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30 Best Animated Movies On Hulu [September 2021]

With animation, all things are possible. Without any of the limitations imposed by physical reality, filmmakers can let their imaginations go absolutely crazysauce in whichever style of story they choose. Even if we disregard the vast history of animated films and focus exclusively on what's available on Hulu, we can see a catalogue that ranges from dystopian cyberpunk to CG fairy tale satire and iconic staples of children's media, with quite a few other stops in between. 

Animation's got something for everybody ... unless you definitely need to see live actors. Then we can't help you.

Updated on September 15, 2021: When it comes to colorfully animated, (mostly) family-friendly movies, Hulu is constantly changing the offerings in its catalog. In order to keep things current, we'll be updating this list each month so you can stay informed on all the animated action happening over on Hulu.

100% Wolf

Put the "Twilight" sequels in a blender with one or two of the numerous children's movies about talking dogs, and the resulting concoction might resemble this whimsical Australian production. The heir apparent to a secret society of werewolves unexpectedly transforms into a poodle, then embarks (pun intended) upon an amusing journey alongside his fellow English-speaking pooches.  

  • Starring: Loren Gray, Adriane Daff, Jane Lynch
  • Director: Alexs Stadermann
  • Year: 2020
  • Runtime: 89 minutes
  • Rating: PG

Abominable

The story might lift an element or two (or several) from "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," but the American-Chinese coproduction "Abominable" glides to respectability via an accomplished voice cast — also including Sarah Paulson and Eddie Izzard — and an instantly endearing kid-friendly monster. A Guardian critic who did not enjoy "Abominable" describes it as a "sweet, harmless, giant-kitten ball of white fluff," which ... sounds like a completely enjoyable viewing experience, actually?      

  • Starring: Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai, Tenzing Norgay Trainor
  • Year: 2019 
  • Runtime: 97 minutes
  • Rating: PG 

The Adventures of Tintin

Astonishingly enough, Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Steven Moffat, and Edgar Wright all worked on this movie. This fact alone makes it worth our attention, if only to find out what occurs when this particular set of sci-fi/fantasy luminaries go in on a family-friendly, CG adventure romp with pronounced "Raiders of the Lost Ark" energy.  

  • Starring: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Year: 2011
  • Runtime: 107 minutes
  • Rating: PG

Afro Samurai: Resurrection

In his untouchable career, Samuel L. Jackson has conquered gritty crime thrillers, superhero movies, and films concerning large numbers of serpentine reptiles appearing on airborne travel vehicles — so naturally, he's also an anime star. A follow-up to the 2007 "Afro Samurai" miniseries, "Afro Samurai: Resurrection" leans much harder in the direction of "Pulp Fiction" than anything to do with an Avenger Initiative, so parents take note — that "MA" rating is not an exaggeration. 

  • Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Lucy Liu, Mark Hamill
  • Year: 2009
  • Runtime: 90 minutes
  • Rating: MA

Akira

Right up there next to "Blade Runner" and "The Matrix" on the list of most influential cyberpunk films in history, "Akira" is an utterly engrossing onslaught of mind-melting visuals and an essential watch for folks with any fondness for high-concept sci-fi. It's got sociopathic biker gangs, a shadowy authoritarian government, grotesque body horror, a telekinetic antichrist, and a profoundly creepy teddy bear; plus, it's one of the only established genre IPs that Hollywood cannot seem to remake despite its best efforts.     

  • Starring: Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama
  • Director: Katsuhiro Ohtomo
  • Year: 1988
  • Runtime: 124 minutes
  • Rating: R

A Boy Named Charlie Brown

Charlie Brown is bad at baseball, a poor speller, and largely unsuccessful in romantic endeavors. But despite his many faults, his notoriety among American-made fictional characters is surpassed only by the likes of Batman, Darth Vader, and, uh ... his dog, Snoopy. 

The first cinematic foray of the "Peanuts" gang landed in the late '60s, but it might as well have been last week. Charlie Brown is timeless. Who can't relate to constant uphill battles, low self-esteem, and the looming suspicion that your animal companion is constantly upstaging you?  

  • Starring: Peter Robbins, Pamelyn Ferdin, Glenn Gilger
  • Director: Bill Melendez
  • Year: 1969
  • Runtime: 85 minutes
  • Rating: G

Dr. Seuss: The Cat In The Hat

Dr. Seuss's immortal saga of a boring, rainy afternoon interrupted by a rhyming, singing, anthropomorphic feline might not pan out so hot as a live-action project, but its status as a certified cartoon classic remains intact. Naturally it's splendid for kids, and better yet, this "Cat in the Hat" incorporates surrealism and stream-of-consciousness that should appeal to adults adhering to a certain chemical-consumption regimen.

  • Starring: Allan Sherman, Daws Butler, Pamelyn Ferdin 
  • Director: Hawley Pratt
  • Year: 1971
  • Runtime: 30 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A

Charlotte's Web

Since we had to learn death exists, we suppose Hanna-Barbera's musical adaption of E.B. White's 1952 novel was one of the least traumatic potential starting points for our comprehension of mortality. We don't mean to overstep, but if you're a parent or guardian planning to show this to the wee ones, do us a solid and tell them beforehand that Charlotte dies? A few of us haven't fully recovered from that surprise twist.      

  • Starring: Debbie Reynolds, Paul Lynde, Henry Gibson
  • Director: Iwao Takamoto
  • Year: 1973
  • Runtime: 93 minutes
  • Rating: G

The Congress

There's more than a little live action in "The Congress" — a cautionary sci-fi mediation on celebrity and superficiality — but it takes a hard turn into a fully animated constructed reality after approximately 50 minutes. Robin Wright plays "Robin Wright" — the fading star of "The Princess Bride" — who funds treatments for her ailing son by selling her digital image and identity to a Hollywood studio. We suspect Disney corporate executives watched this and took notes.    

  • Starring: Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Jon Hamm
  • Director: Ari Folman
  • Year: 2014
  • Runtime: 122 minutes
  • Rating: NR

Corpse Bride

If you're in the mood for "The Nightmare Before Christmas" but don't want to think about any specific seasonal holiday, Tim Burton's other Academy Award-nominated stop-motion goth romance is your best bet. "Corpse Bride" reunites Helena Bonham Carter with frequent collaborator Johnny Depp, as well as her far less frequent but equally notable colleague, Joanna Lumley of "Absolutely Fabulous." Carter makes a brief but memorable cameo in a 1994 episode of the indispensable British sitcom.     

  • Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Emily Watson
  • Director: Tim Burton, Mike Johnson
  • Year: 2005
  • Runtime: 76 minutes
  • Rating: PG

The Croods: A New Age

Catching up with the cave-dwelling family introduced in 2012's "The Croods," this 2020 sequel garnered slightly better reviews than its predecessor, and includes 100 percent more Peter Dinklage and Kelly Marie Tran. The eponymous family must adjust to encroaching modernity and traverse eye-catching, vibrant CG environs. Meanwhile, prehistoric beasts provide amusement or antagonism, depending on the species and circumstances.    

  • Starring: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds
  • Director: Joel Crawford
  • Year: 2020
  • Runtime: 95 minutes
  • Rating: PG

Dr. Seuss on the Loose

Are you resistant to trying new things? Specifically, do you relentlessly push back against encouragement to sample oddly hued breakfast platters? Are you acquainted with a compact fellow named Sam-I-Am, and do you think poorly of this individual? Then, sir or madam, you have problems. Put "Dr. Seuss on the Loose" into your eyeballs posthaste, and learn the error of your ways...   

  • Starring: Allan Sherman, Hans Conried, Paul Winchell
  • Director: Hawley Pratt
  • Year: 1973
  • Runtime: 25 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: N/A

Fairy Tail The Movie: The Phoenix Priestess

On one hand, when people say they don't like anime, they're essentially talking about endeavors like "Fairy Tail...The Phoenix Priestess." And sure, fine, maybe not every element of the manga adaptation is wildly original, the plot occasionally wanders into incompressibility, and the casual sexualization of its characters is a little problematic. But if you're hunting for escapism stuffed with swords and sorceries, you could easily do worse.     

  • Starring: Tia Lynn Ballard, Colleen Clinkenbeard, R. Bruce Elliott
  • Director: Masaya Fujimori
  • Year: 2012
  • Runtime: 85 minutes
  • Rating: NR

Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie

Part of a well-received cluster of late-2010s Nickelodeon revival projects, "Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie" sends its football-headed hero on a quest to find his mysteriously vanished mom and dad. Though near-universally praised, it'll probably strike a deeper chord with viewers who were age-appropriate for the original "Arnold" run from the '90s and early '00s.  

  • Starring: Mason Vale Cotton, Benjamin Flores Jr., Francesca Smith
  • Director: Raymie Muzquiz, Stuart Livingston
  • Year: 2017
  • Runtime: 90 minutes
  • Rating: PG

Ice Age

Proof that Pixar didn't completely dominate the market for CG family fare in the early '00s, "Ice Age" crosses "Three Men and a Baby" with a prehistoric nature documentary and a modest Hollywood animation budget. The subsequent years have yielded a handful of "Ice Age" sequels and spinoffs, but none so far meet the standard set by the original. 

  • Starring: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary
  • Director: Chris Wedge
  • Year: 2002
  • Runtime: 81 minutes
  • Rating: PG

The Lorax (1972)

We shouldn't stand by every line he ever drew — his estate sure doesn't — but Dr. Seuss deserves our admiration for somehow placing an explicitly anti-capitalist, pro-environment allegory on network television in the midst of Richard Nixon's America. The original "Lorax" is perhaps the most prescient of all Seuss stories — as the oceans rise and climate disasters batter the coasts, today we see a Once-ler hive mind debate real-world Loraxes on a routine basis. 

  • Starring: Bob Holt, Athena Lorde, Hawley Pratt
  • Director: Hawley Pratt
  • Year: 1972
  • Runtime: 25 minutes
  • Rating: G

Missing Link

Proof that horrendous box office performance is no indication of quality, "Missing Link" provides Hugh Jackman a chance to showcase his underutilized creative timing alongside Zach Galifianakis in an update on the adventure genre template. Explorer Sir Lionel Frost (Jackman) is charged with escorting Mr. Link (Galifianakis) on a quest to find other members of his species in Shangri-La — a location that doesn't exist in the real world, but might exist in the "Missing Link" shared universe?      

  • Starring: Hugh Jackman, Zach Galifianakis, Zoe Saldana
  • Director: Chris Butler
  • Year: 2019
  • Runtime: 94 minutes
  • Rating: PG

Ninja Scroll

While not a transcendent piece on the level of "Akira" or "Neon Genesis: Evangelion," "Ninja Scroll" is absolutely one of the first anime a generation of genre aficionados remembers renting on VHS, back when VHS rentals were a thing. Some of its shock value elements seem questionable in hindsight (content warning for sexual assault) but "Ninja Scroll" remains viable for its artful execution of quick 'n bloody fight sequences, and its bleak rendering of feudal Japan.    

  • Starring: Koichi Yamadera, Emi Shinohara, Takeshi Aono
  • Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri
  • Year: 1993
  • Runtime: 90 minutes
  • Rating: NR

The Polar Express

While "The Polar Express" started an awkward phase of Robert Zemeckis' career that basically entailed making CG versions of stories that arguably didn't require the treatment, we'll take Tom Hanks in a sentimental iteration of Chris Van Allsburg's mesmerizing book over Jim Carrey's Ebenezer Scrooge any day. Plus, whereas there are plenty of other versions of "A Christmas Carol," this remains the only onscreen "Polar Express" in the game.  

  • Starring: Tom Hanks, Michael Jeter, Nona Gaye
  • Director: Robert Zemeckis
  • Year: 2004
  • Runtime: 100 minutes
  • Rating: G

Shaun the Sheep Movie

Are you tired of characters constantly gabbing and yakking throughout the runtime of whichever movies they're appearing in? Then you may be delighted to know that not a syllable is uttered throughout "Shaun the Sheep Movie." You'll hear plenty of "baaahs," of course — but no pesky words. This chronicle conjured up by the same folks behind the "Wallace and Gromit" features finds wool-covered weirdos dashing through a city, and seems to resonate with adults just as much as the wee ones.   

  • Starring: Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Omid Djalili
  • Director: Mark Burton, Richard Starzak
  • Year: 2015
  • Runtime: 85 minutes
  • Rating: PG

Shrek

A certified cultural phenomenon and continuing influence on cinematic fairy tales, "Shrek" drags up a handful of moldy old clichés, spins them around, and retells them from an ogre's point of view. By racking up almost half a billion at the box office, "Shrek" satirizes Disney so effectively that Disney itself might've felt a challenge to modernize. It's not crazy to speculate that without the irreverence of "Shrek," we might've never seen the self-actualized princesses of "Frozen."    

  • Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz
  • Director: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson
  • Year: 2001
  • Runtime: 89
  • Rating: PG

Shrek 2

"Shrek 2" — often credited as the best effort of the series — builds on the first film's potential for palace intrigue, and adds Antonio Banderas to the cast as Puss-in-Boots. Just like all kitty cats, Puss-in-Boots is an unstoppable badass assassin.  

  • Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz
  • Director: Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon
  • Year: 2004
  • Runtime: 92 minutes
  • Rating: PG

Snoopy Come Home

Charlie Brown has a dog who can use a typewriter and is also a master surfer. Basically, he gets to live with this creature who has literal superpowers, but all he ever does in complain. Maybe Charlie Brown deserves to be miserable. But forget him — luckily for the rest of us, the ongoing musical adventures of the "Peanuts" gang continue in "Snoopy Come Home," the critically lauded sequel to "A Boy Named Charlie Brown." 

  • Starring: Chad Webber, Robin Kohn, Stephen Shea
  • Director: Bill Melendez
  • Year: 1972
  • Runtime: 80 minutes
  • Rating: G

Space Jam

Through a well-informed adult lens, "Space Jam" is essentially a sneaker commercial and an easy payday for Bill Murray barely disguised as a movie. But for some millennials, it's a cornerstone of their childhoods. And if folks want to celebrate an cultural artifact from a carefree period in their lives, who are we to judge? Come on and slam, and welcome to the jam, friends...  

  • Starring: Michael Jordan, Wayne Knight, Bill Murray
  • Director: Joe Pytka
  • Year: 1996
  • Runtime: 87 minutes
  • Rating: PG

Storks

Andy Samberg voices a baby-delivering bird in this Warner Bros. effort that pulls high marks for splashy animation and a wide range of supporting voice cast star power. Perhaps the script could've used another draft, but if you wanted to watch "Citizen Kane," you would watch "Citizen Kane." If you watch "Storks" it's because you're in the company of children who require a distraction, and if Key and Peele show up as cartoon wolves for a few scenes, that's only a deal sweetener.  

  • Director: Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland
  • Year: 2016
  • Runtime: 83 minutes
  • Rating: PG

Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale

Fair warning — without any pre-existing familiarity with the "Sword Art Online" (SWO) light novels, manga, or anime, "Ordinal Scale" may render you instantly lost in the wilderness of franchise mythology. On the bright side, Hulu also supplies the SWO series, which we'll oversimplify as a "Matrix"/"Ready Player One"/YA hybrid. Ergo, if one wishes to make sense out of "Ordinal Scale," the necessary context is very available.  

  • Starring: Haruka Tomatsu, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Ayana Taketatsu
  • Director: Tomohiko Ito
  • Year: 2017
  • Runtime: 120 minutes
  • Rating: NR

Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation

In terms of Warner Bros.-produced children's comedy cartoons from the 1990s sporting an ensemble cast and non-serialized, anthology-style storytelling, "Animaniacs" pretty much eats "Tiny Toon Adventures" for lunch. But let's not allow the relative inferiority of "Tiny Toons" to overshadow "How I Spent My Vacation" — a worthy source of nostalgic chuckles for grown-up '90s kids.

  • Starring: Charlie Adler, Jonathan Winters, Edie McClurg
  • Year: 1992
  • Runtime: 79 minutes
  • Rating: NR

Trigun: Badlands Rumble

The lone feature-length film entry of the "Trigun" franchise, "Badlands Rumble" presents us with an anachronistic sci-fi setting in the spirit of old school Hollywood Westerns. Naturally, it's loaded with outlaws and trigger-happy knuckleheads with absurdly awesome names like "Vash the Stampede," "Millions Knives," and "Dominique the Cyclops." Best viewed after consuming the 26-episode anime which, conveniently enough, you can also find on Hulu.  

  • Starring: Shô Hayami, Tsutomu Isobe, Masaya Onosaka
  • Director: Satoshi Nishimura
  • Year: 2010
  • Runtime: 90 minutes
  • Rating: NR

Trolls World Tour

For some arbitrary reason, society tells us children need to know about colors, numbers, and what noises animals make. We've neglected to address the necessity of teaching kids the differences between genres of music ... until "Trolls World Tour." 

Thanks to this film, which picks up where "Trolls" leaves off, today's youngsters won't have to wait until college to learn that metalheads can be narrow-minded, country music fans should be approached with caution, and every techno DJ is exactly the same.     

  • Starring: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Rachel Bloom
  • Director: Walt Dohrn
  • Year: 2020
  • Runtime: 91 minutes
  • Rating: PG

Wakko's Wish

Formerly the final hurrah of "Animaniacs" until the oddball '90s afterschool staple returned in 2020, "Wakko's Wish" entails a seemingly downtrodden Wakko Warner scrounging to afford surgery younger sister Dot needs quite urgently, apparently. But we can assure you, this film's plot synopsis makes it sound much more dire than it is. "Wakko's Wish" is actually a whole bucket of silliness and shenanigans, to tell you the truth.   

  • Starring: Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Tress MacNeille
  • Director: Liz Holzman, Tom Ruegger, Rusty Mills
  • Year: 1999
  • Runtime: 80 minutes
  • Rating: NR