Best Animated Kids Movies – For Adults!

I’m a big fan of animated kids movies from the past couple of decades, including Pixar-style movies. The combination of outstanding eye candy, genuinely funny (and sometimes hidden) witty family jokes and the use of characters who seem to be more human than many people I know has converted me into an avid kids movie buff.

I’m almost 40 years old and the Shrek movies are my favourites. Yes, I have shed a tear or two over such adult blockbusters as Titanic (1997) and was amused by the interesting art house French filmmaking in Amelie (2001), but with animated kid's movies, they never seem to get old or dated. Plus, who doesn’t love a happy ending and a magical soundtrack every time to leave you feeling upbeat?

Since real life is unlikely to intervene and grant me the ability to fly or marry me off to a romantic and sensitive millionaire, I have been enjoying some lazy and pleasant evenings with these movies, and getting a “feel good” factor when times are down and boyfriends depressingly absent. The weird thing is that I have yet to meet a guy who will sit through an animated movie with me, but in the words of the famous Neverending Story, “that’s another story…”

These top kids movies that adults will love are pretty effective as entertainment. If it’s a choice between serious political candidate infighting docu tv-series, late night thingamabobby sales shows or police dramas where no one knows whodunit without a forensic kit from the future, I simply chuck on a kid’s movie to unwind. They’re easy. They’re good for the soul. They’re also good for solo Friday night dancing and karaoke sessions at home too, as I can attest. Grab a big bag of triple butter popcorn and a friendly pillow and settle in with these beauties.

Princess Uni Kitty is very very cute but looks funny when she gets angry.
Princess Uni Kitty is very very cute but looks funny when she gets angry.

The Lego Movie

If you ever wanted to watch a movie that is like being on drugs, but without physically taking any, watch this!

For the first 10 minutes you will be going “What is this crap?” but please persevere. Beyond the Lego transformer villain in the cave awaits an amazing Lego world, where thousands of hours of psychedelic, animated Lego creations have been put together for your entertainment.

You will be treated to fascinating Lego Lands such as The Old West and Cloud Cuckoo Land. Batman proves to be a most annoyingly shallow character, while the surprise appearance of Chewbacca will give you a laugh. I quite liked the transformer-leftover pirate and Princess Uni Kitty was a very cute character that was slightly bipolar (understatement).

I liked this movie so much, I was still watching through all the credits at the end. And if you can get the song “Everything Is Awesome” out of your head for the next few days, please comment below and let me know how it is done.

Verdict: Watch when you don’t know what to watch, when you feel like partying and can’t, or when you are too lethargic to watch anything.

Construction site where Emmet works in Bricksburg.
Construction site where Emmet works in Bricksburg.
Blu and Jewel share a moment on the dancefloor.
Blu and Jewel share a moment on the dancefloor.

Rio & Rio 2

If you haven’t seen Rio yet, go get it and get ready to feel the nightclub experience like a 20 year old again. There’s romance, drama, great beats, breathtaking Rio scenery and some nasty villains which get beaten to a pulp.

Rio is essentially about a macaw bird (Blu) who is accidentally thrust into adventures in Rio de Janeiro. Blu is unsure of himself, a bit afraid of what’s about to happen etc. It’s kinda like watching a journey out of puberty or the solution for a midlife crisis, only more meaningful than other movies on the subject.

Blu of course finds a babe bird to chase (Jewel) and the plot follows the usual method of boy bird convincing girl bird that he’s utterly fantastic and villains getting their appropriate comeuppance. Did I mention there’s lots of really cool dancing? And that the scenery is good enough to make you forget the plot because it’s just sooooo beautiful?

Verdict: Watch this if you are a Singleton wanting to feel “normal” (whatever that is) again. Or if you are too broke, sick or tired to go out on a Friday or Saturday night. Seriously, it’s the nightclub people who will be missing out while you’re watching this!

Example of the breathtaking scenery in the Amazon jungle (where about half the movie is set) in Rio 2.
Example of the breathtaking scenery in the Amazon jungle (where about half the movie is set) in Rio 2.
Who could forget the funny balloon scene in Shrek 1?
Who could forget the funny balloon scene in Shrek 1?

Shrek 1, 2, 3, 4, and however many more they end up with…

I know, I know, I had to include it because it’s my favourite. I’ve always had a soft spot for medieval stuff and in Shrek, olde world is produced in perfection, with all of the naughty bits thrown in for a adults.

The characters! The scenes! The love problems! Puss in Boots is a particularly sexy character and you can’t help but feel sorry for the poor Gingerbread Man (Gingy).

Princess Fiona is a spectacular and empowering version of a woman without society-imposed curves, who is half in the kitchen and half karate-chopping villains to bits or singing birds into feather bombs.

You can’t help but wish Shrek was a bit more awake, but he is also a very earthy person with a big heart underneath the muddy crust. The Shrek movies are great because they tackle many of life's common problems in a fairytale land.

Verdict: Watch it to learn more about being a real man or real woman. Or watch it if you like adventures or medieval stuff.

The kingdom of Far Far Away, introduced in Shrek 2.
The kingdom of Far Far Away, introduced in Shrek 2.
Mike Wazowski on his first day at Monsters University.
Mike Wazowski on his first day at Monsters University.

Monsters Inc & Monsters University

The struggle of Mike and Sulley to fit in wherever they go seems to replicate my own life, but since they always seem to learn something important AND make it to a successful next step by the end of each movie, it gives nerds like me a chance to feel pretty hopeful.

You’ll enjoy these Monsters because even if you can’t relate to them personally, they have problems that most people in the world know someone has.

If nothing else, Henry J. Waternoose III might remind you of your ugly capitalist boss or the giant Librarian may seem like a nitpicky old twit that you’ve met. It’s entertaining film, with some seriously brilliant alien species acting like humans in full monster regalia.

Verdict: Watch this when all hope seems gone. Or if your inner nerdy dork teenager needs a hug. Or if you just want to veg out and let someone else do the thinking for a change.

There's loads of wacky monsters to meet in both Monsters Inc and Monsters University.
There's loads of wacky monsters to meet in both Monsters Inc and Monsters University.
Grug turned out to be a big cat person.
Grug turned out to be a big cat person.

The Croods

Looking for a bit of armchair travel to a prehistoric caveman land? Then this is the movie for you! Not only do you get to see wondrous vistas filled with vicious alien species chomping on the local fauna, but you also get to see massive tectonic land plate shifting, followed by rapturous earth instability and destruction.

I like this movie because the characters are funny (in a disgustingly prehistoric and disturbingly unkempt way) and they actually managed to make the inevitable learning curve for kids quite witty and exciting.

The character of Gran provides kids with a lot of insights into old age they probably wouldn’t see every day. DreamWork's interesting scenery will keep you entertained while the characters go through hell and back to provide the obligatory happy ending we all crave so much.

Verdict: Good armchair travel movie. Something a bit different. Watch if you are very, very bored and are looking for thrills.

The Croods - disgusting, hungry, rough cavepeople who need to make it to a new land in a hurry.
The Croods - disgusting, hungry, rough cavepeople who need to make it to a new land in a hurry.
Mr & Mrs Potato Head are quite amusing.
Mr & Mrs Potato Head are quite amusing.

Toy Story 1, 2, 3 and Toy Story Of Terror

The Toy Story characters are hilarious, from Mr Potato Head (who constantly loses all his parts) to the wimpy Rex dinosaur and Buzz Lightyear, the amazingly deluded action astronaut who doesn’t know he’s a toy.

Toy Story 1 is an excellent movie for kids as the young ones really believe that toys can come alive when humans aren’t present. But it’s also fun for adults to watch because there are lots of interactions that remind you of office politics or of human socialising in general. There’s some funny moments that everyone can relate to – the Barbies are quite crazy and the strange toy inventions of Sid, the next door neighbour are freaky.

You might be familiar with many of the funny quotes to originate from Toy Story, such as “To infinity and beyond!” (Buzz Lightyear), “How do you spell FBI?” (Rex), “Look, I’m Picasso!” (Mr Potato Head) and “Ride like the wind, Bullseye!” (Woody). There's also a 30 minute mini Halloween spin off called Toy Story of Terror which is worth seeing too.

Verdict: Watch with the kids for guaranteed enjoyment. Or watch for your Friday or Saturday night movie when you want something to remember.

Toy Story characters in Toy Story 3. The green little alien "children" are my favourites!
Toy Story characters in Toy Story 3. The green little alien "children" are my favourites!
Lightning McQueen.
Lightning McQueen.

Cars 1 & 2

Looking for something amusing when you’re bored on a Sunday afternoon? Cars 1 and Cars 2 have a cast made entirely of cars.

There are lots of dorky jokes about car parts, sponsorship and advertising, but you don’t have to be into cars to enjoy Mater teaching Lightning McQueen how to roll tractors in a field at midnight.

Plus, the characters and setting of Radiator Springs are inspired by real Route 66 people and places, with wild accents included. Cars 1 was the last independent movie to be made by Pixar before it was bought out by Walt Disney.

Cars 2 is a spy thriller with lots of glitter and glitz – James Bond style. Set in Japan and Europe, Mater features again as the lovable friend and many new car personalities are met along the way. Definitely different!

Verdict: Watch when bored or when you need something to entertain families at your place. Good to fill in a long Sunday afternoon.

Cars 1 Official Trailer

Marlin and Dory undertake a long journey to find Nemo.
Marlin and Dory undertake a long journey to find Nemo.

Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo is a young children's favourite, but adults like it because of the beautiful marine scenery and the interesting characters met along the way.

The storyline is pretty basic - Nemo the young clown fish is stolen from the ocean and placed in a dentist's office and has to find his way home to the reef. Nemo's frantic father, Marlin, pairs up with Dory who suffers from short term memory loss and they both go searching for Nemo, with lots of adventures along the way.

You'll enjoy the marine landscapes, the dentist scenes, the Sharks Anonymous meetings, the turtle rides, the deep sea monsters and many more. The graphics are stunning, as always from Pixar, and there are quite a few jokes to amuse adults as well as the kiddies.

Verdict: Watch with very young kids or when you want to be transported somewhere else for a few hours. Or if you don't want to go to the dentist.

School on the reef.
School on the reef.

Vote Now!

Which movie or movie series did you like best?

  • The Lego Movie
  • Rio
  • Shrek
  • Monsters Inc & Monsters University
  • The Croods
  • Toy Story
  • Cars
  • Finding Nemo
See results without voting

Happy Watching!

There’s lots of other really good movies for adults and kids, such as A Bug’s Life, Antz, Up and Wall-E. I’ve just featured the ones I like the most above. Kids movies are great to get away from the daily grind and boring television.

Do you have a favorite kids animated movie not featured above? Comment below and share the love!

© 2014 Suzanne Day

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Comments 29 comments

Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Hi Suzanne, I'll admit this to you but don't tell anyone. I love kids' animated movies. I haven't seen all these but have seen the Toy Story series, Shrek I and II and both Cars as well as Finding Nemo, so I can't comment on the others yet, but I'll get there. Others I loved are Robots,(my favourite), How to Train a Dragon, Rango, Up, Gnomeo and Juliette...etc. I also like things like Wallace and Gromit "Tale of they were Rabbit" and "Chicken Run". There I admitted it, loved this hub. Voted up.

Suzanne Day profile image

Suzanne Day 2 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Author

Thanks Jodah, there are some wonderful movies out there! I haven't seen Gnomeo and Juliette but I have seen the others and they are all good. I forgot about Chicken Run too. I can't believe some of these movies are over 12 years old....feeling old until I watch them again ;)

Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 2 years ago from Manhattan

I love animated movies too! I wish they would make more like Shrek that was awesome. Nothing like a great movie on a rainy day to chase your blues away!

BeyondGS profile image

BeyondGS 2 years ago from Ohio

Pretty much all Pixar and Disney movies are great, but I personally was surprised by the Croods. DreamWorks can have some good movies but that was in my opinion one of their better ones. Good hub! Rated up!

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Lady and the far my favorite animated film. It's like all things in's hard to improve on perfection. :)

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

I haven't seen too many of these because my child is too "mature" now for animated flicks, however this is a great list for when my nieces and nephews come to visit. I like how they now interweave "layers" of humor for both kids and adults into the movies. Great hub!

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

I love the Lego movie. We recently saw The Croods and laughed through the entire movie. It was surpringly good and well done.

goatfury profile image

goatfury 2 years ago from Richmond, VA

Toy Story, for me, really opened my eyes to the thought that these movies were made just as much for adults as for kids. There were far more jokes for the parents in that one, and as a consequence, I actually wanted to see it again after seeing it in the theater!

ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

Kids animated movies are a delight to watch and I have watched many of them along with my kids.

You have mentioned some of my favorites. Nice, interesting and informative hub! Voted up!

SheGetsCreative profile image

SheGetsCreative 2 years ago from Seattle, WA

Had to vote for Nemo as my fav. I recently saw The Croods and laughed all the way through it. Great list!

Suzanne Day profile image

Suzanne Day 2 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Author

Thank you to everyone who has responded so far! To be honest, I'm astonished there are so many people who like to watch kids movies (I thought I was the only one - silly me), though since the graphics in the latest movies keep getting better and better, maybe I shouldn't be surprised. Looks like I'll have to work on a list of pre-1990 animated movies at some point in the future too ;)

Paula Atwell profile image

Paula Atwell 2 years ago from Cleveland, OH

From this list, I definitely like Nemo the best. Most of the rest, not so much. Now if you were doing TV shows, I love Phineas and Ferb.

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

You know--my kids are grown and I still watch these! Great hub!

DealForALiving profile image

DealForALiving 2 years ago from Earth

#1 has to be the movie Up. The first 10 minutes are as heartbreaking and beautiful as you'll ever see in a movie. Wall-E is a treat for adults too.

Suzanne Day profile image

Suzanne Day 2 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Author

Good comments from you all! Yes, I thought about putting Up and Wall-E in my hub but they are a little older. I agree they are both great movies for kids and adults alike.

WriterJanis profile image

WriterJanis 2 years ago from California

I also still love animated movies. The Shrek movies were so fun, I liked the musical, too.

Cari Kay 11 profile image

Cari Kay 11 2 years ago

My favorite kids' movies are Wall-E, Up and Frozen. I can watch those over and over with the family.

vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 23 months ago from Peru, South America

Wow, I didn´t realize we watch so many cartoons, but we have seen all of these! I would have to say it´s a tie between Shrek 1 and Finding Nemo. I love the humor that only adults would understand.

DDE profile image

DDE 21 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

I enjoyed watching Open Season and have watched it three times.

Vellur profile image

Vellur 17 months ago from Dubai

I love animated movies too! Great list and have watched and enjoyed all of them. Great hub, thank you for sharing and voted up.

vasantha  T k profile image

vasantha T k 17 months ago from Bangalore

Liked the beautiful pictures, Amazon picture is amazing. I have not watched the kids' movie. I will try to watch.

georgescifo profile image

georgescifo 17 months ago from India

Watching Lego movies is one of my favorite time pass and would love to watch in any number of times.

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 17 months ago from sunny Florida

Right on....I am a huge fan of Toy Story...have a very large collection of toy storyanalia including a 5 foot Woody. Nemo too is another favorite.

Great hub. voted up++++

Angels are on the way to you this evening ps

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 16 months ago from Houston, Texas

I voted for Shrek but loved Finding Nemo and Toy Story also. I have not seen all the ones you mentioned but I also like the old Disney ones like Bill mentioned when he said Lady and the Tramp was his favorite. Too many of those to mention! You are correct in saying that these are all "feel good" movies that bring smiles to faces and tunes to hum. Up votes and happy to share.

Suzanne Day profile image

Suzanne Day 16 months ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Author

Hi All, Big Hero 6 is also a good adult and children's movie - it's all about inventions and has a Japanese flavour.

colorfulone profile image

colorfulone 16 months ago from Minnesota

Susanne, this has been so helpful to me. The only movies on here that I have seen are Shrek and how I love those movies. I'll take you up on some of the other ones you recommend sometime when I cannot find anything I want to watch on Netflix. - Thank you!

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 15 months ago from Northern California, USA

I think we have the same heart for movies made for children. Except for the Lego Movie, I have seen all of these movies several times. I don't know why I haven't seen the Lego Movie yet, but thank you for the idea. I'll look for it on Netflix.

Suzanne Day profile image

Suzanne Day 15 months ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Author

Thanks Marlene, there's been some great new movies since these but I haven't had time to update them. Big Hero 6, Minions and a few other ones come to mind. There seems to be a great trend of kid/adult (kidult) movies around at the moment and they are fantastic to watch!

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 14 months ago from Home Sweet Home

i love shrek the most, my son loves the cars

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