The 10 Best Fantasy Movies (2024)

The 10 Best Fantasy Movies (1)

Like many writers of my generation, my first exposure to the fantasy genre was through films. I’ve previously told the story of how my father took me to see Conan the Barbarian when I was underage, and how this brought about an epiphany in my life. Ever since that first encounter, fantasy movies have helped to shape my imagination. When reflecting on the major milestones of my life, I often remember them in relation to the films that captured my attention during those years.

I recently asked our community members to compile a list of their favorite fantasy films. And as usual, our members provided inspired and sometimes provocative responses. This prompted me to consider which fantasy films have had the greatest impact on my writing, and why they are so meaningful.

So without further ado, here is my personal list.

The 10 Best Fantasy Movies (2)

The Princess Bride

I’ve always preferred to be totally immersed in a fantasy world. The narrative device used in this film, which periodically cuts to a contemporary grandfather reading a story to young Fred Savage, still jars me. Nonetheless, the fantasy sequences (which are the core of the film) are endlessly enchanting. The amazing fencing scene partially inspired me to take up the sport, and the music by Mark Knoffler (of Dire Straights fame) sets the tone perfectly. Perhaps the most influential aspect of this film on my own writing is the transformation undergone by the film’s hero. Ever since viewing this at the age of ten, I’ve been compelled to tell stories of transformation.

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I recall seeing an interview in which the film’s director, Ridley Scott, expressed dissatisfaction with how it turned out. I can understand why he felt this way. The story itself is very simplistic and unoriginal. The characters are little more than fantasy archetypes. Yet despite these shortcomings, this film succeeds wildly on the level of sheer atmosphere. Never has a film created such a lush fantasy landscape, deeply enriched by Tangerine Dream’s hypnotic score. And Tim Curry is simply perfect as the embodiment of evil. Ridley Scott eventually released a director’s cut with a different score and an ambiguous ending. But trust me when I say that the theatrical version is infinitely better.

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I was so young when I first saw this film that I couldn’t understand it. But that didn’t matter, as I was thoroughly entranced by the giant men on the screen who wore glistening, metal clothes. This film went on to inspire me to build a suit of plate armor when I was thirteen, which consumed a summer break. This was also my introduction to the Arthurian legend, as well as the music of Richard Wagner. Like Legend, Excalibur benefits from lush cinematography and a strong musical score. But it also features a young – and surprisingly yummy – Helen Mirren in a memorably wicked performance. This is still the definitive telling of the story of King Arthur.

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Although it hasn’t aged well, I still love this movie. It has Queen music. It has Sean Connery. And most importantly, it has the Highlands of Scotland in their lustrous splendor. All of the flashbacks to medieval Scotland are amazing. The long stretches in 1980’s New York are nostalgically cheesy. Yet this movie has a kind of magic which transcends its many flaws. It’s unfortunate that a string of mediocre sequels went on to tarnish what could have been a promising franchise.

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Conan the Barbarian

If there is one word to describe this film, it would be epic. Director John Milius took Robert E. Howard’s pulp tales of adventure, and weaved them into a philosophical treatise on the value of suffering. No, I’m not kidding. There are two key elements which have propelled this film to greatness. First, it has one of the greatest scores in all of cinema history. Composer Basil Poledouris was a genius, and it was his score which awakened my interest in classical music. Second, it stars James Earl Jones as a hippie cult leader modeled loosely on Jim Jones. His performance alone makes this film a classic.

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The 13th Warrior

When this movie opened in theaters it garnered poor reviews. My interest was piqued, however, when I read that it was based on Beowulf. Upon seeing it, something stirred inside of me. One of my buddies expressed it best when said that watching this film made him feel uber manly. Indeed. This is a movie that celebrates the art of being a badass. There is a lot of beer and swordplay, and no romance or any of that drivel. And the awesome Jerry Goldsmith score makes it all feel respectable.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

This has always been my favorite film in the Harry Potter franchise. While the story is needlessly convoluted, this film benefits from a strong medieval sense. Hogwarts feels like a real castle, with ghostly knights riding through the halls. And best of all, John Williams has tweaked his classic score to make it sound like an authentic medieval piece. I only wish that later installments would have kept this variation of the Harry Potter theme, as it complements the material so beautifully.

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The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

What more needs to be said? Peter Jackson took a book which was deemed “unfilmable,” and transformed it into a cinematic masterpiece. While some unnecessary changes were made to the story, Jackson nonetheless succeeds in making Middle Earth into a real, living place. At times it feels more like a travel documentary than a fantasy movie, which isn’t a bad thing. This is Tolkien’s world as I always imagined it, more or less. I never grow tired of watching these films.

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The Sword and the Sorcerer

Ever view this one? Probably not. It is a cheesy Conan rip-off with B movie sensibilities. Yet it is glorious in its audacity. The film’s unlikely hero is portrayed by Lee Horsely, who approaches the role with tongue in cheek bravado. It also stars Richard Moll (Bull from Night Court) as an ancient wizard who is in serious need of a face lift. What makes this fantasy movie stand out, though, is just how over-the-top it becomes. There is a sword with three blades. There is a banquet with a crucified prisoner looming over the tables. And there is gratuitous, yet surprisingly tasteful sexuality. Somehow this all comes together and creates an inspired fantasy romp. Many low budget fantasy films were produced after the success of Conan, but The Sword and the Sorcerer is the best.

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The Last of the Mohicans

So what is an historical epic doing on a list of fantasy films? Although it is set in colonial America, this is a fantasy story in it’s purest form. Like Legend and Excalibur, the magic of the forest is at the heart of this tale. It’s hero, Hawkeye, is a creature of the forest and the embodiment of its power. He can do things that no mortal being is capable of, yet when drawn into the web of civilization he becomes a victim of its corruption. Director Michael Mann portrays the forest as a gothic labyrinth filled with enchantment and wonder. In doing so, he captures the spirit of the original novel and the movement known as Romanticism, from whence it came. The epic score by Trevor Jones (Excalibur) only serves to highlight the majesty of this forgotten world.

So that’s my list, and now it’s your turn. Which films would you count as the best fantasy movies?


The 10 Best Fantasy Movies (2024)


Which is the No 1 Fantasy movie in the world? ›

1. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) The people of Wakanda fight to protect their home from intervening world powers as they mourn the death of King T'Challa.

Which is an example of fantasy movie? ›

Some examples: How to Train Your Dragon, Toy Story, The Witches, Jumanji, Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Lego Movie, The Princess Bride, Monsters Inc.

Who is No 1 rating movie? ›

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

What is the best fantasy drama? ›

If you're looking for even more of a fantasy fix, we have 10 amazing recommendations for your next great adventure.
  • Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Prime Video. ...
  • House of the Dragon. HBO Max. ...
  • The Witcher. The Witcher Netflix. ...
  • The Sandman. Netflix. ...
  • Good Omens. Prime Video AU & NZ. ...
  • Sweet Tooth. ...
  • Outlander. ...
  • The Wheel of Time.
28 Sept 2022

What is a romantic fantasy movie? ›

Romantic fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy fiction, describing a fantasy story using many of the elements and conventions of the chivalric romance genre.

What is the most famous fantasy? ›

Top 100 Fantasy Books
  1. A Game Of Thrones by George RR Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire) ...
  2. The Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchett (The Discworld Series) ...
  3. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. ...
  4. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. ...
  5. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle)

What is the most famous fantasy story? ›

The 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time
  • The Arabian Nights.
  • Le Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Malory.
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
  • Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll.
  • Five Children and It by E. Nesbit.
  • Ozma of Oz by L. ...
  • Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers.
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

What are the 4 types of fantasy? ›

Mendlesohn posits four categories of fantasy—portal-quest, immersive, intrusion, and liminal—that arise out of the relationship of the protagonist to the fantasy world.

Why do I love fantasy movies? ›

Fantasy gives an outlet for the creative part of the brain without straying too far from real life. CG: Some adults are more imaginative and creative than others. Our world is becoming increasingly demystified and some people crave finding new mysteries to explore.

What is real fantasy? ›

A fantasy is an idea with no basis in reality and is basically your imagination unrestricted by reality. Reality is the state of things as they exist. It's what you see, hear, and experience.

What is a fantasy story called? ›

fantasy, also spelled phantasy, imaginative fiction dependent for effect on strangeness of setting (such as other worlds or times) and of characters (such as supernatural or unnatural beings).

What is the top 10 films of all time? ›

IMDb Top 250 as rated by regular IMDb voters.
  1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) 9.2.
  2. The Godfather (1972) 9.2.
  3. The Dark Knight (2008) 9.0.
  4. The Godfather Part II (1974) 9.0.
  5. 12 Angry Men (1957) 9.0.
  6. Schindler's List (1993) 8.9.
  7. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) 8.9.
  8. Pulp Fiction (1994) 8.8.

What is the top 5 movie? ›

30 Most Popular Movies Right Now
  • #1. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022) 93% 89% ...
  • #2. Strange World (2022) 75% 39% ...
  • #3. The Menu (2022) 89% 76% ...
  • #4. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) 84% 84% ...
  • #5. Spirited (2022) 70% 81% ...
  • #6. Bones and All (2022) ...
  • #7. The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022) ...
  • #8. The Wonder (2022)

What's the Top 10 Best Movie? ›

Best movies of all time
  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Film. Science fiction. ...
  2. The Godfather (1972) Film. Thrillers. ...
  3. Citizen Kane (1941) Film. ...
  4. Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975) Film. ...
  5. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Film. ...
  6. La Dolce Vita (1960) Film. ...
  7. Seven Samurai (1954) Film. ...
  8. In the Mood for Love (2000) Film.
20 Sept 2022

Is there a 0 star rating? ›

On the film review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, films that every surveyed critic considered bad have a 0% rating. As of 2022, 43 films have received this rating.

What movie has a 100% rating? ›

To date, Leave No Trace holds the site's record, with a rating of 100% and 251 positive reviews.

Which movie has 10 10 rating? ›

IMDb Rating: 9.0 - 9.9
109.6Band of Brothers (2001)
109.3The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
109.2The Godfather (1972)
109.1The Godfather: Part II (1974)
5 more rows

Which FF should I play first? ›

Final Fantasy VI is not only one of the best starting points for beginners; it is possibly the best entry in the franchise.

How many Final Fantasy movies are there? ›

The very first game to film adaption was the OVA, Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals, which first launched in 1994. Since then there have been nine total adaptations.

How many FF movies will there be? ›

How many Fast and Furious movies will there be? There will be 11 films in the series (12 including Hobbs & Shaw).

What is a good fantasy show do you watch? ›

  • Game of Thrones.
  • The Witcher.
  • Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance.
  • Good Omens.
  • Outlander.
  • The Magicians.
  • His Dark Materials.
  • The Letter for the King.
25 Oct 2022

Why are fantasy shows popular? ›

Fantasy tends to be more character driven.

You look at fantasy novels and certainly the plot is important but we fall in love with the characters. They tend to be more fleshed out and the books are huge so the story has a lot of time to spend on dialogue.

Who is the greatest fantasy writer? ›

16 of the Best Fantasy Authors Ever
  • George R. R. Martin. ...
  • Seanan McGuire. ...
  • Brandon Sanderson. ...
  • Patrick Rothfuss. ...
  • J.R.R. Tolkien. ...
  • Nnedi Okorafor. ...
  • Andrzej Sapkowski. ...
  • Robin Hobb.
13 Jul 2020

What is the most romantic fantasy? ›

Top 50 Romance, Fantasy TV Series
  1. House of the Dragon (2022– ) TV-MA | Action, Adventure, Drama. ...
  2. Willow (2022– ) ...
  3. Outlander (2014– ) ...
  4. The Vampire Diaries (2009–2017) ...
  5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003) ...
  6. Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir (2015– ) ...
  7. Once Upon a Time (2011–2018) ...
  8. True Blood (2008–2014)

What fantasy romance should I watch? ›

Top 50 Fantasy, Romance Movies
  • Disenchanted (2022) PG | 119 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy. ...
  • Enchanted (2007) PG | 107 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy. ...
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) ...
  • Elf (2003) ...
  • Willow (1988) ...
  • It's a Wonderful Life (1946) ...
  • The Princess Bride (1987) ...
  • Three Thousand Years of Longing (2022)

Which movie has the best romance? ›

The Most Romantic Movies of All Time
  • The Notebook (2004) Courtesy. ...
  • Love Jones (1997) Everett. ...
  • Casablanca (1942) Courtesy. ...
  • Pride & Prejudice (2005) Courtesy. ...
  • In the Mood for Love (2000) Courtesy. ...
  • When Harry Met Sally (1989) Courtesy. ...
  • Titanic (1997) Courtesy. ...
  • The Best Man (1999) Grab a plus-one for Malcolm D.
9 Feb 2022

What was the first fantasy story? ›

The history of modern fantasy literature begins with George MacDonald, the Scottish author of such novels as The Princess and the Goblin and Phantastes the latter of which is widely considered to be the first fantasy novel ever written for adults.

Who is the father of fantasy? ›

J. R. R. Tolkien, born 130 years ago, gained global fame with "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings." Life events inspired his stories from the fictional Middle-earth.

What is the best story of all time? ›

  • The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe.
  • The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.
  • The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
  • Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin.
  • The Dead by James Joyce.
  • The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka.
  • Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway.
  • Cathedral by Raymond Carver.
4 Jan 2022

What is magical fantasy? ›

Magical Fantasy: This type of fantasy includes elements such as characters with magical powers or objects within the story that possess such abilities. The movie Click starring Adam Sandler is an example of magical fantasy.

Which is the greatest story in the world? ›

Here they explain why.
  1. The Odyssey (Homer, 8th Century BC) ...
  2. Uncle Tom's Cabin (Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1852) ...
  3. Frankenstein (Mary Shelley, 1818) ...
  4. Nineteen Eighty-Four (George Orwell, 1949) ...
  5. Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe, 1958) ...
  6. One Thousand and One Nights (various authors, 8th-18th Centuries)
21 May 2018

Is Harry Potter high or low fantasy? ›

Harry Potter is considered low fantasy, sort of. It's set in the real world, but a wizarding world also exists, which is high fantasy. This is similar to works like Alice in Wonderland, His Dark Materials, The Chronicles of Narnia and so on, where both reality and a false-reality exist.

Is fantasy a marvel? ›

MCU till 2019 was mostly a sci-fi genre, now it is almost entirely a fantasy genre with scientific pretences.

What are the 10 categories of modern fantasy? ›

What Are the Subgenres and Types of Fantasy?
  • High or epic fantasy. ...
  • Low fantasy. ...
  • Magical realism. ...
  • Sword and sorcery. ...
  • Dark fantasy. ...
  • Fables. ...
  • Fairy tales. ...
  • Superhero fiction.
1 Oct 2021

Is fantasy good for students? ›

And research indicates that fantasy fiction and fantasy play can benefit kids. Engaging with fantasy can stimulate creativity and boost vocabulary. It may help children develop better self-regulation skills. It might even enhance their working memory performance.

What is human fantasy? ›

In psychology, fantasy is a broad range of mental experiences, mediated by the faculty of imagination in the human brain, and marked by an expression of certain desires through vivid mental imagery. Fantasies are associated with scenarios that are absolutely impossible.

Is fantasy good for mental health? ›

Research has found that fantasy literature can increase a person's mental resilience. While some people may retreat too much into a fantasy realm, others use the lessons they learned there as a way to enhance their real lives. That's an important lesson for those struggling with addiction.

Is fantasy a crime? ›

As long as the activity is only between adults and everyone consents, it isn't illegal to engage in fantasy.

Is love real or fantasy? ›

Love is a pure, selfless emotion we feel for one another. Fantasy bonds are defense mechanisms that give us the illusion of a real relationship – all the while protecting us from actually letting that person in. With fantasy bonds, partners mistake daily routines for signs that all is as it should be.

What are the 7 main types of story? ›

The 7 story archetypes are:
  • Overcoming the Monster.
  • Rags to Riches.
  • The Quest.
  • Voyage and Return.
  • Comedy.
  • Tragedy.
  • Rebirth.
31 Oct 2011

What is fantasy short? ›

: the power or process of creating especially unrealistic or improbable mental images in response to psychological need. an object of fantasy. also : a mental image or a series of mental images (such as a daydream) so created. sexual fantasies.

What are the two types of fantasy? ›

Set in either the primary world, or a world very much like our own. While high fantasy revolves around how characters interact in their alternate and magical world, low fantasy focuses on how supernatural characters interact with the normal world around them.

Which is the world's 1st Movie? ›

On Boxing Day 1906 The Story of the Kelly Gang opened at the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne. It was the first multi-reel, feature-length film ever produced in the world. The film caused controversy by presenting the Kelly gang sympathetically.

What is the number 1 Japanese movie? ›

Box office revenue
RankTitleGross revenue (¥ billion)
1Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train40.43
2Spirited Away31.68
38 more rows

Who is India's No 1 movie? ›

Aamir Khan's Dangal is currently the highest-grossing Indian movie of all time. It made most of it's box office gross overseas, especially in China. Dangal has grossed over Rs. 2000 crore worldwide.

Which is the longest movie? ›

Guinness World Records says the longest film ever made is "The Cure for Insomnia" released in 1987. The 85-hour experimental film was directed by John Henry Timmis IV.

What was the first color movie? ›


The first commercially produced film in natural color was A Visit to the Seaside (1908). The eight-minute British short film used the Kinemacolor process to capture a series of shots of the Brighton Southern England seafront.

What was the first movie to make 1 billion? ›

Fastest to $1 billion

Titanic became the first movie to gross over $1 billion worldwide on March 1, 1998, in 74 days of release. The list below is restricted to the 10 who reached the milestone the fastest.

What is the number 1 Korean movie? ›

Domestic films by admissions
RankEnglish titleYear
1The Admiral: Roaring Currents2014
2Extreme Job2019
3Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds2017
4Ode to My Father2014
63 more rows

What movie is number 1 in the US? ›

All Time Domestic Box Office
12015Star Wars Ep. VII: The Force Awakens
22019Avengers: Endgame
32021Spider-Man: No Way Home
56 more rows

What is the 1 movie right now 2022? ›

2022 Worldwide Box Office
RankRelease Group%
1Top Gun: Maverick51.8%
2Jurassic World: Dominion62.4%
3Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness57%
4Minions: The Rise of Gru60.7%
64 more rows

Which movie rating is best? ›

If a film gets a rating of 60 or more it gets a 'fresh' red tomato on the site. Less than 60 and it gets a rotten tomato. The best films are picked out for a 'certified fresh' rating, which usually means the film has at least 80 critical reviews and a rating of 75 or more.

Which is the first 500 crore movie in Bollywood? ›

Baahubali: The Beginning 2015

Which is the first 300 crore movie in Bollywood? ›

While 'Ghajini' was the first film to earn ₹100 crore, '3 Idiots' was the first ₹200 crore film. Aamir, who turned 52 on Tuesday, also featured in 'PK', which became the first film to earn ₹300 crore.

Which movie has 9.5 rating? ›

Filmmaker-actor Rishab Shetty's Kantara has become one of the highest-rated Indian films on IMDb with a rating of 9.5 out of 10.

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