Since I’m soon to be 25 years old, it only makes sense that I reminisce and reflect on all my favorite movies growing up. Of course, I love Disney, and a whole post could be dedicated to the amazing films they have created throughout time, but I’m not going to do that today.
Today, I am writing about 25 cartoon movies that didn’t get their fair share of fame. I want to talk about the films I loved that weren’t shrouded in princesses and “true love.”
As a child, my parents made sure I watched all the films, from Disney to Dreamworks to 20th Century Fox. Some of the movies listed here may be familiar to you, and others may not ring a bell. No matter, these childish flicks are ones I watched during my childhood and loved just as much as The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast.
1. Once Upon a Forest (1993)
A cute little mole, hedgehog, and mouse take off in an adventure and endure struggles along the way. If you have not seen this movie, you’re missing out. It’s a great introduction to how humans can negatively affect the environment and how animals are effected by our actions.
2. Scruffy (1980)
Scruffy was an ABC tv movie from 1980. It highlights the story of a little stray trying to find a home. It was given to me by my grandmother. I don’t know if you can even find a copy now. Anywho, I watched the VHS of this until the tape got eaten. That’s how much I loved it!
3. Balto (1995)
Balto is about a 1/2 wolf, 1/2 dog in Alaska. It’s based on a true story about the town of Nome. It’s a bit of a tear jerker, but Kevin Bacon and Phil Collins star as some of the voices. MUST-SEE.
4. An American Tail: Feivel Goes West (1991)
You may have seen An American Tail when you were a kid, but the second one is my favorite. It’s funnier and has a better story line, in my opinion.
5. The Land Before Time (1988)
Can someone pass the tissues? You will cry a lot when watching this film. Join dinosaurs Peatree, Littlefoot, Cera, and Duckie as they try to find the Great Valley!
6. The Seventh Brother (1995)
Did your mom order Feature Films for Families movies? If so, you may have seen The Seventh Brother. It’s about a lost puppy who is taken in by a family of rabbits. Too cute and very underrated. All families should watch it.
7. Willy the Sparrow (1985)
This is another Feature Films for Families flick. A little boy who tries to shoot birds is turned into a sparrow until he learns his lesson.
8. Thumbelina (1994)
Please tell me you’ve seen Thumbelina? It’s such a great film with fairies and animals. I love every bit of it!
9. Treasure Planet (2002)
This movie takes you to outer space and on an epic voyage across the universe. It’s a Disney film that never got its fair share of credit. The animation is beautiful and the dialogue humorous.
10. The Iron Giant (1996)
This should be a classic on everyone’s shelf. Call it a bromance, if you will. A giant from outer space is found by a little boy and they became besties.
11. Anastasia (1997)
Oh, this movie? Yes, Meg Ryan voices Anastasia in the film everyone always thought was created by Disney. Newsflash… it wasn’t and is still totally up to their par.
12. Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night (1987)
I only saw this once, but I remember liking it a lot more than the Disney “Pinocchio.” It’s quite dark, but the music is great and it’s classic 80’s style animation.
13. The Brave Little Toaster (1987)
Of course, this movie with household appliances would be underrated! But honestly, it is one of the best cartoons on this planet. They just want to find their master!
14. Cats Don’t Dance (1997)
Animals and humans live together in harmony, but the ones in showbiz are frowned upon. With comparisons to Shirley Temple and other classic actors, this movie is a great watch for adults too!
15. The Pagemaster (1994)
This movie wasn’t entirely animated, but it is all excellent. This movie emphasizes that books can take you anywhere and inspire you to be strong and courageous. Not to mention, it has Macauley Caulkin – before he got weird.
16. A Goofy Movie (1995)
This one has my favorite movie soundtrack EVER. I still listen to Powerline’s “Stand Out” and “Eye to Eye.” Max was the coolest kid around. He just didn’t know it yet. Maybe I’m biased because he was a skateboarder?
17. All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989)
This was my sister’s favorite movie. Charlie is a dog who’s also a scam artist who dies and gets a second chance. He finds a little orphan girl and uses her to make money. Seems like a legit story right? It is a must-watch. I promise you’ll like it.
18. Rover Dangerfield (1991)
Gotta love dog movies. Harvey is a city dog who gets dumped onto a farm. Voices include the great, late Rodney Dangerfield. Love it.
19. Scamper the Penguin (1987)
A little penguin gets lost and captured in the Arctic and is taken far from home. He faces great adversity trying to get back to his parents.
20. The Wind in the Willows (1995)
This was a very mature cartoon, but we watched it in school. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I hope my children will like it as well. More talking animals… Always a win.
21. Road to El Dorado (2000)
For some reason, this movie always reminds me of #22. I think it’s because they came out around the same time and have similar animation styles. I don’t know. Even still, the dialogue is hilarious, especially if you’re an adult.
22. Atlantis, the Lost Empire (2001)
Michael J. Fox and Tommy Lee Jones star in this cartoon about the lost city of Atlantis. The movie is good. The dialogue is excellent. Another underrated Disney cartoon.
23. FernGully (1992)
Ferngully is the ultimate “Save the Rainforest” movie. Full of fairies and talking animals, this film shows us the power just one seed has to change the world.
24. The Pebble and the Penguin (1995)
What is it about penguins that are so lovable? Hopefully you’ve heard of this film about the penguin that goes to search for the perfect pebble for his future mate. Of course, chaos ensues.
25. We’re Back! (1993)
Another dinosaur movie that will make you cry. I remember wanting something like this to happen in real life. The dinosaurs are fun and awesome and everyone loves them, but there’s evil afoot.
Have you seen any of these? Please let me know if you have loved these films as I have.