Stop motion movies are no easy feat. When it comes to animating features, creating and manipulating frame by frame, giving us the appearance of movement, takes years to complete. But the final product can bring a story to life in ways never imagined with live-action. Stop motion movies have such an appeal that even the most dramatic of writers have delved into giving them a go. Here is our list of the 10 best stop motion movies to date.
Best Stop Motion Movies
10. Chicken Run (2000)
Before Aardman Animation was a stop motion powerhouse, they worked on a film that would be their debut feature. That little film was called Chicken Run. A charming tale, drenched in brilliant slapstick comedy, that is of course, about chickens. It also stars Mel Gibson’s voice, which is just hilarious in and of itself. Though a debut, the success isn’t too surprising spawned from none other than Wallace and Gromit’s Nick Park. Look out for Chicken Run 2 coming out in 2020.
Best Stop Motion Films
9. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
There couldn’t be a zanier or more perfect pairing than that of Wes Anderson and Roald Dahl. It’s only a shame Dahl isn’t around to see it. Wes Anderson’s take on Dahl’s kids classic was sure to be a success, even with his acquired deadpan style. Wes somehow brings us back to childhood, while remaining incredibly fresh and well, Wes. His spectacular visuals brings us right to the heart of the story, and we’re all the better for it.
First Stop Motion
8. Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
Okay fine this isn’t entirely a stop motion movie. In fact, it’s here only because of this one scene. It’s a little funny at first, especially compared to everything else on the list, but this was obviously a huge feat in 1963! The scene took four months to make. If I had to pick something else, James and the Giant Peach might’ve taken its place. But see, that’s also not fully stop motion, so I guess Jason stays.
Stop Motion Movies
7. Coraline (2009)
From Neil Gaiman’s classic children’s story, Coraline is a stop motion feat all its own. Just the right amount of creepy for the kids! And just the original story, almost makes you cry.
Stop Motion Movie Feats
6. Anomalisa (2015)
Of course Charlie Kaufman would do this. Write and direct a beautiful animated film that is not really for kids at all. And I don’t mean those animated films that are for kids that could also work for adults. I mean legitimate animated adults running around! The filmmakers wanted to take stop motion “into realms that we hadn’t seen it go before.” I’d say it worked. A depressed man meets a lively woman who shakes up his mundane life. The seams in the puppets’ faces are intentionally left as to reflect Kaufman’s story.
Stop Motion Classics
Adapted from the classic stop motion shorts, we finally get Wallace and Gromit in a feature film. It’s witty and funny as ever, now with Helena Bonham Carter voicing Wallace’s love interest, Lady Tottington. It’s weird and wonderful and we thank Nick Park yet again.
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Best Stop Motion Movies
4. Mary and Max (2009)
This indie stop motion comedy-drama is a beautiful story of an unlikely pen-pal friendship spanning 20 years. Toni Collette voices Mary, a lonely 80-year-old woman living in Australia, and Max, voiced by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, is a 44-year-old Jewish man struggling with obesity and Asperger’s in New York City. It’s charming and hilarious, deserving the number four spot.
Top Stop Animation Movies
3. Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
This stop motion fantasy movie is Travis Knight’s directorial debut and what a way to make an entrance. It follows a boy on a quest to find a magical suit of armor worn by his deceased father, so he can beat an evil spirit. It’s triumphant and clever, and features my favorite George Harrison song ever - “Why My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
Best Stop Animation Movies
2. Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015)
Another amazing British stop motion animation film, and a spin-off from the Wallace & Gromit film series we know and love. A recent favorite from the viewers, this silent comedy is an incredible feat.
Shaun the Sheep Movie
Best Stop Motion Movie
1. Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Based on a poem by Tim Burton, this beast of a movie is a household favorite that has held up over decades. Kids normally scared of this kind of thing, even like it. And adults, at least for the nostalgia alone, make it a go-to once a year.
What is Stop Motion?
Okay, great, you have the best-of list. But what exactly is stop motion animation? The next article will go over how to make a quick stop motion at home with any kind of camera.