50 Greatest Anime Movies of All Time You Must Watch

When we talk about animation lots of things come to mind, like Tom and Jerry, Snowwhite or maybe Lion King. Associating the animation movies with children’s stories has become the industry standard. In Japan, things are a little different. Term Anime is short for Animation and outside of Japan people associate Anime to Japanese cartoons and animation. Japan has a very specific style of animation. Their characters are vibrant, colorful and full of energy. In this article, we are listing the highest-rated and greatest anime movies of all time. Anime movies that you must watch even if you are not a fan of animation movies.

Although these anime movies were created with the younger audience in mind but even after so many years, these stories are still relevant today. In the early days, appreciating the local form of storytelling was tough. Currently, with so many streaming options it is easy to get access to these hidden gems. So if you are looking for some niche and awesome stories to watch this weekend or during the lockdown, here are some of the greatest anime movies to watch.

 

Greatest Anime Movies Worth Watching till 2020

 

1. Ninja Scroll

best anime movies of all times - Ninja Scroll

Year – 1993

IMDB – 7.9

Rotten Tomatoes – 93%

Ninja Scroll was released in the theaters in 1993. This anime movie was directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri. This movie became a huge success in the world for its R-rated themes, amazing story, and direction.

Ninja Scroll is kind of a cult classic. It is the story of a Ninja named Jubei, who is fighting demons to save Japan. This movie has received good critical and user reviews. You will love this anime movie if you are a fan of R rated movies with lots of graphic violence.

Watch on Amazon

 

2. Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the fireflies

Year – 1988

IMDB – 8.5

Rotten Tomatoes – 98%

Grave of the fireflies is one of the greatest anime movies ever produced. Released in 1988 in Japan this movie quickly became very popular among viewers. It is the story of a young boy and his little sister struggling to survive in Japan during world war II.

There have been a lot of movies on world war II but this anime movie shows the real gruesome image of destruction and death of world war II. Grave of the Fireflies is among the greatest war anime movies ever produced in Japan.

Stream on HULU

 

3. My Neighbour Totoro

My Neighbour Totoro

Year – 1988

IMDB – 8.2

Rotten Tomatoes – 94%

Two girls move to the countryside to be with their mother who is ill. They encounter some unexpected adventures in the nearby forest. This movie highlights the joy of childhood imagination.

Character and storyline is very realistic and would take you on an adventure. This movie was directed by Hayao Miyazaki. This movie has gained so much popular reviews from critics and users.

Stream on Netflix

 

4. Akira

Akira 1988

Year – 1988

IMDB – 8

Rotten Tomatoes – 90%

Akira is the most popular Sci-fi anime movie of all time. This movie was released in 1988 and is the story of a teenage biker. If you are a fan of post-apocalyptic cyberpunk kind of films you will love this.

Akira was directed by Katsuhiro Otomo. This movie is also based on the manga by the same name. This movie is also among the IMDB’s top 250 films. In other words, you can say that Akira is one of those anime movies that you must watch at least once. if you talk about the design, character, intense action and story, this anime movie has it all.

Watch it for Free on Archive.org

 

5. Ghost in the shell

Ghost in the shell

Year – 1995

IMDB – 8

Rotten Tomatoes – 96% 

Ghost is the shell is a 1955 anime movie based on the manga by the same name by Masamune Shirow. This movie was directed by Mamoru Oshii and it became a cult classic. Scarlett Johansson’s movie by the same name was also based on this anime movie.

A female cyborg, Motoko is searching the meaning of her existence and being what she is. If you haven’t watched the Scarlett Johansson’s live-action movie, you skip it and must watch this amazing sci-fi anime series.

WATCH THIS ANIME MOVIE ONLINE

 

6. Spirited Away

Spirited Away

Year – 2001

IMDB – 8.6

Rotten Tomatoes – 97%

Spirited Away is an anime fantasy movie released in 2001. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki is one of the highest-rated anime movie from Japan. It is the story of a 10-year old girl Chihiro and her parents came across an amusement park. Her parents are turned into pigs and she meets mysterious creatures, witches, gods and spirits.

This movie is often hailed as the greatest anime movie of all time. 

Stream on Netflix

 

7. Castle in the Sky

Castle in the sky

Year – 1986

IMDB – 8

Rotten Tomatoes – 96%

Castle in the Sky follows the story of two kids, princess Sheeta and Pazu. They have the magic crystal and their race against pirates to reach the last floating city.

This movie was written and directed by legendary Hayao Miyazaki. This anime movie was inspired by Gulliver’s Travels. Voice-over, action, and story in this movie is really amazing.

Stream on Netflix

 

8. Paprika

paprika 2006

Year – 2006 

IMDB – 7.7

Rotten Tomatoes – 84%

 

Paprika is considered the greatest anime movie of this century. In the movie, a device is created which allows therapists to enter the dreams of their patients. When the device is stolen, Dr. Atsubo and her dream alter-ego Parika go on to catch the thief.

This movie has so much influence that Christopher Nolan‘s Inception was loosely inspired by this awesome anime movie. Since this movie is dubbed as the greatest anime movie of all time you must consider watching this.

Watch on Amazon

9. Howl’s Moving Castle

howl's moving castle

Year – 2004

IMDB – 8.2

Rotten Tomatoes – 87%

A young woman is cursed by a witch and she now has an old body. Amazing graphics, awesome story and direction make this anime movie very special. Although bizarre flying castle doesn’t make sense but the visuals are so pleasing that you don’t mind it.

READ  52 Inspiring Movies for Women To Encourage Her to take on the world
Stream Online

 

10. Perfect Blue

perfect blue

Year – 1997

IMDB – 8

Rotten Tomatoes – 78%

Perfect Blue is one of the best thriller anime movies of all time. It is the story of a pop-singer-turned-actress, her life turned upside down when she is stalked by an obsessed fan. If you are a fan of thriller movies you must consider watching this awesome anime movie.

GET IT FROM AMAZON

 

11. Cowboy Bebop: The Movie

cowboy bebop the movie

Year – 2001

IMDB – 7.9

Rotten Tomatoes – 64%

This is yet another greatest sci-fi anime movie that you must watch during the weekend. It is the story ofCocku Spike who is a space bounty hunter. This movie is a genre-defining movie that has a kind of cult following.

This movie was directed by Shinichiro Watanabe. Many people don’t know this but this movie is based on the original TV series of the same name. If you are a fan of westerns cowboy movies, you must not miss this one.

Watch Online

 

12. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Year – 2006

IMDB – 8.3

Rotten Tomatoes – 88% 

This movie is among the best time travel movie and one of the best time-travel anime movies of all time. It is the story of a highschool girl Makoto, she acquires the power to time travel. She goes back in time for her own benefits to make her life better, but as with all the time travel movies, there are problems.

Not only her life gets disrupted, but everyone around her also gets affected by this. This anime movie was directed by Yasutaka Tsutsui.

Stream Online

 

13. The Wind Rises

the wind rises 1

Year – 2013

IMDB – 7.8

Rotten Tomatoes – 88%

Not all anime movies are about fantasy or fiction some of them are based on real events. The Wind Rises is the story of Japanese aerospace engineer Jiro Horikoshi who developed the airplanes for Japan during World War II.

This anime movie is directed beautifully and you will love the progression of the film. It is among the must-watch anime movie for any movie fan.

Watch Online

 

14. Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz

endless waltz

Year – 1998

IMDB – 7.8

Rotten Tomatoes – 89%

Who doesn’t love robots, cyborg and ultimate champions? This anime movie is the final chapter of the successful tv series. If you are looking for some action-packed sci-fi anime movie, this should be your pick. The plot of the movie is also really awesome.

Watch Online

 

15. Your Name

Your Name

Year – 2006

IMDB – 8.4

Rotten Tomatoes – 98%

 Your name is Japan’s fourth highest-grossing film ever. You can imagine the impact this movie had on the audience. It is one of the latest addition to the greatest anime movies of all time. Your Name is the story of two high-schoolers. An urban boy and rural girl start to swap bodies using mysterious spirit magic.

Not only this movie a stigma breaking attempt but a very touching love story. If romantic movies are your thing, you must include Your Name to that list. This movie also makes it to the best romantic movies of all time.

Watch Online

 

16. Redline

Redline

Year – 2009

IMDB – 7.5

Rotten Tomatoes – 63%

Redline if a hybrid anime movie that was produced with the collaboration of Takeishi Koike and New Zealand’s Madhouse. Redline is the story of the most popular racing event in the galaxy where so many racers take part.

If you are a fan of the older Fast and Furious movie series, you will love this anime movie.

Watch Online

17. Steamboy

steamboy

Year – 2004

IMDB – 6.9

Rotten Tomatoes – 59%

This is another sci-fi epic and greatest anime movies of all time. The story is always fun when the alternate future is in the play. It is the story of the year 1860 in Britain. Steam revolution is on the top and the world is competing to become the next power.

Showing what the world can do if the power and money is the biggest motivator for a human being. This movie is among the top pick for greatest anime movies ever produced in Japan. Add to your watch list and give it a try next weekend.

Watch Online

 

18. Ride or Die

read or die

Year – 2001

IMDB – 7.5

Rotten Tomatoes – 88%

If you are a fan of Docter Who or time travel kind of stuff, you will love this anime movie. This is a short film with half a dozen historical figures put together to form an alliance.

This innovative short film is directed by Kôji Masunari.

Watch Online

 

19. Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion

Greatest anime movies of all time

Year – 1997

IMDB – 8.1

Rotten Tomatoes – 88%

This is the only anime movie that requires you to watch the anime series first. This anime movie was released back in 1997 but you can say was ahead of its time. With the biblical theme in place, this anime movie is one of a kind.

Like most anime movies, Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion carries the cyberpunk theme.

Watch On Netflix

 

21. Metropolis

Metropolis

Year – 2001

IMDB – 7.2

Rotten Tomatoes – 86%

Metropolis is among the best crime drama anime series. It was directed by the Rintaro and was released in 2001 in Japan. It is the story of Shunsaku a private investigator who is investigating an evil plan which threatens humanity.

A mad scientist who is a prime accuse of human trafficking. This movie was based on a 1947 manga. It is a very interesting watch and this anime will keep you glued to the edge of seats.

Watch Online

 

22. Barefoot Gen

barefoot gen

Year – 1983

IMDB – 8

Rotten Tomatoes – 71%

Barefoot Gen is the story of a 6-year old boy who lost his entire family in the nuclear blast that happened during World War II. This anime is inclined more toward the autobiographical genre. As you can collect by the story, this movie is kind of disturbing but this shouldn’t discourage you from watching this awesome movie.

GET IT ONLINE

 

23. Princess Mononoke

princess mononoke

Year – 1997

IMDB – 8.4

Rotten Tomatoes – 93%

Princess Mononoke is the story of Ashitaka who is looking for a cure for a Tatarigami’s curse. This amazing anime movie is directed by Hayao Miyazaki who has created so many iconic anime movies of all time. If you want to experience an amazing story and breathtaking visuals, you must watch this anime movie once in life.

Watch it on Netflix

 

24. Tokyo Godfathers

tokyo godfather

Year – 2003

IMDB – 7.8

Rotten Tomatoes – 90%

Tokyo Godfather has no relation to the iconic movie Godfather nor this is the story of any crime overlord. This is a very touching and unique story about three homeless people living on the streets of Tokyo.

On Christmas eve they found a newborn baby in the trash, they set on a quest to find its parents. This is one of the very special movies with a heartwarming story and amazing visuals.

Stream Online

 

26. Kiki’s Delivery Service

kiki's delivery service

Year – 1989

IMDB – 7.9 

Rotten tomatoes – 97%

Kiki’s Delivery Service is a very unique anime movie. It is the story of a 13year old witch who is taking a year-long break and move to a seaside town. She and her talkative cat start a new business of flying courier service.

READ  57 Must Watch Hindi Dubbed Movies on Netflix

Things take a turn for worse when she loses her magic abilities and she begins to doubts her abilities as a normal human being. It is the story of being strong during tough times. This movie was released back in 1989 and the story still holds up to this day. Kiki’s Delivery Service was directed by Hayao Miyazaki. This anime movie is available on Netflix.

Watch on Netflix

 

27. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

nausiacaa of the valley wind

Year – 1984

IMDB – 8.1

Rotten Tomatoes – 88%

Set in the future this is yet another great sci-fi anime movie produced in Japan. This movie was released back in 1984 with massive success. It is the story of a girl named Nausicaä who is living in the Valley of the wind. She also has the ability to communicate with giant insects and bugs.

Her main job is to bring peace and restore the balance in the world. It is a very interesting post-apocalyptic anime movie that you must watch.

Stream on Netflix

 

28. The Cat Returns

the cat returns

Year – 2002

IMDB – 7.3

Rotten Tomatoes –  90%

The Cat Returns is a unique and magical anime movie with a very interesting story. A highschool student Haru saves the life of a cat who was about to be killed. Later she found out that the cat actually a prince named Lune. He took her back to his cat kingdom to meet his father the king.

Haru is prevented from leaving the cat kingdom. Baron and Toto tried to help her to escape. It is among the top anime movies you must watch once in a lifetime.

Stream on Netflix

 

29. Arrietty

arrietty

Year – 2010

IMDB – 7.6

Rotten Tomatoes – 95%

Arrietty is a tiny teenager who lives with her parents in the suburbs. Houseowner doesn’t know about this situation. She is from a different species and they tried to keep their resistance hidden from the human being for the sake of safety.

She occasionally goes under the floorboards to borrow sugar and other essential supplies. One day a 12-year boy meets the Arrietty and a friendship was formed. This can lead to bad circumstances. This anime movie was directed by the Hiromasa Yonebayashi and is among the highest-rated top anime movies produced in Japan. This anime is available on Netflix so you must consider streaming it as soon as you get the chance.

STREAM ON NETFLIX

 

30. A Silent Voice

A silent Voice

Year – 2016

IMDB – 8.2

Rotten Tomatoes – 94%

You will love this movie if you hate bullying. A silent voice is the story of a deaf girl who was billed so much that she was forced to change her school. Years later her former bully sets to make amends and to make everything normal.

Stream on Netflix

 

31. Ponyo

Ponyo

Year – 2008

IMDB – 7.7

Rotten Tomatoes – 92%

This is another heart touching and warm anime movie produced in Japan. This movie was released back in 2008 and the story still feels refreshing. Ponyo is the story of a goldfish princess who fell in love with a boy named Sosuke.

Ponyo was the name given to the goldfish princess by the boy. Princess fell in love with the boy and she wants to live on the surface world but her father forbids it. Her love for Sosuke was so strong that she brakes free and in the process, she spills magical elixirs. This endangered Sosuke’s village. Ponyo is among the top anime movies of all time and you must watch it once.

WATCH ONLINE

 

32. The Tale of Princess Kaguya

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Year – 2013

IMDB – 8.0

Rotten Tomatoes – 100%

A mythological creature found inside the bamboo stick grows into a desirable and pretty woman. She will meet many people along the way but ultimately she has to face her fate. She has committed a crime and for that, she needs to bear her punishment. This movie was released in 2013 and was written and directed by Isao Takahata.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

 

33. Only Yesterday

only yesterday

Year – 1991

IMDB – 7.7

Rotten Tomatoes – 100%

Only yesterday is a great anime movie about nostalgia and childhood. This anime movie was released back in 1991. Only Yesterday is the story of a young woman Taeko who take a trip. She travels to rural areas to visit her sister’s family.

During the trip, she thinks about the past and her life as a young child in the streets of her old town. She begins to question the choices she has made over the years and if this is something she wanted to do. This anime is beautifully written and was praised by both critics and viewers.

Stream on Netflix

 

34. Whisper of the Heart

Whisper of the Heart

Year – 1995

IMDB – 8

Rotten Tomatoes – 94%

Whisper of the heart is based on the manga by the same name. This anime portrays the story of a young girl named Shizuku. She wants to become a writer when she grows up. One day she notices that all the book that she is reading has been already read by someone named Seiji Amasawa. Seeing that they both share the same interest Shizuku goes on an adventure in search of her soul mate.
Whisper of the heart was directed by Yoshifumi Kondō.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

 

35. The Garden of Words

the garden of woods

Year – 2013

IMDB – 7.5

Rotten Tomatoes –  81%

The Garden of Words is an amazing anime movie released in 2013 in Japan. This is a story of a 15-year old boy who skips the school to spend the day in the garden. There he meets a 27-year old mysterious woman.

They form a unique friendship and the story goes from there. Visuals, animation, sound design and story of the movie is really amazing. This anime has the power to make you cry. The Garden of Words is among the greatest anime movies of all time and you must consider watching it once.

WATCH IT ONLINE

 

36. When Marnie Was There

when marnie was there

Year – 2014

IMDB – 7.7

Rotten Tomatoes – 91%

A young girl is sent to the countryside to recover from a health issue. She becomes friends with Marnie. She is a mysterious creature with blonde hair. This movie is directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi.

WATCH ONLINE

 

37. Wolf Children

wolf children

Year – 2012

IMDB – 8.1

Rotten Tomatoes – 94%

A woman named Hana marries a wolfman and they have two children together. In a horrifying car accident, the father (wolfman) dies and the woman is left to raise the children.

Hana needs to raise the children and also keep their identity safe. This amazing anime movie was directed by Mamuro Hosoda and was released in 2012.

Watch Online

 

38. The Castle of Cagliostro

The Castle of Cagliostro

Year – 1979

IMDB – 7.7

Rotten Tomatoes – 94%

If you love heist movie or tv show this anime movie is for you. The Castle of Cagliostro is among the best heist anime movie of all time. This movie was released back in 1979 and is an ultimate entertainer. It is the story of a master thief named Lupin III. Everything goes wrong when he learns that the money he stole from the casino is actually fake. The story is very entertaining and you must consider streaming on Netflix.

READ  35+ Best Korean Thriller Drama You Would Love to Watch
Watch on Netflix

 

39. The Animatrix

Animatrix

Year – 2003

IMDB – 7.3

Rotten Tomatoes – 89%

Animatrix is the collection of various short films and is a really good entertainer when you have nothing to do. All the stories take place in the Matrix universe where humans and machines are fighting.

The Animatrix was directed by various directors including Peter Chung, Andrew R Jones and many more.

WATCH ONLINE

 

40. My Neighbours the Yamadas

My Neighbours the Yamadas

Year – 1999

IMDB – 7.2

Rotten Tomatoes – 78%

My Neighbors the Yamadas is a wholesome family entertainer with an awesome story and impressive animation. This anime movie was released back in 1999. It is the story of a modern Japanese family and their encounter with their neighbor. If you want to learn about Japanese culture this anime gives you some idea of how an average household in Japan works.

Watch on Netflix

 

41. In This Corner of the World

In This Corner of the World

Year – 2016

IMDB – 7.8

Rotten Tomatoes – 97%

Released in 2016, this anime movie is the latest addition to the greatest anime movies of all time. The story of this anime movie is from World War II times. In This Corner of the World is the story of an 18-year-old girl who is married to a man she barely knows. She struggles to adjust her life in the newlywed home and living in Hiroshima.

It is an interesting watch, you must add this to your watchlist.

Stream on Netflix

 

42. Millennium Actress

Millennium Actress

Year – 2001

IMDB – 7.9

Rotten Tomatoes – 93%

This anime is among the highest recommended anime movie of all time and you must watch it once. In this movie, a filmmaker named Genya is making a documentary and that requires an interview of Japanese actress Chiyoko Fujiwara.

She is an old woman, in the beginning, she is shy and doesn’t want to share anything but as the story progresses, she unveils details about her life and both Genya and the cameraman and pretty sunk into the story. The timeline of the anime movie is really awesome, it starts from older times to modern Japan.

WATCH ON PRIME VIDEO

 

Recommended – 28 Amazing Documentaries You Must Watch Before You Die

 

43. Pom Poko

pom poko

Year – 1994

IMDB – 7.3

Rotten Tomatoes – 85%

Pom Koko is one of the greatest anime movies of all time. This creative movie was directed by Isao Takahata. It is the story of mythical shape-shifting raccoon dogs creatures that are struggling to save their beloved forest from the urban development. It is an interesting story to watch and you can even enjoy this anime movie with your family.

Watch on Netflix

 

44. The Last: Naruto the Movie

Greatest Anime Movies

Year – 2014

IMDB – 7.6

Rotten Tomatoes – 81%

The last is among the highly praised movie among the anime movie fans. This movie will take you to the joy ride of emotions with its impactful writing.

Moon is descending towards the earth and Naruto is the one who can stop this. If you are a fan of action and adventure movies you must not miss this anime movie.

WATCH ONLINE

 

45. The Boy and The Beast

the boy and the beast

Year – 2015

IMDB – 7.7

Rotten Tomatoes – 90%

Kyuta who is an orphan boy living on the streets of Japan. One day he slips into an alternate universe where he met a bear-man name Kumatetsu. He keeps him as his apprentice and they both go on an adventure in both worlds.

This movie is full of adventure and action and will make you laugh and cry. Among the highly recommended anime movies of all time.

WATCH ON PRIME VIDEO

 

46. Belladonna of Sadness

Belladonna of Sadness

Year – 1973

IMDB – 7.4

Rotten Tomatoes – 89%

This anime movie is not for someone who can’t handle violence and gore. Belladonna of Sadness is a revenge fantasy drama that will keep you on the edge of the seat. A village girl named Jeanne is married to Jean and she was raped by the village lord on her wedding night.

Later she was banished from the village and her marriage is also ruined. Jeanne made a deal with the devil to take revenge for the wrongdoing that has been done to her. Belladonna of Sadness is among the greatest anime movies of all time that you should not miss.

WATCH ON AMAZON

 

Recommended 20+ Revenge Thrillers You Need To See If You Loved John Wick 

 

47. Summer Wars

Greatest Anime Movies summer wars

Year – 2009

IMDB – 7.5

Rotten Tomatoes – 78%

The name of the anime movie might indicate that this is somewhat a normal movie but actually it is a sci-fi anime movie. A math genius by the name Nanami solves a complex equation. Unknowingly solving the equation puts an alternate world with artificial intelligence at the risk. Now the earth is under attack by the AI world.

The concept of the movie is really interesting. You must consider watching it once as it is among the greatest sci-fi anime movie of all time.

WATCH ONLINE

 

48. The Place Promised in Our Early Days

The Place Promised in Our Early Days

Year – 2004

IMDB – 7.1

Rotten Tomatoes – 81%

This is yet another alternate future related anime movie you must consider watching. The story is set in a dystopian future where Japan is divided into two parts north and south.

North is controlled by the union and the south is controlled by the USA. The story, visual and animation of this anime movie is really amazing.

WATCH ONLINE

 

49. Colorful

colorful

Year – 2010

IMDB – 7.9

Rotten Tomatoes – 79%

Colorful is a very deep and meaningful anime movie you will ever watch. The story of the movie revolves around a soul that wakes up in the body of a suicide victim. There are mysteries that need to be solved. Directed by Keiichi Hara, this anime was released in Japan in 2010. Colorful is among the greatest anime movies of all time.

Watch Online

 

50. The Night is Short, Walk on Girl

Greatest Anime Movies

Year – 2017

IMDB – 7.6

Rotten Tomatoes – 90%

This anime is the story of a girl known as Otome and her long night of partying and drinking. She has a night to remember with interaction with many interesting people. The Night is Short, Walk on Girl is a different kind of anime movie and is among the highly recommended anime movie of all time. This movie was released in 2017 and was directed by Masaaki Yuasa.

 

Conclusion – Highly Recommended Anime Movies of All time

Here you have it, some of the greatest anime movies of all time that you must consider watching once. We included all the movies based on the reviews from users and critics. Most of the entries here can be found online without any trouble.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comment section below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *