Animated Films for Grown-Ups: 20 Must-See Movies

Must-watch adult animated movies, including Beavis And Butt-Head, Ghost In The Shell, Mary And Max, The Breadwinner, and Isle Of Dogs.

Don’t limit yourself to the belief that animation is just for kids. Animation boasts endless creative potential, and many animated films explore complex themes and mature content better suited for adult audiences.

Commercial interests may dominate the animation industry, but it’s time to recognize the impact and power of adult-oriented animation.

Experience the awe-inspiring magic of the best adult-oriented animated films. From exploring deeper human issues to featuring graphic content, these films challenge the notion that animation is only for kids and showcase the limitless potential of the medium. So, embrace a new world of adult animation and leave childhood memories behind.

These films will captivate and engage you, finally proving that animation is not just for children.

Animation Isn’t Just For Kids

Don’t let the myth fool you! Animation isn’t just for kids – it’s a medium that’s been enjoyed by adults for just as long. Enjoy the top animated movies explicitly crafted for mature audiences.

These films will captivate, engage and challenge your understanding of animation as an art form. So sit back, relax, and discover the best adult-oriented animated films!

Redline (2009)

Redline (2009)

Release date: October 9, 2010 (Japan)
Director: Takeshi Koike
Production Company: Madhouse
Language: Japanese
Cinematography: Ryu Takizawa

Get ready for an adrenaline-fueled ride! Redline proves that animated action movies can be just as exciting, if not more so, than their live-action counterparts. This anime film boasts a straightforward premise that’s executed with breathtaking precision.

In a future where car racing has reached interplanetary proportions, the races are faster and deadlier than anything you’ve ever seen.

And the best part? Every frame was hand-drawn, resulting in fluid animation with astonishing detail. Redline will give you the same heart-pumping thrill as Mad Max: Fury Road and is too intense for younger viewers. So, buckle up and get ready for an animated adventure, unlike anything you’ve ever seen before!

Beavis And Butt-Head Do America ( 1996)

Beavis And Butt-Head Do America ( 1996)

Release date: December 20, 1996 (Canada)
Director: Mike Judge

Get ready to be surprised! Beavis and Butt-Head Do America might seem like a simple comedy with toilet humor and two lovable dim-wits as the leads, but it’s so much more than that. Underneath the laughs lies a sharp satire of American values, with Beavis and Butt-Head reflecting the world around them.

The show’s creator, Mike Judge, uses these two characters to point a finger back at those who critique the show and ask: “Who taught them to be this way?” By doing so, Judge sheds light on the societal norms that shape our behavior and their impact on our world.

So, if you’re looking for a film that’s equal parts hilarious and thought-provoking, Beavis and Butt-Head Do America is a perfect choice!

Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie! (2013)

Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie! (2013)

Release date: April 20, 2013 (USA)
Director: Steve Stark
Film series: View Askewniverse Series
Distributed by: Phase 4 Films
Music by: James L. Venable

Hold on tight, as Jay and Silent Bob are back and better than ever! In Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie!, they bring the Bluntman and Chronic comic books to life in a new way.

When Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith come together to bring these legendary characters to life, you know it will be a wild ride.

Don’t let the simple animation style fool you; the crude humor in Kevin Smith’s script is a perfect fit for Jay and Silent Bob’s antics.

With countless laugh-out-loud moments, including a cameo from the iconic Stan Lee in the post-credits stinger, this movie is a must-see for fans of the duo. So, grab your friends, get the snacks ready, and enjoy the ultimate Jay and Silent Bob experience!

The Incredibles

The Incredibles

Release date: October 24, 2004 (USA)
Director: Brad Bird
Film series: The Incredibles
Art directors: Ralph Eggleston, Lou Romano
Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures

Get ready to experience the action, adventure, and heartwarming themes of The Incredibles! This beloved Pixar classic has something for everyone – kids will love the exciting action sequences and cool superpowers, while adults will appreciate its touching message about the importance of family.

Mr. Incredible is used to working alone, but this approach leads to his downfall. Only when he learns to work with his family can he save the day. As fans grow older, they appreciate this powerful message even more.

Take the chance to experience the fun, excitement, and heartwarming themes of The Incredibles!

The Wolf House (2018)

The Wolf House (2018)

Initial release: February 22, 2018
Directors: Joaquin Cociña, Cristóbal León
Languages: Spanish, German
Screenplay: Joaquin Cociña, Cristóbal León, Alejandra Moffat
Cinematography: Joaquin Cociña, Cristóbal León

Get ready for a spine-chilling adventure with The Wolf House! This disturbing and eerie animated horror film is not for the faint of heart.

With its unique blend of stop-motion and hand-drawn animation, painted and animated directly on the walls of real sets, The Wolf House will take you on a journey you will remember.

Follow the story of a young woman on the run from a sinister cult as she takes refuge in a mysterious house. The presentation and feel of this film make it unforgettable and highly unsettling, making it the ultimate horror experience for adult audiences.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you; this is not a movie to show the kids!

Chicken Run

Chicken Run

Release date: June 21, 2000 (USA)
Directors: Nick Park, Peter Lord
Production companies: Aardman Animations, MORE
Sequel: Chicken Run 2

Prepare for a thrilling adventure with Ginger and the rest of the flock in Chicken Run! This movie was a major hit when it was released, and it still holds the record for being the highest-grossing stop-motion animated film of all time.

Children loved it for its unique animation style, fun characters, and straightforward plot, but there’s so much more to Chicken Run than meets the eye.

The story of Chicken Run revolves around labor exploitation and the pursuit of freedom. Ginger, the lead chicken, inspires her fellow birds to escape the oppressive Tweedy farm and seek physical and mental liberation.

Her words, “The fences aren’t just in the farm, they’re in your heads,” remind us that there’s a profound and important message hidden beneath the surface of this entertaining kids’ movie about chickens.

The Breadwinner (2017)

The Breadwinner (2017)

Release date: November 17, 2017 (USA)
Director: Nora Twomey
Story by: Deborah Ell
Nominations: Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film,
Producers: Tomm Moore, Angelina Jolie, Paul Young, Anthony Leo, Andrew Rosen

Immerse yourself in 2001 Afghanistan under the oppressive rule of the Taliban in the captivating animated film “The Breadwinner.”

Meet eleven-year-old Parvana, a young girl with an unwavering determination to support her family after her father is wrongfully imprisoned.

To navigate the restrictive Taliban laws, Parvana bravely transforms herself into a boy and embarks on a dangerous mission to save her father.

This beautiful and emotional story is a testament to the power of a child’s spirit and their unwavering love for their family.

Although rated PG-13, “The Breadwinner” has been widely acclaimed as a family film; however, due to the intense themes, it may be more suitable for a mature audience.

The Iron Giant

The Iron Giant

Release date: August 16, 1999 (Canada)
Director: Brad Bird
Story by: Brad Bird, Ted Hughes

Discover the timeless classic, “The Iron Giant,” a movie that rose from box-office disappointment to cult-favorite status.

While its thought-provoking themes may have been too complex for younger audiences, this animated gem has captured viewers’ hearts of all ages.

Join young Hogarth as he forms an unlikely bond with a colossal robot from outer space which has crash-landed in his backyard. Watch as Hogarth imparts the importance of peace and non-violence, challenging the robot to choose its own identity and explore what it means to be human.

With its powerful message about self-discovery and the consequences of our actions, “The Iron Giant” speaks to all adults, making it a must-watch for a thought-provoking and heartwarming movie experience.

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Release date: April 16, 1988 (Japan)
Director: Isao Takahata
Production company: Studio Ghibli
Adapted from: Grave of the Fireflies
Music composed by: Michio Mamiya, Yoshio Mamiya

This heart-wrenching film has earned its reputation as one of the most tear-jerking movies of all time, animated or not. Get ready to be moved by Grave of the Fireflies.

This powerful anti-war film follows the story of two Japanese siblings as they navigate the tragedy and destruction of WWII after a bombing destroys their home and takes their mother’s life.

With its raw and vivid portrayal of the devastating consequences of war, Grave of the Fireflies is not for the faint of heart. But for those willing to face its poignant message, it is a truly moving experience.

Though made over 30 years ago, the film holds up exceptionally well and is widely considered one of the greatest Japanese films ever made.

Mary and Max (2009)

Mary and Max (2009)

Release date: November 13, 2009 (Canada)
Director: Adam Elliot
Nominations: AACTA Award for Best Film
Awards: Annecy International Animated Film Festival Cristal Award for Best Feature,

Discover the unlikely but heartwarming friendship between Mary and Max, two very different individuals brought together by fate through a pen-pal relationship.

They are connected through their letters, which span many years and continents, despite their vast differences.

Although the stop-motion animation may be a bit unconventional, it only adds to the charm of this heartwarming film. Despite tackling some heavy and confronting themes, Mary and Max prove that animated characters can be just as relatable and emotional as any live-action performance.

Get ready to be moved by this beautiful story of friendship and connection that will impact you.

Isle Of Dogs (2018)

Isle Of Dogs (2018)

Embrace an emotional and visually captivating experience with Isle of Dogs. Despite its adorable canine ensemble, this film is not for the faint of heart. Its scenes of violence and disturbing moments, combined with its exploration of historical traumas, make it best suited for mature audiences.

Wes Anderson, the mastermind behind Fantastic Mr. Fox, brings his creativity to the stop-motion medium again with the story of a future in Japan where all dogs are exiled to a trash-filled island due to a canine flu outbreak.

With an A-list voice cast including Bryan Cranston, Greta Gerwig, and Bill Murray, Isle of Dogs showcases the strength of animation and storytelling.

Perfect Blue (1997)

Perfect Blue (1997)

A classic anime film about an actress turned J-pop idol, Mima Kirigoe, embarks on a suspenseful journey in Perfect Blue. As Mima delves deeper into her new career, she is plagued by unsettling encounters with an obsessed fan and a shadowy figure from her past.

Directed by the iconic Kon, Perfect Blue is a seminal work in the world of adult animation and a must-see for fans of the genre. Join Mima as she spirals down a dark, twisted path, navigating the blurred line between fantasy and reality.

Get ready for a captivating and unnerving experience that will leave you breathless.

Tower (2016)

Tower (2016)

Initial release: March 13, 2016
Director: Keith Maitland
Cast: Blair Jackson, Louie Arnette, Violett Beane

Get ready to be transported to a day that changed the course of American history with the hauntingly real and visually stunning Tower.

On August 1, 1966, a shocking mass shooting at the University of Texas shook the nation and left a lasting impact on its survivors.

Through rotoscope animation, Tower brings the stories of that fateful day to life, illuminating the experiences of those who lived through the tragedy. This film is not for the faint of heart, as it tackles one of the first high-profile mass shootings in modern history and its aftermath.

Tower is an unforgettable film that should not be missed if you are looking for a harrowing and gripping journey through time.

Persepolis (2007)

Persepolis (2007)

Release date: June 27, 2007 (France)
Directors: Marjane Satrapi, Winshluss
Languages: Persian, French, German, English
Story by: Marjane Satrapi

An animated film tackling a serious subject doesn’t guarantee success, but Persepolis is an exception.

Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel about growing up in Iran before, during, and after the 1979 Islamic Revolution comes to life with its line-drawn images, giving the tale a remarkable clarity.

The movie expertly recreates Satrapi’s iconic monochromatic style, but its protagonist, Marjane, is anything but black and white. She rebels against the Iranian regime, the pampered culture she encounters in France, and even her restless skepticism.

Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Step into a world of danger and discovery with Ghost in the Shell. This cyberpunk thriller explores the impact of technological advancements on humanity in the dystopian year 2029.

Meet Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg and public security agent, as she hunts down the enigmatic brain hacker known as The Puppetmaster.

Experience the pulse-pounding action and thought-provoking themes that make Ghost in the Shell a must-see. A bleak yet captivating portrait of the future, this film examines the dangers of technology and the conflict over identity.

Despite all the technological marvels that humanity has achieved, corruption and greed remain ever-present, reminding us of our limitations.

Fantastic Planet (1973)

Fantastic Planet (1973)

Embark on a journey to the planet of Ygam where humans are nothing more than tiny pets to the towering Traags. Follow the story of a young Traag who takes in a human child after a tragic event and watches as the world opens up in ways never imagined.

With its stunning animation and captivating world-building, Fantastic Planet is an experimental masterpiece that has left a lasting impact on the world of animation.

This thought-provoking film will transport you to a unique and fantastical world, giving you a new perspective on the relationships between different species.

Anomalisa (2015)

Anomalisa (2015)

Release date: December 30, 2015 (USA)
Directors: Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson
Screenplay: Charlie Kaufman

With Anomalisa, you’ll enter a world of stunning animation and emotional depth.

This Charlie Kaufman-penned masterpiece, originally written under the pseudonym Francis Fregoli, brings the audience into a stop-motion world where puppets come to life through powerful voice performances by David Thewlis and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Follow the journey of a customer service guru, brilliantly portrayed by Thewlis, as he discovers the beauty of individuality through his encounter with Leigh’s character.

Anomalisa is a mesmerizing character study that explores the depths of human emotions in a visually stunning and unforgettable way.

Sausage Party (2016)

Sausage Party (2016)

Get ready for a wild and hilarious adventure in Sausage Party, the raunchy animated film that puts a crude spin on the world of Pixar. Experience a world where food products are conscious and have their own dreams until they face their ultimate fate as food.

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the comedic duo behind the smash hit “Superbad,” lead the charge, with a top-notch voice cast including Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, Paul Rudd, and Danny McBride. This R-rated animated romp is filled with drugs, suicide, and a hilarious orgy scene that will have you in stitches.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Release date: November 25, 2009 (Canada)
Director: Wes Anderson
Adapted from: Fantastic Mr. Fox
Art director: Francesca Berlingieri Maxwell
Screenplay: Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach

Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox is a work of ironic genius, taking Roald Dahl’s 1970 children’s novel and transforming it into a stop-motion animated masterpiece that captivates and enchants audiences of all ages.

With George Clooney’s irresistible vocal performance as Mr. Fox, the film offers a witty and sophisticated take on the story that will leave kids scratching their heads with jokes about real estate and Mr. Fox’s civilized justification for stealing poultry as a wild animal.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is an elaborate and thrilling underground heist tale. Its thrift-shop artificiality – the jerky movements, the puffs of cotton-ball smoke – adds a touch of realism to the movie’s fantastical world.

Waking Life (2001)

Waking Life (2001)

Release date: October 19, 2001 (USA)
Director: Richard Linklater
Language: English
Producers: Tommy Pallotta, Anne Walker-McBay, Palmer West, Jonah Smith

Embark on a philosophical journey with Waking Life, Richard Linklater’s mind-bending animated odyssey. Follow the protagonist as he travels from dream to dream, exploring the mysteries of life and searching for answers to the biggest questions.

Expect to delve into thought-provoking meditations on existentialism, the meaning of life, and the paradox of free will. Linklater pushed the boundaries of animation with his unique rotoscoping technique, which involved shooting digital videos of actors and having animators bring the footage to life.

Don’t miss out on this surreal, engaging experience and discover why Waking Life is considered one of Linklater’s greatest films.

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