Some Totally Subjective Pixar Movie Rankings

In honor of The Incredibles 2 (and inspired by a post over at The Ringer), I decided to put together my totally subjective and completely biased rankings of Pixar’s twenty theatrically released films. Rankings are fun to do and fun to talk about, so here are mine.

The “what I’ve seen hasn’t been great” Section

20. The Good Dinosaur
19. Cars 3
18. Brave

These are every Dreamworks’ fans favorite Pixar movies—and that’s the nicest thing I can say about them. I put these movies in a category of their own because, in my mind, they are qualitatively different (read: worse) than the rest of the films that Pixar has produced.

Not “Not Bad”

17. Ratatouille

I’m confident that Ratatouille is better than the above films, but of all the remaining Pixar movies, it’s far and away my least favorite. (And that has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that my younger siblings practically watched it on repeat for several months.)

The Sequels

16. Cars 2
Monster University
Toy Story 2

These are enjoyable movies—I’d watch them this evening if food will somehow be involved. I watched Monsters U while in school, so maybe it’ll get better for me with age. Toy Story 2 is solid, but too easily falls into the “not as good as the original” trap to rank higher (though the Star Wars references did help it out in my book).

Too New to Accurately Rank

13. Coco
Finding Dory
The Incredibles 2

The Incredibles 2 (2018), Coco (2017), and Finding Dory (2016) are the three most recent flagship Pixar releases (I refuse to talk about Cars 3). I really like these films—but they’re too new to be ranked any higher. With time, I think any of these may move into my top ten.

Fantastic Films

10. A Bug’s Life

As a seven-year-old, the opening short (Geri’s Game) forever changed my movie watching experience and is one of the first times I remember really reflecting on what makes things funny. (The rest of the movie is great too.)

9. Cars

Cars made me pay attention to stock car racing and listen to Rascal Flatts for a time, so it’s got that going for it. Mater is what really made the movie for me, that and the solid lesson to enjoy the roads that life takes you on.

8. Up

One of the most emotional, heart-wrenching scenes ever. Which, by the way, uses no spoken words at all. Perhaps Pixar’s best four minutes of animation—and a powerful testament the importance of movie music.

7. Wall-E

Wall-E is a film that I’ve come to appreciate more and more as I’ve gotten older. Seventh place seems like the right spot for a movie that nearly every day seems more and more like a prophecy.

6. Inside Out

While watching Inside Out, I can’t count the number of times I thought to myself, “Huh, so it’s not just me who thinks that way?” This movie does a great job of translating our mental lives to the big screen. Or, as one internet use put it, it puts an end to that ever-popular question, “What if feelings had feelings?”

So Great, I’ll Stop What I’m Doing to Watch Them Again

This is one of the measuring sticks that I use to gauge how good a movie is: If I’m walking by and it’s on, am I stopping to watch it in earnest? These films almost always pass that test.

5. Monsters, Inc

This class just keeps getting better and better with each watching. John Goodman’s Sully and Billy Crystal’s Mike Wazowski are easily Pixar’s second-most iconic duo.

4. Toy Story 3

Perhaps the best sequel ever made.[1] For me, two moments sum up the storytelling power of this movie: when the characters (I can’t just call them toys!) are in the incinerator and when Andy leaves for college. Pure. Gold.

3. Finding Nemo

Moving. Creative. Funny. An accurate representation of what parents will go through for the sake of their kids. I loved Finding Nemo when it came out, and I’ve come to love it even more since.

2. The Incredibles

I first saw The Incredibles when I was 13. The story captured my attention, and was one of the first films I recall being aware of the second-level, more-for-adults humor that Pixar does such a fine job of weaving into their movies. Plus, it has the best scene of any Pixar movie.

1. Toy Story

The one that started it all—for Pixar and for millions of moviegoers around the world. Toy Story was the first movie that I remember seeing in theaters, which helped make it the first movie that was “mine” rather than something my parents put on for me. Buzz and Woody, the lessons of friendship, the captivating animation style (that still looks solid 23 years later)—Toy Story has it all.


What do you think? What films did I rank too high? What did I rank too low? Let me know in the comments section.


[1] Other acceptable answers to this question: Empire Strikes Back, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan, and The Godfather Part II (not including movies that were intended as part of a series or cinematic universe).


Published by Jacob J. Prahlow

Husband of Hayley. Dad of Bree and Judah. Lead pastor at Arise Church. MATS from Saint Louis University, MA from Wake Forest University, BA from Valparaiso University. Theologian and writer here and at Conciliar Post. Find me on social at @pastorjakestl

2 thoughts on “Some Totally Subjective Pixar Movie Rankings

  1. I was surprised by your ranking of Brave. From where I stand it was a great coming of age story with realistic daughter/family relationships .
    It teaches that there are consequences and that sacrifice/compromise can be achieved without removing the fun. What is so wrong with it?

  2. Cars 2 is too high, it’s by far the worst Pixar movie, just bad.

    Cars and A Bug’s Life are decent, but not 10 material.

    Ratatouille and Toy Story 2 are way too low, they are some of the best Pixar movies and you got them outside of the top 10. Toy Story 2 is still an amazing film, even thought 1 and 3 are arguably better. Ratatouille is also a great Pixar movie that has a touching story with a deep emotional message, Jacob. Watch them again.

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