Just like other big production companies like Cartoon Network and Disney Channel, Nickelodeon is no stranger to bringing hit series to the big screen. From the Spongebob Squarepants movie to the several Rugrats movies, there are plenty of feature-length Nickelodeon specials out there. There are even original movies that aren’t based on a show, like Nacho Libre and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, both of which are just as good as those with TV show context.
While the oldermovies seem to be the best, Nickelodeon is still surprising fans with new ones thatare just as amazing, especially with the recent release of the new film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. Nickelodeon has found a way to stay relevant for multiple generations of kids. If you want to reminisce about some movies you likely loved as a kid, here are ten of the best Nickelodeon movies to check out.
11 Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging (2008)
Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging is a teen rom-com that premiered in 2008 and is based on the novels Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging and It’s OK, I’m Wearing Really Big Knickers by Louise Rennison. The movie is about 14-year-old Georgia (Georgia Groome), a teenage girl who keeps a diary where she writes about the ups and downs of life as a teenager. She’s trying to woo her crush, learn how to kiss, and survive school with her best friends all while navigating the pitfalls of teenage years.
Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging is perfectly cheesy. It has all the fun, recognizable themes of standard romcoms and teen movies, with just the right amount of cringe and predictability to make it a fun, easy watch. Even years later, it’s still a worthwhile, quirky coming-of-age movie and is especially fun to revisit for nostalgia’s sake. Also, it has a great soundtrack — what’s not to love?
10 Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001)
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius premiered in 2001 and brought the characters from the Jimmy Neutron series to life on the big screen. In the movie, all the parents in Jimmy Neutron’s town of Retroville are kidnapped by green, gooey, egg-shaped aliens. This seems like a great thing at first. All the kids in town are running free, doing everything their parents typically tell them they aren’t allowed to do. However, they soon find out that a world without parents might not be that great, and Jimmy has to hatch a plan to save the planet.
If you watch Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius today, it’s hard to ignore how much the CGI has aged. However, it’s still a great movie. It’s funny and childlike, but it also has a good plot that keeps you engaged and entertained the entire time. If you grew up loving the Jimmy Neutron series, this movie was likely one of your favorites as a kid. And even now, with the aged CGI, it’s still worth a rewatch or a first watch if you missed it all those years ago.
9 Good Burger (1997)
Good Burger is probably the Nickelodeon movie that most people — even those who didn’t watch Nickelodeon cartoons — are familiar with. The movie is based on a comedy sketch from the Nickelodeon show All That which originally ran from 1994 to 2000. Good Burger is about two teens (Kenan Thompson, Kel Mitchell) who work at an old, local burger joint they’re trying to save after Mondo Burger, a brand new burger restaurant, opens right across the street with plans to put Good Burger out of business.
When Good Burger was released in 1997, it received mixed reviews from critics despite being a commercial success. Over the years, though, it’s amassed a cult following. When watching it today, Good Burger isn’t good or bad. It’s fun, energetic, and unique, even if it comes off as a little silly and corny. There really isn’t another movie like it, and it’s worth revisiting, especially for fans of the original All That sketches. A sequel is to to premiere on Paramount+ later in 2023.
8 The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002)
The Wild Thornberrys Movie is such fun, especially if you love the series and its wacky characters. The Wild Thornberrys Movie sees the adventuring family traveling around the world, and then they end up in Africa. Here, young Eliza Thornberry meets a mysterious shaman who grants her the ability to talk to animals. However, if she reveals her new power, she’ll lose it forever. Eliza learns one day that there’s a group of poachers planning to kill a herd of elephants, so she must set out with her pet chimp Darwin to stop the poachers and save the herd.
The Wild Thornberrys Movie is one of those flicks that’s genuinely fun for all ages. In true Wild Thornberrys fashion, it’s funny and quirky, but there are also moments that really tug at your heartstrings. Also, following The Wild Thornberrys Movie in 2002 and the two Rugrats movies — The Rugrats Movie in 1998 and Rugrats in Paris in 2000 — there was a crossover movie between the two series titled Rugrats Go Wild in 2003.
7 Rugrats in Paris (2000)
Rugrats in Paris brought the group of babies to France in 2000, following The Rugrats Movie in 1998. In the movie, Stu Pickles and Chas Finster are called to Euro-Reptarland in Paris to work on the animatronic Reptar in the amusement park and bring along both their families for the trip. Coco La Bouche, the manager of Euro-Reptarland, hates kids but starts to take up an interest in Chas. This leads Chuckie, Chas’s son, and his friends to work together to stop Coco and Chas from getting married.
Rugrats in Paris is full of all the fun hijinks fans of the Rugrats series are familiar with, but it also pulls heavy on the heartstrings. The movie is more focused on Chuckie and his desire to have a mother like his other friends do, and it gets pretty sad at points, especially when the song “I Want a Mom That Will Last Forever,” sung by Cyndi Lauper, plays while Chuckie stares wistfully out the plane’s window.
6 Nacho Libre
Starring Jack Black, Nacho Libre follows Ignacio (Black), or Nacho, a cook at a monastery in Mexico that serves as the home for a number of orphans Nacho is very fond of. However, there isn’t enough money or resources to feed all the children. Nacho decides to start wrestling on the side to raise extra money, but since the monastery he works at forbids wrestling, he has to disguise himself and do it in secret.
Despite mixed reviews from critics, Nacho Libre is a fun movie with a good story and great performances. It’s silly and absurd at times and feels a lot like Napolean Dynamite — which makes sense as it comes from Jared and Jerusha Hess, the same husband and wife duo behind the 2004 film. Despite its absurdity, which may be a turn-off for some viewers, Nacho Libre comes with plenty of funny one-liners and good laughs.
5 The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (2004)
SpongeBob SquarePants is arguably one of the most popular Nickelodeon series, if not the most popular. In 2004, the signature underwater characters made their big screen debut in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. In the movie, Plankton is once again out to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula. He steals King Neptune’s crown and frames Mr. Krabs for the crime. So, Spongebob and Patrick set out to retrieve Neptune’s crown and save Mr. Krabs and Bikini Bottom from total ruin.
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is a perfect example of taking a series to the big screen. It features all the well-loved elements of the show and just enhances them to be feature-length. With a great story, excellent voice acting, and bright, fun animation, it’s no wonder The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie was such a hit at the time and remains a very re-watchable movie to this day. Following the movie, there were two standalone sequels — SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out of Water in 2015 and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run in 2020. There’s also a fourth SpongeBob movie in development and three spin-off movies announced at Paramount+.
4 Rango (2011)
The Western comedy movie Rango, carefully and skillfully directed by Gore Verbinski, is another Nickelodeon success. Starring Johnny Depp as Rango, a chameleon who undergoes an identity crisis because his tendency to blend in stands firmly against his burning desire to stand out. Rango ends up leaving his town and settling in a town called Dirt where a new Sheriff is needed. He decides to step up and fill in the role of a sheriff temporarily. However, the dangerously thrilling situations that arise slowly transform him into a real hero who cares about saving the day.
The adventures of Rango, his existential crisis as a backstory, along with the colorful vocals of the talented Johnny Depp, turned the animation into a huge success. The film won Best Animated Feature at the 84th Academy Awards in 2012.
2 Dora and The Lost City of Gold (2019)
The family-friendly adventure movie Dora and The Lost City of Gold tells the story of teenage Dora Marquez, her CGI monkey, and her friends as they embark on a dangerous yet absolutely entertaining and educational journey to save her missing parents and unfold the shrouded mystery of a mythical city of gold. The movie starts with Dora’s parents sending her to the United States to help her social life, which has been hugely affected by being raised in the jungle surrounded by nothing but animals and trees. Dora, however, soon learns that her parents were kidnapped by a group looking for the city of gold.
It’s almost impossible for a movie in which characters cross jungles, jump off cliffs and gang up together to solve confusing mysteries not to be absolutely enjoyable to watch. The movie is an incontestable success as it grossed $120.6 million compared to its $49 million budget. Dora and The Lost City of Gold was highly praised as the kind of movie both adults and children would appreciate. The Michigan Daily even called it: “An Unexpected Masterpiece.”
1 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023)
Following its theatrical release, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is already ranked first among Nickelodeon movies with a score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. This animated superhero movie directed by Jeff Rowe is the seventh movie in the Ninja franchise. It stars the voices of Micah Abbey, Shamon Brown Jr., Nicolas Cantu, Brady Noon, and Jackie Chan as Splinter, who was absolutely perfect for the role. The plot follows the Turtle brothers as they try to find a place for themselves while facing off against a mutant threat.
The slight changes that were made in terms of characters, humor, and plot were generally well received. The Guardian gave the movie four stars and called it: “a fizzing treat.” The bold animation style was a breath of fresh air for the franchise, invoking underground comics that kept true to the roots of the franchise. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is the best Nickelodeon movie, and fans are already anticipating the sequel.