20 Best Movies Like The Lord of the Rings

20 Best Movies Like The Lord of the Rings

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Peter Jackson was initially hired to do the difficult job of bringing J.R.R. Tolkien’s majestic fantasy work, The Lord of the Rings, to the big screen. The story had already been adapted in animated form prior to this project, but Jackson was given the task of making a live-action adaptation. The studio wasn’t all that enthusiastic about the project and it wasn’t initially ready to invest in a whole trilogy, opting for two or even just one movie that would adapt the whole story. And while the studio treated the project as a gamble, Jackson was convinced that he would able to deliver and he did. The Lord of the Ring trilogy is a pillar of modern fantasy filmmaking and is considered to be one of the best trilogies in the history of cinema.

The trilogy was distributed from 2001 to 2003 on an annual basis. The first movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, premiered on December 19, 2001, and was a critical and commercial success. The Two Towers premiered on December 18, 2002 with equal results, while the last instalment in the trilogy, The Return of the King, premiered on December 17, 2003. The films received numerous awards and nominations, and are today considered to be classics of modern American cinema.

In today’s article, we are going to bring you a list of the 20 best movies that are similar to The Lord of the Rings. We strongly recommend each title on this list and we guarantee that you are going to enjoy them if you loved The Lord of the Rings. Enjoy!

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Similarities and Differences Between Dwarves and Hobbits

Director: Peter Jackson
Screenplay: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro
Release Date: November 28, 2012
Running Time: 169 minutes

Starring: Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins), Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield), Aidan Turner (Kíli), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), Christopher Lee (Saruman), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Sylvester McCoy (Radagast), Andy Serkis (Gollum), Benedict Cumberbatch (Smaug / The Necromancer)

Synopsis

The film begins with the 111-year-old hobbit Bilbo Baggins writing down his adventure that he experienced 60 years ago in a book for his nephew Frodo Baggins. Long before Bilbo was even born, the dwarf king Thrór was one of the most powerful dwarves in the whole of Middle-earth. His family together with Thorin Oakenshield lived in the Lonely Mountains next to the town of Dale.

But the peaceful idyll was destroyed when the huge fire-breathing dragon Smaug came there and burned most people to death and seized the riches that were in the Lonely Mountains, crushing the city at the same time. Only a few managed to escape, including Thorin and Thrór. Thorin also sees Thranduil, the elf king standing on a hill, looking at what the dwarves’ greed has done to them. He turns his back on them, as he does not want to expose his people to the wrath of the dragon.

This leads to Thorin’s hatred of elves in the future. In the Shire, 60 years prior to Bilbo’s writing, Bilbo is tricked by the wizard Gandalf the Grey into joining Thorin’s entourage of dwarves in order to retake the mountain from Smaug. Among the dwarfs are Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Balin, Dwalin, Fìli, Kìli, Dori, Òin, Nori and Glòin. They want to hire him as a thief.

At first, Bilbo does not want to accept it, but after thinking for a while he follows them at dawn. Later in the evening, Bilbo and the company are caught by three large trolls who intend to eat them, but as their quarrel takes a long time, Gandalf manages to expose them to the sunlight, which causes them to turn to stone.

They find the trolls’ hideout where there are several elf-forged swords; Gandalf gives Bilbo a sword that will in the future be called Sting. Radagast the Brown arrives and tells that a dark force is taking possession of Greenwod. He also says that he had a terrifying encounter in the fortress of Dol Guldur with the Necromancer, a creature cursed by a dark force.

Then they are attacked by a pack of orcs but manage to end up in safety thanks to a secret passage that leads to Rivendell, where the elf Elrond manages to reveal how to get into the mountain as the entrance is blocked by huge boulders. There is a secret door on the side of the mountain that can be unlocked by the key that Thrór gave Gandalf before he died. But it can only be unlocked before the last rays of Durin’s day.

Gandalf then sits down with the White Council, consisting the elven ruler Galadriel, the wizard Saruman the White, and Lord Elrond. He produces a Morgul blade which was dropped by the Necromancer and which belonged to the Witch-king of Angmar. This shows probable proof that Sauron, the Dark Lord, is returning.

Saruman asks Gandalf to stop the dwarves’ journey, but when Gandalf knew this would happen, he asked the company to continue without him. The company happens to end up in a battle of stone giants. They manage to take shelter in a cave but it later turns out to be a trap made by goblins, who take them to their king, the Great Goblin.

Bilbo separates from the company and falls into a dark hole that turns out to be the creature Gollum’s home. Gollum loses a ring but does not notice it at first. Bilbo manages to take the ring and follows Gollum but is discovered. Gollum and Bilbo play a game of riddles as they agree that if Bilbo wins, Gollum will show him out, but if not, he will eat Bilbo. Bilbo wins by asking him what he has in his pocket. Gollum realizes that the ring is gone but soon realizes that Bilbo has it and starts chasing him.

The company manages to find out, thanks to the Great Goblin, that a large pale orc named Azog, who killed Thròr and his descendants in a battle on Mount Moria, has laid out a reward for Thorin’s head. Gandalf arrives and beheads the Great Goblin, which leads to a wild hunt through the mountain but then they manage to escape.

Bilbo manages to escape from the raging Gollum who desperately shouts his anger at Baggins. He comes out of the mountain and is reunited with the company. But they end up in an ambush of Azog and a bunch of orcs, which means that they take shelter in the trees. Thorin goes into battle against the orc but is defeated and overpowered by him along with his wolf.

Bilbo manages to save Thorin in the last moment before the eagles save the company from the orcs and Azog. They land safely on a cliff further away where Gandalf manages to retrieve Thorin. Thorin apologizes to Bilbo for his view of him as a failed member of the party and embraces him. At the same time, they get a view of the Lonely Mountain, which is still far away. There, a thrush knocks with an acorn on a rock, which causes the echo to wake the dragon from its sleep with a deep growl.

Rationale

The whole Hobbit trilogy is actually a continuation of Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings, although we’re dealing with a prequel series in this case. The Hobbit is part of the same narrative universe, it shares a lot of the characters and it was directed by the same person, which means that you can expect everything you’ve already seen in The Lord of the Rings. The only major difference is that The Hobbit is a tad lighter in its tone than The Lord of the Rings, but it’s still something you must watch.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Director: Peter Jackson
Screenplay: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro
Release Date: December 2, 2013
Running Time: 161 minutes

Starring: Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins), Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield), Aidan Turner (Kíli), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Sylvester McCoy (Radagast), Benedict Cumberbatch (Smaug / The Necromancer), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), Evangeline Lilly (Tauriel), Stephen Fry (Master of Lake-town), Luke Evans (Bard the Bowman), Lee Pace (Thranduil)

Synopsis

Thorin and his company are pursued by Azog the Defiler and his orcs after the events of the previous film. Gandalf leads them to the nearby home of Beorn, the skin-changer. At night Azog, summons the Necromancer to Dol Guldur, ordering him to gather troops for the war. Then Azog entrusts the hunt for Thorin to his son Bolg.

The next day, Beorn accompanies the company to the borders of Mirkwood, where Gandalf discovers a black tongue etched into old ruins. At the same time, Gandalf receives a telepathic message from Galadriel urging him to investigate the tomb of the Nazgûl. He warns the company to only follow the trail and leaves them. Upon entering the forest, the group goes astray and is trapped by giant spiders.

Bilbo then frees the dwarves with his newly acquired Ring that enables him to be invisible. He subsequently drops the Ring and begins to understand its dark influence after brutally killing a living being in order to reclaim the Ring. The rest of the spiders are killed by the Wood Elves, led by Tauriel and Legolas. They take the dwarves prisoner and bring Thorin to their king, Thranduil.

Thorin reminds the elf king of his disdain for the dwarves of Erebor after being attacked by Smaug 60 years earlier; the Dwarfs are imprisoned. Bilbo, escaping captivity, rescues them using empty wine barrels, which he sends downstream. Pursued by the wood elves, the dwarves are ambushed by Bolg and his Orc squad, and Keely is wounded by a Morgul arrow. The group engages in a three-way battle, but the dwarves are ultimately able to escape from the two groups of pursuers.

Thranduil then seals the entrance to his kingdom after the captive Orc reveals that the dark entity has returned and gathers an army in the south. Tauriel decides to leave and help the dwarves; Legolas follows her. Meanwhile, Gandalf and Radagast the Brown go to investigate the Nazgûl tomb and find it empty.

The group is smuggled into town by the boatman Bard. Thorin promises the mayor and the people of the Lake-town some of the mountain’s treasures. It is then revealed that Bard is a descendant of Dale’s last ruler named Girion and has the last black arrow to kill Smaug. Kìli is forced to stay in bed, looked after by Fili, Oin and Bofur, and the rest of the company is given a warm farewell.

Meanwhile, Gandalf travels south to the ruins of Dol Guldur, while Radagast travels to warn Galadriel of their findings in the Nazgûl tomb. Inside the Necromancer’s fortress, Gandalf finds the half-mad father of Thorin, Thrain, captured by the orcs, and realizes that he has lost the last remaining of the seven dwarf rings of power.

The wizard is ambushed by Azog and confronts the Necromancer. The Necromancer kills Thrain and then overpowers Gandalf in a duel, and it turns out that the Necromancer is Sauron, whose spirit has survived since the War of the Last Alliance. Thorin and the rest of the company reach Lonely Mountain, where Bilbo discovers a hidden entrance.

He is sent to retrieve the Arkenstone gem, but he accidentally awakens Smaug. While trying to find Bilbo, Smaug says he knows about Thorin’s return. Back in Lake-town, Bard tries to bring the black arrow to the city’s crossbow, as he fears what might happen when the dwarves enter the mountain. However, in the process, he is arrested and tells his son to hide the arrow. Bolg and his detachment of orcs infiltrate the city and attack the four dwarfs, but Tauriel and Legolas, who arrive, quickly deal with the orcs.

Tauriel and Kìli develop a romantic relationship. While Kìli is recovering, he openly admires Tauriel’s beauty and asks if she loves him. Legolas sets off in pursuit of Bolg. Meanwhile, Gandalf helplessly watches as Azog and the orc army march from Dol Guldur to the Lonely Mountain. In the mountain itself, during a long chase, Bilbo and the dwarves reignite the mountain’s forge, using Smaug’s flames to create and melt a large golden statue, hoping to bury Smaug alive in molten gold. They do this, but Smaug emerges from the gold, climbs out of the mountain and flies away to destroy the Lake-town.

Rationale

The whole Hobbit trilogy is actually a continuation of Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings, although we’re dealing with a prequel series in this case. The Hobbit is part of the same narrative universe, it shares a lot of the characters and it was directed by the same person, which means that you can expect everything you’ve already seen in The Lord of the Rings. The only major difference is that The Hobbit is a tad lighter in its tone than The Lord of the Rings, but it’s still something you must watch.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

What Did Elrond Say to Thorin in Elvish?

Director: Peter Jackson
Screenplay: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro
Release Date: December 1, 2014
Running Time: 144 minutes

Starring: Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins), Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield), Aidan Turner (Kíli), Christopher Lee (Saruman), Sylvester McCoy (Radagast), Benedict Cumberbatch (Smaug / Sauron), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), Evangeline Lilly (Tauriel), Stephen Fry (Master of Lake-town), Luke Evans (Bard the Bowman), Lee Pace (Thranduil), Cate Blanchett (Galariel), Hugo Weavig (Elrond)

Synopsis

Bilbo and the dwarves watch from the Lonely Mountain as the dragon Smaug burns down Lake-town. Bard escapes from prison and ends up killing Smaug with a black arrow brought by his son Bane. Smaug’s falling body crushes the fleeing mayor and his entourage, who are fleeing in a boat loaded with the city’s gold. The Bard becomes the new head of Lake-town, and the mayor’s treacherous servant Alfrid reluctantly becomes Bard’s servant as they seek refuge in the ruins of Dale.

Legolas travels to explore Mount Gundabad with Tauriel. Thorin, now afflicted with the “dragon disease” due to the enormous treasures in the mountain, obsessively searches for the Arkenstone; Bilbo had already found the Arkenstone but hid it, which Thorin did not know. Upon learning that the survivors of Lake-town have fled to Dale, Thorin orders the entrance to Lonely Mountain to be closed.

Meanwhile, Galadriel, Elrond, and Saruman arrive at Dol Guldur and free Gandalf, sending him to safety with Radagst the Brown. They fight and defeat the Nazgûl and the most formless Sauron, driving them to the East. Azog the Defiler, on his way to Erebor with his huge army of orcs, dispatches his son Bolg to Gundabad to summon a second army. Legolas and Tauriel witness the march of Bolg’s army, supported by orc berserkers and giant bats.

Thranduil and the elven army arrive in Dale and form an alliance with the Bard to reclaim the treasure Thror once had hidden from them. Bard goes to the mountain and asks Thorin to give out a share of the gold that he had previously promised to the residents of Lake-town, but Thorin refuses. Gandalf arrives in Dale to warn Bard and Thranduil of the threat Azog poses, but Thranduil is unwilling to help him.

Bilbo escapes from Erebor and hands the Arkenstone to Thranduil and Bard so they can exchange it for the treasures he promised and prevent a battle. When the armies of Bard and Thranduil gather at the gates of Erebor, offering to exchange the Arkenstone for the promised treasure, Thorin, in anger, refuses to believe they have an Arkenstone until Bilbo confesses that he gave it up. Bilbo also reproaches Thorin for the fact that greed has eclipsed his mind.

Enraged, as he believes, by betrayal, Thorin almost kills Bilbo, but Gandalf appears and shames Thorin, who frees Bilbo. Thorin’s cousin Dane arrives with his army of dwarfs, and a battle between dwarves and elves and men begins until worms emerge from the ground, giving Azog’s army passage from the tunnels. Since the orcs are much larger than the army of Dain, the troops of Thranduil and Bard, along with Gandalf and Bilbo, enter the battle and fight the orcs. However, a second front opens up as many orcs, ogres and trolls attack Dale, forcing Bard to withdraw his forces to defend the city, while Alfrid takes a pile of gold and escapes from Dale.

Inside Erebor, Thorin suffers painful hallucinations, then regains his sanity and leads his company into battle. He travels to Ravenhill with Dwalin, Fili and Keely to kill Azog; Bilbo follows them, using his magic Ring to move unseen through the battle. Meanwhile, Tauriel and Legolas arrive to warn the dwarves of the approaching army. Fili is captured and Azog kills him in front of Bilbo and the other dwarves.

Thorin begins a fatal battle with Azog; Bolg knocks out Bilbo, defeats Tauriel, and then kills Kìli, who came to her aid. Legolas fights Bolg and ends up killing him. Thorin kills Azog, but he himself is mortally wounded. The Great Eagles arrive with Radagast and Beorn to fight the newly arrived orc army, and the orcs are finally defeated. Bilbo regains consciousness and reconciles with the dying Thorin.

Tauriel mourns Kìli, and Thranduil finally accepts to their love. Legolas then tells Thranduil that he must leave, and Thranduil advises him to seek out the Dunedain warrior in the north, called Strider. When Legolas asks what his real name is, Thranduil says that he will have to find out himself. Meanwhile, Thorin is buried with the Arkenstone along with Kìli and Fili, and Dain becomes king. When Thorin’s company begins to settle again in Erebor (with Dain as king) and Dale begins to rebuild with Bard as leader, Bilbo bids farewell to the remaining members of the company and travels home to the Shire with Gandalf.

When their paths diverge on the outskirts of the Shire, Gandalf makes it clear that he knows about Bilbo’s Ring, and warns him that the magic Rings should not be used lightly, although Bilbo assures that he has lost the Ring. Bilbo returns to his home and finds that his belongings are being auctioned because Bilbo himself is believed to be dead. He cancels the sale, but finds his house ransacked; he starts cleaning up and settling in again, and it turns out that he still has the Ring. Sixty years later, Gandalf will visit Bilbo on his 111th birthday.

Rationale

The whole Hobbit trilogy is actually a continuation of Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings, although we’re dealing with a prequel series in this case. The Hobbit is part of the same narrative universe, it shares a lot of the characters and it was directed by the same person, which means that you can expect everything you’ve already seen in The Lord of the Rings. The only major difference is that The Hobbit is a tad lighter in its tone than The Lord of the Rings, but it’s still something you must watch.

Eragon

Director: Stefen Fangmeier
Screenplay: Peter Buchman
Release Date: December 15, 2006
Running Time: 103 minutes

Starring: Ed Speleers (Eragon), Jeremy Irons (Brom), John Malkovich (Galbatorix), Rachel Weisz (Saphira, voice), Robert Carlyle (Durza)

Synopsis

The terrifying and beautiful land of Alagaësia is going through a dark period due to the fall of the Knights of the Dragons, betrayed by one of them, Galbatorix, who became the undisputed ruler. One day, the elf Arya, ally of the Varden, a community of rebel enemies of the king, steals a magic stone and manages to prevent the ghost-sorcerer Durza, a powerful ally of Galbatorix, from taking it back.

To find her is Eragon, a 17-year-old boy, who lives on a farm with his uncle Garrow and his cousin Roran. Eragon discovers that the stone is actually a dragon egg and learns of the Knights’ existence by listening to the stories of Brom, an elder of the village. When the egg hatches, Saphira is born, the dragoness who turns out to be Eragon’s, who grows up very quickly and Eragon realizes that her destiny is to become a Dragon Knight.

Durza sends the Ra’zac to kill Eragon who manages to escape him, however, his uncle Garrow is killed. Eragon is taken away from Carvahall by Brom, who knows his secret about him and undertakes to train and instruct Eragon and lead him to the Varden, where he will be safe. Eragon and Brom arrive in Daret, where the boy discovers that he possesses magical powers. Meanwhile, he learns to ride Saphira easily.

During the journey, Eragon discovers that Brom is a Dragon Knight, whose mount was killed by Morzan, a renegade knight in the service of Galbatorix. Durza to capture Eragon devises the following trap: summoning Arya in a dream causes Eragon to go to Gil’ead to save her; so he falls into an ambush and Brom is mortally wounded and, before he can kill him too, Murtagh intervenes who hits the ghost with an arrow to the head, and helps Eragon escape from prison.

But Brom dies because the Ra’zac blade, if it inflicts a wound, that wound cannot heal. Before dying Brom gives Eragon his sword, Zar’roc. Eragon, Murtagh, and Arya manage to escape. Leading Eragon to the Varden is Arya, in a state of fake coma. The four reach the Varden where they fight the final battle against Durza’s army: Eragon manages to kill the ghost with a blow to the heart (the only way to kill a ghost) thus avenging Brom’s death, but to kill him he loses the balance and falls from Saphira’s saddle.

Eragon wakes up as Arya is returning to Ellesmera and hurries to join her. After saying goodbye, Arya continues her journey, while Eragon returns to the Varden to celebrate. Meanwhile, Galbatorix, learning of Durza’s failure, vows revenge.

Rationale

Eragon might not be the most successful movie on this list, but we certainly think it is worth your attention if you like fantasy narratives. The books are much better, certainly, but Eragon offers enough to entertain you despite all the downsides. With strong performances by Ed Speleers and Jeremy Irons, high-quality special effects and a story that is still good enough despite all the changes from the book, Eragon is certainly a movie you should see at one point.

The Wizard of Oz

Director: Victor Fleming, Richard Thorpe (uncredited), King Vidor (uncredited)
Screenplay: Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allan Woolf
Release Date: August 25, 1939
Running Time: 101 minutes

Starring: Judy Garland (Dorothy Gale), Frank Morgan (Wizard of Oz), Ray Bolger (Scarecrow), Jack Haley (Tin Woodman), Bert Lahr (Cowardly Lion), Billie Burke (Glinda the Good Witch), Margaret Hamilton (Wicked Witch of the West)

Synopsis

Dorothy Gale, a young orphan, is raised on a Kansas farm run by her aunt and uncle. Her dog Toto being persecuted by the evil Almira Gulch, Dorothy asks the three farmworkers to protect him. However, no one seems to take the girl’s fears seriously. Her aunt Em criticizes her for her imagination and asks her to find her place in a world without problems. Almira Gulch ends up seizing Toto with the intention of killing him, by order of the sheriff. But the dog escapes and returns to Dorothy who decides to run away.

On the way, she meets Professor Marvel who manages to persuade her to return to her family, seeing for her, in a crystal ball, her aunt crying. Arriving at the farm, a tornado forms before Dorothy can take refuge in the cellar. To protect herself, she locks herself in her room but the house is swept away by the tornado. Through the window, Dorothy sees Almira Gulch on her bicycle transforming into a witch riding a broomstick.

The house ends up in Munchkinland, a part of the Land of Oz. Dorothy meets Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, and learns that the house has just killed the Wicked Witch of the East by landing on her. Dorothy then meets the Munchkins, the inhabitants of Munchkinland. Then comes the Wicked Witch of the West who comes to claim the magical ruby ​​shoes of her sister who has just died. Unfortunately for her, Dorothy has already taken possession of it; the witch then swears revenge against her and her dog Toto.

Glinda asks Dorothy to go seek the help of the Wizard of Oz in the Emerald City. To do this, she must follow the yellow brick road. Along the way, she successively meets a Scarecrow lacking a brain, who nevertheless shows great cleverness, a Tin Woodman lacking in heart, who nevertheless shows great kindness, and a Lion lacking courage. The three accompany Dorothy to the Emerald City with the hope that the Wizard of Oz will overcome their respective handicap.

But what they do not know is that the Wicked Witch of the West resents Dorothy and doesn’t want her to succeed. Once there, they meet the Wizard of Oz who appears as a floating head surrounded by fire and smoke. He makes his guests believe that he can help them if they take possession of the Wicked Witch of the West’s broom.

On the way to the witch’s castle, Dorothy and her friends are attacked by flying monkeys sent by the Witch. The young girl and her dog are captured and brought to the Wicked Witch of the West who asks her for the shoes. Dorothy accepts after a death threat to Toto but a magical force prevents the witch from taking possession of the shoes. She then explains to Dorothy that she must kill her to be able to take them away from her.

At this point, Toto takes advantage of the witch’s lack of attention to escape. The witch then locks up Dorothy to think about how to kill her without damaging the shoes. Meanwhile, Toto finds his mistress’s friends and leads them to the Wicked Witch of the West’s lair to free her. They find her, but the witch’s troops trap the group. A fight ensues between them all and Dorothy sprinkles the witch with water, which makes her melt.

Upon their return to the Emerald City, Toto discovers the Wizard of Oz’s rose pot. He is in fact just a simple man with no power who uses tricks to appear impressive. The group of friends is disappointed with this discovery, but the “magician” finally keeps his promise. He does not use magic but persuades everyone that he already has deep inside him what he has always been looking for.

After that the magician tells his story and how he landed in the land of Oz. He then promises Dorothy to take her back to Kansas and the house, leaving the responsibility of the Emerald City to the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Lion. The magician, Dorothy, and Toto board his hot air balloon but the little dog jumps outside. Dorothy also jumps to retrieve it, letting go of the ball. Dorothy seems resigned to staying in the Land of Oz forever until Glinda shows her the way.

From the start, she had the ability to go home, but she had to find out for herself. Dorothy says goodbye to her friends for good and follows the fairy’s instructions. She then wakes up in her room in Kansas surrounded by her family. She tells them about her fantastic trip which does not fail to make them laugh.

Rationale

L. Frank Baum’s seminal children’s fantasy novel is a modern-day Hollywood classic for a lot of reasons. Among them is the fact that it is certainly one of the best-known fantasy movies ever made and although it is a children’s classic, we are certain that true fantasy-lovers must see this movie at least once in their lives. The Wizard of Oz is one of the most important movies ever made and in that aspect, we welcome it on our list.

The Harry Potter film series

Director: Various
Screenplay: Various
Release Date: 2001–2011
Running Time: 1179 minutes (total)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort), Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore), Alan Rickman (Severus Snape), Maggie Smith (Minerva McGonagall), Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid), David Thewlis (Remus Lupin), Brendan Gleeson (Alastor Moody), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Gary Oldman (Sirius Black), Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange)

Synopsis

At the beginning of the story, the one-year-old Harry Potter is deposited as a foundling on the doorstep of his last living relatives, the Dursleys. His parents James and Lily Potter had recently been killed by the most powerful dark wizard, Lord Voldemort. When trying to kill Harry too, the Killing Curse backfired and destroyed Voldemort’s body. The boy has a lightning bolt-shaped scar on his forehead. Since Harry is the only known person to have survived this curse and is also blamed for the disappearance of the greatest dark wizard, he is a celebrity from an early age in the entire magical world and is known as “The Boy Who Lived”.

Harry grows up, until his eleventh birthday, with Petunia, his mother’s sister, her husband Vernon, and their son Dudley. The Dursleys are hostile to the magical world, treat Harry very badly, and try to prevent his magical abilities from developing. They don’t tell him how his parents died and the fact that Harry is a wizard.

On Harry’s eleventh birthday, Rubeus Hagrid, the gamekeeper and key keeper at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry brings him an invitation to the school. Only then does he learn something about his origin and the existence of the secret magical parallel world. During his Hogwarts years, Harry discovers new places and meets new people outside and within Hogwarts, the horizon of the narrative widens, the storylines become more complex and many are interwoven.

Harry experiences, for the first time, a conscious family-like security in his Gryffindor house, to which he is assigned on his first day at Hogwarts. He finds close friends in fellow students of the same age, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger – the trio endures almost all adventures together – and a mentor in school principal Albus Dumbledore. The fugitive prisoner Sirius Black turns out to be Harry’s godfather and becomes his most important caregiver outside of Hogwarts. Harry also has a friendly relationship with his former teacher Remus Lupin. With the teacher Severus Snape, however, as well as with his classmate Draco Malfoy from the traditionally rival House of Slytherin, he has mutual hatred.

The central theme of the story crystallizes Harry’s rivalry with Lord Voldemort, who after the attack on Harry continues to exist as a spirit-like being and tries to regain his body. Harry can prevent this twice: In the first movie, he thwarts Voldemort’s plan to steal the Philosopher’s Stone; in the second movie, he destroys a magical image of the 16-year-old Voldemort that he had hidden in a diary. In the fourth book, however, Harry has to watch helplessly as Voldemort receives a new body and begins to gather his followers back together.

After Harry has escaped Voldemort’s two further murder attempts, he learns of a prophecy about his downfall in the fifth movie. It is the reason Voldemort wanted to kill him as a baby and keeps trying, because according to it, Harry is the only one who can break his power.

In the sixth film, it turns out that Voldemort hid parts of his soul in Horcruxes in order to achieve immortality in this way. Several conflicts escalate and prepare for the finale in the final two-part movie. In the key scene, Draco Malfoy fails in his attempt to kill Albus Dumbledore; Severus Snape takes over the task and then escapes with Draco.

In the final movies, Harry, Hermione and Ron set out to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes. Because Voldemort has meanwhile brought the Ministry of Magic under his influence and controls the entire country, they barely escape death several times during their sometimes aimless search. During the final battle at Hogwarts, Harry learns that he has to die to make Lord Voldemort mortal because he has part of Voldemort’s soul within him.

He surrenders to this fate and faces the Dark Lord unarmed, but survives the Killing Curse again while Voldemort’s soul fragment is destroyed inside him. When Voldemort presented the body of Harry, believed to be dead, to Hogwarts’ defenders, his serpent Nagini, who was the seventh and final Horcrux, dies when Neville Longbottom, a school friend of Harry’s, cuts off the head with the sword of Godric Gryffindor.

In the following decisive duel, Harry emerges victorious, as Voldemort dies from his own reflected Killing Curse and so the prophecy finds its fulfillment. The epilogue concludes with a scene that looks 19 years into the future: Harry and Ginny (Ron’s younger sister) as well as Ron and Hermione have married and their children are going to Hogwarts together.

Rationale

The Harry Potter film series started practically at the same time as The Lord of the Rings and although it was a completely different brand of fantasy, the two franchises were both equally successful. Harry Potter’s target audience was a bit younger than that of The Lord of the Rings, but despite that, the series is one of the most lucrative and important franchises of the modern era, which is why we are absolutely certain that you must see it.

The Chronicles of Narnia film series

Director: Andrew Adamson (12), Michael Apted (3)
Screenplay: Various
Release Date: 2005–2010
Running Time: 406 minutes (total)

Starring: William Moseley (Peter Pevensie), Anna Popplewell (Susan Pevensie), Skandar Keynes (Edmund Pevensie), Georgie Henley (Lucy Pevensie), Will Poulter (Eustace Scrubb), Liam Neeson (Aslan, voice), Tilda Swindon (White Witch), James McAvoy (Mr. Tumnus), Ben Barnes (Caspian X)

Synopsis

The Pevensie siblings find their way to Narnia for the first time through a closet. There, they ally themselves with Aslan, a lion, and king of Narnia; except Edmund, that is, one of the siblings, who betrays the others and follows the white witch Jadis, who also calls herself the Queen of Narnia.

The children also meet Santa Claus, who gives them weapons, and Susan a horn, which she is supposed to blow when she is in great danger, so that help can rush over. In the meantime, Edmund realizes that the witch is evil and turns to Aslan as well. Finally, there is a decisive battle in which Peter, the eldest of the siblings, has to take the lead. After defeating the white witch’s force and dying, the siblings are crowned rulers of Narnia until they return to the real world as children many years later.

A year later they are brought back to Narnia when the pursued Prince Caspian, a Telmarer, blows Susan’s horn. Back in Narnia, the siblings find a changed environment, as 1300 years have passed there. They find Prince Caspian, who explains to them that his uncle Miraz is hunting him and wants to kill him so that his son can become King of Narnia. During this time he is protected by the rebellious Narnians.

Finally, there is a duel between Peter, who fights for Caspian, and Miraz. Peter decides this fight for himself. The victory allows Caspian to become the rightful heir to the throne of Narnia, and Aslan sends the Pevensie siblings back to their world, announcing that neither Susan nor Peter, the two older siblings, will return to Narnia.

Three years later, the younger siblings, Lucy and Edmund, return to Narnia with their cousin Eustace Scrubbs through a painting. There they come across the Dawn Treader, a ship that sails under the command of Caspian in the hope of finding the seven missing lords. On this journey, they will learn something about a mysterious green fog that embodies evil, continues to spread, and abducts people.

They can stop it and free the people if they bring the swords of the seven lost lords to the stone table. Eventually, they succeed and the people are set free. The three children return from the fictional world after Aslan has now also told Lucy and Edmund that they would not return to Narnia.

Rationale

Although the series has only three titles and never achieved its planned success, The Chronicles of Narnia are still an important part of the fantasy canon and we think that you certainly have to see them. The Chronicles of Narnia are far more similar to The Lord of the Rings than, for example, Harry Potter or Star Wars, with the main difference being that they can be perceived as a children’s version of Tolkien’s narrative. Still, they’re definitely worth watching.

The Star Wars series

Director: Various
Screenplay: Various
Release Date: 1977–present
Running Time: Ongoing

Starring: Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa), Frank Oz (Yoda), Ian McDiarmid (Palpatine / Darth Sidious), Liam Neeson (Qui-Gon Jinn), Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Alec Guinness (Ben Kenobi), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu), Christopher Lee (Count Dooku)

Synopsis

The Galactic Republic was founded to bring peace to the Galaxy, but throughout its existence it has been rocked by secessions and wars, most notably against the Sith Empire. The Jedi Knights, keepers of peace and justice, succeed in eliminating the Sith and the galaxy returns to prosperity. However, after millennia of existence, the Republic shows innumerable flaws and is weakened; according to a Jedi prophecy, a “Chosen One” will be born and one day restore balance in the Force.

A Sith lord, Darth Sidious, takes advantage of the weaknesses of the Republic to get himself elected Supreme Chancellor, under the name of Palpatine. Manipulating the Senate, the Jedi Order and the Confederacy of Independent Systems from the shadows, Palpatine unleashes the Clone Wars, which pits the Republic against Separatist forces. It is during this dark period that will distinguish a young Jedi, Anakin Skywalker, who will be the hero of many battles alongside his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi.

It is then whispered that Anakin could well be the “Chosen One” of the Prophecy. Palpatine is offered full powers by the Galactic Senate and, when the war ends after three years, achieves a coup by proclaiming the birth of the Galactic Empire. He manipulates the young Skywalker and makes him his evil apprentice: Anakin, perverted by the Dark Side of the Force, assassinates the Separatist rulers and most of his Jedi friends, thus becoming Darth Vader. During a duel on the planet Mustafar against his former mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi, Vader finds himself burned, amputated and disfigured and will only owe his salvation to a respiratory armor that alone will keep him alive for the rest of his life.

His own wife, Padmé Amidala, dies giving birth to twins who will be sheltered from persecution by the Empire. The events of this period are recounted in Episodes I through III, as well as in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars series and several Tales of the Extended Universe.

Twenty years later, the Empire is reigning terror in the galaxy. Non-human species are oppressed, the Jedi are reduced to a very small number of exiles and hunted down to the four corners of the galaxy. It is in this climate of oppression that the Rebel Alliance was born with the aim of restoring the values ​​of the Republic. One of the Alliance’s most influential members is Princess Leia Organa, who holds the plans for the Empire’s new weapon, the Death Star, a station capable of destroying an entire planet.

The rebels launch an assault that results in the destruction of the station thanks to a young man mastering the Force, Luke Skywalker. Trained by masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, he becomes a powerful Jedi. During a fight against Darth Vader, the latter reveals to him that he is his father. Yoda confirms to Luke that he is indeed the son of Anakin Skywalker, and that Princess Leia is his twin sister.

During a battle in the Emperor’s own quarters, Luke attempts to bring his father back to the good side of the Force, but the latter has sworn allegiance to the Dark Side. Eventually, as Emperor Palpatine attempts to deliver a fatal blow to Luke, Vader sacrifices himself by killing his master and rescues his son, thereby restoring balance in the Force. This battle marks the destruction of the second Death Star. These events are those of the original Trilogy.

In the third Star Wars film trilogy, the Battle of Endor marked a major victory and the proclamation of a New Republic but not the end of the clashes. The end of the war is marked by the terrible battle of Jakku which puts an end to the Empire. However, Imperial officers and nobles went into exile in unknown regions to rebuild a new entity called the First Order. Frightened by this new threat, Leia Organa founded the Resistance, a new private military force to monitor the actions of the First Order. Although tolerated by the leaders of the New Republic, the Resistance is considered by them to be alarmists.

The last surviving Jedi, Luke Skywalker, has disappeared. Both the First Order and the Resistance are searching the galaxy to find him. Han Solo and Leia Organa had a son, Ben, who switched to the dark side of the Force to become Kylo Ren, a mighty First Order warrior obedient to Supreme Leader Snoke. At the same time, a young lonely wrecker living on Jakku, Rey, sensitive to the Force, will gradually discover her powers and begin to control her. These events are those of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, the first film in the third film trilogy.

Rationale

Star Wars is a science-fiction saga, a space opera, that is very similar to Tolkien’s Middle-earth, with the main difference being that it has a futuristic, space-based setting. Star Wars shares many plot elements with The Lord of the Rings, as both are operatic sagas where a select group of unlikely heroes has to fight against a world-threatening evil. If you’re a hardcore fantasy junkie, Star Wars’ setting might be problematic for you in the beginning, but you definitely need to watch this franchise as well.

The Shrek film series

Director: Various
Screenplay: Various
Release Date: 2001–2010
Running Time: 367 minutes (total)

Starring: Mike Myers (Shrek), Eddie Murphy (Donkey), Antonio Banderas (Puss in Boots), Cameron Diaz (Fiona),

Synopsis

Shrek, a lone ogre, is shocked when several fairy tale creatures are sent to live in his swamp by the evil Lord Farquaad. Shrek befriends a talking donkey, and the two travel to meet the aforementioned Farquaad to claim the swamp that belongs to the ogre. Meanwhile, Farquaad wants Princess Fiona to marry her and thus become king. When Shrek and the donkey visit him, Farquaad forces them to search for Fiona by imprisoning her in a tower guarded by a dragon.

Once they reach the tower, the dragon turns out to be a female and falls in love with the donkey. Once Shrek and Donkey rescue Fiona, they return to Farquaad. However, on the return journey, Shrek falls in love with Fiona, who is revealed to be a princess with a curse that turns her into an ogre when she gets dark. The only way to break the spell is through the first kiss of her true love. When they arrive with Farquaad, Fiona prepares to marry him. When the two are about to get married, Shrek interrupts the ceremony and tells Fiona that he loves her. Donkey and the dragon suddenly enter the scene and the latter devours Farquaad.

In the end, Shrek and Fiona kiss and Fiona permanently turns into an ogre. Back in Shrek’s swamp, they get married and everyone celebrates the ogres’ wedding, including the creatures from the early fairy tales. The second film opens with Prince Charming on his search for Princess Fiona of the dragon tower. However, when he arrives he discovers that she is not there and instead meets a wolf, reminiscent of “Little Red Riding Hood.”

Meanwhile Shrek, Fiona and Ass enjoy the honeymoon of the ogre couple’s marriage. During this, Shrek and Fiona receive an invitation for Shrek to meet Fiona’s parents, the kings of Far Far Away, but no one expected them to be ogres, which did not make King Harold, Fiona’s father, very happy. . King Harold hires Puss in Boots to assassinate Shrek, but when he tries, Shrek is with Donkey and turns out to be another member of the group of friends.

Since Fiona is so sad, Shrek steals a potion so that he and Fiona will live happily ever after. Shrek didn’t know where he stole the enchantment; It was in the factory of The Fairy Godmother, the mother of Prince Charming, who wants to take revenge on Shrek since if it had not been for him, her son, the prince would have married Fiona. Shrek tells Donkey to take the potion, like a guinea pig, seeing that nothing happens Shrek, Donkey and Cat find an abandoned farm and go to sleep.

Fiona is very worried in the castle since Shrek has not returned, King Harold believes that Shrek is already dead. The next morning, Donkey gets up and is the most beautiful steed in the world, when Shrek gets up he is a handsome and handsome man and Fiona without knowing why it happened, she is a beautiful princess. Shrek runs to the castle to get to Fiona but Charming pretends to be Shrek and Fiona falls in love with him, while Shrek is in prison with Donkey and Cat, accused of a crime they did not commit. Knowing this, Ginger and Pinocchio help them escape from jail. The night they escape is precisely the night of the dance in honor of Princess Fiona and Shrek, but Charming impersonates him to take revenge on Shrek.

Shrek manages to enter the castle and Fiona does not doubt that he is the real Shrek and when she finds him she gives him a kiss of true love. Seeing this, the fairy godmother accidentally drops his wand, which causes the death of the fairy godmother; Charming cries for the death of his mother and leaves the party vowing one day to take revenge on his mother. The potion that Shrek took lasts 24 hours if he gives her a true love kiss in the second the 24 hours are up, if he doesn’t, the spell will be permanent; then Shrek asks Fiona if he wants them to be human forever, but Fiona tells him that she wants them to be ogres; then they kiss and they all return to normal, just like Ass.

King Harold apologizes to Shrek for his bad behavior, Shrek excuses him and so everyone lives happily ever after. Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, Cat and Queen Lilian, and the entire kingdom of Far Far Away are mourning the death of King Harold, Fiona’s father, so the next generation will now be the kings of the kingdom, and the Next generation is Shrek and Fiona, now Shrek will become King Shrek, but he just wants to go home and be at peace with his family.

The second choice to be king is Fiona’s cousin named Artie. Shrek embarks on an adventure with Donkey and Cat to go find Artie on another continent. Before getting on the boat, Fiona says something to Shrek very quickly. Fiona said: Shrek, I’m pregnant. Shrek during the trip has many nightmares thinking about the future of his life with a baby ogre. When they arrive in Artie’s country, they go to his school and no one would expect Artie to be a teenage flop, but Artie doesn’t hesitate to go with them. Prince Charming is preparing his revenge against the kingdom of Far Far Away with many villains from fairy tales.

Meanwhile Shrek, by accident, escapes him that Artie will be the king because Shrek does not want to and this causes Artie to think the same, he no longer wants to be the king, so they go to the magician Merlin to help Artie return to his country, but Shrek convinces him to be the king. Fiona is with many fairy tale princesses celebrating their baby shower in the Castle, when out of nowhere it is heard that they are kidnapping the castle, then all of them hide in a secret room and try to escape through a wall that they knock down but they succeed kidnap and take them all to a cell from which they also escape to manage to defeat all the villains and Prince Charming.

Meanwhile Shrek, Donkey, Cat and Artie arrive at Far Far Away for Artie to be king but Prince Charming is now King Charming from Far Far Away and he will do one last play in which he will save the princess, and the final act will be the death of the real Shrek. The princesses are already in the play planning a plan so that Charming does not kill Shrek, in the last act all the princesses, Donkey, Cat, his friends and Artie go up to save Shrek, but Charming sticks the sword in his arm. Shrek falls to the floor and winks at Fiona, Charming turns Shrek from behind and claims to have saved the entire kingdom and now the villains will be free, but Shrek gets up and brings down the entire false castle, so Prince Charming dies; before dying, Shrek took off his crown, with which later, he crowns Artie as King Artie from Far Far Away.

Everyone, even the villains, applaud, as joy has returned to the kingdom, which implies that Shrek can return to his house in the forest with his family. Then Fiona gives birth to 3 little ogres, the other members of the family, and thus, they all lived happily ever after. Some time ago, while Fiona was still in the dragon tower, her parents had come to Rumpelstiltskin to free Fiona. In exchange, he asked that they cede him their kingdom, but they soon found out that Shrek had saved her and the contract was canceled.

At present, Shrek is already the father of 3 beautiful children and lives very happily with them, however there comes a time when he gets tired of the routine and even causes him to act very rude on the first birthday of his children . Missing being a terrifying ogre, he decides to make a deal with Rumpelstiltskin, in which Shrek can be an ogre for one day in exchange for granting him another day of his life, however, Rumpelstiltskin chooses the day Shrek was born and creates an alternate world where he is the king; Shrek never existed and for that reason, he will die at the end of the day unless Shrek gets the kiss of his true love.

Shrek finds Donkey (who does not recognize him and is scared of him) and they go in search of Fiona, only to realize that she is no longer in the tower and then find an underground world of ogres where she is the leader. Fiona does not recognize Shrek and only sends him to train with the ogres for a rebellion against the kingdom. In the middle of this and with the help of Puss in Boots (who is Fiona’s pet and is very obese), Shrek tries to make Fiona fall in love but the distractions cause the ogres to be captured and Fiona annoyed with Shrek. Rumpelstiltskin realizes that Shrek is not captured and offers “the contract of life” to whoever he delivers it to. Shrek, on the verge of believing that he will die, gives himself up and wishes that all the ogres are free, which is granted, but Fiona is not released because “during the day there is one, at night another”.

Fiona thanks Shrek for her action and, with the help of her friends and the ogres, they defeat Rumpelstiltskin. By the end of the day, Shrek is about to disappear but Fiona was already in love with him and kisses him, while Shrek disappears. When she realizes that he was still an ogre, she realizes that the kiss worked and everything returns to normal: Shrek is back at his children’s party, Fiona and they love him and he is glad to have everything back.

Rationale

As far as animated feature go, Shrek is one of the most entertaining franchises you can stumble upon on. It has great humor, even better stories and some of the best characters in modern animation. Shrek shares a similar fantasy setting to The Lord of the Rings, and some character types appear in both franchises, which is why we recommend it if you want something lighter, but still in tone with your favorite fantasy setting. Also, Shrek is one of the most important animated franchises of the modern era.

The Princess Bride

Director: Rob Reiner
Screenplay: William Goldman
Release Date: September 25, 1987
Running Time: 98 minutes

Starring: Cary Elwes (Westley/Dread Pirate Roberts/The Man in Black), Robin Wright (Buttercup/The Princess Bride), Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya), André the Giant (Fezzik), Billy Crystal (Miracle Max)

Synopsis

Little Jimmy is bedridden with the flu. His grandfather decides to read him something, not tolerating the fact that he spends all his time playing video games. The story tells the story of two lovers, the boy Westley and Buttercup. The two love each other with “true love”, as it is often defined during the events, so much so that they overcome a thousand misadventures with the awareness of getting back together.

Buttercup lets Westley go in search of fortune by sea, but he presumably dies after the battle with the pirate Roberts. After a long resistance, Buttercup agrees to marry the evil Prince Humperdinck, even though there is no love between the two: the prince, in fact, plots to kill her on the wedding night. Immediately before the wedding, it happens that Buttercup is kidnapped by three brigands: the Italian “criminal genius” Vizzini, the Greenlandic giant Fezzik, and the Spanish swordsman Inigo Montoya.

They are actually in the pay of the prince, who wants to exploit what has happened to declare war on his rivals. The criminals, however, are followed and then intercepted by the pirate Roberts, who drives them away one by one, until he manages to kill Vizzini with a trick. Buttercup is furious with the pirate, despite the fact that he saved her because she holds him responsible for the death of her loved one; but he suddenly reveals himself as Westley himself, and explains to her that after being captured by the pirate Roberts he had ended up becoming his friend, then taking on his clothes when the latter had wanted to retire to private life, as he himself had made with the pirate Roberts who preceded him.

The two lovers manage to get through the terrible enchanted forest unscathed but in the end, they are stopped by the evil prince. Buttercup then agrees to marry Humperdinck to save his beloved, but the prince captures Westley and tortures him to death. The young man seems doomed, but Fezzik and Montoya, who after the fight have become friends with him, take him to “Miracle Max”, who with the help of a prodigious pill manages to give him back the breath of life.

Then the moment of the clash between good and evil arrives: Inigo Montoya (pronouncing the sentence he had prepared: “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”) kills Count Rugen, councilor of the Prince, who had made him an orphan twenty years earlier. The prince is also defeated and tied to a chair. Despite his pleas for mercy, Montoya points the sword at his throat to finish him off, but Westley stops him so that their prisoner, who will be spared his life, can “live long with his cowardice”.

Finally, the lovers can live happily ever after. The ex-brigands Montoya and Fezzik go their own way, not before Westley, reunited with his beloved and no longer eager for adventures, has entrusted the swordsman with the task of wearing the role of “pirate Roberts”. The grandfather’s story, therefore, ends and while the old man is about to leave Jimmy asks his grandfather if he can go back to tell him another story the next day. As he is leaving, he tells him: “As you wish”.

Rationale

Not only is The Princess Bride one of the best-known cult classic fantasy films, it is a truly amazing work by Rob Reiner that has been capturing the hearts of audiences ever since its debut. With a great cast and an amazing story, The Princess Bride is a movie adored by generations and a movie that has certainly withstood the test of time. And while it may be lighter in tone than Tolkien’s work, the movie is certainly a cult classic you need to see.

Kingdom of Heaven

Director: Ridley Scott
Screenplay: William Monahan
Release Date: May 2, 2005
Running Time: 144 minutes

Starring: Orlando Bloom (Balian), Eva Green (Sibylla), Jeremy Irons (Raymond III), David Thewlis (Hospitaller), Brendan Gleeson (Raynald), Edward Norton (Baldwin IV), Liam Neeson (Barisan), Michael Sheen (Priest)

Synopsis

At the end of the 12th century, in France, a troop of crusaders came to find a blacksmith named Balian whose wife, inconsolable since the death of their child at birth, recently committed suicide. Balian coldly welcomes the visit of the Crusader chief, Baron Godefroy d’Ibelin, who reveals to him to be his father and offers to accompany him to Jerusalem, where he owns land. Balian refuses this offer. However, he must answer for the murder of a priest whom he killed because he had stolen the silver cross that his wife wore on his neck and ordered his beheading before his burial (motivated by the infamy of suicide in the eyes from the church).

On the run, Balian joins his father, who is then wounded by the men of the bishop and the lord of the village who are in pursuit of Balian. Godefroy died some time later in Messina, an Italian port from which ships depart for the Holy Land, not without having knighted him as a knight and convinced him to continue his journey. Arrived in the Holy Land despite the sinking of his ship, Balian befriends Imad, a Saracen he believes to be a simple servant, and takes possession of his father’s estates.

He had to face the intrigues of the court of the king of Jerusalem and in particular the animosity of Guy de Lusignan and Renaud de Châtillon, who wanted war against Saladin. He swears to protect the leper king Baudouin IV as well as the people and becomes very close to Sibylle, sister of the king and wife of Guy, with whom he has an idyll. Balian is then captured in Kerak when Saladin, tired of the provocations of Renaud de Châtillon, attacks this castle. But he is released thanks to Imad, who turns out to be a close advisor to Saladin. Baudouin and Saladin negotiate peace, but this trip ends up ruining Baudouin’s already failing health. When the dying king offers him the hand of Sibylle, already married to Guy de Lusignan, Balian, despite his feelings, refuses to go against his principles by making himself an accomplice in Guy’s execution.

Guy de Lusignan then becomes king and Sibyl queen, Guy soon after goes to war against Saladin and tries to assassinate Balian. After the defeat of the troops of Guy de Lusignan and Renaud de Châtillon against the army of Saladin, Balian ensures the defense of Jerusalem. Despite a heroic defense, he must surrender to the might of Saladin’s army, but his bravery secures life and an orderly retreat for the entire Christian population of the city. Balian retires to his native land with Sibylle, once again a common woman of the people, and refuses Richard the Lionheart offer to go on a crusade.

Rationale

If you ever wondered what The Lord of the Rings would have looked like had it been based on actual historical events, Kingdom of Heaven is your pick, without a doubt. Ridley Scott’s historical epic looks like something Tolkien would (or could?) have written in his Middle-earth franchise. Still, it’s actual history – stylized for the screen, but not much – and we strongly advise you to watch it if you want to see a true epic.

The NeverEnding Story

Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Screenplay: Wolfgang Petersen, Herman Weigel
Release Date: April 6, 1984
Running Time: 94 minutes

Starring: Barret Oliver (Bastian Bux), Noah Hathaway (Atreyu), Patricia Hayes (Urgl), Tami Stronach (The Childlike Empress)

Synopsis

Bastian, a boy of about ten, introverted and solitary by nature, has struggled to communicate with his father since his mother’s death. One morning, before leaving for school, his father asks him to stop being in the moonlight, and to have his feet on the ground. On the way to school, he is chased by three boys who try to extort him, then put him in a trash can. Fleeing them, he finds refuge in a bookstore.

The enigmatic bookseller told him about a book called The NeverEnding Story, after Bastian told him about his taste for reading. Arriving late to school, Bastian decides to hide in the attic of the establishment and begins to read the book. This tells a story set in the fantastic world of Fantasia. “The Nothing” has appeared recently and it makes pieces of this world disappear. To solve this problem, the locals call on Atreyu, a warrior who has the features of a child and looks like a Native American. His mission is to find a cure for the ailing Empress, which will save this world.

Elsewhere in Fantasia, Gmork, a shadow creature that resembles a huge wolf, sets out on his trail. Atreyu roams Fantasia without finding a cure, and decides to go see Morla the Ancient One, a giant tortoise. On the way to Morla, Atreyu sees his horse Artax die, carried away by the Swamps of Sadness. Morla directs him to the Southern Oracle, which is thousands of miles away. He continues the road on foot through these Swamps, and ends up being immobilized by his mud. Just before being totally engulfed, the lucky dragon Falkor comes to save him.

Having lost consciousness, Atreyu wakes up several days later. Falkor led him near the Oracle, to Urgl and Engywook, a doctor and a scientist. Engywook shows him the location of the Southern Oracle, the subject of his research. Atreyu must pass the trials to present himself to the Oracle, and asks him what the cure is for the Empress. The Oracle tells him that a human child needs to give the Empress a new name, which puzzles Atreyu. The Oracle tells him to seek the child beyond the limits of Fantasia, and soon after falls apart, victim of “The Norhing”.

Riding Falkor, he tries to get to the confines of Fantasia. He finally meets Gmork who teaches him that Fantasia is the world where human fantasy flourishes, and that it is being destroyed because people have started to lose hope and have forgotten their dreams. He also explains to her that Fantasia, by definition, has no limits. He finally reveals to her that he is the servant of the power behind “The Nothing” and that he is responsible for killing it, to prevent it from happening. save Fantasia.

The purpose of “The Nothing” is to make people lose hope, in order to facilitate their submission. Atreyu then reveals his identity. Gmork attacks Atreyu, who defends himself by planting a blade-shaped stone into the creature. Fantasia fragments, and pieces of earth float in space. Atreyu finds the Empress’ Tower, and informs her of his failure. The Empress then reveals to him that she already knew how his quest would end and that the goal was to get in touch with the human child, through The NeverEnding Story.

She reveals at the same time that Bastian, too, is part of a story. She then addresses Bastian directly, asking him to give her his name, which he is the only one to know. Bastian, thinking back to his discussion with his father, refuses at first, but ends up pronouncing the name he has chosen. He then finds himself alongside the Empress, who presents him with a grain of sand, the only remains of Fantasia. She tells him that Fantasia can be reborn according to her wishes. Bastian then recreates Fantasia, wish after wish; he also takes the opportunity to take revenge on the three boys.

Rationale

Similarly to The Princess Bride, Petersen’s The NeverEnding Story is a brilliant example how a fairytale can become a masterpiece of fantasy cinema. The NeverEnding story has entered history not only because of Limahl’s New Wave song of the same name, but because it is a truly wonderful and beautiful story that celebrates how imaginative people can get and how a boy can have the adventure of a lifetime.

The Hunger Games series

Director: Various
Screenplay: Various
Release Date: 2012–present
Running Time: 548 minutes

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen), Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark), Liam Hemsworth (Gale Hawthorne), Woody Harrelson (Haymitch Abernathy), Donald Sutherland (President Snow), Stanley Tucci (Caesar Flickerman)

Synopsis

The dystopian Panem was divided into twelve districts after the civil war. Every year they are obliged to send a girl and a boy between the ages of 12 and 18 to an arena, where they fight each other until they die. When the young Primrose Everdeen is drawn in District 12, her big sister Katniss volunteers. Katniss goes through training with Peeta Mellark, the male tribute from her district. After all, both have to compete against the other in the arena.

Katniss, who is an excellent archer, manages to win the “Hunger Games” together with Peeta and can finally return to her homeland. After Katniss and Peeta were able to win the games, not least because of their played love, Coriolanus Snow, the President of Panem, wants the two of them to convince the whole country of their love on the “Tour of the Winners”. However, there are protests and rebellions in many districts, for which Snow Katniss blames.

For this reason, he decides to select the tribute for the upcoming “jubilee” from the existing group of winners. Since Katniss is the only female winner from District 12, she has to compete again involuntarily. Peeta, on the other hand, volunteers for her former mentor Haymitch. The two manage to find some allies among the other winners. When Katniss finally shoots an arrow into the dome, the entire arena is destroyed. Katniss later wakes up on a plane and learns that she is on her way to the devastated District 13. Peeta, however, fell into the hands of Snow.

In District 13, which was built into a mountain, Katniss meets President Coin, the leader of the rebels. This reveals to Katniss that the plan was to free her from the arena from the beginning and that half of the tributes were inaugurated. Katniss decides to make propaganda videos to stimulate resistance in the other districts. For this reason she travels to District 12, which was completely destroyed after Katniss’ escape from the arena.

Resistance in the other districts grows and eventually the rebels cut power to the Capitol. In a video message from the Capitol, Peeta manages to warn District 13 of the impending retaliation of Snow. President Coin decides to take advantage of the power interruption in the Capitol and free the winners held there. When this succeeds and Peeta arrives in District 13, he tries to kill Katniss because he was manipulated by the Capitol.

After recovering from Peeta’s attack, Katniss travels to District 2 to help the rebels capture an important military base. While the Capitol supporters are evacuated, Katniss is shot, but is able to recover quickly and finally travels to the immediate war zone. There she is assigned to a group that has the task of making propaganda videos away from the fight. However, Katniss can convince the others to take her to the presidential palace, where she wants to kill Snow. On the way there, many group members die from the technology of the “Hunger Games” that has been installed throughout the Capitol.

Peeta also joins the group. When Snow finally evacuates the outer districts, there is a fight with the rebels in front of his palace. They win because Snow apparently bombs his own supporters, including Prim, who works as a medic. Snow reveals to Katniss that Coin dropped the bombs in order to be able to replace Snow himself. During the official execution of Snow, Katniss shoots the self-proclaimed interim president Coin. Katniss, who was pardoned by the new President Paylor some time later, then goes with Peeta to District 12 and the two start their own family there.

Rationale

The Hunger Games trilogy is one of the more important modern-day fantasy franchises and although it has a futuristic setting, it still contains enough fantasy elements to satisfy your needs. The quality of production is impressive and the series is certainly one of the more popular ones today, which is why we ultimately recommend it. You’ll certainly have more than enough fun watching it and although it may not be similar to Tolkien’s work, it’s part of the same genre.

The Lord of the Rings

Director: Ralph Bakshi
Screenplay: Peter S. Beagle, Chris Conkling
Release Date: November 15, 1978
Running Time: 133 minutes

Starring: Christopher Guard (Frodo Baggins), William Squire (Gandalf), John Hurt (Aragorn), Anthony Daniels (Legolas), David Buck (Gimli)

Synopsis

At the start of the Second Age of Middle-earth, the Blacksmith Elves designed nineteen Rings of Power for Men, Dwarves and Elves. Eventually, Dark Lord Sauron forged the One Ring to rule them all. When the Last Alliance of Elves and Men fell before him, the Ring came into the hands of Prince Isildur, descendants of the mighty kings beyond the sea. After Isildur was slain by Orcs, the Ring rested at the bottom of the Anduin River for many years, during which Sauron seized the Nine Rings which had been given to Men and made their possessors the Wraiths of the Ring, terrifying shadows that scoured the world in search of the One Ring.

The latter was found by two hobbits. One of them, Sméagol, was so drawn to the Ring that he killed his cousin Déagol to possess it. The Ring transformed him into a twisted, spitting creature, called Gollum, until his “Precious” was accidentaly discovered by the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. Years later, in the Shire, Bilbo celebrates his birthday. In his home, the wizard Gandalf asks him to leave the Ring to Frodo Baggins. Bilbo finally accepts and leaves the Shire.

Seventeen years go by, during which Gandalf learns that the Shire is in danger: the forces of evil have learned that the Ring is in possession of a Baggins. Gandalf finds Frodo and tells him the story of the Ring and the danger it poses to all of Middle-earth. Frodo leaves his home with the Ring. He is accompanied by three Hobbit friends: Pippin, Merry and Sam. From the start of their journey, they are hunted down by the Ringwraiths. They narrowly escape them and eventually reach the town of Bree, where they meet Aragorn, a friend of Gandalf’s, who guides them the rest of the road to Rivendell. At the top of Amon Sûl, Frodo is wounded by the ghost leader’s black magic-infused blade. A fragment of the blade gets caught in the wound, and its disease worsens as the journey progresses.

They meet the Elf Legolas. The Wraiths catch up with them but are swept away by the enchanted river at Rivendell. In Rivendell, Frodo is cared for by the lord of the place, Elrond. He finds Gandalf, who had been held prisoner by his colleague Saruman; the latter plans to ally with Sauron, but wants the Ring for himself. Bilbo, Gandalf, and others debate what should be done with the One Ring. Frodo offers to go to Mordor, where the Ring can be destroyed. He leaves Rivendell with eight companions: Gandalf, Aragorn, Boromir, son of the Steward of Gondor, the Elf Legolas, the Dwarf Gimli, and his three fellow hobbits.

Heavy snowfall prevents them from crossing the Misty Mountains and they are forced to pass under the mountains, through Moria, an ancient dwarf kingdom now full of Orcs and other evil creatures. There Gandalf falls into the abyss after fighting a Balrog. The eight remaining Fellowship members then spend some time in the Elven harbour of Lothlórien, which they leave by boat. Boromir tries to take the Ring from Frodo, who puts it on his finger and runs away. He decides to continue his quest alone, but the faithful Sam insists on staying with him. Boromir is killed by Orcs while attempting to defend Merry and Pippin, who are captured by Orcs eager to bring them to Isengard by crossing Rohan.

After escaping them and fleeing into Fangorn Forest, they encounter Treebeard, a gigantic Ent. Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas, tracking Merry and Pippin, follow their footprints into Fangorn, where they find Gandalf, whom they believed died in Moria. The four of them ride towards the capital of Rohan, Edoras, where Gandalf convinces King Théoden that his people are in danger. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli then travel to Helm’s Deep Hold. Meanwhile, Frodo and Sam discover that Gollum is tracking them, and they capture him. Frodo takes pity on him and saves his life, on condition that he guides them to the mountain of Destiny. Gollum promises to lead them to a secret entrance to Mordor. At Helm’s Deep, Théoden’s forces resist the attack of the Orcs of Saruman, and Gandalf arrives just in time the next morning with the Horsemen of Rohan: no Orcs will escape.

Rationale

Out of the three animated features, Bakshi’s The Lord of the Rings is by far the best-known and the best when quality is concerned. This animated feature is a brilliant adaptation that captures not only the essence of Tolkien’s story, but also the style of his fantasy writings. All in all, it is a little masterpiece in its own right and based on what we can deduce from its style, there is no doubt that it has influenced Jackson’s approach to the story.

The Return of the King

Director: Arthur Rankin Jr., Jules Bass
Screenplay: Romeo Muller
Release Date: May 11, 1980
Running Time: 98 minutes

Starring: Orson Bean (Bilbo Baggins), Richard Boone (Smaug), Roddy McDowall (Sam), Theodore Bikel (Aragorn), Brother Theodore (Gollum)

Synopsis

The film begins with Bilbo’s 129th birthday, which is celebrated in Rivendell. During the celebration, Bilbo suddenly realizes that Frodo only has nine fingers. At this point in the film the film jumps back in the story to the point where Frodo and Sam came to Cirith Ungol, on the border to Mordor, and where the spider Shelob caught Frodo.

Sam, who saves Frodo in this situation, is tempted for a moment and the question arises whether he should not claim the One Ring. Gandalf and Pippin reach Minas Tirith and warn Denethor, the stewardess of Gondor, of the approaching war. During the events in Gondor, Frodo and Sam’s journey continues. They have now entered Mordor and have come a long way. You are standing on Mount Doom and want to destroy the ring. Suddenly Gollum intervenes in the action. He bites the ring from Frodo’s finger, is now the master of the ring, but through carelessness falls into the flames of the mountain. The ring is destroyed.

Previously, the soldiers of Gondor and their Rohan allies had won a victory on Pelennor Fields and Aragorn had led an army to the gates of Mordor, though the battle seemed hopeless just to buy Frodo time. But now the ring and the dark side are destroyed. The battle is won and Aragorn is crowned King of Gondor. At this point, the film jumps back to Bilbo’s birthday. Frodo decides to accompany Bilbo when he leaves Middle-earth and goes west.

Rationale

The Return of the King was the last feature length adaptation of Tolkien’s work and it is rightfully regarded as a cult classic today. The adaptation is mostly forgotten today due to being a TV movie, but we still consider it to be a great movie that draws you into its carefully crafted, animated world. The movie has a very similar feel to Jackson’s The Hobbit – although there is absolutely no connection between the two – and that is why we recommend it.

The Hobbit

Director(s): Arthur Rankin Jr., Jules Bass
Screenplay: 
Romeo Muller
Release Date: 
November 27, 1977
Running Time: 
77 minutes

Starring: Orson Bean (Bilbo Baggins), Richard Boone (Smaug), Hans Conried (Thorin Oakenshield), John Huston (Gandalf / Narrator), Otto Preminger (The Elvenking)

Synopsis

The hobbit Bilbo Baggins is approached by the wizard Gandalf with a proposal to help thirteen dwarfs – Thorin Oakenshield, Dwalin, Fíli, Kíli, Óin, Glóin, Ori, Nori, Bifur, Bofur, Balin, Dori, and Bombur – to return the treasures of the Lonely Mountain, which were captured by the dragon Smaug; Bilbo is hired as a burglar due to his small stature.

At the beginning of the journey, they are almost eaten by trolls, but the morning light turned them to stone. Gandalf, who arrived in time, frees the dwarves. In the troll cave, they discover many stolen swords, including the lost elven swords Glamdring and Orkrist, which they decide to take with them. So Bilbo has his sword (more precisely, a dagger), which he later calls the Sting. In the cave, Gandalf gives Thorin the map of the Lonely Mountain given to him by Thorin’s father, which contains a secret that will help him find the secret entrance to Erebor, as well as the keys to it. Later, the company falls into the possession of the elven king Elrond in Rivendell, where he helps to translate the moon runes of the map of Erebor, indicating the secret entrance to the Lonely Mountain.

Then the company is captured by the goblins, from which they are again rescued by Gandalf who arrived in time. While fleeing the goblin city, Bilbo falls into Gollum’s cave, where he finds a magic ring that makes him invisible. Bilbo later finds Gollum himself, who promises to lead him to the exit if Bilbo wins the contest of riddles. Bilbo wins by asking, “What do I have in my pocket?” Later, Gollum discovers the loss of “his Precious” (as he calls his ring) and rushes to the back door, thinking that Bilbo fled with his ring there, not suspecting that Bilbo, in fact, having become invisible, is following him. Gollum, thus, unwillingly helped Bilbo find the exit.

After getting out of the cave, the team wanders into Mirkwood, where they have to fight giant spiders. However, the dwarves are taken prisoner by the Wood-elves, who think that the dwarves are going to attack them. By using the ring and becoming invisible, Bilbo escapes captivity. Having reached the palace of King Thranduil, where they were imprisoned, Bilbo discovers that the Wood-elves are very fond of wine, and empty barrels are floated down the river to the Lake-town, in which people live and which is very close to their goal – the Lonely Mountain. Having stolen the keys from a drunken guard, Bilbo frees his friends and puts them in barrels. So they get to Esgaroth, where the guard Bard meets them and promises to give them everything they need. From Esgaroth, the heroes reach their goal – they reach the Lonely Mountain.

The dwarves find the secret entrance and decide to send the Hobbit alone to the hall where the dragon Smaug lives. Bilbo, putting on the ring, goes there. There he meets the dragon, who, however, senses him. After a short conversation, the dragon takes Bilbo for a man from Esgaroth. Bilbo flees, but he managed to see the dragon’s weak point on his belly. Smaug flies out of Erebor and, in a fit of rage, destroys Lake-town. Bilbo sends a blackbird to Bard, which brings him news of the dragon’s weak point.

Bard kills Smaug, and the dwarves regain their riches, which caused a quarrel between Men and Elves with Dwarves, who did not want to share their riches. Bilbo tries to persuade Thorin to share the treasures, which caused him to quarrel with the leader of the dwarves. And at the moment when the three armies are about to meet in battle, Gandalf stops them and informs them of the impending army of goblins. Kings leave old grievances and unite in the face of a common enemy. The battle begins. Later, giant eagles, friends of Gandalf, arrive on the battlefield, having already once saved the company from goblins near Mirkwood, who largely determined the outcome of the battle. In the battle, 6 of the 13 dwarves who went to Erebor are killed. Thorin also dies of his wounds, having made peace with Bilbo before dying. The Hobbit returns to the Shire with two sacks of gold and his magic ring.

Rationale

The Hobbit was the first feature length adaptation of Tolkien’s work and it is rightfully regarded as a cult classic today. The adaptation is mostly forgotten today due to being a TV movie, but we still consider it to be a great movie that draws you into its carefully crafted, animated world. The movie has a very similar feel to Jackson’s The Hobbit – although there is absolutely no connection between the two – and that is why we recommend it.

Mortal Engines

Director: Christian Rivers
Screenplay: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson
Release Date: November 27, 2018
Running Time: 128 minutes

Starring: Hera Hilmar (Hester Shaw), Hugo Weaving (Thaddeus Valentine), Robert Sheehan (Tom Natsworthy)

Synopsis

The film takes place in a post-apocalyptic future, in which the earth’s resources are almost exhausted and cities have been transformed into moving fortresses. At the beginning of the 3rd millennium, a thousand years before the events of the film, the existing civilization had destroyed itself in the so-called 60-minute war. Predatory cities like London hunt down and dismantle smaller cities and trading posts in order to make the valuable raw materials their own.

But this system, based on an ideology called “urban Darwinism”, is reaching its limits, as the huge city is on the verge of its own end due to the increasingly rare loot. One way out could be the resources of a civilization of fixed settlements in Asia. These are united as the anti-tractionist league in the fight against the predatory cities and protected by a large wall against which other traveling cities have already failed. The archeology apprentice Tom Natsworthy lives in London. He prevents the murder of the masked young woman Hester Shaw on the head of the archaeological guild Thaddeus Valentine.

The prevented murderer manages to escape from the city, not without telling Tom the reason for her action. Thereupon Tom is thrown from the ship by Thaddeus for fear of this knowledge. In the course of the film it turns out that Thaddeus is Hester’s father and killed her mother to get a huge weapon. With this weapon he steers London to the great wall in order to destroy it. The initial community of convenience, Hester and Tom, made contact with the residents behind the wall and tried to repel the attack, in which the military forces of the defenders had already been destroyed. A deactivation code for the destructive weapon that Hester got from her dying mother is supposed to stop the robbery city. In a suicide mission they penetrate London, save the already badly damaged wall from complete destruction and also destroy the drive system of London.

The robbery city comes to a standstill shortly before the wall, it is at the end. Its residents are spared and humanely welcomed by the population of the permanent cities, while Hester and Tom decide together to travel the world on the rebel Anna Fang’s airship.

Rationale

Although it was not directed by him, this Peter Jackson-produced movie is certainly a good choice if you want to enter a world of fantasy that is going to intrigue you. The movie’s post-apocalyptic setting might be different than Tolkien’s fantasy world, but it is still more than enough to satisfy all your needs related to the fantasy genre. The movie wasn’t all that successful when it came out, but we think that it’s definitely worth a watch.

Seven Samurai

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Screenplay: Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni
Release Date: April 26, 1954
Running Time: 207 minutes

Starring: Toshiro Mifune (Kikuchiyo), Takashi Shimura (Kambei Shimada), Daisuke Katō (Shichirōji), Isao Kimura (Katsushirō Okamoto), Minoru Chiaki (Heihachi Hayashida), Seiji Miyaguchi (Kyūzō), Yoshio Inaba (Gorōbei Katayama)

Synopsis

Japan in the Azuchi Momoyama period, 1587: Bandits repeatedly raid a small farming village and plunder the crops. When the next harvest is due, the villagers decide to hire some samurai. Although the village cannot offer any wages other than food, they win seven fighters for their defense: the aging samurai Kambei, the young son of a samurai family Katsuhiro, Shichiroji, a friend of Kambei’s, the archer Gorobei, Heihachi, the silent Kyuzo, who of Katsuhiro is admired, as well as the farmer’s son and would-be samurai Kikuchiyo.

The social division between the samurai as a warrior class and the poor peasants is expressed several times. If the peasants approached the samurai with great submissiveness while hiring, the villagers initially hid in their homes when the seven fighters arrived, frightened. In addition, some of the farmers fear that the samurai could get involved with their wives or daughters. Nevertheless, under Kambei’s leadership, the samurai begin to fortify the village, equip the villagers with bamboo spears, and give them basic combat lessons.

A temporary crisis occurs when, to supplement the equipment in the village, hidden samurai armor and weapons emerge, which the farmers had removed from previously slain samurai. In view of the indignation of the rest of the samurai, Kikuchiyo emphatically denounces the cunning of the peasants on the one hand, who pretend to be excessive poverty while keeping secret supplies and also kill samurai; on the other hand, he blames the brutalization of the peasants on the poverty and suffering brought upon the villages by wars and thus also by samurai. The seven fighters continue their defense work.

When they find out that the farmers themselves do not even have to eat of the rice with which they feed the samurai, they give their leftovers to hungry villagers. When the farmers have harvested the barley, the discovery of three bandits scouts heralds the approach of the attack. With the captured horses of the scouts, three samurai forestall the attack and kill several bandits in their hiding place, but they also have to accept the loss of Heihachi. A little later the bandits attack the village. Under the leadership of Kambei, the samurai and the peasants repel this and later waves of attack; Gorobei is killed in the process.

The night before the expected decisive battle, there is excitement when the young Katsuhiro and the farmer’s daughter Shino are discovered by their father together. The following morning the last bandits attacked. The attackers can be killed without exception, but several villagers as well as Kyuzo and Kikuchiyo are also killed. In the final scene, the farmers plant rice to music and singing. Katsuhiro meets Shino again, but she ignores him. Kambei and Shichiroji look at the scenery; Kambei thinks that the sword warriors also lost the fight and that the peasants alone won. His last look, before the film fades out, is on the graves of the four fallen samurai.

Rationale

Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece is not a fantasy movie, but it shares an element with Tolkien’s adaptation, an element that Kurosawa actually introduced to modern cinema. Namely, the gathering of several heroes (in this case, seven samurai) to fight a common evil is a motif present in a lot of modern movies, but it was Kurosawa that actually introduced it to modern cinema. This element is present in Jackson’s movies and that is why this movie is on our list. Also, it is one of the best movies ever made, so it deserves a spot on our list just because of that.

Howl’s Moving Castle

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Screenplay: Hayao Miyazaki
Release Date: September 5, 2004
Running Time: 119 minutes

Starring: Chieko Baisho (Sophie Hatter), Takuya Kimura (Howl), Akihiro Miwa (Witch of the Waste)

Synopsis

One day, the young hat maker Sophie is rescued from two intrusive soldiers by a young man. Since the witch from no man’s land has been interested in the savior for a long time, she puts a curse on Sophie out of jealousy, which turns Sophie into a 90-year-old woman. Sophie escapes the city and makes her way to no man’s land. On the way she helps an overturned scarecrow, which follows her gratefully.

When Sophie asks her to find her a house, the moving castle of the magician Hauro appears. In the castle she first meets the fire demon Calcifer, with whom she makes a deal that she will be freed from her curse if she discovers the secret of the contract between Calcifer and Hauro and thus frees Calcifer, who supplies the energy for the castle. In addition to Hauro, whom Sophie recognizes as the young savior, his student Markl also lives in the house.

Sophie hires herself to be the cleaning lady for the two of them and starts working straight away. The city is threatened by war, heavily damaged warships enter the port, and the enemies drop leaflets over the city. Hauro turns into a bird-like creature from time to time and then fights against flying ships. He transforms into a person again when he comes back and, when he looks into Sophie’s bunk, notices that it transforms into young Sophie every night while she sleeps. Hauro receives an invitation from the king, who asks the magician to support him with his means.

Since Hauro admitted that he was very afraid of Madame Suliman, who is the sorceress of the royal family, they decide together that Sophie should audition as mother Hauros with the king. She is supposed to portray Hauro as an unreliable thief so that the king abandons his plan. On the way to the castle, she meets the no-man’s-land witch, who was also invited by the king. While the witch is deprived of all magical abilities by a spell from the no man’s land in the castle, Sophie is received by Madame Suliman. Hauro was her student, whom she accuses of having no heart and using his powers only for himself.

Sophie vehemently takes the side of Hauros and defends him. When the situation comes to a head, Hauro appears and flees with Sophie. They take Madame Suliman’s dog and the witch with them. Hauro leaves the refugees. A ring that Hauro gave Sophie shows them the way to the castle. Back in the castle, Sophie watches the return of Hauros at night, who, still seriously injured, goes to his room in the form of a bird. She follows him and confesses her love to him. But this was just a dream. The war continues to spread, the city is also attacked, many people are fleeing. Madame Suliman’s search for Hauro is finally successful.

He fights resolutely against the military units to protect Sophie. Sophie wants to leave the protective place to which Hauro has transferred the castle to save Hauro. When she carries the weakened Calcifer out of the lock, it collapses. In part of the rubble, Sophie asked Calcifer to let the castle wander again in order to get to Hauro. Calcifer finally sets part of the castle in motion. The witch recognizes the heart of Hauros in the newly kindled fire and takes it for herself. When Sophie extinguishes the fire in her hands with water to protect her, the lock breaks apart again, Sophie is separated from the others.

The ring shows her a path in Hauro’s childhood. There she sees that Calcifer was caught as a shooting star by Hauro and turned into fire. He also had Hauro’s heart now. Knowing this, she asks Hauro in his bird form (when she was back) to fly to Calcifer. She gives Hauro his heart back, Calcifer is freed and flies away, Hauro becomes a human again. But with Calcifer, his powers also disappear.

The remains of the castle tip over and threaten to slide into a rock. The scarecrow slows down the lock and saves them all. Filled with happiness, Sophie gives the faithful scarecrow a kiss, who transforms into the king’s son of the enemy neighboring country and wants to return to his kingdom to end the war. Madame Suliman, who observed the events through a glass ball, no longer saw any point in the war. Finally, Calcifer returns to re-energize a new, bigger, friendlier castle. You can see Sophie and Hauro standing together on the new castle and happily kissing each other – they are probably a couple and can finally live out their love in peace.

Rationale

We couldn’t really have a fantasy-based list without Hayao Miyazaki, the best feature-length anime author of our era. Miyazaki’s movies are always magical, but Howl’s Moving Castle is one that really resonates with our list. This majestic story combines Miyakazki’s creative storytelling with beautiful animation, which is why we have decided to list it here. There is no doubt that you are going to love this movie and we kindly advise you to see if as soon as possible, if you already haven’t.

Labyrinth

Director: Jim Henson
Screenplay: Terry Jones
Release Date: June 27, 1986
Running Time: 101 minutes

Starring: David Bowie (Jareth), Jennifer Connelly (Sarah Williams)

Synopsis

Sarah is a sixteen-year-old daughter of separated parents; her mother is a famous actress, while her father has remarried a woman that she does not accept and often takes refuge in a world of fairy tales. One evening the girl has to babysit her little brother Toby, frightened by a storm. Sarah tries to calm him down by telling him the story in her favorite book (titled The Labyrinth) about a girl who received special powers from the Goblin King.

In the book, the girl can’t stand her life anymore and wants the goblins to take away her little brother. Sarah identifies with the protagonist of the book and calls on the goblins to take Toby away. When she turns off the light, Toby’s cry immediately stops: she returns to the room, she discovers that the goblins have indeed kidnapped the baby. She appears a barn owl who transforms into the goblin king Jareth and reveals to her that he has kidnapped the baby as she asked.

He also brought her a gift: a crystal ball in which, she says, her dreams of her are contained. Offended but joking, when Sarah refuses the gift and says she wants the baby back, Jareth tells her that Toby is now in his castle, in the middle of a fantastic maze and gives her 13 hours to find it before it becomes too. ‘he a goblin. Sarah is then forced to enter the maze, to bring Toby home. The labyrinth is immediately very complicated to go through, full of puzzles and tests.

Sarah also encounters bizarre characters on her journey who will help her overcome various obstacles. First is Gogol, a dwarf (or gnome) who sprays poison at the fairies at the entrance to the labyrinth and shows them how to enter. Gogol is later revealed to be Jareth’s fearful and hesitant spy, but eventually he will side with Sarah. Later, she will be joined by Bubo, a gentle beast who has the ability to communicate with stones, after Sarah rescues him from some of Jareth’s henchmen.

He will then meet Sir Didymus, a chivalrous Yorkshire dog who rides a sheepdog and stands guard at a bridge to keep an unnecessary oath. Sir Didymus joins her after being defeated by Bubo in combat. After many misadventures, including Sarah’s encounter with goblins with detachable limbs trying to detach the protagonist’s head, an unexpected detour to the Eternal Stench Gorge, and a hallucination due to a poisoned peach provoked by Jareth, Sarah arrives. to the squalid city of goblins located in the center of the labyrinth. New difficulties await you here.

The group has to overcome the huge robot guarding the city gate and succeeds thanks to a brave move by Gogol. Then Jareth, having learned of Sarah’s arrival, sends his entire army of goblins to meet them, which is defeated by a multitude of rolling stones invoked by Bubo. The climax of the film is in Jareth Castle, inspired by the paintings of M. C. Escher. With just a few minutes left, Sarah must navigate a surreal labyrinth of stairs.

She can see Toby too, but before she can reach him she comes face to face with Jareth. He, now in love with Sarah, tries to confuse and frighten her and, making one last appeal, asks her to become her queen. But she refuses him, repeating, during the chime of the last of the thirteen hours granted him by Jareth, the phrase she never remembered when she tried to play the protagonist of her favorite book: “You have no power over me” .

The room they are in collapses and Sarah finds herself in the entrance of the house with the clock striking midnight and a barn owl flying out of the room. Sarah returns to Toby’s room, who is now sleeping in her cot and gives him his favorite puppet. She finally understands her mistakes and finds herself grown up, finally loving her little brother. Back in the room, she sees Gogol, Bubo and Sir Didymus as images in the mirror. The three say goodbye, because it seems that Sarah is leaving her childhood fantasies behind her, but still telling him that if she needs her, they will be there.

Sarah, however, she replies that even when she becomes an adult, she will always need them and that she does not intend to lose them. The creatures of Labyrinth then appear in the room along with Gogol, Bubo and Sir Didymus who happily celebrate together with Sarah her refusal to abandon her imagination and dreams, having a big party in her room, while Jareth outside the window watches the scene. and, defeated, he flies away.

Rationale

We conclude our list with Henson’s cult classic movie Labyrinth, one of David Bowie’s most famous film roles. Labyrinth has certainly become synonymous with the fantasy genre and although it is a very different subgenre than Tolkien’s narrative, it is still a pillar of the fantasy genre on film. The movie has also withstood the test of time and is rightfully considered to be a cult classic, which is – of course – why we included it on our list.

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And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!

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