Wall-E is, as all the reviewers have been telling us, pretty damn cute, but did you know he’s only the 31st cutest cartoon character in recent film history? We have all the others in the top 50, including bunnies, puppies, monkeys, penguins – and one cuddly piece of legislation. No Smurfs, though. Those little blue guys try too hard.
The American Film Institute recently named Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs the top animated movie of all time. And the cutest of those seven has to be Dopey, the good-hearted dim bulb that charms the poison apple-eating beauty. Stupid has never been so adorable.
He’s a Claymation man’s best friend. As the soul mate to the perpetually hapless Wallace, Gromit never says a single word. But his bug eyes and droopy ears speak volumes.
Sure, the Wonder Twins can activate their powers and turn themselves into icebergs, blah, blah, blah. But neither Zan nor Jayna can radiate the adorableness of Gleek. Whether you love him or love to hate him, it doesn’t matter. There’s love there.
Another from the monkey family, Dora the Explorer’s sidekick would be just passably sweet if it weren’t for that adorably ill-fitting footwear.
He’s just a Bill? Uh, think again, chump. He’s a piece of legislation with a smiley face who teaches kids about how laws get passed in Congress. True, he leaves out all the stuff about partisan bickering and pork barrel spending, but whatever.
Ariel may get more time in the spotlight, but Sebastian — the lobster who brought a reggae vibe to The Little Mermaid and helped renew the credibility of animated Disney movies — is the cutest creature under the sea.
The simply drawn, occasionally clueless Hamm, a piggy bank with the voice of Cliff Clavin (aka perennial Pixar player John Ratzenberger), steals all of his Toy Story scenes.
I’m not a huge fan of Pokemon, but even I have to admit that this particular species of the Japanese creatures is adorable. Plus, his rosy cheeks can shoot lightning bolts!
How can you not be a sucker for this member of the Fat Albert gang? He’s got those great freckles, he speaks in a high voice, he constantly wears a winter coat and he’s never afraid to tell off that arrogant Rudy. Unlike school in the summertime, Russell’s got class.
41. Baba Looey
In the questionable tradition of cartoons that play on Latino stereotypes (also see #34), here comes Quick Draw McGraw’s lovable right-hand burro. One reason he made the list: a yellow sombrero that’s almost as big as he is. Also, he looks a lot like our next entrant…
40. Atom Ant
Mules and ants are not the same, but seriously, doesn’t Atom Ant bear a striking resemblance to Baba Looey? The fact that both were born from the same parents —Hanna and Barbera — undoubtedly explains the connection. Our eensy-teensy hero ranks a little higher than Sr. Looey, though, because: a) smaller = cuter, and b) his catch phrase is more memorable: “Up and at ’em, Atom Ant!”
His sister D.W. might not want to hear this, but Arthur — the intellectually curious, bespectacled aardvark who stars in his own PBS show — is the cuteness.
38. Roger Rabbit
Those floppy ears and red suspenders are eye-catchers. But it’s that “P-p-p-p-lease!” that makes Roger so appealing. All credit goes to Charles Fleisher, otherwise known as Carvelli from Welcome Back, Kotter, who provides the voice that whispers sweet nothings to Jessica Rabbit.
37. Jiminy Cricket
He serves as the conscience to Pinocchio. He’s a huge advocate for wishing upon a star. And he sports the tiniest little top hat ever drawn.
He might just be another plucky pup. But Kipper, who originally appeared in the children’s books by Mick Inkpen, has a way with words — and a British accent. Try beating that, Snoopy.
Kyle might want to “kick the baby.” We just want to hug this goo-gooing little South Park infant.
34. Speedy Gonzales
You know you adore this little Mexican mouse. Hurry up and admit it: “¡Ándale! ¡Arriba!”
Yes, he’s a rat. But he’s a sweetheart of a rat with unmatched culinary skills and the voice of Patton Oswalt.
32. Ralph Wiggum
“The doctor said I wouldn’t have so many nose bleeds if I kept my finger outta there.” Yes, few cartoon characters are as suave, debonair and darling as young Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons. We choo-choo-choose him.
He only recently joined the cartoon landscape. But one look in those binocular-esque eyes and it’s impossible to resist the innocent charms of Pixar’s Hello, Dolly!-loving robot.
30. Elroy Jetson
The son of George Jetson may live in the (retro) future, but his sweet little-boy face and adorable beanie hat are timeless.
29. Babs Bunny
When it comes to Tiny Toons, Babs gets serious cuteness competition from her friend Buster Bunny (no relation). We give the carrot to Babs, with that pink fur and those pert purple ribbons tied to her floppy ears.
Alvin, Simon, and Theodore owe a huge debt to Chip ‘n Dale, the original animated chipmunks. The Disney pair made their debut in the late ’40s and spent many cartoon years driving Donald Duck nuts. Why single out Chip? He actually is the cuter one. Hadn’t you noticed?
27. Muppet Babies
We could choose a specific Muppet Baby to honor, but it’s impossible. Any Muppet in infant form — Kermit, Miss Piggy, Scooter, hell, even Gonzo — is too cute for words.
26. Porky Pig
The well-dressed Looney Tunes oinker made stuttering ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-charming.
It’s true in Jim Davis’s comic strip and in the cartoons based on it: Odie, with his protruding, slobbery tongue, is 850 times cuter than that cranky glutton Garfield.
Ghosts are supposed to be scary. But with his gentle demeanor, smiling face and — as Bart Simpson once pointed out — uncanny resemblance to Richie Rich, Casper can only haunt us with cuteness.
23. Gingerbread Man
With his Mr. Bill-esque voice and his spitfire attitude, we can’t resist this tasty character from the Shrek movies, which, incidentally, occupy three of the top five spots among the highest-grossing animated movies of all time. We love this crisp cookie down to his cute little buttons. “Not the buttons!” Yes, Gingy, the buttons.
22. Scooby Doo
“Rooby-rooby-roo!” Really, need I say anything more?
The fractured tiny teacup — son to Angela Lansbury’s Mrs. Potts — is both adorable and capable of delivering a spot of Earl Grey, so long as you don’t mind if it leaks a little.
20. Baby Mumble
He can’t sing to save his little Arctic soul. But the youngest version of this tap-dancing penguin, who appears in the initial scenes of Happy Feet, is a prime example of digital animation at its most cuddly.
The only flying squirrel to make this list, Rocky is the sensible ying to Bullwinkle J. Moose’s clueless yang. And his aviator hat is totally sweet.
18. 101 Dalmatian Puppies
Cruella de Vil is one of the most horrifying Disney villains ever. Why? Because she wants to make coats out of these 101 irresistible, polka-dotted pups.
As dogs go, she’s relatively expressionless. But that pink tongue, those clue-leaving paw prints, and her ability to tolerate the nerdy dancing of her masters, Steve (Steve Burns) and Joe (Donovan Patton), make the star of Blue’s Clues forever appealing.
16. Mr. Magoo
Just look at his squinched-up eyes, those arched eyebrows, that little-old-man smile. Don’t you just want to give the visually impaired Mr. Magoo a big hug? You know, after you make sure he gets a spot in an assisted living facility?
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is Rankin/Bass’s most enduring cartoon creation. And Rudolph, with his nose so bright, makes a lovable yuletide underdog (underdeer?). As he exclaims after receiving a compliment from a reindeer babe named Clarice: “I’m cute! I’m cute!” Yes, you are, buddy.
Tex Avery’s animated basset hound has a voice that could send even the happiest person straight for a bottle of Prozac. But there’s something about the way he waddles and those heavy-hanging cheeks that manages to turn most frowns upside down.
13. Egghead Jr.
The son of Miss Prissy and buddy to Foghorn Leghorn, Egghead is pure, impressionable innocence in a super-big pair of spectacles. And yes, the recent Walt Disney version of Chicken Little does bear a strong resemblance to this Loony Tunes character. Clearly Disney knows a good-lookin’ chicken when it sees one.
12. Augie Doggie
There are plenty of reasons to adore Hanna-Barbera’s Augie Doggie. He has a sweet smile. He looks like a beagle, and we all know that beagles rule. But the main thing that makes him so cute? The way he calls his pops, Doggie Daddy, “dear old dad.”
I can’t vouch for how this fellow smells. But Bambi’s woodland friend, with those big, beautiful, shy eyes, is precious to his skunky core.
We enter the top 10 with perhaps the cutest baby in cartoon history. Sure, Bamm-Bamm Rubble was cute, too. But he was so…aggressive. With her bright red hair all tied up in a bone and her gentle goo-goos and ga-gas, Pebbles Flintstone is a doll. At least she was until she entered teenhood and starred on that silly Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show.
Cinderella’s mouse with the mostest, Gus is chubby, goofy, and the most huggable character in this classic Disney fairy tale. Yes, even more huggable than Prince Charming.
8. Winnie the Pooh
The Hundred Acre Wood, as portrayed in the Disney cartoons based on A.A. Milne’s stories, is filled with cute characters: Tigger, Roo, Piglet. But it’s Winnie the Pooh — with his rumblies in his tumblies and the sweeter-than-honey voice, as originally created by Sterling Holloway — that will always be the most delightful.
Snoopy is undeniably lovable, but with his Joe Cool attitude, he gets a little too much attention. That’s why Woodstock, the beagle’s bright yellow bird-buddy with the mussed mop of feathers and a tendency to squawk when he appears in animated form, seems even cuter. Because he’s not trying to be.
6. Cindy Lou Who
“Santy Claus, why? Why are you taking our Christmas tree? Why?” When the Grinch eventually has an epiphany after committing a handful of felonies in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, it’s due in no small part to the charms of little Cindy Lou Who, who was no more than two. I mean, who could watch her bat those eyelashes and not, eventually, decide to carve the roast beast?
His stubborn determination, not to mention that one endearingly deficient fin, make audiences repeatedly root for this clown fish, Pixar’s cutest creation so far.
4. Chilly Willy
As was made clear by entry #20, animated penguins are dang cute — and none are cuter than Chilly Willy, with his perky pom-pom hat and endearing waddle.
3. Boo Boo
Nearly every sentence he says starts with, “But Yogi:” And, by the way, why is he wearing a bow tie in the middle of Jellystone Park? Doesn’t matter. The whole package makes Boo-Boo cuter than the average bear.
“I did! I did taw a puddy tat!” I mean, please. Cartoon character catchphrases don’t come much cuter. Consider Tweety’s humongous baby blues and the fact that he never fails to outsmart Sylvester, and it’s obvious why this tweet wittle biwd proudly swings in the number two spot.
The little bunny rabbit who teaches Bambi how to ice-skate is undeniably adorable. Thanks to the voice work of young Peter Behn, he’s also got one of the most infectious cartoon laughs in history. But here’s why he ranks No. 1: In a film that is absolutely wrenching in its depiction of loss, Thumper represents nothing but pure joy.