I grew up on fantasy movies. For a kid who was admittedly a bit of a loner, fantasy was my way of escaping this world and stepping into a new one, and now, years later and all grown up, there’s still a special place in my heart for fantasy movies and sagas that could never be replaced.
One of those sagas that I grew up loving was Harry Potter, and while it’s a fantastic series, there are so many other fantasy movies to see. From The Lord of the Rings to The Chronicles of Narnia, anyone can enjoy some magic, dragons, and fantastical adventures every once in a while. With that in mind, here are the best fantasy movies and sagas currently streaming.
The Lord Of The Rings Saga (2001 - 2003)
If you haven’t heard of The Lord of the Rings, I don’t know what rock you’ve been living under. This famous Academy-Award-winning franchise follows a group of heroes, who are sometimes a bit reluctant to step into that role, as they step out into the world to save it from evil, based on the novels by J.R.R. Tolkien.
This saga is famous for a reason. Not only is the story compelling, filled with plenty of fantasy adventure along the way with dragons and magic, but the visual effects are breathtaking. Even now, two decades after the first movie arrived in theaters, I still stand in awe whenever I watch the Battle of Helm’s Deep. Directed by the brilliant Peter Jackson, the fantasy world surrounding this astonishing series will take your breath away. We’ve even taken the opportunity to rank The Lord of the Rings movies.
Princess Mononoke (1997)
Princess Mononoke is a perfect early example of the fantasy worlds that Studio Ghibli can create. It takes place in the late Muromachi period of Japan and follows a young Emishi prince and his involvement with the humans and the gods who control the forest.
Studio Ghibli movies are filled to the brim with wonderful color and beautiful animation, but Princess Mononoke has plenty of fantasy elements added in there as well to make the film feel even more vibrant. Hayao Miyazaki has some of the best-animated films out there in my opinion, and Princess Mononoke is certainly near the top of our ranked Hayao Miyazaki list.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
If you’re looking for a romance unlike any other, Edward Scissorhands is the way to go. The film follows a young man named Edward who’s built and brought to life by a man who dies before he finishes his creation, leaving Edward with scissors for hands. But soon, he finds comfort in a family that takes care of him, and he falls in love with their daughter.
Edward Scissorhands is exactly the kind of movie I think about when it comes to fantasy romance. There’s plenty of fantastical moments in there, but the romance is the main plot line - the fantasy only adds to it. Not only that, but it’s also one of the best Christmas’ movies out there, and one of Johnny Depp’s best characters.
The Princess Bride (1987)
You want to talk about classic fantasy, look no further than the iconic The Princess Bride. Adapted from the novel of the same name, The Princess Bride follows Westley, a farmhand who, with the help of some companions along the way, must rescue his true love, Princess Buttercup, from Prince Humperdinck.
The film is loved by many fantasy lovers for its solid story and fun fantasy aspects, but for me, it’s always been the awesome cast featured in this film. With big stars like Robin Wright, Billy Crystal, Andre the Giant and so many more, it’s worth a watch for anyone, even if fantasy isn’t your favorite genre. The comedy will keep you going no matter what.
Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory (1971)
'Come with me, and you’ll be, in a world of pure imagination…’
I swear, you’ll be singing that for hours after watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The iconic adaption, based on the novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, stars Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, the owner of a chocolate factory filled with secrets, and the tale of what happens when kids get the chance to visit it.
This movie reminds me of fantasy in many ways, because a lot of what happens in it feels almost too good to be true. But the rest of the film itself has plenty of heartwarming moments but also a great storyline that will make you want to visit a chocolate factory - but maybe not Wonka’s.
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Guillermo del Toro has always been a master of horror and fantasy, as well as visual effects and so much more, but did you know that can use that in fantasy too? Pan’s Labyrinth, directed and produced by del Toro, tells the story of our world intertwining with a mythical one, five years after the Spanish Civil War, where everything is centered on an overgrown labyrinth.
I really can’t get into the plot of this film without giving much away, for those who haven't seen it, but trust me when I say that Pan’s Labyrinth is considered a classic in cinema for a reason. The make-up, special effects, animatronics, and CGI alone could carry this film even if the story wasn’t good, but it’s truly an immersive and fantastical tale of fantasy, mixed in with several real-world elements like fairy tales and mythical creatures.
Mary Poppins (1964)
Mary Poppins is arguably one of the most known Disney movies of all time. Starring Julie Andrews in one of her best films, the movie tells the story of a family who needs a nanny to take care of their children. In comes Mary Poppins, the perfect nanny there is.
There’s a lot to love about Mary Poppins. The fantasy aspects are so much fun, the music is great, the animation is fun, and the dance sequences are energetic. There’s a reason why this movie ended up becoming a major hit with musicals. While they did create a sequel with Emily Blunt years later, the original will always reign supreme.
The Wizard of Oz (Max)
I mean, I can’t have a fantasy list without mentioning one of the first big-time movies. The Wizard of Oz is all about Dorothy, a young woman who is whisked away to a wonderful world of color after her home is hit by a tornado. It’s up to her, plus some friends she meets along the way, to find her way back home and avoid the Wicked Witch of the West.
The movie itself is fantastic and has inspired many bodies of work after it, including the musical Wicked, which is filled with amazing music and is receiving a two-part Wicked movie adaptation. Judy Garland’s voice is beautiful to listen to any day of the week, and no matter how many fantasy movies you might have seen, the transition from black and white to color in this film is one of the best scenes in cinema. A true masterpiece. It’s a classic movie that is available to stream.
The Green Knight (2021)
The Green Knight is a fantasy film unlike any other. The main story follows Gawain, a man from the legends of King Arthur, as he travels across the land to fulfill a request.
I don’t want to say too much about The Green Knight without giving too much away. Let’s just say not only is it one of the best fantasy movies, but it’s one of the best movies about King Arthur out there. The cinematography is out of this world, the acting impeccable, and the story is so freaking good. It’s genuinely one of the best movies I think I have ever seen, and if you haven’t gotten the chance to see it, do yourself a favor and watch it.
Spirited Away (2001)
Spirited Away is a different type of fantasy film. This Academy-Award winning movie follows the story of Chihiro, a young girl who mistakenly enters the world of Kami after her parents are turned into pigs.
As a child, I don’t think I ever quite understood this story as much as I do now. Not only does Spirited Away have stunning animation and really cool fantasy elements with the inclusion of magic and sorcery with the witches and spirits here, but the story is also fantastic. There are several messages of what true love is like, friendship, and the ability to believe in oneself. Hayao Miyazaki knocks it out of the park again on this one.
The Dark Crystal (1982)
I believe everyone has heard of The Dark Crystal at some point or the other, especially when studying Jim Henson. This '80s film written by The Muppets creator Jim Henson revolves around Jen, a Gelfling who is on a quest to restore balance to the world, and overthrow a horrible leader by restoring a powerful crystal.
This dark fantasy has plenty going for it. The animatronics, at the time, was considered groundbreaking, and the story itself is intensely interesting for any fantasy lover. While it’s a bit darker than most of Henson’s previous work, it shows that even puppets can be taken seriously. The Dark Crystal became so popular that it developed a cult following, and came out with a prequel series on Netflix in 2019, but it was ultimately cancelled.
This is such a heartwarming and fun film. Matilda tells the story of a little girl who lives with two evil parents and discovers that she has telekinetic powers and because of that, she tries to use them for good at her new school.
Matilda arguably raised a generation. Not only is she brave and strong, but she’s so kind. The fantasy aspects are so much fun, especially the telekinesis, but the rest of it is enjoyable too. It offers valuable lessons and a great story. Plus, it also features one of Danny DeVito’s best performances.
The Chronicles Of Narnia (Disney+)
Narnia has always fascinated me with how much magic and influence is involved with each of those books, and later kept me interested in the world of the movies. In The Chronicles of Narnia films, we take a look at the fictional realm of Narnia, a world that is populated by magical beasts and talking animals, where several children play central and important roles in the history that continues to develop.
I’ll always be a little bit upset that there weren’t any more Narnia movies after The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but now I’m even more excited considering Netflix apparently has plans to create a TV show. However, until that comes out, the current The Chronicles of Narnia films will suffice. There’s so much to the world of Narnia that can be explored, and these movies are just the beginning.
For fans of magic, mythical, and otherwise amazing creatures, this series is for you – and hopefully, there will be more in the future as well. The characters are entertaining, the cinematography breathtaking, and the sorcery imaginative.
The Pirates Of The Caribbean Movies (2003 - 2017)
Are you ready to be a pirate? Because I sure am. The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has several movies in it, but they all mainly follow the incredible, drunk pirate, Jack Sparrow, on his miscellaneous and dangerous adventures across the sea,
There’s a lot I could say about this franchise. While the movies are entertaining in many ways with its fantasy aspects, I’d say there’s even more than that which is awesome. The fight scenes are badass, but the best part is no doubt Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow. The actor fully embodies the role and becomes the pirate.
The Harry Potter Movies (2001 - 2011)
I can’t make a list like this and not mention Harry Potter. In this famous movie saga, we follow Harry Potter, the boy who somehow survived the killing curse, “Avada Kedavra,” when he was a baby. Now, it’s up to him, his friends, and any other allies along the way to somehow stop the darkest wizard of all time, Voldemort.
This is the epitome of fantasy, that and The Lord of the Rings. There’s nothing quite like Harry Potter. The friendship of Harry, Ron, and Hermione is one that can never be forgotten, but the side characters are just as amazing as well. The mythical creatures are innovative and unique, such as Buckbeak the Hippogriff, and the world-building within J.K. Rowling's story is absolutely phenomenal. It’s hard to believe that places like this come from one author’s head, but it’s all here. There’s so much upcoming for the world of Harry Potter that it’s almost a must to re-watch this fantastic series.
With all these wonderful fantasy options, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were whisked away to a magical world not that long from now. Whichever you choose either way will surely have you intrigued for days – or possibly even years – to come. Fantasy is the escape we all need – and luckily, there are plenty of options out there. Maybe even see if there are some fantasy options among the best movies on Amazon too. There are so many more out there besides this list, waiting to be viewed.
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A self-proclaimed nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, Alexandra Ramos is a Content Producer at CinemaBlend. She first started off working in December 2020 as a Freelance Writer after graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Journalism and a minor in English. She primarily works in features for movies, TV, and sometimes video games. (Please don't debate her on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!) She is also the main person who runs both our daily newsletter, The CinemaBlend Daily, and our ReelBlend newsletter.