Top 10 Underrated Fantasy Movies

Script written by Nolan Moore. Not every movie is "The Lord of the Rings." And you know what? That’s okay. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 underrated fantasy movies. For this list, we’re looking at those magical movies that weren’t appreciated in their day. Maybe they bombed at the box office, or perhaps they were panned by critics, or maybe they've just been forgotten by time. These are the fantasies that deserve your respect, and hopefully will end up as classics one day. Special thanks to our users jkellis and WittyIntellect for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest.
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Script written by Nolan Moore.

Top 10 Underrated Fantasy Movies


Not every movie is “The Lord of the Rings.” And you know what? That’s okay. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 underrated fantasy films.

For this list, we’re looking at those magical movies that weren’t appreciated in their day. Maybe they bombed at the box office, or perhaps they were panned by critics, or maybe they’ve just been forgotten by time. Whatever the reason, these are the fantasies that deserve your respect, and hopefully will end up as classics one day.

#10: “The Gate” (1987)

What do you get when you mix “The Goonies” with “Gremlins?” Only the craziest fantasy-horror film ever made. When a young boy accidentally opens a portal to hell in his backyard, he unleashes an angry army of mini-demons intent on bringing the apocalypse. But this is the ‘80s, and kids aren’t going to just sit still with a bunch of monsters running around. A sadly forgotten fantasy gem, “The Gate” will leave you gasping, laughing, and checking under your bed for a long time.

#9: “The Fountain” (2006)


Similar in style to “2001: A Space Odyssey,” this epic romance is a sweeping study on the nature of death. Influenced by the book of Genesis, “The Fountain” jumps between three separate stories, each set in a different world at a different point in time. However, each story is linked by a man’s desperate quest to save the woman he loves from dying. More than just a love story, this visual masterpiece is the closest thing to a spiritual experience you’ll ever find on film.

#8: “The Last Unicorn” (1982)


Most people associate Rankin/Bass with holiday specials, but when they teamed up with anime studio Topcraft, the result was this delightfully nostalgic ‘80s flick, complete with nightmare fuel. When a lone unicorn sets out to find the rest of her kind, she’s accidentally transformed into a woman. With the fate of her kind in the balance, she must wrestle with human emotions while facing cinema’s scariest bull. Featuring actors like Mia Farrow, Jeff Bridges, and Christopher Lee, this is one movie you won’t regret watching.

#7: “The Witches” (1990)

Most modern kid movies are pretty light fare, but this adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic story takes fairytales back to their frightening roots. While staying at a hotel with his ailing grandmother, a young boy discovers a coven of witches plotting to destroy all the children in England…and then the poor kid gets turned into a mouse. With Anjelica Huston’s hair-raising performance and Jim Henson’s visual effects, “The Witches” walks a fine line between humor and horror. Okay, who are we kidding? It’s downright terrifying.

#6: “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” (1988)


Director Terry Gilliam isn’t known for his subtlety, but “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” makes the rest of his films look restrained in comparison. And that’s fine with us. This madcap fantasy follows an aging nobleman who travels across the universe to save a small town from destruction. Along the way, he dances with a goddess, meets a monstrous fish, and encounters a floating head that looks a lot like Robin Williams. Wild and full of imagination, “Munchausen” is Terry Gilliam’s most elaborate tall tale.


#5: “Willow” (1988)

Even though George Lucas and Ron Howard were at the helm, this lighthearted fantasy didn’t live up to its blockbuster potential. Even Warwick Davis occasionally jokes about the film’s failure. And that’s too bad because “Willow” is absolutely charming. When a young dwarf and wanna-be wizard discovers an abandoned baby, he must keep the child safe from a wicked queen and her evil minions. Sure, it’s a simple story, but it’s still delightful, and the chemistry between Davis and co-star Val Kilmer is fantastic.

#4: “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” (1971)

Often overshadowed by “Mary Poppins,” this Disney tale is a mix of live-action adventure and animated escapades. Set in World War II England, the film follows three orphans who end up with Eglantine Price, an apprentice witch who plans on using magic to fight the Nazis. Finding the right spell is a bit challenging, but with the help of a conman and a bewitched bed, this ragtag crew travels across the world, searching for a missing medallion, with plenty of musical numbers along the way.

#3: “Legend” (1985)

While he’s best known for his sci-fi films, Ridley Scott also directed this gorgeous fairytale, jam-packed with startling images and the most amazing makeup in the genre. After the Lord of Darkness captures the last living unicorn, a beautiful princess and a heroic forest boy must free her from the depths of hell and stop the demon before he plunges the world into icy darkness. The creature-work here gives Jim Henson a run for his money, and the devilish Tim Curry totally steals the show.

#2: “The Black Cauldron” (1985)

With hits like “Frozen” and “Cinderella,” Disney is no stranger to fantasy films, but the House of Mouse did things a little differently in this action-packed tale of dungeons and dragons. Interestingly, its dark atmosphere shocked critics and fans, causing it to bomb at the box office. Disney reacted by disowning it, resulting in its home video release being shelved for over a decade! Regardless, this fine and mature animated fantasy film is a compelling tale of a boy named Taran who must protect a psychic pig from the evil Horned King. If this boney baddy gets ahold of the hog, he’ll find the Black Cauldron, a powerful pot with unspeakable power. Complete with witches, a princess, and a magical sword, this underrated gem is dark but still loaded with animated charm.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- “Stardust” (2007)
- “Trollhunter” (2010)
- “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” (2001)
- “The Beastmaster” (1982)
- “Reign of Fire” (2002)

#1: “The Dark Crystal” (1982)

After achieving success with the Muppets, Jim Henson decided to take his puppetry in a brand new direction. The result was “The Dark Crystal,” a mystical tale of good versus evil. The story centers on a Gelfling named Jen who’s tasked with restoring a shard to the all-powerful Dark Crystal. If he fails before the three suns align, the evil Skeksis will rule his world forever. With amazing creatures, detailed languages, and extravagant sets, Henson builds an elaborate world that rivals anything Tolkien created.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think is the best underrated fantasy movie? For more epic Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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