Adaptations

The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books 

Ranker Film
Updated August 7, 2020 2.1k votes 185 voters 6.5k views 52 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: T... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler

Released: 2003

Directed by: Peter Jackson

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

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2
The Lord of the Rings: T... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler

Released: 2002

Directed by: Peter Jackson

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

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3
Harry Potter and the Pri... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Gary Oldman

Released: 2004

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón

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

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4
The Lord of the Rings is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
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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5
The Princess Bride is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
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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6
Harry Potter and the Ord... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Emma Watson, Robert Pattinson, Daniel Radcliffe

Released: 2007

Directed by: David Yates

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

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7
Harry Potter and the Dea... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Gary Oldman

Released: 2011

Directed by: David Yates

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

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8
Harry Potter and the Sor... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Julianne Hough

Released: 2001

Directed by: Chris Columbus

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (released in the United States, India and Pakistan as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) is a 2001 fantasy film directed by Chris Columbus based on ...more

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#24 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #63 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #52 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books

9
The Chronicles of Narnia... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Liam Neeson, Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy

Released: 2005

Directed by: Andrew Adamson

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

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10
Harry Potter and the Dea... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Helena Bonham Carter

Released: 2010

Directed by: David Yates

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

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11
Harry Potter and the Gob... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Emma Watson, Robert Pattinson, Daniel Radcliffe

Released: 2005

Directed by: Mike Newell

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

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#39 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #100 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #56 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books

12
Harry Potter and the Hal... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Helena Bonham Carter

Released: 2009

Directed by: David Yates

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

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13
How to Train Your Dragon... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Gerard Butler, Kristen Wiig, David Tennant

Released: 2010

Directed by: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders

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

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14
Harry Potter and the Cha... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, John Cleese

Released: 2002

Directed by: Chris Columbus

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

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15
The Hobbit: The Desolati... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Cate Blanchett, Evangeline Lilly, Ian McKellen

Released: 2013

Directed by: Peter Jackson

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

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#167 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #81 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #75 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books

16
The Hobbit: The Battle o... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Cate Blanchett, Evangeline Lilly, Ian McKellen

Released: 2014

Directed by: Peter Jackson

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.

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17
The Hobbit is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Zinovy Gerdt, Igor Dmitriev, Ivan Krasko

Released: 1985

Directed by: Vladimir Latyshev

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
18
Matilda is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Danny DeVito, Mara Wilson, Paul Reubens

Released: 1996

Directed by: Danny DeVito

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

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19
The NeverEnding Story is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
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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20
Percy Jackson & the ... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Uma Thurman, Pierce Brosnan, Rosario Dawson

Released: 2010

Directed by: Chris Columbus

This film is a 2010 fantasy adventure film directed by Chris Columbus.

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21
Alice in Wonderland is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
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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22
Willy Wonka & the Ch... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
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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23
The Sword in the Stone ... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
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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24
Inkheart is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
Jennifer Connelly, Helen Mirren, Brendan Fraser

Released: 2008

Directed by: Iain Softley

Inkheart is a 2008 adventure fantasy film directed by Iain Softley and starring Brendan Fraser, Eliza Bennett, Paul Bettany, Helen Mirren, Andy Serkis, Jim Broadbent, and Sienna Guillory. It is ...more

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25
The Secret Garden is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Fantasy Movies Based on Books
The Secret Garden Colin Firth, Maeve Dermody, Julie Walters

Released: 2020

Directed by: Marc Munden

The Secret Garden is an upcoming fantasy film directed by Marc Munden, based on the novel of the same name by Frances Hodgson Burnett. An orphaned girl, Mary Lennox (Dixie Egerickx) is sent to ...more