12 Best Dragon Cartoons of All Time (For Your Kids)

Best Dragon Cartoons Of All Time

Dragons are awesome. Everybody loves dragons. Heck, even grownups love them. Just watch Game of Thrones, or The Hobbit, or the upcoming House of the Dragon. What’s there not to love? They are big, powerful, and cunning, they breathe fire and look absolutely majestic. That’s probably why kids love them so much, too.

It’s also the reason why dragons appear in animated movies and cartoons so often. They are commonly depicted as powerful but kind creatures who help us – and the children – to learn more about kindness, acceptance, and life in general. If your kid is into dragons, Fiction Horizon has you covered – here’s the ultimate list of the 12 best dragon cartoons of all time for your kids.

12. The Flight Of Dragons (1982)

12 Best Dragon Cartoons of All Time (For Your Kids)

IMDb Rating: 7.6/10

Synopsis: “This is an animated movie based on the book by Peter Dickinson. In this movie, the realm of magic is being threatened by the realm of logic, so Carolinus, the green wizard decides to shield it for all time. Ommedon, the evil red wizard, stands in his way.

Carolinus then calls for a quest that is to be led by a man named Peter Dickinson, who is the first man in both the realms of science and magic. It is Peter’s job to defeat Ommedon.”

Why it’s great: The animation was a bit odd in this one, but the storyline is epic. Also, I remember I loved this TV movie when I was a kid because the dragons appeared a bit chubby to me, and for some reason, I found it hilarious.

Jokes aside, the plot is filled with life lessons and messages about friendship and the fact that knowledge and imagination don’t necessarily have to exclude one another.

Watch the trailer here.

11. The Reluctant Dragon (1941)

12 Best Dragon Cartoons of All Time (For Your Kids)

IMDb Rating: 6.8/10

Synopsis: “Humorist Robert Benchley attempts to find Walt Disney to ask him to adapt a short story about a gentle dragon who would rather recite poetry than be ferocious. Along the way, he is given a tour of Walt Disney Studios and learns about the animation process.”

Why it’s great: The reluctant Dragon is the oldest movie on this list and the most unique one. It’s actually a mashup of animation and live-action, where you get a chance to see how Disney movies were made in the 1940s. 

RELATED: 20 Best Disney Movies From the 2000s You Have To Watch (Again)

The animation is wonderful, so it’ll certainly have your kids smiling, but the behind-the-scenes parts are very well made, so it might just spark the children’s imagination and get them intrigued about animation.

Watch the trailer here.

10. Puff The Magic Dragon (1978)

12 Best Dragon Cartoons of All Time (For Your Kids)

IMDb Rating: 7.5/10 

Synopsis: “Jackie is a boy who is so trapped by his fears and doubts that he could not communicate with anyone. His condition is so severe that the doctors are giving up, and the parents are losing hope for him to live as something more than a zombie. 

Then, a magic dragon named Puff comes to help Jackie by taking his soul force on a wonderous voyage to his island of Honah Lee. Along the way, they have adventures that nurture Jackie’s imagination and courage in unorthodox ways. 

However, their arrival at Honah Lee is marked with horror as they see the land despoiled and desolate, which leaves Puff powerless. Yet while trapped in his despair, Puff soons to his own astonishment just how well he has changed Jackie for the better as the boy responds to this tragedy in his own way.”

Why it’s great: Puff the Magic Dragon is a short, 30-minute film that teaches your kids so many important lessons and instills important values, such as friendship, acceptance, bravery, and kindness. When everyone was ready to give up on Jackie, an unlikely friend, Puff, helped him overcome his worst fears and grow into a wonderful boy.

Watch the full feature here.

9. Shrek (2001)

12 Best Dragon Cartoons of All Time (For Your Kids)

IMDb Rating: 7.9/10

Synopsis: “When a green ogre named Shrek discovers his swamp has been ‘swamped’ with all sorts of fairytale creatures by the scheming Lord Farquaad, Shrek sets out with a very loud donkey by his side to ‘persuade’ Farquaad to give Shrek his swamp back. Instead, a deal is made. 

Farquaad, who wants to become the King, sends Shrek to rescue Princess Fiona, who is awaiting her true love in a tower guarded by a fire-breathing dragon. But once they head back with Fiona, it starts to become apparent that not only does Shrek, an ugly ogre, begin to fall in love with the lovely princess, but Fiona is also hiding a huge secret.”

Why it’s great: Shrek is not a dragon movie, per se, but it’s just too awesome not to be included on this list. When you’re a kid, you see all the goofy jokes, the fairytale characters, the donkey, and you love it. As an adult, you start realizing how many subtle but awesome grown-up jokes flew over your head.

RELATED: Shrek Movies in Order: The Complete Green Monster Guide

Oh, and the dragon is the antagonist, but later turns out to be a kind soul, extremely loyal, and helpful. On the other hand, she falls in love with a donkey, so I guess it teaches your kids they shouldn’t judge a book by its covers and that love is love? Kind of?

Watch the trailer here.

8. Tom and Jerry: The Lost Dragon (2014)

12 Best Dragon Cartoons of All Time (For Your Kids)

IMDb Rating: 5.8/10

Synopsis: “Your favorite cat and mouse are back with song, sorcery, and slapstick in this enchanted tale with two bonus cartoons. The adventure begins when Tom and Jerry happen upon a mysterious glowing egg. Little do they know, this egg was stolen from a very large fire-breathing dragon! 

In a short time, baby Puffy hatches from his egg and takes Tom as his mommy. The angry mama dragon wants her baby back, but she’s not the only one…a powerful witch named Drizelda captures the baby dragon for her own wicked plans! 

With the help of powerful allies and animal friends, Tom and Jerry must fight tooth and claw to stop the witch and get the baby dragon back to its mother. The action takes flight in a climactic ending filled with might, magic, and cartoon mayhem, of course!”

Why it’s great: It’s not the best Tom and Jerry movie (or episode) ever, but it’s a classic Tom and Jerry movie, only this one has a bit more of a plot than just the two of them running around and smacking each other on the head. If your kids love Tom and Jerry, and they love dragons, they’ll probably enjoy this movie a lot more than you will.

Watch the trailer here.

7. Pete’s Dragon (2016)

12 Best Dragon Cartoons of All Time (For Your Kids)

IMDb Rating: 6.7/10

Synopsis: “A young boy, Pete, is found in a forest where he’s been living for six years after an accident took his parents’ lives. A ranger, Grace, takes him in and asks him how he survived all by himself. He says he had a friend named Elliott and draws a picture of a dragon, saying it’s Elliott. 

Grace takes the picture to her father, who claims that years ago, he encountered a dragon in the forest. Grace takes Pete back to the forest, and he shows her his home and Elliott. A man sees Elliott, and when he tells about his experience and isn’t believed, he sets out to capture the dragon to prove it.”

Why it’s great: This is a wonderful, reimagined tale of Pete’s Dragon – there’s an older version of Pete’s Dragon from 1977. The newer version is actually a live-action film with CGI animation of Elliott the dragon.

The story belongs to Disney Studios, and it’ll teach your kids what love, friendship, and loyalty are, but also how cruel, selfish, and vile people can be. Despite the mediocre IMDb rating, I recommend watching both versions. 

RELATED: 20 Best 80s Cartoons You Need to Watch Again

The older one is much goofier, with hand-drawn animation slapped over live-action scenes. It’s hilarious for today’s standards, but pretty well done nevertheless.

Watch the trailer here.

6. The Dragon Prince (2018- )

12 Best Dragon Cartoons of All Time (For Your Kids)

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10

Synopsis: “Two human princes forge an unlikely bond with the elfin assassin sent to kill them, embarking on an epic quest to bring peace to their warring lands.”

Why it’s great: If you want something a bit more contemporary for your kids who love dragons, The Dragon Prince is a highly successful Netflix animated series that is still ongoing. In fact, it’s the only ongoing entry on this list. The story follows three unlikely friends and their quest to bring peace to all the lands – not just their own. Grown-ups can easily watch the show, too.

As for your children, it’ll teach them compassion, empathy, friendship, and working together to achieve a higher goal despite mutual differences.

Watch the trailer here.

5. Dragon Tales (1999-2005)

12 Best Dragon Cartoons of All Time (For Your Kids)

IMDb Rating: 6.3/10

Synopsis: “The series focused on the exploits of two siblings, Emmy and Max, in possession of an enchanted dragon scale capable of transporting them to a whimsical fantasy land inhabited by colorful anthropomorphic dragons upon their recitation of a rhyme. 

Befriended by four friendly talking dragons with distinctive personalities, Ord, Cassie, Zak, and Wheezie, they frequently travel to Dragon Land and help their friends in fulfilling particular quests, assisting them in their daily problems, and learning important morals through their experiences with the educational whimsy of Dragon Land.”

Why it’s great: If you’re a nineties kid, you’ve probably watched Dragon Tales and enjoyed it thoroughly. I know I did, and we all had a favorite dragon. Mine was Wheezie, for some reason, but each dragon is unique in personality, so your kid will probably pick their favorite based on their own personality.

The show is not the best-animated series ever, but it teaches some core values, such as friendship, accepting different personalities, morals, etc.

Watch the trailer here.

4. Dragon Ball Z (1989-2003)

12 Best Dragon Cartoons of All Time (For Your Kids)

IMDb Rating: 8.8/10

Synopsis: “With the help of the powerful Dragonballs, a team of fighters led by the Saiyan warrior Goku defends the planet Earth from extraterrestrial enemies.

Son Goku, the world’s most powerful fighter and guardian of justice must protect the Earth from the Saiyan Warriors working under the tyrannical space warlord Frieza. Against all odds, Goku must team up with his longtime nemesis Piccolo to save everyone he loves from these new, unpredictable threats to humanity.”

Why it’s great: I think it’s safe to say Dragon Ball Z is the biggest classic on this list. The show started in 1989, and over thirty years later, it’s still an integral part of pop culture due to the sheer awesomeness of the show. It’s one of the best anime series of all time, and the 8.8 IMDb rating proves it.

RELATED: Has Disney Bought the Rights to Dragon Ball?

Now, despite being called Dragon Ball Z, and revolving around Dragonballs, the focus of the show is not always dragons. I won’t get into the plot too much, but if you choose to watch Dragon Ball Z with your kids, I promise that both of you will have a great time. Heck, you’ll probably enjoy it even more!

Watch the trailer here.

3. How To Train Your Dragon (2010)

12 Best Dragon Cartoons of All Time (For Your Kids)

IMDb Rating: 8.1/10

Synopsis: “Long ago up North on the Island of Berk, the young Viking, Hiccup, wants to join his town’s fight against the dragons that continually raid their town. However, his macho father and village leader, Stoik the Vast, will not allow his small, clumsy, but inventive son to do so. 

Regardless, Hiccup ventures out into battle and downs a mysterious Night Fury dragon with his invention but can’t bring himself to kill it. 

Instead, Hiccup and the dragon, whom he dubs Toothless, begin a friendship that would open up both their worlds as the observant boy learns that his people have misjudged the species. But even as the two each take flight in their own way, they find that they must fight the destructive ignorance plaguing their world.”

Why it’s great: For today’s kids, How To Train Your Dragon might be the most recognizable dragon movie on this list. Toothless – the dragon from the movie – is a pop-cultural icon. The film has two sequels and numerous short movies stemming from it, as it was based on a novel.

It’ll teach your children that if they feel something is wrong, they should listen to their gut. Traditions, customs, and habits die hard, but if they are bad, they ought to be changed. Also, friendships can be born in the most unlikely places, so they should never judge anyone from what they hear but from what they experience themselves.

Watch the trailer here.

2. Mulan (1998)

12 Best Dragon Cartoons of All Time (For Your Kids)

IMDb Rating: 7.6/10

Synopsis: “This retelling of the old Chinese folktale is about the story of a young Chinese maiden who learns that her weakened and lame father is to be called up into the army in order to fight the invading Huns. Knowing that he would never survive the rigors of war in his state, she decides to disguise herself and join in his place. 

Unknown to her, her ancestors are aware of this, and to prevent it, they order a tiny disgraced dragon, Mushu, to join her in order to force her to abandon her plan. He agrees, but when he meets Mulan, he learns that she cannot be dissuaded and so decides to help her in the perilous times ahead.”

Why it’s great: Now, Mulan is a traditional Chinese tale told in a non-traditional way. It’s an epic film with deep messages about bravery, family values, and more – but Mushu absolutely steals the show. 

Eddie Murphy voiced the tiny, silly dragon that helps Mulan get through the war alive while also getting his reputation restored. The film shows that dragons don’t have to be majestic, huge beasts – small, skinny, and odd works, too, if you have a good heart. Sounds like a nice message for children, am I right?

Watch the trailer here.

1. Spirited Away (2001) 

12 Best Dragon Cartoons of All Time (For Your Kids)

IMDb Rating: 8.6/10

Synopsis: “During her family’s move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts.”

Why it’s great: Spirited Away is by far my favorite animated film of all time. Hayao Miyazaki is a genius, and the story he wrote is absolutely breathtaking and will have you thinking about it for days after it.

Now, it’s not really about dragons, per se – more about the entire concept of a spirit world, redemption, family, and friendship – but it does include one of the best dragons ever seen on the big screen. Haku appears as a boy, but he’s actually a lost river spirit that appears in the form of a water dragon.

Watch out if you have small children, though, as some characters and scenes – such as Yubaba or Kamaji – although, Kamaji turns out to be a good guy, despite being a humanoid spider.
Watch the trailer here.