Nearly every Pixar character, however insignificant they might be in their respective narratives, is relatable. This universal feature holds even if their motivations don’t always match the audience’s understanding of morality. They can be intelligent or foolish, honorable or shameless, stubborn or flexible, and every shade of grey in between.
Further, many Pixar characters embody exceptional tenacity, an aura of courage that radiates from every pore of their being. This doesn’t mean that they are entirely fearless—an unreasonable expectation—but that they usually manage to evolve beyond natural instinct and become beacons of bravery.
10 Arlo Overcomes His Pantophobia With Spot’s Help — The Good Dinosaur (2015)
Arlo the dinosaur doesn’t have a lot of experience with the world beyond the family farm, which makes him terrified of anything new. After he’s separated from his parents and tossed into a relatively “uncivilized” environment, Arlo has no option but to find his way back home.
While he evidently matures into a self-reliant dinosaur, Spot’s contributions and friendship play just as important a role in Arlo’s evolution. By the end of the film, Arlo gracefully overcomes his pantophobia, his fear of everything and nothing.
9 Dory Demonstrates Inexhaustible Reserves Of Grit — Finding Nemo (2003)
Dory’s short-term memory loss doesn’t stop her from enjoying life to the fullest, even if she doesn’t always remember extremely recent events. She displays no hesitation when helping Marlin locate Nemo.
Dory demonstrates inexhaustible reserves of grit; she continues to support her new friend despite the hardships they face on their journey. Dory’s negligible attention span might cause problems for her and Marlin, but her intelligence and determination allow her to surmount most obstacles.
8 Dug Becomes The Real Alpha Of Muntz’s Ferocious Dog Pack — Up (2009)
Dug is charming to a fault — his exceptionally amicable nature and fascination for squirrels get on Carl’s already frazzled nerves, although the latter eventually takes a liking to the adorable Golden Retriever.
Dug is initially frightened of Charles Muntz’s pack of hunting dogs, but he succeeds in wresting control of the group from Alpha, consequently making Beta and Gamma his obedient underlings. Dug’s loyalty to Carl and Russell is utterly endearing, especially given that he returns home with them.
7 Flik Has The Guts To Face Hopper & His Gang Of Grasshoppers — A Bug’s Life (1998)
Flik may not be the most traditional ant in the colony, but his genius-level intellect cannot be denied. He consistently produces elaborate inventions, ranging from harvesters and telescopes to makeshift bird planes.
Flik refuses to let his colony be dominated by Hopper’s violent gang of grasshoppers, but he’s usually the only ant with enough guts to confront the enemy face-to-face. Flik even leaves the colony while searching for allies, something few ants dare to dream of.
6 Mater Is Willing To Shed His Fears & Risk His Life — Cars (2006)
Mater’s zest for life is infectious. He not only wears his heart on his sleeve but is also willing to go the extra mile, bumping and sputtering all the way. Mater is easily agitated, which isn’t a trait one expects from a bold character, but he never fails to get over his trademark anxiousness anytime his efforts are needed.
Mater reveals exactly how much he loves his friends by risking his life during the climax of Cars 2 (2011). This heroic tow truck is at the very soul of his automobile-based universe.
5 Ian Gradually Sheds His Timidity For Tenacity — Onward (2020)
Ian Lightfoot is a typical teenager: bumbling, insecure, and secretly desirous of appreciation. His father’s absence takes a great toll on his emotional development, unlike his brother Barley (who’s relatively more outgoing and cheerful).
Ian struggles with his feelings for most of the movie, eventually realizing that the search for his father leads him to none other than Barley, the most important male role model in his life. Following their magical adventure, Ian sheds his timidity for tenacity, transforming into a courageous young elf in the process.
4 Dash Is Exceptionally Brave When The Situation Calls For It — The Incredibles (2004)
Dash is the opposite of apprehensive; in fact, he constantly begs his parents to find ways that would help him let off steam. His mother calls him “a highly competitive boy, and a bit of a showoff,” words that perfectly encapsulate Dash’s overall persona.
Despite his problem-child behavior, he proves himself to be exceptionally brave when the situation calls for it, particularly during his interactions with the Omnidroid and Syndrome. Dash eventually understands the importance of balancing self-esteem with humility.
3 Queen Elinor Refuses To Balk At The Responsibilities Thrust Upon Her — Brave (2012)
In many ways, the story of Brave is about Merida and her tireless efforts to emancipate herself from the Scottish Highlands’ patriarchy. Although the film’s limelight is mostly focused on the young princess, it’s her mother, Queen Elinor, who is arguably Clan DunBroch’s bravest member.
Elinor is likely never given the option to choose her own partner, and yet, she doesn’t balk at her responsibilities but faces them head-on. More importantly, Elinor fights tooth and nail to keep her daughter safe.
2 Remy’s Fondness For Food Overshadows All His Fears — Ratatouille (2007)
Rats are naturally nervous creatures that scamper at the first sound they hear, but not Remy. Ratatouille‘s protagonist is so devoted to his craft, one that he has honed to insurmountable heights, that he refuses to allow anything to get in his way.
Remy’s fondness for food and its preparation far exceeds his fear of being caught or killed, despite his father’s constant warnings to stay away from humans. The little chef earns his place with enormous effort and an indefatigable spirit.
1 Boo Is Too Young To Develop Any Lasting Phobias — Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Considering that she’s two years old, Boo’s speech is practically incoherent—the glossary of words at her disposal is limited to “Boo,” “Mike Wazowski,” and “kitty.” Her fearlessness is perhaps a factor of her age because she treats Mike and Sulley like fuzzy playmates rather than terrifying monsters.
Boo panics when Sulley goes overboard with the screaming, but her fear of Randall is instantly quelled when she finds her beloved kitty in danger. Boo takes a (presumably) foam baseball bat to the chameleon-monster’s head, thereby saving Sulley.
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