Sharing is caring!

Last Updated on July 12, 2023 by Jella Erhard

Looking for some of the most immersive and awe-inspiring animated movies for adults? Then you’re at the right place because you’ll find here everything from classics, new hits, and indie darlings to Oscar winners from around the world.

RELATED: Wanderlusty Animated Movies & Series On Netflix

Looking for something really special or weird? Don’t worry, we got your back. These imaginative animated movies not only have unique visuals but also one-of-a-kind stories and brilliantly crafted characters and are from some of the most talented and singular film creators from all over the world.

With the help of our list, you can discover the best animated movies for adults since 1957 from not only the USA but Russia, France, Japan, Spain, Ireland, Australia, Portugal, and even Hungary.

These animations are all great pieces of cinematic art and are all highly praised and acknowledged by professionals and movie fans alike.

PIN ME for later

animated movies for adults

Best Animated Movies For Adults Since 1957

*Disclaimer: Some links on are affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase we may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for your support, you’re awesome! =)

17| Pinocchio Directors: Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson (2022, Mexico, USA, France)

pinocchio poster best animated movies for adults

Pinocchio is 2022’s most breathtaking, highly emotional, and deeply immersive stop-motion movie adults will surely love; probably even more than younger audiences. Fans can go on an unforgettable journey with their favorite puppet and experience this beloved tale a bit differently.

While the story has mostly the same characters and has the same story beats as the original tale in this version Pinocchio comes alive in a much eerier and more dangerous world. However, this story is not without bright, charming, and inspiring moments that turned this new classic into one of the most atmospheric tearjerker movies.

This beguiling animated movie’s main story is set during the second world war in Italy. During his adventures, Pinocchio not only has to learn important lessons about love, loss, death, and disobedience but has to also find a way to evade the soldiers of the fascist Italian army who want to use him as one of the child soldiers.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio explores darker and more painful themes than the original tale but does it with an awe-inspiring style. At its heart, it’s a wonderful and hopeful tale about individualism, the importance of unconditional love, and imperfect but loving father-son relationships that are so rarely portrayed in such a touching and profound way in cinema.

16| Cat City (Macskafogó) Director: Béla Ternovszky (1986, Hungary)

Cat City - hungarian animated movie for adults

Cat City is undoubtedly one of Hungary’s most beloved and best animated movies and is also one of the few you can find in English language or with subtitles. It’s a charming and funny adventure in the year 80 AMM (After Mickey Mouse) on planet X. The story follows a group of crime-syndicated Cats as they try to erase the Mouse-population once and for all.

With its unique animation style, great jokes, and engaging story Cat City is definitely one of the least internationally known but absolutely hilarious and weird in a good way animated movies for adults.

15| HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE (Hauru no ugoku shiro) Director: Hayao Miyazaki (2004, Japan)

howl's moving castle - best animated movies for adults

The story is captivating and wondrous. The animation is breathtaking, the colors are magical.

Hayao Miyazaki is one of my favorite directors and animators of all time. His most well-known work is probably Spirited Away. Which is also a gorgeous piece that won a well-deserved Oscar for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards. Still, Howl’s moving castle just sneaks right in the bottom of your heart and moves in for long term.

After Sophie has a rather unfortunate meeting with the evil Witch of Waste, she befriends the wonderful Wizard Howl, his pupil Marukuru, and Calcifer the fire demon whose powers help Howl’s castle move. They soon bond and try and help each other to break the spells they have to bear.

If you love to read you should check out the book as well from
Diana Jones Wynne 

14| CORALINE Director: Henry Selick (2009, USA)

coraline - best animated movies for adults

Coraline is a beautiful, eerie, and inspiring stop-motion animated movie.

Coraline a little dark but wonder-filled story, with fantastic world building and unique characters. I hope Henry Selick will create another masterpiece such as Coraline. It’s definitely one of the gloomiest but also the best animated movies based on books out there.

Coraline accidentally discovers a door in her home that leads to an alternate world, where her parents, her friends, and even her neighbors are talking and acting the way she pleases.
Everything is fun until she realizes that her Other Mother wants to keep her there forever. She needs to use all her bravery, smarts, and resources to get out of this parallel world.

If you love to read you should check out the book as well from
Neil Gaiman

13| THE LITTLE PRINCE (Le Petit Prince) Director: Mark Osborne (2015, France)

the little prince 2015 - best animated movies for adults

The Little Prince was one of my favorite books growing up and still one of my favorites. This beautiful animation helps you live through this magical experience one more time with a little twist.

The Little Prince is about an elderly, quirky aviator and his precocious friend. They embark on a journey together, where they learn about friendship, imagination, sincerity, and even grief as she rediscovers her childhood and learns that it’s human connections that matter most.

If you love to read you should check out the book as well from
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

12| WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE (Omoide no Mânî) Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi (2014, Japan)

when marnie was there best japanese animated movies for adults (Small)

When Marnie was there is probably the most melancholic animation on the list. This one is another perfect Studio Ghibli movie.

Although, the story has supernatural elements it deals with serious and easily relatable issues, such as overcoming isolation and deeply-rooted awkwardness. Beautifully animated, with heartfelt characters, story, and a soundtrack list you’re going to download straight away. Hailee explores a long-abandoned villa and meets a mysterious blonde girl only she can see.

Ghibli movies are also famous for their amazing OSTs. If you want to listen to some Beautiful anime songs that will make your heart pound stronger you should follow the link.

11| APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD (Avril et le monde truqué) Directors: Christian Desmares, Franck Ekinci (2015, France)

april and the extraordinary world - best french animated movies for adults (Small)

A lovely, French movie about a genius orphan girl, her talking cat, and her parent’s mysterious death. She has to use all her knowledge if she wants to figure out what happened to her parents and escape a similar end.

The animation is just charming, the characters are eccentric and it has whimsical yet powerful story. It’s not only for steampunk lovers but they will surely appriciate the most the stunning art style since April and the Extraordinary World is one of the best animated steampunk movies of all time. The story is fun and it’s filled with dark mysteries and epic adventures as well as with all the science and magic that Paris can offer in a steampunk world.

10| ERNEST & CELESTINE (Ernest et Célestine) Directors: Benjamin Renner, Vincent Patar, Stéphane Aubier (2012, France)

ernest & celestine - best french animated movies

Ernest & Celestine is probably the cutest and the most charming animation on the list. It’s about an unlikely friendship between a mouse and a bear. This warm story is not just about friendship but honesty and acceptance.

It’s a sweet and funny animated movie that adults will appreciate greatly.

You might also like

9| SONG OF THE SEA (Amhrán na Mara) Director: Tomm Moore (2014, Irish)

song of the sea - best irish animated movies for adults

Song of the Sea is about Irish myths and legends. They sure created a magical world that pulls you in, keeps you entertained and curious till the end.

It’s about Ben discovering that his mute little sister Saoirse is a selkie who must find her voice and free supernatural creatures from the spell of a Celtic goddess. So they embark on a journey to find their way back to home.

It’s one of the most beautifully hand-drawin animated movies with a wholesome and feel-good story that’s perfect for the whole family.

8| THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE (Les Triplettes de Belleville) Director: Sylvain Chomet (2003, France)

The Triplets Of Belleville - best french animated movies for adults

There is hardly a dialogue in The Triplets Of Belleville but it doesn’t mean that the movie can’t speak volumes. I’m a big fan of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. This fact probably played a significant role in falling in love with this movie. Has a blend of dark and glamour in it, with quirky characters, fabulous sound design, and eccentric details.

And of course lots of laughs.

A sweet elderly lady becomes involved in an international intrigue when her grandson is kidnapped and taken abroad. Joined by her faithful dog, Bruno, Souza embarks on a journey to find Champion (his grandson) and stumbles across unlikely allies in the form of three sisters who are veterans of the vaudeville stage. Tracking down Champion’s criminal captors, the quartet of old women use their wits to win the day.

7| CHICO & RITA Directors: Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal, Tono Errando (2010, Spanish)

Chico & Rita - best animated movies for adults

Havanna, New York, Paris, and Vegas. Love, heartbreak, passion & Jazz. Chico & Rita has it all!

A Cuban pianist becomes smitten with a sultry singer, leading to a passionate but star-crossed romance that reaches across six decades.

6| BOY AND THE WORLD (O Menino e o Mundo) Director: Alê Abreu (2013, Brazilian.)

Boy And The World - lesser known animated movies

Boy And The World is colorful, visually thrilling, and joyous. Yet, angry and depressing enough so that the viewer can deeply resonate with the story and characters while being swept away by this original, dreamy world.
A little boy goes on an adventurous quest in search of his father.

5| THE SNOW QUEEN (Snezhnaya koroleva) Directors: Lev Atamanov, Nikolay Fyodorov (1957, Russia)

The Snow Queen 1957 Russian animated movie

The Snow Queen is a Russian delight from the 50’s. The animation is lovely and it has the old timey fairy tale feeling from the beginning till the end. Nothing really socially or morally important behind the lines but it’s a true feel-good tale with charming animation.

Hans Christian Andersen’s story about a girl’s quest to find a kidnapped friend in an evil queen’s icy abode. When the Snow Queen, a lonely and powerful fairy, kidnaps the human boy, Kay, his best friend Gerda must overcome many obstacles on her journey to rescue him.

4| THE SECRET OF KELLS Directors: Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey (2009, French-Belgian-Irish)


A truly stunning artwork mixing together the present and the past and the modern with the mythical world. The Secret of Kells is a mesmerizing tale with a wondrous soundtrack.

A young boy in a remote medieval outpost under siege from barbarian raids is summoned to adventure when a celebrated master illuminator arrives with an ancient book, brimming with secret wisdom and powers.

3| COCO Directors: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina (2017 United States)

coco - most beautiful animated movies for adults (Small)

Beautiful, unique with a great, engaging story and it also has plenty laugh out loud moments. Coco, a vibrant fantasy-adventure, tells the legend of a young aspiring musician Miguel. 

After Miguel confronted with his family he decides to still a legendary (dead) musician’s guitar and accidentally enters the land of the dead where he has to find his great-great-grandfather if he wants to return to the world of the living.

Coco is full of heart, great characters, and stunning visuals. If you haven’t watched this beautiful Mexican Day of the Dead holiday-inspired masterpiece than you definitely should on your movie night.  

2| Your Name (Kimi no na wa) Director: Makoto Shinkai (2016, Japan)

your name movie - japanese animated movies for adults

Your Name is a tear-jerking love story through time and with a surprising twist. The visuals are breathtaking and with beautiful soundtracks that will land on your favorite anime music list. This intimate romance will test your patience as you watch the movie and keep thinking about “will they or won’t they” situation?

The two main characters will make you laugh & cry and I bet that after watching this anime you’ll be searching for other works of Shinkai. The Good news is that he has other quality animes and mangas to keep you entertained.

1| MARY AND MAX Director: Adam Elliot (2009, Australia)

mary and max movie - best animated movies for adults

One of my all-time favorites! Mary & Max is about a young Australian girl’s and an elderly man’s unique and deep friendship. Their relationship develops into friendship soon after they become penpals.

It’s a beautiful tale about two lonely, incomplete souls who somehow make a genuine connection.

The art is darling and it’s stop-motion which makes the movie’s vibe even more distinctive and unique.

Mary and Max is one of the darkest and funniest must watch best animated movies for adults.

What’s on your list?
Thank you for reading!

Best Animated Movies

PIN ME for later

best animated movies (1)