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In a previous post, I did a roundup of the best sci-fi lit-to-film screen adaptations, which was so much fun I had to do a follow-up for my second favorite genre, fantasy.


There’s nothing better than seeing your beloved fantasy worlds and characters come to life. The first time I saw the trailer for The Fellowship of the Ring, I had tears in my eyes! Seeing your favorite book characters larger than life on the big screen is quite the thrill for the book nerds among us.


So, grab some popcorn and a side of nostalgia as we take a look at the best fantasy book-to-film adaptations over the last thirty or so years.


The Neverending Story (1984)

Author: Michael Ende

Starring: Barret Oliver, Noah Hathaway

Awards: German Film Award for Best Production Design

Where to watch: Netflix

Amazon.com: Post The Neverending Story Movie Poster Wall Art: Posters &  Prints

When Bastian runs into a bookstore to hide from his relentless bullies, he stumbles upon a book called The Neverending Story. Entranced, he steals the books and hides away in his school’s attic for the day to read the book, but soon realizes he is a character in the text. It is up to Bastien, a boy hero named Atreyu, and Atreyu’s trusty Luck Dragon Falkor, to try to save the childlike Empress and all of Fantasia from an entity called the Nothing, which is bound to destroy them all.


If you grew up in the 80s or 90s, this family favorite probably had you wishing your school had a creepy attic where you could skip class and read cool old fantasy tomes. But maybe that’s just me. 


The Princess Bride (1987)

Author: William Goldman

Starring: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Billy Crystal

Awards: Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation

Where to watch: Disney Plus

Amazon.com: The Princess Bride Movie POSTER 27 x 40 Cary Elwes, Mandy  Patinkin, A, MADE IN THE U.S.A.: Posters & Prints

Kind and beautiful Buttercup falls in love with Westley, the farm boy, who soon leaves to make his fortune. Vowing to never love another upon his departure, Buttercup is heartbroken when she discovers his ship was taken by the pirate Dread Pirate Roberts, who never leaves any survivors. When Buttercup catches the eye of the sniveling, petty Prince Humperdink, Buttercup begins a fantastical adventure full of giants, rodents of unusual size, six-fingered men, and miracles—all in the name of true love.


Another top fantasy film of the 80s, Cary Elwes and Robin Wright stole everyone’s hearts in this funny cult classic. It’s full of nerdy puns and conversations so quick-witted, it’s inconceivable


James and the Giant Peach (1996)

Author: Roald Dahl

Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Susan Sarandon

Awards: Best Animated Feature Film (Annecy International Animated Film Festival)

Where to watch: Disney Plus

James And The Giant Peach (1995) Original Movie Poster at Amazon's  Entertainment Collectibles Store

James, a sweet, unassuming orphan, is forced to live with his cruel aunts. He finds a way out of his bleak existence when he finds an enormous enchanted peach, where a crew of new insect friends helps him get to New York City, a place he can make a new and better life for himself.


A brilliant and visually stunning blend of stop-motion animation and live-action, this was one of the best fantasy adaptations to come out of the 90s. Who wouldn’t want to set sail or take flight with the mysterious Miss Spider, the humble Earthworm, and the sweet, motherly Ladybug?


The Harry Potter series (2001-2011)

Author: J.K. Rowling

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Gary Oldman

Awards: Winner of over ten awards, including Best Fantasy Film (Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films)

Where to watch: Peacock, HBO Max

Amazon.com: Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone - Movie Poster (Regular  Style) (Size: 27 x 40 inches): Posters & Prints

A young orphaned boy learns of his magical legacy and is whisked away from his cruel aunt and uncle to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Along the way, he makes great friends and great enemies, including Voldemort, the evilest wizard Hogwarts has ever known—who also happens to be his parents’ murderer.


Rowling’s sweeping fantasy of a boy wizard and his magical friends has enchanted both children and adults for two decades, becoming an instant classic. The series is considered an iconic piece of modern fantasy literature with equally great adaptations to match.


The Chronicles of Narnia series (2005-2010)

Author: C.S. Lewis

Starring: Ben Barnes, Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy

Awards: Winner of seven awards, including the BFCA Critics' Choice Award for Best Family Film

Where to watch: Disney Plus

Amazon.com: Movie Posters Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The  Wardrobe - 27 x 40: Posters & Prints

Four siblings step through a magical portal in an old wooden wardrobe and discover the land of Narnia, a magical country full of witches, whimsical talking creatures, and the kingly lion who rules them all. 


Only three books out of the series were made into movies, but they were stunning. If you’re a fan of the Shadow and Bone series on Netflix, you’ll be enchanted by a very young Ben Barnes, who plays Prince (and later King) Caspian.


Stardust (2007)

Author: Neil Gaiman

Starring: Claire Danes, Michelle Pfieffer, Robert DeNiro

Awards: Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film-Wide Release

Where to watch: Netflix

Amazon.com: Movie Posters Stardust - 27 x 40: Posters & Prints

A besotted young man must travel into the faerie realm to retrieve a fallen star to win the heart of his beloved. What he finds instead of a star is a beautiful woman named Yvain, who is in mortal danger (naturally). The king’s sons want her power to secure the throne, and an evil witch wants her to attain eternal youth and beauty. Will Tristan abandon his original quest to help Yvain?


Peppered with an all-star cast and many celebrity cameos, this is a delightful, visually stunning fantasy.


The Lord of the Rings series (2001-2003)

Author: J.R.R. Tolkien

Starring: Elijah Wood, Liv Tyler, Ian McKellen

Awards: Winner of over thirty awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2004

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring One-Sheet Movie Poster -  Original Film Art - Vintage Movie Posters

A young hobbit named Frodo goes on a quest to destroy the One Ring, which will bind all living creatures under the evil power of Sauron. To defeat the ring, Frodo and his fellowship (consisting of a dwarf, a wizard, an elf, a would-be king, a valiant warrior, and Frodo’s hobbit bestie), must destroy the ring in the fires of Mordor, and get help from an unexpected source.


This series is a must-see if you are a fan of the books. While the last movie felt a bit rushed, the first two in the series are pure gold.


Game of Thrones series (2011-2019)

Author: George R.R. Martin

Starring: Emilia Clarke, Sophie Turner, Kit Harrington

Awards: Winner of over forty awards, including the Hugo Award for Best Presentation

Where to watch: HBO Max

Amazon.com: Pyramid America Game of Thrones You Win or You Die Iron Throne  Ned Stark TV Cool Wall Decor Art Print Poster 24x36: Game Of Thrones Ned  Poster: Posters & Prints

In the game of thrones, you win or die. In this epic grimdark fantasy, nine noble families vie for the Iron Throne to rule the mythical land of Westeros. When usurper Robert Baratheon dies under suspicious circumstances, the race for the throne begins.


One of the most anticipated book adaptations of all time, the series never failed to deliver the political intrigue, family drama, and the expansive and dynamic cast of characters from the novels. While purists were disappointed at its divergence from the books, each episode has the production value of a movie and is definitely worth the watch.


The Hobbit series 2012-2014

Author: J.R.R. Tolkien

Starring: Luke Evans, Ian Holm, Orlando Bloom

Awards: Winner of over four hundred awards, including the Empire Award for Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film

Where to watch: HBO Max, Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video

Amazon.com: Poster (24x36) The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey Movie: Lord Of  The Rings Poster: Posters & Prints

The “prequel” to the LOTR franchise, The Hobbit series explains how quiet, homebody hobbit Bilbo Baggins comes to be in possession of the One Ring. Powerful wizard Gandalf convinces Bilbo to help a dwarf king and his friends on a quest to reclaim their kingdom. Along the way, he finds the One Ring, and the trajectory of his life (and those of his descendants) changes forever.


While not as wildly celebrated as the first set of films, Peter Jackson still delivers great thrills, drama, and unrivaled visual beauty in this prequel series.


The Witcher 2019

Author: Andrzej Sapkowski

Starring: Henry Cavill, Freya Allen

Awards: Winner of four awards, including a Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Television Series

Where to watch: Netflix

The Witcher Character Posters Promise Grim Swords & Sorcery

Geralt of Rivia is a monster hunter, also called a witcher, with a special power to hunt and kill monsters for money. Struggling to find his place in the fictional world of “The Continent”, he finds that humans are more wicked than any beast or monster he encounters.


Based on the fiercely popular book series and video game, this medieval-inspired action-adventure is sure to keep you binging on a rainy weekend.