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50 Movies About Magic That Are Worth Your Time

The allure and mystery surrounding seemingly unexplainable acts have captivated our imaginations as long as there have been stories to tell. Whether used for good or evil, the concept has contributed to an endless amount of folklore and myth, as cautionary tales became a common medium to tell stories of magic with a deeper meaning. The fairy tales of old are the films of today, with many of the greatest cinema depictions of magic drawing inspiration from age-old stories.

Some of the films we'll be looking at incorporate magic in a literal sense, such as powers beyond human explanation. These tales lend themselves to some of the most imaginative and thrilling adventures – as well as some of the most terrifying horror stories. Others will focus on the more realistic side to magic. The real-life deception skills needed to create a convincing illusion can be extremely lucrative, whether they're used for good or evil. Whatever your interests may be, we'll likely have at least a few picks that'll work for you down below.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

The first film of the 8 part series and adaptation of J.K. Rowling's book series of the same title, the name Harry Potter has become as synonymous with the world of wizardry as names like Merlin and Gandalf. Showcasing Harry's transformation from a regular boy to a student at the legendary Hogwarts school for witchcraft and wizardry, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" established all the magical elements and characters that grow with audiences. While the series arguably has higher highs than are present in the first film, if you haven't given the Harry Potter films a look by now there's no better place to start than the first entry.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The first entry in a three-part film series, "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" is an adaptation of author CS Lewis's novel of the same title. Set against the backdrop of the London Blitz, four children flee to the rural countryside to escape a brutal bombing campaign. While there, they discover a mysterious portal inside a wardrobe to the land of Narnia, a realm full of idyllic scenery and fantastical creatures. Ironically though, the children soon discover that the world of Narnia is plagued with warfare, very much like their own. They find themselves unwilling participants in the conflict, with their ascension to the throne being the prophesied road to peace for all of Narnia. While still a children's film at heart, "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" is not as sanitized as some common fantasy films in the genre, with the ever-present threat of war looming over the characters throughout the film.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

The realm of Middle Earth that author J.R.R. Tolkien created has become legendary amongst fantasy enthusiasts, with a slew of films, games, and other media all being created from his initial works. For such a contemporary series, it may be surprising to some fans that much of the source material is now well over 50 years old, with one of Tolkien's earliest novels "The Hobbit" being published in 1937.

"Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" is the first of a three-part epic following an unlikely band of heroes from across Middle Earth that unite to destroy a powerful ring, which has a strong influence over its owner, capable of corrupting them beyond recognition. A vast and imaginative world that defies typical fantasy tropes awaits viewers in this beloved film series.

The Neverending Story

When looking at German Director Wolfgang Petersen's filmography, this 1984 classic may look out of place. Known for telling frantic, high-stakes films, a joyous fantasy romp with dragons and other creatures seems a far cry from his usual gritty realism. Under the surface, however, "The Neverending Story” manages to be a surprisingly grim fairy tale.

The narrative is delivered through the pages of a storybook, with the perspective periodically switching between the real world of the boy reading it and fantasy. Our protagonist finds himself in the world of Fantasia, a crumbling empire on the brink of destruction. A withering force only known as "the nothing" threatens to entirely decimate Fantasia, spurring the hero within the story, Atreyu, to go on a quest to save the realm. Along the way he is constantly faced with insurmountable perils, all while being pursued by the nothing, decaying the world around him as he flees. 

Spirited Away

Japanese director and cofounder of legendary animation company Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki is renowned across the world for his ability to tell enchanting stories that are also heartwarmingly sweet. His 2001 production "Spirited Away" is still considered one of Studio Ghibli's best works to date some two decades after its release.

When a family inadvertently travels into the realm of spirits, only their young daughter Chihiro is spared from being transformed into a pig by an evil witch. She doesn't get off easy, however, as she is now trapped in the world of spirits until she can free her parents from the curse. Along the way, Chihiro encounters many inhabitants of the spirit world, including the iconic no-face, as she races against time to undo the dark magic afflicting her family.

Now You See Me

Combining the genres of mystery, science fiction, and classic heist films all into one, many fans can agree that the 2013 thriller "Now You See Me" is a fun story of high-stakes trickery. Actors Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, and Morgan Freeman fill out the star-studded cast, playing the roles of four magicians whose deception skills help them double as highly skilled thieves. Known as the Four Horsemen, they repeatedly pull off daring and inventive heists with their audiences receiving the spoils. The film was popular enough with audiences to earn itself a sequel in 2016, with a third film on the way. With enough twists and turns to keep audiences invested till the closing shots, it's not hard to see why.

Hocus Pocus

Set in the infamous town of Salem Massachusetts, this Halloween comedy has become a kitschy fan favorite since its 1993 release. After three witches are unleashed from a centuries-old curse on Halloween night, they attempt to steal the souls of children to stay alive. Full of typical witch fare, including spells, black cats, and a healthy dose of the macabre, "Hocus Pocus" is packed with thrills and chills. If you're willing to embrace the campy premise and at times unapologetically overacted performances by the three leads, you'll quickly understand the beloved nature of this unorthodox Disney classic.

The Prestige

Directed by Christopher Nolan, this 2006 film takes place in 19th century London, with two magicians played by Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale locked in a battle of one-upmanship. Their rivalry progresses into a gripping crescendo of destruction that repeatedly jeopardizes the lives of themselves and those around them.

The dramatic story gives a look behind the scenes of old-fashioned showmanship and mystique, with some of the uglier details and consequences being on full display. The film's setting also lends itself to a special period of time, with the modernization of technology at odds with the old world concepts of magic.

The Illusionist

A tale of forbidden love between a poor magician and soon to be member of the Austrian royal family, "The Illusionist" combines romance, magic, and a grim murder mystery into an elaborately woven story. As Sophie, the Duchess of Teschen is soon to be married to the Crown Prince, she plans to elope with an old flame, Eisenheim. Under the looming threat of arrest and the violent history of Sophie's fiance, the pair are forced to rely on Eisenheim's quick wit and prowess as a magician to stay with one another. With its share of supernatural themes and fantastical tricks, this 2006 film certainly lives up to its name.

The Witch

Devoid of the charm and optimism that many films associate with the theme of magic, "The Witch" presents a disturbing and eerie imagining of the concept. While the widespread fear of witches in the 17th century has since been understood as entirely unfounded, this 2015 horror film is unambiguous in its approach.

A rural New England farm owned by a Puritan family is beset with a series of tragedies, from child abduction to animal mutilation. The nightmarish events only descend further and further into chaos, pitting the family members against one another as their paranoia consumes them. The reality of the paranormal nature of the being tormenting the family, however, is unmistakable – as is the confusion surrounding the witch's next move.

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

Another entry in Terry Gilliam's long filmography of movies focused on the bizarre and otherworldly, "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus" is reminiscent of many of his previous works. The dystopian science fiction setting of films like "Brazil" or "12 Monkeys," albeit trading the bleak sci-fi setting for one with a more mystical, old-world feel.

We open with a traveling circus troupe led by Doctor Parnassus picking up a mysterious stranger with a murky past. Along the way it's revealed that most of our characters have something to hide, with the Devil himself tailing the group, dueling the Doctor over the souls of the innocent. While playing the role of Tony Shepard, the 2009 release was sadly heavily impacted by Heath Ledger's sudden and tragic death partway through production. Actors Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell were all cast into the role to help finish the project, adding a layer of surrealism to the film with Tony's character frequently changing appearance.

The Wizard of Oz

Likely needing no introduction, "The Wizard of Oz" has become one of the most iconic films of all time since its release over 80 years ago, transcending the genre of fantasy into a ubiquitous cinema classic. While the film is an adaptation of author Frank Baum's children's novel "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," it portrays the fictional world of Oz in a much more palatable way. The cast of characters has nonetheless permeated pop culture with a slew of parodies and homages in the decades since, with everything from Dorothy's red slippers to her traveling companions becoming instantly recognizable even amongst those who have never seen the film. Whether you grew up watching it or never got around to seeing this classic, it's always worth putting it on for a lighthearted and magical look into Baum's imaginative world.

Doctor Strange

Starring actor Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular reality-bending doctor, the 2016 film "Doctor Strange" helped launch the character to the forefront of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even though he was relatively unknown to general audiences at the time. His popularity was only helped by the stellar performance Cumberbatch provided, making Doctor Strange one of the most loveable, if not snarkiest heroes in the Marvel universe.

After being horrifically injured in a car accident, Doctor Stephen Strange seeks alternative medicine in an effort to heal himself. The journey leads him to learn the mystic arts, unlocking powers that ultimately rival many of the other heroes and villains in the MCU. With trippy visuals and memorably unique climax, "Doctor Strange" is worth checking out for fans of both Marvel comics and sorcery alike.

The Dark Crystal

Created by the renowned puppeteer Jim Henson, his 1982 film "Dark Crystal" would take a much more traditional fantasy-themed approach than his previous work on "The Muppet Show." The extensive use of practical effects and puppetry on screen is commendable, crafting an elaborate world that feels wholly distinct from anything else before or since.

Set in the far-flung world of Thra, an ongoing conflict between the race of Gelflings and Skeksis has been raging ever since a magical crystal was shattered. The Skeksis have found a way to harness the crystal's powers for evil, stealing the life of innocents to prolong their own. It's revealed that a young Gelfling named Jen is prophesied to repair the crystal and free his people from the Skeksis oppression. Along the way, he meets another of his kind named Kira, as the two journey together to fulfill the prophecy while learning more about the years of conflict that have passed.


Director Martin Scorsese can be credited with crafting some of the most compelling and dramatic films of the modern era. Whether producing gripping crime dramas or brutal psychological thrillers, his films typically center around some pretty heavy themes. If you're looking for a more lighthearted piece by this renowned director, or are simply a fan of his most well-known works, his 2011 adventure film "Hugo" won't disappoint.

In early 20th century France, Hugo Cabret, the son of a clockmaker is left orphaned after his father is tragically killed. In death, he leaves behind an unresolved mystery in the form of a mysterious automaton with unknown origins. Along the way, Hugo finds himself under the care of famous illusionist Georges Méliès, with Hugo working in his toy shop. The unique imagery in "Hugo" and the almost dreamlike world of early 20th-century mechanization on display sets this one apart visually, with the underlying themes of the unexplainable present throughout.


The unique setting and truly memorable soundtrack present in Disney's "Aladdin” would be enough for any other film to stand on its own merits. When combined with the hilarious performance by Robin Williams as the unconventional fairy tale's genie, it elevates the film to one of Disney's all-time greats.

After the impoverished Aladdin is smitten with the royal princess, he is tasked by the evil vizier, Jafar, to recover a magical lantern hidden deep within a treacherous cave. Aladdin soon meets the genie entombed within the lamp, whose offer of three wishes allows Aladdin to either set him free, or use them all for personal gain. Full of heart, musical numbers, and classic Disney magic, "Aladdin" has earned its place amongst the other Disney classics.

The Greatest Showman

Part musical, part drama, "The Greatest Showman" is packed with the pomp and circumstance and over-the-top performances typical of P.T. Barnum's circus shows. While there aren't true supernatural themes at play in this one, the enchanting visuals and bombastic performances are sure to leave viewers enthralled.

Telling a romanticized version of the Barnum Circus' rise to global prominence in the late 1800s, the film shows the many challenges Barnum faced while keeping the tone pretty lighthearted. The star-studded cast helps add to the grandiose feel of the production, with talents such as Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Zendaya, and many more in lead roles.


A tragic story of poverty, street crime, and science fiction all combine in this gripping 2016 drama. Depicting the practice of magic, as well as the unforgiving nature of organized crime in an unapologetically gritty style, "Sleight" is a noteworthy pick.

Set in present day Los Angeles, street magician and engineering whiz Bo Wolfe finds himself the sole provider for his little sister after his parents' tragic death. When his signature move as a street performer fails to make ends meet, he turns to start selling drugs with disastrous consequences. To try to set things right again and escape the destructive cycle he's caught in, he's forced to rely on his quick wit and supposed magical abilities.

A Whisker Away

Director Junichi Sato's films are typically much more lighthearted than some of the projects he has done storyboarding on, with "End of Evangelion" and "Cowboy Bebop" being some of the most notable. His 2020 animated film "A Whisker Away" is no exception.

After a young girl finds a magical mask that allows her to temporarily transform into a cat, she trades the ability to transform back into a human in an attempt to win over an unrequited lover. What follows is a whimsical adventure through the world of cats before she loses her form as a human for good. If you finished watching "Spirited Away" and were left longing for dozens more cats in the film, this just might be the one for you.

Lord of Illusions

Clive Barker, the creative mind behind both the "Hellraiser" and "Candyman" film series is a master of cult horror favorites. While his 1995 film "Lord of Illusions" may not have left quite the same cultural impact as his other films, its genre-blending of dark magic and disturbing cults makes it worth checking out.

After the character of William Nix, an enigmatic yet driven cult leader, is shot and killed, neither the lives he affected nor his own spirit is fully put to rest. Played by actor Scott Bakula, private detective Harry D'Amour uncovers a series of unraveling secrets, as well as grisly deaths in Nix's wake. Many of the grotesque visuals that are synonymous with Clive Barker's work are present here, as are the themes of the occult and black magic.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

This 2013 comedy uses the sleazy backdrop of Las Vegas to tell a ridiculous and crass story of three magicians' rivalries. Starring Steve Buscemi and Steve Carell as two contemporary and successful magicians, their dominance over the Vegas nightlife soon comes under threat. Despite their distaste for one another, they find themselves forced to work together to try and take down an up-and-coming star played by Jim Carrey. While some of the jokes can land flat at times, if you're in the mood for an unapologetically irreverent flick, "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" might just be the one for you.

Oz the Great and Powerful

The great number of films that have spawned from Frank Baum's Oz series serve as a lasting testament to the creative genius of his work. Directed by Sam Raimi and starring James Franco as magician and trickster Oscar Diggs, "Oz the Great and Powerful" is a prequel to the 1939 classic "The Wizard of Oz." After Oscar is magically transported to the land of Oz through a tornado, he finds himself caught up in a conflict between witches and a recently murdered king. Much of the same magic that has been seen throughout the stories of Oz are present here, with a refreshing plot that deepens the lore of the series.

Magic in the Moonlight

Director Woody Allen cast Emma Stone as Sophie Baker and Colin Firth as Stanley Crawford in this period romantic comedy. Sophie's seemingly transcendental ability to reach out to the dead is at odds with Stanley's skepticism, resulting in him repeatedly attempting to disprove her supposed clairvoyance. The backdrop of 1920's France helps to complete the whimsical setting, with the two protagonists' love for each other blossoming out of their rivalry. The heartwarming romance and persisting question of Sophie's validity help to carry the plot along, while the comedic moments and beautiful visuals help keep "Magic in The Moonlight" a lighthearted and enjoyable experience

Sleeping Beauty

Despite this 1959 classic being recognized as one of the most popular animated films produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, fans might be surprised to find out that audiences were less enthralled by this one back when it was released.

Adapted from a now over three-century old fairy tale of the same name, "Sleeping Beauty" has become a classic love story over the years. When Princess Aurora is plagued with a magical curse that causes her to succumb to a deep sleep, only her one true love has the power to save her. While the story sounds decidedly cliché by modern standards, it's important to remember that many of the Disney classics of yesterday helped influence the modern fantasy genre of today.

Mary and the Witch's Flower

Fans would be forgiven for assuming that this cheery adventure into the world of witches is a Studio Ghibli production, especially with director Hiromasa Yonebayashi having helped animate several Ghibli films during his career, as well as directing their 2010 "The Secret World of Arrietty." He certainly took inspiration from his previous projects, creating something that combines many of the best aspects of a classic Ghibli film into this 2017 release.

In a classic fish out of water story, Mary finds herself swept into a magical school for witches after she's led astray by a nearby cat. Not everything is as innocent as it looks, however, with the case of mistaken identity soon transforming into a deeper conflict of kidnapping and unwanted experimentation. Whether you're a seasoned Ghibli fan or simply interested in the concept of magic, "Mary and the Witch's Flower" will leave you satisfied.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

"Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling and director David Yates returned to collaborate on this prequel film set in the same universe. Set some 70 years before the events of the first "Harry Potter" film, "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" deepens the lore of the magical world it's set in while not alienating new viewers to the film series.

Shortly after Newt Scamander, a wizard with a specialty for taming magical beasts, arrives in 1920's New York, he has several creatures escape his control. Newt finds himself at odds with the less than magical city and its inhabitants, whose help he's forced to enlist if he wants to safely recover the creatures. A deeper conspiracy is gradually revealed, with a larger conflict developing between the world of wizards and our own.


Starring Angelina Jolie as the titular mistress of all evil, "Maleficent" reimagines the classic tale of "Sleeping Beauty" from the antagonist's point of view. While following many of the same plot points as the original, this live action interpretation expands upon the motivations of Maleficent, showing both her fall from grace, as well as her eventual redemption. Given the film's main character, expect a moodier tone here than the 1959 classic "Sleeping Beauty." Although critics and audiences remain divided on the execution of a misunderstood Maleficent, it was popular enough with fans to earn itself a 2019 sequel with even more polarizing results.


Director Ralph Bakshi's filmography is controversial to say the least. His 1972 release "Fritz the Cat" became the first animated American movie to receive an X rating, which was proudly promoted on the film's marketing. Whether the majority of his films aimed to convey a deeper message, or simply to shock as many viewers as possible with their uncomfortable themes is still up for debate.

A departure from Bakshi's more contentious films, his 1977 film "Wizards" is a strange fusion of classical fantasy lore and futuristic science fiction tech. Set two million years after a nuclear apocalypse has ravaged the planet, your typical cast of goblins, wizards, and other fantasy creatures have repopulated the earth. Despite its PG rating, however, "Wizards" is still very much a Bakshi film with many adult themes, albeit less prominent than his other works. Whether you're interested in the unique styling of classic American animation, or appreciate when magic and sci-fi are combined, "Wizards" is worth checking out.


Director Ron Howard and legendary filmmaker George Lucas teamed up to create this 1988 fantasy epic in the same vein as other '80s fantasy classics like "Labyrinth" and "The Dark Crystal." While critics were tough on this one, it's proven to have had a lasting impression with audiences, praising it for its imaginative world-building and charming tone.

A time of great conflict has beset the fantasy realm after a child prophesied to end the tyrannical queen's reign is born. Narrowly escaping death, the baby finds itself in the care of Willow Ufgood, whose own life is threatened as he and a band of heroes try to reunite the child with its people. While some of the effects might feel a bit dated by today's standards, "Willow" is still worth giving a try for both fans of Lucas's work and those who want to see a wide array of magical and fantastical creatures.


Many of the films on our list incorporate the idea of a separate fantasy world which the characters only find themselves able to access through some kind of portal. Whether it be the wardrobe to Narnia or Dorothy's red slippers taking her home, there is always a clear distinction between the two worlds. The 2007 film "Stardust" however is an exception, with the fantasy kingdom of Stormhold very literally bordering our own nations.

Set in mid 19th century England, a young man named Tristan pursues a fallen star that will allow its owner to ascend to the throne of Stormhold. Along the way, he uncovers secrets about his own past, as well as the true identity of the star itself, all while competing against a group of witches intent on stealing it from him. Full of humor, romance, and mystery, "Stardust" is definitely an underrated pick.

The Craft

Seasoned fans of the dark fantasy genre are probably familiar with this 1996 cult classic, which takes a deep dive into the practice of the occult and black magic. Centered around four teenage girls who bond over their shared status as social outcasts, the group begins to dedicate their time to the study of witchcraft. Soon enough it pays off, with each of the girls developing supernatural powers beyond their control. As they become more proficient in the dark arts, their potential for corruption increases, with some using their newfound abilities to carry out acts of vengeance against people who have wronged them.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

A classic battle between the forces of good and evil is at the forefront of this 2010 fantasy adventure. Starring Nicholas Cage as the ancient sorcerer Balthazar Blake, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" doesn't take its material too seriously, keeping its lighthearted and comedic tone the top priority. Set in present-day New York City, the long-awaited descendant of the great wizard Merlin has finally been found. Balthazar must seek him out, and enlist his help to finally end a centuries-old conflict. While there are no heady themes or deep worldbuilding in this one, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" achieves its goal of telling an enjoyable and at times undeniably campy story full of magicians and wizardry.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Based on author Rick Riordan's novel series of the same name, "Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief" plays with the concept of classical Greek gods in a modern setting. Percy Jackson goes about his day to day life unaware he is the son of the powerful god Poseidon. Following his mothers supposed death, Percy finds out the truth of his heritage, making him an unwilling participant in a looming war between all the gods of the universe. He is forced to face off against many of the most famous entities of Greek Mythology, all while trying to reunite with his mother and prevent a cataclysmic war.

The Witches of Eastwick

Before he would make his appearance as the Joker in "Batman," actor Jack Nicholson played the character of Daryle Van Horn, a mysterious and seductive figure not unlike the Devil in the dark comedy "The Witches of Eastwick." His performances as an antagonist always resonate with audiences, consistently bringing his characters' manipulative and deranged nature to life.

After a group of three women bond over their issues in life and their shared lack of partners, they soon learn to be careful about what they wish for. Nicholson's character finds his way into their lives, simultaneously dating all three women while isolating them from others. The trio quickly discovers they have become a coven of witches, with Van Horn toying with the women and attempting to manipulate their powers for his own agenda.

The Polar Express

"The Polar Express" has become a classic Christmas Film since its 2004 release. Starring Tom Hanks as the titular train's conductor, the film is brought to life through the use of motion capture animation, giving it a unique style when compared to many other animated films.

After a young boy boards the Polar Express in the dead of night, he is whisked away to the vibrant North Pole alongside hundreds of other children. While the yuletide adventure doesn't contain the magical elements of wizards and witches, the bell from Santa's sleigh is shown to only ring for those who truly believe in the magic of Christmas.


Most of the films on this list pertain to the usage of true magic or, at the very least, those who bill themselves as magicians. The 2001 French film "Amélie," however, follows a young woman of the same name who is just as ordinary as her peers, yet is determined to go to extraordinary lengths to improve the lives of those around her.

A Parisian girl with an introverted personality, Amelie's childhood has been beset with tragedy. Despite this, she maintains an optimistic demeanor towards life, allowing her to carry out seemingly endless ways of showing affection to others. While her methods aren't truly credited to any supernatural abilities, her inventive methods and pure intentions allow those she interacts with to feel as though it couldn't have been anything but magic.

The House With a Clock in its Walls

Themes of grief and mourning loom over the events of this film, as an orphaned young boy named Lewis Barnavelt finds himself in the care of his eccentric and seemingly unhinged Uncle Jonathan. Played by Jack Black, Jonathan is determined to locate a clock hidden somewhere within the house, which is imbued with magical attributes so powerful, they threaten all of humanity. The true reason for the clock's supernatural abilities mirror Lewis's own trauma, which he must learn to overcome to save the day. Creepy imagery and adult oriented themes help keep this one enjoyable for all ages, while the unusual way in which the story is told help set it apart from other films in the genre.


One of the oldest picks on our list, the Italian-produced film "Suspiria" still holds up as a nightmarishly disturbing entry into the horror genre some 45 years on. After a transfer student arrives in Germany to attend a renowned school for ballet, it gradually becomes clear there are more nefarious events transpiring behind the scenes. The occult, black magic, and human sacrifice are all at play here, with the film being popular enough with fans to warrant a 2018 remake. Additionally, "Suspiria" breaks from the typical horror color palette of dark and dreary imagery, instead embracing a vibrant array of reds and pinks, leaving viewers with a visual display that is as graphic as it is awe-inspiring.

The Spiderwick Chronicles

"Mean Girls" director Mark Waters is best known for his comedy films, with "The Spiderwick Chronicles" currently being his only foray into the fantasy adventure genre. Despite it being a departure from his typical projects, it proved successful with fans, faithfully adapting its source material into an enjoyable adventure film.

In the present day, a young Jared Grace discovers a field guide to the magical creatures that inhabit the woods around his house. Using it as a tool to interact with this newfound world, he quickly discovers that the knowledge contained within the book is dangerous if in the wrong hands, and currently being sought by an evil ogre named Mulgareth. Along the way he encounters many creatures that help him on his mission to protect the book, as well as its original author.


With Ridley Scott as Director, a young Tom Cruise in the lead role, and a war over the land of unicorns, what's not to love? Departing from his science fiction roots and embarking audiences on something new entirely, Scott's phenomenal world-building and cinematography shine in this 1985 dark fantasy adventure, with a devil look-alike known as the Lord of Darkness attempting to slaughter all the unicorns in the land. Cruise and co-star Mia Sara are the only things standing in his way, going on a journey full of romance and peril to protect the land from falling into perpetual darkness.

The Green Knight

A dramatic tale from the world of Camelot, "The Green Knight" forgoes epic fantasy battles and flashy displays of magic for a more subdued and somber adaptation of its source material. When Gawain, nephew to the great King Arthur strikes down a mysterious being known as the Green Knight in exchange for his axe, he begins a prophesied journey to his own doom. Along the way, he encounters many mystical beings, from the undead to talking animals. His journey of self-discovery has many challenges, culminating with a final test on the day of his foretold death. Be warned, don't go into this adventure expecting your typical fantasy fare. Despite lukewarm reception from some audiences, the film received critical acclaim upon release, leaving "The Green Knight" a divisively unique entry into the genre.


Released in 2021, this fantasy horror film is a great gateway into the genre for younger viewers, while still staying engaging enough for older crowds. To his chagrin, Alex Mosher's passion for writing horror stories is shunned by his parents, causing him to store his creative works in secret. After wandering from his apartment one night, Alex finds a very unlikely fan of his writing who just so happens to be an evil witch named Natacha. Alex becomes her prisoner, forced to keep writing or face certain death — all while trying to uncover the mystery of her paranormal apartment as well as the fates of those who came before him.


While audiences have been treated to a recent revival of films bearing the "Jumanji" name, younger fans might be surprised to find out about the original 1995 film. Starring the late actor and comedian Robin Williams, "Jumanji" was a lot less over the top Dwayne Johnson action, and a lot more unsettlingly paranormal moments. After a magical board game with a perilous jungle setting spills over into the real world, it begins threatening the lives of its players. They release a man named Alan Parrish who has been trapped within the game for decades, and who might just be the only way they can escape the game's dangers alive.

Conan the Barbarian

With a filmography spanning over 50 years, action star and former politician Arnold Schwarzenegger has achieved legendary status in the world of cinema. One of his first lead roles would be in the 1982 film "Conan the Barbarian." Set in a realm dominated by warlords and evil sorcerers, Conan's family is slaughtered in front of him at a young age. As he grows up, he becomes a great warrior determined to avenge his parents' deaths. this fantasy revenge story has just as much magic and sorcery as it does over the top violence and unbridled sexual content, leaving viewers who can stomach its more adult themes with a memorable experience, to say the least.


The real-life Harry Houdini that this film is based on is nothing short of a legend in the world of magic. A renowned illusionist and escape artist, his worldwide cultural influence has persisted long after his passing nearly a century ago. While the 1953 biography "Houdini" is a largely romanticized look at his life, it does incorporate many real-life details as well.

Telling the story of Houdini's marriage and subsequent rise to stardom, he finds himself consumed by his work. To the distress of those around him, the renowned performer continues his death-defying acts right up until his luck runs out. Full of the classic seemingly impossible stunts for which the titular showman was known, "Houdini" still manages to deliver on some compelling character drama despite its age.


Anthony Hopkins plays the character of Charles Withers in this 1978 horror flick directed by the late Richard Attenborough, long before he would produce the classic "Jurassic Park" franchise. Withers, a bumbling and ineffective magician struggles to find an act to save his career. When he introduces a ventriloquist dummy named "Fats," he begins to rebound from failure all while trying to hide the Dummy's disturbing truth from those around him. A mad descent into his own delirium and violent tendencies, "Magic" will leave you questioning what's real and what isn't until the final shots of the film.


In a world where magic has long been forgotten, brothers Ian and Barley go on a journey to attempt to rekindle both what little magic is left in the world, and to reconnect with their long dead father. Using an incantation to summon his father back for a single day, Ian is interrupted, resulting in the spell comically only reviving his father's lower half. The duo have to try to find the tools needed to continue the spell before time runs out and they lose their only chance at reconnecting with him. While full of the typical adventurous spirit and humorous moments we've come to expect from similar films, "Onward" simultaneously succeeds in delivering an important lesson on the process of grieving and self acceptance


When a teenage Sarah Williams angrily wishes for her baby brother to be whisked away by goblins, she probably didn't expect David Bowie, playing the Goblin King Jareth, to fly in through an open window and make her wish a reality. Seeing that Sarah is immediately regretting her earlier demands, he challenges her to complete his convoluted labyrinth, full of creatures both friend and foe if she wants her brother back again.

The film would be one of just several that "Muppets" creator Jim Henson would direct, using his expertise and artistic genius to bring the creatures of the labyrinth to life. In the years since its release, "Labyrinth" has become a cult classic amongst fans of dark magic, Henson's puppetry, and fans of David Bowie's over-the-top personality alike.

The Brothers Grimm

Drawing inspiration from the classic fairy tales of the same name, director Terry Gilliam lends his iconic style to this 2005 release. The dark and absurd nature of his filmmaking is perfectly paired here, playing off of the truly grim nature of the source material.

In 18th century Germany, the titular Grimm brothers are a pair of charlatans, traveling from town to town taking advantage of people's superstitions regarding the world of the paranormal. Their behavior soon catches up with them, however, as one job brings them face to face with unquestionably authentic magic. While not quite as frightening as the original stories, there are enough scares here to warrant the film's PG-13 rating, as well as enough bizarre occurrences for fans of a less cheery telling of classic fairy tales.


Roald Dahl's children's stories always manage to capture the childhood sense of wonder and innocence that most of us lose as adults, while at the same time not feeling sugar-coated. The many film adaptations of his work over the years are largely successful at conveying those feelings on the big screen, with the 1996 adaptation of his novel "Matilda" being a welcome addition to the collection. In addition to Dahl's creativity and heart being on full display, the film's director Danny DeVito helped round out the production, no doubt adding his own somewhat dark comedic flair to the final project.

Matilda is an undeniable bookworm, whose passion for literature frequently finds her at the ridicule of her neglectful family. After she discovers she possesses rudimentary telekinetic powers, she spends her time sharpening them in scenes that feel like a precursor to some of "Harry Potter's" early classroom hijinks. While it may be lacking in more adult-oriented themes, "Matilda" proves the ubiquitous appeal of Dahl's storytelling amongst all ages.