Have you ever wondered if there are any good movies that aren’t made by Disney? It seems like Disney owns everything these days, but back when I was a kid, even though I loved Disney very much, it wasn’t the only company that made epic movies that stuck with me to adulthood. In fact, the five movies on this list are actually the five animated movies that impacted my life the most. If you haven’t seen them, I hope this helps you decide to give them a try.
- Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
This movie has always touched me ever since I was a young child. It’s exciting and the animation, now that I’m older, is highly impressive. The main character, Spirit, is a horse, and he literally doesn’t ever speak. There’s a narrator who technically is Spirit’s voice, like his inner thoughts, but the narrator – played my Matt Damon, by the way – doesn’t have too many lines. So the movie literally relies on the animation of Spirit’s body language. It really gets us attached to him and you can almost read his thoughts and dialogue just by his body language and the sounds he makes. More than that, he’s a character that will not leave you and you’ll take this journey with him. It draws you into the movie and really gets you right in the feels. The soundtrack is so much fun, it pulls at your heartstrings and it’s one you can sing to again and again! For me, I also love that it’s historical, set in the 1800’s. There’s Native Americans, exciting action scenes, a romance between Spirit and his love interest, Rain, and Spirit is a character you can root for. You want to see him finally win – I word it that way to avoid spoilers. Even as adult, this movie still makes me cry!
2. Quest for Camelot
This movie has always felt like an epic fantasy adventure before I was old enough to watch Lord of the Rings or another epic fantasy adventure. This movie is a lot of fun for the whole family. It’s about King Author but it’s told from a young woman’s perspective – Caley. She meets a two-headed dragon, a blind man in a dark, dangerous forest, and his falcon and together they have to save Camelot. It has some intense action scenes and some epically dramatic moments that keep me on the edge of my seat, even though it’s animated. The songs and music is one I love to sing to over and over again. It’s got it all – romance, comedy, adventure, action, drama – and it’s fit for the family. I love this movie so much and it’s dear to me and my childhood, just like Spirit.
3. Prince of Egypt
Ah, this is the story of Moses but it’s animated and for children. It has the most amazing soundtrack I’ve ever heard and the music is one I’ve listened to on repeat over and over again, even when I’m writing. The story is dramatic and intense, but it’s true to the Bible and yet a fun story that also gets us attached to their own take on a few characters too – like the twist that Moses and Rameses knew each other and were once like brothers. Let my People Go is one of the songs that will forever be close to my heart, especially with the emotional weight of these two characters in it. Their development throughout this movie is superb. The animation is just as visually appealing as it is powerful, enough to really show you the story of Moses. The song When You Believe is one that makes me cry and it gives me chills whenever I listen to it, even now as an adult.
4. Joseph, King of Dreams
This was the second Biblical story made by Dreamworks (just like Prince of Egypt) and although it wasn’t as epically impacting as Prince of Egypt was when it first came out (mostly because Prince of Egypt was the first), it’s still amazing. Joseph is my favorite Bible story so this one draws me right into a Bible story I love watching again and again. Once again, it has a really epic soundtrack that I love listening to over and over again with songs that have stuck with me for years. You Know Better Than I has taught me many different lessons over the years, reminding me in different ways something that has gotten me through a lot. The animation is just as fantastic as it was in the Prince of Egypt. They really showcase the rivalry between Joseph and his brothers, so when they reunite it makes me cry because they get us so close to them and their characters throughout the movie. Showing us what Joseph went through really humanizes him and makes me realize just how much he actually must have gone through.
5. The Land Before Time
This is literally my childhood. No joke. I have watched this movie franchise since I was so, so long. I played it when I was barely old enough to talk and I would use plastic dinosaurs to recreate this story in my own way. Little Foot, Sara, Ducky, Petri, and Spike were some of my best friends growing up. I loved watching them and going through their adventures together. I knew the Bible was true, so the evolution stuff never bothered me (so if you have children and are wary of them being taught something like that, be cautious), but other than that, this is a great movie franchise. Each movie teaches a lesson about friendship and family, not bullying, being kind, obeying your parents, and all the things you go through as a child when you grow up. Not to mention, it has dinosaurs, which I was and am still obsessed with. It has such intense adventures with really epic plotlines and twists along the way.
Well, this may be a somewhat short list, but I hope you enjoy it and that you take the time to watch these five best-animated movies that aren’t Disney! What do you think about the movies on this list? Are their others you think are the best-animated movies outside of Disney?