10 Most Romantic Animated Films

With the Academy Awards kicking off the month, we’re in movie-watching mode. (Lingering winter weather also helps us justify a few more cozy nights in before spring.)


Next at-home date night, why not visit (or revisit) an animated love story?


Here are our picks, in no particular order, for the 10 most romantic animated films:


Lady and the Tramp (1955)


One word: spaghetti.


It’s hard to believe that Walt Disney himself initially cut the now-iconic scene from the storyboards of this “good girl falls for scruffy charmer from the wrong side of the tracks” romance. It’s impossible to hear “Bella Notte” and not associate it with literal puppy love.


Beauty and the Beast (1991)


This 1991 Disney film was the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture. (Up and Toy Story 3 have also since made the cut.) Unlike other “princess movies” before it, this one offered some real character development, and made falling in love an essential part of the plot, not just a convenient way to end the story.


And, like Emma Watson, we’re choosing to believe that it isn’t about Stockholm Syndrome.


Bambi (1942)


This was the film that taught us all about the circle of life before “The Circle of Life.” (See: The Lion King.) We also learned how to articulate those first-crush feelings with one perfect word: “twitterpated.”


The Lion King (1994)


Simba saves the day — after his childhood crush challenges him to do so. Their relationship inspires the film’s Grammy- and Academy Award-winning hit “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” one of the most romantic songs to come from an animated film.


Whisper of the Heart (1995)


An animated romantic drama from Japan’s Studio Ghibli, Whisper of the Heart is a coming-of-age tale about a first love and the importance of believing in yourself — and of pursuing an education. Stay in school, lovers.


Also included in this lovely film: a charming Japanese cover of John Denver’s “Country Roads.”


WALL-E (2008)


This robot love story will have you rooting for a trash compactor to live happily ever after with a lovely probe named Eve. It will also convince you to consume less and recycle more, something most love stories fail to do.


Chico & Rita (2010)


This Academy Award-nominated Spanish-American animated musical follows two musicians from Havana to New York and beyond, their complicated love story spanning 50 years. The film’s co-directors tell the story using the structure and conventions of the tragic Latin ballad: the bolero.


The Little Mermaid (1989)


She saves his life. He saves hers. And a crab sings “Kiss the Girl.” What more could a mermaid-human romance need? (Other than legs. But that gets sorted out, too.)


The Wind Rises (2013)


Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki’s final film pre-retirement, this historical drama tells the fictionalized history of a Mitsubishi aircraft designer and his love of the skies and of a dying woman, giving the story what Variety film critic Scott Foundas calls a dimension of “old-fashioned, tragic Hollywood romance.”


Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (2005)


This stop-motion gem might seem like an off-beat choice, but Victor and Victoria’s long road to the alter is hard to dismiss. Love conquers all — but be careful when rehearsing your vows in a graveyard.


Honorable Mention


Up (2009).


The beginning. Bring tissues. Don’t we all want a love like Carl and Ellie’s?


What’s your favorite animated love story?





Lady and the Tramp:






Beauty and the Beast:








The Lion King:




Whisper of the Heart:




Chico & Rita:




The Wind Rises:






Corpse Bride:




General Sources: