Best Fantasy Movies Of All-Time: Top 5 Truly Legendary Films, According To Critics (2023)

Whether you’re looking for knights, magic, and dragons or simply an imaginative plot, the best fantasy movies of all time are sure to deliver in spades. The best part of these movies is their ability to whisk you away to amazing locations, meet interesting characters, and get lost in a story that you’ll never forget. Whether you’re a big kid at heart or someone who just enjoys a good flick, you’re bound to find something to enjoy some of the best fantasy movies in the genre.

It’s no secret that many fantasy movies are based on novels.If you want to compare your favorite movies to the books, our list of the best fantasy novels might steer you in the right direction. These dense novels have been enjoyed by millions of people around the globe and have been linked to positive cognitive and mental benefits.

Fantasy movies allow us to get lost in our imagination, which is something you may not do as often as an adult. Using your imagination goes farther than just being fun. A recent study concludes that using your imagination to visualize a threat can help an individual conquer a fear. Diving into the fantastical worlds found in movies can also provide you with an escape from some of your fears and maybe give you some practice in getting over them.

Time to don the knight’s helm and put on the magical cape, here is our list of the best fantasy movies of all time. StudyFinds set out to do the research for you, visiting 10 expert websites that review movies. We put together this list of the best fantasy movies of all time by seeking out the movies that were most recommended across these sites. If you’ve got your own suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!

The List: Best Fantasy Movies of All Time, According To Experts

1. “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy

You don’t have to look far to find the one fantasy movie to rule them all! This epic triad is adapted from one of the best fantasy novel series of all time and is full of all the fantasy staples you want in this type of movie.

The folks at Rotten Tomatoes note that the second film, “The Two Towers,” “balances spectacular action with emotional storytelling, leaving audiences both wholly satisfied and eager for the final chapter.”

It’s apparent that experts feel that this is the benchmark for the genre. As Collider says, “The Lord of the Rings is by far one of the most popular fantasy series and has become a global phenomenon and staple for what fantasy could be.”

The writers at IndieWire gushed about how the director, Peter Jackson, made the series so relatable to audiences everywhere. “Jackson’s approach to ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is so unforgettable: He takes fantasy and grounds it on such a human level and from such a human perspective that, suddenly, magical creatures and beasts feel tangible to the viewer.”

‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’ was released on this day 19 years ago and won 11 Oscars!

One of the greatest movies of all time?

(Video) Top 10 Epic Fantasy Movies

— Fellowship of Fans (@FellowshipFans) December 17, 2022

2. “Pan’s Labyrinth”

Directed by the movie-monster connoisseur, Guillermo del Toro, this mystical tale centers around an eleven-year-old’s journey into a magical world of mythical creatures. With its slightly historical backdrop of the 1940s and the Second World War, this movie is highly regarded by experts all over the globe.

One of the biggest draws to the film are the effects and costumes used throughout the magical labyrinth as Stacker notes, “Drawing upon Guillermo del Toro’s greatest strengths, it pairs iconic special effects with rich characterizations to generate palpable gravitas.”

Entertainment Weekly adds, “Like any great myth, Pan’s Labyrinth encodes its messages through displays of magic. And like any good fairy tale, it is also embroidered with threads of death and loss.”

Popular Mechanics talks about del Toro’s impact on the film: “Guillermo del Toro understands that our real, physical reality is paired with a lively world of imagination, and in times of great stress—under Franco in Spain, say, or during the Cold War—the seams start to show.”

Rippin shots to Pan's Labrynth lol welcome to my weird world

— Jack Straw (@TTheosis) January 18, 2021

3. “The Wizard of Oz”

A classic tale almost as old as time. “The Wizard of Oz” is a magical tale of witches, wizards, and talking lions, and don’t forget about those glittering red shoes! Any list talking about the fantasy genre can’t forget about this film.

This timeless movie has high praise that comes along with it as IndieWire claims, “Good luck finding another American movie as influential as The Wizard of Oz.”

Men’s Health seemingly agrees with the previous experts as the website states that “The Wizard of OZ is, “One of the most iconic films in history.”

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Sitting at the top of FilmsRanked’s list, “The Wizard of Oz is the greatest fantasy film of all time, not only because of Judy Garland’s amazing voice, the lush Technicolor magic, and the captivating story. The film is also a crucial piece of cinema culture, but also an iconic, irreplaceable part of American heritage.”

4. “Spirited Away”

Hailing from the beautiful imagination of Japanese director, Hayao Miyazaki, this animated movie follows ten-year-old Chihiro as she finds herself in a magical and confusing world trying to save her parents.

The folks at TimeOut talk about its prowess and writes: “A high point not only of the consistently excellent output of Japan’s Studio Ghibli but of animation as a whole, this magical adventure turns the wanderings of a lonely ten-year-old girl into an updated ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, complete with nods to ancient folklore and modern ecological anxieties.”

It’s also an interesting way for people to learn about Japan. Collider says, “The film is well-loved and is a great way to learn about Japanese culture and folklore. Additionally, the art style that Studio Ghibli produces is absolutely stunning and always worth watching.”

(Video) ONE NIGHT WITH THE KING (Esther the Bible Movie)

After talking about story and animation, Rolling Stone talks about its important narrative. “It’s all held together by a thrilling and poignant story, about a kid on the cusp of adulthood, discovering how complicated it can be to live in a world that’s constantly changing.”

5. “The Princess Bride”

This is another classic dreamy tale that is full of comedy, while still being philosophical and dramatic. You don’t have to go far to find someone who’s seen Rob Reiner’s tale about the Kingdom of Florin.

The film is satirical in nature, as Esquire puts it, “The 1987 American film is an intelligent, comedic fairy tale adventure. Celebrating and subverting the genre at once.”

The movie is very quotable, and you’ve likely heard the lines from the movie referenced many times. Men’s Health says, “Your wish is this movie’s command. Following the story of a young Wesley who tries to save his true love Buttercup, there’s a reason why the memorable quips,all-star cast and magnificent sets pushed this film to become a cult classic.”

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FilmsRanked talks about its longevity on their list when they say, “​​The film has enchanted generations of new viewers during the 30+ years since it was released … The quirky, fun adventure-romance was the ultimate achievement in 80s fantasy.”


You might also be interested in:

  • Best Fantasy Books of All Time
  • Best Disney Movies
  • Best Zombie Movies of All Time

Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.

Tags: dragons, movies, myths, stories

(Video) Top 10 High Fantasy Movies


Which is the No 1 fantasy movie in the world? ›

All Time Worldwide Box Office for Fantasy Movies
12011Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
22017Beauty and the Beast
32003The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
67 more rows

What makes a good fantasy movie? ›

Fantasy films often have an element of magic, myth, wonder, escapism, and the extraordinary. They may appeal to both children and adults, depending upon the particular film. In fantasy films, the hero often undergoes some kind of mystical experience, and must ask for aid from powerful, superhuman forces on the outside.

What are the 5 perfect movies? ›

Five perfect movies - A roundup of some of the best, according to...
  • Amelie.
  • Control (Ian Curtis biopic)
  • Free Solo.
  • The wind that shakes the barley.
  • Dead mans shoes.
Apr 22, 2020

What is technically the best movie ever? ›

1. Citizen Kane (1941)

Is there any Final Fantasy movies? ›

The Final Fantasy series has included many movies, going from short to full length. The principal film in the series was Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals (1994) and the most recent being Last Order: Final Fantasy VII (2005).

What are the 5 most popular movie genres? ›

Market Share for Each Genre 1995-2023
11 more rows

What is Final Fantasy movie called? ›

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is a 2001 computer-animated science fiction film directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the Final Fantasy franchise.

What movies have the best lore? ›

1 Star Wars Has An Ever-Evolving Lore
  • Blade Runner.
  • Harry Potter.
  • Dune.
  • The Lord of the Rings.
  • Studio Ghibli.
  • Spirited Away.
  • The Matrix.
  • Star Wars.
Aug 26, 2022

Do fantasy movies win Oscars? ›

The only fantasy film to ever win Best Picture was the 2003 movie “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” and the only horror movie to win Best Picture was the 1991 psychological thriller “The Silence of the Lambs.”

What is the most hopeful movie? ›

51 hopeful movies that will make you feel good about life, now streaming on Netflix and more
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  • The Soloist (Amazon) ...
  • Space Jam (Netflix) ...
  • Strictly Ballroom (Netflix) ...
  • Temple Grandin (HBO) ...
  • What's Eating Gilbert Grape (Netflix) ...
  • Wonder (Hulu)
Mar 16, 2020

What is the best fantasy of all time? ›

The 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time
  • The Arabian Nights.
  • Le Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Malory.
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
  • Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll.
  • Five Children and It by E. Nesbit.
  • Ozma of Oz by L. ...
  • Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers.
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

What is the most famous fantasy? ›

1. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. The popularity of this fantasy book has exploded over the last several years, so what list wouldn't include A Game of Thrones as one of the greatest fantasy series?

What are the 4 types of fantasy? ›

Mendlesohn posits four categories of fantasy—portal-quest, immersive, intrusion, and liminal—that arise out of the relationship of the protagonist to the fantasy world.

What are the Big 5 in movies? ›

The "Big Five" Oscars award categories are those for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay, either Original or Adapted.

What is the top 5 biggest movies of all time? ›

Top 5 highest grossing movies of all time
  • Avatar, $2,922,917,914 (2009)
  • Avengers: Endgame, $2,797,501,328 (2019)
  • Titanic, $2,201,647,264 (1997)
  • Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, $2,069,521,700 (2015)
  • Avengers: Infinity War, $2,048,359,754 (2018)
Dec 5, 2022

What is one movie everyone should see? ›

1. "The Godfather" (1972) "The Godfather" (and its sequel) is just one of those perfect movies. The story, casting, and direction all work together to create onscreen magic.

Is there a movie with 100% rating? ›

To date, Leave No Trace holds the site's record, with a rating of 100% and 251 positive reviews.

What is the #1 movie in US history? ›

All Time Domestic Box Office
12015Star Wars Ep. VII: The Force Awakens
22019Avengers: Endgame
32021Spider-Man: No Way Home
56 more rows

What is the most quoted movie of all time? ›

'The Big Lebowski' (1998)

With the infinite wisdom of The Dude (Jeff Bridges), The Coen Brothers' comedy-mystery masterpiece The Big Lebowski tops Letterboxd's list as the single most quotable film ever made.

Which Final Fantasy should I watch first? ›

As we said at the start, there's no right answer to where you should start with the FINAL FANTASY series. As each game is its own unique entity, you really can begin wherever you want.

What's the latest fantasy movie? ›

Top 50 Fantasy Movies
  • Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) PG-13 | 192 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy. ...
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022) ...
  • Teen Wolf: The Movie (2023) ...
  • Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022) ...
  • Avatar (2009) ...
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) ...
  • Violent Night (2022) ...
  • Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio (2022)

What is the newest Final Fantasy movie? ›

Final Fantasy 16 is now scheduled to be released in summer 2023, and a new trailer reveals new story details about the world of Valisthea and the clashes that will shape its world.

What is the most liked type of movie? ›

Most popular movie genres among adults in the United States as of December 2018, by gender
Romantic comedy67%84%
9 more rows
Jan 5, 2023

What are the top five movies on demand? ›

Here are the 25 Best Movies on Demand:
  • Top Gun: Maverick.
  • Parallel Mothers.
  • The Fabelmans.
  • TÁR.
  • The Paper Tigers.
  • Sator.
  • The French Dispatch.
  • The Last Duel.
4 days ago

Which type of movie is the most favorite? ›

Most popular movie genres among adults in the United States as of December 2018
CharacteristicShare of respondents
9 more rows
Jan 5, 2023

What is the best fantasy drama? ›

Saweetie | Explain This
  • Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Whether it's good television or bad television, Rings of Power was always bound to be one of the biggest small-screen events of the year. ...
  • House of the Dragon. ...
  • The Witcher. ...
  • Sweet Tooth. ...
  • Outlander. ...
  • The Wheel of Time. ...
  • The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
Sep 28, 2022

What is the biggest fantasy in the world? ›

The Greatest Fantasy Worlds Ever Created, According To Ranker
  • Wakanda (Marvel's Black Panther) ...
  • Wonderland (Alice in Wonderland) ...
  • Camelot (King Arthur) ...
  • The Continent (The Witcher) ...
  • Atlantis (Greek Mythology) ...
  • Westeros (Game of Thrones) ...
  • Narnia (The Chronicles of Narnia) ...
  • Asgard (Norse Mythology)
Mar 21, 2022

What is the oldest fantasy story? ›

The King of the Golden River (1841) is considered by many to be the start of the modern fantasy genre. Its form is that of a traditional fairy tale—two evil older brothers who fail at a task, and the good-hearted younger brother who succeeds—and is a fable of the dangers of greed and cruelty.


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