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The 10 best Pixar movies of all time, ranked

Adults love these Pixar movies, too


There’s animation, then there’s Pixar. The animation studio owned by Disney revolutionized computer-generated entertainment in the late 1990s, and it has never looked back since. While Disney is known for bringing magic to the movie screen, Pixar’s thematically rich stories and ultra-fleshed-out characters transcend the medium, making critics aware of the greatness that lies within CGI imagery. Pixar’s reputation relied more on creativity and abstract, yet relatable concepts in its early years, while it’s resided on the sequel content more in recent times. Whether you like one of the company’s franchises or its standalone films more, you’ve surely been touched by the ethereal and effervescent style of Pixar. Here are the 10 best Pixar movies, ranked.

10. Soul (2020)

10. Soul
Genre Animation, Family, Comedy, Fantasy, Drama
Stars Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton
Directed by Pete Docter
It’s a shame that Soul was released during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, missing out on the opportunity to display its heartfelt, thought-provoking brilliance on the big screen in theaters. Starring the voice of Jamie Foxx as a musician hitting a mid-life crisis, Soul makes viewers think about the courage it takes to chase your dreams at any point in your life. When Foxx’s character nearly dies, he realizes what truly makes him special. Topics like mortality and existentialism usually don’t appease younger viewers, but Soul deals with morbidity by twisting it into opportunity. We have all been given a finite time on the planet, but it’s what you put into those years that truly counts the most.

9. Coco (2017)

9. Coco
Genre Family, Animation, Fantasy, Music, Comedy, Adventure
Stars Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt
Directed by Lee Unkrich
Pixar has tried to incorporate more diverse selections of characters in the last decade, with Coco being the staple fans turn to when they want a feel-good story about Mexican culture and the Day of the Dead. The plot follows a boy who tries to unearth the truth about his family’s rich musical history when he visits the land of the deceased. The final scene, accompanied by a tear-jerking remembrance of the main character’s great-grandfather, remains the pinnacle of Pixar’s ability to bind its characters and families at home together for eternity.

8. Ratatouille (2007)

8. Ratatouille
Genre Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Stars Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, Ian Holm
Directed by Brad Bird
Ratatouille garnered critical acclaim at the time of its release in the late 2000s, but it’s now a forgotten classic in the Pixar canon. As Remy the rat and Linguini the chef realize they can help each other cook the best food in Paris, their relationship breaks the boundaries of human-animal friendships in other movies. Patton Oswalt turns in one of the best voice performances in any Pixar movie. Oh, and you’ll want to make sure you aren’t hungry when you’re watching this one.

7. Up (2009)

7. Up
Genre Animation, Comedy, Family, Adventure
Stars Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai
Directed by Pete Docter
We all know Up’s first 10 minutes transcend movies. Seeing elderly Carl Frederickson have his wife taken from him gives us so much perspective about his personality throughout the ensuing parts of the Pixar film. It’s that remaining portion of the movie that makes sure the introduction isn’t for naught. Carl’s journey with young Russell helps him live out some of the dreams he had earlier in his life, and maybe even put to bed some of the regrets of his past.

6. Finding Nemo (2003)

6. Finding Nemo
Genre Animation, Family
Stars Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould
Directed by Andrew Stanton
Finding Nemo’s well-known tale of a father clownfish searching for his lost son branches off into so many dense themes and everlasting memories for kids and adults alike. Marlin and Dory’s adventures take them through shark-infested waters and onto the backs of sea turtles, allowing viewers to live their aquatic dreams vicariously through the colorful marine life of Pixar’s imaginative animated world. Finding Dory ended up becoming too much of a good thing, as this first movie didn’t need a sequel. It’s perfect as it is.

5. Toy Story (1995)

5. Toy Story
Genre Animation, Adventure, Family, Comedy
Stars Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles
Directed by John Lasseter
Toy Story is the rare pioneering film that doesn’t need any qualifiers to prop up its greatness. Almost 30 years and three sequels later, the first film stands the test of time, with purity, friendship, and ingenuity serving as the main devices. Woody and Buzz Lightyear combine for the best duo in Pixar’s character collection. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen set a standard for voice acting in CGI films that other companies would incessantly pursue to no avail, especially Dreamworks Animation.

4. Inside Out (2015)

4. Inside Out
Genre Animation, Family, Adventure, Drama, Comedy
Stars Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader
Directed by Pete Docter

Inside Out can be as shallow or as deep as you want it to be. For children, enjoying the bright colors and chaotic character designs will be good enough for many rewatches. For older viewers, gleening the brilliant commentary on growing up, parenting, and the emotions that come along with facing life’s biggest stresses will make them appreciate what it means to be human. Inside Out is a multilayered masterpiece.

3. The Incredibles (2004)

3. The Incredibles
Genre Action, Adventure, Animation, Family
Stars Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell
Directed by Brad Bird

The Incredibles stands up not only against other Pixar movies, but other superhero spectacles, such as the best Batman films or the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Parrs may have powers that allow them to leverage their days however they choose to, but their typical middle-class American lifestyle resembles any other family trying to navigate school, dating, marital stressors, and more. One of the funniest and best Pixar movies ever, The Incredibles spoofs blockbusters while also embodying one on its own.

2. Toy Story 3 (2010)

2. Toy Story 3
Genre Animation, Family, Comedy
Stars Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack
Directed by Lee Unkrich
Toy Story 3 typifies a rare home run in its third at-bat, expounding and layering everything from the previous two movies into the best Toy Story film that will ever exist. Woody and Buzz fighting back against the bitter, evil Lotso never fails to get the heart racing. The plot tugs at the heartstrings and incorporates little details about the toys that both newcomers and longtime fans get enjoyment from.

1. WALL·E (2008)

Genre Animation, Family, Science Fiction
Stars Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin
Directed by Andrew Stanton
WALL-E elevates Pixar’s place atop the animation giants by experimenting with genres and methods, such as silent filmmaking, post-apocalyptic settings, romantic comedy, and dystopian manifestations. WALL-E is an adorable robot that doesn’t realize he’s living during the end times, and he just wants to spend his existence with his one true love. The simplicity and complexity mix into an amalgamation unlike any other movie Pixar has attempted.

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Shawn Laib
Shawn Laib is a freelance writer with publications such as Den of Geek,, Edge Media Network, diaTribe, SUPERJUMP…
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