1. Fantasia – This Disney classic was ambitious and because of the outbreak of World War Two during its production it lost the large European market essential to its breaking even. It was in its rerelease in 1969 to a new generation of music lovers that it first made a financial profit.
2. Pinocchio – Disney pulled the stops out for this one having geared up by producing Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. It is the film considered by most old time Disney animators as Disney’s masterpiece.
3. Bambi – This soft, lyrical film used impressionistic back ground paintings and realistic animal characters. Realistic looking, they were still anamorphic and it’s still a little disturbing to hear the owl called “friend owl” by his potential food source.
4. Allegro Non Troppo – This movie was made in 1976 by the Italian animator Bruno Bozzetto and is a spoof of Fantasia. The animation sequences are sometimes a little more modern not only in theme but also in the use of using photo collage and some live action footage and the sequences of the animator animating the film “live” as a cheesy little orchestra of enslaved women play the soundtrack is a whole lot more fun than Deems Taylor.
5. Akira – Katsuhiro Otomo’s sci fi fantasy is the opposite of the kind of bed time story fairy tale American audiences were used to. It’s the sort of story to keep you awake at night, even if you’re an adul
6. The Iron Giant – This film seems to use the character design style of MAD Magazine and has a 1950s science fiction vibe. Futuristic Retro is a term that could be applied to this Brad Bird directed under-rated cult film.
7. Rocktasia – This obscure cult favorite was, like Allegro Non Troppo, a take off on Disney’s Fantasia but instead of animation done to Classical music its soundtrack featured hits from the Classic Rock era of the 60s and early 70s. The art style was based on the poster artists whose work was popular at the time and ranged from Peter Max, Frank Frazetta and Rick Griffen to Maxfield Parrish, M.C. Escher and Hieronymus Bosch.
8. Howl’s Moving Castle – A fantasy along the lines of The Wizard of Oz and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, this is one trippy film. A little less head scratching than some other excellent Japanese imports, it is still from another land if not world.
9. The Lion King – This Disney masterpiece has the formula that makes for a successful animated movie; realistic animal designs acting like animals in a natural world devoid of humans. And great songs, this time from Elton John.
10. An American Tale – This movie helped launch Don Bluth as the first real competitor to Disney since the age of the Fleischer Brothers. A poignant story of prejudice and oppression it is a little disturbing if the viewer is aware of the Nazi propaganda which depicted Jews as vermin to be exterminated.