Screengrab via DisneyMovieTrailers/YouTube

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Nearly a quarter century after the debut of Toy Story, the first fully computer animated feature, Pixar has gone from intriguing underdog to undisputed king of animation.

Alongside Star Wars and Marvel, Pixar is one of the biggest movie brands in the world. The highest compliment you can pay an animated feature from another studio is to say it is “Pixar-esque.” After Toy Story, the studio spent years delivering classic after classic—with a few exceptions—pushing innovative storytelling and craftsmanship to new heights with each release.

Even after Disney purchased Pixar in 2006, it continued its reign with films like Wall-E and Up. While the studio has had some slip-ups since its mid-2000s heyday (notably 2011’s disappointing Cars 2, which earned Pixar its first “rotten” score Rotten Tomatoes) it has maintained the love of its fans who are now passing their favorites along to a new generation.

Unfortunately, Pixar movies aren’t as easy to track down as you would think, considering their popularity combined with the proliferation of streaming sites. In 2016, Netflix announced a deal with Disney to begin streaming new releases (same goes for Star Wars and Marvel), but that doesn’t cover the back catalog. To save you some time, here are the streaming options for each Pixar movie, from Toy Story to Finding Dory. To double your fun, we ranked the movies from best to worst to help you prioritize your viewing. 

The best Pixar movies, ranked

1) Toy Story (1995)

best pixar movies: toy story Disney Pixar

Pixar would go on to have greater visual and narrative achievements, but few movies in their oeuvre marry the two as well as its first feature. After 20-plus years, Woody and Buzz have become generational hand-me-downs, a gift to be shared and celebrated. Whether it’s your first viewing or your 100th, there is always a joke or moment to appreciate in a new way. Toy Story served as a mission statement for the company and helped lead a revolution in animated films. But you know all this. We all do. Toy Story is the best, always and forever.

Where to stream: Available for rent from iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.

2) Toy Story 2 (1999)

best pixar movies: toy story 2 Disney Pixar

It’s really easy for someone to make the case that Toy Story 2 is the best of the trilogy, and they wouldn’t be wrong. (This applies to Toy Story 3 as well.) The first Pixar sequel flips the Woody-searching-for-Buzz scenario and digs into Woody’s past, while Andy’s other toys have to take charge without their leader. Going deep into Woody’s past gives us Jessie and Bullseye and a history that, like nearly every toy’s, is a tale of happiness with unavoidable sadness at its center. The Toy Story characters are constantly wrestling with nostalgia for a past that can never be recaptured and the finite nature of their purpose. The joys of Toy Story 2, however, are infinite.

Where to stream: Available for rent from iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.

3) Toy Story 3 (2010)

best pixar movies: toy story 3 Disney Pixar

Stop me if this sounds familiar, but Toy Story 3 may be the best film of the trilogy. In the first two, the toys are always aware that their time with Andy won’t last forever, and in part three the reckoning is unavoidable. The prison escape aspect of the Sunnyside section helps lighten the more melancholy tone and gives every character we love—and some we don’t—a moment to shine before they’re passed on to the next generation.

Where to stream: Available for rent from iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.

4) Wall-E (2008)

best pixar movies: wall-e Disney Pixar

The absolute pinnacle of Pixar’s work is the much-praised 20 minutes or so when we’re just watching Wall-E go about his day to day business of trash compacting. The movie shows us everything we need to know about the world of Wall-E without a single line of dialogue, mastering the old screenwriting idiom “show, don’t tell.” The movie becomes more conventional as it goes along, but by that point, Wall-E and Eve are such richly developed characters you’ll watch them go through anything together.

Where to stream: Available for rent from iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.

5) Ratatouille (2007)

best pixar movies: ratatouille Disney Pixar

After building up over a decade’s worth of goodwill, the Pixar brand was put to the rest by making a movie about a rat who wants to be a chef. But one of the chief tenants of Pixar is “In Brad Bird We Trust.” The mastermind behind The Iron Giant and The Incredibles rewarded that faith with a touching story about dreaming big and believing in yourself. Like many animated films, one of the key lessons is learning to accept yourself and others, it’s a celebration of individuality. One thing that’s always stood out to me is that Ratatouille doesn’t really have a signature tear jerking moment like most Pixar movies. Instead, the best scene is cagey critic Anton Ego recapturing the happiness of his use via Remy’s cooking. It boils down all of the conflict and reduces it to people just wanting to be happy. That may be an oversimplification on my part, but the movie is a joy that only gets better the more you watch it.

Where to stream: Available for rent from iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.

6) Monsters, Inc. (2001) 

best pixar movies: monsters inc Disney Pixar

Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman) are a predictably great duo that is elevated by superior voicework. When Goodman is in gentle giant mode there is no one more comforting for audiences and the scenes between Boo and Sully are perfect. The story itself is one of Pixar’s most inventive and it builds to the incredible door chase sequence that is in the top 10 (or five if we’re being totally honest) scenes of all Pixar movies. Monsters, Inc. tends to get overlooked on most best of lists, but it’s lowkey in the top tier and easily stands alongside the company’s best works. Its greatness was reinforced 12 years later when Monsters University came out and couldn’t match up to the bar set here.

Where to stream: Available for rent from iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.

7) Up (2009)

best pixar movies: up Disney Pixar

Anytime Up comes up it feels like there’s a race to see who will be the first person to mention how the opening sequence, showing the relationship of Carl and Ellie from childhood through old age, left them a weeping mess. But reducing the movie to just that sequence does the film a disservice. That opening functions as an incredibly moving short film, something that feels like a full meal in less than ten minutes. Instead, it sets the emotional stakes, and the sense of adventure, impossibly high, then proceeds to meet and surpass that standard repeatedly for the rest of the runtime.

Where to stream: Available for rent from iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon

8) The Incredibles (2004)

best pixar movies: the incredibles Disney Pixar

Before there was a Watchmen movie, there were the Incredibles. Long before the cries, and eventual response, to the wanton destructive of Marvel’s superheroes, The Incredibles had “Supers” facing public backlash for their recklessness. Writer-director Brad Bird delivered a rollicking adventure movie with one stunning set-piece after another. The scenes of the Incredibles (Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Violet, Dash, and baby Jack-Jack) going through their day-to-day trying to be “normal” are pathetically funny, something like a much lighter Alexander Payne. There’s a lot of fun and sly observations in the first part of the movie, which are rewarded many times over in the film’s second half as they have to do incredible things to defeat the dastardly Syndrome.  The Incredibles easily slots into the robust upper echelon of Pixar movies.

Where to stream: Available for rent from iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.

9) Finding Nemo (2003)

best pixar movies: finding nemo Disney Pixar

Finding Nemo is a highly potent blend of parental terror and youthful fun-seeking. Like most great family films, the older you are, the more your sympathies shift from Nemo to Marlin. Nemo, with his misshapen fin, just wants to be treated like any other kid, and Marlin, knowing tragedy and pain that can only come from living life, just wants to protect his kid from the horrors of the world. It’s hardly a new sentiment, but it’s so thoroughly explored by writer-director Andrew Stanton that it feels profound every time.

Where to stream: Available for rent from iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon

10) Inside Out (2015) 

best pixar movies: inside out Disney Pixar

Coming in the midst of a run of sequels and other less acclaimed films, Inside Out was a return to form, i.e. it was an original concept that would make Charlie Kaufman proud; the main characters are the emotions of Riley, an 11-year-old (check age), who has just moved to San Francisco. It plays into all of Pixar’s strengths: rich emotions and inventive visuals, served with a dose of melancholy. The voice cast is predictably great, anchored by pitch-perfect work from Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith as Joy and Sadness, the two emotions battling for control of Riley. Similar to Woody and Buzz and Mike and Sully before them, Joy and Sadness’s journey revolves around the emotions needing to be less selfish and learning to appreciate the importance of others. Despite numerous strong moments Inside Out doesn’t quite rise to the Pixar upper echelon for me, but it’s close.

Where to stream: Available for rent from iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon


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11) Coco

best pixar movies - coco Disney•Pixar/YouTube

Coco slots easily into the higher end of Pixar’s second tier. The studio broadens its horizons a bit with this story set in the culture of Dia de Muertos. Miguel is a 12-year-old with an affinity for music, but his family wants him to go into their shoe-making business on account of their history with music and musicians. Miguel travels to the land of the dead to learn about his heritage and finds out more than he was ready for. Coco is a touching film about family and the importance of remembrance and, as with most Pixar movies, learning to accept yourself and others for who they are. It goes without saying that Coco is visually stunning and emotionally involving.

Where to stream: Available for pre-order from iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon

12) Finding Dory (2016)

best pixar movies: finding dory Disney Pixar

As sequels go, Dory rates below the Toy Storys and above everything else. Even then, Dory is a middle of the pack Pixar effort. It’s not without its merits; the way it handles mental illness from the perspective of both parents and child is its strongest part. But, moreso than its predecessor, Dory feels like lighter fare, an adventure story with moments of depth sprinkled throughout. Dory (voiced by Ellen Degeneres) is just as lovable as before and here she’s mostly paired with nervous Nellie octopus Hank (Ed O’Neill, frequently stealing scenes). If the final product doesn’t make as big a mark as Finding Nemo, well, that’s okay. Nemo set the bar so high commercially and creatively that Dory was always going to come up short, but it’s a noble effort.

Where to stream: Available on Netflix, iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.

13) Monsters University (2013) 

best pixar movies: monsters university Disney Pixar

Monsters University is part of the slew of Pixar joints that are good but not great. Perfectly fine movies that still leave you feeling like there should be more there. Going the prequel route doesn’t quite payoff as I think most people would rather see Mike and Sully continue their adventures instead of an origin story. But watching Mike and Sully as young monsters trying to find their way in the world is still amusing and the new characters are amusing if not all that memorable. The story suffers from an inherent prequel issue, which is that it’s hard for the story to have compelling stakes if the audience knows where the characters end up. That also provides a chance to upend expectations, but Monsters University settles for playing it safe.

Where to stream: Available for rent from iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.

14) Cars (2006) 

best pixar movies: cars Disney Pixar

Cars 3 is almost certainly better than you think it is. It rebounds from Cars 2 and packs a surprisingly emotional punch. This time out the series trades the globe trotting action of part two for a story that finds Lightning McQueen passing the torch to the next generation. Given Cars’ status as Pixar boss John Lasseter’s passion project, and ludicrous merch sales, we’ll be seeing more of Lightning and Mater soon enough. It’s not too shelf Pixar, but there’s enough there to make you look forward to Cars 4.

Where to stream: Available for rent from iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon

15) Cars 3 (2017) 

pixar movies ranked Screengrab via DisneyPixar/YouTube

Cars 3 is almost certainly better than you think it is. It rebounds from Cars 2 and packs a surprisingly emotional punch. This time out, the series trades the globe-trotting action for a story that finds Lightning McQueen passing the torch to the next generation. Given Cars’ status as Pixar boss John Lasseter’s passion project and ludicrous merch sales, we’ll be seeing more of Lightning and Mater soon enough. It’s not top-shelf Pixar, but there’s enough there to make you look forward to Cars 4.

Where to stream: Not yet available on streaming. 

16) Brave (2013) 

best pixar movies: brave Disney Pixar

Brave proved to be surprisingly divisive among animation fans when it was released in 2012. It’s story about a girl, Princess Merida, looking to life her life on her own terms instead of her predestined birthright. The story is a fairy tale, more in line with tradition Disney animation films, and it does feel distanced from the usual Pixar fare. What makes the movie distinct among the Pixar filmography is the great mother-daughter relationship at its center. Merida is strong-willed and adventurous and her angst and journey play authentically. While it’s not great, it’s not without its charms and is a worthwhile watch, particularly if you have kids.

Where to stream: Available for rent from iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.

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17) The Good Dinosaur (2015)

best pixar movies: the good dinosaur Disney Pixar

It’s hard to call a Pixar movie overlooked, but as the company’s lowest grossing film, The Good Dinosaur comes close. It came out six months after Inside Out, a hard thing to do for most movies, and received considerably less enthusiastic reviews. Set in an alternate reality where the asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs missed Earth, we follow Arlo, the youngest in his family, as he has to overcome his own insecurities so that he can literally make his mark alongside the rest of his family. It’s rougher around the edges than most Pixar movies due to creative issues behind the scenes, but this feels like a movie that will play better over time. Of course, that’s just based on a gut reaction and one viewing, but I’m optimistic it will hold up.

Where to stream: Available for rent from iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon

18) A Bug’s Life (1998)

best pixar movies: a bugs life Disney Pixar

Sometimes it seems like the only reason A Bug’s Life exists so people can casually dismiss it, as has become the custom. But, a quick look at Rotten Tomatoes will remind you that the movie was actually well received. I think it’s a case of revisionist history more than the movie suddenly becoming bad. A Bug’s Life isn’t bad, but it’s clearly the odd man out in a lineup that starts with two Toy Storys, Monsters, Inc., and Finding Nemo. But history has come back around to a degree, with Pixar’s brand losing a bit of its luster, so A Bug’s Life has risen a little over time. I still find the movie funny, but it’s not one of the movies that improves with repeat viewings.

Where to stream: Available for rent from iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon

19) Cars 2 (2011) 

best pixar movies: cars 2 Disney Pixar

Here’s the thing about Cars 2: it’s fine as an animated globe-trotting espionage movie. It really is. But where the first Cars benefited, to a degree, from audience goodwill, Cars 2 faced a harsher reality. Other animation studios had raised their game to the point that Cars 2 felt like just another movie. It’s a pleasant enough diversion, with Lightning competing in races all over the world with fan favorite Mater in tow, but it’s surprisingly forgettable by Pixar standards.

Where to stream: Available for rent from iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.

Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance. 

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