The Best Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoons

by aboblyndsae | created - 14 Nov 2015 | updated - 09 Oct 2016 | Public

(a work in progress)

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1. Duck Amuck (1953)

Approved | 7 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

The short-tempered Daffy Duck must improvise madly as the backgrounds, his costumes, the soundtrack, even his physical form, shifts and changes at the whim of the animator.

Director: Chuck Jones | Star: Mel Blanc

Votes: 7,525

Generally speaking, I prefer the unhinged, sprite-like Daffy to the jealous, self-centered Daffy of later years—but this is a brilliant cartoon concept that I can't imagine working with ANY other character. Even Daffy wants to push Daffy around. The jerk just has it coming to him.

2. The Great Piggy Bank Robbery (1946)

Approved | 8 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

After reading his favorite Dick Tracy comic, Daffy Duck has a surreal dream in which he is Duck Twacy, a private eye on the trail of an army of horrifyingly grotesque villains who stole every piggy bank in town, including his own.

Director: Robert Clampett | Star: Mel Blanc

Votes: 1,728

Visually imaginative, hilarious, and moves along at such a breakneck pace that you almost don't notice how weird it all is. This is everything I love about Warner Bros. cartoons.

3. High Note (1960)

6 min | Family, Animation, Comedy

The sheet music for Johann Strauss' "The Blue Danube" is constructed by moving musical symbols. A baton-toting conductor note tries to direct his fellow notes in performing this musical ... See full summary »

Director: Chuck Jones | Star: Mel Blanc

Votes: 360

Seeing this cartoon at a young age was one of the experiences that led me to develop an interest in music. It's a delightful little fantasy and a better educational cartoon than most cartoons that were INTENDED to be educational.

4. Dough for the Do-Do (1949)

Approved | 7 min | Family, Animation, Short

Porky ventures into Darkest Africa in search of the last Do-Do bird, and winds up in Wackyland, a surreal place where the sun comes up atop a human pyramid, the Warner Brothers shield comes... See full summary »

Directors: Robert Clampett, Friz Freleng | Star: Mel Blanc

Votes: 971

I don't know if it's controversial to prefer this over the original Porky in Wackyland, but color really suits a cartoon this vibrant and bizarre.

5. Now Hear This (1962)

Approved | 6 min | Family, Short, Animation

In this very abstract cartoon, a hard-of-hearing old Britisher finds a red horn and uses it as a megaphone, unaware that it is really a lost horn from the Devil's forehead. The Britisher ... See full summary »

Directors: Chuck Jones, Maurice Noble | Star: Mel Blanc

Votes: 366

The decline of Warner Bros. animation in the '60s was so precipitous that the abstract WB titles and dissonant Bill Lava theme are practically an announcement that you are about to see a bad cartoon. Now Hear This is one of the few exceptions to that rule, and it's probably the most deeply weird cartoon Chuck Jones ever made. I hope my eventual children find it as fascinating as I did.

6. The Big Snooze (1946)

Approved | 7 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Elmer Fudd walks out of a typical Bugs cartoon, so Bugs gets back at him by disturbing Elmer's sleep using "nightmare paint."

Director: Robert Clampett | Stars: Mel Blanc, Arthur Q. Bryan

Votes: 919

Bugs Bunny already debuted with the perfect chase cartoon, but it's amazing what a thick coat of Bob Clampett's nightmare paint can do.

7. Book Revue (1946)

Approved | 7 min | Family, Animation, Short

As the literary characters come to life in a bookstore at night, Daffy Duck sings and dances before being chased by the Big Bad Wolf.

Director: Robert Clampett | Stars: Mel Blanc, Bea Benaderet, Sara Berner, Richard Bickenbach

Votes: 1,222

They did this same basic cartoon at least a couple of times before, but perfected it with the addition of Daffy Duck and an almost overbearing level of Clampett wackiness.

8. Gee Whiz-z-z-z-z-z-z (1956)

Approved | 7 min | Family, Animation, Short

Wile E. Coyote unsuccessfully chases the Road Runner using such contrivances as a rifle, a steel plate, a dynamite stick on an extending metal pulley, a painting of a collapsed bridge (... See full summary »

Director: Chuck Jones | Star: Paul Julian

Votes: 951

Kind of cheating here as this is sort of a collective vote for the Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner cartoons, and there are too many inspired gags spread over too many cartoons for me to really pick a clear favorite. But I do have a favorite moment, and it's Wile E.'s smug/blissful expression as he flies along in his batman costume, seconds before smashing into a cliff face.

9. The Dover Boys at Pimento University or The Rivals of Roquefort Hall (1942)

Approved | 9 min | Comedy, Short, Animation

Three fun-loving, morally upright brothers from Pimento University save their fiancée from their fiendish archenemy, Dan Backslide, in this spoof of the Rover Boys.

Directors: Chuck Jones, Dick Lundy | Stars: Mel Blanc, Bea Benaderet, John McLeish, Tedd Pierce

Votes: 1,306

I don't agree that this is Chuck Jones' FIRST great cartoon, but it is definitely among his greatest. One of those rare parodies that is completely hilarious even when you don't know a single thing about the subject of the parody.

10. A Wild Hare (1940)

Approved | 8 min | Animation, Family, Short

Elmer is a dimwitted hunter who's "wooking for wabbits." Bugs proceeds to confuse, bamboozle, and otherwise humiliate the poor simp.

Director: Tex Avery | Stars: Mel Blanc, Arthur Q. Bryan

Votes: 1,256

The definitive Bugs Bunny cartoon and Tex Avery's masterpiece. Considering how much this has in common with the style of later WB cartoons, and that there are later released cartoons where Bugs and Elmer's personality and appearance are LESS similar to their "final" versions, it almost seems like this cartoon came out of nowhere. Be sure to watch this with the restored color if you haven't already—it actually wasn't SUPPOSED to look autumnal.

11. What's Opera, Doc? (1957)

Approved | 7 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Elmer Fudd is again hunting rabbits - only this time it's an opera. Wagner's Siegfried with Elmer as the titular hero and Bugs as Brunnhilde. They sing, they dance, they eat the scenery.

Director: Chuck Jones | Stars: Mel Blanc, Arthur Q. Bryan

Votes: 8,943

I think part of my motivation for writing this list was to not have this in the top 10—it just never resonated with me the way it seems to have with most critics. But when you consider the distinguishing characteristics of a great Warner Bros. cartoon (irreverent character-based humor, bizarreness, musicality, pop culture parody), there's not much else truly deserving of being called the quintessential Warner Bros. cartoon. It's absolutely a great cartoon, but I just think they made some better stuff.

12. Feed the Kitty (1952)

Approved | 7 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

A bulldog, charmed by a kitten, tries to keep her hidden from his human guardian.

Director: Chuck Jones | Stars: Bea Benaderet, Mel Blanc

Votes: 2,765

John Cleese is one of the only comedians who can make me crack up with nothing more than a facial expression. I hope it's not too strained a comparison to say Feed the Kitty has the cartoon bulldog equivalent of that.

13. Little Red Riding Rabbit (1944)

Approved | 7 min | Family, Animation, Short

Bugs, the Wolf and bobby-soxer Red chase each other around while Grandma is off working at Lockheed aircraft.

Director: Friz Freleng | Stars: Mel Blanc, Bea Benaderet, Billy Bletcher

Votes: 1,541

Goodness knows why this didn't make the top 20 in my first draft of this list. It's easily both one of the best WB fairy tale parodies and Bugs Bunny cartoons, and it has what I believe is the first appearance of the famous door gag. Hilarious, and just a little bit cruel.

14. Cheese Chasers (1951)

Approved | 7 min | Family, Animation, Short

After invading a cheese factory, mice Hubie and Bertie have finally had their fill of cheese and figure there's nothing more left to live for. They plan to end it all by surrendering to Claude Cat, who becomes decidedly suspicious.

Director: Chuck Jones | Stars: Mel Blanc, Stan Freberg

Votes: 527

Hubie & Bertie were among my favorite WB characters as a child, but it proved harder than I anticipated to justify a spot for them on this list. Mouse Wreckers would have qualified if the ending didn't fall a bit flat. Here in their last starring appearance, you again have Hubie & Bertie trying to exploit Claude the cat's neuroses—except nothing goes as planned, and everything spirals hilariously out of control. A real classic.

15. A Pest in the House (1947)

8 min | Family, Animation, Short

A sleepy man demands total quiet from hotel manager Elmer Fudd, but bellhop Daffy's noisy antics keep prompting the exasperated guest to sock Elmer in the face.

Director: Chuck Jones | Stars: Mel Blanc, Arthur Q. Bryan

Votes: 662

Features what has to be my favorite musical cue in cartoon history.

16. One Froggy Evening (1955)

Approved | 7 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

A man futilely struggles to make his fortune with a frog that sings and dances, but only when it is alone with the owner.

Director: Chuck Jones | Star: William Roberts

Votes: 4,968

Out of all of Warner Bros.' iconic characters, there was only one who didn't require more than one cartoon to become iconic.

17. Rhapsody in Rivets (1941)

7 min | Animation, Family, Short

A construction foreman conducts his workers like a symphony orchestra as they build a skyscraper, musically.

Director: Friz Freleng

Votes: 411

The best of several great cartoons which made Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 an iconic piece of cartoon music.

18. Swooner Crooner (1944)

Approved | 7 min | Animation, Family, Short

Porky Pig's egg farm faces production problems when a crooning rooster distracts the hens from their jobs.

Director: Frank Tashlin | Stars: Mel Blanc, Bea Benaderet, Sara Berner, Richard Bickenbach

Votes: 558

I feel like this cartoon deserves a longwinded, overly serious analysis of why Bing Crosby but not Frank Sinatra is associated with fertility. Really, really funny and it doesn't make a bit of sense.

19. Robin Hood Daffy (1958)

Approved | 6 min | Animation, Family, Short

Daffy haplessly attempts to prove to the jocularly doubtful Friar Tuck Porky that he is actually Robin Hood.

Director: Chuck Jones | Star: Mel Blanc

Votes: 2,087

Rather than directly antagonizing Daffy like Bugs does, Porky stands back and allows him to be his own worst enemy. And to me, that's just funnier.

20. Falling Hare (1943)

Approved | 8 min | Animation, Short, Adventure

Bugs encounters wartime sabotage and takes to the air to do battle.

Director: Robert Clampett | Stars: Mel Blanc, Robert Clampett

Votes: 1,055

Bugs Bunny could be a really fun character when he didn't have the upper hand, and it's surprising there were almost no cartoons like this after the character's earliest days. One of the few WW2-related Warner Bros. cartoons that has aged well.

21. Wacky Wildlife (1940)

8 min | Animation, Family, Short

A series of typical Avery spot gags set around wild animals. A dainty deer drinks very loudly and rudely from a lake. A pack rat swaps an egg and an acorn, then back again ("monotonous, ... See full summary »

Director: Tex Avery | Stars: Mel Blanc, Robert C. Bruce, Bernice Hansen, Tedd Pierce

Votes: 103

Again, cheating here as this is a collective vote for the Tex Avery documentary parodies. He perfected these at MGM with cartoons like The Car of Tomorrow, but he made quite a few great ones with Warner Bros., and I always, always looked forward to these when watching cartoons as a child. As for why Wacky Wildlife in particular? I dunno, that sloppily-drinking deer just cracks me up.

22. You Ought to Be in Pictures (1940)

Approved | 10 min | Animation, Family, Comedy

Daffy Duck convinces Porky Pig to quit the cartoon biz and try his luck in the features. Porky's adventures begin when he tries to enter the studio.

Director: Friz Freleng | Stars: Mel Blanc, Leon Schlesinger, Henry Binder, Gerry Chiniquy

Votes: 1,362

Totally delightful live action/animation experiment.

23. From A to Z-Z-Z-Z (1953)

7 min | Family, Short, Animation

In his first of two Warner Bros. cartoons, schoolboy Ralph Phillips daydreams in class, the lessons inspiring his fantasy heroics, such as being a pony-express rider, a deep-sea diver, a boxing champion and even General Douglas MacArthur.

Director: Chuck Jones | Stars: Mel Blanc, Dick Beals, Bea Benaderet, Norman Nesbitt

Votes: 428

I have no idea if this cartoon was an influence on Bill Watterson or not, but it's easy to see the impish, hopelessly imaginative Ralph as a prototype of Calvin. This isn't quite as timeless as Jones' later High Note, but it's another great cartoon that finds the magic in the mundane.

24. Hillbilly Hare (1950)

7 min | Family, Animation, Comedy

While vacationing in the Ozark Mountains, Bugs Bunny encounters Curt and Pumpkinhead Martin, two dimwitted hillbillies who are duped by Bugs into a violent square dance.

Director: Robert McKimson | Stars: Mel Blanc, Stan Freberg, John T. Smith

Votes: 920

In which Bugs Bunny torments a couple of dumb hillbillies because they're there, with the highlight being the unforgettable hilariously violent square-dance sequence. After I moved to the Ozarks, I only appreciated this cartoon more.

25. Claws for Alarm (1954)

7 min | Family, Horror, Animation

Porky Pig doesn't realize that the old hotel where he and Sylvester are spending the night is really part of a ghost town. It's only Sylvester who sees the band of murderous mice trying to ... See full summary »

Director: Chuck Jones | Star: Mel Blanc

Votes: 575

Just a fun little spooky old house cartoon, and the best cartoon featuring the silent, scaredy-cat version of Sylvester. Daffy Duck's Quackbusters was one of those videos I rewatched endlessly as a small child, and this was the biggest reason why.

26. Rabbit Fire (1951)

Approved | 7 min | Animation, Family, Short

Daffy Duck and Bugs argue back and forth whether it is duck season or rabbit season. The object of their arguments is hunter Elmer Fudd.

Director: Chuck Jones | Stars: Mel Blanc, Arthur Q. Bryan

Votes: 3,335

The jealous, conniving version of Daffy was not funny enough to sustain the massive number of cartoons he appeared in, but it (and the classic Bugs & Daffy pairing) was really funny at first. An absolute classic, but unfortunately the beginning of a road that ends in the universally reviled Daffy & Speedy cartoons.

27. Good Night Elmer (1940)

TV-G | 7 min | Family, Animation, Short

Elmer Fudd spends an endless night trying to fall asleep amid myriad frustrations, in particular, a candle that won't go out.

Director: Chuck Jones | Star: Mel Blanc

Votes: 142

An underrated favorite of mine that's only funnier with the context of the later Elmer Fudd cartoons. Some time before he and Bugs Bunny ever crossed paths, Elmer tried to match wits with... a candle. And lost.

28. Bosko the Doughboy (1931)

7 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Bosko is a doughboy in the Great War.

Director: Hugh Harman | Star: Carman Maxwell

Votes: 194

Another dancy, happy-go-lucky early Warner Bros. cartoon, but this time it's about trench warfare! Extremely funny in its sheer inappropriateness.

29. Broom-Stick Bunny (1956)

Approved | 7 min | Family, Animation, Short

Witch Hazel's claim to be the ugliest witch of all is threatened by a Halloween witch who turns out to be Bugs trick-or-treating.

Director: Chuck Jones | Stars: Mel Blanc, June Foray

Votes: 1,245

Witch Hazel was one of Bugs Bunny's most memorable foils, and this was her best cartoon.

30. Lady, Play Your Mandolin! (1931)

7 min | Family, Animation, Short

Things are hopping at a certain Mexican café. And then Foxy walks in and the customers go really wild.

Director: Rudolf Ising

Votes: 430

There's no shortage of pre-Code cartoons where everyone and everything is drunk and/or singing, but this one's more unhinged than most, with a great manic energy that never lets up.

31. Horton Hatches the Egg (1942)

10 min | Family, Animation, Short

Horton the elephant agrees to watch over lazy Maisie bird's egg while she vacations. Much later, after standing (and sitting) guard 100-percent faith-fully through rain and snow, Horton and... See full summary »

Director: Robert Clampett | Stars: Sara Berner, Mel Blanc, Robert Clampett, Frank Graham

Votes: 481

A Dr. Seuss adaptation from before Dr. Seuss was a household name! It's really interesting to see the ways in which this works (and doesn't) in WB's irreverent style.

32. I Love to Singa (1936)

Approved | 8 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

A spoof of Al Jolson's "The Jazz Singer", a strict piano teaching owl is cursed with a son who "loves to singa", but only jazz.

Director: Tex Avery | Stars: Billy Bletcher, Tommy Bond, Johnnie Davis, Joe Dougherty

Votes: 1,597

Totally charming, uplifting, and almost (dare I say it?) Disney-like. And is there a bigger earworm in any other classic cartoon short?

33. Baby Bottleneck (1946)

Approved | 7 min | Family, Animation, Short

It's the start of the Baby-Boom, and the overworked delivery system is full of glitches: Mother Goose gets a baby skunk, a Scotty dog gets a little hippo, and Mr. and Mrs. Mouse wind up ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Clampett | Stars: Mel Blanc, Sara Berner

Votes: 665

34. Daffy Dilly (1948)

7 min | Family, Animation, Short

Tired of selling gag novelties on the street, Daffy tries for the million-dollar reward offered by J.P. Cubish for the first person to make him laugh. But he first has to get past the rich ... See full summary »

Director: Chuck Jones | Star: Mel Blanc

Votes: 318

35. Tortoise Beats Hare (1941)

Approved | 7 min | Animation, Family, Short

An upset Bugs challenges the slick Cecil Turtle to a race.

Director: Tex Avery | Star: Mel Blanc

Votes: 1,169

36. Herr Meets Hare (1945)

7 min | Family, Animation, Short

Bugs disguises himself as Hitler, Stalin and Brunhilde when he confronts Nazi Hermann Goering in the Black Forest.

Director: Friz Freleng | Star: Mel Blanc

Votes: 576

37. Plane Daffy (1944)

Approved | 7 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Daffy Duck is a message courier bird delivering a military secret that a femme fatale Nazi spy is determined to get.

Director: Frank Tashlin | Stars: Mel Blanc, Sara Berner, Robert C. Bruce

Votes: 485

38. Eatin' on the Cuff or The Moth Who Came to Dinner (1942)

Approved | 7 min | Family, Musical, Animation

A live-action piano player relates the story of the Moth who, on his way to marry his Honey Bee, falls into the clutches of an amourous black widow spider, who at one point disguises ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Clampett | Stars: Mel Blanc, Elvia Allman, Sara Berner, Leo White

Votes: 228

39. A Cartoonist's Nightmare (1935)

7 min | Family, Animation, Short

A cartoonist falls victim to the very villains he has drawn. It's up to Beans the Cat to save the day.

Director: Jack King | Star: Billy Bletcher

Votes: 155



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