Over the last 24 years, Pixar has introduced us to movies and to characters that stay in our hearts long after the credits roll. But which Pixar movies are the best of the best?
It’s time to take a look at the best Pixar movies ranked in our top ten list.
1. Toy Story (1995)
Pixar’s first and Pixar’s best. Toy Story is short, simple and sweet. It is not as mature, nor is it as inventive, as some of the movies that came after it. Nonetheless, it is a perfect movie. From the moment Randy Newman’s unforgettable song, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” begins to play, we know that we are in for a good time. Woody and Buzz Lightyear are the quintessential odd couple and are perfectly voiced by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, respectively.
There is no shortage of lovable characters, quotable lines or memorable moments. It perfectly sets the stage for what was to come from the studio and spawned three sequels. Because of all of that and more, Toy Story is Pixar’s best movie.
2. Ratatouille (2007)
By far Pixar’s most underrated movie to date. Ratatouille tells the story of a rat named Remy who lives in Paris and has the dream to become a chef. Remy forms a partnership with Linguine, a kitchen worker, who acts as Remy’s hands in the kitchen.
Ratatouille uses food, music and imagery to evoke an ever-present sense of nostalgia. The cooking scenes are put together so elegantly and so lovingly — they make you want to find your very own rat to cook for you. Just like your favorite soup on a cold winter’s day, this movie is perfect comfort food.
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3. Inside Out (2015)
After taking a year off, Pixar came back in 2015 with Inside Out. Inside Out gives us a look at the inside of our minds and how our emotions work. Featuring superb voice work from Amy Poehler as Joy, Phyllis Smith as Sadness, and Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling, and Lewis Black as Fear, Disgust and Anger.
Respectively, Inside Out uses these characters to explain feelings in a way that we have not seen depicted on screen. Keeping with the Pixar tradition, Inside Out balances the humor and the emotional pull but does it better than any of the movies that came before or after it. If you disagree with that, Bing Bong would like to have a word with you.
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4. Coco (2017)
Pixar’s most culturally inclusive film. This movie, more than any other that Pixar has released, is a tearjerker for both happy and sad reasons. Coco is a beautiful film, both visually and narratively, about death and what comes after it, which makes for a truly cathartic experience.
It features unforgettable imagery to depict the afterlife and music that celebrates an entire culture that is rarely represented in film.
5. The Incredibles (2004)
Almost ten years after their first movie, in 2004, Pixar released The Incredibles – their first story about humans. In typical Pixar fashion, these aren’t just ordinary humans though. The Parr family has superpowers. Super strength, speed, stretch and you name it — they got it.
Despite their abilities, they have been living as an ordinary family until the father, Bob, decides to get back in the game. Although it is not always in the conversation, The Incredibles is a perfect superhero movie. Full of action, laughs and a lot of heart, it is also a perfect Pixar movie.
6. Toy Story 3 (2010)
Completing Pixar’s first trilogy is Toy Story 3. Coming out fifteen years after the original movie was risky. Just like Andy, the audience that originally watched the series had grown up. Fortunately, the third movie is perfect for people of all ages.
There are laughs that are funny regardless of age, but also emotions that are universal, which makes the film even more impactful. Setting Toy Story 3 in a daycare allows us to be introduced to a number of new toys to continue opening up the world we already know and love. The ending is one of the great bittersweet endings of our time.
7. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Mike and Sully are two monsters who live in the aptly named Monstropolis and work at Monsters, Incorporated, where they have been trained to scare children in the “real world” in order to power Monstropolis. This comes to a halt when one of the children accidentally follows them back to their world and the two monsters have to get her back to her room without getting caught.
Monsters, Inc. does something that Pixar had not really done before then. Unlike the Toy Story movies or A Bug’s Life, which were based in some reality, Monsters, Inc. creates an entire world of its own. Monstropolis is full of colorful, vibrant and unique characters that lay the foundation for the setting of the movie.
8. Finding Nemo (2003)
Finding Nemo tells the story of Marlin, a clownfish, who is trying to track down his son, Nemo, after he is taken from the ocean by a fisherman. Along their journeys, we get to meet an array of colorful fish, both in personality and in physicality.
Most prominently, we meet Dory (voiced by Ellen Degeneres), who is as forgetful as she is loyal. Being set in the ocean, Finding Nemo has beautiful scenery to surround its memorable characters. It also features some of the most quotable lines of dialogue in Pixar history.
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9. Up (2009)
Up has one of the most effective opening scenes in film history. In the span of five, mostly silent minutes, we are treated to a montage detailing the lives of Carl and Ellie, as they grow from childhood friends to an old married couple. We see the highs and lows of their lives unfold before our eyes and even though we don’t really know them, the feelings are all too real. (Seriously – if you need a good cry, search “First five minutes of Up” on YouTube. I do it once every three months.)
The movie sets its bar too high at the jump and nothing that follows quite lives up to the beginning. Nonetheless, we later get to meet Russell, a precocious young boy scout, whose friendship with Carl is heartwarming to say the least.
10. Toy Story 2 (1999)
Toy Story 2 was Pixar’s third movie and first sequel. It picks up right where the original Toy Story ended and takes us on a new adventure with Woody, Buzz and the gang. We get to leave Andy’s neighborhood and venture out into the rest of the world, which makes this movie feel bigger than the first. It also introduces us to Jessie the Cowgirl, Bullseye and a classic Sarah Mclachlan song.
What do you think of our list? Do you see any movies that are too high on the list? Any that are too low? Maybe you think one of them should not even be here. Let us know in the comments!
Don’t forget that Pixar’s latest, Toy Story 4, comes out on Friday, June 21st! To get a more in depth recap on the last three movies in the series, check out “Everything You Need to Know Before Toy Story 4.”