If you are looking for great Netflix animated movies, look no further. We have picked out the best ones made by Disney, Sony Animation, Universal/Illumination, and a bunch of other studios.
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Keep in mind that this article is for standard animated movies on Netflix. If you are a fan of anime-based animated movies, we have our top picks for those kinds of films on Netflix as well.
Best Netflix animated movies:
Editor’s note – We will update this post as more great Netflix animated movies are added to the service’s catalog, and others depart.
1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
What was the best superhero movie in 2018? Avengers: Infinity War? Black Panther? Aquaman? Incredibles 2? Nope. In our view, the best superhero movie of 2018 was Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. The Academy Award winner for the best-animated film of 2018, this Sony Animation-Marvel movie not only introduces us to Miles Morales as a new version of Spider-Man, but it also brings us lots of other versions of the web-slinger from different universes. The funny and cool story is helped by 3D animation that seems to come out straight from the comics page.
Netflix’s Christmas movies have generally leaned towards cheesy romantic fare, but the streaming service has an instant classic on their hands with Klaus. The beautiful, hand-drawn animation brings to life a new take on the origins of Santa Claus.
Jesper (voiced by Jason Schwartzman), the Postal Academy’s worst student, is stationed at the dreary settlement of Smeerensburg in the North Pole. He strikes up an unlikely friendship with Klaus the toymaker, voiced by the always amazing J.K. Simmons, and helps bring life, light, and laughter back to the drab town.
3. Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2
Here’s another Disney film on our best Netflix animated movie list. The 2018 sequel Wreck-It Ralph finds the arcade video game “villain” Ralph, along with his friend Vanellope Von Schweet, traveling into the internet to help save the characters in a racing game from becoming homeless.
The plot doesn’t matter much; the enjoyment of this animated movie comes with Ralph’s and Vanellope’s interactions with the companies and characters of the internet. That includes a ton of cameos from Disney-owned characters, including a memorable sequence with nearly all the Disney princesses.
4. Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch
The 2018 released movie from Universal-Illumination is just the latest adaptation of the classic Christmas-themed tale from Dr. Seuss. The movie has Benedict Cumberbatch taking on the title role, and while he’s not as crazy as Jim Carrey in the older live-action adaptation, Cumberbatch does have a lot of funny, and also cruel, scenes as he tries to ruin the holidays for the populace of Whoville.
5. Next Gen
Netflix also has its own original animated movies for kids and family members to watch. That includes Next Gen, a sci-fi movie from 2018. It centers on a young girl who lives in a future where there are lots of robots. However, she happens to hate robots and is also constantly bullied. In the midst of all this, she meets an AI robot prototype (voiced by John Krasinski). Together, they have to stop a threat that could bring down the entire planet. The storyline is fun and makes some good points about trying to treat people fairly, and the animation is also solid.
6. How To Train Your Dragon 2
Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and Toothless return in this 2014 sequel. The story picks up again after a five-year time jump, in which time, dragons and the Vikings villagers have learned to get along. Dragon racing is now a favorite past-time and all seems to be well. Hiccup continues his search for new and far away lands, only to stumble across something that once again brings battle back to Berk.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 is an excellent follow-up and sets up the final installment of the trilogy quite well. You’ll unfortunately need to have a subscription to three different services to enjoy the series in its entirety, but you can catch this movie on Netflix.
7. The Little Prince
Based on the classic children’s book, this is a 2016 Netflix animated film that uses different techniques (3D, 2D, and even stop motion) to tell its tale of a young girl who befriends an older man. He tells her stories of encountering The Little Prince, who lives on a tiny planet. It’s definitely different than the other movies on this list, but it’s well worth checking out.
8. The Breadwinner
Unlike other Netflix animated movies on this list, The Breadwinner isn’t exactly a jolly film to play for a fun night with the family. This movie takes on a more serious note, telling the story of Parvana, an Afghan girl living under the Taliban’s control.
Her father is arrested and the girl must become the provider for her family. Because girls don’t have the same freedoms as men, she has to cut her hair off and dress as a boy. A new world makes her braver and she gets the courage to go looking for her dad.
9. Despicable Me
The Despicable Me franchise, with its Minion spin-offs, is now a multi-billion dollar franchise. However, it had a fairly humble beginning back in 2010, with the first movie that, in my opinion, is also the best of the lot.
Despicable Me follows the story of the criminal mastermind Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell). He adopts three girls, Margo, Edith, and Agnes (voiced by Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, and Elsie Fisher respectively) as a part of a nefarious scheme. Things get turned on its head when he finds himself caring more than he wanted to about this pseudo-family. And there are minions. Lots and lots of minions.
It’s a fantastic kid-friendly movie, but the overarching storyline of what it means to be family will pull at the heartstrings of any adult.
10. Walt Display Animation Studios short films collection
Disney’s animated studios don’t just make full feature films. This collection of 12 animated short subjects has a ton of variety, including two Academy Award winners in Paperman and Feast. Popular characters from Frozen and Tangled return, and “Tangled Ever After” is a particularly fun watch with two “side” characters that deserve in the spotlight.
Both Paperman and Feast are definitely worth the watch and are Oscar winners for a reason. I would also highly recommend “The Match Girl.” It’s an oscar-nominated short from 2006 that is beautifully animated and does a fantastic job of tugging at your heartstrings. All 12 shorts are quite different and unique and are bound to keep any audience engaged.