Sharing is caring!

Last Updated on March 9, 2024 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.

PIN ME for later

animated movies for adults

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.

RELATED: Wanderlusty Animated Movies & Series On Netflix

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.

Best Animated Movies For Adults Since 1957

*Disclaimer: Some links on AsianaCircus.com are affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase we may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

17| Pinocchio

pinocchio poster best animated movies for adults

Directors: Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson

2022, Mexico, USA, France

Watch It On Netflix

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)

Cat City - hungarian animated movie for adults
(1986, Hungary)

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)

howl's moving castle - best animated movies for adults

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
2004, Japan

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video

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

You might also like: Best Unique Studio Ghibli Gifts

14| CORALINE

coraline - best animated movies for adults

Director: Henry Selick
2009, US

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video

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)

the little prince 2015 - best animated movies for adults

Director: Mark Osborne
2015, France

Get The DVD on Amazon

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)

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

Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
2014, Japan

Watch in on Amazon Prime Video

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)

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

Directors: Christian Desmares, Franck Ekinci
2015, France

Watch in on Amazon Prime Video

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 a whimsical yet powerful story. It’s not only for steampunk lovers but they will surely appreciate 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)

ernest & celestine - best french animated movies

Directors: Benjamin Renner, Vincent Patar, Stéphane Aubier
2012, France

Watch in on Amazon Prime Video

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: UNIQUE GIFTS FOR BOOK LOVERS

9| SONG OF THE SEA (Amhrán na Mara)

song of the sea - best irish animated movies for adults

Director: Tomm Moore
2014, Irish

Watch in on Amazon Prime Video

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)

The Triplets Of Belleville - best french animated movies for adults

Director: Sylvain Chomet
2003, France

Watch in on Amazon Prime Video

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

Chico & Rita - best animated movies for adults

Directors: Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal, Tono Errando
2010, Spanish

Watch in on Amazon Prime Video

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)

Boy And The World - lesser known animated movies

Director: Alê Abreu
2013, Brazilian

Watch in on Amazon Prime Video

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)

The Snow Queen 1957 Russian animated movie

Directors: Lev Atamanov, Nikolay Fyodorov
1957, Russia

Get the DVD on Amazon

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

SecretofKellsPosterFINAL_new.indd

Directors: Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey
2009, French-Belgian-Irish

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video

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

coco - most beautiful animated movies for adults (Small)

Directors: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina

Publication: 2017, United States

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video

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)

your name movie - japanese animated movies for adults

Director: Makoto Shinkai
2016, Japa

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video

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.

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

mary and max movie - best animated movies for adults

Director: Adam Elliot
2009, Australia

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video

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 pen pals.

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 animated movies for adults.

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