Movies

The 15 Best Animated Movies On Netflix Right Now

Last Updated: September 23rd

Now that Disney+ has more animated films than we know what to do with, it’s easy for animation buffs to get discouraged flipping through Netflix’s offerings, which skew heavily toward mass-produced kiddie TV programs and dire-looking CGI direct-to-video sequels. But a little digging turns up quite a few unexpected animated gems — and what Netflix’s animated offerings lack in depth, they make up for in breadth. The range of techniques and narrative approaches on display here highlights what makes the animation medium so exciting and fruitful. So here are the best animated movies on Netflix right now.

Related: The Best Adult Animated Shows On Netflix Right Now

Netflix

Canvas (2020)

Run Time: 9 min | IMDb: 6.6/10

Just because it’s run time is brief doesn’t mean this animated short from Netflix packs any less of an emotional gut punch. The story follows an aging artist who suffers a terrible loss. In his grief, he decides to quit painting, only to pick up a brush again years later after encouragement from his granddaughter.

Toho

Mirai (2018)

Run Time: 98 min | IMDb: 7/10

This Japanese anime flick was nominated for an Oscar just a couple years ago, and it’s one of the few animated adventure movies that doesn’t hail from famed animation house Studio Ghibli. With a voice cast that includes Rebecca Hall and Daniel Dae Kim, the movie follows the story of a young boy who discovers a magical garden that allows him to travel back in time to visit his ancestors in different eras, guided by his younger sister from the future.

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Netflix

The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf (2021)

Run Time: 83 min | IMDb: 7.4/10

The Witcherverse spans dozens of fantasy novels, short stories, and video games so it makes sense that Netflix is expanding its own take on the franchise with this prequel anime film that explores the early years of OG monster-hunter and Geralt mentor Vesemir. Voiced by Theo James, this Witcher seems a bit more laid-back and a lot less grunty than Henry Cavill’s silver-haired hunk but one thing both warriors have in common: their love of baths.

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Ankama Animations

MFKZ (2017)

Run Time: 94 min | IMDb: 6.7/10

This wildly-imaginative sci-fi film is based on a comic of the same name and set in a place called Dark Meat City (DMC). It follows the story of a young man named Angelino who meets a beautiful girl, gets hit by a truck, and begins seeing weird sh*t all around the city. Eventually, he becomes the target of some mysterious government agents and gets roped into an alien conspiracy ring trying to take over the planet but if the plot gets too convoluted, just marvel at the stunning visuals of this film instead because, yeah, it’s a work of art.

Beijing Enlight Pictures

Ne Zha (2019)

Run Time: 110 min | IMDb: 7.5/10

This Chinese action-packed adventure tells the story of a young boy named Ne Zha who is born from the energy of a Demon Orb and cursed to die by a lightning strike. As he learns more about his origins he begins to hone his powers, hunting his own kind until he befriends the reincarnated son of a Dragon King and finally faces his true destiny.

DreamWorks

Kung Fu Panda (2008)

Run Time: 92 min | IMDb: 7.6/10

Kung-Fu Panda has a lot going for it. Slick animation. An incredible voice cast – hello Angelina Jolie and Ian McShane. And an underdog story you can’t help but root for. Still, the best thing about this film has to be Jack Black, who voices the titular panda Po. Po is an overweight teddy bear with a pretty poor grasp on the martial arts who is mistakenly chosen as the Dragon Warrior — the only one strong enough to take on some evil bad guys who plan to destroy China. Black has a hell of a time milking the comedy of Po’s Rocky-esque road to victory for all the comedy it’s worth here which is reason enough to watch.

Netflix

If Anything Happens, I Love You (2020)

Run Time: 12 min | IMDb: 7.9/10

Another short that will absolutely crush your soul is this beautifully illustrated short film that’s been making the rounds on Tik Tok because of its heartbreaking ending. Its plot focuses on two parents struggling to move on after the loss of their child, but we won’t say anything more than that.

Netflix

The Willoughbys (2020)

Run Time: 90 min | IMDb: 6.4/10

This Netflix animated adventure sports a ridiculously-talented voice cast — think Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, and Martin Short — and a surprisingly heartwarming story about the meaning of family. The film follows the unruly Willoughby siblings who, convinced they’d be better off raising themselves, arrange for their parents to take a permanent vacation. Of course, things don’t work out the way they planned, which is where the fun starts.

Netflix

Klaus (2019)

Run Time: 96 min | IMDb: 8.4/10

Normally, Christmas movies trademarked by Netflix come with sappy romances, mistaken princesses, and Vanessa Hudgens but this original animated feature is the exception, and the best holiday flick the streaming platform has given us yet. It imagines a different origin story for Saint Nicholas, one that involves an eager-to-please postman voiced by Jason Schwartzman and an isolated, gruff Santa voiced by J.K. Simmons. The two go on a toy-making adventure together that ends up mending old wounds and bringing entire villages together. Oh, and the animation is a visual feast. Prepare yourself.

Netflix

The Mitchells Vs. The Machines (2021)

Run Time: 113 min | IMDb: 7.8/10

If The Mitchells vs. The Machines proves anything, it’s that Disney doesn’t have the animation market cornered just yet. A fun, beautifully touching ride that covers everything from our reliance on tech to familial squabbles, this film has a stacked voice cast — think Maya Rudolph, Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride — and a strong storyline to go with it. A dysfunctional brood’s road trip is upended by a robot apocalypse here and even worse — it seems this quirky, completely unprepared group is humanity’s only hope.

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Netflix

Altered Carbon: Resleeved (2020)

Run Time: 74 min | IMDb: 6.5/10

Another live-action Netflix series getting an anime spin-off, this story exists in the same universe as its Joel Kinnaman/Anthony Mackie-led predecessor. Takeshi is instructed to protest a young tattooist named Holly as the two uncover a planned coup within the Mizumoto syndicate. The plot is a bit all over the place, but the artwork and animation is top-notch.

Sony

Vivo (2021)

Run Time: 95 min | IMDb: 6.7/10

The first offering from Sony Pictures Animation studio, this colorful musical adventure sees Lin Manuel-Miranda voicing a singing kinkajou named Vivo on a mission to deliver a love song for an old friend. To do that, he’s got to sneak out of Cuba and into Florida, befriend a young girl who feels like an outcast in her community, survive the Everglades, and rediscover his own passion for music.

Paramount

The Little Prince (2015)

Run Time: 108 min | IMDb: 7.8/10

Pulled from its theatrical release mere weeks before it was supposed to hit theaters, this adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved children’s book combines several different types of animation to mixed but ultimately winning results. One’s a charming stop-motion retelling of the original book. The other’s a more familiar Pixar-ish tale of a young girl pushed too hard to succeed who meets an aged Aviator. The film’s not entirely successful, but ambition and lovely visuals go a long way.

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Paramount Pictures

Rango (2011)

Run Time: 117 min | IMDb: 7.2/10

Johnny Depp leads an impressive voice cast in this animated film about an eccentric chameleon who finds himself in the Wild West after his terrarium accidentally falls off a truck on a lonely highway. Depp’s Rango makes his way to the town of Dirt which is filled with anthropomorphic animals who’ve suffered similar mishaps. When he accidentally kills a villainous hawk who’s been terrorizing the town’s amphibians, he’s named its new sheriff. But a scheming mayor, a murderous bandit, and a mysterious drought mean he’s got his work cut out for him.

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Netflix

I Lost My Body (2019)

Run Time: 81 min | IMDb: 7.6/10

This beautifully animated French fantasy film follows the story of a young man named Naoufel, or rather, his hand which has been severed from his body and spends most of the film escaping labs and trying to get back to its owner. The film flits between the past and present, watching Naoufel’s life unfold from a young orphan to an accidental carpenter’s apprentice — which is how he lost his appendage — all while exploring themes of love, loss, and destiny.

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