Through the late '80s and '90s there's no denying that Disney totally owned the animated movies game. Films such as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast totally changed the face of what animated films could be, and relaunched Disney into the mega success they are today.
But despite being the benchmark for animated film, that doesn't mean that they didn't have strong rivals doing their best to produce top notch animated films during this period. In fact there were some amazing animated films produced in the 80s and 90s that had nothing to do with Disney in the slightest.
Check out these 10 non-Disney animated films from the '80s and '90s that prove that Disney aren't the only studio who can make a brilliant animated film:
10. Rock-a-Doodle, 1992 - Goldcrest Films/Sullivan Bluth Studios
Even as a kid I knew this film was bizarre, but the Elvis lookalike rooster Chanticleer still captured my heart and mind with his sweet tunes. The film told the tale a boy named Edmund, who got literally immersed in the story of Chanticleer. After Chanticleer was made to look like a fraud and driven from his farm by the evil Grand Duke of Owls, Edmund and Chanticleer's farmyard friends go on an adventure to reinstate the rooster to his rightful place.
9. Thumbelina, 1994 - Sullivan Bluth/Warner Bros
Thumbelina was an absolute personal favorite of mine as a kid, I loved little Thumbelina and, of course, Prince Cornelius. The story of the teeny, tiny girl meeting a fairy prince who saves her from the nasty creatures of the woods definitely deserves status as an animation classic! Interestingly the woman who voiced Thumbelina, Jodi Benson, also voiced Ariel in The Little Mermaid, as well as many other characters in classic movies such as A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2 & 3 and Enchanted.
8. The Swan Princess, 1994 - Nest Family Entertainment/Rich Animation Studios
A must-see for any child who was infatuated with the Swan Lake ballet, The Swan Princess told the story of an evil sorcerer who transformed the beautiful Princess Odette into a swan by day. True love obviously prevails in this heartwarming tale, a brilliant animated adaption of a classic tale.
7. All Dogs Go to Heaven, 1989 - Goldcrest Films/ Don Bluth
A real tear-jerker, All Dogs Go to Heaven was the film about Charlie B. Barkin, a dead dog who forgoes his place in Heaven to return to Earth and get revenge on his killer. Once returned he and his friend Itchy meet sweet orphan Anne-Marie who is capable of speaking to animals. Though they try to manipulate the sweet girl and use her skill for their own gains, ultimately Anne-Marie teaches the two that an honest life is best, proving once and for all it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks.
6. The Pagemaster, 1994 - Turner Pictures/20th Century Fox
This 1994 live-action and animated movie had an all-star cast including Macaulay Culkin, Christopher Lloyd, Patrick Stewart and Whoopi Goldberg! It was the epic adventure of cowardly boy Richard who is transformed into an animated illustration and forced to work through obstacles and events from classic books by the Pagemaster. Three anthropomorphic books (Fantasy, Adventure and Horror) help him on his way and by the end of his time inside the books Richard becomes much bolder and braver than he ever was before.
5. Antz, 1998 - DreamWorks Animation
The story behind Antz is quite amazing - the film was the result of a pretty public feud between DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steve Jobs and John Lasseter of Pixar, due to the fact that Pixar was also producing the film A Bug's Life at the time. However, aside from the controversy of the feud, Antz is a genuinely great film, filled with awesome characters, a captivating storyline and a stellar cast.
4. An American Tail, 1986 - Amblin Entertainment/Sullivan Bluth Studios
Don Bluth's An American Tale and its sequel American Tale: Fievel Goes West are both amazingly cute films from a hugely talented animator and storyteller. The story of adorable Fievel being separated from his family as they emigrate to America and his adventures to get back to them leads you on a both heartbreaking and heartwarming adventure throughout the 80-minute long film. Oh, and prepare yourself for the song 'Somewhere Out There,' which is possibly the saddest song in the world.
3. The Land Before Time, 1988 - Amblin Entertainment/Sullivan Bluth Studios
If An American Tale has the most heartbreaking song in a film ever, then The Land Before Time certainly has one of the most heart-wrenching scenes in a children's movie, ever. After being orphaned, young brontosaurus Littlefoot teams up with a bunch of other young dinos to try and reunite with their families who have moved onto the Great Valley.
2. Anastasia, 1997 - Fox Animation Studios
Anastasia is a film so brilliant that people quite often mistake it for being in the Disney princess film line-up, and it's unsurprising really well received by Disney fanatics. The tale of the lost Romanov princess is beautifully told, with wonderful music, dialogue and animation that really works its way into your heart - definitely another film that was a firm favorite of mine as a child, as I'm sure it was many of yours.
1. The Iron Giant, 1999 - Fox Animation Studios
Finally, it would be remiss of me not to make the Brad Bird directed Iron Giant number one on the list (yep, that's the same Brad Bird who directed The Incredibles and Ratatouille). After young Hogarth makes friends with an enormous alien robot (voiced by Vin Diesel!), he then has to protect his new friend from a paranoid government agent who wants to destroy the giant. Unfortunately The Iron Giant was extremely under-appreciated when it was released, mostly due to the studio mishandling the marketing for the film. However 16 years after it was initially released, Warner Bros. and Fathom Events are teaming up to rerelease The Iron Giant to a selection of American theaters at the end of September! Best news I have ever gotten!