Animation: Stop-Motion

Shaun The Sheep film image
Shaun The Sheep film image

Stop motion is a type of animation in which a physical object is moved continuously to give the impression of movement, either using puppets or clay (the latter of which is known as Claymation). In this list, we explore stop motion through the ages, from adored directors to thriving studios specialising in the art, spanning different countries, genres and styles, resulting in a wide range of fascinating works.

We also have film lists on hand-drawn animation3D/CGI animationVFXrotoscopingcut-out animation, and the history of animation.

Ray Harryhausen - The Early Years Collection (Disc 1)

CertU

Age groupAll ages

Duration106 mins

Ray Harryhausen - The Early Years Collection (Disc 1)(2005)

A collection of the early fairytale adaptations, demonstrations and interviews with the celebrated stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen.

American animator Ray Harryhausen was a pioneer of stop-motion, most notably in Jason and the Argonauts’ skeleton sword fight. This two-disc compilation explores some of his early work as well as providing a fascinating insight into the craft behind the finished product.

Read more
Kubo and the Two Strings

CertPG

Age group7–16

Duration102 mins

Kubo and the Two Strings(2016)

A young boy named Kubo must find his samurai father’s magical suit of armour in order to overcome the unforgiving spirits of the past.

Stop-motion animation has come a long way since the days of Harryhausen, though he paved the way for modern innovators who remain influenced by his legacy. LAIKA, founded in 2005, are a studio at the forefront of 21st century stop-motion production, and the end credits sequence of Kubo shows some incredible behind-the-scenes work of the film.

Read more
James and the Giant Peach

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration79 mins

James and the Giant Peach(1996)

Stuck with his evil aunts, James creates a magical, enormous peach. Befriending the charming insects inside, he attempts an escape.

This beloved Roald Dahl story was directed by Henry Selick, who also helmed LAIKA’s fantastically creepy Neil Gaiman adaptation, Coraline, as well as making his feature debut with The Nightmare Before Christmas. Selick has made a career out of creating dark children’s films using stop-motion in inventive ways.

Read more
Corpse Bride

CertPG

Age group7+

Duration74 mins

Corpse Bride(2005)

Enchanting stop motion feature from the imagination of Tim Burton, set in a 19th century European village, following the spooky adventures of Victor.

Executive producer on The Nightmare Before Christmas and famed for his own dark, gothic narratives, Tim Burton has twice ventured into the stop-motion sphere as director with Corpse Bride (co-directed by Mike Johnson) followed by Frankenweenie. This film features regular Burton collaborators and is packed full of his trademark style and themes.

Read more
Fantastic Mr Fox

CertPG

Age group7+

Duration85 mins

Fantastic Mr Fox(2009)

Stop-motion animation version of Roald Dahl's woodland tale that combines a beautiful old-fashioned aesthetic with Wes Anderson's trademark dialogue.

Tim Burton is not the only eminent director to flit between live action and stop-motion animation; indie auteur Wes Anderson put his distinctive quirky spin on another Roald Dahl classic, Fantastic Mr. Fox, featuring an all-star voiceover cast. There’s seemingly an old-school charm to the author’s work which really lends itself to the retro animation technique.

Read more
Shaun The Sheep Movie

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration82 mins

Shaun The Sheep Movie(2015)

The much loved farmyard creature from Aardman animation finally gets a big screen adventure of his own.

From one cherished childhood character to another, the Shaun the Sheep Movie was the creature’s first big screen outing. An Aardman creation – the British animation studio who have given us Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit, Chicken Run and Creature Comforts – this is a rare example of a film which uses both clay and puppets.

Read more
A Town Called Panic

CertPG

Age group7–16

Duration75 mins

A Town Called Panic(2009)

A toy horse, cowboy and Indian go on a series of strange but immeasurably fun adventures.

Shaun the Sheep Movie is a superb feat of silent film storytelling, influenced by the classics of the 1930s. So too is A Town Called Panic, a stripped-back French stop-motion animation which uses its medium as an avenue for humour, revelling in the absurdity of the handcrafted characters and their wacky, slapstick-infused escapades.

Read more
My Life as a Courgette

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration66 mins

My Life as a Courgette(2016)

Touching and funny French animation about a little boy called Courgette who is taken into care.

My Life as a Courgette is a French-Swiss Claymation and is more serious in tone than most. It explores some very serious and difficult topics – the death of a parent, mental health, bullying – but uses colourful visuals to do so, offering hope and positivity despite its difficult subject matter.

Read more
Peter and the Wolf

CertU

Age group5–16

Duration32 mins

Peter and the Wolf(2006)

Oscar-winning animated version of the timeless folk tale, set to Sergei Prokofiev's classic orchestral composition.

Another co-production, this one coming from the UK, Poland, Norway and Mexico, is a short film based on a Russian symphonic fairy tale. This version, unlike most Peter and the Wolf interpretations, doesn’t have a narrator, instead relying on the visuals and music, recorded by the Philharmonia Orchestra.

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Ray Harryhausen - The Early Years Collection (Disc 1)

CertU

Age groupAll ages

Duration106 mins

Ray Harryhausen - The Early Years Collection (Disc 1)(2005)

A collection of the early fairytale adaptations, demonstrations and interviews with the celebrated stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen.

American animator Ray Harryhausen was a pioneer of stop-motion, most notably in Jason and the Argonauts’ skeleton sword fight. This two-disc compilation explores some of his early work as well as providing a fascinating insight into the craft behind the finished product.

Read more
Kubo and the Two Strings

CertPG

Age group7–16

Duration102 mins

Kubo and the Two Strings(2016)

A young boy named Kubo must find his samurai father’s magical suit of armour in order to overcome the unforgiving spirits of the past.

Stop-motion animation has come a long way since the days of Harryhausen, though he paved the way for modern innovators who remain influenced by his legacy. LAIKA, founded in 2005, are a studio at the forefront of 21st century stop-motion production, and the end credits sequence of Kubo shows some incredible behind-the-scenes work of the film.

Read more
James and the Giant Peach

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration79 mins

James and the Giant Peach(1996)

Stuck with his evil aunts, James creates a magical, enormous peach. Befriending the charming insects inside, he attempts an escape.

This beloved Roald Dahl story was directed by Henry Selick, who also helmed LAIKA’s fantastically creepy Neil Gaiman adaptation, Coraline, as well as making his feature debut with The Nightmare Before Christmas. Selick has made a career out of creating dark children’s films using stop-motion in inventive ways.

Read more
Corpse Bride

CertPG

Age group7+

Duration74 mins

Corpse Bride(2005)

Enchanting stop motion feature from the imagination of Tim Burton, set in a 19th century European village, following the spooky adventures of Victor.

Executive producer on The Nightmare Before Christmas and famed for his own dark, gothic narratives, Tim Burton has twice ventured into the stop-motion sphere as director with Corpse Bride (co-directed by Mike Johnson) followed by Frankenweenie. This film features regular Burton collaborators and is packed full of his trademark style and themes.

Read more
Fantastic Mr Fox

CertPG

Age group7+

Duration85 mins

Fantastic Mr Fox(2009)

Stop-motion animation version of Roald Dahl's woodland tale that combines a beautiful old-fashioned aesthetic with Wes Anderson's trademark dialogue.

Tim Burton is not the only eminent director to flit between live action and stop-motion animation; indie auteur Wes Anderson put his distinctive quirky spin on another Roald Dahl classic, Fantastic Mr. Fox, featuring an all-star voiceover cast. There’s seemingly an old-school charm to the author’s work which really lends itself to the retro animation technique.

Read more
Shaun The Sheep Movie

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration82 mins

Shaun The Sheep Movie(2015)

The much loved farmyard creature from Aardman animation finally gets a big screen adventure of his own.

From one cherished childhood character to another, the Shaun the Sheep Movie was the creature’s first big screen outing. An Aardman creation – the British animation studio who have given us Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit, Chicken Run and Creature Comforts – this is a rare example of a film which uses both clay and puppets.

Read more
A Town Called Panic

CertPG

Age group7–16

Duration75 mins

A Town Called Panic(2009)

A toy horse, cowboy and Indian go on a series of strange but immeasurably fun adventures.

Shaun the Sheep Movie is a superb feat of silent film storytelling, influenced by the classics of the 1930s. So too is A Town Called Panic, a stripped-back French stop-motion animation which uses its medium as an avenue for humour, revelling in the absurdity of the handcrafted characters and their wacky, slapstick-infused escapades.

Read more
My Life as a Courgette

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration66 mins

My Life as a Courgette(2016)

Touching and funny French animation about a little boy called Courgette who is taken into care.

My Life as a Courgette is a French-Swiss Claymation and is more serious in tone than most. It explores some very serious and difficult topics – the death of a parent, mental health, bullying – but uses colourful visuals to do so, offering hope and positivity despite its difficult subject matter.

Read more
Mary and Max

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration88 mins

Mary and Max(2009)

A witty and touching Australian claymation about two unlikely pen pals with a unique connection.

Mary and Max shares many themes with My Life as a Courgette; it is another Claymation which has a dark tone exploring tough issues, yet also has bursts of humour, music and brilliant visuals which offer optimism. It’s a witty film from Australia about two people with very different lives, both of whom struggle in their own way.

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Alice

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration82 mins

Alice(1988)

Czech master of surreal animation Jan Svankmajer brings his dark talents to a magically creepy, loose adaptation of Lewis Carroll's loopy fantasy.

Alice is another title more suitable for slightly older audiences due to its unconventional approach and unsettling visuals. It comes from Jan Švankmajer, a Czech animator known for surreal stop-motion creations, most notably this unique interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland which mixes live-action with creepy characters.

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