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The 10 best animated movies you can only watch on Netflix

Published Dec 3rd, 2023 12:13PM EST
THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES
Image: Netflix

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In 2022, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio became the first Netflix original film to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Topping Disney and Sony is a tough task, but in recent years, Netflix has been producing some of the best animated movies of any studio. Pinocchio might be the most celebrated of the bunch, but below are nine more animated movies that need to be on your watch list, whether you have kids to watch them with or not.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio on Netflix
Gepetto (David Bradley) and Pinocchio (Gregory Mann) in Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. Image source: Netflix
  • Directors: Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson
  • Writers: Guillermo del Toro, Patrick McHale
  • Cast: Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Gregory Mann, Burn Gorman, Ron Perlman, John Turturro, Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett, Tim Blake Nelson, Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton

Unsurprisingly, director Guillermo del Toro opted for a much darker, stranger take on the classic tale of Geppetto and Pinocchio. This story is set in Fascist Italy, and Geppetto (voiced by David Bradley) uses pine wood planted in his son’s grave to make a puppet (voiced by Gregory Mann). Pinocchio proceeds to join the circus to avoid conscription into the Royal Italian Army.

Hilda and the Mountain King

Hilda and the Mountain King is streaming on Netflix.
Hilda and the Mountain King is streaming on Netflix. Image source: Netflix
  • Directors: Andy Coyle
  • Writers: Luke Pearson
  • Cast: Bella Ramsey, Ameerah Falzon-Ojo, Oliver Nelson, Daisy Haggard, Rasmus Hardiker, John Hopkins, Lucy Montgomery, Dino Kelly, Rachel August, Agnes Peacock

Hilda and the Mountain King picks up directly after the season 2 finale of the animated series, during which Hilda turns into a troll. While her friends are searching for her, Hilda embarks on a new adventure. Hilda is one of the best kid-friendly animated series on Netflix, and this movie is an important piece of the puzzle between seasons 2 and 3.

Klaus

Klaus on Netflix.
Klaus is streaming on Netflix. Image source: Netflix
  • Directors: Sergio Pablos
  • Writers: Sergio Pablos, Jim Mahoney, Zach Lewis
  • Cast: Jason Schwartzman, J. K. Simmons, Rashida Jones, Will Sasso, Neda Margrethe Labba, Norm Macdonald, Joan Cusack

Klaus is one of the best (and most underrated) Christmas movies of all time. This unique Santa origin story is gorgeously animated, moving, funny, charming, and fun for the whole family. Plus, the voice cast is second to none — what other Christmas movie features Jason Schwartzman, J.K. Simmons, Rashida Jones, and Norm Macdonald?

Leo

Leo on Netflix
Adam Sandler as Leo. Image source: Netflix
  • Directors: Robert Marianetti, Robert Smigel, David Wachtenheim
  • Writers: Robert Smigel, Adam Sandler, Paul Sado
  • Cast: Adam Sandler, Bill Burr, Cecily Strong, Jason Alexander, Sadie Sandler, Sunny Sandler, Rob Schneider, Jo Koy

Adam Sandler’s fruitful partnership with Netflix has resulted in plenty of hits and misses, but the animated movie Leo is a clear hit. Adam Sandler voices a class pet who wants to see the world, but he’ll have to get away from fifth-grader Summer to do so. A cute movie with a great voice cast that even lapsed Sandler fans should check out.

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Abbi Jacobson as Katie Mitchell in The Mitchells vs. the Machines.
Abbi Jacobson as Katie Mitchell in The Mitchells vs. the Machines. Image source: Netflix
  • Director: Mike Rianda
  • Writers: Mike Rianda, Jeff Rowe
  • Cast: Danny McBride, Abbi Jacobson, Maya Rudolph, Mike Rianda, Eric André, Olivia Colman

What starts as a family road trip to take their oldest daughter to college turns into a battle to save humanity from the robot apocalypse. If you are a fan of the Spider-Verse franchise, you owe it to yourself to see this movie for the animation alone. But the characterizations are where this movie really shines, with an emotional backbone that stacks up against some of the best Pixar movies. Needless to say, this is one of Netflix’s best exclusives.

Nimona

Chloë Grace Moretz as Nimona.
Chloë Grace Moretz as Nimona. Image source: Netflix
  • Directors: Nick Bruno, Troy Quane
  • Writers: Robert L. Baird, Lloyd Taylor
  • Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Riz Ahmed, Eugene Lee Yang, Frances Conroy

It’s a minor miracle that Nimona exists at all. This animated movie based on the ND Stevenson webcomic of the same name was set to be produced by Blue Sky Studios, which shuttered in 2021. Nimona was then canceled, but Annapurna Pictures yanked it from the grave a year later. It would have been a shame if it never saw the light of day, because the futuristic medieval world of Nimona comes to life brilliantly in this long-awaited adaptation.

Over the Moon

Chin (voiced by Robert G. Chiu), Fei Fei (voiced by Cathy Ang), Chang'e (Voiced by Phillipa Soo) in Over the Moon.
Chin (Robert G. Chiu), Fei Fei (Cathy Ang), and Chang’e (Phillipa Soo) in Over the Moon. Image source: Netflix
  • Director: Glen Keane
  • Writer: Audrey Wells
  • Cast: Cathy Ang, Phillipa Soo, Ken Jeong, John Cho, Ruthie Ann Miles, Margaret Cho, Sandra Oh

The only musical on this list, Over the Moon follows a Chinese girl named Fei Fei who lost her mother at a young age. Four years later, she builds a rocket to fly to the Moon to prove that the goddess Chang’e is real. This was the last script ever written by Audrey Wells, who also wrote Guinevere, Under the Tuscan Sun, and The Hate U Give.

The Sea Beast

THE SEA BEAST - (L-R) Zaris-Angel Hator as Maisie Brumble, Jared Harris as Captain Crow, Karl Urban as Jacob Holland and Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Sarah Sharpe.
Zaris-Angel Hator as Maisie Brumble, Jared Harris as Captain Crow, Karl Urban as Jacob Holland and Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Sarah Sharpe in The Sea Beast. Image source: Netflix
  • Director: Chris Williams
  • Writers: Chris Williams, Nell Benjamin
  • Cast: Karl Urban, Zaris-Angel Hator, Jared Harris, Marianne Jean-Baptiste

After years of battling sea beasts that threaten mankind, the crew of the Inevitable is told by the King and Queen that they’re being replaced by a modern naval vessel. They ask for one more chance to kill the legendary Red Bluster, so the King and Queen declare a contest between the two ships. After they leave, the crew discovers an orphan girl named Maisie Brumble has stowed away on the ship. And then their entire world is turned upside-down.

Wendell & Wild

Kat (voiced by Lyric Ross) and Sister Helley (voiced by Angela Bassett) in Wendell and Wild.
Kat (voiced by Lyric Ross) and Sister Helley (voiced by Angela Bassett) in Wendell and Wild. Image source: Netflix
  • Director: Henry Selick
  • Writers: Henry Selick, Jordan Peele
  • Cast: Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Angela Bassett, Lyric Ross, Ving Rhames, James Hong

Henry Selick, the American master of stop-motion animation, returns with his most off-the-wall movie to date in Wendell & Wild. Five years after losing her parents in a tragic car accident, Kat Elliot is an edgy teen enrolled in an all-girls Catholic school. She ends up summoning a pair of demons who promise to bring her parents back to life, and hijinks ensue.

The Willoughbys

The Willoughbys is streaming on Netflix.
The Willoughbys is streaming on Netflix. Image source: Netflix
  • Director: Kris Pearn
  • Writers: Kris Pearn, Mark Stanleigh
  • Cast: Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, Alessia Cara, Terry Crews, Martin Short, Jane Krakowski, Seán Cullen, Ricky Gervais

Based on the book by Lois Lowry (The Giver), The Willoughbys is an animated comedy about four siblings who attempt to improve their lives by eliminating their parents. In order to accomplish this, they put together a brochure of enticing but incredibly dangerous locales, and their parents take the bait. But now they have a nanny to deal with.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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