Every Pixar movie, ranked from worst to best — including 'Inside Out 2'

Every Pixar movie, ranked from worst to best — including 'Inside Out 2'
  • Pixar movies are those unique kinds of films that entertain both children and adults alike.

  • Here we highlight all of them and rank which one is the best of them all.

  • Find out where movies like "Toy Story," "The Incredibles," and its latest release, "Inside Out 2," rank.

28. "Cars 2" (2011)

cars 2
"Cars 2."Disney / Pixar

Taking Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) and Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) away from Radiator Springs and going international (plus making Mater a spy) didn't grab critics. This sequel became the first "rotten" Pixar movie on Rotten Tomatoes. Deservedly.

27. "A Bug's Life" (1998)

a bug's life pixar
"A Bug's Life."Pixar

In the second movie ever released by Pixar, an ant named Flik (voiced by Dave Foley) sets out to find others to help save his colony against grasshoppers and ends up recruiting a unique group of allies.

Though the movie was successful at the box office, with the release of DreamWorks' "Antz" a month earlier, you're more likely to remember the Lasseter-Katzenberg feud than the films.


26. "Cars 3" (2017)

Cars 3 Pixar final
"Cars 3."Pixar

Though the "Cars" movies are the least acclaimed of anything Pixar makes, the company continues to churn them out. "Cars 3" touches on some interesting themes like mortality and self-confidence, but it feels like everyone involved in the making of it was on cruise control.

25. "The Good Dinosaur" (2015)

the good dinosaur
"The Good Dinosaur."Pixar

Perhaps one of the more serious stories in the Pixar inventory, this coming-of-age tale about an Apatosaurus and his human friend Spot trying to return home didn't catch on nearly as much as Pixar's other release in 2015, "Inside Out."

Burnout may have been at play here, but mostly Pixar challenged its core audience with a darker story than they were used to.


24. "Brave" (2012)


With perhaps a little too much old-school Disney gloss, the movie nevertheless featured a princess who's one of the most strong-willed we've seen in an animated feature. But it just didn't work as well as Pixar titles before or since.

23. "Onward" (2020)

Dan Scanlon's "Onward."Pixar

In this touching story that centers a family story in the fantasy world, we follow two elf brothers as they set out on a magical quest to bring their father back from the dead.

Like all Pixar movies, there's a lot of self discovery in this one that is hit or miss throughout.

22. "Lightyear" (2022)

Buzz Lightyear, Chris Evans
Buzz goes to infinity and beyond in "Lightyear."Disney/Pixar

"Lightyear" is the movie that Andy from "Toy Story" is obsessed over and what leads to him getting the Buzz Lightyear toy.

Wish we could say we were as obsessed over the movie as he was.

It's fun, and Chris Evans is great voicing the "real" Buzz. But it just misses that quality that makes the great Pixar movies so special.

Still, the action sequences are exciting and the theme music from composer Michael Giacchino is a standout.

21. "Cars" (2006)

Cars pixar
Lightning McQueen in "Cars."Disney / Pixar

The final Pixar movie that the company produced independently before being bought by Disney, "Cars" — a look at a hotshot racing car that finds humility and true friends in a dusty country town — was one of those for-the-whole-family, feel-good stories that was light on the clichés.

20. "Monsters University" (2013)

monsters university
The monsters head to college in this prequel sequel.Disney / Pixar

In the prequel to the popular "Monsters, Inc.," Pixar does impressive work to make the backstory of how Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman) met as fun and original as the classic first film.

Setting the story in the college life of monsters opens the door to easy traps, but the movie mostly steers clear and has a strong ending.

19. "Soul" (2020)

pixar soul 2
Pete Docter's "Soul."Pixar

In Pete Docter and Kemp Power's latest directing effort for Pixar, the two take us into the world of a struggling musician, who dies on the day of his big break.

On the verge of going to the great beyond, or an alternate universe for souls, he tries to get back into his own body.

Jamie Foxx is great voicing the main character, Joe. Tina Fey, as the difficult spirit 22, can get annoying at times, but that's likely the point of her bratty character who doesn't want to live on Earth.

The real hit of this movie, however, is the amazing digital animation that makes New York City pop.

18. "Elemental" (2023)

Fire and Water looking at each other

Pixar has created its first ever rom-com with this touching story set around a girl made of fire and a boy made of water.

Directed by Peter Sohn ("The Good Dinosaur"), the movie has lots of layers like immigration, different cultures, tolerance, and family, as the movie sets around a family made of fire that has to try to live in a city that doesn't accommodate them.

But at its core, the movie is a lighthearted look at young love. This is one that's going to make you feel good when you leave the theater.

17. "Turning Red" (2022)

Turning Red Pixar
"Turning Red."Pixar Animation

After gaining an Oscar for her beloved short film "Bao," director Domee Shi delivers a moving look at what it's like to be a teenage girl in her directorial debut.

Following 13-year-old Meilin as she navigates being a teen and her overbearing mother, she also comes to learn that thanks to a family curse whenever she gets excited she turns into a giant red panda.

This one is definitely a mother-daughter watch.

16. "Inside Out 2" (2024)

Joy and Anxiety Inside Out 2
"Inside Out 2."Disney/Pixar

Nine years after the Oscar-winning original, we're back inside the mind of Riley. Now 13, she's got a lot more swirling in her head besides "Joy," "Anger," "Sadness," "Fear," and "Disgust."

With puberty hitting, there's now "Envy," "Boredom," "Embarrassment," and "Anxiety."

Like the first movie, the sequel cleverly examines how emotions fuel our everyday lives, especially in our youth. Here, the main focus is Riley trying to fit in at hockey skills camp, which leads to a lot of anxiety and repressing her key emotions.

Though the middle of the movie gets a bit stale as Joy tries to race back before Anxiety goes too far, it gets points for having one of the better endings in the Pixar filmography.

15. "Coco" (2017)

coco pixar disney movie
In "Coco," Miguel enters the underworld to follow his passion for music.Disney/Pixar

Marking the first time Pixar based a movie around a holiday, director Lee Unkirch ("Toy Story 3") gives us a powerful story about family and never forgetting your past all set around Dia de los Muertos. Make sure to bring the tissues for this one.

14. "Luca" (2021)

characters from Luca on a vespa
You'll want to ride a Vespa after watching "Luca" too.Pixar

Director Enrico Casarosa delivers a beautiful look at friendship and Italian culture with this movie that follows two boys who are sea creatures but long to explore above the surface.

Looking like regular boys when they are out of the water, they embark on a journey through the small fishing town near where they live.

It results in an adventure that speaks to expanding your horizons and never being scared of change.

13. "Monsters, Inc." (2001)

monsters inc
Randall is one of the villains in "Monsters Inc."Disney / Pixar

The first directing effort by Pete Doctor ("Up," "Inside Out"), "Monsters, Inc.," the story of how monsters use the screams of children to power their world, was a genius idea that was elevated by the performances of Crystal and Goodman as the leads. With laughs and a heartwarming story, the movie showed that Pixar had more up its sleeve than the "Toy Story" movies.

12. "Incredibles 2" (2018)

incredibles 2 family
"Incredibles 2" starts moments after the last film.Disney/Pixar

14 years after the hit original, director Brad Bird finally returns to continue the story of the superhero Parr family. Starting up right where we left off at the end of the first movie, the sequel has all the fun and thrills of the original while still cleverly keeping those family strife undertones that ground the story. (You have to have something for the parents to relate to.)

11. "Finding Dory" (2016)

finding dory
Dory gets lost in the sequel.Pixar

The highest-grossing animated movie of 2016, the sequel to "Finding Nemo" did not disappoint with audiences as we follow Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) on her journey to find her parents. With many characters from the original returning and some great new ones, Pixar proved the 13-year gap from when the original opened didn't affect their storytelling or our love for this world.

10. "Inside Out" (2015)

inside out gg
Joy and Sadness need each other more than they realize in "Inside Out."Disney/Pixar

Pixar's Oscar-winner for best animated feature touches on all the things that have made its movies so beloved. The original story of a young girl growing up told through personified emotions, and the journey to finding one's true self, could've been corny. But Pixar's execution was flawless.

9. "Toy Story 2" (1999)

Toy Story 2 pixar
The gang gets together to save Woody.Disney / Pixar

The second "Toy Story" puts Woody (Tom Hanks) in the clutches of a toy seller who's ready to ship the antique cowboy off for some major coin. Buzz (Tim Allen) and the rest of the toys have to figure out how to save him. Like the first time, the movie has some great drama and thrills that proved a lot more could be told about these plastic toys.

8. "Up" (2009)

up pixar
Dug is a good dog.Pixar

"Up" is a perfect example of the adult topics Pixar began to take on once it was on steady ground in Hollywood. Focusing on love and the inability to let go, the story of an elderly man's journey to a far-off land on his floating house after his wife dies is equally heartbreaking and life-affirming — a triumph that led to it getting a best-picture Oscar nomination.

7. 'Toy Story 4' (2019)

Tom Hanks Toy Story 4
"Toy Story 4" was directed by Josh Cooley.Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Though many thought the third "Toy Story" was a beautiful close to the franchise that launched Pixar into a giant in the animation world, "Toy Story 4" doesn't do a bad job in trying to match up to its predecessor. Though it doesn't pull the emotional strings as dramatically as "3," it is definitely a worthy addition thanks to new characters like Forky and Duke Caboom, as well as a strong storyline for Bo Peep.

6. "Toy Story 3" (2010)

Toy Story 3 Pixar
Lotzo is a jaded bear who smells like strawberries.Pixar

Hailed by critics when it came out, and nominated for a best picture Oscar, the third "Toy Story" is the franchise's most emotionally charged to date. Woody, Buzz, and the gang find themselves mistakenly delivered to a day-care center, where they encounter some interesting new toys.


5. "The Incredibles" (2004)

The incredibles pixar
The family-centric movie is still a favorite of many.Disney / Pixar

Playing on the big Hollywood secret agent/superhero movies, Pixar's curveball turned off some who didn't want it meddling in the genre. But the story of a superhero past his prime and realizing he's even more powerful when his family is by his side indicated the emotional depths Pixar wanted to explore.

4. "Ratatouille" (2007)

Remy and Alfredo Linguini in "Ratatouille."Disney/Pixar

This touching examination of the sanctity of art and how it can be commercialized into watered-down muck — cleverly using the setting of a restaurant kitchen — is one of the most emotionally fulfilling movies ever made, Pixar or otherwise.

3. "Finding Nemo" (2003)

Disney pixar finding nemo shocked tank gang fishes
Nemo was a long way from home in the original.Disney/Finding Nemo

From the sarcastic comedy of Albert Brooks opposite the sweetly naive tone of Ellen DeGeneres, to the attention to detail in the gorgeous CGI-rendered underwater world, "Finding Nemo" provided a lot for everyone to love. And the giant box-office numbers speak for themselves.

2. "Toy Story" (1995)

toy story disney
"Reach for the sky."Disney / Pixar

The movie that started it all. Lasseter directed it and pretty much put all the company's chips into one basket. "Toy Story" elevated what kinds of stories animated movies could tell. And its computer-generated animation was the nail in the coffin for Disney's traditional hand-drawn work.

1. "WALL-E" (2008)

Wall-E leaves his mundane life on Earth to change the world for the better.Pixar

Director Andrew Stanton ("Finding Nemo," "WALL-E") gives us a remarkable story that celebrates old cinema (the silent movie, the musical) while delivering a message about the need to protect the planet (and our health) as flashy technology takes over.

Pixar is known for making us care about fictional creatures and objects, but with "WALL-E," that connection to the characters — the sense that they're living beings — is so intertwined with our experience of watching that you have to remind yourself it's just a story.

And that's the best kind of storytelling.

Almost every Pixar movie is available to stream through Disney+. Watch your favorites with a monthly subscription:

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