I was surprised to see that despite dozens of threads on favorite or best Sci-Fi movies, and lots of threads on the Best Western movies, Best or Favorite horror movies and Comic Book movies, I couldn’t find any threads on the best Fantasy movies. So here’s one.
I think part of the problem is that people can have a very expansive or very narrow definition of what Fantasy can be. For instance, some people have a very expansive definition of Sci-Fi and want to include anything with space ships and lasers, so even Star Wars would be included in Sci-Fi. I have an expansive definition of Fantasy, personally, and don’t just include swords and sorcery and medieval times type settings, but anything fantastical that doesn’t have a scientific underpinning.
I’m not going to define fantasy for you. It’s up to you. Although, for the purposes of list making, I would exclude comic book movies, personally, even though I consider those Fantasy. My only reason for that is we already have comic book movie lists aplenty. You’ll have to decide for yourself if a particular zombie movie falls under the umbrella of sci-fi or fantasy for you.
So have at it. Think of your favorites, please provide at least a vague explanation and try to stay away from explicit spoilers. And hopefully your lists will let others discover movies they haven’t seen yet but are worth checking out.
Is Ghostbusters fantasy? If so then that’s my favorite. Also, The Princess Bride, which I am pretty sure is fantasy. Plus Dave, wouldn’t it be cool to have a president like that? Aw shit, I got P&R in your thread, here let me wipe that up.
Fantasy can be pretty tough because there aren’t a lot of really, truly, good fantasy films out there. My favorite setting in a video game, sure, but movies? Tough.
I would say Conan (the original), Willow, Red Sonja are all ones that spring to mind from when I was a kid - I couldn’t tell you if they hold up though. The recent Lord of the Rings trilogy from Jackson, and the Hobbit … trilogy, were fun and well done (Hobbit can be hit and miss, but the original trilogy is excellent). Brotherhood of the Wolf is probably fantasy, and it’s great, as well. I’m sure I’m missing some, but nothing is coming to mind right now…
EDIT: Oh, Pan’s Labyrinth is great - though there is a scene that holds it back for me, sadly.
And of course, all of the Harry Potter films, which I love to have on in the background on a fall day, are some fantastic entertainment. Not as good as the books? Well, sure, but man, they are great on their own. I consider them Fantasy, I think.
Conan the Barbarian - Captures the look and feel of the world from the books amazingly well. The world class soundtrack certainly didn’t hurt.
The Fellowship of the Ring - Seeing these stories on the big screen, with big budgets and A-list talent, was wonderful as a whole, but Fellowship provided so many “oh wow!!!” moments throughout as the first of the trilogy, that it stands out in my memory.
Star Wars: A New Hope - An indelible impression and love of movies was left on six year old me. There are no prequels. At least as much fantasy as sci-fi, IMO, though I get why others would differ.
Ladyhawke - Rutger Hauer is just great in this. Haunted, driven, holding onto the last glimmers of hope. Classic love story with a great fantasy twist.
Flash Gordon - Do I really need to explain this? Any movie this much fun goes on the list.
The Wizard of Oz - A masterpiece in so many, many ways. I won’t even try to do this movie justice here.
Highlander - There can be only one! Simple, great story hook and wonderful world building of a subculture interwoven with the world we already know. The over-the top craziness of the movie’s style is just perfect for the story they’re telling. Plus, Lambert pulls off “weird and maybe more than a little creepy” really well.
Trollhunter - Downright weird. Love the playing-it-straight tone of the movie juxtaposed with the overall absurdity of the concept.
I have both watched the movie and read the book in recent years. I have to disagree. The movie has aged terribly. The book is still pretty decent (provided you get the good translation with the red and green print and the line illustrations.)
The Prophecy- modern apocrypha about a second war between angels in Heaven spilling down to Earth, with Christopher Walken doing a fantastic & endlessly quotable turn as the Archangel Gabriel- jealous of God’s love for humanity, placing us “monkeys” ahead of the perfection of angels- and Viggo Mortensen briefly cameoing as Lucifer.