Here are all the Pixar movies ranked from “Not tonight, kids,” to “Let’s fire it up!”
From its very first release—Toy Story, way back in 1995—Pixar has been an animation powerhouse. The studio has been reliably pumping out hits on an almost yearly basis ever since, and so many of them have become timeless classics. As with most kids’ movies, however, there’s a chance that if your little one falls in love with a Pixar flick, you’re going to get stuck watching it approximately 703,128 times in a row. So before you press play, you’re going to want to make sure your next family movie night includes one of the Pixar movies ranked at the top of our parental enjoyment list—but let’s be real: even the ones a little lower on this list are still going to be pretty darn good.
After all, the animation studio has a knack for creating kid-friendly fare that also appeals to adults. Whether it’s the nostalgia of Toy Story or the beautiful love story in Up, Pixar makes adults want to sit down and watch right alongside their kids. Filled with pop culture references and witty humor, Pixar films prove they can draw an adult audience with ease.
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21. Cars, Cars 2, Cars 3©Disney/Pixar
Race car superstar Lightning McQueen is on his way to the big race when he gets sidelined in Radiator Springs, a small town in the first installment of the series. Cars 2 finds Lightning and his friend Mater headed to an overseas race. Cars 3 finds an older Lightning set up against a sleeker and faster generation of race cars.
Parent Ranking: Sorry, racing fans! When it comes to ranking Pixar movies parents will want to watch, with no disrespect to Lightning McQueen, the Cars franchise isn’t likely to get mom or dad revved up about movie night—even if the kiddos are eager to speed through the whole trilogy. Mater’s voice alone is enough to make parents wish they could hit an eternal pause button, and the film’s childish plotline appeals more to kids than parents.
20. The Good Dinosaur©Disney/Pixar
What if dinosaurs hadn’t been wiped out by a cataclysmic event? The Good Dinosaur answers that question and pairs a cute dinosaur with a human boy. The two head out on an epic journey filled with themes of friendship and loss.
Parent Ranking: This dino tale is often dubbed Pixar’s first-ever box-office bomb. But with a string of absolutely beloved films under its belt, the studio had to miss the mark sometime, right? While the film does feature beautiful scenery, the tale lacks the normal adventure, humor, and joy that have become cornerstones of Pixar films.
19. A Bug’s Life©Disney/Pixar
Flik, the proverbial black sheep of his ant colony must do his best to be the hero after a group of grasshoppers take over. He goes on a mission to find a group of bugs to help him, but the bugs are circus performers.
Parent Ranking: Pixar’s second animated feature holds a special place in the hearts of many and has an Oscar nomination for Best Music, Original Musical, or Comedy Score, but it hasn’t quite had the staying power of some of the studio’s other hits. Nature-loving little ones might enjoy seeing adorable insects on screen, but grown-ups may prefer the more advanced comedic offering of Pixar’s rival Dreamworks film Antz, which was also released in 1998.
18. Finding Dory©Disney/Pixar
Clownfish Nemo’s forgetful friend Dory gets her very own film. Dory goes in search of her parents while she brings a few friends along for the ride. Featuring the voices of Bill Hader, Kate McKinnon, Albert Brooks, and Ellen DeGeneres, the animated film was nominated for a 2017 BAFTA for Best Animated Feature Film.
Parent Ranking: While Dory’s appearance in Finding Nemo was memorable, some fans felt her solo movie wasn’t necessary. Many found the film a bit dark and drawn out. Though the sequel was fine, parents will likely prefer the original flick.
17. Toy Story 4©Disney/Pixar
Buzz and Woody are back with their friends as they head out on an epic road trip alongside Bonnie and her parents. The gang gets caught up in a misadventure, and Woody is reunited with an old friend. The fourth film in the series won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film.
Parent Ranking: It’s always great to see Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang, but some fans felt the franchise should have ended as a trilogy. The fourth film felt like an attempt to eke out an unnecessary installment in the beloved series. While kids adore Forky, many parents find him annoying. They may also feel like Pixar sold out and tarnished one of their best film franchises.
Pixar returned to the Toy Story franchise with Buzz Lightyear’s origin story. Buzz and a band of merry misfits attempt to defeat aliens as they go on an intergalactic mission. The film features a new voice for the stellar space ranger, with Chris Evans stepping in for Tim Allen, who voiced Buzz in the first four installments of the series.
Parent Ranking: The adventure features a cool new sidekick, a robot cat named Sox, who provides some genuinely funny moments. While the idea of finding out where Buzz came from is interesting, the film felt a bit forced and parents may be disappointed with just how little it offers. It, like the fourth Toy Story, feels like an add-on.
15. Monsters University©Disney/Pixar
This prequel to Monsters, Inc. focuses on the origin of the friendship between monsters Sulley and Mike. They meet while attending Monsters University and don’t exactly hit it off as they navigate typical college experiences including joining a fraternity.
Parent Ranking: There’s much to enjoy about this flick, but adults might find it merely imitates—while never exactly duplicating—the magic of the original. They may also feel disappointed that the original characters do not appear in this film and may notice a hiccup between the two Monster films. In Monsters, Inc., Mike and Sulley were said to have met in fourth grade, while Monsters University contradicts this by making their first meeting in college
This Oscar-nominated, coming-of-age film features two sea monsters who become friends when they disguise themselves as humans to experience the world outside the water. They befriend a human girl and do their best not to have their true identities revealed.
Parent Ranking: The downside to watching Luca is that you’ll want to book a vacation to the Italian Riviera ASAP. The sea monster movie takes place in the fictional town of Portorosso, and even though it’s animated, the scenery is stunning. While beautiful to look at, Luca is a bit of a bore and offers less wit and originality than many of the other Pixar films.
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Two teen brothers, who also happen to be elves, go on a quest to spend one last day with their father, who died before they got to know him. After she realizes her sons are missing, their mother, Laurel, goes after them with the help of a warrior sidekick.
Parent Ranking: Despite voice work from Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, Onward is one Pixar film that doesn’t seem to get as much love. Bad timing might be to blame; the movie hit theaters in February 2020— weeks before the world was upended by the coronavirus pandemic. The film also feels uneven, with the second-half offering more of a reward than the first.
When Joe, a music teacher, and musician, dies just as he is about to get what appears to be his big break, he gets caught in the Great Before. With the help of a friend he meets there, he must find a way to get back to the life he took for granted. The film won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film.
Parent Ranking: Soul made history as the first Pixar feature to debut on Disney+, likely thanks to its pandemic-year release. It was a holiday gift for both kids and parents in 2020, dropping on Christmas Day. While not the best Pixar has to offer, adults will enjoy performances by Tina Fey and Jamie Foxx as they voice this fun and thought-provoking film that isn’t afraid to challenge both young and old to face life’s greatest questions.
Young Miguel loves music, though his family has banned it. When he gets caught in the land of the Dead, he buddies up with skeleton Hector, and Miguel finally discovers the true history of his family and their ties to music. Coco won an Oscar for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song) and another for Best Animated Feature Film.
Parent Ranking: The film features an amazing soundtrack and a moving message about love and loss, which makes Coco a hit for all ages. The voice cast is also impressive and includes Gael García Bernal, Edward James Olmos, and Cheech Marin, and is a loving tribute to Latin culture. While parents will enjoy all these things, they may also find it a gentle and non-threatening way to discuss loss with their kids.
10. Turning Red©Disney/Pixar
Tween Meilin turns into a giant red panda when she gets excited, which makes her entry into adolescence even more frightening. She discovers that she isn’t the only one this has happened to. Her helicopter mom also went through the change, thanks to an ability passed down through generations of women in her family and their strong connection to the red panda.
Parent Ranking: The words “Pixar” and “controversy” don’t usually belong in the same sentence, but this 2022 film certainly stirred up a bit. Some parents didn’t love Turning Red’s depiction of tween-age rebellion and mentions of menstruation, but plenty of others found it full of heart and humor. Parents will enjoy a nostalgic return to their tween days and just how awkward and awe-filled they were, while also commiserating with Meilin’s parents about exactly what it means to parent an adolescent.
A rebellious spirit and a love of archery make Princess Merida, unlike other princesses. While doing her best to remain true to herself, Merida unleashes a curse that turns her mother, the Queen, into a bear. Merida must figure out how to fix things and restore order to the kingdom.
Parent Ranking: Don’t call her a damsel in distress. Brave‘s Merida breaks the mold of the typical Disney princess, and parents might appreciate the respite from all that chasing after Prince Charming. Not only will modern parents enjoy the film’s twist on the princess trope, but they will also relish the film’s historical accuracy, which encompassed everything from the chess set to the tartan patterns and colors the characters wear. Mothers in particular may be pleased to see the film explore a complicated and realistic mother/daughter relationship.
When food-loving rat Remy gets caught up in the Parisian culinary scene, his dreams of becoming a world-renowned chef may be within reach. Of course, convincing people that a rat belongs in the kitchen won’t be easy.
Parent Ranking: The only time you want rats in the kitchen is when you’re watching this adorable movie. Adult viewers will enjoy the humor that comedians Brad Garrett, Will Arnett, Janeane Garofalo, and Patton Oswalt, as Remy the Rat, bring to the film. The rat shows us the beauty of following your dreams—no matter how many people try to stand in your way. The scenery is also eye-catching and makes this film worth a watch.
7. The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2©Disney/Pixar
Former superhero couple, Bob and Helen Parr have settled into life in the ‘burbs with their three children. When an opportunity to return to crime fighting presents itself, Bob will need the help of his superhero wife and kids to save the world. In The Incredibles 2, the family goes on another mission. This time Helen is out in the field while Bob stays home with the kids.
Parent Ranking: The franchise that launched a million matching family Halloween costumes is worthy of a watch. The first film came out in 2004, and a sequel arrived with much fanfare in 2018. The joy of this film is that parents will identify with the suburban malaise that settles over parents Bob and Helen Parr, who once lived exciting lives as superheroes, and how good it feels to reclaim their youthful dreams in middle age, even if it’s alongside their children. Parents will also see their own lives reflected in the Parr’s with moments pulled straight from their own homes, like the moment when Bob tries to help his son with math homework and he shouts in frustration, “I don’t know that way. Why would they change math? Math is math.”
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This futuristic adventure follows Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class (WALL-E) as he cleans up an abandoned Earth. When a new robot named Eve joins him, WALL-E falls in love and follows her back to a dystopian ship where humanity is a shell of its former self. Once there, he must find a way to save mankind.
Parent Ranking: Some have called the movie Pixar’s most adult offering ever, with almost no dialogue and a strong environmental message. It’s a testament to powerful storytelling that kids love this movie too. Adults may also enjoy how the film pays homage to many science fiction film classics like Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The robot’s cockroach companion is named Hal, after the antagonist in the 1968 Kubrick film.
5. Monsters, Inc.©Disney/Pixar
In a city filled with monsters, the screams of children provide electricity to keep the lights on. Best friends Sulley and Mike scare children, whom they believe are toxic. When a child manages to sneak into their world, they realize things aren’t exactly what the corporation they work for, Monsters, Inc., led them to believe.
Parent Ranking: Mike Wazowski and Sulley (voiced by Billy Crystal and John Goodman, respectively) are one of the most dynamic duos ever dreamt up by Pixar. The sweet film scares up laughs for the whole family. Parents, especially those plagued by nightmares as a kid, will enjoy the humor behind the monsters that go bump in the night. The movie may also serve as a way to help parents deal with the monsters their kids may be dealing with in their own rooms.
4. Finding Nemo©Disney/Pixar
Clownfish and father, Marlin warns his young son Nemo not to wander out into the open ocean from their safe home in the Great Barrier Reef. When Nemo does, he gets captured and confined to a fish tank in a dentist’s office. Nemo does his best to get free, while Marlin works with forgetful fish Dory to find Nemo.
Parent Ranking: If there’s one thing Pixar knows how to do well, it’s a tug at the heartstrings. This underwater tale does that in a big way, but thankfully, there are lots more laughs than tears. Adults will enjoy witty writing and sharp humor. Moms and Dads may appreciate seeing a variety of parenting styles represented in the film as well.
3. Inside Out©Disney/Pixar
This Oscar-winning film features a young Riley whose family’s move throws her life, and emotions into chaos. As Riley does her best to navigate her new home, her emotions do as well—from headquarters, located just inside Riley’s mind. A sequel to the film is expected to hit theaters in 2024.
Parent Ranking: The stacked voice cast, including Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, and Lewis Black makes Inside Out just as fun for the adults as it is for the kids. The film will remind adults what it was like to be a kid struggling with emotions, and parents may also discover a renewed understanding of how overwhelming youth can feel.
Carl Fredricksen is an elderly gentleman who always wanted to explore South America. He finally gets the chance when his house travels to Paradise Falls with the help of a ridiculous amount of balloons. His companion on the journey is a young Wilderness Explorer named Russell.
Parent Ranking: When it comes to ranking Pixar movies, is there a more heartbreakingly beautiful love story in all of movie-dom than Carl and Ellie’s? Both the love story and the loss when it ends, will appeal to adults. After the opening scene shatters your heart, the rest of this lovely movie will put it back together again. Adults will also enjoy the intergenerational bromance that develops between Carl and Russell, which proves there are no age limits when it comes to friendship.
1. Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3©Disney/Pixar
Toy Story and its follow-ups focus on the relationships between toys and their humans. The first Toy Story introduces a shiny new toy, space ranger Buzz Lightyear to Andy on his birthday and features the reaction of his favorite old toy, cowboy Woody. Toy Story 2 finds the gang going on a mission to save Woody from a thieving toy collector. The third installment, Toy Story 3, finds the toys inadvertently sent to a daycare instead of being stored in the attic as Andy gets ready to leave home for college.
Parent Ranking: While Toy Story 4 may not have quite lived up to its predecessors, the original three films remain the best of the best among Pixar’s offerings. The three movies have it all—plenty of action, lots of laughs, and, of course, all the feels. Keep the tissues handy, especially during Toy Story 3, which is an epic nostalgic return to the times when we needed to navigate the thin thread that separates childhood from what lies just beyond. The film also offers some unforgettable pop culture references from parents’ own childhood.