at the box office. Where this film lacks is in humor for children. You can make a case that this movie is centered more for adults than children. The script is very witty and smart, and that can go over most kids heads. However, that is nothing to discourage about, and if you haven’t seen it, then you should definitely check it out. The voice over work is also great, with Patton Oswalt being perfect as Remy.
9. Monsters, Inc. – 2001
In order to power the city, monsters have to scare children so that they scream. However, the children are toxic to the monsters, and after a child gets through, two monsters realize things may not be what they think.
Monsters, Inc. had a great premise that all children can relate to. Monsters coming out late at night while you’re sleeping. I loved how they featured the monsters as the central characters, and how they competed against each other for who would be the most scary. This movie had great characters, with perfect voice actors portraying them. I mean, can you hear anyone else’s voice but Billy Crystal’s as Mike Wazowski, or John Goodman’s voice as Sulley? As hilarious and quotable as Mike is, I’ve always thought Sulley was the best character. The most feared monster in the beginning of the film, but we find out by the end of the film that he has the biggest heart. Steve Buscemi’s Randall Boggs is a very underrated villain in this movie.
8. Up – 2009
Seventy-eight year old Carl Fredricksen travels to Paradise Falls in his home equipped with balloons, inadvertently taking a young stowaway.
Up is one of the few movies that can engage you in the story, the characters, and bring out emotion within the first five minutes. When people think of this movie, they think of that first montage. It is an incredible scene, and possibly the best thing Pixar has ever done. Everything about it is incredible, from the animation to the music. It blows my mind every time I watch it. However, the movie does drop in quality after that first scene. Don’t get me wrong, there is still great stuff after, but the reason why this movie is at my number eight spot is because, as a whole, the movie doesn’t compare to the other seven. This just proves how impressive Pixar’s entire film catalogue is. Up is just 1 of 8 Pixar movies that won Best Animated Feature Film at The Academy Awards. A category that began in 2004 with Finding Nemo winning.
7. Inside Out – 2015
After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school.
This film came out just last year, and it’s already climbing up my list of the greatest Pixar films. I was very impressed when I saw this in theaters. Inside Out has all the credentials I am looking for when judging a great Pixar film. It has a highly original story, with some fantastic, unique characters. The animation is of course flawless, but this movie brings out emotion to the audience more than most Pixar movies. Yes, this movie is about emotions, but there are a few scenes that even can make a grown man cry. The concept to this movie is just so unique. I was just as intrigued about what was going on in Riley’s life as what was going on in her head.
6. Toy Story 2 – 1999
When Woody is stolen by a toy collector, Buzz and his friends vow to rescue him, but Woody finds the idea of immortality in a museum tempting.
As much as I love the Toy Story movies, I was forced to put this one outside of the top five. Toy Story 2 is probably the weakest of the trilogy for me. However, there is still lots of fantastic content in this movie. From Jessie’s flashback, to the Buzz Lightyear/Zurg Star Wars spoof. This is a fantastic film, but it just doesn’t compare to the other two as far as overall content is concerned. I absolutely adored this film as a child, so this means so much to me, just as the first Toy Story film does. That’s what’s so fantastic about the Toy Story films. They bring you back to when you were a kid, watching it as an adult. It’s also cool that it is extremely well made and written.
5. The Incredibles – 2004
A family of undercover superheroes, while trying to live the quiet suburban life, are forced into action to save the world.
In a world that is dominated by comic book films, it is just that much better that Pixar gave us an incredible (no pun intended) super hero film 12 years ago!! I re-watched this film after not watching it for a long time, and I was amazed with the animation and action sequences. Yes, action sequences! Despite it being an animated film, The Incredibles has some very tense, but entertaining action scenes that rival anything from Captain America: Winter Soldier. I like how Pixar gave us not a superhero movie spoof, but an actual really well made super hero movie. Yes, there is still a lot of classic Pixar comedy, and they are at times making fun of comic book movies. However, overall this movie is taken seriously as a legit super hero movie, that is better than most of the MCU movies. This movie gave us fantastic characters. All five of the Incredibles are great in their own ways. Also there are awesome supporting characters like Edna, voiced by the director Brad Bird, and Frozone voiced by Samuel L. Jackson. Also maybe the best Pixar villain with Syndrome. I’m super excited for the sequel.
4. Finding Nemo – 2003
After his son is captured in the Great Barrier Reef and taken to Sydney, a timid clownfish sets out on a journey to bring him home.
Finding Nemo is the most successful Pixar movie of all time. It’s not the highest grossing, but the most profitable. I think a lot of people, as I was when I first saw this in theaters, were surprised with how great this movie turned out. Finding Nemo is just another high quality film that offers highly original characters, with an engaging story. This film has the classic emotional first scene, just like Up has. There is just as much humor for adults, as there is for children. After re-watching this, I loved how they spoofed two horror classics The Shining and Psycho. That is something I did not catch the last time I saw it a long time ago. I also can’t leave out Ellen Degeneres’ Dory, who is arguably the best Pixar character. Extremely quotable, and she even got her own movie out of it. If you have not seen this, then you are missing out on an incredible film that is relatable for all ages.
3. Toy Story – 1995
A cowboy doll is profoundly threatened and jealous when a new spaceman figure supplants him as top toy in a boy’s room.
Without Toy Story, we wouldn’t have any other of these movies. I’m just gonna repeat what has already been said countless times again, because there is nothing else I can say that hasn’t been said. Toy Story is one of the greatest animated films period. This is a movie that will not age and will continue to be a timeless, American classic. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen both killed it as Woody and Buzz. I go back and forth on which voice over performance I like better, but I just settle on liking both the same. Randy Newman’s original songs in this movie are so good. Whenever I hear “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” I get a warm feeling in my stomach, and it immediately takes me back to when I was a kid. If I were ranking these movies based on the impact and influence that they brought to other movies, than Toy Story would no question be at the top of the list. Pixar knew their formula from the get go, and it took a while before they made a great movie, but eventually there were two they made that were better than the original Toy Story.
2. Wall-E – 2008
In the distant future, a small waste-collecting robot inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.
There is not one film that is more daring, and more risky than this masterpiece that Pixar gave us. To have a movie center on a little robot that can’t even really talk, and to have him fall in love with another robot that can’t really speak, is extremely tricky to pull off. However, not only did they make it work, but a lot of people can make a case that this is the best Pixar movie ever. Not only is it romantic, but also tense and hilarious, with an intelligent script. There is nothing like this movie, and that is the highest compliment I can give it. It is extremely original, not only as a Pixar film, but a film in general. I can’t think of any other movie that can compare to this. It is a fantastic science fiction movie. It takes place 700 years in the future, and it really opens your eyes to what our society is becoming. From the overuse of technology to the self-loathing, and overeating. After watching this film, it kind of wakes you up to where our world is headed, and may even change you. I also love the homage they give to 2001: A Space Odyssey, a timeless science fiction masterpiece, which I believe Wall-E will become.
1. Toy Story 3 – 2010
The toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center instead of the attic right before Andy leaves for college, and it’s up to Woody to convince the other toys that they weren’t abandoned and to return home.
There was only one film that seemed most fitting to be the greatest Pixar film. It is the one that grossed the highest on the box office, has the highest Rotten Tomatoes score, and the one that perfectly concluded the Toy Story/Andy trilogy. This is my all time favorite movie trilogy, and I believe they ended with their best. Toy Story 3 easily fits all my credentials. It has a great plot, with the perfect setting at the day-care. There are some fantastic, new characters like Lotso the bear, and Ken, voiced brilliantly by Michael Keaton. There is so much great humor through out that anyone of all ages can relate to. Then there are the amazing emotional scenes toward the end, that are so heartbreaking. This movie brings out all the emotions in you. It brought our favorite toys to depths we haven’t seen from them yet, and the storyline of having Andy leave for college was genius. It is perfect from beginning to end, and that’s what the best Pixar film has to entail. It has to be nearly flawless, and there is not one Pixar film that fits the bill more than Toy Story 3.