Barbie is a cultural icon, and her presence throughout pop culture since she was first introduced to us has been constant. As time has moved on, Barbie has also thankfully evolved to suit a more inclusive beauty standard rather than the rigid and unattainable one that blossomed as a result of the brand. In fact, in 2017, Mattel made history with the release of the first hijab-wearing Barbie.
Jumping to screen media, Barbie has released dozens of animated feature films, shorts, and television series, starting with Barbie in the Nutcracker in 2001 all the way to Barbie: Big City, Big Dreams, which released just last year. Recently, a live-action film based on the iconic doll has been announced, with Margot Robbie set to star in the leading role and Greta Gerwig slated to direct. According to Variety, Barbie is gearing up to be a star-studded affair, with the likes of Issa Rae, Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera, Simu Liu, and many more major actors attached to the project. Until then, here’s a look at the best Barbie animated movies of all time, ranked.
6 Barbie in A Mermaid Tale
In 2010, Barbie and The Little Mermaid merged into one when Barbie in A Mermaid Tale was released. The film follows Merliah, a surfer who turns into a mermaid and gets rid of her surfing days in favor of living full-time in the ocean. The film is fun and brings a fantasy element to the Barbie character. It also features a villain named Eres, who is one of the best villains to have ever been featured in the Barbie franchise.
5 Barbie & the Diamond Castle
In 2008, the Barbie franchise continued with Barbie & the Diamond Castle, an adorable tale focused on the importance of friendship, which incorporates elements of song and fantasy. The plot focuses on Barbie and her younger sister as she tries to teach her about the importance of friendships and forming strong bonds. In doing this, she shares the story of Liana and Alexa, who are best friends that work together to save the diamond castle and stop the threat of music ending. The film is adorable and features some genuinely heart-warming moments. As well as this, Barbie and Theresa provide a soundtrack that you will be singing long after the film ends.
4 Barbie: Thumbelina
Barbie: Thumbelina was released in 2009 and follows the central character, Thumbelina, who lives among the Twillerbees in a beautiful field full of blooming flowers. This peaceful existence is disrupted when someone from the city picks flowers and exposes Thumbelina to a plan that will see their habitat being destroyed, which she then becomes determined to save. The story is already a classic, and the spin on the story through the eyes of Barbie brings the classic tale to a new audience. The movie is an enjoyable watch, but also has a strong message of being environmentally conscious, which is important for younger audiences to hear.
3 Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses
Barbie’s legacy continued in 2006 with the release of Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses. This story sees Barbie as Princess Genevieve, who is forbidden from dancing along with her 11 sisters by Duchess Rowena, who is tasked with turning them into prim and proper ladies. The girls find a magical realm which allows them to dance to their hearts content, and this creates some drama among the royals. The film is a classic Barbie film and is well worth a watch.
2 Barbie in the Nutcracker
The very first movie in the Barbie franchise to be released was Barbie in the Nutcracker, which was released back in 2001. This film deserves its place high on the list due to its legacy for kick-starting the whole film franchise. The film is a take on the original Nutcracker ballet and provides feel-good vibes throughout the whole film. In this film, Barbie is Clara, who receives a wooden nutcracker during the holiday period from her aunt. As the film progresses, the toy comes to life after it must face against the Mouse King who shrinks Clara. They hunt for the sugarplum princess who can break the spells, and it’s a feel food film that’s perfect for the holidays.
1 Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper
Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper was released in 2004 and has a scene that has become a viral sensation. The film focuses on Anneliese and Erika who are strong female leads who bond together and find themselves in each other rather than through men. It has a killer soundtrack and is deserving of the attention it’s received from the internet.
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