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The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Fantasy Movies

List Rules
Vote up the fantasy movies that define the genre and should be required viewing for beginners in an Intro to Fantasy Class.

Since the dawn of storytelling, fantasy has been a popular genre in books, television, and - of course - film. Fantasy offers a way for viewers to break from reality and imagine a world they could only dream of. The realities talented writers and directors create can truly resonate with an audience.

Some essential fantasy films, like the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter franchise, were successes right away and still constitute some of the most popular, beloved movies of all time. Other must-see fantasy movies, such as Willow and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, only found a small niche audience at first before become famous via cult followings. Regardless of whether these films instantly found an audience, they all influenced the genre in a major way. Therefore, you can consider these fantasy films for beginners - a great way to introduce you to the genre! 

Watch some of these movies to get an intro to fantasy films. Then, vote up your favorites below to decide which fantasy movies everyone should watch. 

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  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
    Video: YouTube
    The Lord of the Rings is a film series consisting of three epic fantasy adventure films directed by Peter Jackson. They are based on the novel The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. The films are subtitled The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. They were distributed by New Line Cinema. Considered to be one of the biggest and most ambitious film projects ever undertaken, with an overall budget of $281 million, the entire project took eight years, with the filming for all three films done simultaneously and entirely in New Zealand, Jackson's native country. Each film in the series also had special extended editions released on DVD a year after their ...more
    • Released: 2001 - 2003
    • Directed by: Peter Jackson
  • Harry Potter Franchise
    Video: YouTube
    Harry Potter is a British-American film series based on the Harry Potter novels by author J. K. Rowling. The series is distributed by Warner Bros. and consists of eight fantasy films. A spin-off prequel series will consist of five films, starting with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016). The Fantastic Beasts films mark the beginning of a media franchise known as J. K. Rowling's Wizarding World.
    • Released: 2001 - 2011
    • Directed by: Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell, David Yates
  • The Hobbit Trilogy
    Video: YouTube
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    12,886 VOTES
    The Hobbit is a film series consisting of three epic fantasy adventure films directed by Peter Jackson. They are based on the 1937 novel The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, with large portions of the trilogy inspired by the appendices to The Return of the King, which expand on the story told in The Hobbit, as well as new material and characters written especially for the films. The films are subtitled An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, and The Battle of the Five Armies. The screenplay was written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Jackson, and Guillermo del Toro, who was originally chosen to direct before his departure from the project. The films take place in the fictional world of ...more
    • Released: 2012
    • Directed by: Peter Jackson
  • The Wizard of Oz
    Video: YouTube
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    11,969 VOTES
    When a tornado rips through Kansas, Dorothy (Judy Garland) and her dog, Toto, are whisked away in their house to the magical land of Oz. They follow the Yellow Brick Road toward the Emerald City to meet the Wizard, and en route they meet a Scarecrow (Ray Bolger) that needs a brain, a Tin Man (Jack Haley) missing a heart, and a Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) who wants courage. The wizard asks the group to bring him the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton) to earn his help.
    • Released: 1939
    • Directed by: Victor Fleming

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  • The Princess Bride
    Video: YouTube
    5
    11,755 VOTES
    A fairy tale adventure about a beautiful young woman and her one true love. He must find her after a long separation and save her. They must battle the evils of the mythical kingdom of Florin to be reunited with each other. Based on the William Goldman novel "The Princess Bride" which earned its own loyal audience.
    • Released: 1987
    • Directed by: Rob Reiner

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  • The NeverEnding Story
    Video: YouTube
    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 warrior whose task is to stop a dark storm called the Nothing from engulfing a fantasy world. The film was directed and co-written by Wolfgang Petersen and starred Barret Oliver, Noah Hathaway, Tami Stronach, Moses Gunn, Thomas Hill; and Alan Oppenheimer as the voices of both Falkor and Gmork. At the time of its release, it was the most expensive film produced outside the USA or the USSR. The film was later followed by two sequels. Ende felt that this adaptation's content deviated so far from his book ...more
    • Released: 1984
    • Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen

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