I want to start off this article by saying I LOVE Disney, especially since I grew up in their Renaissance era (1988-1999) and have extremely fond memories of every single one (I have three words: Lion King Lunchbox). However, this article is about the other films I loved and made an impact on me when I was growing up. They are just as varied and loveable (to me at least) as Disney films.


#10: The Swan Princess (1994)
I loved, loved, LOVED this movie when it came out. I remember that we bought it on VHS at my grandmother's house, and that I cradled it carefully on the trip back home. The music and the characters are really wants brings this movie to life for me to this day.
It's the story of Odette and Derek, and their enduring love for each other as they swear to love each other “Far longer than forever”. Of course, who can forget the zany characters of Speed, Puffin and that frog who thinks he's a prince, Jean-Bob? This movie in my mind is one of the best love stories on film.


#9: Rock-A-Doodle (1991)
This movie is a fun romp that made you sing along with the music. My favorite character was that sinister owl who hated the sun, the Duke. He was such a complex character for a kid's movie: at times evil and cruel, at other times displaying a fondness for all things domestic, like pie-baking and embroidery.
My sister and I would always sing with the songs, and found ourselves extremely enchanted with the idea of being onstage and having tons of adoring fans. Maybe this movie helped me go into acting in high school…


#8: The Elm-Chanted Forest (1986)
My mom recorded this for the three of us on a VHS tape. I can remember sitting down and watching it with awe and delight. For a film made in Yugoslavia, it was pretty neat. It wasn't very well known, so here's the summary for some of you.
After an artist named Peter Palette takes a nap under an enchanted elm tree, he discovers that he now has the ability to communicate with the animals of the forest, and that his paintbrush now has magical powers. To help his new friends survive, he must use his abilities to stop the evil Cactus King from turning the forest into a desert. – Wikipedia Summary
I loved this movie- for me the most terrifying part of it were the axe soldiers the Cactus King made that cut down the forest. It had a unique sound to it, like the sound of gnashing teeth and gears. It gave the evil doers a very real feel to them.


#7: All Dogs Go To Heaven (1989)
Charlie Barkin wants to get revenge on Carface, the dog who killed him, so he uses a little orphan girl who can talk to animals. I loved Charlie Barkin- he probably is the reason I love bad boys the way I do.
This movie made a mark on me because for the longest time, when I was growing up, I referred to all bull dogs as “Carface”. The songs were fun, and I loved the Cajun singing alligator! It kind of weirded me out though how obsessed he was with Charlie. Itchy, Charlie's sidekick was awesome, and I liked how he and Charlie stayed friends all the way to the end.


#6: Once Upon A Forest (1993)
I put this movie on the list for one reason, and one reason only: it absolutely terrified me.
I think it was the first time I had ever seen death on the screen- for those of you who haven't seen the film, a bunch of animals in a forest die after gas gets leaked into a forest. The movie has a happy ending, however a main character loses her parents and you see them passed out and dead in the kitchen.
What the hell Hannah-Barbera?! Do you realize how scary that is for a 5 year old?! I still get the heebie jeebies when I pass a tanker on the road. My mom told me that I was the most scared of the gas, and for days I was worried gas would leak into our house and kill us all. Finally, I got over this, but I have never watched this movie in its entirety since then.


#5: The Princess and the Goblin (1992)
I adored this movie. It's the story of Irene the princess and Curdie the miner's son. I loved watching the relationship between them, and the power of Curdie's voice to scare away the goblins.
I can remember going to the movie theater to see Thumbelina (another film on this countdown) with my grandmother and my two sisters. We were standing next to the concessions counter, and I looked up to see one of those promotions where they had the characters for the Princess and The Goblin, and I remember thinking that I wanted to see that movie. However, this brings me to the next film on my list.


#4: Thumbelina (1994)
The music. To this day, I adore the music for this film. I think one of my favorite songs is “Let Me Be Your Wings”, which the Fairy Prince Cornelius sings to Thumbelina. I really liked the take on this classic tale and loved the characters.
One of my favorite sequences was the part at the end, where Thumbelina singing a reprise of “Let Me Be Your Wings” and not only does it bring her prince back to her, but springtime is here again! And they all live happily ever after, Yay!
Come to think of it, I guess that this movie gave me my love of happy endings.


#3: An American Tale: Fievel Goes West (1991)
All right, say what you will, but this movie was one of my absolute favorites growing up. I loved the music and the story, and to this day I still squee happily when this movie is mentioned. The tie-in to the history of the old West, Jimmy Stewart as Wylie Burp, and the songs made this a fantastic movie for me.


#2: The Last Unicorn (1982)
I can recite this movie from beginning to end. With a score by America, and a screenplay by Peter Beagle, the guy who wrote the book, this movie is awesome.
For me, what really made it memorable were the villains. First, Mommy Fortuna voiced by the wonderful Angela Lansbury. She has her “homemade horrors” and for a short time keep the Unicorn captive, giving her a fake horn the humans can see. She meets her death at the hands (claws?) of the vicious and powerful harpy she also kept captive.
Second, King Haggard, voice by Christopher Lee, the ultimate villain. King Haggard not only gets rid of things he no longer wants, but he (SPOILER ALERT) keeps all the unicorns locked away in the ocean, trapped by the Red Bull. At the end, he too dies a horrible death, falling to his doom as his castle crumbles around him.

And now, we have reached number one on this list. What animated feature do I find the most memorable of my childhood (other than Mulan, but that's another story)? What movie can I recite from beginning to end, sing the entire soundtrack, and eagerly hunted down the DVD of it?


#1: Anastasia (1997)
“Somewhere down this road, I know someone's waiting! Years of dreams just can't be wrong!”
This movie is, I feel, Don Bluth's greatest achievement. Sure, The Secret of NIMH is great, and I was one of the few that liked The Pebble and the Penguin (and heck, #10 on this list is a Don Bluth film) but this film takes “a fascinating mystery” and gives it that fairytale spin, sweeping us into a time where the old world was crumbling away to the new, but still held on to that magic and wonder.
Let's not forget another brilliant villain with one of the best image songs EVER: Rasputin, that rotting corpse who sings “In the Dark of the Night” which I feel is one of the best instances of lyricism in the world. But don't take my word for it; have a listen.


Well, that concludes this list. But as I was writing this one, I realized I've forgotten a dozen other movies worth mentioning! I guess this means I have to write a second part to this. Enjoy, and thanks for reading!