Whether you are a fan or not, there’s no dispute that LOTR is one of the greatest movie classics of all time. In this article, you will find the 10 best and most beloved fantasy movies like The Lord of the Rings. We even throw two similar series as well.
The Lord of the Rings tells the story of a young Hobbit named Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) who inherits a magic ring. Due to the ring’s superpowers, it is desired by Sauron, who wishes to use those powers to enslave people for his good. To impede Sauron, Frodo teams up with a powerful Wizard, an Elf a dwarf, and others, with a mission to extinguish the ring by casting it into volcanic fires. During the battles, the ring unleashes its superpowers.
1. Stardust (2007)
Tristan (Charlie Cox), promises to bring a falling star for his beloved one (Sienna Miller), to win her heart. He embarks on a journey and arrives in a magical kingdom, where he discovers that the star is a young and beautiful girl (Clare Danes), whom he is forced to protect from an evil witch and flying pirates. Stardust is allegedly an homage to “pre-Tolkien English fantasy.”
Before Tolkien, magic was wild and dangerous and more surreal and less about Good vs Evil. The creators aimed to produce a fantasy film that can be watched not just by the Lord of the Rings crowd, but also by people who wouldn’t be caught dead in a fantasy film. Stardust has many similar elements like a magical object quest and epic battles. This fantasy work will appeal to lovers of the genre.
2. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Spain 1944, Franco’s fascist regime dominates. Ophelia, a 12-year-old girl, migrates with her pregnant mom to a forgotten rural area, to live with her stepfather, a sadistic commander in the Franco army. Trying to adjust to her new surroundings, the girl discovers an opening to a new and exciting world with legendary creatures. She seeks their help but finds out the price may be unbearable.
A brilliant and moving modern fairytale – it is brilliant and moving. Those who have a strong knowledge of fairytales and fantasy mythology would spot subtle references everywhere in this film.
The Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro who directed Pan’s Labyrinth is also responsible for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey screenplays.
There is a similarity between the landscapes, the choir, the slightly muddy recording, and the dark action pieces. The Underworld has an elvish quality to it, despite being underground. On top of that, there is a simple natural beauty and elegance to everything.
3. Legend (1985)
The Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry), has the plan to extinguish all unicorns and spread an eternal night. Jack (Tom Cruise), is a leader that teams up with his friends to do anything to battle the Lord of darkness and save princess Lili (Mia Sara), and the Lord of darkness forces her to marry him and save earth from the darkness.
One of the best movies of the 80s, with beautiful romance and great action, amazing unicorns and visual effects, and an extraordinary cast.
Legend is generally seen as the film that ended giant fantasy movies due to box office disaster until The Lord of the Rings came out in 2001. William Hjortsberg, the screenwriter came up with a world inspired by the Tolkien series ingredients in scale and premise.
You will find some similar core elements like a princess who challenged suitors by tossing her ring into a deep pool of water and tasking them with retrieving it. It’s a legend that takes place in a magical land where unicorns are the epitome of good, and dark lords plan to create eternal night by destroying the last of the unicorns. Sounds familiar?
4. Highlander (1986)
Conor McLeod, (Christopher Lambert), is a member of the 16th-century McLeod clan who unexpectedly returns to life after dying in battle. His tribe sees his return to life as a deal, Conor made, with the devil and banishes him.
Conor does not understand his unique position until he meets Juan Sánchez-Villalobos Ramírez (Sean Connery) who tells Conor that just like him, he is a son of death, and teaches him the rules of conduct of people like them: From the moment he dies, Conor will never grow old and won’t be able to bring children.
The only way he can die is if his head is separated from his body and many of the sons of the god of death believe that in the end only one of them will survive.
“There can be only one!” An 80’s cult classic, with a beautiful storyline, smart dialogues, and a lot of action. It’s like The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, but with fewer Hobbits and more swords. A similar storyline to The Highlander must journey to the unknown in search of a purpose and defeat evil.
5. Time Bandits (1981)
Kevin is an Eleven-year-old boy, a fan of Greek history, with a colorful imagination. One night, as Kevin is sleeping, six dwarfs emerge from his closet, presenting him with a map, charting all of the holes in time, that they are using to steal treasures from different historical eras. Kevin is joining them on an unforgettable journey in History.
If you are a fan of adventure stories you may like this as well. Very colorful.
6. Krull (1983)
A 1983 sci-fi sword and sorcery movie in which a prince must rescue his bride and his planet by doing battle with The Beast and his army of slayers.
Krull is not a very good movie. It’s so bad, it’s good. However, you’ll have a blast watching it. It’s another one of those “Damn, they almost had it” fantasy movies that were released in that era. Cool ideas, and interesting characters, but the special effects were uneven and the acting was terrible.
It’s a hybrid of fantasy and sci-fi elements, Krull is like if Lord of the Rings and Star Wars had a baby. Indeed, the story of a young hero aided by an older mentor, surrounded by a band of funny-looking sidekicks as he quests after something that will save his kingdom from ultimate destruction, is familiar. It embodies everything LOTR: the hero’s journey, a magical weapon, assembling a band of heroic misfits, and rescuing the princess from the beast.
7. Seven Samurai (1954)
During the late 16th century, a small farmers’ village in Japan is being attacked by robbers that abused and harassed the residents. The helpless and poor farmers, approach a Samurai, and offer him food, in return for his protection. He teams up with a group of Samurai to defend the villagers, who are at first very suspicious of their helpers, but slowly the samurai and farmers begin to trust each other as they train together.
This Academy Award winner masterpiece by Akira Kurosawa is one of the best films of all time. Peter Jackson unsurprisingly borrowed visual elements from Kurosawa. The Battle of the Hornburg has been used to set the tone for action scenes across the board.
8. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
The Hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), is swept away after a quest by Gandalf the Wizard(Ian McKellen), on a journey to save the kingdom from the dragon Smaug. Baggins finds himself in the company of thirteen dwarfs led by the legendary warrior, Thorin II “Oakenshield” (Richard Armitage), together they are battling giant spiders and vicious wizards.
Where better to start looking for similar titles than with the franchise itself?
9. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
Bilbo Baggins’s (Martin Freeman), adventures continue, when he traveled to Lonely Mountain with the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), to take the Arkenstone from the dragon Smaug. During their adventurous journey, they have to face giant spiders orcs, and vicious creatures, while Smaug is not easily deceived, and flies to their village to destroy it.
Another classic from the “Lord of the ring” series. It is pure entertainment and fun, with incredible visual effects and the best cast you can find.
10. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), and the Dwarfs, watch from the distance of the mountains how Laketown is being destroyed by the Dragon Smaug. Thorin (Richard Armitage), searches obsessively for the Arkenstone, which Bilbo had previously found, but kept hidden. As the fate of their lands is fragile and unstable, Men, Dwarves, and Elves should decide whether they cooperate and thrive together or fight against one another.
The last part of the Lord of the ring series is high-paced compared to the two previous ones. it’s emotional and full of action. Landscapes and visuals are at their best, and it is very hard to say goodbye to the beautiful talented cast for the last time.
11. Legend Of The Seeker (2008)
In an imaginary enchanted world, Richard Cypher (Craig Horner) finds a mysterious woman seeking help in the woods, her name is Kahlan Amnell (Bridget Regan), they team up with a wizard named Zeddicus and set on a quest to defeat a dark force named Rahl, while Cypher is forced to accept a destiny he never knew about.
With a great storyline and a great mystery, this series will take you on a full of action and fantasy journey. People who like plain fantasy adventure stories will love this series.
The New Zealand/Auckland filmed fantasy is a “Romeo and Juliet meet Lord of the Rings.” You fall in love with the central characters and see them progress. It’s a similar Bilbo and Frodo connection, they’re not alone on an epic journey.
12. The Shannara Chronicles (2016)
A magical Elvish tree, who protects the imaginary enchanting Four Lands from the demon’s world, is about to die. Ambrella Elessedil (Poppy Drayton), is the chosen Elf to save the tree – to do that, she has to unlock ancient magic that hasn’t been used for thousands of years. She teams up with a group of Elves and they are going on a journey to seek the lost magic.
The Shannara Chronicles is infamous, many suggest it’s a Lord of the Rings ripoff. The similar vibes between the two works are interesting. Both use the tropes of the humans/elves/dwarfs/dragons world, but even the characters and plot are very much the same. Gandalf-like figure (Allanon)? Check, a mythical object (the sword) capable of stopping the evil Warlock Lord threatening the Four Lands? Check. Even the trailers look the same.
If you look up the entry for “Terry Brooks” in the Encyclopedia of Fantasy it says that Brooks: “translated the complex Christian Fantasy of LOTR and the secondary world in which it takes place, into a series of morally transparent genre fantasy adventures set in an apparent fantasyland.”