We all need feel-good films right now, and no one makes them quite like Pixar. The animation studio has made 22 feature films - with number 23, Soul, due this year - and many more short animations, including Bao, Lava, Purl and Geri's Game. Choosing a favorite isn't easy, but we made our team do it anyway.
This is the latest in a series of big questions we'll be interrogating our writers with, so share your answers and suggestions for topics with us on Twitter. (opens in new tab) Once you're done here, be sure to check out our complete list of the best Pixar movies (opens in new tab).
One of the Toy Story movies, just don’t make me choose
I wish I could pick just one, but Pixar’s consistently-great quartet of Toy Story movies makes it almost impossible. The original put Pixar on the map for good reason with its outstanding animation and instantly-iconic characters; the sequel builds on that with a more well-rounded adventure, while Toy Story 3 is a teary-eyed gut-punch like no other. Even Toy Story 4 gives us an emotional epilogue worthy of the high bar set by the franchise, complete with some of the funniest scenes in the series.
If you held a (toy) gun to my head, I’d have to say… Toy Story 2. Maybe. Just because the video game tie-in is brilliant, and the ever-anxious Rex fluking a victory over Zurg never gets old.
While it’s not a movie, it’d be remiss of me not to give a shout out to Bao, as well as the other Pixar shorts. If you haven’t seen them, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Just make sure you have some tissues nearby. Bradley Russell
The Incredibles is not your average Pixar movie. It's a family sitcom, a rousing superhero movie, and a gorgeous paean to retrofuturist Americana all wrapped up in one. It's grown up, and violent, and surprisingly dark in places. Those characteristics are part of the reason why most Pixar fans tend to have it criminally low down on their internal rankings of the studio's back catalogue, but The Incredibles idiosyncrasies are precisely what keeps the movie firmly on my regular rewatch list. Brad Bird's brain child was genuinely daring for its time, taking the Pixar spirit to constantly innovate in the animation space, and pushing the studio into radically new terrain when it had only just reached its teenage years. Oh, and there's Jack-Jack. Who doesn't love Jack-Jack? Alex Avard
Cars really revs my engine…
(Just to be clear, I like Cars in a purely platonic way, I just couldn’t think of a pithy cars-related title for this entry.)
I am aware that of all the Pixar films to declare your favourite, I’ve chosen a very superficial submission. Cars doesn’t pack the emotional punch of Inside Out, the artistry of Coco or the goosebump inducing songs of Moana.. And Toy Story is also a thing I guess.. But for me, I have the fondest memories surrounding the movie Cars. My younger brother is of the generation where Pixar = Disney, and it was one of the first cinema experiences we ever had together and one of the first Wii games we played together. Seeing him sat next to me in the cinema, with a drink as big as his head, wide-eyed and loving every minute of it, is what Disney is all about for me. Also, it may not have a ‘How Far I’ll Go’ moment but the soundtrack has Chuck Berry, Sheryl Crow and Hank Williams and I’d take that over The Rock any day… So, I’m welcome? Ellen Causey
Toy Story 3 is near perfect
Toy Story 3 shouldn't be as good as it is. Trilogy closers are rarely considered the high watermark of a series, let alone the best work to come from a studio. There are a few notable examples here and there; The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, Return of the King, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, and Return of the Jedi to name a few. But, by and large, Part 3s aren't known for being excellent.
Toy Story 3 is a phenomenal exception, managing to improve on its predecessors in every single way, from stronger laughs (Micheal Keaton's Ken is a riot) to some of Pixar's deftest storytelling. Even thinking about the furnace scene now still makes my stomach drop, as I watch some of my favorite childhood characters prepare for their time to come. To be fair, watching it in a cinema with my family, a week or so before heading off to university, probably helped cement its emotional impact. It's a tough call to make considering there's the likes of Wall-E, Bao, Monster's Inc., and The Incredibles to choose from, but none have quite matched the impact Toy Story 3 had on me. Ben Tyrer
Wall-E: the silent movie for the modern age
Imagine a film so captivating that you’re glued to its first 39 minutes despite a complete lack of human dialogue. Indeed any dialogue, other than one talking hologram and a few robot bloops. Now stop imagining it. Open your Blu-ray player. Put on Wall-E. Watch, enjoy, and consider what an astounding feat that really is, in this world of non-existent attention spans – I’ve checked Whatsapp three separate times in the 20 seconds it took you to read my first sentence – and blockbusters that repeatedly obliterate the notion of ‘show, not tell’. Selecting a favorite Pixar movie is like birthing octuplets then being told you can only keep one, but for me it has to be the tale of Eve, Mo and the ragtag automaton of the title. Because the bits with speech and language are just as delicate, and beautiful, and unmissable as their three-quarters-of-an-hour build-up. Ben Wilson
The truth hurts, doesn't it?
The problem with trying to choose the best Pixar movie is that it's a decision wrought with pitfalls. Declare that every Pixar movie released post 2007 is bad and you'll draw the ire of the internet. Suggest that Up and Wall-E have done more damage to Pixar's reputation than they have good and you'll earn the disdain of your friends and co-workers. Monsters, Inc is out of the question because I attended the London premiere as a kid – yes, it was magical and, yes, I am compromised by bias as a result. If you suggest the two obvious answers (because they are the correct ones) in Toy Story followed by Toy Story 2 you'll be accused of lacking imagination. So that leaves us with The Incredibles, Cars, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, and A Bug's Life. Well, The Incredibles made us wait 14 years for a bad sequel so that's done. I'm deathly terrified of rats so Ratatouille can go straight in the bin. I'm assuming Ellen picked Cars, so that's an automatic no. Finding Nemo is fun, but it's no Shark's Tale, so that's out of the question as well. We're left with A Bug's Life then, a film I have vague memories of being afraid of… but it's certainly better than Antz, so there you have it. Josh West
Coco - remember me...
Coco deserves to be way up the list of top Pixar movies. It's humorous and hauntingly beautiful, yes, but this is the animation studio at its most heartfelt. Set in Mexico during the Day of the Dead, it begins with aspiring musician Miguel becoming trapped in the netherworld… but ends up exploring themes of lost loved ones, the power of memory, and the harm bitterness can have on everyone around you. It's moving, and I defy anyone not to be simultaneously devastated and uplifted by the ending.
Coco is also the celebration of a culture we don't usually get to see center-stage on the big screen. The result is a magical experience that'll stay with you. Remember me indeed... Benjamin Abbott
Wall-E gets better every year
Since Ben already pointed out that Wall-E has quietly become the best (mostly) silent movie in decades, I'll take the diverging path and follow Alex's playbook by pointing out that it's also a hauntingly relevant depiction of climate collapse. The last time I watched Wall-E was on a flight last year, and even in the cramped confines of a plane chair with a roughly two-inch screen, I was struck by how the film mirrors our planet's increasingly dire situation. I hadn't seen the film since I was a teen, and I distinctly remember looking at Wall-E's ignorant citizens and villainous corporations and thinking they were comically exaggerated, that people could never possibly stoop that low. After the 100-year saga that was 2019, not so much! More people should watch Wall-E, frankly, partly because it's adorable and brilliant, but also because its message is both topical and indispensable. Austin Wood
All of them?
I'm one of those weird people that doesn't have a favorite because they're all sort of good. Except maybe Cars, because somebody explain to me how any of that works? Did they evolve? Is that the post-humanity future an Elon Musk run amok will earn us? Are they born or made? How do they reproduce? Can cars have sex? What options does a car have if it wants to go somewhere faster than its normal pace? Do they go to the dentist? Where's the gas coming from if there aren't any fossils? HOW DOES ANY OF IT WORK? Anyway, I basically like all the Pixar movies so my favorite is usually the last one I saw, which is currently Coco. Oh and the first 20 minutes of Up, as well as any of the bits with Dug in. Leon Hurley
Dug's Special Mission
Did you even know this existed? Nope nor did until I was looking through the list of Pixar films trying to decide which was the best one. Well, 4 minutes 43 seconds later I'm back and this has shot to the top of the list. It's only a short which is probably breaking the rules here but it's 4 minutes of pure Dug gold. Serving as a prequel to Up, Dug watches a rock, Dug sits in a hole, Dug goes down the hole. It is dark in hole. It's also Dug's birthday. It's a short full of laughs and it's really cheered me up. Which is probably something we all need in these strange times. I can't recommend taking five minutes out of your day to watch this masterpiece enough. James Jarvis
You can't ask me that. It's like picking your favorite puppy! BUT, fine. There's something about how Inside Out made me look inside my own mind that has stuck with me for years. It arrived at a time when I wasn't in the best place emotionally, and suddenly here were all these Emotion Monsters existing inside Riley's head with the power to manipulate how she was feeling, pushing memories forward like an elaborate mental Marble Run to make you feel better - or worse - was some powerful stuff. The idea of emotions being in control, literally tugging at the control panel in my mind has brought me a lot of comfort over the years, especially when things feel a bit too much. Plus, you can't beat all the dream chat, cute characters, amazing memory library and top-notch story.
Don't even get me started thinking about Bing Bong though, I'll sob. Sam Loveridge
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