My Nominations: The Lord Of The Rings. The Mystery Of Mamo. Watership Down.
As we near the end of the 70s, the world of Animated movies was still in a lull – Disney was struggling to find a new identity (and would continue to do so for another ten years) while the heralded Studio Ghibli was a few years from being created. Japan was still cranking out hits, but the likes of Toei and Nippon Animation were making films more dedicated to their domestic market. Ralph Bakshi was known till this point for his indie, adult oriented animation work but in 1978 he tackled more family friendly work with The Lord Of The Rings, an ambitious attempt to tell Tolkein’s story in a single work – eventually deciding to focus on the first two books instead. As you would expect, it isn’t always successful and can be bewildering for those new to the story, but it is frequently impressive visually.
For fans of the Lupin III series and character, The Mystery Of Mamo is a fun and energetic adventure, but isn’t the easiest entry point to the series despite it being first. Finally, Watership Down is a film which was shown in schools, and frequently around the holiday periods when I was young. While it still features regularly at Christmas, I highly doubt it being presented to School kids now, such is the nature of both its content and our world now. Both mystical, realistic, and apocalyptic, it tells the story of a group of rabbits struggling with survival and heading towards an idyllic land glimpsed in a dream. While not as overtly political as Animal Farm, the story nevertheless appeals to the intellect as much as the imagination and portrays an often harsh and violent world of hope, danger, and war.
My Winner: Watership Down
Let us know your winner in the comments!
My Nominations: The Rescuers. Wizards. Race For Your Life Charlie Brown. The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh.
1977 was something of a turning point for animated features – it was one of the first years where multiple, genuinely worthwhile films were released and stood the test of time, and it’s really the start of that happening more or less consistently. The only issue is that a lot of the notable films were either TV specials or a mixture of animation and live action, so I can’t really include those. The only thing missing is a truly strong Japanese effort. Nevertheless, we have Bakshi still experimenting – leaving behind his controversial real world efforts and conjuring a total fantasy in Wizards – a post apocalyptic tale with some great visuals, even if the story is one we’ve seen before. Race For Your Life Charlie Brown is another memorable effort in the Peanuts canon and as endearing as ever. That leaves a surprising double effort from Disney – The Rescuers is the more action packed of the two and a film which was critically and commercially successful but which has fallen by the wayside over the years. The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh is a more gentle and relaxed affair. Normally I would pick this as winner, but as it’s really a compilation of old pieces, reassembled and merged with newer bits, it probably breaks a bunch of rules.
My Winner: The Rescuers
Let us know in the comments which Animated Feature of 1977 gets your vote!
My Nominations: The Nine Lives Of Fritz The Cat
While there were a few animated films released this year, most were made for TV or simply not very good – meaning we only have a single nominee who therefore becomes our winner. The Nine Lives Of Fritz The Cat is arguably better than the original, though most critics dismissed it as more of the same, or simply lacking the initial shock value or wit of the first one. Either way, both are an acquired taste.
My Winner: The Nine Lives Of Fritz The Cat
My Nominations: Robin Hood. Heavy Traffic. Charlotte’s Web. Fantastic Planet.
This is actually a groundbreaking year for animated movies. Maybe groundbreaking isn’t the correct technical term, but it’s one of the first years to see more than one or two highly significant releases from different studios. Aside from the ones I’ve listed, there are other strong offerings from Asia and Japan, but I feel these are the best. Robin Hood is yet another Disney entry, not one of their most popular or successful, but it does have a cult following and is one I was very familiar with growing up – lots of money moments and one piece of music in particular which will stay with you for days. Heavy Traffic continued Ralph Baski’s foray into adult animation becoming a fairly hefty success and containing his typical flair for raunch and satire. Charlotte’s Web is a film I never really liked, but it was always forced upon us in school.. I never got the whole ‘lets feel sorry for a spider’ business because ALL SPIDERS MUST DIE but it’s probably still the best adaptation we have. Finally, Fantastic Planet is an animation years ahead of its time, proving that the genre can be just as thought-provoking and powerful as any piece of non-animated work.
My Winner: Robin Hood
Let us know in the comments which film you choose as winner!
My Nominations: Fritz The Cat. Marco Polo Junior Versus The Red Dragon. Snoopy, Come Home. Tintin And The Lake Of Sharks.
A decent year for Animated Features, with Australia making their first feature – mostly a flop but Marco Polo Junior Versus The Red Dragon remains a curio. Snoopy, Come Home was an unexpected flop – all the more so as it remains a good movie with all the humour and songs you expect. The only winner though is Fritz The Cat. Sure it’s a little cheap and rough, and it hasn’t aged particularly well, but it’s funny and it’s groundbreaking, reminding people that animation should not automatically mean for children only. Finally, another Tintin movie filled with the usual action and intrigue, but I’ve never been a fan of the series.
My Winner: Fritz The Cat.
Let us know what you think is the Best Animated Movie of 1972 in the comments!
My Nominations: Animal Treasure Island. Daisy Town. Shinbone Alley.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks was released in 1971, but it’s a live action movie with some animation. And it’s crap. So don’t complain if it isn’t here. That’s okay, because most of the nominations here are crap too and don’t really belong on the list. There wasn’t anything else though.
My Winner: Animal Treasure Island
Let us know in the comments what your favourite animated movie of 1971 is!
My Nominations: The Aristocats. 30,000 Miles Under the Sea. The Phantom Toll Booth
In the seventies we were still so ‘early’ in the lifecycle of animated movies that Disney essential owned the market. As the decade progressed, Japan would see increased output of increasing quality and a few more companies would begin to emerge. MGM’s The Phantom Tollbooth has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes but was not a success and MGM’s animation studio closed soon after. I prefer this to the similar (in style) Bedknobs and Broomsticks. 30,000 Miles Under The Sea is another early Toei Animation fantasy with plenty of action, but I think we all know what the winner here will be. The Aristocats is a minor Disney movie though fairly unique with its animal characters and musical approach.
My Winner: The Aristocats.
Let us know in the comments which animated feature of 1970 you would pick as winner!
My Nominations: A Boy Named Charlie Brown. Tintin And The Temple Of The Sun. The Wonderful World Of Puss n Boots
I was never a fan of Tintin – something about the hair, the way the characters moved, and the animation as a whole just made me uneasy. So Temple Of The Sun, you’re out. The Wonderful World Of Puss In Boots is one of Toei Animation’s most iconic films as Puss (or Pero) went on to become the company’s mascot. The film is a mixture of fast paced action and slapstick humour, the odd song, and bright animation – any fans of Japanese animation need to see it. My winner though is of course, A Boy Named Charlie Brown. While not as famous as his festive outing, this one still has the laconic charm and mixture of downbeat cynicism and offbeat humour as Charlie enters spelling bees to convince himself that he can be ‘a winner’.
My Winner: A Boy Named Charlie Brown
Let us know in the comments which Animated movie of 1969 gets your vote as the best!
My Nominations: Asterix and Cleopatra. The Little Norse Prince. The SuperVIPs. Yellow Submarine.
Asterix and Cleopatra is a surprisingly deep film with a lot of character and pot detail as well as some well drawn action sequences and musical numbers. The Super VIPs is a great little movie, well ahead of its time, charting the adventures of two superheroes – one a muscle bound freak, the other a stunted little man. It has a lot of humour which adults and kids alike will appreciate, making it look like a precursor to modern animated movies. Yellow Submarine is a bit of an illogical mess, but thanks to great artwork and (of course) music, it has a very unique style. The Little Norse Prince is one of the first Toei animated films I ever saw, pitting both Miyazaki and Takahata together and showcasing their flair for fast paced action, involving stories and characters, and fine animation which was beginning to move away from the Disney style to create a true, high quality competitor.
My Winner: The Little Norse Prince
Which animated movie of 1968 do you think deserves the win? Let us know in the comments!
My Nominations: Asterix The Gaul. Mad Monster Party. Jack And The Witch. The Jungle Book.
Even though there was no Animated Picture category this year, there are a number of notable films worthy of nomination. France’s most famous animated export Asterix makes his film debut. A decent film with all of the humourous traits of the comic even though I’ve never been much of a fan of the series. More interesting is Mad Monster Party, a films which deserves wider recognition and is perfect for younger viewers at Halloween. Even though the animation is dated, unsurprisingly, the script is strong, the songs are enjoyable, and the voice acting superb, from the likes of Boris Karloff and Phyllis Diller. Toei Animation’s Jack And The Witch is another great entry from Japan – a zany, dark tale of a strange car racing, animal befriending boy who has to take down an evil witch Queen who kidnaps and transforms children into monsters.
My winner though, is yet another Disney feature, and one of my all time favourites. The Jungle Book is at once the archetypal Disney film, and one of the most unusual – we have beautiful animation, humour, poignancy, vibrant memorable characters, and wonderful songs. On the flip side, there isn’t a Princess or a love story in sight, the setting is unique (or at least it was for the time), and an ending which is not as obvious a ‘happy ending’ as we may be used to. With tonnes of hilarious moments which still make me chuckle – King Louis chumping over his own arms, Baloo deafening Baghera, the John, Paul, Ringo, George vultures etc etc. The last film Disney worked on himself before his death in 1966, it was also arguably the final great film from the company before their early 90s return to glory.
My Winner: The Jungle Book
Let me know in the comments what your favourite Animated Film of 1967 is!