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8 Fun “Non-Disney” Animated Fairytale Films

Anastasia-and-her-father Animated Fairytale Films
Anastasia. Photo: Fox Animation Studios

My love for animated fairytale films has stayed with me since my early childhood. There’s something wonderful about magical stories and animation has long been a fantastic medium to tell these stories. While I was primarily a Disney girl growing up, there were still many non-Disney films that were childhood classics for me. Some of these films listed here I didn’t see until a teenager or adult and yet I still fell in love with the childlike magic. Here are eight delightful animated fairytale films put out by companies other than Disney that mustn’t be lost to obscurity.

8 Great “Non-Disney” Animated Fairytale Films

 (in no particular order)

#1 Barbie in The Nutcracker

Barbie in the Nutcracker Animated Fairytale Films
Barbie in the Nutcracker. Photo: Mattel Entertainment

Barbie as Clara travels to another world with a kind and charming nutcracker in search of the elusive Sugar Plum Fairy, who can help Barbie regain her regular size and also save the Land of Parthenia from the evil Mouse King.

Why You Should Watch It:
This is the first CGI Barbie movie that Mattel put out and while the CGI is now really dated, it’s still my favorite of all Barbie’s movies. I adored Barbie as a kid and, of course, fairytales – it seemed a no-brainer that I would love this film. The story of Clara and the Nutcracker is given a whole new story and twist. The characters are all quite adorable with the snarky Pimm the bat still a favorite of mine. They also used real ballerina references to make the dancing very life-like.

#2 Barbie in The 12 Dancing Princesses

Barbie in The 12 Dancing Princesses. Animated Fairytale Films
Barbie in The 12 Dancing Princesses. Photo: Mattel Entertainment

Barbie, as Genevieve, and her eleven sisters discover a magical land realm where they can dance to their hearts’ desire. But the coldhearted Duchess Rowena is aware that something is going on with these girls…

Why You Should Watch It:
Twelve loving and fun sisters. Ballet dancing. A wicked duchess scheming for the throne. This is another fun fairytale reimagining with Barbie. The story is so sweet and happy and overall just fun to watch.

#3 Anastasia

Anastasia-and-Dimitri-dance Animated Fairytale Films
Dimitri teaches Anastasia to dance. Photo: Fox Animation Studios

Con-men Dimitri and Vladimir are looking for a girl to pretend to be the last living granddaughter of the Russian Dowager Empress. They find Anya, who seems absolutely perfect for the role. But even Anya, who suffers from memory loss, doesn’t know she is Anastasia.

Why You Should Watch It:
Probably one of the strongest films on this list, Anastasia is not quite a fairytale as its kind of based on real facts but overall, it carries that fairytale charm. Anastasia and Dimitri are a wonderful animated couple and are definitely one of my romantic favorites. The music and animation are gorgeous here. A must-watch.

#4 The Swan Princess

The Swan Princess. Animated Fairytale Films
The Swan Princess. Photo: New Line Cinema

Princess Odette and Prince Derek have long been expected to marry by their families. Just when a wedding is about to take place, Odette is kidnapped by an evil sorcerer who traps her in swan form during the day. Prince Derek will stop at nothing to find her.

Why You Should Watch It:
This is an old favorite that still makes me smile every time I re-watch it. The ballet tale is given more a backstory with Odette and Derek, two royal heirs who grew up disliking each other until adulthood. This one has a lot of comical moments, fun music, and decent animation.

#5 Quest for Camelot

Quest-For-Camelot Animated Fairytale Films
Kayley and Garrett. Photo: Warner Bros.

When Kayley’s mother is taken captive by ex-knight Ruber, a maniac seeking to take over Camelot, Kayley escapes to the forest. There she meets a blind outsider, Garrett, and together they seek out Excalibur, which has been lost in the forest, in hopes of defeating Ruber with it.

Why You Should Watch It:
I discovered this one much later in life but instantly fell in love. Quest for Camelot is more of a loose tale of the Arthurian legends with spunky heroine Kayley and hermit Garrett. Garrett is one of my animated crushes and he’s voiced by Cary Elwes (Westley in The Princess Bride)! The film is full of adventurous fun and catchy music.

#6 Thumbelina

Thumbelina. Animated Fairytale Films
Thumbelina. Photo: Don Bluth Entertainment/Warner Bros.

When a fairy prince visits Thumbelina, they fall quickly in love. With promises to come back the next day, Thumbelina waits for her prince. But a scheming mother toad, looking for a bride, steals her away in the night. Thumbelina starts on a journey – can she return home and reunite with her prince?

Why You Should Watch It:
I looooove this movie so much! Thumbelina is an absolute classic with stunning music, lovely animation and an adorable story. Prince Cornelius and Thumbelina are too precious for words and their love that drives them to find each other no matter what is so sweet. Jodie Benson, the voice of Ariel, voices Thumbelina here and her singing is divine as always. If you haven’t heard her sing Soon or Let Me Be Your Wings, go listen now!

#7 Howl’s Moving Castle

Howl's dramatic exit.Animated Fairytale Films
Howl’s dramatic exit. Photo: Studio Ghibli

One day, Sophie, a simple girl who works in a hat shop, a chance encounter with Howl, a sorcerer. A witch transforms Sophie into a ninety-year-old woman that night and Sophie is forced to travel to the dangerous wastes to seek her out. But who should she meet in the wastes but the mysterious Howl again…

Why You Should Watch It:
I actually watched Howl’s Moving Castle this year and was swooning by the end of it. Studio Ghibli has created a fairytale masterpiece with gorgeous, lush animation and a riveting story about a shy girl who becomes a strong woman through a strange curse. Howl and Sophie’s romance is really perfect. If you haven’t seen a Studio Ghibli film, this is a fantastic one to start with!

#8 Hoodwinked

Hoodwinked. Animated Fairytale Films
Hoodwinked. Photo: Kanbar Entertainment/The Weinstein Company

The police show up to find Little Red Riding Hood, the Wolf, Granny, and the Woodsman armed with an axe. They individually question the suspects and with each story comes another new and hilarious perspective on the Red Riding Hood fairytale.

Why You Should Watch It:
This is such a hilarious and cute movie. I love the idea of turning the Red Riding Hood story into a crime scene investigation in which everyone is questioned by the police. The storytelling is quite fun as we see different and unexpected reasons to why each character ended up at Granny’s house.

Any of these animated fairytale films favorites of yours? I’d love to hear about that and any other fairytale non-Disney movies that you’ve enjoyed!

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By on April 14th, 2016

About Faith White

Faith has always enjoyed movies and TV shows from swoon-worthy period dramas to heart-stopping action-adventure flicks. Her love of Korean dramas started a few years ago when she binge-watched a 62 episode period K-drama and fell in love. She also has a passion for writing stories. Even as a young teenager she entertained her sisters
with episodic superhero adventures. Now she spends her time working,
blogging, sewing, juggling several novels, and watching her favorite
shows, mainly K-dramas. You can visit her blog at:

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4 thoughts on “8 Fun “Non-Disney” Animated Fairytale Films”

  1. Great list! Quest for Camelot and Swan Princess I always think are underrated, if just because the songs are so good! Although ‘Spirit’ is my favourite non-Disney cartoon 🙂


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