Best Animation Movies of 1981


The Fox and the Hound

7.2/10 IMDB

When a feisty little fox named Tod is adopted into a farm family, he quickly becomes friends with a fun and adorable hound puppy named Copper. Life is full of hilarious adventures until Copper is expected to take on his role as a hunting dog -- and the object of his search is his best friend!

Starring: Mickey Rooney, Kurt Russell, Pearl Bailey, Jack Albertson, Sandy Duncan, Jeanette Nolan, Pat Buttram, John Fiedler, John McIntire, Richard Bakalyan ..
Directed by: Richard Rich, Ted Berman, Art Stevens
Release date: 1981-07-10

Heavy Metal

6.6/10 IMDB

The embodiment of ultimate evil, a glowing orb terrorizes a young girl with bizarre stories of dark fantasy, eroticism and horror.

Starring: Rodger Bumpass, Jackie Burroughs, Joe Flaherty, Harold Ramis, John Candy, Don Francks, Caroline Semple, Richard Romanus, Susan Roman, Harvey Atkin ..
Directed by: Gerald Potterton, Pino Van Lamsweerde, John Bruno, Jimmy T. Murakami, John Halas, Paul Sabella, Harold Whitaker, Jack Stokes, Barrie Nelson, Julian Harris
Release date: 1981-08-07

American Pop

7.1/10 IMDB

The history of American popular music runs parallel with the history of a Russian Jewish immigrant family, with each male descendant possessing different musical abilities.

Starring: Ron Thompson, Lisa Jane Persky, Jeffrey Lippa, Frank De Kova, Roz Kelly, Mews Small, Elsa Raven, Vincent Schiavelli, Richard Moll, Lynda Wiesmeier ..
Directed by: Ralph Bakshi
Release date: 1981-02-13

It's Magic, Charlie Brown

7.2/10 IMDB

When Snoopy turns Charlie Brown invisible in a magic act, he has trouble changing him back.

Starring: Michael Mandy, Brent Hauer, Cindi Reilly, Rocky Reilly, Sydney Penny, Christopher Donahue, Shannon Cohn, Bill Melendez ..
Directed by: Phil Roman
Release date: 1981-04-28
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : The Trolls and the Christmas Express

The Trolls and the Christmas Express

7.2/10 IMDB

The Trolls and the Christmas Express is an animated classic about six roguish trolls who are determined to sabotage Christmas by infiltrating Santa's village disguised as elves. After a week of wreaking havoc but still not completely ruining Christmas, they are about to give up when they get a devilishly clever idea. On the day before Christmas Eve they get the reindeer dancing and singing songs all night long. The poor reindeer are so tired the next day that they cannot find the energy to pull Santa's sleigh. Christmas looks like it has finally been ruined - but everyone knows you can't stop Christmas! The elves quickly devise a plan to link the train from Santa's village with tracks that travel all over the world. Santa can deliver the toys using the Christmas Express.

Starring: Roger Miller, Hans Conried, Len Carlson, Billie Mae Richards, Carl Banas, Paul Soles ..
Directed by: John R. Gaug
Release date: 1981-11-26
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : The Pink Panther in 'Pink at First Sight'

The Pink Panther in 'Pink at First Sight'

6.7/10 IMDB

It is Valentine's Day and the hip feline has no love and no money except for seven cents. He goes to a messenger service for a job but messes his rehearsal up. He then buys a cassette player and pre-recorded cassettes with the seven cents he had left and goes back to the messenger service miming to "Vesti la giubba", an aria from Ruggero Leoncavallo's opera Pagliacci, and gets hired as a messenger on Valentine's Day

Directed by: Bob Richardson
Release date: 1981-05-10
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Masquerade


6.9/10 IMDB

For the first time I am animating hand-painted engraved cut-outs on a full-color background. The film is mood-filled: A duel scene in a snowy forest, obviously the morning after a masquerade ball. Harlequin lies dying, while Red Indian walks away with the wings of victory. The woman between them appears, cat-masked. The mask dissolves away. Her spirit passes into the face of the sun upon the sun upon the sun flower. But Harlequin cannot escape death. The blue world engulfs him.

Directed by: Lawrence Jordan
Release date: 1981-01-01


7.1/10 IMDB

A superb visual trick that will mystify its audience, this animated film transforms the commonplace into magic.

Directed by: André Leduc, Jean-Jacques Leduc
Release date: 1981-01-01


7.0/10 IMDB

A man smuggles in an exotic animal, but discovers too late that it's infested with some rather nasty insects.

Directed by: Richard Condie
Release date: 1981-01-01
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : The Flintstones: Wind-Up Wilma

The Flintstones: Wind-Up Wilma

7.2/10 IMDB

Wilma is a celebrity when she gets a shot at the big leagues and becomes a pitcher for the Bedrock Dodgers after nailing a couple of robbers with a melon at the grocery store; however, she and Fred argue over her ambition to pitch for the team because Fred thinks a woman's place is in the home.

Starring: Henry Corden, Mel Blanc, Jean Vander Pyl, Gay Autterson, John Stephenson, Julie McWhirter, Don Messick, Joe Baker, Jim MacGeorge, Paul Winchell ..
Directed by: Carl Urbano, Chris Cuddington
Release date: 1981-10-04
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : The Flintstones: Jogging Fever

The Flintstones: Jogging Fever

6.9/10 IMDB

After failing his annual physical, Fred wants to prove to everyone that he is in shape, so he decides to become the first citizen of Bedrock to enter the Rockstone Marathon.

Starring: Henry Corden, Mel Blanc, Jean Vander Pyl, Gay Autterson, John Stephenson, Wayne Morton, Frank Welker ..
Directed by: Ray Patterson
Release date: 1981-10-11
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : B.C. A Special Christmas

B.C. A Special Christmas

6.5/10 IMDB

Peter enlists his sarcastic one-legged friend Wiley to help conjure a myth based around the idea of giving. Seeing the chance to make a profit off the selflessness of others, the two caveman create a figure that develops into the first Santa Claus but are then baffled when the "myth" they've created apparently becomes real. Substituting gain for fulfillment, Peter and Wiley experience the true meaning of Christmas.

Starring: Bob Elliott, Ray Goulding, Barbara Hamilton, Henry Ramer ..
Directed by: Vlad Goetzelman
Release date: 1981-01-01
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Enter Life

Enter Life

7.1/10 IMDB

The story of life on Earth from the formation of the solar system to the evolution of the first multi-celled creatures.

Directed by: Faith Hubley
Release date: 1981-01-01

A Chipmunk Christmas

7.2/10 IMDB

Alvin learns the true meaning of Christmas.

Starring: Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., Janice Karman, Frank Welker, Charles Berendt, R.J. Williams, June Foray ..
Directed by: Phil Monroe
Release date: 1981-12-14
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : The Creation

The Creation

6.4/10 IMDB

Animated short film that was nominated for an Oscar. Narrated by James Earl Jones!

Starring: James Earl Jones ..
Directed by: Will Vinton
Release date: 1981-01-01
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : 64,000,000 Years Ago

64,000,000 Years Ago

6.7/10 IMDB

This short animated film looks at the last of the great dinosaurs to stalk the central plains of North America. Lifelike models of ornithomimus, edmontosaur, and triceratops recreate the late Cretaceous period, offering a view of how our world may have looked 64,000,000 years ago.

Starring: Sam Payne ..
Directed by: Bill Maylone
Release date: 1981-08-15
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Strawberry Shortcake in Big Apple City

Strawberry Shortcake in Big Apple City

7.5/10 IMDB

Strawberry Shortcake in Big Apple City chronicles Strawberry Shortcake's trip to Big Apple City, so she can compete in a baking contest at "the little theater off Times Pear". Strawberry's journey, however, is in jeopardy due to the constant interference of the Peculiar Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak, who is her only competition in the bake-off. The Pieman counts on his kohlrabi cookies and a little trickery to beat Strawberry and her famous shortcake.

Starring: Russi Taylor, Robert Ridgely, Diana McCannon, Bob Holt, Romeo Muller, Julie McWhirter, Joan Gerber ..
Directed by: Hal Silvermintz
Release date: 1981-04-10
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Faeries


7.4/10 IMDB

The king of the faeries sends for a young hunter after his shadow escapes and threatens his kingdom.

Starring: Hans Conried, Craig Schaefer, Morgan Brittany, June Foray ..
Directed by: Lee Mishkin
Release date: 1981-02-25
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Someday You'll Find Her, Charlie Brown

Someday You'll Find Her, Charlie Brown

7.3/10 IMDB

After Charlie Brown spots a girl briefly shown in a sports event broadcasting, he is smitten enough to go in search of her with the help of Linus. Unfortunately in his search, he has his usual amount of luck. As Charlie Brown is watching a football game, he spots a girl in the stands that he immediately attaches himself to. When the game ends, he is desperate to find her, so he enlists Linus to help him and, because of his absolute nervousness, to do the talking for him. However, that move could wind up spelling doom for the love-starved Charlie Brown once they finally find her.

Starring: Grant Wehr, Jennifer Gaffin, Rocky Reilly, Melissa Strawmyer, Nicole Eggert, Bill Melendez ..
Directed by: Phil Roman
Release date: 1981-10-30

Winnie the Pooh Discovers the Seasons

6.0/10 IMDB

Christopher Robin gives Winnie the Pooh a calendar, and Pooh uses it to learn about the seasons.

Starring: Kim Christiansen, Hal Smith, John Fiedler, Ray Erlenborn, Ron Feinberg, Laurie Main ..
Directed by: Rick Reinert
Release date: 1981-09-05
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : The Berenstain Bears' Easter Surprise

The Berenstain Bears' Easter Surprise

7.8/10 IMDB

A very inquisitive Brother Bear is wondering why Spring is taking so long to arrive. With Easter approaching and a new arrival to the Bear family on the way, Brother looks for answers, and Mama teaches him the true meaning of Spring.

Starring: Ron McLarty, Pat Lysinger, Bob McFadden, Knowl Johnson, Zachary Danziger ..
Directed by: Al Kouzel, Mordicai Gerstein
Release date: 1981-04-14

The Tender Tale of Cinderella Penguin

6.2/10 IMDB

Cinderella has to stay home while her evil stepsisters go to the ball. You know the rest except everyone here is a penguin (even the mice that become the "horses") and the lost slipper is more like a swimming flipper.

Directed by: Janet Perlman
Release date: 1981-01-01

Murder Psalm

6.2/10 IMDB

A short film by Stan Brakhage.

Directed by: Stan Brakhage
Release date: 1981-03-27
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Dilemma


6.5/10 IMDB

A fully digitized computer-animated film which shows the question whether man will use his inventive abilities for destruction or as the key to progressive creation.

Directed by: John Halas, Eric Brown
Release date: 1981-01-05
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : The Garden of Earthly Delights

The Garden of Earthly Delights

6.3/10 IMDB

A collage of two-dimensional images of vegetation, each appearing only for a moment, sometimes as a single image, more often with other bits of stem, leaf, bud, or petal. Often we see only the outline of objects against a black background. Black and green are occasionally joined by fragments of orange or of white and blue. The objects in the frame don't move but they are quickly replaced by another collage, giving the feel of rapid motion. Each collage is crisp, its lines etched against the background of black and later of white. Whitman anyone, or Hieronymus Bosch? Although there is no soundtrack, the rapidity of changing images and colors suggests a riot.

Directed by: Stan Brakhage
Release date: 1981-01-01
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : The Leprechauns' Christmas Gold

The Leprechauns' Christmas Gold

6.2/10 IMDB

Sent in search of a Christmas tree, cabin boy Dinty Doyle lands on a mysterious, uncharted Irish island where he accidentally releases a bad-tempered banshee from her pine tree prison. Leprechaun Blarney Kilakilarney knows that in order to survive, the banshee will try to swipe his clan's pot of Christmas gold. With some magical assistance from Lord Patrick, the king of the wee folk, Dinty and Blarney make a plan to outwit the gold-hungry hag before Christmas morning dawns.

Starring: Art Carney, Peggy Cass, Frankie Moronski, Bob McFadden, Ken Jennings, Gerry Matthews, Christine Mitchell, Glynis Bieg, Aidan Nicolle ..
Directed by: Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin, Jr.
Release date: 1981-12-23
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Helen Keller: Angel of Love and Light

Helen Keller: Angel of Love and Light

6.4/10 IMDB

Based on the story of Helen Keller who at a very young age was left deaf and blinded by an illness. But she fought through the obstacles, trying to live a normal life as possible. She became on of the first disabled rights-pioneers.

Starring: Kimiko Itoh, Tomoko Matsushima, Satomi Majima ..
Directed by: Fumio Ikeno
Release date: 1981-05-05
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Daniel Boone

Daniel Boone

7.4/10 IMDB

An animated special that presents highlights of the life of Daniel Boone, the famous American trailblazer -- from his early childhood years in North Carolina, his love affair with Rebecca Bryan, their courtship, marriage and family life, his work in settling the Kentucky region, and his exploits.

Starring: Richard Crenna, John Stephenson, Janet Waldo, Michael Bell, Joan Gerber, William Callaway, Vic Perrin, Michael Rye, Barney Phillips ..
Directed by: Geoff Collins
Release date: 1981-11-27

Grendel Grendel Grendel

6.8/10 IMDB

This is an animated story covering the ancient legend of Beowulf, as narrated by Grendel himself, the "monster" in the legend. Aimed more at adults than children, this version holds some interesting twists on the traditional tale, and is based on a novel by American critic and academic John Gardner.

Starring: Peter Ustinov, Keith Michell, Arthur Dignam, Ed Rosser, Alison Bird ..
Directed by: Alexander Stitt
Release date: 1981-08-01
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Around the World with Dot

Around the World with Dot

5.9/10 IMDB

In this magical film Dot joins up with Santa Claus in order to help her friend the mother kangaroo find her lost baby. The pair take off into the air in Santa’s sleigh led by two kangaroos and travel the world searching for the zoo where the lost kangaroo has been sent.

Starring: Drew Forsythe, Barbara Frawley, Ron Haddrick, Anne Haddy, Ben Alcott, Ashley Ayre, Frank Gott, Marli Mason, Ross Higgins, Drew Forsythe ..
Directed by: Yoram Gross
Release date: 1981-12-04

Invaders from the Deep

3.1/10 IMDB

When aquatic aliens plot to take over the planet, the world aquanaut security patrol are called in to battle the aliens.

Starring: Don Mason, Robert Easton, Ray Barrett, Lois Maxwell, David Graham ..
Directed by: David Elliott, John Kelly, David Lane, Desmond Saunders
Release date: 1981-01-01
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Canada Vignettes: Countdown

Canada Vignettes: Countdown

5.1/10 IMDB

This vignette illustrates the variety of professions, people and technical procedures required by the filmmaking process.

Directed by: Veronika Soul
Release date: 1981-01-01

Peter and the Magic Seeds

8.5/10 IMDB

Peter learns about trust and self-esteem in an animated adventure

Starring: Wendell Burton, Wayne Storm, Ben Van Vactor, Leona Mitchell, Elaine Suranie ..
Release date: 1981-01-01
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : The Raccoons on Ice

The Raccoons on Ice

8.2/10 IMDB

The Raccoons on Ice is the second of four specials leading up to the television series The Raccoons. It initially aired on CBC and in syndication on December 20, 1981.

Starring: Rich Little, Rita Coolidge, Leo Sayer, Michael Magee, Fred Little, Sharon Lewis, Carl Banas, Len Carlson, Tammy Bourne, Hadley Kay ..
Directed by: Kevin Gillis
Release date: 1981-12-20
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Seepage


7.4/10 IMDB

"Marlborough" and "The Arab", lounging on the pool terrace, are alienated characters in some future time, living in a world where art work comes to life, phones continuously ring, televisions hum all night, and smog seeps into their brains.

Starring: Susan Jane Tanner, Henry Joseph, Alexander Norman ..
Directed by: Henry Selick
Release date: 1981-01-01
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Luna, Luna, Luna

Luna, Luna, Luna

7.3/10 IMDB

A child sleepwalks into the forest. A black vastness inhabited by night creatures throbs and chirps, croaks and gurgles. As she wades deeper into the shimmering night, the real forest and the imaginary one dissolve into each other. Apparitions and phantoms begin their nocturnal dance. The atmosphere becomes charged and witches come shrieking to life. When the fear of the night reaches its peak, the moon rises and the final lunacy begins. An animated film about a child's reaction to the mysteries and magic of the night. Film without words.

Directed by: Viviane Elnécavé
Release date: 1981-04-02
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Adam Powers

Adam Powers

7.0/10 IMDB

A computer-animated juggler.

Directed by: Richard Taylor
Release date: 1981-06-23
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : No Man's Valley

No Man's Valley

8.2/10 IMDB

Elliot, a rare California condor, must find a hideaway for endangered animals before man drives them over the brink into extinction.

Starring: Henry Corden, Frank Buxton, Art Metrano, Hal Smith, Chanin Hale, Arnold Stang, Barney Phillips, Joe E. Ross, Desiree Goyette, Richard Deacon ..
Directed by: Bill Melendez
Release date: 1981-11-23
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Punch and Judy: Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy

Punch and Judy: Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy

7.1/10 IMDB

An unusual documentary from the Brothers Quay and Keith Griffiths about the history of the Punch and Judy puppet show.

Starring: Percy Press Snr., Percy Press Jnr., Peter Lovstrom, Joe Melia ..
Directed by: Stephen Quay, Timothy Quay, Keith Griffiths, Larry Sider
Release date: 1981-01-01
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Distant Islands

Distant Islands

6.9/10 IMDB

This short animation uses appliqué and embroidered tapestries to recall a young girl's happy summers spent sailing with her family off the coast of British Columbia. Each tapestry, meticulously stitched by hand with brightly coloured yarns, evokes the memory of leisurely days at sea, drifting among the islands.

Starring: Nettie Wild ..
Directed by: Bettina Maylone
Release date: 1981-01-01
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Top Priority

Top Priority

6.2/10 IMDB

Set in an unspecified Third World country, this animated film, based on a short story by Enver Carim, suggests that "top priority" means different things to governments and to the governed. A drought-stricken family maintains a long and desperate vigil for a cloud of dust on the horizon signalling the arrival of irrigation pipes and pump. They are rewarded with a military convoy instead. Its top priority is a border war with a neighboring state, not pipes for the life-saving water the family must have.

Directed by: Ishu Patel
Release date: 1981-01-01
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Dennis the Menace in Mayday for Mother

Dennis the Menace in Mayday for Mother

6.4/10 IMDB

Mischievous Dennis Mitchell wants to give his mother a gift for Mother's Day.

Release date: 1981-01-01
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Sync Touch

Sync Touch

6.0/10 IMDB

A lesbian/feminist aesthetic proposing the connection between touch and sight to be the basis for a new cinema. The film explores the tactile child nature within the adult woman filmmaker, the connection between sexuality and filmmaking, and the scientific analysis of the sense of touch.

Directed by: Barbara Hammer
Release date: 1981-12-10
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Willo the Wisp

Willo the Wisp

0.0/10 IMDB

Long after debuting on British television in the 1980s, this popular cartoon series for kids -- narrated by the ghostly Willo (who is, in fact, a mere wisp) -- now enjoys a comfortable cult status among adults. Hounded by the meddlesome Evil Edna -- a wicked witch who inhabits a TV set -- Mavis, Carwash, Arthur and the other inhabitants of Doyley Woods (voiced by Carry On star Kenneth Williams) do their best to stay out of her way.

Starring: Kenneth Williams ..
Directed by: Nicholas Spargo
Release date: 1981-09-14
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Voyage


0.0/10 IMDB

An NTSC space opera.

Directed by: Dean Winkler, Tom DeWitt Ditto, Vibeke Sorensen, Robert Lund
Release date: 1981-01-12
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Tempest


0.0/10 IMDB

Abstract video art created in 1981. Music by Vibeke Sorensen and Walter Michael.

Directed by: Vibeke Sorensen, Dean Winkler, Tom DeWitt Ditto
Release date: 1981-01-01
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Rock & Roll Pet Store

Rock & Roll Pet Store

0.0/10 IMDB

Animated short about animals that have a rock & roll party after the pet store closes for the night

Directed by: Michael Posch
Release date: 1981-01-01
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Peak


0.0/10 IMDB

A very early example of fractal-generated terrain.

Directed by: Mark Snitily
Release date: 1981-01-01
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Pictures 4 Barbara

Pictures 4 Barbara

0.0/10 IMDB

Film by Barbara Hammer.

Starring: Barbara Hammer, Barbara Dubois, Susan Evans ..
Directed by: Barbara Hammer
Release date: 1981-01-01
Best Animation Movies of 1981 : Moon Man

Moon Man

7.0/10 IMDB

In this classic story by one of the world's best-loved and acclaimed storytellers for children, the man in the moon looks down on the happy, dancing people on Earth every night, wishing he could join them. He hitches a ride on a passing comet, but quickly finds himself thrown into jail by people who see him as an invader, rather than a friendly visitor. The Moon Man, however, has a most unusual - but perfectly logical - means of escape, and sets out to make his way back home.

Directed by: Gene Deitch
Release date: 1981-03-27

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