Adventure Movies

20 Best Animated Movies From Your Childhood That You Forgot About

November 19, 202315 Mins Read

Childhood movies become fuzzier as you get older. Sometimes all that’s left is a snippet of a long-forgotten catchy tune or a specific animated scene that lives in the depths of your brain. You’ll often wonder, “Where is that from?” just to realize that the mouse family on a train was an obscure film you saw as a youngster.

Many remember the golden years of Disney animation in the ’90s, with world-renowned classics like The Lion King and Aladdin. They are a large part of pop culture thanks to Disneyland and Disney streaming services that bring these movies to each new generation of children. However, many don’t remember the hazy collection of animated kid’s films from the ’90s that are home to some of the most imaginative premises that helped shape a generation. There’s no shortage of classic animated movies that can transport viewers back to their childhoods, with many of them almost lost to time. Many of these forgotten animated movies deserve to be revisited, or at least remembered, by the mature audiences who once enjoyed them as kids.

20 ‘A Troll in Central Park’ (1994)

Directors: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman

Rosie pulling Stanley out of the water in A Troll in Central Park.

While A Troll in Central Park is vaguely remembered by many, the film was a massive box-office failure and is regarded as Don Bluth‘s worst film. Bluth was the director of various childhood favorites like The Land Before Time, The Secret of NIMH, and Anastasia, so it wasn’t his talents that failed to show up.

Despite A Troll in Central Park being panned, it still holds a level of charm that maybe only children can understand. The troll, Stanley, has a magical talent for growing greenery. He ends up in Central Park when he is banished from his kingdom and is befriended by two children who help him adjust to his new surroundings.

Rent on Apple TV

19 ‘The Pebble and the Penguin’ (1995)

Directors: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman

Hubie, Marina, and friends in The Pebble and the Penguin.

The Pebble and the Penguin is a heartwarming animated movie about penguin love. It is based on penguins’ real-life mating rituals, in which they search for the best-looking pebbles to carry to their partners as a gift and acknowledgment of their relationship. It is a fun and fantastically animated movie that puts forth lovely themes of altruism and friendship.

The Pebble and the Penguin focuses on the shy, stuttering Hubie, a penguin who wants to impress the beautiful Marina. He takes on the adventure of a lifetime when he decides to give her a pebble that fell from the sky. He and his friends must keep her away from the evil Drake, who wants Marina for himself.

Watch on Tubi

18 ‘Rock-a-Doodle’ (1991)

Directors: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman

Chanticleer singing in Rock A Doodle.

In one of the most ambitious crossovers in ’90s animation, Rock-a-Doodle based a rooster character on Elvis Presley and created a one-of-a-kind rockabilly phantasmagoria. While many critics panned the movie, children, and families enjoyed the bright animation and the humorous dialogue.

The movie tells the story of a rooster named Chanticleer, who crows every morning to help the sun rise on his farm. He has bigger dreams and leaves to become a rock star after being tricked by the Grand Duke of Owls. Without Chanticleer crowing each morning, the land becomes plagued with non-stop rain and flooding. It is up to Chanticleer and a young human boy to bring back the sun.

Watch on Tubi

17 ‘Thumbelina’ (1994)

Directors: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman

Thumbelina and dark magicians.

Like many other animated movies adapted from books, Thumbelina was based on the classic fairy tale story by Hans Christian Andersen. Thumbelina tells the story of a girl born inside a flower and is only two inches tall. She fears she is doomed to a life of loneliness and will never find someone her size to love. She happens to catch the eye of Prince Cornelius of the Fairies, though, but before they can fall in love, she is kidnapped by Ms. Toad.

Thumbelina was a favorite among young kids of the ’90s, with its beautiful animation and touching story about everything whimsical – fairies, princes, and talking animals. Thumbelina reminded many young viewers of Barbie, and there were plenty of toys that accompanied its release.


Release Date
March 30, 1994

Don Bluth , Gary Goldman

Jodi Benson , Will Ryan , June Foray , Kenneth Mars

86 minutes

Watch on Starz

16 ‘The Tigger Movie’ (2000)

Director: Jun Falkenstein

Tigger giving Roo his locket in The Tigger Movie
Image via Walt Disney Pictures

Those in the mood for some nostalgic animated movies may want to dive right into The Tigger Movie. Directed by Jun Falkenstein, the Winnie the Pooh film initially portrays Pooh, Piglet, Owl, Kanga, Roo, and Rabbit working together to create a home for Eeyore. Tigger’s high energy and constant jumping interrupt the group, who soon inspire him to look for others like him.

Tigger’s search for his relatives turns the mostly light-hearted animated movie into a moving one, especially as the protagonist realizes what it means to have a family. Watching this unfold as an adult is a totally different experience that may even cause viewers to shed a tear.

Watch on Disney+

15 ‘Osmosis Jones’ (2001)

Directors: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Tom Sito, Piet Kroon

Osmosis Jones (voiced by Chris Rock ) poses in front of the city behind him in the movie Osmosis Jones
Image via Warner Bros.

Using a brilliant mix of live-action sequences and animation, Osmosis Jones tells the story of the titular character, an anthropomorphic white blood cell, who lives inside a zoo worker who suddenly falls ill. It’s up to the protagonist to work with a temperamental cold-cure pill and save his host before it’s too late.

With wholly unique world-building that delves into science, health, and the human body, Osmosis Jones is one of the hidden gems of the early 2000s. Its gross-out humor won’t be for everyone, but those who enjoyed it as kids will likely find it’s a totally new experience upon a second viewing today.

Watch on Tubi

14 ‘The Swan Princess’ (1994)

Director: Richard Rich

Princess Odette and Prince Derek in The Swan Princess III: The Mystery of the Enchanted Treasure.
Image via Nest Family Entertainment

The Swan Princess is based on the classic ballet Swan Lake. Unfortunately, the movie was up against a re-release of The Lion King in theaters and bombed at the box office. Despite this, The Swan Princess gained success through home video releases and spawned many sequels and spin-offs.

The beautiful princess, Odette, falls in love with the handsome prince Derek in The Swan Princess. An exiled dark magician conjures up a spell to turn her into a swan, though, and keep her all to himself. The prince and princess are helped by charming creatures during their journey of releasing Odette from the binding spell.

The Swan Princess

Release Date
November 18, 1994

Richard Rich

Jack Palance , Michelle Nicastro , John Cleese , Steven Wright

90 minutes

Rent on Apple TV

13 ‘Once Upon a Forest’ (1993)

Director: Charles Grosvenor

Abigail, Edgar, and Russell with a map in Once Upon a Forest.

In this overlooked Hanna-Barbera production, a toxic spill from a construction site threatens the life of a badger. Three woodland creatures set out to save their friend and brave a harrowing journey to find a cure. The three animals race against time as the humans loom closer and present a larger danger to their friends and family.

Once Upon a Forest was a hit because of its vivid animation style, adorable anthropomorphic animals, and its important message about the environment and human destruction of the earth. The animals go by “Furlings” to appeal to children, and the movie stands as an underrated classic for many people who grew up in the ’90s.

Rent on Apple TV

12 ‘FernGully: The Last Rainforest’ (1992)

Director: Bill Kroyer

Image via 20th Century Fox

Often considered one of the best old animated movies, FernGully: The Last Rainforest takes place in the titular location where a fairy called Crysta accidentally shrinks a human boy named Zak. Once working for the logging company that’s tearing down the forest, Zak embarks on a dangerous quest to help Crysta and her friends end the needless destruction of their home.

While the film achieved moderate box office success, it never reached the heights of other animated classics during its time. The underrated movie is worth watching again today, as mature audiences will be able to better appreciate the animated movie’s powerful message about the environment.

FernGully: The Last Rainforest

Release Date
April 10, 1992

Bill Kroyer

76 minutes

Watch on Starz

11 ‘An American Tail: Fievel Goes West’ (1991)

Fievel and his family on the train in An American Tail: Fievel Goes West.

An American Tail: Fievel Goes West is a sequel to 1986’s An American Tail, from Steven Spielberg‘s short-lived studio, Amblimation. It was the only Amblimation film that used cel animation and was the last of its kind ever to be released in theaters.

It found massive success in home video releases and became a phenomenon among children. It has made numerous best-of lists and is an essential film about Jewish immigrants. In Fievel Goes West, the Mousekewitz family finds themselves still having trouble with cats hunting them. They decide to move to a new place out west, where they are promised a life of peace.

Rent on Apple TV

10 ‘Antz’ (1998)

Directors: Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson

Z and Princess Bala in Antz.
Image via DreamWorks Animation

Antz was the first film from DreamWorks Animation, and only the third feature-length computer-animated film in history, after Toy Story and Cassiopeia. The movie shares many similarities to one of Pixar’s best, A Bug’s Life, which resulted in a public feud between DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Pixar’s John Lasseter.

Despite production chaos, the movie was released with a triumphant box office reception. Many critics praised Antz‘s humor and animation style – where many of the bug characters resemble their voice actors. The movie follows Z, a worker ant with dreams outside his communal ant colony. While striving to gain his individuality, he falls in love with the ant princess, Bala, and must save his colony from collapse.

Watch on Peacock

9 ‘The Princess and the Goblin’ (1991)

Director: József Gémes

Princess Irene being held captive by the Goblin Prince, Froglip

The Princess and the Goblin contains every fantasy trope a child could dream of: a beautiful and brave princess, a courageous peasant boy turned hero, and wicked goblins. In the movie, a peaceful kingdom becomes devoured by menacing goblins. A princess and a fearless boy must rescue the noble king from them, using only their gift of song and a magical, shimmering thread.

The movie is based on a novel of the same name and is one of the most rewatchable classic animated movies of the ’90s. The film is also home to one of the most memorable tunes fans will never get out of their head. When strolling through the foreboding forest at night, Curdie sings the song, “Spark Inside Us,” which probably still haunts you to this day if you heard it as a kid.

Buy on Amazon

8 ‘Over the Hedge’ (2006)

Directors: Tim Johnson, Karey Kirkpatrick

Gladys Sharp, Vincent, and Dwayne LaFontan from Over the Hedge

A mostly forgotten standalone DreamWorks film, Over the Hedge is centered on a group of animals who help RJ the raccoon replace the food he stole from a now-angry bear. In order to get the food before the bear’s deadline, the woodland friends infiltrate the suburbs and exploit humans’ homes and events.

With an ensemble cast including Bruce Willis, Steve Carell, Avril Lavigne, and Wanda Sykes, it’s hard to believe the critically acclaimed film has faded into obscurity as much as it has. Although its CGI is quite dated, it’s still worth watching for the characters’ hilarious antics and the actors’ voice performances.

over the hedge

Release Date
May 17, 2006

Tim Johnson , Karey Kirkpatrick


Watch on Peacock

7 ‘Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas’ (2003)

Directors: Tim Johnson, Patrick Gilmore

Image via Dreamworks

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas was the final DreamWorks feature-length film to use traditional animation to depict its story revolving around the titular mariner and his misadventures. Blending aspects of classical mythology and One Thousand and One Nights, the film follows the pirate as he travels across the oceans with his loyal dog and rowdy crew. He soon faces the biggest challenge of his life when he embarks on recovering a stolen book to avoid the death sentence.

It may have been a box office flop, but Sinbad is fondly remembered today by fans and critics alike. It’s the perfect time to give it a second chance and delve back into one of the older animated movies that maximized the old animation techniques before the domination of CGI.

Sinbad: Legend Of The Seven Seas

Release Date
July 2, 2003

Patrick Gilmore , Tim Johnson


Watch on Peacock

6 ‘Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper’ (2004)

Director: William Lau


Arguably the best Barbie movie to date (not counting Greta Gerwig‘s version), Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper is a classic musical fantasy film that sees the titular character playing a dual role. One version of her is ridiculously wealthy, and another isn’t so financially secure – when the two swap places, the kingdom is forever changed.

Combining unique fantasy elements (like fairies and mermaids) with a touching tale of friendship, it’s not surprising that the film holds up incredibly well. It’s the ideal film to transport viewers back to their childhoods, and an easy one to introduce to kids, too.

Rent on Apple TV

5 ‘James and the Giant Peach’ (1996)

Director: Henry Selick

James and the Giant Peach

When discussing old cartoon movies, it’s easy to overlook stop-motion animation films like James and the Giant Peach. Based on Roald Dahl‘s eponymous 1961 novel, Henry Selick’s direction and Tim Burton’s artistic touch as the producer brings the eccentric story of James to life. The young orphan finds and spills a bag of crocodile tongues one day, which prompts a dangerous adventure on a giant flying peach.

With the leaps and bounds in stop-motion animation in recent years, masterpieces like James and the Giant Peach have unfortunately faded into the background. The wonderfully creepy and engrossing film deserves a re-evaluation and a fresh set of eyes.

Watch on Disney+

4 ‘Brother Bear’ (2003)

Directors: Aaron Blaise, Robert Walker

An angry Kenai walking beside Koda in 'Brother Bear'
Image via Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Set in Alaska, Disney’s Brother Bear follows the transformative journey of a young boy named Kenai, whose unnecessary murder of a bear angers the Spirits. When he changes into a bear himself, he learns a thing or two about the surrounding wildlife. His new bond with the endearing bear cub Koda helps him survive his time as one of them.

Now rarely mentioned alongside the company’s greats, the post-renaissance Disney movie is among the most beautiful and touching classics that deserve more praise. Kenai’s well-written story helps impart lessons about family, friendship, and environmentalism.

Brother Bear

Release Date
October 23, 2003

Aaron Blaise , Robert Walker


Watch on Disney+

3 ‘Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland’ (1989)

Directors: Masami Hata, William Hurtz

Nemo and Bon Bon sail a flying ship in Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland.
Image via Hemdale

Little Nemo gets lost in his dreams at night, transported to worlds he has seen parts of in his real life. One night, he dreams about a man he saw at a circus, Professor Genius, and is tasked with being the playmate of the princess of another realm. He agrees and is taken to Slumberland, a land of beauty and chaos, where he soon meets the wicked Nightmare King.

Based on the comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland, this animated musical fantasy film is wondrous in every way. Much like how children sometimes can’t differentiate between their dreams and reality, it weaves dreams and nightmares together, creating a vivid, whimsical world of frolic and folly. The Academy Award-winning Sherman brothers also penned the soundtrack.

Watch on Prime Video

2 ‘Chicken Run’ (2000)

Directors: Nick Park, Peter Lord

Bunty voiced by Imelda Staunton, Ginger voiced by Julia Sawalha and Babs voiced by Jane Horrocks, standing in the chicken coop in Chicken Run
Image via Dreamworks Pictures

From a collaboration by DreamWorks, Pathé, and the renowned studio Aardman Animations, the classic stop-motion animated comedy movie Chicken Run is born. Set on an egg farm, the film centers on the chickens’ plot to escape with the help of a new arrival, the rooster Rocky Rhodes. They must work together before the farmer turns all of them into meat pies.

With fantastic visuals, gut-busting sequences, and likable characters who are impossible not to root for, Chicken Run was an important part of many viewers’ childhoods. It was mostly forgotten until the announcement of its highly-anticipated sequel, which will undoubtedly feature more wacky misadventures.

Chicken Run

Release Date
June 23, 2000

Peter Lord , Nick Park

Phil Daniels , Lynn Ferguson , Mel Gibson , Tony Haygarth , Jane Horrocks , Miranda Richardson

84 minutes

Watch on Peacock

1 ‘The Prince of Egypt’ (1998)

Directors: Brenda Chapman, Simon Wells, Steve Hickner

Moses with Tzipporah in The Prince of Egypt
Image Via Dreamworks

In 1998, DreamWorks gave fans an adaptation they never knew they needed. The Prince of Egypt is an animated musical movie that depicts the life of Moses much like it’s told in the book of Exodus. From his time as the prince to his ultimate journey that leads him and his people out of Egypt, it’s an exhilarating movie with several iconic musical numbers.

The box office hit became a popular non-Disney movie, which drew audiences from around the globe. It has since faded into obscurity, but a quick rewatch will undoubtedly get songs like “When You Believe” and “Playing with the Big Boys” stuck in fans’ minds again.

The Prince of Egypt

Release Date
December 16, 1998

Brenda Chapman , Steve Hickner , Simon Wells


Watch on Peacock

NEXT: The Best Animated Movies of All Time, Ranked According to IMDb

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