Embark on a magical journey as we delve into the realm of fantasy! In this blog post, we'll be exploring the enchanted worlds, captivating characters and epic quests that make up the best fantasy movies of all time. From the mystical landscapes of Middle Earth in the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy to the wizarding world of 'Harry Potter', these films have not only swept us off our feet but also set the bar high for the genre. So grab your magical staff or sword, summon your mythical creatures, and join us as we traverse through enchanted forests, towering castles, and hidden realms. Whether you're a seasoned fantasy film fanatic or a curious newcomer, this comprehensive guide will provide you with insights into films that have defined the fantasy genre, stirred our imagination, and whisked us away to far-off lands. Keep reading to discover your next magical movie marathon!
..and yes, we understand some of these are older movies that didn’t age “perfectly”, but they are classics, and helped shape the fantasy landscape, so into the list they go with no apologies.
1. Lord Of The Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)
The Fellowship of the Ring: 178 minutes (standard), 208 minutes (extended)
The Two Towers: 179 minutes (standard), 223 minutes (extended)
The Return of the King: 201 minutes (standard), 251 minutes (extended)
Director: Peter Jackson
Main Actors: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen
"The Lord of the Rings" trilogy is a set of epic fantasy films based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. The movies follow hobbit Frodo Baggins as he embarks on a dangerous quest to destroy the One Ring that was forged by the Dark Lord Sauron. Along the way, he is accompanied by a fellowship of diverse characters including a wizard, a dwarf, an elf, and a man. Released between 2001 and 2003, each of the three movies received critical acclaim, with "The Return of the King" taking home 11 Academy Awards. The films are beloved by the fantasy community for their stunning visual effects, immersive world-building, and excellent performances by the cast.
2. Harry Potter Series (2001-2011)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) - 152 minutes
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) - 161 minutes
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) - 142 minutes
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) - 157 minutes
Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix (2007) - 138 minutes
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) - 153 minutes
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010) - 146 minutes
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011) - 130 minutes
Director: Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuaron, Mike Newell, David Yates
Main Actors: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Based on the bestselling book series by J.K. Rowling, the "Harry Potter" films follow the story of a young wizard who discovers his true identity and must navigate the magical world while fighting against the evil Lord Voldemort. The series consists of eight films released between 2001 and 2011, with each movie getting darker and more intense as the characters matured. The films are cherished by the fantasy community for their intricate world-building, memorable characters, and enchanting score by composer John Williams.
3. Hobbit Trilogy (2012-2014)
An Unexpected Journey: 169 minutes (standard), 182 minutes (extended)
The Desolation of Smaug: 161 minutes (standard), 186 minutes (extended)
The Battle of the Five Armies: 144 minutes (standard), 164 minutes (extended)
Director: Peter Jackson
Main Actors: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage
"The Hobbit" trilogy is a prequel to "The Lord of the Rings" films and is based on another novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. The movies follow hobbit Bilbo Baggins as he accompanies a group of dwarves on a mission to reclaim their homeland from the dragon Smaug. The trilogy features breathtaking landscapes, incredible CGI effects, and a memorable score by Howard Shore. While the films received mixed reviews from critics, they are still beloved by many fantasy fans for their adventurous spirit and charming cast of characters.
4. Pirates Of The Caribbean Series (2003-2017)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) - 143 minutes
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) - 150 minutes
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007) - 169 minutes
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) - 136 minutes
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) - 129 minutes
Director: Gore Verbinski, Rob Marshall, Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg
Main Actors: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley
The "Pirates of the Caribbean" series is a swashbuckling adventure film franchise that centers around the eccentric pirate Jack Sparrow and his various escapades in the Caribbean. The films are full of action, comedy, and drama, with stunning set pieces and thrilling set pieces. Johnny Depp's portrayal of Jack Sparrow has become iconic and is adored by fans of the fantasy genre. Each of the five movies has its own distinct flavor, and while some entries were met with mixed reviews, the series as a whole has remained immensely popular.
5. The Princess Bride (1987)
Runtime: 98 minutes
Director: Rob Reiner
Main Actors: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin
"The Princess Bride" is a classic romantic comedy-adventure film that tells the story of a young woman named Buttercup and her true love Westley. When Westley is presumed dead, Buttercup is forced to marry the evil Prince Humperdinck, but her plans are complicated when a trio of outlaws attempt to kidnap her. The film features a charming cast, witty dialogue, and a delightful story-within-a-story structure. "The Princess Bride" has remained beloved by fantasy fans for decades for its magical, nostalgic sense of fun.
6. Stardust (2007)
Runtime: 127 minutes
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Main Actors: Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer
"Stardust" is a whimsical fantasy film based on a novel by Neil Gaiman. The story follows a young man named Tristan who falls in love with a celestial being named Yvaine and embarks on a magical quest to win her hand and save the kingdom of Stormhold. The movie features an enchanting world full of mystical creatures, breathtaking landscapes, and a talented ensemble cast. "Stardust" is acclaimed by the fantasy community for its charming romance, clever writing, and memorable characters. In our opinion, it's a very underrated movie.
7. Labyrinth (1986)
Runtime: 101 minutes
Director: Jim Henson
Main Actors: David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly
Labyrinth" is a captivating fantasy film that takes viewers on a magical journey through a maze of whimsy and danger. The film follows Sarah, a young girl who must navigate a complex labyrinth to rescue her baby brother from the Goblin King, Jareth. The film's unique blend of puppetry, live-action, and special effects, all underscored by David Bowie's unforgettable music and performance, make it a standout in the fantasy genre. The intricate set designs and imaginative creatures of the labyrinth offer endless fascination, while the underlying themes of personal growth and the transition from childhood to adulthood resonate with audiences of all ages.
8. The Dark Crystal (1982)
Runtime: 93 minutes
Director: Jim Henson and Frank Oz
Voices: Kathryn Mullen and Dave Goelz.
In a mystical world of magic and wonder, giant creatures known as Skeksis have taken over and corrupted the once peaceful land of Thra. Jen, a young Gelfling, goes on a quest to find the missing shard of the Dark Crystal, a powerful artifact that can restore balance to the universe and defeat the Skeksis once and for all. With stunning visuals and a unique blend of puppetry and special effects, "The Dark Crystal" has become a beloved classic among the fantasy community. A Netflix original prequel series, "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance," was released in 2019, further expanding upon the rich mythology of this epic tale.
9. The NeverEnding Story (1984)
Runtime: 102 minutes
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Main Actors: Barret Oliver and Noah Hathaway
In the mystical land of Fantasia, young Bastian Bux discovers a magical book that transports him into a world of wonder and adventure. Along the way, he meets fantastical creatures such as Falkor the Luckdragon, and battles against the evil force known as "The Nothing." With its memorable characters and iconic music score, "The NeverEnding Story" has captured the hearts of fantasy fans young and old alike.
10. Conan The Barbarian (1982)
Runtime: 129 minutes
Director: John Milius
Main Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Max von Sydow
Based on the pulp novels by Robert E. Howard, Conan The Barbarian stars Arnold Schwarzenegger in his breakout role as the titular character, a warrior who seeks revenge on the evil Thulsa Doom, played by James Earl Jones, who had killed his family when he was a child. Along the way, he meets Valeria, played by Sandahl Bergman, a kick-ass thief who joins him on his mission. This gritty movie is a classic example of sword and sorcery, packed with epic battles, supernatural elements, and iconic lines that have been immortalized in pop culture.
11. Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2021)
Runtime: 134 minutes
Director: Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley
Main Actors: Chris Pine, Hugh Grant, and Michelle Rodriguez
Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" is a live-action adaptation of the popular role-playing game, and follows a group of adventurers who band together to stop a powerful villain who seeks to unleash a powerful spell.
The movie's appeal lies in its immersive fantasy world, which brings the popular game to life in a way that is fairly faithful to its source material. Combined with the talents of its star-studded cast, "Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" is a thrilling adventure that will satisfy both fans of the game and lovers of fantasy movies alike.
We know we have this higher on the list than most would agree with, but we really enjoyed it.
12. 300 (2006)
Runtime: 117 minutes
Director: Zack Snyder
Main Actors: Gerard Butler, Rodrigo Santoro, Lena Headey, David Wenham, and Michael Fassbender
300 is an epic historical fantasy film based on Frank Miller's graphic novel of the same name. Sure, it's more historical, but it fits the fantasy vibe well enough for us. The movie revolves around the Battle of Thermopylae, where the Spartan King Leonidas leads his army of 300 men against the Persian forces led by King Xerxes.
Released in 2006, the movie received immense critical acclaim and commercial success for its stunning visual effects, captivating storyline, and exceptional performances.
300 is loved by the fantasy community for its portrayal of the ancient Greek civilization and its heroic warriors. The movie brings to life the Spartan culture, their military tactics, and their unwavering loyalty to their king and country. Additionally, the graphic novel-style visuals and the slow-motion fight sequences create a unique, immersive experience that appeals to fans of the fantasy genre.
Overall, 300 is a classic movie that has inspired numerous adaptations and imitations in the years since its release. It's a must-watch for anyone who loves fantasy and action-packed movies.
13. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
Runtime: 143 minutes
Director: Kevin Reynolds
Main Actors: Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman, Alan Rickman, Christian Slater
In this classic tale of the legendary outlaw, Robin Hood returns from the Crusades to find his home of Sherwood Forest under the tyrannical rule of the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. Along with a band of merry men, including the wise and noble Azeem and the fiery Maid Marian, Robin Hood sets out to overthrow the Sheriff and restore justice to his land. With its epic battles, thrilling action sequences, and beloved characters, "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" remains a fan favorite in the fantasy genre.
14. Willow (1988)
Runtime: 126 minutes
Director: Ron Howard
Main Actors: Warwick Davis and Val Kilmer.
In a world of magic and legends, a young farmer named Willow Ufgood sets out on a quest to protect an infant child from the evil sorceress Queen Bavmorda. Along the way, he meets a diverse cast of characters, including the heroic swordsman Madmartigan and the powerful fairy-mage Fin Raziel. With its breathtaking landscapes and unforgettable performances, "Willow" has become a cult classic among fantasy fans.
15. Excalibur (1981)
Runtime: 140 minutes
Director: John Boorman
Main Actors: Nigel Terry and Helen Mirren.
In this epic retelling of the Arthurian legend, a young squire named Arthur pulls the legendary sword Excalibur from a stone and becomes the rightful king of Britain. Along with his loyal knights of the Round Table, including the brave Lancelot and the sorceress Morgana, Arthur must fight against the forces of dark magic and betrayal to bring peace to his land. With its stunning visuals and powerful performances, "Excalibur" is a must-see for any fan of medieval fantasy.
16. Highlander (1986)
Runtime: 116 minutes
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Main Actors: Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery.
In a world where immortals battle each other for the ultimate prize of mortality, a Scottish warrior named Connor MacLeod must face off against the ancient and malevolent Kurgan. With the help of his mentor, the immortal Spaniard Ramirez, and his mortal love interest Heather, Connor must fight for his life and his place in the universe. With its iconic soundtrack and memorable action scenes, "Highlander" has become a cult classic among fantasy fans.
17. Dragonheart (1996)
Runtime: 103 minutes
Director: Rob Cohen
Main Actors: Dennis Quaid and Sean Connery as the voice of the dragon.
In a time of legend and myth, a disillusioned knight named Bowen teams up with the last surviving dragon, Drago, in order to avenge the cruel King Einon. Along the way, they form an unlikely friendship and inspire hope in a world filled with darkness and oppression. With its stunning visual effects and emotional storytelling, "Dragonheart" has become a beloved classic in the fantasy genre.
18. Legend (1985)
114 minutes (European version), 89 minutes (US version)
Director: Ridley Scott
Main Actors: Tom Cruise and Tim Curry.
In a magical world of unicorns and mystical forests, a young hero named Jack must save his beloved Princess Lili from the clutches of the evil sorcerer Darkness. With the help of the fairy Oona and the kind-hearted forest creature Gump, Jack must face his greatest fears and risk everything to restore balance to the universe. With its gorgeous cinematography and memorable performances, "Legend" is a feast for the eyes. Dated? Sure. Still great for fantasy lovers? Absolutely!
19. Ladyhawke (1985)
Runtime: 121 minutes
Director: Richard Donner
Main Actors: Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer
In Ladyhawke, set in medieval Europe, a thief named Phillipe Gaston, played by Matthew Broderick, accidentally gets mixed up in a grand scheme to overthrow the corrupt bishop of Aquila. He teams up with Navarre, played by the iconic Rutger Hauer, who is seeking to break the curse that keeps him and his true love, Isabeau, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, apart by turning them into animals at night. Will they be able to lift the curse and live happily ever after? This fantasy movie is a timeless classic filled with action-packed adventure, suspense and a gripping love story that have made it a favorite among fans of the genre over the years.
20.The Last Unicorn (1982)
Runtime: 93 minutes
Director: Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin Jr.
Main Actors: Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow, Tammy Grimes
This charming animated fantasy tells the story of a unicorn who sets out on a journey to find out what happened to all the other unicorns. Along the way she meets a brave and clueless wizard named Schmendrick, voiced by Jeff Bridges, and together they face off against an evil king who believes that everything beautiful in the world belongs to him, including unicorns! With its magical storyline, colorful animation, and a heartfelt message of love, friendship, and bravery, it’s no surprise that The Last Unicorn has become a beloved movie among fans of the fantasy genre.
21. First Knight (1995)
Runtime: 134 minutes
Director: Jerry Zucker
Main Actors: Richard Gere, Sean Connery, Julia Ormond
Starring Richard Gere as the unwilling hero, Sir Lancelot, and Sean Connery as King Arthur, First Knight is a historical-fiction fantasy that tells the story of the famous Camelot love triangle between Lancelot, his true love Guinevere, and King Arthur. With strong dramatic performances by its lead actors, this story of love, betrayal, honor, and duty, is elevated above the standard fare of medieval adventures. Set against a backdrop of stunning cinematography, this epic is a classic that has cemented its place in the hearts of fantasy fans worldwide.
22. Krull (1983)
Runtime: 120 minutes
Director: Peter Yates
Main Actors: Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony, Freddie Jones
Krull is an epic space-fantasy that takes place on a distant planet in a medieval-type setting. It centers around a young prince, Colwyn, played by Ken Marshall, who embarks on a perilous journey to save his bride Lyssa, played by Lysette Anthony, from the clutches of the evil creature known as The Beast. Along the way, he recruits a motley crew of heroes, including a wise old sage, an arrogant Cyclops, and a shape-shifting sorceress. With its thrilling action, great special effects (for the time), and imaginative world-building, Krull remains a classic of the genre that has left a lasting impression on the fantasy-loving community.
23. Dragonslayer (1981)
Runtime: 109 minutes
Director: Matthew Robbins
Main Actors: Peter MacNicol, Caitlin Clarke, Ralph Richardson
Dragonslayer is an epic fantasy that takes place in a mystical kingdom ruled by a tyrannical king who offers human sacrifices to appease an evil dragon. When farmer's son Galen, played by Peter MacNicol, sets out to slay the beast with the aid of the wise sorcerer Ulrich, played by Ralph Richardson, he is faced with a daunting challenge. Along the way, he meets a brave young woman named Valerian, played by Caitlin Clarke, who helps him on his journey. With its engaging storyline, thrilling action sequences, and spectacular dragon special effects, Dragonslayer has become a cult classic beloved by the fantasy community.
24. 13th Warrior (1999)
Runtime: 102 minutes
Director: John McTiernan
Main Actors: Antonio Banderas and Omar Sharif.
The movie focuses on a Muslim Arab ambassador, Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan who is sent to Northern Europe to be the 13th warrior on a mission to defeat an evil Wendol tribe. The movie was inspired by Michael Crichton's book, "Eaters of the Dead" and is a classic movie in the fantasy community.
25. Red Sonja (1985)
Runtime: 89 minutes
Director: Richard Fleischer
Main Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sandahl Bergman.
"Red Sonja" is a sword-and-sorcery action movie released in 1985. The film follows Red Sonja as she seeks revenge against the evil Queen Gedren, who has ravaged her kingdom and killed her family. Together with her newfound companion Lord Kalidor, Sonja embarks on a perilous journey to defeat Gedren and restore peace to her homeland.
The movie's popularity among fantasy fans lies in its classic portrayal of a fierce female warrior who can stand toe-to-toe with any man. Red Sonja's strength, courage, and determination have made her an iconic figure in the fantasy world and have inspired many female characters in literature and film alike.
26. Troy (2004)
Runtime: 163 minutes
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Main Actors: Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, and Diane Kruger
Troy is a glorious epic, portraying the Trojan War that took place thousands of years ago. This movie depicts the betrayal, love, passion, and sacrifice of legendary Greek warrior Achilles (Brad Pitt) and his quest to defeat the Trojans. This cinematic masterpiece is known for its authentic costumes, magnificent landscapes, and excellent performances by its talented cast. Even the Greek gods are brought to life, making this mythical tale feel real.
Troy has captured the imagination of the fantasy community for its attention to detail, showing how a real-life, ancient war may have looked. The battle scenes are brutal, with superb hand-to-hand combat sequences - perfect for fantasy fans who crave action. As for the romantic at heart, Troy doesn't disappoint either, featuring a love triangle that rocks the foundations of the Trojan War.
Overall, Troy is a gripping and powerful tale of heroism and sacrifice, making it a must-see for anyone who adores epic fantasy tales.
27. Robin Hood (2010)
Runtime: 140 minutes
Director: Ridley Scott
Main Actors: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, and Mark Strong.
The movie is a retelling of the classic Robin Hood legend, focusing on the story of how Robin Hood became a hero in English folklore. In this version, Robin Hood is a skilled archer and swordsman who leads a band of merry men to take on the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham and King John.
The movie's appeal lies in its impressive visuals, dark tone, and attention to historical detail. The film immerses audiences into the world of medieval England, with all its political intrigues, treacherous alliances, and bloody battles. The movie presents an updated take on a classic story, breathing new life into an old legend.
28. Robin Hood (2018)
Runtime: 116 minutes
Director: Otto Bathurst
Main Actors: Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx.
"Robin Hood 2018" is another retelling of the Robin Hood legend, This version of the story focuses on a young Robin Hood who returns from the Crusades to find his home suffering under the tyranny of the Sheriff of Nottingham. With the help of a skilled Arab warrior (Foxx), Robin Hood forms a band of outlaws to steal from the rich and give to the poor, and to bring justice to an unjust world.
The movie differs from other Robin Hood movies with its modernized approach, combining elements of classic adventure with a more contemporary style. The film's action sequences are intense and thrilling, with a dynamic cast of characters that help to bring new life into the familiar story.
29. Clash of The Titans (1981)
Runtime: 1h 58m
Director: Desmond Davis
Main Actors: Harry Hamlin, Laurence Olivier, Judi Bowker, Maggie Smith, and Ursula Andress
Clash of The Titans is a fan-favorite fantasy movie that has captivated audiences since its release in 1981. Directed by Desmond Davis, this epic adventure film tells the story of Perseus, the son of Zeus, who embarks on a perilous journey to save the life of his beloved Princess Andromeda. Along the way, he battles fierce creatures such as the Medusa, giant scorpions, and the monstrous Kraken.
With stellar performances from Harry Hamlin, Laurence Olivier, Judi Bowker, Maggie Smith, and Ursula Andress, Clash of The Titans has become a staple in the fantasy genre. The movie is loved by fans for its mythical creatures, impressive special effects, and thrilling action sequences. The film was also nominated for Best Visual Effects at the 1982 Academy Awards, cementing its legacy as a classic in the fantasy realm.
Overall, Clash of The Titans is a must-see for lovers of adventure and fantasy. The film's timeless story and memorable characters continue to enchant audiences around the world, making it a treasured gem in the world of cinema.
30. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe (2005)
Runtime: 143 minutes
Director: Andrew Adamson
Main actors: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Anna Popplewell, William Moseley
The Chronicles of Narnia is a magical tale that has captured the imaginations of generations of fantasy fans. Based on the beloved book series by C.S. Lewis, this film follows the story of four siblings who stumble upon a magical world called Narnia.
As they explore this fantastical land, they discover talking animals, mythical creatures, and an epic battle between the forces of good and evil. With breathtaking visuals, memorable characters, and a timeless story that speaks to the human experience of courage, loyalty, and sacrifice, The Chronicles of Narnia has become a cherished classic of the fantasy genre.
And so, our magical journey through the realm of fantasy movies comes to an end. From the mystical Middle Earth to the spellbinding Hogwarts, we've explored enchanted worlds that have captured our imaginations and hearts. These films, with their epic quests and captivating characters, continue to set the gold standard for the fantasy genre.
Whether you're a seasoned fan or just starting your adventure into these fantastical worlds, there's always a new tale to discover, a new hero to cheer for, and a new world to explore. So keep your wands, and swords at the ready - the world of fantasy is vast and filled with endless enchantment. Until our next magical journey, happy watching!
If you're looking for fantasy type shows, then check out our list of best tv shows.