Since I’m working on an adventure comedy animation story right now, I thought I’d collect ten animation movies with heart that inspire my writing. I love genre movies. They often take a bad rap. I don’t think the term ‘B Movie’ is officially used any more, but I’ve heard it bandied about in real life. Some movie experts see them as also-rans to big blockbuster movies or top-drawer drama, but I like them. I like watching them and I like writing them.

Ten Animation Movies With Heart That Inspire My Writing

Shrek (2001)
This was a game-changer that broke the mould of traditional animation presentation. Shrek brought us a hideous ogre with heart and a love interest such as we never imagined. With sassy dialogue and marvellous characters, this story set the standard for a formula to entertain grown-ups and children alike. Most people can relate to not being “perfect” and it’s not difficult to feel Shrek’s pain when things don’t go his way. Shrek is my top animation movie with heart, followed closely by The Boxtrolls.

The Boxtrolls (2014)
An enchanting story of the battle of horrid little monsters fighting evil overlords. The stop-frame animation, characters, superb voice acting and production values draw in the viewer completely and we live it from start to finish. Fish can live in my garbage chute any time he likes.

Over The Hedge (2006)
There are some genius moments in this film which draw you in unawares. The visual gags are extremely powerful, such as the three baby porcupines running on the steering wheel to drive the van, and the sequence with the depelter-turbo is simply priceless. Punchlines delivered visually, minimum words. Scenes like these stay with you.

Robots (2005)
Apart from the exquisite production design and quality of the animation, the world-building, narrative and characters, this movie has dialogue to die for. If I could ever write like that…

Coraline (2009)
Coraline’s world is very magical and other-worldly indeed. Coraline has “issues” of petulance and ingratitude, but she’s a lonely little girl and earns our sympathy, however the character I always cry for is poor Wyborne, who gets such a bad rap.

Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
It’s hard to pick any favourite from Studio Ghibli, since they are all fabulous. These stories are very strong on emotion and eminently watchable by any writer seeking to put heart in their story. The world has the Disney Corporation to thank for making Studio Ghibli’s work widely accessible.

Ice Age (2002)
This franchise has been amazingly successful in that the quality has remained consistent (in my view) right through the series. Ice Age: Collision Course (2016) is the fifth release.  All characters are supremely endearing and Scrat’s unending pursuit of the giant acorn makes you want to weep for him.

Up (2009)
Up is acclaimed for the showing of the love story of Carl and Elle. It’s a long sequence and all without dialogue, a master class in putting heart into your script which any screenwriter would benefit from studying. Up has more awards and nominations than balloons to lift Carl’s house.

WALL-E (2008)
Who imagined metal and circuits could make flesh and blood cry? Wall-E is the most amazing rendering of heart in a machine world. From the very first frame you root for the lonely waste-collector. Similar for Cars (2006). Ugly Mater with the bad teeth was always my favourite character.

How To Train Your Dragon (2010)
A hugely heart-warming story about how an injured dragon and a Viking boy bond. The dragon never speaks, but his expressions and reactions tell you everything you need to know. The execution is truly masterful.

More Heart…

I promised you ten, and there’s a limit to how much listicle we can take in one go. Here are more animation movies that inspire my writing for their brilliance, emotion, character arc and story structure. You’ll find them all on

A Bug’s Life, Toy Story, The Secret Life of Pets, Inside Out, Tangled, The Corpse Bride, Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, Kung Fu Panda.

What are your favourite animation movies with heart? Let me know in the comment box (below).

Happy writing.



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