Ahead of the release of Pixar Studios' latest film this weekend, their Dia De Los Muertos musical Coco (read my review here), I thought it would be fun to revisit the animation giants' catalogue of films and rank all of them thus far.

Pixar are a studio known for their knack for storytelling and they've made what many hail as some of the greatest animated films of all-time over their career thus far. With 23 years in the industry and their 19th film arriving this weekend, and marking a true return to form for the studio, now seemed like as fitting a time as any to rank all of the Pixar films from worst to best. Oh, and since I haven't reviewed most of them, I will be going back and reviewing each and every one in the buildup to the release of their 20th film this Summer: Incredibles 2.

Anyway, without further ado, let's dive into my Pixar Studios ranking:

19. CARS 2 (2011)
We will get to the first Cars film soon enough but Cars 2 was just bad. Pixar don't often make bad films - some mediocre to lower-tier quality ones, yes but the word "bad" isn't often thrown around. This sequel was not only unnecessary but it sidelined the main character of the franchise and all of the racing for a dumb spy plot and put Mater in the lead role... Why anyone signed off on, basically, Mater going 007 is beyond me. It was not good.

18. CARS 3 (2017)
Cars 3 isn't as bad as its predecessor but I don't think anyone thought it would be anyway. But it still isn't very good. The ideas it brought to the table were interesting - basically, a Rocky film set in the Cars universe - but it stalled on arrival and didn't manage to pick up speed for the rest of its duration. For a film all about fast cars, this one is rather slow.

The Good Dinosaur is just so forgettable, in comparison to the rest of the Pixar slate. For a studio so able to cater to both adults and children, this felt squarely for the latter and rehashed the plot of The Lion King but nothing exciting ever happened? It's visually arresting, though, and one of the studio's prettiest films ever... Just not memorable in the slightest.

16. A BUG'S LIFE (1998)
Another case of Pixar catering more for children than adults, A Bug's Life is a perfectly harmless animated film but it was following Toy Story and was dumped before Toy Story 2. This came out in Pixar's heyday. For that time and the quality of Pixar films that it came out around, it should have been fantastic. Instead, it was a bit below mediocre but still a bitter disappointment.

The first Monsters Inc film was quite something (again, we'll come to that in a moment) and whilst Monster's University has its strengths and its great scenes, they feel too few and scattered throughout a very uneven and, at times, painfully bland film that, feels like it exists purely to ride off of the coattails of the original's success and status as a "Pixar classic". A cash-grab.

14. BRAVE (2012)
For some reason, some people seem to really despise this film. I think it's a bit forgettable but, all in all, it's a fairly competent and okay film... Maybe it's the Scot in me. Yes, it feels more like a response to Pixar's lack-of-female-protagonist backlash than a nuanced adventure... Which it was. But, even by those standards, it still holds up and is perfectly fine as a film.

13. FINDING DORY (2016)
Pixar have always seemed to struggle with the sequel formula but Finding Dory is a pretty great effort that shows they have it in them yet. This is a case of putting a side-character into the spotlight - something the studio really seem to like doing - and having it work. Finding Dory is such a warming story that, whilst fairly flawed, takes the tale of the beloved Dory and furthers it in a way that works and, moreover, doesn't just feel like another lazy cash-grab; although it probably is, at least it's executed with enough flourish to stick a solid landing.

12. CARS (2006)
I'm probably in the minority of people that enjoy the first Cars film; I would go as far as saying, I love it. I think it's an underrated and underappreciated underdog story that is heartfelt and touching; the character dynamics are great and watching McQueen grow as a character throughout the film - as conventional a character arc as it may be - is so charming; it's a film that is executed with enough heart to make for such an enjoyable film. It's by no means Pixar gold-dust but, over the years, it has definitely grown on me as a purposefully slower, more patient character piece.

11. INSIDE OUT (2015)

Inside Out did just that for the Pixar formula: it flipped it inside out. Following Up, the studio struggled to really release a GREAT film after a string of mediocre ones and, whilst it still feels like there's something missing with this that keeps it from reaching classic Pixar heights, it is a beautiful and heartwrenching film nevertheless and the studio's first great film for some time.

10. UP (2009)

Just the first 10 minutes of Up alone have become iconic in cinema. And whilst the rest of the film is unable to quite match that momentum, it still reaches a pretty high ground and is able to maintain such a rich level of heart and charm throughout. Putting an old-man in the lead role was a bold move but one that paid off and made this feel like more of a film aimed towards adults than children... but still just as equally enjoyable and wonderful for everyone involved and watching.

9. FINDING NEMO (2003)

Now we're getting into classic Pixar territory and Finding Nemo, for me, is such a nostalgic film. It was one of the first Pixar films I saw in cinemas and actually remember seeing too. Of course, I didn't really get it then given I was only 5 but it has always stayed close to my heart and it's a film I appreciate more and more every time I watch it; it's a fish out of water story... quite literally... and there's something so universal about it which make it such a beloved classic.

8. MONSTERS INC. (2001)

We all feared monsters in our closet or under our bed, right? Well, Monsters Inc. took that idea and somehow flipped it on its head to make one of Pixar's most endearing movies to date. It took the concept of scary monsters and grounded them with such authenticity and humanity. Throw in Boo, the most adorable character ever, and her sincere dynamic with Sully and Wazowksi and we have a gem of a film that represents everything Pixar is about and, even today, it still manages to feel so new and magical. I can watch this countless times and still always be so charmed by it.

7. TOY STORY (1995)

The one that launched it all. Back in 1995, the idea of a computer-animated film about toys coming to life seemed like such an inconceivable, out-of-reach idea and one that was so bold and different... but it worked. Oh man, did it work! Not only did it launch one of the greatest trilogies of all-time but it launched the entire Pixar empire and it was that imaginative nature and out-of-the-box storytelling that became a staple of the studio's films to come... and one that still very much so remains a staple of their films and stories, 23 years later.

6. COCO (2018)

Speaking of that imaginative and out-of-the-box whimsicality that Toy Story made a staple of Pixar over two decades ago, the studio's latest offering boasts it in abundance. Coco manages to recapture that magic of classic Pixar, the likes of Toy Story, Monsters Inc and all of the films to come in this list and it was such a gorgeous, sweeping and wondrous story that feels so refreshing and old-school yet so unique and original too. It's easily one of the best Pixar films in years.

5. WALL-E (2008)

With no dialogue for the first half hour, focused on the destruction of humanity and all reliant on visuals and score and detail, Wall-E feels very old-fashioned in its simplistic nature and execution. It is easily the most ambitious of Pixar's films, and tells the story of a humble little robot from Earth that says very little yet was able to capture all of our hearts. Actions speak louder than words and Pixar have shown that with one of their most magical, awe-inspired films - and, yes, their best character in the charming little Wall-E - to date.


With superhero films now at every corner, The Incredibles takes us back to their resurgence - back when there was no such thing as the MCU or DCEU - and people could just go to watch one good story without worry of spin-offs and connections etc. This is easily one of the best superhero films of the 21st Century; it's certainly the best Fantastic Four we've ever seen. But it was a film that just got it right. It was, and still is, such a refreshing genre piece and full of such awesome characters, action and oodles of heart and fun. BRING ON INCREDIBLES 2!!!

3. TOY STORY 2 (1998)

Toy Story was a film that catered to everyone. It tapped into everyone's love and affiliation and memories with toys from their childhood. Toy Story 2 is that rare sequel that surpasses its original in every way (no easy feat, given that the first film is a masterpiece) and builds upon it all with an even richer story and characters. Given that this was initially a straight-to-DVD release that was on track to tank, it should have been a disaster. But it's anything but and doesn't show a single shadow of doubt for a second of its beautiful, lavish and exciting runtime.


Pixar is a studio that have not only made monsters and skeletons and insects appealing but rats too! Ratatouille is, in my opinion, the funniest Pixar film; it's layered with perfect visual comedy and the story itself is also one that is so charming and relatable but so important too. The idea of "anyone can cook" and "anyone can dream"/"anyone can succeed" has always been, and will always continue to be, such a necessary and relevant message and this film is perhaps the best in conveying that idea. It's a delicate, meticulous arthouse film for Pixar; it's finely focused solely on character and storytelling rather than exciting set pieces but it's compulsively likeable and mesmerising and the story of Remy the rat is one of Pixar's most compelling and it makes Ratatouille such a masterful tour-de-force.

1. TOY STORY 3 (2010)

Not only is it a rarity for a sequel to surpass its predecessor but its even more unheard of for the third film in the franchise to be the best... but Toy Story is that rare set of films that have somehow managed to get better as they went on and Toy Story 3 is not only the trilogy's crowning glory but Pixar's highest cinematic achievement too. Each and every instalment is so different from the others yet still very much that heartfelt Toy Story film in its roots. Part-prison breakout/heist film and part-coming-of-age for our characters, Toy Story 3 has it all in what is such a thrilling, entertaining, funny, and emotional conclusion to one of the greatest trilogies of all-time. This isn't just a testament to what animation can achieve, but what escapism and storytelling can achieve in general - such an absorbing, immersive and masterfully crafted work of magic and my favourite Pixar film.

About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

Related Posts