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The Best Movies That Combined Live Action and Animation

As long as actors have performed before the cameras and animators have used their craft to tell stories, innovative filmmakers have found ways to make these two worlds meet.

These movies where animation and reality blend have captured the imagination since the days of silent films and have continued to make their mark on the film industry today. These are some of the best movies that combined live-action and animation. This list came to mind when I created this list of the 40 Best Live-Action Movies on Disney Plus.

Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary Edition
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson (Actors)
  • Robert Stevenson (Director) - Bill Walsh (Writer) - Bill Walsh (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Mary Poppins (1964)

Disney was one of the first companies to create movies that combined live-action and animation with the Alice comedies of the late 1920s. However, their most memorable film of this nature is without a doubt Mary Poppins.

Their Jolly Holiday with Mary sequence, when Mary, Bert, and the Banks children enter the world of a chalk drawing, likely contributed to its 1965 Oscar win for best special effects. It also sticks out in many of our memories for containing the iconic song, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

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Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Charles Fleischer (Actors)
  • Robert Zemeckis (Director) - Peter S. Seaman (Writer) - Robert Watts (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)

Although there were other live-action and animated hybrids after Mary Poppins, there wouldn’t be another to win multiple academy awards until 1988 with Who Framed Roger Rabbit? starring Bob Hoskins and Charles Fleisher.

This noir spoof is set in a world where animated characters co-exist with humans and follows detective Eddie Valiant (Hoskins), a hardened LA Private Eye who attempts to exonerate an animated character named Roger Rabbit (Fleisher) of a murder charge. Although it contains many classic animated characters like Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse, it is not for younger viewers.

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Space Jam
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Billy West, Dee Bradley Baker, Danny DeVito (Actors)
  • Joseph Pytka (Director) - Leo Benvenuti (Writer) - Ivan Reitman (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Space Jam (1996)

Space Jam was not the first time the Looney Tunes interacted with human beings, the first being in the 1940 film You Ought to Be in Pictures. But because this film has become the poster child for nineties nostalgia, it has won a special place in fans’ hearts.

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The film follows the Looney Tunes recruiting Chicago Bulls icon Michael Jordan to help them win a basketball game during his brief retirement between 1993 and 1995. The film played off Michael Jordan’s cultural hype, and to this day they have become part of Jordan’s legacy. They even helped build the reputation of the famous Air Jordan sneakers, and the pair featured in the movie has become a sought-after prize by sneakerheads.

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The Lego Movie
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks (Actors)
  • Phil Lord (Director) - Phil Lord (Writer) - Dan Lin (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Lego Movie (2014)

Although not typically remembered for its live-action sections, 2014’s Lego Movie starring Chris Pratt utilizes unexpected live-action sequences to add a touching, down-to-earth moment to an off-the-wall adventure comedy.

The film mostly surrounds the ordinary Lego hero Emmett (Pratt) as he joins in with a zany cast of other Lego characters in the attempt to stop the villain Lord Business from freezing their world. In the live-action sections of the movie, it’s revealed that the events of the story are really the games of a child who bases the villain off his father, giving the simple, silly action of the film more weight.

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