Top 10 Live Action Fairy Tale Movies of All Time (Video Edition)

MALEFICENT opens today and represents the latest reinvention of classic fairy tales. But, if you are getting tired of the CGI heavy retreads of old stories, you need only look back for a ton of great movies inspired by the genre without telling the same story over and over again. Here are our picks for the ten best live action movies based on or inspired by fairy tales. If your favorite didn't make the list, feel free to add it to the talk backs below.


Another perfect film, PAN'S LABYRINTH received a 22 minute standing ovation when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Dark, gorgeous, original, and pure magic, PAN'S LABYRINTH manages to take what we fear in fairy tales and make it both real and unreal at the same time. Guillermo Del Toro may never make a movie as masterfully as this. PAN'S LABYRINTH deserves all of the praise that has been heaped upon it. It truly is one of the best movies of all time.


There are few movies as perfect as Rob Reiner's THE PRINCESS BRIDE. Harkening back to classic swashbucklers while maintaining a modern sense of humor, THE PRINCESS BRIDE doesn't feel like a thirty year old movie outside of the wraparound story set in Fred Savage's bedroom. There is not enough that can be said about this movie except if you haven't seen it, shame on you.


Released the same year as LEGEND, LABYRINTH takes an equally unique look at the fairy tale genre but with the added bonus of Jim Henson's creative vision. Still dark and surreal, LABYRINTH also manages to be a very 80s style movie. Whether it be David Bowie and his codpiece or Jennifer Connelly's eyebrows, LABYRINTH may struggle to hold up decades later, but it is still a really fun movie.


If you ever want to imagine with LORD OF THE RINGS would have looked like if Ridley Scott had directed it right after BLADE RUNNER, you would get LEGEND. Women swooned over Tom Cruise, men swooned over Mia Sara, and everyone was blown away by how awesome Tim Curry looked as Darkness. Still a beautiful film thirty years later, LEGEND is a movie that has to be experienced.


Another childhood favorite, THE NEVERENDING STORY is a movie that works for children and adults, creating a fully realized fantasy world full of monsters, heroes, and princesses. Combine that with cool creature design and some incredible visuals for the time, THE NEVERENDING STORY is a perfect movie to introduce kids to live action movies.


Terry Gilliam movies come in all shapes and sizes, but THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN may be the very definition of all of those traits in a single film. A fairy tale of the highest order, BARON MUNCHAUSEN brings together several Monty Python members, a very young Sarah Polley, a very naked Uma Thurman, and a very awesome John Neville for a movie I remember fondly seeing in the theater in 1989. Long looked at as a box office bomb, THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN has become a cult classic.


Matthew Vaughn may be best known for X-MEN: FIRST CLASS and KICK-ASS, but his 2007 fantasy film STARDUST is an unseen gem. Starring a huge cast that includes Peter O'Toole, Mark Strong, Claire Danes, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfieffer, and the new DAREDEVIL Charlie Cox, STARDUST is the type of movie that fans of THE PRINCESS BRIDE would love. Swashbuckling, romantic, funny, and original, this is a movie you should not miss.


Tim Burton's fairy tale is a horror movie infused with the style of Hammer films. Johnny Depp is great as the bumbling Ichabod Crane as he faces off against the Headless Horsemen played in turns by Ray Park and also by Christopher Walken in flashbacks. Bloody fun throughout, SLEEPY HOLLOW is a dark movie that may be one of Burton's last truly great movies.


Little Red Riding Hood gets a dark makeover in this cult classic. Reese Witherspoon plays a very unlikeable prostitute and Kiefer Sutherland is the perfect as a serial killer version of the Big Bad Wolf. Disregard the awful sequel and enjoy FREEWAY as one of the most unique retellings of a fairy tale ever made.


Disney's live action fairy tale blended the classic animated stories the studio is known for with a funny fish out of water live action musical. Amy Adams is perfectly cast as the princess Giselle. Susan Sarandon is spot on as the Maleficent style evil queen and James Marsden is hilarious as the doofy prince. Don't write this movie off as a kid's flick as it is really damn entertaining.

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