best movies The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Fantasy Movies  

Ranker Film
93.6k votes 6.5k voters 48.5k views 25 items

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. 

list ordered by

1
5,192 296
Ranker Video
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy 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 ...more

2
4,490 421
Ranker Video
Harry Potter Franchise 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, beginning ...more

3
4,431 526
Ranker Video
The Wizard of Oz 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

4
4,043 589
Ranker Video
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom 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 ...more

5
3,857 620
Ranker Video
The NeverEnding Story 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

6
3,865 696
Ranker Video
The Princess Bride 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

7
3,698 692
Ranker Video
Mary Poppins Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Elsa Lanchester Mary Poppins is a 1964 American musical fantasy film directed by Robert Stevenson and produced by Walt Disney, with songs written and composed by the Sherman Brothers. The screenplay is by Bill ...more

8
3,571 678
Ranker Video
The Chronicles of Narnia Franchise The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of fantasy films from Walden Media, based on The Chronicles of Narnia, a series of novels by C. S. Lewis. From the seven novels, there have been three film ...more

9
3,439 697
Ranker Video
Labyrinth 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

10
3,535 727
Ranker Video
How to Train Your Dragon Franchise The How to Train Your Dragon franchise (also referred to as simply HTTYD) from DreamWorks Animation consists of two feature films How to Train Your Dragon (2010) and How to Train Your Dragon 2 ...more

11
3,306 750
Ranker Video
Sleepy Hollow Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Christopher Walken Sleepy Hollow is a 1999 American fantasy horror adventure film directed by Tim Burton. It is a film adaptation loosely inspired by the 1820 short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington ...more

12
3,103 773
Ranker Video
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, with Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a 2016 fantasy film directed by David Yates, based on the 2001 book by J. K. Rowling. The adventures of writer Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) in New ...more

The Best Fantasy TV Shows

13
2,825 908
Ranker Video
Willow 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

14
2,714 882
Ranker Video
Clash of the Titans Ursula Andress, Maggie Smith, Laurence Olivier Clash of the Titans is an 1981 British-American fantasy adventure film involving the Greek hero Perseus, and features the final work of stop motion visual effects artist, Ray Harryhausen. It was ...more

15
2,640 893
Ranker Video
Conan the Barbarian Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Max von Sydow Conan the Barbarian is a 1982 sword and sorcery/adventure film directed and co-written by John Milius. It is based on stories by Robert E. Howard, a pulp fiction writer of the 1930s, about the ...more

16
2,498 905
Ranker Video
Highlander Sean Connery, Clancy Brown, Michael Hayes Highlander is a 1986 British-American cult fantasy film directed by Russell Mulcahy and based on a story by Gregory Widen. It stars Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Clancy Brown, and Roxanne ...more

17
2,379 981
Ranker Video
The Dark Crystal 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

18
2,272 992
Ranker Video
Pan's Labyrinth 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

19
1,952 1,124
Ranker Video
Big Fish Miley Cyrus, Ewan McGregor, Marion Cotillard Big Fish is a 2003 American fantasy drama film based on the 1998 novel of the same name by Daniel Wallace. The film was directed by Tim Burton and stars Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy ...more

20
1,880 1,083
Ranker Video
Excalibur Liam Neeson, Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart Excalibur is a 1981 dramatic fantasy film directed, produced and co-written by John Boorman that retells the legend of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table. Based solely on the 15th ...more

21
1,825 1,147
Ranker Video
Stardust 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

22
1,627 1,123
Ranker Video
Where the Wild Things Are 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

23
1,328 1,221
Ranker Video
Time Bandits Sean Connery, John Cleese, Ian Holm Time Bandits is a 1981 British fantasy film co-written, produced, and directed by Terry Gilliam, and starring Sean Connery, John Cleese, Shelley Duvall, Ralph Richardson, Katherine Helmond, Ian ...more

24
1,229 1,198
Ranker Video
Dragonslayer Ian McDiarmid, Ralph Richardson, Peter MacNicol Dragonslayer is a 1981 American fantasy film directed by Matthew Robbins, from a screenplay he co-wrote with Hal Barwood. It starrs Peter MacNicol, Ralph Richardson, John Hallam and Caitlin ...more

25
850 1,405
Ranker Video
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen Uma Thurman, Robin Williams, Sting The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is a 1988 British adventure fantasy comedy film co-written and directed by Terry Gilliam, starring John Neville, Sarah Polley, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce, ...more