Fantasy films are one of the few types of movies that can transport you to another world completely. Even in a fantasy world like Middle Earth, a spiritual realm like Kami in Spirited Away, or a surrealist maze like Alice in Wonderland and Pan’s Labyrinth, or a cosmos all of its own, you’ll be able to find your way around. We’re drawn to the fantasy films’ ability to take us to realms that feel like they’re a million miles away, with stories that resonate with us. Isn’t that the best part of it all? Don’t bother with flying dragons or troll bridges to get to where you need to go. Movie’s free to watch at home (however there may be a toll if you go see it in a theater.)
Films in the fantasy genre have become one of the most rigorous tests of our film industry’s technical and storytelling ability. Allow yourself to be carried away by some of cinema’s most inventive works. These are the best fantasy films.
One would imagine a traditional coming-of-age story with a human lead when most filmmakers make a film based on their childhood memories. However, when the filmmaker is Tim Burton, things change. Similarly to the rest of Tim Burton’s work, the film’s outcome is both unnerving and moving. Edward Scissorhands, an artificial humanoid with scissors for hands, is portrayed by Johnny Depp in the film. Because of his physical barrier to human closeness, Edward’s character grows and changes in unexpected ways when he falls in love with the daughter of his caregivers.
With Robin Williams as your guide, you can’t go wrong with a trip inside a board game. During a game of board games, two siblings accidentally open a pandora’s box, causing the previous player to be locked inside. They must finish the game in order to undo the curse.
2. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
In the fantasy genre, this wuxia film, which tells the stories of martial artists in ancient China, has been hailed as a classic for both its story and its breathtaking fight scenes. As depicted by a skilled swordsman in 19th-century China, he gives away the Green Destiny Sword to a close friend in order to spend more time with his girlfriend. Destiny, on the other hand, unravels into countless catastrophic paths and gravity-defying duels when the package is intercepted by a disguised criminal.
3. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
It’s a modern version of the Wizard of Oz. The best fantasy trilogy of all time is Peter Jackson’s (and if you want to go further, there’s also the bloated Hobbit flicks) Beautiful, transporting landscapes, elaborate sets and costumes, massive combat sequences, a fantastic score, and phenomenal acting—he completely recreates Middle Earth on the big screen for the audience to enjoy. Never before has Tolkien’s cherished trilogy been so vividly brought to life in a cinematic medium. In this case, Matt Miller.
4. The Wizard of Oz
Munchkins, witches, and terrifying flying monkeys abound in The Wizard of Oz. It’s a classic. A tornado sends Dorothy to Oz, where she embarks on an epic journey that would become a Broadway classic in 1939. The Cowardly Lion, Tinman, and Scarecrow all have requests for the Wizard as she travels down the Yellow Brick Road on her way to the Wizard, who she believes will assist her return home. No matter how fantastical the trip may seem, you’ll come to realize that there’s no place like home.
6. Pan’s Labyrinth
Despite its cult status, Guillermo del Toro’s 2006 picture is sometimes overlooked. However, after you see it, you’ll understand why. The movie takes place in a Nazi-occupied Spain in 1944, and the main character is a little girl named Ofelia, whose journey through a labyrinth’s mystical features reveals the devastation caused by war and cruel villains.
5. Alice in Wonderland (1951)
The rabbit hole traveler, the shrinking and expanding, Alice, the Mad Hatter—what do you picture in your head? Not to be outdone by the gothic take on Alice in Wonderland by Tim Burton. It’s more likely that you’ll watch a clip from the Disney cartoon from 1951. Good reason: Lewis Carroll’s amazement, innocence and adventurous spirit were perfectly captured by The Mouse House.
7. The Shape of Water
The 2017 Best Picture winner brings us back to the United States and introduces us to a mute woman who falls in love with a fish-like monster that was kidnapped in South America and carried back to the States. It contains all the quirks that keep you captivated by del Toro’s prior work, including the characteristic mid-century flare. Hard boiled eggs should be watched carefully.
8. Mary Poppins
Mary Poppins is fantasy at its finest, even if it lacks some of the more overt flourishes of more traditional fantasy fare. When animated and live-action components are brought together, the Disney classic establishes a new standard for fantasy that’s both entertaining and family-friendly.
9. Harry Potter
The Harry Potter books will not be ruined by J.K. Rowling’s current intolerance, despite the fact that she has utterly damaged her own legacy. A new generation was captivated by the wizarding realm thanks to the Harry Potter film series. Millions of viewers were able to see the fantasy come to life on the big screen. As the characters and the source material develop, so do the films, which have excellent casting and a growing complexity and scope.
10. The Princess Bride
Fairy tale adventure in 1987 American film is a clever and amusing one. A love story about a young man’s quest to reunite with his true love, Buttercup, and to defeat the horrors of Florin’s realm is celebrated and subverted in this film. If you still needed more persuasion, the movie also boasts probably the most legendary Mandy Patinkin line delivery ever.
11. Spirited Away
Hayao Miyazaki, the legendary writer and director, is behind this renowned Ghibli animated fantasy picture. From Japanese Shinto folklore, the film follows a little girl and her family as they are taken to the domain of Kami. A young girl sets out to save her parents from pigs, so that they can return to their own realm. Spirited Away is one of the best films of the twenty-first century, because to its stunning cinematography, sympathetic characters, and themes that deal with real-world adult difficulties. –
12. The Chronicles of Narnia
During World War II, four brothers are sent to a hiding home and discover a magical wardrobe in it that connects to the country of Narnia in the C.S. Lewis novel series. While there, they make friends with creatures and animals that can talk, as well as participate in a war to free Narnia from an evil witch.
This vivid stop-motion fantasy, adapted from a Neil Gaiman novel, follows the adventures of Coraline, a curious youngster who discovers a secret door in her new family’s house that leads to an alternate reality. Insidious conspiracies lurk around every corner, and Coraline has no idea how dangerous they may be to the people she cares about. While you’re here for the zany fantasy, don’t miss the tender coming-of-age story in which a brave girl discovers the true meaning of home.
14. Where the Wild Things Are
It’s about a lonely youngster named Max who finds a home on an island full of “Wild Things,” who then make him king. The film is directed by Spike Jonze and based on the Maurice Sendak classic. Jonze’s unique visual style carries the day in this joyful movie about the joy and wonder of our inner child, crafting a visually magnificent universe of hairy creatures and breathtaking scenery.
15. Big FIsh
Based on the novel by Daniel Wallace, Big Fish stars Ewan McGregor as a guy who is fed up with his dying father’s fantastic tales, and it’s one of the best Tim Burton movies ever made. As he dies, the father reflects on his unusual life, which included encounters with everything from giants and witches. Author Burton tackles truth, fantasy, and the illusions we tell ourselves in order to survive in a heartbreaking novel about fathers and their sons. –
Even if Labyrinth is genuinely disturbing, you won’t find a David Bowie musical directed by Jim Henson anywhere else. Nowhere! A baby boy is kidnapped by Bowie’s terrible goblin king, and Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) goes out to rescue him. Henson puppets fill a fantasy maze that she must traverse in order to save him.
Shrek is the only animated series to have endured in meme form as long as it has. When it came to this 2001 Dreamworks film, an entire generation refused to let it slip away. If Shrek is what we remember most from today’s internet memes, it’s a wonderful fantasy comedy about loneliness and friendship.
There had to have been an epiphany of sorts at the time when this childlike character was made the star of a music-filled tone poem. One of Disney’s most groundbreaking pictures, Fantasia is full of enchantment and beautiful animation. It’s hard to believe that Mickey Mouse could play a role in a movie that would make a child afraid of the dark. –
19. Inside Out
It has always been the goal of Pixar to study the youthful elements of our brains, such as the joy, rage, and grief of our early adolescence. When Pixar released Inside Out, they developed a movie about a child’s brain and Riley, an 11-year-old girl who’s coming of age. One of Pixar’s best-realized fantasy worlds, the Memory Dump, was created by accident. – BL