Barbie is a cultural icon, and her presence in pop culture since she was first introduced to us has been constant. As time passed, Barbie has also thankfully evolved to accommodate a more inclusive standard of beauty rather than the rigid and inaccessible one that has flourished through the brand. In fact, in 2017, Mattel made history with the release of the first hijab-wearing Barbie.
Jump to screen media, Barbie has released dozens of animated feature films, short films and television series, starting with Barbie in the Nutcracker in 2001 until Barbie: Big City, Big Dreams, released last year. Recently, an action movie based on the iconic doll was announced, with Margot Robbie set to star and Greta Gerwig set to direct. According to Variety, Barbie is gearing up to be an all-star affair, with Issa Rae, Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera, Simu Liu and many other major players attached to the project. In the meantime, here’s a look at the best animated Barbie 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 has been freed. The film follows Merliah, a surfer girl who turns into a mermaid and dumps her days of surfing to live full-time in the ocean. The movie is fun and brings a fantasy element to the Barbie character. It also introduces a villain named Eres, who is one of the best villains to ever feature in the Barbie franchise.
5 Barbie and the Diamond Castle
In 2008, the Barbie franchise continues with Barbie and 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 the importance of friendships and building strong bonds. In doing so, she shares the story of Liana and Alexa, who are best friends who work together to save the Diamond Castle and stop the threat of the end of the music. The movie is adorable and has some really heartwarming moments. On top of that, Barbie and Theresa provide a soundtrack that you’ll be singing along to long after the movie is over.
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 a townsman picks flowers and exposes Thumbelina to a plan that will see their habitat destroyed, which she then becomes determined to save. The story is already a classic, and twisting the story through Barbie’s eyes brings the classic tale to a new audience. The film is fun to watch, but it also has a strong message of respect for the environment, which is important for young audiences.
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 to dance with her 11 sisters by Duchess Rowena, who is responsible for turning them into beautiful ladies. The girls find a magical kingdom that allows them to dance to their heart’s content, which creates drama among the royal family. The movie is a classic Barbie movie and well worth a watch.
2 Barbie in the Nutcracker
The very first Barbie franchise movie to be released was Barbie in the Nutcracker, which was released in 2001. This film deserves its place at the top of the list because of its legacy for starting the entire film franchise. The film is an original version Nutcracker ballet and provides feel-good vibes throughout the film. In this film, Barbie is Clara, who receives a wooden nutcracker during the holiday season from her aunt. As the film progresses, the toy comes to life after having to face off against the Mouse King shrinking Clara. They hunt the Candy Princess who can break spells, and it’s perfect food wrap for the holidays.
1 Barbie as the princess and the pauper
Barbie as the princess and the pauper came out in 2004 and has a scene that became a viral sensation. The film focuses on Anneliese and Erika who are strong women who bond and find themselves in each other rather than through men. It has a killer soundtrack and deserves the attention it has received from the internet.
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