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Throwback Thursday – Fantastic, Non-Disney Animated Movies


Posted January 17, 2014 by

Brilliant Non-Disney, Non-Pixar, and Non-Dreamworks Animated Movies

Anastasia (1997). Twentieth Century Fox.
Anastasia, non-Disney

Images courtesy of IMDb.

Based on the well-known true story of Russian Grand Duchess, this movie is, by far, one the most successful non-Disney animated films. I cannot imagine that the Disney company is not disappointed they didn’t come up with this concept first. Voiced by a superb cast (including Meg Ryan, John Cusack, and Kelsey Grammer) and animated beautifully, Anastasia truly is “a spellbinding mixture of adventure, comedy, romance and music.”

Balto (1995). Universal.

Balto, non-Disney

Balto, by Amblin Entertainment, is a touching movie based on another true story. It tells the heart wrenching story of an outcast half husky, half wolf sled dog and his heroic journey across Nome, Alaska to bring back medicine for the children affected by a diphtheria epidemic. A tale of courage, compassion, and finding out your true worth, Balto will touch your heart.

FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992). Twentieth Century Fox.

FernGully, non-Disney

A not-so-subtle commentary on the descruction of the rainforests, FernGully is a quirky and adorably unique film. Crysta is a fairy living in the beautiful rainforest, FernGully, when humans show up with bulldozers, ready to tear down every last tree in the name of development. One of the construction workers, Zak, accidentally gets shrunk by Crysta and gets to experience the beauty of FernGully with her. Belatedly he realizes that this magical place is somewhere worth preserving, and Zak must help Crysta stop the evil Hexxus (voiced by Tim Curry) before FernFully is destroyed for good.

Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1989). Hemdale Home Video, Inc.

non-Disney, Little Nemo

I’ve already reviewed this gem for the site. The story takes place in a crazy world in which dreams become unrecognizable from reality. In this surreal story, Nemo travels from his home of New York City to the mystical and playful Slumberland. But not everything is fun and games, as it might seem. The dastardly (and terrifying, to younger audiences) Nightmare King is up to no good, and Nemo must do everything he can to save the king, the princess, and all of Slumberland.

Once Upon A Forest (1993). Twentieth Century Fox.

non-Disney, Once Upon a Forest

Another Fox commentary on what a negative influence man can have on nature. This story follows three young animal friends, Abigail, Edgar, and Russell, whose home of Dapplewood is nearly destroyed when men with traps invade and spill chemicals with extremely toxic fumes. The three go on an amazing journey in order to find a cure for the fumes for another of their best friends, and to save their home from the disaster wrought by the men.

Quest for Camelot (1998). Warner Bros.

Quest for Camelot, non-Disney

In this adventurous film set in Camelot, the high-spirited heroine, Kayley, refuses to be content with her boring life. When King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur, is stolen by a traitorous knight of the round table, Kayley takes it upon herself to steal back the sword and return it to the king. Her quest takes her into great danger, but also makes her great allies and friends. To make it even better, besides the gorgeous animation, the film has a talented voice cast that includes Cary Elwes, Gary Oldman, and Pierce Brosnan, and an amazing soundtrack featuring Leann Rimes, The Corrs, and Bryan White.

The Pebble and the Penguin (1995). MGM.

non-Disney, The Pebble and the Penguin

Such a unique love story, and based on some truth, since penguins really do give a pebble to their mate. (Give your own mate a penguin pebble!) Hubie is an incredibly socially awkward and shy bachelor penguin, who is in love with the beautiful Marina. Unfortunately, the horrible, self-absorbed Drake is also competing for her affections. In order to win over his true love, Hubie vows to find her the perfect stone. In his quest, he is put out to sea by Drake, and must beat all the odds and make his way back to Marina before The Full Moon Mating Ceremony so he can win her over. This films message is that it’s not always the pebble. It’s the penguin.

The Secret of NIMH (1982). MGM.

non-Disney, NIMH

This story is indescribably wonderful and complex, especially for a movie intended for children. When Mrs. Brisby’s son, Timmy, gets sick and becomes bedridden, she must find a way to move their home out of the farmer’s field before plowing time. When this becomes impossible, Mrs. Brisby gets desperate and must consult with many mysterious figures. The most important of which are the rats of NIMH, rats which live and use the technology of mankind. The secret of their intelligence is only one of the major intrigues of this plot, and the story will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Thumbelina (1994). Warner Bros.

Thumbelina, non-Disney

This movie is based on the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name. It is the story of a woman desperate for a child, who finds a tiny little girl inside the bloom of a flower and takes her in as her own child. But Thumbelina is only content for so long. When, one night, she accidentally meets Prince Cornelius, a fairy prince, she falls in love and decides that she wants to be with him. So she sets out on an unexpectedly perilous journey to find her prince. Life’s not easy when you’re only as big as a thumb.

We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story (1993). Universal.

We're Back, non-Disney

This one is a Spielberg film with music by James Horner, of Titanic fame. Dinosaurs aren’t extinct! At least, in New York City they’re not. A time-travelling scientist, Captain NewEyes, captures four dinos and brings them back to NYC. Using “Brain Grain,” he turns his experiments into cartoonish talking dinosaurs instead. When the dinos find out how many children with they could see a real, live dinosaur, they set out on an adventure to meet their biggest fans, two of whom are the children Louie and Cecilia. But NewEyes’ mad brother ScrewEyes has other plans in mind for our prehistoric friends.

Additional movies that should have made the cut: Titan A.E., The Thief and the Cobbler, and Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas. All three also wonderful, non-Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks movies.

Brittany DeSalvo

Brittany is a Cincinnati native with a degree in Professional Writing from Purdue University. She currently manages the front office of an urgent care, works as an apprentice divemaster at a SCUBA shop, and freelance edits, as well as doing a lot of editing for and contributing to this site. In her free time, Brittany enjoys SCUBA diving, spelunking, reading, cuddling cats, and recently, attending conventions. If you're a fan, please add me on Facebook! =]


    Travis Tubesing

    I played the Nemo NES game so much as a kid (and more recently on an emulator), but I haven’t watched the movie in a long while. That needs to change.

    Joshua Thomas

    I would also throw the Warner Bros.Animated film The Iron Giant into the mix as well. I spent New Years 2000 just watching that over and over again on VHS. Also, it’s nice to see Nemo get some recognition. Easily one of my favorites when I was a much smaller little thing.


      I will reveal a secret to you. That’s not on there because I haven’t actually ever seen it! Nemo is one of my childhood favorites though. Actually, most of these are my childhood favorites. I’m a little disappointed in myself for not giving more of a review for Titan A.E., The Thief and the Cobbler, and Sinbad, because they are all fantastic movies too.

    Megan Wilson

    We’re Back! Is one of my favorite dinosaur movies of all time! SO glad this got included. :)


    Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” (among others by him) will be an immediate favorite once you see it.


      I didn’t include any Miyazaki films because I could have included ALL of his films. Maybe I’ll do a separate article on them to give credit for amazing films where that credit is due.


    I love quest for Camelot much more now that I am older strangely enough, and I want to watch Nemo again so bad! The movies I watched the most were “The Last Unicorn” and the “Unico” series…cause I’m really into unicorns.


      Quest for Camelot is one of my favorites. The music is so fantastic. I used to love to sing it, haha, and I own the soundtrack. The Last Unicorn is another really great movie. I’ve never seen/heard of Unico.


    No mention of Prince of Egypt? It was a great movie with fantastic music that could directly compete with anything Disney has. To date it is one of my favorite animated musicals of all time, even after Frozen.


      I couldn’t mention them all! But yes, Prince of Egypt is a great movie too. I actually sang “When You Believe” in a concert for the voice lessons I did in high school. The music is definitely fantastic.

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