You Don’t Have To Be a Kid to Enjoy These 20 Great Pixar Movies

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Gone are the days when people make fun of adults who watch “cartoons.” Because it’s the 21st century, people! And animation has definitely come a long way. It’s not just in terms of the quality of images and graphics, but in terms of storytelling, too. Pixar’s movies are proof of that.

Pixar isn’t just known for the work and impeccable detail animators put into their art, but also for the heartwarming, relatable, family-friendly stories that can make even grown 40-something-year-olds cry. They explore the themes of identity, purpose, belonging, mental health, coming of age, love, and everything else in between. And they do so with the quirkiest characters and the most scenic settings. Everything is just…magic.

Though there isn’t too much to go through given the animation studio’s short lifespan, we’ve narrowed it down to the absolute essentials. Here are the best Pixar movies absolutely everyone should watch.

Miguel’s family has had a generations-long ban on music. But, secretly, he still dreams of becoming a legendary musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. He’s desperate to prove to his family that it is his true calling. One night, he accidentally gets swept into the Land of the Dead. There, he seeks the help of his great-great-grandfather to bring him back to the Land of the Living.

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Riley is a perfectly happy 11-year-old girl. Her emotions—Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust—form a team that functions like a well-oiled machine that keeps her feelings in check. But Joy, their leader, loses control after Riley and her parents move to San Francisco. Joy and Sadness end up getting lost in Riley’s mind, leaving the rest of the emotions in charge of HQ. This leads to quite the rollercoaster ride of an adventure.

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Retired balloon salesman Mr. Fredricksen plans on fulfilling his and his late wife Ellie’s dream. He’s tied thousands of balloons to his beloved home and flies to venture off into the South American wilderness. But as he takes to the sky, he realizes he has an unwelcome passenger: a young boy scout named Russell.

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Middle-school band teacher Joe has always dreamt of becoming a big jazz star. But just as he’s about to catch his biggest break yet, he dies abruptly. He finds himself in the afterlife and meets another being who is trying to look for their passion. While he feels like he can teach this new friend a thing or two—and that they could be his ticket out of this realm and back to his life—they end up teaching him what it means to really live and have a soul.

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Brothers Ian and Barley are teen elves who live in a society that has forgotten the magic of their ancestors. That’s why it came as a surprise when they discovered that their deceased father had a plan laid out, with instructions, so that he could spend one more day with them. But something goes wrong with the spell, and now they have to go on an adventure of a lifetime to try and salvage their limited time with their father.

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Married superhero couple Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl are forced to live ordinary lives as Bob and Helen Parr after the government banned all superhero activity. They build a decent life together, with three kids. But still, Bob longs for the glory days, adventure, and the adrenaline rush of a good mission. He gets called to a remote island to battle a robot that’s gone haywire, but this gets him in trouble. The only ones that can save him are his family.

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Rarely has a sequel ever been this good. After Mr. Incredible got his slice of the action last year, now it’s Elastigirl’s turn. She’s assigned the task of fighting crime to make the public fall in love with superheroes again. Now, Mr. Incredible has to learn how to be a stay-at-home parent, which proves to be more difficult than he thought. As he deals with all that, a cybercriminal named Screenslaver tries to hypnotize everyone through their device’s screens.

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Best friends Sulli and Mike work at Monsters Incorporated, the largest scare factory in the entire monster world. There, they use children’s screams as energy to run the city. Sulli is one of the company’s top scarers, and Mike is his assistant. Everything is going well and dandy until a human child escapes from her room into the monster world, disrupting the pair of friends’ lives and creating chaos and panic in the monster society.

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Woody is a cowboy doll, Andy’s favorite toy, and the leader of the toy gang. But his position is threatened when Andy’s parents bring home a Buzz Lightyear action figure. Buzz thinks he’s a real space ranger, and not just a toy, which makes adjusting to his presence all the more difficult. When it’s time for Andy and his family to move to a new home, the two frenemies find themselves derailed as they end up in the creepy neighbor’s house. They need to escape and find their way back to Andy.

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Woody gets abducted by a toy collector who sees him as a valuable item. This then launches Buzz and the gang into a rescue mission to try and retrieve their friend, for their sake and Andy’s. But then Woody sees just how special a toy he is, and meets the “Woody’s Roundup” gang. He reunites with his horse Bullseye, a cowgirl named Jessie, and Stinky Pete the Prospector. Now he isn’t so sure that he wants to leave.

Remy dreams of becoming a chef, so he moves to Paris in pursuit of this. There’s only one problem: he’s a rat. And rats aren’t exactly welcome in a restaurant’s kitchen. But he finds a way to test his culinary abilities when he befriends Linguini the garbage boy. Still, he has to stay hidden, because the consequences of anyone finding out their secret would be disastrous. The stakes get even higher when a famous food critic comes to try his cooking.

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WALL-E is short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class. He’s a robot designed to clean up the planet. But he’s the last robot left on Earth. Over 700 years, he’s developed a personality as he wanders the world alone. One day, he meets a robot named EVE, sent back to Earth for a scanning mission. The land robot is smitten by this sleek space maven and winds up on an adventure that sends him across the galaxy.

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Thirteen-year-old Mei Lee has always been happy and confident in her life. Or so she thought. She notices more and more that she’s torn between her duty as an obedient daughter to her mom, and what she wants to do as a normal adolescent girl. And now, she’s got more problems to deal with as she comes of age and discovers a family curse/blessing that turns her into a giant red panda.

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Marlin is an overprotective clownfish father to his son Nemo, who has one fin shorter than the other due to an unfortunate incident. But as Nemo grows up, he just wants to be a kid and not have his dad lord over him. One day, he swims close to the surface to prove that he’s capable, but winds up getting caught by a diver. Now, his father must find him and bring him back home from a dentist’s aquarium in Sydney, with the help of a forgetful fish named Dory.

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Dory now asks for the help of father-son duo Nemo and Marlin to find her parents. All she can remember, due to her memory loss condition, is that they got separated when she was a child. They go on a journey that leads them to the Marine Life Institute, a massive conservatory for creatures from the ocean. Now all Dory has to do is find her parents, and set them free so they can live as free fish in the deep blue.

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Luca is a sea monster who longs for a life beyond his underwater home. But he’s been forbidden by his family to go anywhere near the surface. Then, he meets a new friend who teaches him all about life on land, and that they actually turn human when they’re dry. Together, they explore the beautiful Italian seaside town close by, eating gelato, pasta, and making an unexpected human friend.

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Flik is a worker ant who likes to make his own inventions. But it seems that he only causes trouble for his colony. His latest mishap leads to disastrous results as it destroys their food reserves that were supposed to be used to pay off the grasshoppers. Now, the grasshoppers’ leader Hopper demands that they collect double the amount of food or face their own doom. To try and save his colony, Flik goes off to find insects who can help them fight. He finds a group of circus bugs who might just be the answer to his problems.

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Merida is a rebellious Scottish princess who refuses to succumb to tradition. She merely wants to live free as a skilled archer, carving her own path apart from royal society. She goes to a witch who grants her a wish, but of course, there’s always a catch. What she wanted to be a dream-come-true turns into a beastly curse, and now she must undo it before it’s too late.

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Lightning McQueen is a rookie racecar that’s drawing a lot of attention as he races his way to the top. Now, he’s on his way to race the best of the best at the Piston Cup Championship. But things get derailed as he travels to California. On the ride there, he ends up lost when he falls out of his trailer and ends up in Radiator Springs, a small town in the middle of nowhere.

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Jasmine is a journalist struggling to adult by day…

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