The best stop-motion movies are some of the most creative and inspiring films to ever be created.

The artists who create these masterpieces put their hearts and souls into their work, often spending years on a single feature-length film.

What makes a good stop motion movie?

If you’re not familiar with stop-motion animation, it’s a process where real objects are moved in tiny increments and photographed one frame at a time.

Most of the time, these objects are puppets that have been handcrafted by the artists themselves.

They look nothing like regular humans, but they’re usually some kind of animal or fantastical creature.

The best stop motion movies aren’t just great stories; they’re also visual marvels.

These are the kinds of films that take you to a world that’s different from anything you’ve seen before — where the characters feel real and the environment is so vivid that it feels like it really exists.

Best Stop Motion Movies

The term stop motion is often used interchangeably with clay animation, puppet animation and stop-frame animation.

While similar techniques can be used in all three types of animation, each has its own unique qualities which make them different from one another.

A lot of stop motion films feature characters that have been built from scratch using various materials such as clay, wood, metal, or plasticine.

Let’s take a look at our list of the best stop motion movies of all time.

The Tale Of The Fox (1937)

Borrowing an idea that had been used by Walt Disney in his Silly Symphonies, including The Golden Touch (1935), The Tale of the Fox (1937) is a lively anthropomorphic fantasy that features a cast of characters with human hands and heads, but with animal bodies, costumes and facial features.

Animated by German émigré Lotte Reiniger, this imaginative film is constructed almost entirely of silhouette animation, which was the preferred style at England’s Cosgrove Hall studio where it was produced.

Reiniger’s use of silhouettes is far more elaborate than the Disney films she emulated, however.

In fact, The Tale of the Fox seems to be made up of nothing but silhouettes. Except for two simple tree-lined landscapes at the beginning and end of the film, there are no backgrounds at all.

Characters drop in from above as tiny black figures against a white background. They strike dramatic poses before disappearing offscreen again just as quickly.

Comedy and fantasy play a large part in this little gem from England’s legendary Halas & Batchelor Animation Studios (Halas made Mickey Mouse cartoons for Disney in the 1930s). The opening scene finds Farmer Brown sitting on his stile reading a newspaper story about.

The Big Bad Fox And Other Tales [Blu-ray]
  • Guillaume Darnault, Damien Witecka, Kamel Abdessadok (Actors)
  • Patrick Imbert (Director)
  • Audience Rating: G (General Audience)

Chicken Run (2000)

Chicken Run is a 2000 stop-motion clay animated comedy film from the Aardman Animations studio. The plot centers around a group of chickens who plan to escape from their farmer owner, and their paranoid and incompetent coop guard dog.

The voice cast includes Mel Gibson, Timothy Spall, Jane Horrocks, Miranda Richardson, Tony Haygarth and Tom Wilkinson.

The film was directed by Peter Lord and Nick Park (in his directorial debut), creators of Wallace & Gromit. The film was released on 17 July 2000 by DreamWorks Pictures.

It was the first stop-motion feature to be made entirely in stereoscopic 3D (using the RealD process).

Chicken Run grossed $224.7 million worldwide on a $32 million budget, becoming the fourth highest-grossing stop motion animated film at the time of its release.

It received nominations in three categories at the 73rd Academy Awards: Best Animated Feature, Best Original Song (for “Best Day Of My Life”, written by Harry Gregson-Williams) and Best Original Musical or Comedy Score (for Julian Nott).

It also received six nominations at the 56th British Academy Film Awards, including Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Miranda Richardson and Best Film Music for John Powell.

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The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run [Blu-ray]
  • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run [Blu-ray]
  • Tom Kenny, Awkwafina, Clancy Brown (Actors)
  • Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

The Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) A review by William Henry Fox Talbot, the inventor of photography, must have been the first person who said “I can make pictures move”. And he was right.

Even though his invention was a little different than what we see today as movies, he still believed that moving pictures could depict the world in a different way.

Image manipulation has been around for over 100 years but it wasn’t until the 20th century that people started to use this technique for entertainment purposes, and that was mainly because of Walt Disney.

The cinema world is more than just a place to watch moving pictures. It is also a place where you can meet all kind of characters like The Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), one of the most lovable creatures you will ever see on screen.

But are we going to talk about how great this movie is? No, we are not! 

We are going to give you some tips on how to do your own version of it! So follow us now and learn how to do your own fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) movie poster!

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Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • George Clooney, Bill Murray, Meryl Streep (Actors)
  • Wes Anderson (Director) - Scott Rudin (Producer)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

Jason And The Argonauts (1963)

The Golden Fleece, a magical piece of fabric which could render the wearer impervious to harm, was guarded by a monstrous dragon. Perseus, a hero with whom Jason had formed an unlikely alliance, slew the dragon and showed the Argonauts how to get past its lair.

The Argonauts then sailed to Colchis (modern-day Georgia), where they were greeted by King Aeëtes, who had been warned by an oracle that he would be overthrown unless he surrendered his daughter Medea to the foreigners. Aeëtes initially refused, but Jason eventually gave him a large sum of gold and promised to return Medea after completing the quest for the fleece.

Sailing on in their ship Argo, the Argonauts next passed through the Clashing Rocks; at the other end of this dangerous strait lay their destination, Colchis.

On their way through, however, Hera caused the tips of Argo’s mast to catch fire; frightened by this strange phenomenon and outraged at Jason’s lack of gratitude for having saved his life earlier in the voyage, Medea cast a spell that made Aeëtes’s daughter Ariadne fall in love with Theseus. 

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Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • George Clooney, Bill Murray, Meryl Streep (Actors)
  • Wes Anderson (Director) - Scott Rudin (Producer)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

Coraline (2009)

“Coraline” is a 2009 American stop-motion animated fantasy film based on Neil Gaiman’s 2002 novel of the same name. The film was produced by Laika and distributed by Focus Features.

It was released in theaters on February 6, 2009.

Developed at Portland, Oregon’s Will Vinton Studios, “Coraline” was the first stop-motion film to use only CGI backgrounds, which were created by Blur Studio. The film received generally positive reviews and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 82nd Academy Awards.

Screenwriter and director Henry Selick adapted Gaiman’s original novel into a screenplay, removing all but one of the book’s characters to focus primarily on Coraline Jones and her parents, who are portrayed as analogous to other characters in the book. Composer Carter Burwell wrote the film score, which includes two songs written by Black Francis: “Falling” and “Windstorm.”

The film premiered at the Ziegfeld Theatre on February 5, 2009, and it opened in wide release on February 6, 2009. The DVD and Blu-ray editions were released on March 23 with deleted scenes added back into the film.

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Coraline -LAIKA Studios Edition [Blu-ray + DVD]
  • Coraline
  • Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders (Actors)
  • Henry Selick (Director) - Henry Selick (Writer) - Henry Selick (Producer)
  • French, Spanish, English (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

   

 

Best Stop Motion Movies

What Are stop motion movies?

Stop motion animation involves shooting a series of images or frames in rapid succession and arranging them to create the illusion of movement when the frames are played back.

The technique was pioneered by British filmmaker Norman McLaren in the 1940s and refined by animators such as Will Vinton and Phil Tippett.

This type of animation usually involves subjects that are physically manipulated to appear as if they are moving on their own, as opposed to using traditional animation techniques where objects are drawn or computer-generated and made to move or talk.

Stop motion films can be made using clay figures, puppets, dolls, action figures, stuffed animals, toys and even photographs.

Creating a stop motion film often requires a lot of time and effort from the animator as it can take hours or days just to shoot a few seconds of footage.

 

 

Anomalisa (2015)

Anomalisa is a 2015 British-American stop-motion animated drama film directed and produced by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson. The film is based on Kaufman’s 2005 directed play of the same name, which was in turn based on the Italian play “L’uomo qualunque” by Filippo Timi.

Anomalisa is a stop motion movie that deals with human connection and loneliness. Directed by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) who also wrote the screenplay and voiced one of the characters. 

The animation was done by Duke Johnson (Head of Story on Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox,  and Director of Animated Shorts like The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore).

It tells a story about a man who is tired of his life and has nothing but meaningless business trips to look forward to. He doesn’t feel connected to anyone anymore and he’s desperate for some human contact. One night while staying in Cincinnati he meets a woman at a bar and they have an instant connection.

He invites her to his hotel room where they spend an intense night together that changes his life forever. The next morning he wakes up to find out she has checked out without telling him, leaving behind only.

Anomalisa (Blu-ray + DVD)
  • David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan (Actors)
  • Duke Johnson (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)

Mary And Max (2009)

Mary and Max is about the unlikely friendship between Mary Daisy Dinkle (a Jewish 8-year-old girl living in Melbourne, Australia) and Max Horovitz (an obese 44-year-old man living with Asperger syndrome in New York City).

In 1979, when Mary is eight and Max is forty-four, they begin exchanging letters after each receives the other’s name in their divorced parents’ address books. 

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Mary and Max [Blu-ray]
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Toni Collette, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eric Bana (Actors)
  • Adam Elliot (Director)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

Isle of Dogs (2018)

Isle of Dogs is a 2018 stop-motion animated film directed by Wes Anderson. This is Anderson’s second animated film, following Fantastic Mr Fox (2009).

It was released in the United Kingdom on March 23, 2018 and in the United States on March 24, 2018. The film received critical acclaim and has grossed over $59 million against a $55 million budget.

Set in Japan, Isle of Dogs tells the story of Atari Kobayashi, 12-year-old ward to corrupt Mayor Kobayashi. When all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage dump, Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies to Trash Island in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots.

There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture.

Isle of Dogs - Ataris Reise [Blu-ray] [2018] [Region A & B & C]
  • Anderson, Wes (Director)
  • German, French, Dutch (Subtitles)

 Kubo And The Two Strings (2016)

Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) is an animated fantasy film that was a pleasure to watch. It had a good story with great animation, but I think it could have been better.

The voice acting in Kubo And The Two Strings (2016) was good. Art Parkinson played the main character, Kubo. Charlize Theron played his mother and Matthew McConaughey voiced his father.

Each character had their own unique voice, so it was easy to tell who was speaking at any given time.

The plot of Kubo And The Two Strings (2016) followed the life of Kubo after his mother died and he had to take on the role of being a samurai protecting a village from evil spirits with his magical shamisen.

The plot was interesting because it introduced mystical elements like ghosts and other creatures I’ve never seen before in other movies. There were some surprising twists as well.

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Kubo and the Two Strings - LAIKA Studios Edition [Blu-ray + DVD]
  • Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Ralph Fiennes (Actors)
  • Travis Knight (Director) - Marc Haimes (Writer) - Arianne Sutner (Producer)
  • Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Director: Henry Selick Writers: Tim Burton (story), Caroline Thompson (screenplay) Starring: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, Jeffrey Jones, Paul Reubens, Robert Grossmith, Ed Ivory

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a 1993 American stop-motion musical fantasy film directed by Henry Selick and produced/co-written by Tim Burton. The film tells the story of Jack Skellington, a being from “Halloween Town” who opens a portal to “Christmas Town” and becomes its leader.

He finds himself struggling to bring life back to Christmas and Santa Claus after he accidentally causes the latter’s demise.

The Nightmare Before Christmas was conceived by Burton in 1988 as a stop-motion musical with the working title of The Pumpkin King. Disney initially approached Burton to direct a live-action remake of their 1941 film The Reluctant Dragon.

When the ideas did not work out due to budget concerns, Burton turned to stop motion animation instead.

Production was started under Disney, but they eventually dropped the project. The success of Vincent in the character design inspired Burton to continue with stop motion when he decided to make his next feature Puppet Master (1989). 

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NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, THE (TIM BURTON'S)
  • Chris Sarandon, Danny Elfman, Catherine O'Hara (Actors)
  • Henry Selick (Director) - Based On A Story And Characters By Tim Burton (Writer)
  • Spanish, French, English (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

First Stop Motion Movies

The first stop-motion movie was made in the late 1800’s, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that the stop-motion technique became popular. The modern era of stop motion began in 1905 with Émile Reynaud’s “The Little Match Girl.”

This was a series of still images arranged in the shape of a girl that when played in sequence, appeared to move.

In 1911 “The Haunted Hotel” was released, which is now considered to be the first animated film created by Charles-Émile Reynaud. He followed this up with his most famous creation, “The Walking Dead,” which is also considered to be the first zombie movie in history.

Stop motion animation was used in various forms throughout the early 20th century including television commercials, music videos and even a few feature films. The most famous example being Ray Harryhausen’s 1963 film “Jason and the Argonauts.”

One of Harryhausen’s most famous creations is the skeleton fight scene from Jason and the Argonauts. This scene featured seven skeletons battling seven soldiers and required over a month to film using 12 frames per second (fps). 

In total, Harryhausen created 127 different sequences for this scene. 

Stop Motion Movie Feats

There are many different ways to create stop motion movies. In the article below we will review some of the more classical methods and their advantages and drawbacks.

There are many different ways to create stop motion movies. In the article below we will review some of the more classical methods and their advantages and drawbacks.

The first thing that you need is a camera, obviously.

There are several types of cameras that can be used for stop-motion animation, but most people prefer to use a digital camera for its ease of use and its ability to record high quality images at a relatively low cost.

You will probably want to buy a tripod for your camera so that it remains steady during the recording process. If you do not have one, a stack of books can also work well if you do not plan on making very long movies (the books should be at least as tall as your camera).

You may also want to invest in a remote shutter release so that you can take pictures without actually touching the camera.

Now that you have your equipment, you need something to animate! A puppet can work great, but there are other options as well.

Stop Motion Classics

I’m excited to announce a new series on the blog that is sure to please both animators and movie buffs: Stop Motion Classics!

The Stop Motion Classics series is dedicated to the best stop motion films ever made. I will be exploring the masterpieces of stop motion film making with behind-the-scenes stories, interviews, and original content.

You can also expect plenty of other great animation posts, including:

Stop motion reviews of movies and shows released every week.

A look at all things stop motion including the latest news, popular resources, and emerging trends

A spotlight on rising stop motion stars who are making waves in the industry

What do you get when you cross classic movie titles with stop motion animation? Stop Motion Classics, a YouTube channel that cuts together scenes from classic films and sets them to music.
 

Ready to learn about some other Film Movements & Film History?