The 24 best Pixar films

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Trying to rank the 24 Pixar movies in descending order of quality is like trying to rank your kids by how much you love them. None of these movies are bad, but if you made 24 movies, one of them should be at the bottom and one should be at the top. But we were able to compile a list from worst to best movie according to streaming platform We would also like to recognize the editors and writers of BetFury for their help in writing this article. BetFury is a crypto casino where you can get 100 free spins with no deposit when you sign up, we recommend you to check it out, but for now let’s move on to our list.

24. Cars 3 (2017)

The initial reviews of Cars 3 praised the latest installment in the Lightning McQueen saga for essentially not being Cars 2, the only Pixar film to receive a “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The bar is not set very high… and we’re not even convinced that the new film lives up to it. Yes, the annoying Tow Mater is thankfully back on the periphery where he belongs, while Lightning (Owen Wilson) takes on two new foes: a sleek race car named Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer) and, more imposingly, the growing realization that he is no longer the king of the track. But whereas Cars 2 consciously tried to take a radically different direction, Cars 3 feels like a tamed placeholder, offering the racing sequences and comforting homilies that were omnipresent in the first film – but without the same level of inspiration. There isn’t a single new interesting character, despite the efforts of Hammer, Kerry Washington, Nathan Fillion, and Chris Cooper as Lightning’s new grumpy coach. From Randy Newman’s score to all of Mater’s tired jokes, Cars 3 feels like a lukewarm attempt by a rival studio to imitate Pixar’s magic. It’s not so much bad as deeply discouraging.

23. Cars 2 (2011)

Larry the Cable Guy was the secret weapon of Cars, lending his blue-collar charm to a character whose behavior echoed real people with genuine pathos and sweetness. But that doesn’t mean we wanted to see Tow Mater in a James Bond parody. Give Cars 2 points for audacity: The sequel departs from the charm of the original small-town setting to become a sleek, international action thriller centered around Lightning McQueen’s country bumpkin sidekick. And then take away those points because Cars 2 proves that even mighty Pixar can’t transcend the central problem with sequels: you can make everything bigger, but you can rarely replicate what was fresh and charming in the original.

22. Brave (2012)

Pixar finally set out to address its lack of female protagonists – but unfortunately, it did so with an undercooked story that feels more like a response to critics than a well-crafted Pixar adventure. It’s a type of “Idiot Plot” film, where the entire dreadful second half could have been avoided if (spoilers here) Merida – who is beloved in the kingdom and would have little reason to be doubted – simply said, “Hey, my mother has just been turned into that bear, everyone calm down.” (Her mother could have even written her name in the ground with her claw to prove it if anyone asked). It’s also the first Pixar film where the comedic tone is completely off-kilter; it’s a silly slapstick reminiscent of some of Dreamworks’ early films. (We wouldn’t have thought Pixar capable of making annoying and not cute children, but they’re there). Three years later, they would finally present a fantastic female lead, but Brave was the first time you thought, “Wait, did they really miss something?”

21. Monsters University (2013)

How many of us were clamoring to see how Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) became friends at university? Anyone? One of the major flaws of Monsters University is that it’s a prequel that didn’t really need to exist – just make it a short film before one of the studio’s feature films and be done with it – but there’s enough heart and humor to make this cash grab fairly enjoyable. Still, Monsters University poorly sums up Pixar’s post-Toy Story 3 era: It’s pleasantly entertaining as long as you resign yourself to forget the inspired storytelling and boundless imagination that were the studio’s trademarks.

20. The Good Dinosaur (2015)

Pixar’s least profitable film, The Good Dinosaur was plagued with story problems, production delays, and reports of directors being replaced midway through. It wasn’t the first film from the studio to have a difficult birth (number 4 on this list is the most famous example of Pixar snatching victory from the jaws of defeat), but it’s the film that felt most handicapped in the public’s mind, never escaping the cloud of bad buzz and relative disinterest that surrounded it during Thanksgiving 2015. All that being said, this tale of a world where dinosaurs weren’t wiped out by a meteor is visually stunning, imagining an untouched American Northwest where powerful reptiles reign supreme. The Good Dinosaur is oddly conventional for Pixar in terms of narrative – a young apatosaurus (voiced by Raymond Ochoa) gets lost and must find his way home – but as a meditative journey and hero’s quest, it’s a thoughtful addition to the company’s canon. It might be the Pixar film that deserves to be revisited the most in ten years.

19. A Bug’s Life (1998)

We may be in the minority in preferring the film Antz from the same year – which was part of a race between Dreamworks and Pixar to create computer-animated insect films – but A Bug’s Life is still a charming and ultimately harmless little tale that essentially follows a similar plot as Antz but caters more directly to children. Over the years, Pixar has become exceptionally skilled at making films equally appealing to adults and kids, but the balance is still tilted here: It’s not a film that adults will revisit like The Incredibles or Toy Story. Still, the fact that the queen of an ant colony is voiced by Phyllis Diller is a plus point.

18. Onward (2019)

A sense of unease settles in during the first half of Onward, as we slowly realize that the film’s basic concept (what if old fantasy creatures became mundane suburbanites?) is propping up familiar and uninspired characters and yet another “Let’s Go On A Quest!” plot (and the film’s idea of a visual gag is a stop sign that reads “HALT”). But just as you’re about to give up, Onward takes its first interesting turn, slyly flipping the concept of the destination being the journey all along, and the film starts feeling like Pixar again, somehow managing to extract a little (just a little) tear-jerking moments. The film still feels somewhat half-baked, but it gains considerable mileage from the mere image of a pair of body-less khakis, as well as from Chris Pratt’s most lovable performance since Parks and Recreation. They can do much better than this, but even at Pixar’s B-game level, they still manage to crawl their way to the finish line.

17. Cars (2006)

By 2006, Pixar had been churning out feature films for over a decade, and a backlash was inevitable, maybe even overdue. It was in this storm that Cars appeared, a sweet and modest family comedy. Essentially Doc Hollywood starring an arrogant stock car, the film envisioned a world run by living automobiles, eliciting laughs from a plot where ultra-competitive racer Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) finds himself stuck in a small town filled with ordinary folks like the lovable tow truck Mater (Larry the Cable Guy). Cars is Pixar’s most nostalgic work, lamenting sleepy communities and small-town values lost in the relentless march of progress, which might explain why the film feels so recycled, drawing from different genres without the studio’s usual freshness. Nevertheless, the film is still entertaining, and for a whole generation of car-loving boys who grew up with it, Cars is as significant as Star Wars or Batman.

16. Soul (2020)

After the somewhat disappointing Onward, Pixar bounced back with Soul, a quirky and peculiar charmer that follows the story of a jazz musician (voiced by Jamie Foxx) who dies and finds himself in the afterlife, where he tries to get back to his life on Earth and fix everything he regretted during his time alive. It’s a bit like an inverted Up, but the film isn’t mournful – it’s mostly whimsical, with some funny gags mixed in with yet another dull “let’s go on an adventure” plot (with his partner Tina Fey, who falls short). The film has a strong ending, and its heart is in the right place, but it also feels all over the place and has a very silly subplot involving a cat. It works, it’s good, but the fact that this is probably the best one can hope for from a Pixar sequel other than Toy Story is not a great sign.

15. Coco (2017)

Family is often a theme in Pixar films, but it’s rarely explored as deeply as in Coco, which tells the story of Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez), a 12-year-old living in Santa Cecilia who wants nothing more than to become a singer and guitarist. Unfortunately for the boy, his family has banned music ever since his great-great-grandfather left his wife and child to pursue his art years ago. Told with magical realism and a range of wonderful traditional folk songs, Coco sends Miguel on a journey to the Land of the Dead, allowing Pixar’s genius animators to create one of their most dreamlike and colorful visual environments. The studio put a lot of effort into researching Mexican culture and history, adding authenticity and vibrancy to a quest narrative about redemption, understanding, and forgiveness that will be familiar to Pixar fans. It’s still heartening to see that Pixar’s braintrust, amidst sequels like Cars and The Incredibles, is still trying to give themselves new challenges.

14. Incredibles 2 (2018)

This sequel may take place right after the events of The Incredibles, but for the audience, the world of cinema has changed a lot since the first film hit theaters 14 years ago. On one hand, a superhero movie is no longer a novelty – it’s now a staple in Hollywood – but more generally, Brad Bird’s original vision of an action-packed, family-oriented animated film has been replicated by Pixar’s competitors. (The Despicable Me franchise, in particular, owes a huge debt to The Incredibles.) Naturally, Incredibles 2 can’t match the surprisingly innovative aspects of the 2004 film – even the glorious retro-cool production design and groovy score lack surprise – but it’s still a high-quality entertainment. This time, Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) has to take on the role of Mr. Mom while his wife Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter) goes on the hunt for a masked villain called Screenslaver, leading to a winning mix of domestic mishaps and comic-book heroics. Like many recent Pixar films, Incredibles 2 mostly reminds you of the company’s once-formidable talents, but it’s a nostalgic and highly enjoyable ride.

13. Luca (2021)

One of Pixar’s biggest challenges is managing expectations. When you’re known for groundbreaking animation and clever storytelling, constantly praised for being at the forefront of your field, how do you pivot and do something a bit more modest? This dilemma makes Luca an interesting exception in the studio’s catalog. The film follows two sea monster teenagers who become friends in the human world, where they can blend in as long as they don’t get wet, which is advised against as people think these underwater creatures are horrible beings deserving destruction. While other Pixar films aim to blow you away, Luca drifts on its gentle wavelength, examining male friendship and the pain of being an outsider with compassion and light-hearted laughs. It’s not the film you’d show someone who has never seen a Pixar movie, but as the company hits its fifties, it’s an encouraging sign that its filmmakers are still willing to try new tones and atmospheres.

12. Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Monsters, Inc.’s place on any Pixar films list depends on one question: How much can you tolerate Billy Crystal’s antics? If Aladdin is a freewheeling Robin Williams, this buddy comedy gave the Oscar host the chance to unleash Catskills-style humor as he portrayed the insecure partner, Mike Wazowski, who has long suffered and shown great wisdom to the lovable James P. “Sulley” Sullivan (John Goodman), who ventures into the human world to give nightmares to sleeping children. The first film from Pete Docter (who would go on to direct Up and Inside Out), Monsters, Inc. proves that you can never go wrong by pairing exasperated adult characters with an incredibly cute child (Boo, voiced by Mary Gibbs, who was only 5 years old when the film was released). Mike’s wisecracks become tiresome, but the movie moves at whip-fast pace. (The chase in the third act taking place on the conveyor belt of Monsters, Inc.’s doors is thrilling.) And, oh boy, Sulley’s final reaction is just heartwarming.

11. Finding Dory (2016)

Thirteen years after the release of the wonderful Finding Nemo, one might wonder if the audience was clamoring for a sequel. Director Andrew Stanton revisits the themes of family, loss, and reconciliation from the original to deliver another action-packed, emotionally charged comedy. The double meaning of the title – it’s Dory (once again voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) who is on a quest to find her long-lost parents and her own sense of independence – speaks to the depth of the film, which illustrates how Pixar should handle its sequels: by investing in smart and sincere stories that expand the scope of the first film without radically altering the characters’ personalities to serve tired narrative conventions. Among the new additions, a grumpy octopus voiced by Ed O’Neill steals the show in Dory, but the heart and soul of the film still lie with Stanton, who bounces back magnificently from the embarrassment of John Carter for this delightful second dive into the ocean. Also, you’ll never hear Sigourney Weaver’s voice without giggling again.

10. Up (2009)

Alright, alright, we know this ranking is lower than you might think. But take a step back and try to recall what comes to mind when you think of this film for the first time. Yes, the wondrous image of the house being lifted by balloons, and sure, perhaps the cute dog who’s always distracted by squirrels. But the plot of this movie is completely overshadowed by the heart-wrenching prologue, where we learn the poignant story of Carl and Ellie’s life together. Yes, it will make you cry – just watching it again made us cry – but in retrospect, the rest of the film is a run-of-the-mill story with a cute kid, a cute dog, and a central cast. We’re not sure the entire film needed to be as powerful as those first few minutes – we might still be crying – but take that away, and this movie is much thinner than you remember. Sorry.

9. Ratatouille (2007)

As close as Pixar gets to an art film, this tale of a rat who secretly becomes the greatest chef in all of Paris is a delight, thanks in large part to a generous heart, a spirited and Richard Dreyfuss-esque vocal performance by Patton Oswalt, and legitimately democratizing notions about art and the act of creation. It may not be as viscerally exciting as other Pixar films – the main setpiece involves impressing a food critic – but it’s funny and almost compulsively endearing. After this film – which, let’s reiterate, is a comedy about art, food, and rats in Paris – became a massive hit and won an Oscar, it seemed like Pixar could do no wrong.

8. Toy Story 4 (2019)

You can understand why so many people were worried about Toy Story 4. Pixar sequels had been experiencing diminishing returns in recent years, and Toy Story 3 ended so perfectly. Why risk the most beloved animated franchise of the past two decades? Turns out, we didn’t need to worry. Toy Story 4 may not reach the emotional heights of the third installment or have the simple perfection of the first, but it will still floor you. The story focuses more on Woody this time, but the overall theme of what it means to love and be loved is more present than ever; these films remain Pixar’s most generous and giving. And honestly, it might be the funniest movie in the entire franchise, whether it’s Key and Peele’s plush rush, Keanu Reeves’ Duke Caboom, or, of course, Tony Hale’s Forky, a surreal and existential touch that has you laughing out loud every time you see it. Did they need to make a fourth? Probably not. But you’ll be glad they did… and you’ll trust Pixar even more, should they ever decide to make a fifth.

7. Inside Out (2015)

For those missing Parks & Rec, rejoice: Joy, the lovable character voiced by Amy Poehler in Inside Out, isn’t too far from her hyper-positive and smiling Leslie Knope, running the emotional headquarters in a teenage girl’s brain as if it were her own sunny little fiefdom. Inside Out may get bogged down in a slightly overloaded plot – Joy and Sadness (a beautifully nuanced performance by Phyllis Smith from The Office) must find their way back to headquarters after getting sucked into the girl’s mind – but it’s Pixar’s smartest and emotionally purest film in years, providing plenty of learning moments for parents and kids about embracing all the emotions in life. And Bing Bong will break your heart.

6. Toy Story 3 (2010)

Ranking the three Toy Story films, which are all wonderful, is nearly impossible, and there’s been much disagreement even between the two of us. (You really can’t go wrong with any of them, but we’ve placed this one third just because the Great Escape-style plot feels somewhat familiar compared to what we’ve come to expect from these films, and because the ending feels like some sort of cruel Disney-funded Pepsi Challenge to see if adults can keep from sobbing along with their kids. Also: It’s unfair, but the fact that they made a Toy Story 4 slightly detracts from the finality of this film that made it so powerful.

5. The Incredibles (2004)

In hindsight, it was obvious that director Brad Bird was going to move on to directing live-action blockbusters: It’s the most thrilling and engaging action movie we’ve seen in American animation. If all blockbusters were like this, we wouldn’t mind a fifth Transformers film. The key to The Incredibles’ success is its economy of action: We’re introduced to an entirely new world, we meet a likable and united family, we discover the quiet dissatisfaction of parents dealing with what their lives have become, and then we witness their coming together to defeat an evil force that wants to destroy the world. All of this in under two hours, never feeling rushed or overcrowded. Take note, Marvel: you can build a world, balance a large ensemble of characters, and awe your audience without requiring them to look everything up on Wikipedia.

4. Toy Story 2 (1999)

Toy Story 2 was supposed to be a disaster. Originally conceived as a direct-to-DVD feature but pushed for a theatrical release by Disney’s Pixar bosses, who were far more satisfied with the film in progress than Pixar’s brain trust was, the sequel had to be rethought on the fly and rushed to completion, incorporating elements of the story that had been discarded from the original film. Miraculously, Toy Story 2 shows no signs of the panic that surrounded its production. Expanding on Woody and Buzz’s universe without losing sight of the characters, laughter, or emotions, this sequel deepens the themes of the original while nostalgically looking at the end of childhood. Joan Cusack shines as the voice of Jessie, the ambitious cowgirl, and her flashback sequence “When She Loved Me” remains one of Pixar’s most heart-wrenching moments in its rich history of tear-jerking scenes.

3. Finding Nemo (2003)

Director Andrew Stanton wanted to make a film set in the ocean, but he also wanted to address his own guilt-ridden memories of being an overprotective father to his young son. So, he crafted this emotionally resonant, thrilling, and visually stunning story about a nervous clownfish (voiced by Albert Brooks) desperately searching for his lost son, Nemo (Alexander Gould), with the help of a lovably scatterbrained blue tang (Ellen DeGeneres). Finding Nemo’s lessons about the importance of letting our children live their own lives are only heightened by the fact that this film can be terrifying. Stanton and his animators pack the film with a multitude of terrors – the opening is still a puzzle – while emphasizing that we must learn that instead of smothering those we love, we must release them into the scary world if they are to survive on their own.

2. Toy Story (1995)

Twenty years after Toy Story’s release, some of Randy Newman’s songs may sound a bit grating, and the animation, once cutting-edge, may appear rudimentary. Other than that, the best comedy of the 1990s remains flawless. Pixar’s first full-length feature film continues to be the blueprint for all the great films made by the studio since then: earned emotions, breathtaking action sequences, thoughtful reflections on human nature, and plenty of dizzying, clever, and silly laughs. Toy Story is so funny because, at its core, it’s a very melancholy film. Woody and Buzz’s struggle for Andy’s love evokes everyone’s fear of being replaced, as well as our common recognition that childhood innocence cannot last. As for the voice cast, it’s impeccable: Tim Allen has never been better, and even though Tom Hanks has won two Oscars, it’s very likely (and entirely appropriate) that Woody will be the role that immortalizes him.

1. WALL-E (2008)

We’ve gone back and forth on the top two, but we ultimately had to settle on this one: the most original and ambitious of all Pixar films. The first half-hour, which essentially tells the story of the planet’s destruction and the devolution of the human race without a single line of dialogue, is sheer perfection. The attention to detail and perspective is almost Kubrickian, yet it’s never cold or lacking in generosity. Then we get to know WALL-E himself, and we realize he sees humanity for so much more than what it has become and what it can be again. WALL-E is an unprecedented achievement, the absolute pinnacle of what Pixar can do. And it’s no coincidence that WALL-E also features Pixar’s greatest love story. They have never been better. This is our pick.