Adaptations

The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books  

Ranker Film
996 votes 60 voters 1.1k views 46 items

List Rules Vote up the best fantasy movies based on or inspired by literature.

Witches and magic and dragons, oh my! The best movies based on fantasy books capture the imaginations of movie-goers. Many films based on fantasy novels feature magical encounters while other good fantasy movies that are adaptations of books feature pathways to other worlds. Some of the best fantasy films based off books have even won Academy Awards.

What fantasy novels adapted into movies will you find on this list. The Wizard of Oz has to be near the top. Based on L. Frank Baum's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, this 1939 film finds Dorothy Gale and her friends going down the yellow brick road. The Wizard of Oz won two Academy Awards for its score and the original song, “Over the Rainbow.” The Princess Bride is another timeless fantasy film based on a book.

J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit inspired a film trilogy from a 310 page novel. Other good movies based on fantasy books include Alice in Wonderland, Coraline, and the Harry Potter franchise.

How will we ever determine which film deserves the top spot on this list? Help us decide by voting up your favorites. Add any good fantasy movies we may have missed and check back for new movies based on fantasy fiction as they come out.

list ordered by
1
The Lord of the Rings: The Ret... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is a 2003 epic fantasy drama film directed by Peter Jackson based on the second and third volumes of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. It is ...more
2
The Lord of the Rings: The Two... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a 2002 epic fantasy film directed by Peter Jackson and based on the second volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings. It is the second ...more
3
The Lord of the Rings is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
John Hurt, Annette Crosbie, Peter Woodthorpe
J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is a 1978 American animated fantasy film directed by Ralph Bakshi. It uses a hybrid of traditional cel animation and rotoscoped live action footage. It is ...more
4
The Princess Bride is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Billy Crystal, Robin Wright, André the Giant
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
5
Harry Potter and the Deathly H... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Gary Oldman
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is a 2011 fantasy film directed by David Yates, based on the novel by J. K. Rowling and the final film in the series. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron ...more
6
Harry Potter and the Prisoner ... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Gary Oldman
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a 2004 fantasy film directed by Alfonso Cuarón and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on the novel of the same name by J. K. ...more
7
The Hobbit is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Zinovy Gerdt, Igor Dmitriev, Ivan Krasko
The Hobbit was a 1985 Soviet film adaption of J. R. R. Tolkien's 1937 book The Hobbit by Vladimir Latyshev. The children's film featured Zinovy Gerdt as "the professor", Mikhail ...more
8
Harry Potter and the Order of ... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Emma Watson, Robert Pattinson, Daniel Radcliffe
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a 2007 fantasy film directed by David Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. The ...more
9
Harry Potter and the Deathly H... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Helena Bonham Carter
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 is a 2010 fantasy film directed by David Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is the first of two cinematic parts based on the novel ...more
10
Harry Potter and the Chamber o... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, John Cleese
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a 2002 fantasy film directed by Chris Columbus and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. ...more
11
The Hobbit: The Battle of the ... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Cate Blanchett, Evangeline Lilly, Ian McKellen
The Hobbit: There and Back Again is a 2014 film writted by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro and directed by Peter Jackson.
12
The Hobbit: The Desolation of ... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Cate Blanchett, Evangeline Lilly, Ian McKellen
The Hobbit: There and Back Again retitled to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a 2013 fantasy adventure film written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and one more and ...more
13
Harry Potter and the Philosoph... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Julianne Hough
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is a 2001 fantasy film directed by Chris Columbus and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. ...more
14
How to Train Your Dragon is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Gerard Butler, Kristen Wiig, David Tennant
How to Train Your Dragon is a 2010 American 3D computer-animated action-fantasy film by DreamWorks Animation loosely based on the British book series of the same name by Cressida Cowell. The ...more
15
Harry Potter and the Goblet of... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Emma Watson, Robert Pattinson, Daniel Radcliffe
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a 2005 fantasy film directed by Mike Newell and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. The film, ...more
16
The Chronicles of Narnia: The ... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Liam Neeson, Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a 2005 fantasy adventure film directed by Andrew Adamson and based on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first published ...more
17
Harry Potter and the Half-Bloo... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Helena Bonham Carter
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a 2009 fantasy film directed by David Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. The ...more
18
Matilda is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Danny DeVito, Mara Wilson, Paul Reubens
Matilda is a 1996 American fantasy comedy children's film directed and narrated by Danny DeVito. The screenplay by Nicholas Kazan and Robin Swicord is based on Roald Dahl's novel of the same ...more
19
Coraline is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Teri Hatcher, Dakota Fanning, Ian McShane
Coraline is a 2009 American stop-motion animated 3D dark fantasy film based on Neil Gaiman's 2002 novel of the same name. It was produced by Laika and distributed by Focus Features. Written and ...more
20
Alice in Wonderland is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Ed Wynn, Heather Angel, Sterling Holloway
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
21
The Sword in the Stone is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Alan Napier, Sebastian Cabot, Norman Alden
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
22
The Witches of Eastwick is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Cher
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
23
Peter Pan is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
June Foray, Bobby Driscoll, Heather Angel
Peter Pan is a 1953 American animated fantasy-adventure film produced by Walt Disney and based on the play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up by J. M. Barrie. It is the 14th film in the ...more
24
The Wizard of Oz is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Frank Morgan
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
25
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Fa... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Tim Brooke-Taylor
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