1. The ending of The Iron Giant:
"'I go. You stay. No following. Superman.'
That smile on Giant’s face gets me every time."
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2. Mulan's grim reality of war:
"In Mulan, right after they sing 'A Girl Worth Fighting For,' and they see the burned village with the little girl’s doll. The tone shifts so quickly from a fun, happy Disney movie and you’re reminded that the movie is about a war and people died from it.
That scene gives me chills every time."
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3. In The Incredibles, when Dash finally gets to use his powers:
"In The Incredibles, when Dash, who has been told his whole life to hide his powers, finally gets to cut loose and use them."
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4. "Show Yourself" from Frozen 2:
"The song itself is a beautiful song of self-realization, a power ballad for anyone struggling to show their true selves to the world. And of course, Idina Menzel hits those high notes flawlessly.
Then there’s the beauty of the animation itself. Dealing with ice, that’s slippery and shiny and reflective, and animating it so remarkably is no small task.
Then, at the climax of the song, the realism of the glacier is perfectly blended with the magic of seeing her mother and her dress transforming to reflect her true self. The entire scene is the perfect emotional climax of an amazing movie."
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5. In Your Name, Taki and Mitsuha ultimately meet:
"That scene from Your Name where Taki and Mitsuha finally meet atop a mountain after being separated by location, the mystery of the town, and time itself. I just think it's a perfect scene because of how much the audience has been anticipating this moment, and how much Taki had to do in order for it to happen.
And we can't forget the gorgeous animation of course."
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6. In Bolt, when Bolt saves Penny:
"It makes you want to cry so bad, and then when they show the two being carried out on stretchers! It is amazing."
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7. In My Neighbor Totoro, waiting for the bus in the rain:
"The whole scene is brilliantly quiet, properly paced, and builds up to the hilarious Cat Bus."
8. When Hiro has to say goodbye to Baymax in Big Hero 6:
"Baymax was the last thing Hiro had from his brother, but — being the lovable marshmallow he is — he did what he had to do to save Hiro 😭."
9. In Inside Out, Riley acknowledges her sadness:
"When Riley embraces her sadness in Inside Out. As someone who was struggling with an undiagnosed mental illness when I first saw it, this hit me incredibly hard.
When I rewatched it recently, I was in awe. A young girl who was struggling and didn't know how to show it, and then eventually breaking down is such a difficult thing to portray in any movie, let alone an animated kids movie.
From the bottom of my heart, I have to say thank you."
10. The Princess and the Frog - Ray's funeral
"The scene in The Princess and the Frog when Ray the firefly is being carried down the stream after being killed and he joins his love Evangeline in the sky as a star. It is absolutely beautiful and the light of Ray’s new star hitting the faces of the characters as they realize his love wasn’t imaginary is breathtaking."
11. The Red Sea Parting in The Prince of Egypt:
"I still get goosebumps when the lightning flashes and you see the silhouette of the whale. The animation, the music...I hold my breath every time."
12. In Kubo and the Two Strings, as Kubo comes to his realisation:
"When he's facing his grandfather the Moon King, preparing to have his other eye stolen and has the realization that the greatest magic of all...is memory."
13. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron's train scene:
"The scene in the snow where he's on the train. He imagines his family and starts to believe they are actually there.
It's heartbreaking, and such an important scene."
14. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' "Tale of the Three Brothers":
"The animation style is excellent; it’s dark, fluid, and looks so unique. The narration by Emma Watson suits it so well and the scene fits seamlessly into the rest of the movie, despite being the only animated scene.
I think there’s no better way the movie could have done this little origin story justice!"
15. In Kung Fu Panda 2, Po recalls his past:
"The scene in Kung Fu Panda 2 when Po finds his inner peace by remembering what happened to his mom. The moment when the animation switches from 2D (representing his dreams) to 3D (representing real life) is so beautifully perfect."
16. In Princess Mononoke, when Ashitaka stands between San and Lady Eboshi:
"I'm really partial to when San tries to assassinate Lady Eboshi, and Ashitaka has to use his demon strength to stop them. He delivers a 'reasons you both suck' speech to the two of them, and it really drives home the theme of technology versus nature. It is a beautifully serious scene."
17. The Hunchback of Notre Dame's "sanctuary" scene:
"In Hunchback of Notre Dame, when Quasimodo holds Esmeralda in his arms and cries ‘Sanctuary!’ over and over again for all of Paris to hear. The bells in the background and just the sheer MAJESTY of the cathedral...chills all around."
18. Spider-"Up Man's What's Danger" scene: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
"When Miles takes the leap off the skyscraper and finally gains the confidence of being himself and Spider-Man. When it slows down and he’s upside down in midair, it just has that moment of clarity...freedom. I love it."
19. Toy Story 3's frightening prison break:
"I know that the ending is great, but I love when Woody comes back and this scene culminates in a decently lengthy and elaborate escape (that included Mr. Potato Head in both tortilla and pickle form). Even watching it a decade later, I get so worried that the toys are going to get caught."
20. In Up, the "Adventure Book" scene:
"In Up, when Carl discovers that Ellie had filled her adventure book with photos of their life together and at the end she wrote 'Thanks for the adventure, now go have one of your own.' I sob uncontrollably every time I watch that part. It's beautiful and the music playing along with it is so moving."
21. Tangled's "death" of Eugene:
"In Tangled, when Rapunzel says she will stay with Gothel if she lets her save Eugene, but Eugene cuts off her hair. Right before Eugene dies, he tells Rapunzel that she was his new dream.
That whole scene and when her tears bring him back are just amazing."
22. Beauty and the Beast's famous ballroom scene:
"The dance scene from Beauty and the Beast is iconic, gorgeous, and sweeping. The camera angles are flowing and masterful, the song is so emotional, the chemistry between Belle and the Beast is fantastic, and the entire piece is a two-minute taste of perfection. It makes my heart flutter every time."
23. In Spirited Away, the train scene:
"In Spirited Away, when Chihiro is on the train to swamp bottom. It’s simple, but one of the most gorgeous scenes ever created."
24. In How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, when Hiccup and Toothless first meet:
"It's an absolutely perfect piece of animation in unison with the musical score where no words are said but the emotional connection between the two characters is tangible."
25. In The Lion King, Simba decides to return to Pride Rock:
"The scene in The Lion King when Rafiki talks to Simba and when he hits him on the head, they go back and forth. It ends with this quote: 'The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.'
And then, Simba decides to go back. I was so sad when they left this out of the live-action version because it seemed so pivotal to Simba’s growth.
Even as a kid, that quote struck deep to learn and know...bad things may happen, but that's okay."
26. In Coco, when Miguel performs with Mamá Coco and reintroduces music to his family:
"The ending scene of Coco. It was so beautiful and I loved how the whole family got together and sang.
That whole movie was so amazing, but that ending was simply perfect."
27. The Little Mermaid's reprise of "Part of Your World":
"This one is cliché but it’s a classic: 'Part of your World' reprise when Ariel is singing to Eric at first and then when she is singing on the rocks and the waves crash around her and she looks like the Little Mermaid sculpture in Copenhagen."
Although the first animated feature film was released in 1917, it was not until 1937 that Disney released Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, which forever transformed the entertainment industry. Since then, the cartoons have developed into full-blown movies with complex stories and characters.
And we love them for it.