The 5 Stop-Motion Animation movies you have to see

I actually wish I could have included the underrated "Shaun the Sheep," but, alas, we'll have to settle with these 5 landmarks of stop-motion animation. With Wes Anderson announcing his next film, Isle of Dogs, will be using stop-motion, we figured it would be a good time to look back at the very best that stop-motion animation has offered us over the years. This isn’t a new technique by any stretch of the imagination. Stop-motion animation has been in use for decades, notably in 1933’s King Kong, which had animator Willis O’Brien creating the aforementioned monster-sized ape out of a model with movable limbs. Here are ten movies that advanced the technique and made unequivocally beautiful art out of it.


Wes Anderson had just finished making The Darjeeling Limited when he embarked on an ambitious adventure: adapting Roald Dahl’s classic The Fantastic Mr. Fox into a feature film. The decision to make it using stop-motion animation turned out to be an inspiring one. George Clooney voices the titular Fox, a character so dedicated to helping his family survive that he decides to go on a heist, robbing three of the biggest farmers around. The pi├Ęce de resistance is the Apple Cider farm which ends the film on an exuberantly high note and features one of the best chase scenes ever, uh, animated. The soundtrack is impeccable, the screenplay is witty and fun, and the voice acting is tremendous with a who’s who of actors: the aforementioned Clooney, Meryl Streep as Mrs. Fox, and Bill Murray as Clive Badger.

2. CHICKEN RUN (2000)

Chickens run amok! What better way to start this list than with the 2000 gem about the leader of a flock of feathered birds (Mel Gibson) trying to get out of the horrid conditions of their farm. If time runs out they’re going to be chicken pie, which is actually what the farmers make out of these chickens. Yikes. It’s The Great Escape, poultry style, with an added dash of British wit. How can you go wrong with that? A pre-scandal Gibson works up his charm and stop-motion animation filmmaker extraordinaires Peter Lord and Nick Park seem to be having a blast creating visual miracles with the animation.


When it comes to Christmas counter-programming on television during the holiday season, it’s really hard to top Henry Selick’s classic, The Nightmare Before Christmas. The story of Jack Skellington from Halloween Town, who opens up a portal and discovers Christmas Town, dedicated to a holiday that invokes new feelings and ideals within his scary, skeletal heart. It’s an imaginative romp with the the most creatively grotesque characters imaginable. Produced by Tim Burton, the film has the same gothic, darkly humorous feel as many of his films. It’s a sort of ode to dread, darkness, and holiday spirit. How much more Burton-esque can you get?


At the time of this movie’s release, Wallace and Gromit were well-known in the U.K. for their kooky antics on TV, but mainstream American audiences were first introduced to the duo via The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, a visually stunning and imaginative stop-motion masterpiece. The tale of a cheery British man and his sly, silent, but surprisingly smart dog radiated the screen with enough genius and wit that it scored an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature. In this adventure, the duo accidentally create a Frankenstein-like rabbit that terrorizes the town. The visual miracles that spring forth are splendidly devised, all thanks to Nick Park and Steve Box.

5. CORALINE (2009)

If you haven’t heard of Coraline, you’re missing out. With a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature, it’s one of the most uncompromisingly breathtaking animated movies you will ever see. It’s also one of the scariest. The film tells the tale of a young girl who finds a door to a parallel world where people have buttons for eyes, and has visuals that can give you the most intense of nightmares. Based on the Neil Gaiman book of the same name, the movie captures the darkly magical, but sinister style that made Gaiman’s masterpiece such a cherished treat.

Originally written for ScreenRant