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The word "animation" means, essentially, the process of bringing a non-living thing to life. Film animation has been trying to achieve that feat for more than a century. The earliest examples of film animation were created around the turn of the twentieth century. Filmmakers continued to develop new animation techniques throughout the century, ensuring that the genre remained consistently fresh and popular to the present day.

Traditional animation relies on techniques that link together a series of still images. The objects in the images change slightly from image to image. When the images are displayed in rapid succession, the objects appear to move. Stop-motion animation uses images of actual objects. The images are photographed, moved slightly, and then photographed again to produce the animation sequence. Hand-drawn animation uses a series of minutely varying drawings instead of real objects to produce the same effect. Digital animation employs computer-generated models, motion and effects. Occasionally, films combine animation with live action, overlaying live-action footage with animated elements so that animated characters can appear to interact with real actors.

Traditional hand-drawn animated films were extremely popular in the first half of the twentieth century, when Walt Disney Studios produced a number of very successful full-length animated films that featured high-quality animation and memorable musical scores. After a lull in popularity, animation had a resurgence of mainstream commercial success late in the century. 1995's Toy Story, produced by Pixar studios and distributed by Disney, ushered in the digital-animation revolution.

Although animated productions aimed at adult audiences have been successful on television, the majority of mainstream animated films produced by American studios have been targeted at younger audiences. The most commercially successful films, however, have appealed to audiences of all ages. Many Pixar films, for example, have been more able to pull in viewers from older age groups than animated films have historically been able to do.

    Wolfwalkers
    Wolfwalkers
    Frozen
    Frozen
    Frozen 2
    Frozen 2
    Ice Age
    Ice Age
    Big Hero 6
    Big Hero 6
    The Croods 2
    The Croods 2
    The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie
    The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie
    Bebe's Kids
    Bebe's Kids
    Space Jam
    Space Jam
    Raya and the Last Dragon
    Raya and the Last Dragon
    Monsters University
    Monsters University
    Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
    Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
    Hotel Transylvania
    Hotel Transylvania
    Strange Magic
    Strange Magic
    Sausage Party
    Sausage Party
    Fritz the Cat
    Fritz the Cat
    Tom and Jerry
    Tom and Jerry
    Garfield
    Garfield
    It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
    It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
    The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
    The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
    Moana
    Moana
    Miraculous World: New York, United Heroez
    Miraculous World: New York, United Heroez
    Coco
    Coco
    Playmobil: The Movie
    Playmobil: The Movie
    Naruto Shippuden: The Movie
    Naruto Shippuden: The Movie
    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
    Soul
    Soul
    The Wild Thornberrys Movie
    The Wild Thornberrys Movie
    The Dark Crystal
    The Dark Crystal
    Kung Fu Panda 3
    Kung Fu Panda 3
    Finding Dory
    Finding Dory
    The Croods
    The Croods
    Heavy Metal
    Heavy Metal
    Trolls World Tour
    Trolls World Tour
    Coraline
    Coraline
    Ratatouille
    Ratatouille
    Baby Shark - Nursery Rhymes & Kids Songs
    Baby Shark - Nursery Rhymes & Kids Songs
    Sing
    Sing
    Planes
    Planes
    Shrek
    Shrek
    How to Train Your Dragon
    How to Train Your Dragon
    The Adventures of Tintin
    The Adventures of Tintin
    Planes: Fire & Rescue
    Planes: Fire & Rescue
    Monster High: Boo York, Boo York
    Monster High: Boo York, Boo York
    How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
    How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
    Beowulf
    Beowulf
    Shrek 2
    Shrek 2
    Shark Tale
    Shark Tale
    Boruto: Naruto The Movie
    Boruto: Naruto The Movie
    Incredibles 2
    Incredibles 2
    The Lion King
    The Lion King
    Son Of Bigfoot
    Son Of Bigfoot
    Alvin and the Chipmunks
    Alvin and the Chipmunks
    My Neighbor Totoro
    My Neighbor Totoro
    The Lion King
    The Lion King
    Toy Story
    Toy Story
    Minions
    Minions
    Rio
    Rio
    Open Season
    Open Season
    Cars
    Cars
    Scoob
    Scoob
    The Addams Family
    The Addams Family
    Despicable Me 3
    Despicable Me 3
    Trolls
    Trolls
    The Boss Baby
    The Boss Baby
    Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round - Nursery Rhymes for Kids and Children
    Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round - Nursery Rhymes for Kids and Children
    Louise
    Louise
    Monsters, Inc.
    Monsters, Inc.
    Kung Fu Panda
    Kung Fu Panda
    Toy Story 4
    Toy Story 4
    Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs
    Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs
    Barbie: Princess Charm School
    Barbie: Princess Charm School
    Tangled
    Tangled
    Boogie
    Boogie
    How to Train Your Dragon 2
    How to Train Your Dragon 2
    Cars 3
    Cars 3
    Megamind
    Megamind
    Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
    Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
    Shrek en Espanol
    Shrek en Espanol
    Finding Nemo
    Finding Nemo
    Zootopia
    Zootopia
    Despicable Me
    Despicable Me
    Planet 51
    Planet 51
    The King and I
    The King and I
    Steven Universe
    Steven Universe
    Spies in Disguise
    Spies in Disguise
    Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
    Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
    Howl's Moving Castle
    Howl's Moving Castle
    Cars 2
    Cars 2
    Barnyard
    Barnyard
    Dr. Seuss' The Lorax
    Dr. Seuss' The Lorax
    Hotel Transylvania 2
    Hotel Transylvania 2
    Hunter x Hunter: Phantom Rouge
    Hunter x Hunter: Phantom Rouge
    Judas & Jesus
    Judas & Jesus
    Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses
    Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses
    The Lego Ninjago Movie
    The Lego Ninjago Movie
    The Emoji Movie
    The Emoji Movie
    The Little Mermaid
    The Little Mermaid
    Rango
    Rango
    Howl's Moving Castle
    Howl's Moving Castle