Pixar Animation Studios has been a staple for bringing all kinds of animations for Disney for over two decades. It was at a time where CGI animation was positively becoming one of the coolest things ever created. Everything changed in 1995 when a little film called Toy Story blew everyone’s minds when it came out. Nowadays, we set a high bar for most of their movies coming out because we expect greatness from their original premises, and if they turn out to be a disappointment, it feels like a minor set back and hope to recoupe later on. Sure, other studios like DreamWorks, Aardman, and even Illumination have their fair share of movies that many love, but Pixar has gained a following for all in the past 24 years that’s unimaginable.
You feel like a little kid when you walk into a Pixar movie and just experience the amazement that’s crafted into each one of them, including the shorts that appear before the actual movie. I’m 22 years old, and I still love them. Each film takes us to different worlds. They not only have characters that are humans, but monsters, toys, or fishes. These movies are able to capture the joy and imagination of everybody. They also teach important lessons to kids and adults in a fun way. And when it’s time for the Oscars, chances are that it will likely end of winning.
When Toy Story 4 came out last year, I did this post before. Now that Onward has recently come out as a new edition in Pixar’s library, it would make sense to update of rankings of all the Pixar movies from best and worst. Those two movies are the only movies added, while the other 20 aren’t changed. To be fair, a lot of these are interchangeable because I love almost all of them. There’s only about four of that I’ve given a grade below a B; the rest ranges from A to B. With that, let’s spread some positivity to some of these classics.
Here’s every Pixar film ranked from best to worst…
1) Toy Story (1995)
Pixar’s first feature film, Toy Story, will always be known as a game-changer when it was released back then. Being the first feature-length film to be filmed with computer animation, it’s still astounding. There’s just something about the premise about toys coming to life that feels childlike, smart, and creative.
It introduces us to Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen) as they compete against each other to be Andy’s favorite toy, and it ends up being an unforgettable adventure from start to finish. I absolutely love Toy Story. This and The Lion King are my two favorite animated movies of all-time. Hilarious to a fault and takes its viewers “To Infinity and Beyond” that holds up very well, you have to be mindless if you do not love the original Toy Story.
2) Toy Story 2 (1999)
Toy Story 2 is probably the first sequel I ever grown to love. It sounds crazy knowing Disney was originally supposed to release this as a direct-to-video sequel, and thank God that didn’t happen. Pixar’s first sequel comes close to being almost as perfect as its predecessor. It’s that kind of recuse movie that never gets tired after repeat viewings, and it’s still able to never lose the magic in its animation, voice work, and just have immersive storytelling.
Seeing all our favorite toys and some new ones (Jessie, Bullseye, Mrs. Potatohead) and topped with memorable moments including one of the first times Pixar’s made its audience cry with Jessie’s backstory, it’s no wonder Toy Story 2 is considered one of the best sequels ever made. I also love this because it has one of my favorite Star Wars references in the history of film.
3) Toy Story 3 (2010)
It would be impossible for Toy Story 3 to honestly be greater than the first two movies, but it succeeded in every which way imaginable. Taking place in a daycare center where our favorite toys are basically in a prison, it shouldn’t have helped it, but it’s another great time for the studio and the fans who are kids and adults. It even had a great villain in the form of Lotso (voiced by Ned Beatty) and retains the magic of everything.
Everybody who saw this must’ve cried twice during the third act, including me. At the time, Toy Story 3 was a perfect conclusion for the characters we knew since our childhood, and just how we grow older, sometimes there isn’t a chance that we could forget about the things we love the most. It’s one of the best third movies in a franchise, and some say Toy Story 3 is their favorite out of the entire franchise.
4) The Incredibles (2004)
The studio making an original superhero movie is an automatic win. The Incredibles is entertaining not only because of the excellent voice cast (Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, etc.), it’s the beautiful animation and amazing fast-paced action that standout. Here establishes a world where being a superhero is troubling and must go into retirement after being viewed as bad in the public eye. Now it’s all about second chances and being a stronger family in the process.
Brad Bird following this after the classic The Iron Giant never has a dull moment from all its two hours. When Pixar shows off a great villain, Syndrome (voiced by Jason Lee) is top tier if there ever is one. The Incredibles is easily one of the best superhero movies ever made. Probably the best Fantastic Four movie we will ever get.
5) Finding Nemo (2003)
The risks that a single, overprotective father takes hoping to find his missing son will be pleasing. Finding Nemo has writer/director Andrew Stanton takes us across the ocean to explore many kinds of sea creatures that Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) and the scene-stealing Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres), which this movie introduced many to Ellen.
Loved Finding Nemo when I first saw it in theaters with its likable characters, funny moments (the bubble and the pelican), and that genuine heart that’s a much-added bonus for this underwater sea adventure. This is what parents should watch just to see that taking care of your children means the world. There’s no way Finding Nemo could ever be hated.
6) Inside Out (2015)
Inside Out was Pixar’s comeback after a brief slump of movies that ranged from alright to mediocre. Original ideas seem to be their stride, and it’s a film about exploring the five primary emotions in our heads. The reason why Inside Out truly works is that a simple premise about these characters would make out feel the exact same of what Riley is feeling. An amazing voice cast that includes Amy Poehler (Joy), Phyllis Smith (Sadness), Bill Hader (Fear), Mindy Kaling (Disgust), Lewis Black (Anger), and Richard Kind (Bing Bong). This is the movie that made me realize Pete Docter is the best Pixar director out there.
Do you know that it’s impossible not to cry while watching Inside Out? Well, it’s true for me since the same three moments that made me cry the first time hasn’t changed, and it never becomes manipulative. A colorful and engaging narrative that’s never flat, showing that our emotions are more important within ourselves, it’s easily one of the best-animated movies of the decade.
7) Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Monsters Inc. proves to be a classic because it gives us a world where we get to learn that not all monsters that are hiding under your bed or in your closet are scary. Great vocal performances and exceptional chemistry from Billy Crystal as Mike and John Goodman as Sulley. Then there’s Boo, who’s just adorable, and you completely buy the relationship between Sulley and Boo when they are trying to get her back into the human world.
This also has the best example of Pixar’s world-building that’s unique and paints a picture of how everything operates with monsters living together. An unbelievable buddy comedy that has the charm, and it also has probably one of my favorite endings ever. And if my memory is correct, I used to own a Sulley doll.
Fun Fact: This lost in the first Best Animated Feature Oscar category to Shrek.
8) Up (2009)
It’s hard to believe Up came out ten years ago, and seeing it in 3D was phenomenal back then. I always thought of Up as the first Pixar movie to be aimed a bit more for adults than it would to kids. The story about Carl Fredrickson (voiced by Ed Asner) traveling to Venezuela inside his house with thousands of balloons tied on Sure, every person remembers the touching and heartbreaking opening montage that still gets me, but the amazing journey that Carl and Russell go on never becomes boring.
Why Up will always be one of the best to come in 2009 is that it provides a meaningful message about friendships and letting the things we hold true to our hearts go, which is a great enough reason why this became the second animated film to be nominated for Best Picture after 19 years. I’m also starting to get annoyed when people say it gets boring after the opening. There’s more to remember besides the montage when the rest of the film is pure magic.
9) Wall•E (2008)
Wall•E is about the titular robot being the only one on the planet cleaning up after and falls in love with another robot named EVE. Someone has to be crazy not to fall in love with this. I love how the first act doesn’t have any dialogue, and it’s just our main character going through his daily routines. Some might find it boring, which is a lame excuse of not liking it, but it’s all about visual storytelling that’s perfectly done right.
What makes Wall•E a relevant animated for kids is that it teaches us about protecting the earth, commercialism, and our reliance on technology. That kind of stuff didn’t cross my mind when I was 12, but it’s all clear now. With gorgeous animation, a blending of genres from sci-fi, adventure, and romance, and a great Thomas Newman’s score (below is my favorite piece), Wall•E is everything.
10) Toy Story 4 (2019)
All of us couldn’t imagine Toy Stroy 4 to come true since we all thought the third installment ended on a perfect note. A part of me knew it would be great, but I didn’t expect it to be as great when I saw it for the first time. Some might not like what they did with Woody and how his story went, but I found it to be fascinating and the right call if they ended it right here. Capturing what made the previous films great with its animation, classic humor, and emotion moments that were rightfully earned, I’m surprised it’s become very forgotten lately.
Even though I feel like we’ve could’ve used more of the other characters and wanted more of Buzz’s story arc, this is that rare fourth movie that completely works. Compared to the original three, it’s by far the weakest entry, but there’s no denying Toy Story 4 came very close to join the cool kids.
11) Ratatouille (2007)
Ratatouille‘s story about a rat having a passion for cooking sounded like the most ridiculous idea for an animated movie, and yet, it never disappointed. I mean, am I the only one that would’ve to mind a rat like Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt) to cook my food? The biggest takeaway from Ratatouille is that you should always follow your dreams and not let anyone tell you otherwise.
Feels like Ratatouille doesn’t get enough love and kind of gets swept under the rug. You believe the unlikely friendship between Remy and Linguini in a fashion that would make sense for an animated film like this.
12) Incredibles 2 (2018)
We wanted an Incredibles 2 for the longest time after it left off on a cliffhanger indicating a follow-up would be in order. Fourteen years later, it ended up being fantastic. This sequel delivered on the great action, beautiful animation, and great characters to care for.
After it came out, some have noted that this was just a rehash of the first movie and never does anything new. Except for this time Elastagirl is front and center. I couldn’t disagree more, and everybody has jumped on the bandwagon when calling it a “mediocre sequel” or a “cash grab”. They are 100% wrong. Yes, the plot does follow similar beats to the original, and the villain wasn’t the best, but it’s all about following the Parr family and their dynamic that works in spades while still balancing the things that we love from the first film to here.
That’s why I defend Incredibles 2, and it’s a sequel that’s worth the wait. By the way, Jack Jack just steals every scene he’s in.
13) Coco (2017)
Being that Coco was the first original film from Pixar in a couple of years, it feels refreshing to see it tackling the Mexican culture and the Day of the Dead. Experiencing the adventure that young Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez) goes on captures breathtaking animation that’s maybe predictable, but fun in all the right places. Great music, characters, and captures the feels.
I’ll admit that there isn’t a lot about Coco I can remember after only seeing it once when it first came out. But all I remember is that the last 15 minutes of it that completely broke me. The reason why was because I saw this two days after attending my dad’s funeral, and just the thought of the people you love will always be remembered, especially your family. Where 2017 was a lackluster year for animated movies in a long time, Coco regains supreme.
14) Onward (2020)
The most recent Pixar film to be released, seeing Onward placed this far on the list is hard to see since I thought it was such an enjoyable fantasy adventure about two elf brothers on a quest to see their late dad before time runs out. This is probably one of the more different movies from them that might divide some people, but can also be engaged with a fairly entertaining experience.
Out of all the films the studio has dropped, it’s clear that Onward doesn’t have a certain style that might not feel like an actual Pixar movie to some, and we’ve seen these certain worlds that are filled with non-human characters; so it’s probably not that unique out of the bunch. That being said, this truly has a great heart in what its message is trying to reach to any person who has siblings or dealt with the loss of a parent.
15) Finding Dory (2016)
Thirteen years may seem too long of a wait for a Finding Nemo sequel to come out, but at least Finding Dory‘s focus is on a good side character people actually like. I remember loving this when it came out, but just like Dory’s memory, it’s pretty forgettable. It also has a climax that, while funny, doesn’t come as that important than the original.
16) The Good Dinosaur (2015)
A lot of people consider The Good Dinosaur to be one of the studio’s weakest films they’ve released. Coming out the same year as Inside Out, that could be difficult when one superior to the other, and this was the first Pixar movie to perform with not-so satisfying numbers at the box office. I honestly think The Good Dinosaur is kind of underrated.
This has some of the most beautiful and realistic animation ever made, and there’s an interesting connection between the dinosaur Arlo and the human Spot. Although, I can agree on the fact it doesn’t feel like a traditional Pixar movie. The Good Dinosaur isn’t one of the best movies offered, but I feel like it should get a second chance. Honest truth, this is a better Disney movie about dinosaurs than Dinosaur.
17) A Bug’s Life (1998)
A Bug’s Life was Pixar’s sophomore movie three years after Toy Story, and it’s probably the one that may have forgotten over time. That’s mainly because 1998 was also the year that another similar insect movie Antz, the first movie released from DreamWorks Animation, came out around the same. But with A Bug’s Life, it’s still a fun story about a team of misfit bugs fighting off the evil grasshoppers.
18) Monsters University (2013)
The idea of a prequel to Monsters, Inc. didn’t sound like too bad of an idea at first where we get a glimpse at how Mike and Sully met in college and how to become the best at scaring. Monsters University wasn’t as bad as some were expecting it to be. But I also can’t say it’s great, either.
Not having the same feels like its predecessor, Monsters University still has funny moments (the Slug trying to get to class) that one would expect with all kinds of college shenanigans from our two monster friends.
19) Cars 3 (2017)
Cars 3 is the best entry in the franchise. That’s not saying much, though. Nobody didn’t ask for a Cars 3 after its poorly received predecessor, and yet, it was probably the one that wasn’t the most annoying. What makes this better than the others is that it tackles themes about getting older. Still, it’s not that funny and kind of comes off as the vehicle version of any Rocky sequel.
Plus, out of all the movies, this was the first time that I noticed how unlikable Lightning McQueen.
20) Brave (2012)
When I saw Brave when it first came out, I actually enjoyed it. After a few months later, this is one Pixar movie that should’ve been great, which is sad because it had a solid first half about Princess Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) wanting to be an independent woman in her homeland. But once her mother turned into a bear, that’s when the rest of Brave lacked anything creative. Not funny, not emotional; just bland.
For me, I still hold a six-year grudge against Brave after it won Best Animated Feature over Wreck-It Ralph that year, and it was probably the first time I disliked Pixar winning anything. Never forget.
21) Cars (2006)
Even back when the first Cars came out, I found it to only be okay. It felt strange to think we can consider a Pixar movie mildly decent. There’s some entertainment value with the great animation and the racing sequences. But everything else about Cars didn’t work for me.
To this day, the world-building for this universe doesn’t make a ton of sense in my mind where it follows one of those stories that’s been done times before. One of the few things I did liked was the late Paul Newman’s voice as Doc. This was also one of the rare times a Pixar movie lost the Oscar for Best Animated Feature (Happy Feet won).
22) Cars 2 (2011)
Cars 2 being placed at the very bottom shouldn’t come as a surprise for anybody. This is really the first time Pixar missed a step, and a lot of us were in shock to be a mediocre movie from them, especially with a 38% on Rotten Tomatoes. But let’s face it: nobody asked for a sequel to Cars. What made this sequel fail is having Mater as the main character revolving around this stupid spy espionage plot, detracting away from what the first movie brought.
Along with the lame jokes and feeling dull in its entirety, Cars 2 is trash. I didn’t even see this in theaters because of how bad it was, and I never skipped out on any movie from them at that point. Why was this even made? Because of toy sales.
Question: What’s your favorite Pixar movie of all time?