Follow FilmMinion on Twitter  

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Five Best: Childhood Non-Disney Cartoons

courtesy of
I have no motivation for doing this other than a touch of nostalgia. With a baby at home, I don't get to watch a lot that isn't on the Disney Channel, which makes me yearn for a day when good cartoons could come from some other studio. So, I came up with this list of the five best (and one bonus) animated films from my childhood (which I decided was until I turned 12 in 1995) that were not made by Disney. Let me tell you - it was slim pickings, especially since the late 80's/early 90's was really Disney's animated film re-birth with The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast. So, here they are in chronological order, as I shed a tear for simpler times.

Scene from "An American Tail" courtesy of

An American Tail (1986)

Stephen Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment produced this delightful story of Fievel Mousekewitz, a Russian-Jewish immigrant mouse (yes, you're reading that right) separated from his family. It was the first feature-length animated film produced by Universal Pictures and had a surprising amount of heavy themes for an animated children's movie. But, it was a beautiful story which features what is still my secret favorite song of all time in "Somewhere Out There."

Scene from "The Land Before Time" courtesy of

The Land Before Time (1988)

Another collaboration between Amblin and Universal, here we meet a collection of young dinosaurs traveling prehistoric Earth, heading for the "Great Valley" to find food and their parents. It's about determination, pride, prejudice, and banding together to reach a common goal. I watched this last month with my son - he doesn't understand its power quite yet.

Scene from "All Dogs Go to Heaven" courtesy of

All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989)

An Irish-English film produced by United Artists, this little gem opened directly against the Disney behemoth "The Little Mermaid." It spawned a bunch of straight to video sequels and a TV series, but the original will always be the best. With the voices of Burt Reynolds and Dom Deluise, it has similar storyline to Wim Wenders' "Wings of Desire," but with dogs.

Scene from "FernGully: The last Rainforect" courtesy of

FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)

A good amount of voice talent went into this Australian-American film, with Christian Slater, Samantha Mathis, Tim Curry, and Robin Williams all taking part. It came out during a wave of environmentally-conscious entertainment in the early 90's, but got lost in the Disney influx. The message gets lost, but you can't hate the film too much - Tone Lōc does voice talent, and he's a wild thing.

Scene from "We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story" courtesy of

We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (1993)

Another collaboration from Amblin and Universal, this film was based on a 1987 children's book by the same name. Main character Rex, voiced by John Goodman, leads the cast of characters as they are dropped in the Hudson River in an effort to let children see real dinosaurs. The story is all over the place, but as a ten-year-old, you want nothing more than to see those giant lizards. Besides, the great Walter Cronkite does a voice in the film.

Scene from "The Secret of N.I.M.H." courtesy of

BONUS: The Secret of N.I.M.H. (1982)

I couldn''t include it in the actual list, because it came out before I weas born. But this Aurora Pictures/United Artists gem was based on Robert C. O'Brien's 1971 novel Mrs. Frsby and the Rats of NIMH.After a field mouse is forced out of her home, she must band together with a group rats, who she has more in common with than she thinks. Beautiful film, wonderful story - one of my favorites.
Spoiler: N.I.M.H. - National Institute of Mental Health

So, there you have it. Thanks for walking down memory lane with me. Maybe I'll look back on some live action films in the near future. Sound good? It does to me!


  1. Brave Little Toaster was a Disney film, though I didn't think it research says otherwise

  2. You're probably right, I did approximately no research. My apologies.

  3. Don't apologize....just don't let it happen again - I refuse to allow you to belittle my dozens of minutes researching my topics

  4. This just adds one more to the long history of critical snubs for My Little Pony: The Movie.

  5. Was the Transformers movie Disney? Probably not with it's violent execution and racist autobot planet.

  6. I wasn't a huge Transformers fan personally, but it wasnt Disney - and yes Wyatt, I'm adding to the travesty of ignorance

  7. I am crushed. No Magic Boy?

  8. Joshua "Film Minion" GaulApril 20, 2011 at 4:18 AM

    Magic Boy came out in 1959...