Krull is awesome.
This was recently on Cinemax and I had it on in the background. The scene with Eric Stolz and the young girl never fails to creep me out.
Star Wars, not sci-fi. MCU, fantasy. Got it. Wait, no, the other one. In fact, I have no idea what criteria people are using here.
I could watch Legend (Tangerine Dream OST version natch) once a week. I love it and still get a chill when Darkness comes out of the mirror.
I also love Conan The Barbarian and believe it does hold up, moreso than a lot of other fantasy films from that rough time, which look and sound a little ropey - I’m looking at you Highlander.
Red Sonja does not hold up. It is 100% trash, which is sad. Arnold has an interview out there somewhere where he talks about how the studio duped him into appearing in that movie. Brigitte Nielson deserved better. Or did she? I dunno. Can she act?
Princess Mononoke. All the epic-osity of LOTR, in one film.
(And I say this as a non-fan of anime generally.)
I will also second The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
In comparison to the comic book series that I would class as horror, I think you could argue it was more fantasy. But to tell the truth, the only thing I remember about it- other than Keanu starring & not being faithful to the original material- was Tilda Swinton playing Gabriel & that nearly redeeming the film.
In a cough critical analysis of the Lucifer TV series vs. its comic book source material, a friend suggested that Tilda might do Lucifer justice now that the Thin White Duke- who he was first modelled on by Gaiman in Sandman- has passed on. I though this a delicious idea, both Lucifer & Gabriel characters from the same Vertigo creative wellspring, having been played by the same actor & thus similar appearance.
What strikes me is many/most of these are pretty old with the exception of the Potterverse and maybe the Hobbit (which is not on my top list like the LoTR)
I think the supers movies have pushed these out.
Probably only from nostalgia, but this was our D&D group’s go to movie in the 80s.
My list would be:
Probably the first “high fantasy” movie that dared to take itself seriously and not descend into camp. Wonderful stuff.
OK, maybe Conan was the second such film.
I’ll just use Fellowship as a stand-in for LotR in general.
I love Neil Gaiman, and this was a great take on the book. It’s worth it just for Michelle Pfeiffer riffing on getting old.
Pretty much my go-to movie in high school… and still kind of today. I give a lecture on medieval metallurgy, and Highlander is a great thing to point to.
If you’ve never seen Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast, your life is incomplete.
Actual conversation I once had with my wife:
Wife: “Why don’t they make fantasy movies set in the future?”
Me: “Yeah, somebody should make a movie about space wizards who fight with laser swords!”
Wife: “Shut up”
Trying to get away from some of the excellent High Fantasy examples above:
The Thief of Bagdad (sic) (1940) has swords, sandals, an evil vizier, and a giant non-Will Smith genie. Some of the visuals are so eye-popping I still don’t know how they did it.
So there’s bandits in the wilderness, corrupt governors in a vast city, there’s fighters and paladins, there’s a brigand king in love with an aristocratic daughter, there’s a magic sword, and there’s heroes that fly from rooftops to treetops. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Now that’s a fucking pull quote for a poster.
And if we start stretching “fantasy” to magical realism or even high concept stuff like “teenage boy and girl switch bodies!” or “asshole weatherman keeps living the same day again and again!” or “area man keeps getting older yet the girls he lusts after stay the same age!” or “there’s a tunnel in an office that if you go in it you look through the eyes of John Malkovich for a few minutes then get spat out onto the New Jersey turnpike!” because… magic? then:
A stressed woman, at one point, is told by her father that she isn’t his daughter, which sucks but might explain why she has power over time, space and roulette wheels. Maybe her real dad was a wizard or demigod or time-twister or something. See Lola Run. Run Lola Run.
And also Your Name and Groundhog Day and Being John Malkovich.
Oh, and since we’re on the topic, I’m glad we can all agree that Fellowship of the Ring was the best of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Thanks.
Yeah, someone should! Because the one we have is not set in the future, as it happened “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” ;)
Well, if she wants to go the “sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a psychedelic freakout” route, she could take in (or rewatch?) Holy Mountain or Black Moon. (Trailers not safe for work).
If we are talking pure classic fantasy, then Willow. But then there isnt a lot of good classic fantasy out there. The LOTR trilogy was great as well. I also really enjoyed, like many, The Princess Bride and Stardust. Ive seen a lot of b-movie fantasies that I enjoyed but wouldn’t necessarily call them good movies. Finally, I have to include Star Wars as it is a classic fantasy complete with the innocent farm boy saving the princess trope, only reskinned.
Lots of good choices here, most of which I agree with. My faves:
Conan the Barbarian … it DOES hold up you losers. (Arnie is so wooden in this but it’s still great. How often do you get James Earl Jones as a bad guy in a … oh, nevermind)
Neverending Story (though I agree this has not aged well at all)
Krull… I remember the throwing star and the scene where the bad guys rise out of the swamp as awesome.
And a couple that I don’t think have been mentioned:
I love the use of color in this one. Wonderful, wonderful cinematography.
I mean, it’s Tom Cruise and Tim Curry
David Bowie is a great baddie here… plus Jennifer Connelly. You can’t go wrong!