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The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked 

Ranker Film
Updated January 14, 2020 32.3k votes 1.2k voters 18.7k views 142 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite old fantasy movies released before 1990.

This list contains information on the best classic fantasy movies, ranked from best to worst by user votes. The best classic fantasy films come in many forms. Some good old fantasy movies follow princesses as they look for love while other good classic fantasy movies feature epic battles. Many of the best classic fantasy films have been beloved for generations.

What films will you find on this top classic fantasy movies released before 1990 list? Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory has to be near the top. Gene Wilder had whimsy to spare as the candy-loving title character in this 1971 movie. Fantastical plot twists and catchy songs helped to make this musical a classic. Ghostbusters is another good movie that includes elements of fantasy.

Movie-goers found a fairytale fit for the big screen in the 1987 film The Princess Bride. Other good classic fantasy films featured on this list include Mary Poppins, The NeverEnding Story, and The Wizard of Oz.

Do you have a favorite classic fantasy film? Give the best movies a thumbs up and please add any good features we may have missed.

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1
The Princess Bride is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
Billy Crystal, Robin Wright, André the Giant

Released: 1987

Directed by: Rob Reiner

The Princess Bride is a 1987 American romantic comedy fantasy adventure film directed and co-produced by Rob Reiner. It was adapted by William Goldman from his 1973 novel of the same name. The ...more

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2
Labyrinth is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie, Frank Oz

Released: 1986

Directed by: Jim Henson

Labyrinth is a 1986 British-American musical adventure fantasy film directed by Jim Henson, executive produced by George Lucas and based upon conceptual designs by Brian Froud. The film stars ...more

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Get Lost In The Best Quotes From 'Labyrinth' #206 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #60 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

3
Beetlejuice is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder, Geena Davis

Released: 1988

Directed by: Tim Burton

Beetlejuice is a 1988 American fantasy-comedy-horror film directed by Tim Burton. The spirits of a deceased couple (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) are harassed by an unbearable family that has ...more

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Strange Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Making Of 'Beetlejuice' #9 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
Ghostbusters is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd

Released: 1984

Directed by: Ivan Reitman

Ghostbusters is a 1984 American sci-fi-fantasy comedy film, directed and produced by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The film stars Bill Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis as ...more

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Behind The Scenes Secrets From 'Ghostbusters' Most People Have Never Heard #2 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #18 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

5
Willow is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
Val Kilmer, Kevin Pollak, Warwick Davis

Released: 1988

Directed by: Ron Howard

Willow is a 1988 American fantasy film directed by Ron Howard, produced and with a story by George Lucas, and starring Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh, and Billy Barty. ...more

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'Willow' Is A Watered-Down Version Of 'The Lord Of The Rings' #168 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #99 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

6
The NeverEnding Story is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
Gerald McRaney, Limahl, Moses Gunn

Released: 1984

Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen

The NeverEnding Story is a 1984 West German epic fantasy film based on the novel of the same name by Michael Ende, about a boy who reads a magical library book that tells a story of a young ...more

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#62 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #39 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #192 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

7
The Dark Crystal is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Lisa Maxwell

Released: 1982

Directed by: Frank Oz, Jim Henson

The Dark Crystal is a 1982 American–British fantasy film directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. The plot revolves around Jen, an elflike 'Gelfling' on a quest to restore balance to his alien world ...more

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Jim Henson's 'The Dark Crystal' Is Even Darker Than You Remember #148 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #142 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

8
The Wizard of Oz is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Frank Morgan

Released: 1939

Directed by: Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, King Vidor, George Cukor, Victor Fleming

The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and the most well-known and commercially successful adaptation based on the 1900 novel The Wonderful ...more

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9
The Lord of the Rings is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
but chickens double d added John Hurt, Annette Crosbie, Peter Woodthorpe

Released: 1978

Directed by: Ralph Bakshi

The Lord of the Rings is a 1978 animated high fantasy film directed by Ralph Bakshi. It is an adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's high fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings, comprising The Fellowship ...more

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10
The Little Mermaid is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll

Released: 1989

Directed by: Ron Clements, John Musker

The Little Mermaid is a 1989 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on the Danish fairy tale by Hans ...more

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#11 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #87 of 601 The Best Animated Films Everlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

11
Mary Poppins is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Elsa Lanchester

Released: 1964

Directed by: Robert Stevenson

Mary Poppins is a 1964 American musical fantasy film directed by Robert Stevenson and produced by Walt Disney, with songs written and composed by the Sherman Brothers. The screenplay is by Bill ...more

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12
Who Framed Roger Rabbit ... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
but chickens double d added Kathleen Turner, Christopher Lloyd, Bob Hoskins

Released: 1988

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a 1988 American live-action/animated fantasy-comedy film directed by Robert Zemeckis. The screenplay by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman is based on Gary K. Wolf's ...more

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13
Gremlins is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
Steven Spielberg, Corey Feldman, Phoebe Cates

Released: 1984

Directed by: Joe Dante

Gremlins is a 1984 American horror comedy film directed by Joe Dante, released by Warner Bros. The film is about a young man who receives a strange creature called a mogwai as a pet, which then ...more

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14
Legend is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
Tom Cruise, Tim Curry, Mia Sara

Released: 1985

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Legend is a 1985 British-American fantasy adventure film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert, and ...more

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15
The Sword in the Stone ... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
but chickens double d added Alan Napier, Sebastian Cabot, Norman Alden

Released: 1963

Directed by: Wolfgang Reitherman

The Sword in the Stone is a 1963 American animated musical fantasy comedy film produced by Walt Disney and released to theaters on December 25, 1963 by Buena Vista Distribution. The 18th film in ...more

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#122 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #29 of 601 The Best Animated Films Ever #84 of 217 Musical Movies With the Best Songs

16
Monty Python and the Hol... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
but chickens double d added John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle

Released: 1975

Directed by: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones

Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a 1975 British comedy film written and performed by the comedy group of Monty Python, and directed by Gilliam and Jones. It was conceived during the hiatus ...more

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17
Willy Wonka & the Ch... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Tim Brooke-Taylor

Released: 1971

Directed by: Mel Stuart

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a 1971 musical fantasy film directed by Mel Stuart, and starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. The film, a film adaptation of the 1964 novel Charlie and ...more

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18
Highlander is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
Sean Connery, Clancy Brown, Michael Hayes

Released: 1986

Directed by: Russell Mulcahy

Highlander is a 1986 British-American cult fantasy film directed by Russell Mulcahy and based on a story by Gregory Widen. It stars Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Clancy Brown, and Roxanne ...more

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19
The Jungle Book is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
but chickens double d added Clint Howard, George Sanders, Louis Prima

Released: 1967

Directed by: Wolfgang Reitherman

The Jungle Book is a 1967 American animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions. Inspired by the Rudyard Kipling's book of the same name, it is the 19th animated feature in the Walt Disney ...more

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20
Snow White and the Seven... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
but chickens double d added Billy Gilbert, Pinto Colvig, Jimmy MacDonald

Released: 1937

Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, Ben Sharpsteen, William Cottrell, + more

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a 1937 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by RKO Radio Pictures. Based on the German fairy tale by the ...more

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#16 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #103 of 601 The Best Animated Films Ever #30 of 217 Musical Movies With the Best Songs

21
Sleeping Beauty is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
but chickens double d added Marvin Miller, Mary Costa, Verna Felton

Released: 1959

Directed by: Clyde Geronimi

Sleeping Beauty is a 1959 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney based on The Sleeping Beauty by Charles Perrault and Little Briar Rose by The Brothers Grimm. The 16th ...more

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#23 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #33 of 601 The Best Animated Films Ever #109 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

22
The Witches of Eastwick ... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
but chickens double d added Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Cher

Released: 1987

Directed by: George Miller

The Witches of Eastwick is a 1987 American comedy-fantasy film based on John Updike's novel of the same name. Directed by George Miller, the film stars Jack Nicholson as Daryl Van Horne, ...more

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23
Alice in Wonderland is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
but chickens double d added Ed Wynn, Heather Angel, Sterling Holloway

Released: 1951

Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi

Alice in Wonderland is a 1951 American animated musical fantasy comedy-adventure film produced by Walt Disney Productions and based primarily on Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland ...more

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#60 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #40 of 601 The Best Animated Films Ever #64 of 217 Musical Movies With the Best Songs

24
The Secret of NIMH is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
but chickens double d added Shannen Doherty, Wil Wheaton, Derek Jacobi

Released: 1982

Directed by: Don Bluth

The Secret of NIMH is a 1982 American animated fantasy adventure drama film directed by Don Bluth in his directorial debut. It is an adaptation of Robert C. O'Brien's 1971 children's novel Mrs. ...more

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25
Cinderella is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked
but chickens double d added June Foray, Mike Douglas, Verna Felton

Released: 1950

Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi

Cinderella is a 1950 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. Based on the fairy tale "Cendrillon" by Charles Perrault, it is ...more

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#22 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #70 of 601 The Best Animated Films Ever #944 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies