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The Hobbit
D: Arthur Rankin Jr & Jules Bass (1977) 77m


A made-for-TV movie currently riding the coattails of the success of the Lord Of the Rings films. The animation is of reasonably good quality for a small-screen effort and some recognised actors (John Huston, Otto Preminger, Richard Boone) provide the voices. A hobbit joins the quest to reclaim a kingdom by taking on a dragon.





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Wizards
D: Ralph Bakshi (1977) 81m


Animated fantasy set in a post-apocalyptic far-future. A queen of the faeries gives birth to twin sons who are wizards, one good and the other evil. A confrontation between the faeries, elves and magic of the good lands and the mutants that emerge from the nuclear wastelands ensues. Showing its age, but still has its fans.





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The Secret Of NIMH
D: Don Bluth (1982) 83m


A group of animators dubbed the 'Disney Defectors' are responsible for this wonderful, if somewhat serious, film. Highly intelligent rats that have escaped from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) attempt to help a widow mouse with a bedridden son who must move her home before it is destroyed. A cut above the rest.





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The Last Unicorn
D: Arthur Rankin Jr (1982) 98m


Staying essentially true to the Peter S Beagle novel, this is the story of a unicorn on a quest to find others of her kind. She is assisted by an inept wizard and a brave knight. Voiced by a host of big names and including songs by folk-pop outfit America, this much-loved movie is a treat for fans of mythology. The animation isn't the greatest, but the story is certainly top class.





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The Nightmare Before Christmas
D: Henry Selick (1993) 142m


A truly off-the-wall effort, but to be expected with Tim Burton involved (Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands). Leading Halloweentown citizen Jack Skellington finds a door to the alternate holiday universe of Christmastown. He is so impressed that he tries to bring Christmas back home with him, kidnapping Santa in the process.





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Princess Mononoke
D: Hayao Miyazaki (1997) 134m


A major step forward for revered anime master Miyazaki is a classic story of man versus nature. In medieval Japan a prince on a quest to find a cure to his curse gets involved in a struggle between forest animals led by a princess and the mining town threatening their existence. A box-office smash in Japan and a real visual treat.





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Spirited Away
D: Hayao Miyazaki (2001) 132m


The highest grossing film in Japanese box-office history is a mesmerising anime fantasy about a girl's quest to undo the magic that has changed her parents into pigs. Set in an abandoned amusement park that is a resort for traditional gods and spirits, Miyazaki explores themes that deeply affect Japanese society. Surrealistically bizarre.





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Howl's Moving Castle
D: Hayao Miyazaki (2004) 119m


Legendary director Hayao Miyazaki manages to turn Diana Wynne Jones' relatively harmless 1986 novel into yet another masterpiece of self-examination. An insecure 19-year-old woman gains about seven decades in age courtesy of the Witch of the Waste. She undertakes a magical journey in an attempt to break the spell. As usual, breathtaking animation and deft direction.


Non-Disney Animation
Animated fantasy not made by the Disney Studios
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