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The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies  

Ranker Film
7k votes 609 voters 13.1k views 28 items

There's something especially magical about fantasy movies for kids. They spark young viewers' imaginations and encourage them to follow their hearts. The best kids live action movies feature young actors and actresses heading out into a world of adventure. This is a list of the greatest children's live action fantasy movies including everything from The Chronicles of Narnia to The NeverEnding Story to Hook.

What films will you find on this list of the best kids fantasy movies? In the 1971 musical Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Gene Wilder steals every scene he's in as the whimsical candy-maker. Johnny Depp put his own spin on the classic Roald Dahl story in 2005's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The Goonies features a misfit gang of kids going up against some villainous characters. Other great films featured here include Flight of the Navigator, Where the Wild Things Are, and Casper.

It's up to you to decide which movie deserves the top spot on the list. Give your favorites a thumbs up and please add any good live action fantasy movies for kids that are missing.

list ordered by
1
The Dark Crystal is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
MichaelJLambie added Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Lisa Maxwell
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
2
The Goonies is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Corey Feldman, Josh Brolin, Sean Astin
The Goonies is a 1985 American adventure comedy film directed by Richard Donner. The screenplay was written by Chris Columbus from a story by executive producer Steven Spielberg. The film's ...more
3
Charlie and the Chocolate Fact... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Christopher Lee
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a 2005 musical adventure film directed by Tim Burton. It is the second film adaptation of the 1964 British book of the same name by Roald Dahl and stars ...more
4
Matilda is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
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
5
Short Circuit is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
MichaelJLambie added Steve Guttenberg, Ally Sheedy, Austin Pendleton
Short Circuit is a 1986 American comic science fiction film directed by John Badham, and written by S. S. Wilson and Brent Maddock. The film's plot centers upon an experimental military robot ...more
6
Casper is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Cathy Moriarty
Casper is a 1995 American family comedy fantasy film starring Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Cathy Moriarty, Eric Idle, and Amy Brenneman, based on the Casper the Friendly Ghost comic books and ...more
7
Where the Wild Things Are is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Mark Ruffalo, Forest Whitaker, James Gandolfini
Where the Wild Things Are is a 2009 fantasy drama film directed by Spike Jonze. Written by Jonze and Dave Eggers, it is adapted from Maurice Sendak's 1963 children's book of the same name. It ...more
8
The Chronicles of Narnia: The ... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
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
9
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Debra Winger
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 American science fiction-family film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Melissa Mathison, featuring special effects by Carlo ...more
10
Dumbo is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito
Dumbo is a 2019 American fantasy adventure film directed by Tim Burton, based on the story by Helen Aberson. Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell), a one-armed war veteran and former circus star, is ...more
11
Flight of the Navigator is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Sarah Jessica Parker, Paul Reubens, Veronica Cartwright
Flight of the Navigator is a 1986 comic science fiction film directed by Randal Kleiser and written by Mark H. Baker and Michael Burton, about David Freeman, a 12-year-old boy who is taken by an ...more
12
Beasts of the Southern Wild is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Quvenzhané Wallis, Jay Oliver, Henry D. Coleman
Beasts of the Southern Wild is a 2012 American fantasy drama film directed by Benh Zeitlin and adapted by Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar from Alibar's one-act play Juicy and Delicious. After playing at ...more
13
Cinderella is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy 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
14
Jumanji is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Kirsten Dunst, Robin Williams, Patricia Clarkson
Jumanji is a 1995 American fantasy adventure film directed by Joe Johnston. It is an adaptation of the 1981 children's book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. The film was directed by Joe ...more
15
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Fa... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
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
16
The NeverEnding Story is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Gerald McRaney, Limahl, Moses Gunn
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
17
The Indian in the Cupboard is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Steve Coogan, Richard Jenkins, Vincent Kartheiser
The Indian in the Cupboard is a 1995 American fantasy-adventure film directed by Frank Oz. It was based on the children's book of the same name by Lynne Reid Banks. The story is about a boy who ...more
18
Harry Potter and the Deathly H... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
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
19
Hocus Pocus is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler, Thora Birch
Hocus Pocus is a 1993 American comedy fantasy film directed by Kenny Ortega and starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as a trio of witches, the Sanderson Sisters, who are ...more
20
Hook is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy 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
21
Labyrinth is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie, Frank Oz
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
22
The Spiderwick Chronicles is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Nick Nolte, Seth Rogen, Mary-Louise Parker
The Spiderwick Chronicles is a 2008 American fantasy adventure film. It is the film adaptation of Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi's bestselling series of the same name. Set in the Spiderwick ...more
23
Bridge to Terabithia is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Zooey Deschanel, Josh Hutchersonm, AnnaSophia Robb
Bridge to Terabithia is a 2007 American-New Zealand fantasy adventure family drama film directed by Gábor Csupó and adapted for film by David L. Paterson and Jeff Stockwell. The ...more
24
Charlotte's Web is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, Dakota Fanning
Charlotte's Web is a 2006 American live-action/computer-animated feature film based on the popular book of the same name by E. B. White. It is directed by Gary Winick and produced by Paramount ...more
25
Hugo is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Jude Law, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Lee
Hugo is a 2011 American 3D historical adventure drama film directed and co-produced by Martin Scorsese and adapted for the screen by John Logan. Based on Brian Selznick's novel The Invention of ...more