During the 1980s, the sci-fi genre was boosted by Star Wars, but it was also an excellent time for fantasy films. According to IMDb, these are the greatest!
Wasn’t the 1980s a fun decade to watch movies in? But it was also the time of muscle-bound barbarians and Skeksis, and even a unicorn or two. It was the time of spandex, neon, and gigantic hair. As much as Star Wars and Aliens boosted the sci-fi genre, the era also boosted the fantasy genre.
With the help of our colleagues at IMDb, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most memorable fantasy films of the 1980s. IMDb has ranked the ten best ’80s fantasy flicks, so put on your chainmail and summon your bravery.
1. Conan the Barbarian (6.9)
When discussing swords and sorcery, it’s impossible to avoid mentioning Conan the Barbarian. Short stories by Robert E. Howard inspired Conan the Barbarian, which thrusts Schwarzenegger into a warrior’s armor as he starts out on a journey to kill an evil sorcerer.
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan who also enjoys action movies with plenty of action and sexy women in skimpy outfits,Conan the Barbarianis the perfect choice for you.
2. The Dark Crystal (7.2)
Jim Henson’sThe Dark Crystalis a great and gorgeous dark fantasy epic with a setting and size that J.R.R. Tolkien would be proud of. A country of Skeksis, Gelflings, and Mystics is the setting for the film’s action, which takes place in Thra, a mythical and magical planet.
The level of detail and lore that Henson infused into his fantastical world is the film’s greatest strength. Even while the Great Conjunction was first confusing, the character Thra would grow into comic books, tales, and even a Netflix series, all because of it.
3. Big Trouble in Little China (7.3)
Even if we know that John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little Chinahas a reputation for being an over-the-top action film, the fantasy aspects are as crystal evident as can be thanks to the presence of an evil wizard, magic spells, ghosts, and figures influenced by Chinese mythology.
John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China is a concoction of several components that creates a spectacular thrill ride only he can concoct. Thrills, shivers, and enough pleasant lunacy to keep us coming back for more, this film is a mixture of action, fantasy, and cheesy kung-fu.
4. Gremlins (7.2)
Magic, chainmail, and hulking heroes aren’t necessary in every fantasy film. A inquisitive creature… or a slew of curious creatures… is sometimes all they need. One of the most beloved monster features of all time, the Gremlin, is introduced by Joe Dante. Gizmo and Stripe are unquestionably horror icons from the ’80s, butGremlins also has a dark fantasy feel to it. ‘
You can’t help but wonder what kind of monster would be found in the shop of a mysterious, wizard-like, and otherworldly shopkeeper. It has the makings of a fantasy film, in our opinion. Do Stripe and his green pals look a little goblin-ish to you? It’s up to you.
5. Willow (7.3)
Willow, a small fantasy film with a large tale, was created by the genius minds of Ron Howard and George Lucas.
Dwarven farmer must trek across a fantasy land to save infant from evil queen, and magic, action, and epic adventure follow quickly.
In addition to Warwick Davis and Val Kilmer in the key roles and George Lucas’ original story, Willow has a lot going for it in the theater department. It may not be as magnificent as something like The Dark Crystal, but it should be on every fantasy fan’s bucket list.
6. Excalibur (7.4)
Excalibur is the result of combining King Arthur’s grandeur and strength with the epic fantasy themes of Lord of the Rings.
Arthurian tale is reimagined by John Boorman with more emphasis on magic, action, and spectacle than most romanticized renditions.
Excalibur has a weight and a supernatural quality that most Arthurian versions lack. With its swords and sorcery elements, such as those of Merlin and Morgana Le Fay, this picture has the enchantment to sell it to us. We can’t suggest it enough.
7. The Neverending Story (7.4)
This list includes a number of ’80s fantasy films that might serve as a near-perfect encapsulation of the genre at the time.
The Neverending Story is that kind of film, with Luck Dragons, nameless Princesses, and magical books.
Epic and amusing, Atreyu’s journey through Fantasia on his mission to destroy the Nothing is a wonderful mix of the two. While it can be mystical and enchanting, when necessary, it can also be gloomy and enigmatic. If you finish it off with an over-the-top ’80s pop tune, you’re all set. Get sucked into this ’80s classic by diving into the book.
8. Labyrinth (7.4)
It’s hard to think of a more ’80s film than David Bowie dressed in tight spandex and surrounded by a horde of Jim Henson creatures.
One of the most beloved fantasy films ever made, Labyrinth is both captivating and tacky at the same time.
Goblin King kidnapped 16-year-old Sarah’s baby brother, and she must enter the Labyrinth to rescue him and break the enchantment. It’s easy to see why the film has such a devoted following, given that the film’s soundtrack was composed and performed by David Bowie, one of the most celebrated musicians of all time.
9. The Princess Bride (8.1)
Even if you’ve never heard of it, The Princess Brideis one of the greatest romantic comedies of all time, and one of the most quotable on our list. The Princess Bride offers enough to please every audience, with pirates, magicians, princesses, and plenty of fun and wit.
Everyone can find something to enjoy in this flick. Swashbuckling action, drama, magic, and smart and clever writing are just some of the elements that make The Princess Bride one of the best movies of its kind. When it comes to romantic comedies and sword-swiping adventures, this is the movie for you.
10. My Neighbor Totoro (8.2)
Hiyo Miyazaki and his crew at Studio Ghibli produced us this enchanting film, which we may all enjoy.
For many, My Neighbor Totorois is the film that most people think of when they hear the company’s name. It’s a delightfully odd fantasy tale for viewers of all ages to enjoy.
The forest troll Totoro lives in the woods in the backyard of an old Japanese house where a family moves. My Neighbor Totorois is a film that is simple to fall in love with, thanks to magic, monsters, and Miyazaki’s trademark enchantment.