(Photo by Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection. Thumbnail: DreamWorks SKG, Buena Vista Pictures, Fox Searchlight, Paramount Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection)

30 Best Stop-Motion Animated Movies of All Time

Tangible and physical, stop-motion animation is the art of manipulating objects and figures frame by frame, creating the illusion of fluid movement. It’s an almost atavistic art form of ours: Instinct tells us if you have a lump of clay in your hands, start making stuff out of it. Shape a chicken and a fox, mold some pirates, heck, make a movie. It’s what filmmakers have been doing for over a century, so we’re taking a look through time with the 30 best stop-motion animated movies ever made.

In this guide, we’ll come in contact with the different materials and styles used in stop motion. Clay has led to the creation of one of animation’s most enduring man-and-canine duos, Wallace and Gromit, created by Nick Park. His films and studio, Aardman, have an outsized presence in that scene, with the likes of Chicken Run and Shaun the Sheep. Paper cutout stop-motion animation is less frequently used. See it at its trippy best with Fantastic Planet, and in The Adventures of Prince Achmed, the oldest surviving animated film.

Puppet stop-motion animation has been the preferred method for venerable directors like Tim Burton (producer of The Nightmare Before Christmas), Charlie Kaufman (Anomalisa), and Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox). Anderson collaborated with Nightmare-director Henry Selick to animate the marine fauna in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; afterwards, Selick set up shop at studio Laika, where he gave them their first big hit, Coraline. Laika has been a stop-motion powerhouse since, using a cutting-edge mix of puppets, clay, and computer enhancements to fuel a string of Certified Fresh films, including The Boxtrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings.

We included only movies where stop motion is a majority of the presentation, which opened the way for James and the Giant Peach and Jan Švankmajer’s twisted Alice. So while we adore the individual creature effects by Ray Harryhausen in Jason and the Argonauts and the Sinbad movies, or ED-209 in RoboCop, and even the aforementioned Life Aquatic, you won’t be seeing them here. After we collected the 30 highest-rated movies, we sorted the list by Adjusted Tomatometer, which accounts for the movie’s number of reviews and release year.

Now, read on to discover the 30 best stop-motion animated movies!

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 66.943%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Christopher Sullivan's animated dystopia is about as far from a cartoon-for-kids as they come. Relationships among the three main characters... [More]

#29

$9.99 (2008)
73%

#29
Adjusted Score: 74.349%
Critics Consensus: Its storyline isn't as wondrous as its visuals, but $9.99 has a sophistication and handmade charm that sets it apart from the animated pack.
Synopsis: Have you ever wondered "What is the meaning of life? Why do we exist?" The answer to this vexing question... [More]
Directed By: Tatia Rosenthal

#28
Adjusted Score: 82.767%
Critics Consensus: A Town Called Panic is a raucous, endlessly creative animated romp with a quirky, adult sense of humor.
Synopsis: This unusual feature (a French-Belgian-Luxembourgian co-production) stylistically recalls the work of Art Clokey (Gumby, Davey and Goliath), with its lead... [More]

#27

The Boxtrolls (2014)
77%

#27
Adjusted Score: 83.564%
Critics Consensus: While it's far from Laika's best offering, The Boxtrolls is still packed with enough offbeat wit and visual splendor to offer a healthy dose of all-ages entertainment.
Synopsis: A family event movie from the creators of "Coraline" and "ParaNorman" that introduces audiences to a new breed of family... [More]

#26

Early Man (2018)
81%

#26
Adjusted Score: 88.064%
Critics Consensus: Early Man isn't quite as evolved as Aardman's best work, but still retains the unique visuals and sweet humor that have made the studio a favorite among animation enthusiasts.
Synopsis: In this stop-motion animated comedy set in prehistoric times, a tribe of primitive hunters are displaced from their homes by... [More]
Directed By:

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 90.562%
Critics Consensus: As can be expected from a Tim Burton movie, Corpse Bride is whimsically macabre, visually imaginative, and emotionally bittersweet.
Synopsis: Tim Burton returns to the dark but fanciful animated style of The Nightmare Before Christmas with this stop-motion black comedy.... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton, Mike Johnson

#24
Adjusted Score: 91.393%
Critics Consensus: It may not quite scale Aardman's customary delirious heights, but The Pirates! still represents some of the smartest, most skillfully animated fare that modern cinema has to offer.
Synopsis: In The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Hugh Grant stars in his first animated role as the luxuriantly bearded Pirate Captain... [More]
Directed By: Peter Lord, Jeff Newitt

#23
Adjusted Score: 91.622%
Critics Consensus: Have no fear! Mrs Claus spreads holiday cheer in The Year Without Santa, a holiday classic full of unforgettable songs and characters that stays true to the Christmas spirit.
Synopsis: In Jules Bass' puppet-animated A Year Without A Santa Claus, an elf and a young boy have to rescue Santa... [More]

#22
Adjusted Score: 87.629%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The film for this rare full-length animated feature was fully developed and shot by 1930 - just when sound was... [More]
Directed By: Wladyslaw Starewicz

#21

Fantastic Planet (1973)
91%

#21
Adjusted Score: 93.714%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Planet is an animated epic that is by turns surreal and lovely, fantastic and graceful.
Synopsis: This futuristic story takes place on a faraway planet where giants rule, and oppressed humanoids rebel against the machine-like leaders.... [More]
Directed By: René Laloux

#20
Adjusted Score: 93.984%
Critics Consensus: Arriving with light-hearted cheeriness and the best musical numbers, Santa Claus Is Comin To Town is a magical story told by charming wood-figure animation.
Synopsis: The story of how Santa Claus came to be is brought to life through the magic of stop-motion animation in... [More]

#19

ParaNorman (2012)
89%

#19
Adjusted Score: 95.731%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully animated and solidly scripted, ParaNorman will entertain (and frighten) older children while providing surprisingly thoughtful fare for their parents.
Synopsis: The new 3D stop-motion comedy thriller from animation company LAIKA, reteaming the company with Focus Features after the groundbreaking Academy... [More]
Directed By: Sam Fell, Chris Butler

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 94.993%
Critics Consensus: The arresting and dynamic visuals, offbeat details and light-as-air storytelling make James and the Giant Peach solid family entertainment.
Synopsis: A young boy's discovery of a gigantic peach triggers an eventful journey across the sea in this strikingly designed and... [More]
Directed By: Henry Selick

#17

Frankenweenie (2012)
87%

#17
Adjusted Score: 95.277%
Critics Consensus: Frankenweenie is an energetic stop-motion horror movie spoof with lovingly crafted visuals and a heartfelt, oddball story.
Synopsis: From creative genius Tim Burton comes Frankenweenie, a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#16

Missing Link (2019)
88%

#16
Adjusted Score: 94.918%
Critics Consensus: Another beautifully animated triumph for Laika, Missing Link is a visual treat with lots of humor, plenty of heart, and even a little food for thought.
Synopsis: This April, meet Mr. Link (Galifianakis): 8 feet tall, 630 lbs, and covered in fur, but don't let his appearance... [More]
Directed By: Chris Butler

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 96.189%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully animated and faithful to the spirit of its classic source material, The Little Prince is a family-friendly treat that anchors thrilling visuals with a satisfying story.
Synopsis: Kung-fu Panda director Mark Osborne teams with producers Aton Soumache and Dimitri Rassam for this animated take on Antoine de... [More]
Directed By: Mark Osborne

#14

Mary and Max (2009)
95%

#14
Adjusted Score: 96.398%
Critics Consensus: Mary and Max is a lovingly crafted, startlingly inventive piece of animation whose technical craft is equaled by its emotional resonance.
Synopsis: Spanning 20 years and two continents, "Mary and Max" tells of a pen-pal relationship between two very different people: Mary... [More]
Directed By: Adam Elliot

#13

Coraline (2009)
90%

#13
Adjusted Score: 98.923%
Critics Consensus: With its vivid stop-motion animation combined with Neil Gaiman's imaginative story, Coraline is a film that's both visually stunning and wondrously entertaining.
Synopsis: Coraline Jones is a girl of 11 who is feisty, curious, and adventurous beyond her years. She and her parents... [More]
Directed By: Henry Selick

#12
Adjusted Score: 98.544%
Critics Consensus: A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon retains the charm of its small-screen source material while engagingly expanding the title character's world.
Synopsis: What begins as an ordinary day for Shaun the Sheep (Justin Fletcher) turns out to be anything but, when an... [More]
Starring: Justin Fletcher
Directed By: Richard Starzak

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 100.964%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Mr. Fox is a delightfully funny feast for the eyes with multi-generational appeal -- and it shows Wes Anderson has a knack for animation.
Synopsis: Mr. and Mrs. Fox live an idyllic home life with their son Ash and visiting young nephew Kristopherson. But after... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 95.838%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Czech surrealist filmmaker Jan Svankmajer, who gained a reputation for his short subjects, makes his feature-film debut with Neco z... [More]
Directed By: Jan Svankmajer

#9
Adjusted Score: 101.099%
Critics Consensus: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a subtly touching and wonderfully eccentric adventure featuring Wallace and Gromit.
Synopsis: Eccentric inventor Wallace (voice of Peter Sallis) and his faithful if often perplexed dog Gromit are back in their first... [More]
Directed By: Steve Box

#8

Anomalisa (2015)
92%

#8
Adjusted Score: 102.623%
Critics Consensus: Anomalisa marks another brilliant and utterly distinctive highlight in Charlie Kaufman's filmography, and a thought-provoking treat for fans of introspective cinema.
Synopsis: A man struggles with his inability to connect with other people.... [More]

#7
Adjusted Score: 102.771%
Critics Consensus: The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stunningly original and visually delightful work of stop-motion animation.
Synopsis: Despite having recently presided over a very successful Halloween, Jack Skellington, aka the Pumpkin King, is bored with his job... [More]
Directed By: Henry Selick, Tim Burton

#6

Chicken Run (2000)
97%

#6
Adjusted Score: 103.15%
Critics Consensus: Chicken Run has all the charm of Nick Park's Wallace & Gromit, and something for everybody. The voice acting is fabulous, the slapstick is brilliant, and the action sequences are spectacular.
Synopsis: A comedy drama set on a Yorkshire chicken farm in 1950s England, the story follows the turbulent romance between Rocky... [More]
Directed By: Peter Lord, Nick Park

#5
Adjusted Score: 104.308%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: German director Lotte Reiniger spent three years making this silent animated film based on the Arabian Nights legends. The dashing... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Lotte Reiniger

#4
Adjusted Score: 104.259%
Critics Consensus: My Life as a Zucchini's silly title and adorable characters belie a sober story whose colorful visuals delight the senses even as it braves dark emotional depths.
Synopsis: After his mother's sudden death, Zucchini is befriended by a police officer, Raymond, who accompanies him to his new foster... [More]
Directed By: Claude Barras

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 105.185%
Critics Consensus: Warm, funny, and brilliantly animated, Shaun the Sheep is yet another stop-motion jewel in Aardman's family-friendly crown.
Synopsis: When Shaun decides to take the day off and have some fun, he gets a little more action than he... [More]

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 105.446%
Critics Consensus: Kubo and the Two Strings matches its incredible animation with an absorbing -- and bravely melancholy -- story that has something to offer audiences of all ages.
Synopsis: Kubo and the Two Strings is an epic action-adventure set in a fantastical Japan from acclaimed animation studio LAIKA. Clever,... [More]
Directed By: Travis Knight

#1

Isle of Dogs (2018)
90%

#1
Adjusted Score: 105.727%
Critics Consensus: The beautifully stop-motion animated Isle of Dogs finds Wes Anderson at his detail-oriented best while telling one of the director's most winsomely charming stories.
Synopsis: In this stop-motion-animated film from writer/director Wes Anderson, an outbreak of canine flu in Japan leads all dogs to be... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

Tag Cloud

2015 rom-coms E3 CMT black TruTV Disney Plus comiccon 71st Emmy Awards The Walt Disney Company Vudu TIFF crime thriller worst Rom-Com revenge asian-american SDCC slashers tv talk Food Network SundanceTV Drama Freeform Action theme song reviews Legendary Musicals MTV cars comic dark boxing BBC One ABC Family Horror Columbia Pictures emmy awards finale australia what to watch twilight romantic comedy Pride Month Lifetime Christmas movies video TCM Crunchyroll telelvision Lucasfilm facebook Amazon Prime Video HBO Max free movies Lionsgate Avengers Summer DGA spain ABC Signature justice league RT History Infographic The Witch golden globes Peacock nature comedies Superheroes unscripted Mary Poppins Returns First Reviews El Rey Winter TV OneApp biography cops rt archives Pop TV Marvel Studios FXX Year in Review screen actors guild Logo Epix Emmy Nominations dceu A&E fast and furious TCA CW Seed LGBT YA DC streaming service Broadway TCA Awards talk show AMC mockumentary independent ratings spanish language streaming 99% Paramount Plus Nickelodeon ghosts DC Universe HBO Quiz sequel spanish diversity richard e. Grant Disney streaming service Hallmark Christmas movies kaiju Tarantino Red Carpet The Purge cinemax Nominations Trailer Sundance Now History Biopics disaster Comic Book discovery A24 PlayStation natural history stoner composers Creative Arts Emmys best Grammys series laika police drama Character Guide cartoon Anna Paquin 20th Century Fox criterion YouTube Funimation comics Teen social media zombie Heroines Spike Watching Series Britbox breaking bad adaptation Spring TV Adult Swim Netflix deadpool Awards dc CNN indiana jones Star Trek Sci-Fi werewolf Turner Classic Movies Music Sony Pictures rotten ID documentaries TBS CBS Film Festival concert based on movie Brie Larson HBO Go Writers Guild of America Warner Bros. a nightmare on elm street Television Academy Disney cults Women's History Month Schedule animated VICE 2019 National Geographic Captain marvel children's TV king kong japanese Nat Geo vampires festivals travel monster movies jamie lee curtis Extras sequels parents BBC America TV One blaxploitation documentary Certified Fresh christmas movies Fox Searchlight remakes Pet Sematary name the review Binge Guide Spectrum Originals crime drama WGN screenings Superheroe dragons jurassic park Calendar Apple rotten movies we love mission: impossible comic books satire joker NYCC Sundance TCA Winter 2020 TV renewals hidden camera The Arrangement Film Ellie Kemper 72 Emmy Awards Apple TV Plus golden globe awards thriller Paramount Network south america President Polls and Games 2020 robots Hear Us Out cancelled TV shows spy thriller popular MCU Pirates singing competition award winner Animation WarnerMedia docuseries Reality Competition psycho razzies Rocketman spinoff Interview Toys news BET video on demand Tumblr Opinion Marathons TV women NBC Rocky Elton John elevated horror Country Comics on TV 2021 Netflix Christmas movies Holidays X-Men Universal romance football spider-man space Ghostbusters Election Masterpiece die hard Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Alien toronto Starz Super Bowl Marvel Countdown trailers pirates of the caribbean Fantasy prank Thanksgiving crossover fresh Cannes TNT renewed TV shows See It Skip It SXSW child's play medical drama quibi doctor who dogs Box Office television Tomatazos miniseries Western boxoffice Ovation Fall TV ITV Chernobyl directors Comedy Central DirecTV game show Amazon Prime chucky Amazon Studios VOD historical drama Disney+ Disney Plus superhero Fox News Walt Disney Pictures nbcuniversal FX halloween mutant political drama American Society of Cinematographers worst movies Emmys Family game of thrones psychological thriller Amazon Academy Awards franchise period drama hollywood Hallmark GLAAD venice Showtime Turner james bond 24 frames anthology zombies Paramount Discovery Channel Best and Worst LGBTQ The Walking Dead aliens BET Awards Syfy Sneak Peek toy story Black Mirror reboot Martial Arts IFC Reality Crackle ABC book Mary Tyler Moore binge versus 2017 YouTube Red godzilla Kids & Family IFC Films Classic Film harry potter Chilling Adventures of Sabrina supernatural zero dark thirty adventure Marvel Television E! Holiday TCA 2017 cancelled sports APB cancelled television Photos critics serial killer DC Comics Lifetime foreign politics stand-up comedy Stephen King archives Tubi dramedy 2018 green book TLC science fiction San Diego Comic-Con italian kong Video Games strong female leads superman hispanic halloween tv war indie crime 45 kids PaleyFest Oscars Exclusive Video Disney Channel Christmas witnail Valentine's Day cats scorecard Musical blockbusters Comedy Esquire Rock Mudbound Set visit Cartoon Network Mary poppins USA Network casting FX on Hulu MSNBC Baby Yoda docudrama Podcast Cosplay First Look Endgame cancelled TV series all-time teaser VH1 4/20 nfl PBS 007 stop motion Hulu TV Land hist sitcom BAFTA Bravo canceled TV shows true crime canceled films ViacomCBS blockbuster New York Comic Con classics GIFs Shudder batman movies cooking RT21 scary movies YouTube Premium 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards USA Pixar OWN Sundance TV obituary Winners universal monsters french Travel Channel Shondaland BBC Acorn TV festival Mindy Kaling Television Critics Association 21st Century Fox latino sag awards anime Dark Horse Comics CBS All Access movie technology Pop ESPN Arrowverse Trophy Talk Premiere Dates Black History Month Awards Tour GoT transformers Trivia Apple TV+ FOX Song of Ice and Fire Mystery The CW The Academy 2016 Star Wars