Underappreciated upon its initial release, The Iron Giant has gone on to become one of the more beloved animated features of the 1990s. The movie takes place in 1950s Maine, where an imaginative boy befriends a gargantuan robot that falls from outer space, much to the consternation of the paranoid government. Classic touchstones abound here – from Superman to Frankenstein to King Kong to E.T. – and the movie miraculously lives up to such comparisons. Visually, the film looks like an action movie drawn by Norman Rockwell, with science-fiction elements and dollops of Americana coming together in one mid-century package. Brad Bird made his feature debut with The Iron Giant, and it certainly has his personal, heartfelt touch. Though the story’s central relationship is between a 9-year-old boy and a towering robot – he’s like the biggest, sleekest Tinkertoy invention you’ve ever seen – it’s as moving as that of any adult drama. Scratch that – it’s as moving as the best children’s ones.