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Classic Animated Movies: 5 Movies That Shaped the Genre

Image: Classic Animated Movies: 5 Movies That Shaped the Genre
Steamboat Willie, 1928. (wikimedia/commons)

By    |   Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 08:52 AM

Animation has always been a way for movies to tell stories not easily told in three-dimensional ways, and many classic animated films have stood the test of time.

It has been less than 100 years since sound and animation were first mixed and even less time since color became part of the equation, but these five classic animated movies, all from Walt Disney's animation studios, are as relevant today as they were decades ago:

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1. "Steamboat Willie" (1928)

Although not a feature film, at seven minutes and 45 seconds, "Steamboat Willie" is important for many reasons, primarily because it was the first animated film to combine the visuals with synchronized sound, Time magazine said. The short film also made a star of Mickey Mouse (as well as his girlfriend, Minnie).

2. "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937)

It took nine years, but Disney finally released its first full-length animated motion picture in 1937. The first, and often most-highly regarded of Disney animated films, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," was an immediate box-office smash and was the first movie of its kind to connect itself to merchandise sales, The Script Lab said. The animation was high quality for the time and holds up well against even today's digitally mastered releases. "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs must be acknowledged as an icon, its characters standing alongside Dorothy, Superman, and a host of other cinematic creations which have indelibly leave their mark on every aspect of American culture," AMC Networks said.

3. "Fantasia" (1940)

While "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" was a box office success, the same could not be said for "Fantasia." Mickey Mouse's first appearance in a full-length feature was both visually and aurally stunning, but not well received at the time. The eight different segments of the film each tell a different story, all set to beautiful music. The movie was the first to pair orchestra music in this much detail to the actions taking place on screen.

4. "Pinocchio" (1940)

Disney's follow-up to "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" ensured the studio would take and hold the lead in the animated movies for years to come. Although filled with music, "Pinocchio" was the first Disney animated movie to rely more on action rather than song to move the story along. It has become just as well known for its message of hope as its signature song, "When You Wish Upon A Star."

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5. "Bambi" (1942)

Continuing the theme begun with "Pinocchio" two years earlier, "Bambi" was the first full-length animated drama, telling the tale of a young fawn whose mother was gunned down by a hunter while foraging for food, and how that fawn adapted and grew to take his rightful place in the forest. The movie was the first to venture into environmental issues, and received some criticism, according to IMDb, that it was anti-hunting. However, the critical views of the movie have changed in time, and it is considered a trailblazer for animated dramas, such as "All Dogs Go to Heaven" and "The Lion King."  

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Animation has always been a way for movies to tell stories not easily told in three-dimensional ways, and many classic animated films have stood the test of time.
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2015-52-16
Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 08:52 AM
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