Entertainment

The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies  

Ranker Film
1.5k votes 214 voters 5.9k views 40 items

Classic fairy tales can go from the page to the screen, as if by magic. First, the animated films of Disney inspired audiences to follow their dreams and believe in fairy godmothers. More recently, a number of studios have put live-action spins on these timeless stories. The best live action fairy tale movies feature beloved literary characters played by talented actors and actresses, and magical obstacles that can only be surmounted by true love and pure hearts. This is a list of the top live fairy tale movies including everything from The Princess Bride to Oz the Great and Powerful to Cinderella.

What films will you find on this list of the best live action fairy tales movies? In Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, Mia Wasikowska played the courageous lead, but it was Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter that stole every scene. Helena Bonham Carter also won over audiences with her wonderfully wicked spin on the Red Queen. Penelope is another great live action fairy tale film full of imagination and creativity. The lives of multiple fairy tale characters collide in the 2014 adaptation of the hit musical Into the Woods. Other enchanting movies found on this list include Beauty and the Beast, Red Riding Hood, and Finding Neverland.

It's up to you to decide which fairy tale film deserves the top spot on this list. Vote your personal picks towards number one, and please add any magical movies that are missing.

list ordered by
1
The Princess Bride is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
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
2
Ella Enchanted is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
Anne Hathaway, Heidi Klum, Vivica A. Fox
Ella Enchanted is a 2004 British–American–Irish fantasy romantic comedy film loosely based on Gail Carson Levine's 1997 novel of the same name. The film stars Anne Hathaway as Ella and Hugh ...more
3
Enchanted is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
Amy Adams, Susan Sarandon, Julie Andrews
Enchanted is a 2007 American musical live-action/animated fantasy romantic comedy film, produced by Walt Disney Pictures with New York Academy Barry Sonnenfeld and Josephson Entertainment. ...more
4
Maleficent is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Juno Temple
Maleficent is a 2014 American dark fantasy film directed by Robert Stromberg, loosely inspired by the fairy tale by Charles Perrault. A vengeful fairy (Angelina Jolie) is driven to curse an ...more
5
Cinderella is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Hayley Atwell
Cinderella is a 2015 American romantic fantasy film directed by Kenneth Branagh, from a screenplay written by Chris Weitz. Produced by David Barron, Simon Kinberg and Allison Shearmur for Walt ...more
6
Ever After is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Huston, Dougray Scott
Ever After is a 1998 American romantic comedy-drama film inspired by the fairy tale Cinderella, directed by Andy Tennant and starring Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Huston, and Dougray Scott. The ...more
7
Beauty and the Beast is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
Beauty and the Beast Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Emma Watson
8
Stardust is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, Claire Danes
Stardust is a 2007 British-American romantic fantasy film from Paramount Pictures, directed by Matthew Vaughn. The film is based on Neil Gaiman's novel Stardust and stars an ensemble cast ...more
9
Peter Pan is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
Jason Isaacs, Saffron Burrows, Rachel Hurd-Wood
Peter Pan is a 2003 Australian-American-British fantasy film released by Universal Pictures, Columbia Pictures and Revolution Studios. It was the first authorized and faithful film or TV ...more
10
Alice in Wonderland is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter
Alice in Wonderland is a 2010 British-American live action and computer animated adventure fantasy film directed by Tim Burton and written by Linda Woolverton. Released by Walt Disney Pictures, ...more
11
Snow White and the Huntsman is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth
Snow White and the Huntsman is a 2012 American dark fantasy action film based on the German fairy tale "Snow White" compiled by the Brothers Grimm. In the film's retelling of the tale, ...more
12
Into the Woods is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep
Into the Woods is a 2014 American fantasy musical drama film directed by Rob Marshall, and adapted to the screen by James Lapine from his and Stephen Sondheim's Tony Award-winning Broadway ...more
13
Hook is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Robin Williams
Hook is a 1991 American fantasy adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, based on Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie. When Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) kidnaps his children, an adult Peter Pan ...more
14
Red Riding Hood is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Julie Christie
Red Riding Hood is a 2011 American dark fantasy historical romance film directed by Catherine Hardwicke, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and starring Amanda Seyfried as the title role, from a ...more
15
Aladdin is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
laura.delcellier.93 added Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Will Smith
Aladdin is a 2019 American musical romantic fantasy adventure film directed by Guy Ritchie, based on the Arab-style folktale. Smitten with the free-spirited Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott), an ...more
16
A Cinderella Story is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
Hilary Duff, Jennifer Coolidge, Chad Michael Murray
A Cinderella Story is a 2004 American teen romantic comedy film. The film stars Hilary Duff, Chad Michael Murray, Jennifer Coolidge, and Regina King and was directed by Mark Rosman. The film's ...more
17
Oz the Great and Powerful is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, James Franco
Oz the Great and Powerful is a 2013 American 3D live action and computer animated fantasy adventure film directed by Sam Raimi, produced by Joe Roth, and written by David Lindsay-Abaire and ...more
18
The Wizard of Oz is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
DeborahTragasz added 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
19
Willow is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
Val Kilmer, Kevin Pollak, Warwick Davis
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
20
Mirror Mirror is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Sean Bean
Mirror Mirror is a 2012 American comedy fantasy film based on the fairy tale "Snow White" collected by the Brothers Grimm. It is directed by Tarsem Singh and stars Lily Collins, Julia ...more
21
The Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
laura.delcellier.93 added Monica Bellucci, Matt Damon, Lena Headey
The Brothers Grimm is a 2005 adventure fantasy film directed by Terry Gilliam. The film stars Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, and Lena Headey in an exaggerated and fictitious portrait of the Brothers ...more
22
Cinderella is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
DeborahTragasz added Whitney Houston, Whoopi Goldberg, Bernadette Peters
Cinderella is a 1997 American romantic musical fantasy telefilm produced by Walt Disney Television. The film stars Brandy, Whitney Houston, Paolo Montalban, Bernadette Peters, Whoopi Goldberg, ...more
23
Pan's Labyrinth is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
laura.delcellier.93 added Doug Jones, Ivana Baquero, Sergi López i Ayats
Pan's Labyrinth, originally known in Spanish as El laberinto del fauno, is a 2006 Spanish-Mexican dark fantasy film written and directed by Mexican Guillermo del Toro. It was produced and ...more
24
Finding Neverland is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Dustin Hoffman
Finding Neverland is a 2004 American semi-biographical film about playwright J. M. Barrie and his relationship with a family who inspired him to create Peter Pan, directed by Marc Forster. The ...more
25
Aquamarine is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Live Action Fairy Tale Movies
DeborahTragasz added Emma Roberts, JoJo, Sara Paxton
Aquamarine is a 2006 Australian-American teen fantasy comedy film starring Sara Paxton, Emma Roberts, and Joanna "JoJo" Levesque. The film, which was made in both the United States and ...more