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The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated November 26, 2019 7.3k votes 651 voters 14.9k 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.

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1
Charlie and the Chocolat... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Christopher Lee

Released: 2005

Directed by: Tim Burton

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

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2
The Dark Crystal is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
MichaelJLambie added 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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3
The Goonies is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Corey Feldman, Josh Brolin, Sean Astin

Released: 1985

Directed by: Richard Donner

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

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4
Where the Wild Things Ar... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Mark Ruffalo, Forest Whitaker, James Gandolfini

Released: 2009

Directed by: Spike Jonze

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

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5
Matilda is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
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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6
The Chronicles of Narnia... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
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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7
Casper is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Cathy Moriarty

Released: 1995

Directed by: Brad Silberling, Phil Nibbelink

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

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8
E.T. the Extra-Terrestri... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Debra Winger

Released: 1982

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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

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9
Flight of the Navigator ... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Sarah Jessica Parker, Paul Reubens, Veronica Cartwright

Released: 1986

Directed by: Randal Kleiser

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

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10
Short Circuit is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
MichaelJLambie added Steve Guttenberg, Ally Sheedy, Austin Pendleton

Released: 1986

Directed by: John Badham

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

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11
Beasts of the Southern W... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Quvenzhané Wallis, Jay Oliver, Henry D. Coleman

Released: 2012

Directed by: Benh Zeitlin

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
12
Cinderella is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Hayley Atwell

Released: 2015

Directed by: Kenneth Branagh

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

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13
Dumbo is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito

Released: 2019

Directed by: Tim Burton

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
14
Jumanji is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Kirsten Dunst, Robin Williams, Patricia Clarkson

Released: 1995

Directed by: Joe Johnston

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

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15
Willy Wonka & the Ch... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
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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16
The NeverEnding Story is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
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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17
The Indian in the Cupboa... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Steve Coogan, Richard Jenkins, Vincent Kartheiser

Released: 1995

Directed by: Frank Oz

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

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18
Harry Potter and the Dea... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
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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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

Released: 1993

Directed by: Kenny Ortega

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

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20
Hook is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Robin Williams

Released: 1991

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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

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21
Hugo is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Jude Law, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Lee

Released: 2011

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

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

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22
Labyrinth is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
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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23
The Spiderwick Chronicle... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Nick Nolte, Seth Rogen, Mary-Louise Parker

Released: 2008

Directed by: Mark Waters

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

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24
Bridge to Terabithia is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Zooey Deschanel, Josh Hutchersonm, AnnaSophia Robb

Released: 2007

Directed by: Gábor Csupó

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

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25
Charlotte's Web is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Live Action Kids Fantasy Movies
Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, Dakota Fanning

Released: 2006

Directed by: Gary Winick

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

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