Since the beginning of time, humans have been captivated by stories of magic, heroism, wondrous creatures, and powerful gods and goddesses. Myths, folk stories, and fairytales are an important aspect of our shared humanity: these stories are in our blood and bones and now in our movies! Fantasy movies for kids have always been some of our favorites, from The Wizard of Oz to basically the whole Disney oeuvre, and they’re also some of our very favorite movies to watch as a movie because, really, we never quite outgrow them, do we?
Whether your kid is into unicorns or superheroes, magic potions or epic battles between good and evil, we've got
something for everyone on this list. We've also tried to include stories from around the world, as well as old classics and new favorites. The best part: we know you're going to love these, too. Because, come on: your kid has had control of the remote control for years now, and you can recite all of their favorite shows by heart. It's high time you get to watch something you'll enjoy as well!
Fortunately, there’s no lack of great fantasy movies to enjoy with your family. Here are just a few to get you started...
The Princess and the Frog
A retelling of
The Frog Prince, The Princess and the Frog takes place in jazz-age New Orleans, where aspiring restauranteur Tiana finds herself transformed into a frog after trying to help the enchanted Prince Naveen escape his amphibious fate. Stream The Princess and the Frog, rated G, on Disney+ A Little Princess
When Sarah Crewe’s father must fight in World War I, he brings her to the New York City boarding school her mother attended. But when he goes missing in action, Sarah finds herself orphaned and indentured to her former school. While they’ve taken her fancy clothes and toys, they cannot take her imagination.
Stream A Little Princess, rated G, on HBO Max Aladdin
When scrappy “street rat” Aladdin finds a magic lamp (complete with wacky genie) he schemes and wishes his way into the heart of the feisty Princess Jasmine, but has to reckon with the evil wizard Jafar.
Stream Aladdin, rated G, on Disney+ My Neighbor Totoro
Two girls move into an old house bursting with all kinds of friendly spirits, including the King of the Forest himself. Their whimsical adventures with the “totoro” help them cope with their mother’s chronic illness.
Stream My Neighbor Totoro, rated G, on HBO Max The Last Unicorn
When a unicorn realizes she may be the last of her kind left on Earth, she journeys across the land to try to find others like her – making friends along the way – only to learn she must save them from King Haggard and his minion, the Red Bull.
Stream The Last Unicorn, rated G, on Amazon Prime Return to Oz
We all know
The Wizard of Oz, the classic musical from the 1930s telling the story of Dorothy Gale’s wonderful journey to Oz... but what happens when she gets back to Kansas? Turns out everyone thinks she’s gone insane. But when the Yellow Brick Road calls her back once more, she finds a sad scene indeed, and must work together with new friends to restore the Emerald City to its former glory. Stream Return to Oz, rated PG, on Disney+ Luca
A young sea monster named Luca, who appears human on dry land, leaves his ocean home for a magical summer in the Italian seaside village of Portorosso with his new friends Alberto and Giulia.
Stream Luca, rated PG, on Disney+ Over the Moon
A young girl named Fei Fei, struggling with problems at home, builds a rocket to journey to the moon where the mythical goddess Chang’e awaits her love Houyi. In helping the goddess, Fei Fei also helps to heal herself.
Stream Over the Moon, rated PG, on Netflix Labyrinth
Teenage Sarah resents having to babysit her little brother Toby, she’d much rather spend her time imagining herself in a fantasy world. But when the Goblin King grants her wish of taking him away, Sarah must journey to the center of his fantastic labyrinth to rescue him.
Stream Labyrinth, rated PG, on HBO Max Mary Poppins Returns
In this pitch-perfect sequel to
Mary Poppins, everyone’s favorite magic nanny comes back to the Banks household, this time to watch over Michael’s three small children, rescuing the house (and a few despondent adults who have lost their way) in the process. Stream Mary Poppins Returns, rated PG, on Disney+ The Secret of Roan Inish Amazon Video/Jamie Kenney
When Fiona is sent to live with her grandparents in a small fishing village on the western coast of Ireland, she learns of her family’s connection to the sea, and the seals that hold a special status among the villagers. Over time, she realizes that this family history might have something to do with her brother Jamie’s disappearance years earlier...
Stream The Secret of Roan Inish, rated PG, on Amazon Prime The Chronicles of Narnia Series
When Lucy, Peter, Edmund, and Susan are sent to live with their uncle, they discover a magic wardrobe that transports them into the magical world of Narnia, where the lion Aslan and the White Witch battle for the fate of the land.
Stream the Chronicles of Narnia series, rated PG, on Disney+ The BFG
When 10-year-old Sophie first encounters a 24 foot giant, she’s quite scared, but soon realizes that this is a Big Friendly Giant. The two become friends, and must work together to fight against the wicked giants who have also emerged.
Stream The BFG, rated PG, on Netflix The Song of the Sea Amazon Video/Jamie Kenney
Ben doesn’t always like his sister, Saoirse. After all, their mother went away after she was born. But when he discovers that his mute sister is a selkie, a mythical creature that can turn into a seal, the family must go on a quest to find her voice and free her from the fairies who would have her live with them.
Stream The Song of the Sea, rated PG, on Amazon Prime Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
When Sinbad is framed by the evil Goddess of Chaos, master mariner Sinbad and his friends must battle raging elements, mutinies and powerful monsters to retrieve the Book of Peace.
Stream Sinbad, rated PG, on Hulu Jumanji
Alan Parrish had all but given up hope of escaping the jungle after playing a magical board game with his friend Sarah, but when siblings Peter and Judy inadvertently rescue him 26 years later, they must finish the game and call out “Jumanji!” to set things right... but with monsoons, herding elephants, and giant bugs constantly coming out of the game, it won’t be easy...
Stream Jumanji, rated PG, on Hulu Spirited Away
Chihiro and her parents stumble upon a seemingly abandoned amusement park. But after her parents are turned into pigs, she discovers that the park is a resort for supernatural beings who need a break from Earth... and that she must work there to free herself and her parents.
Stream Spirited Away, rated PG, on HBO Max Hook
Peter Pan is all grown up. He has forgotten all about Neverland and Tinker Bell and is now a lawyer by the name of Peter Banning. But when Captain Hook kidnaps his children to lure him into one final battle, Peter must relearn how to fight, fly, and crow with the help of the Lost Boys.
Stream Hook, rated PG, on Netflix Onward
Elf brothers Ian and Barley live in a world where it’s pretty normal to come home to find a unicorn picking through your trashcan and fairies at the supermarket. But magic? That’s just a story... right? When they’re able to summon (part of) their late father, the two embark on a magical quest to spend one more day with him.
Stream Onward, rated PG, on Disney+ The How to Train Your Dragon Trilogy
Hiccup is a terrible Viking. Gawky and awkward, he is determined to prove his worth by taking down the most dangerous dragon alive. But after wounding a Night Fury he names Toothless, Hiccup finds himself bonding with the creature, and must prove to his village (and his father) that dragons are friends.
Stream the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy, rated PG, on Amazon Prime The Kid Who Would Be King
In this retelling of the Arthurian legend, young Alex discovers the ancient magic sword Excalibur and he and his friends (with the help of Merlin the Wizard) have to train to defeat the wicked sorceress Morgana.
Stream The Kid Who Would Be King, rated PG, on Disney+ The Water Man
Hoping to save his sick mother, off-beat dreamer Gunner ventures into the remote Wild Horse forest to search for a local legend, the magical Water Man, who possesses the secret to immortality.
Stream The Water Man, rated PG, on Amazon Prime Black Panther
T’Challa is the recently anointed King of Wakanda, the only country in Africa never colonized that hides its technological advances from the rest of the world. But when his cousin, codenamed Killmonger, fights him for the throne, the peace and prosperity of the country (and the world) is put at risk.
Stream Black Panther, rated PG-13, on Disney+ The Harry Potter Series
From his tiny closet room under the stairs, Harry Potter never could have imagined that he was a famous wizard. But when he is summoned to one of the world’s great wizarding schools, his life forever changes.
(We know you all know about these movies, but it feels irresponsible not to include them on this list... )
Stream the Harry Potter series, rated PG to PG-13 on HBO Max The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Thousands of years ago, the evil Sauron crafted a ring that would conquer Middle Earth. Now, a hobbit named Frodo and his eight companions must return the Ring of Power to the fires of Mount Doom to destroy it, and its corrupting power, before it ushers in a dark age.
(We know you know about these movies as well, but consider this your reminder that maybe your kid is finally old enough to check it out.)
Stream the Lord of the Rings trilogy, rated PG-13, on HBO Max