Who doesn’t love a good old fairy tale? Yes, there are exciting action movies, heart-breaking romantic films, mind-boggling intellectual flicks, and some guilty pleasure trash that we might enjoy watching from time to time. But, there is a charm of fairy tales that never really let’s go of its hold on the audience. And over time, fairy tales have progressed from being the rudimentary stories of ‘damsel in distress’ to intelligent, badass women who rebel against the outdated societal norms.
So, don’t let anyone tell you that fairy tales are just for kids! Don’t fall for that nonsensical ‘you’re way past watching this’ argument. There is so much emotional depth in these movies that they make us cry, and such sharp life lessons that can actually be quite enlightening, sometimes. And also, they make us feel good, so of course, we love them. Here’s the list of top fairy tale movies ever. And yes, adults can enjoy them too. You can watch some of these best fairy tale movies on Netflix or Amazon Prime or Hulu.
15. The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)
This oldest surviving animated feature film starts with a sorcerer who offers a flying horse to the Caliph and asks to marry his daughter, princess Dinarsade, in return. But, she doesn’t want to marry him, so her brother, Prince Achmed objects. The sorcerer tricks him into riding the horse, but the Prince doesn’t know how to stop it, so he keeps riding away. If you are skeptic about this film being placed into the fairy tale category, consider this- it has a sorcerer, a witch, a curse, an adventurous journey of self-awareness, a fight to protect the kingdom, and love. If this isn’t the recipe for a fairy tale, what is? Also, this story overlaps with that of ‘Aladdin’, so that’s a bonus!
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14. Sleeping Beauty (1959)
When Princess Aurora is born, her parents, King Stefan and Queen Leah, declare a holiday and conduct festivities. A trio of fairies joins the celebration to bless the princess. Before they are done giving their blessings to the child, an evil fairy, Maleficent, appears. When she is told that she wasn’t invited, she curses the princess that she will be beautiful and graceful, but before the sun sets on her 16th birthday, she will die. The good fairies can’t undo the curse, but they soften it so that instead of dying, she will fall into a deep slumber that will be broken only by a true love’s kiss.
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13. The Little Mermaid (1989)
Ariel is a young mermaid who is taken by the idea of the human world. Even after her father, King Triton, attempts to make her give up on it, she collects human artifacts from the bottom of the sea. Once, she goes to the surface of the ocean to watch the birthday celebration of Prince Eric. Ariel falls in love with the Prince and resolves to find a way to join him in the human world. When she meets a strong refusal from her father, she seeks the help of a witch, Ursula.
12. The Princess Bride (1987)
Based on the novel of the same name by William Goldman, ‘The Princess Bride’ is the cult-classic that tells the story of a farm girl, Buttercup. She falls in love with Westley who goes off to seek fortune so that he can marry her. But on the way, his ship is attacked by the pirates and he is presumed dead. Five years later, Prince Humperdinck proposes to marry her and she reluctantly agrees. But the Prince has an ulterior, malevolent motive, and the return of Buttercup’s long-lost love changes everything for her.
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11. Shrek (2001)
An unconventional tale, but a fairy-tale nevertheless, ‘Shrek’ is the story of an ogre who wants to live alone in his swamp. But the fairy-tale hating Prince Farquaad is exiling all the fairy-tale characters to his swamp which is making it crowded and uncomfortable for the solitary Shrek. When he, along with Donkey, unintentionally win a tournament, the Prince forces them to go on a mission to rescue Princess Fiona so that he may marry her and become a proper king. Shrek and Donkey embark on this adventure, defeat the dragon, and rescue the Princess. But there is something about her that they don’t know.
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10. Enchanted (2007)
The movie that turned the talented Amy Adams into an established star, ‘Enchanted’ is about Giselle who is transported from her animated fairy-tale world of Andalasia to the real-life world of New York City. While she is on the way to her wedding with Prince Edward, Giselle is pushed into a well by Edward’s evil stepmother, Queen Narissa. She finds herself in New York where a divorce lawyer, Robert helps her to find her way in the strange city. Meanwhile, Edward and Giselle’s chipmunk friend, Pip follow her to New York to bring her back. What follows is everything that makes a fairy-tale worth its name.
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9. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937)
A bunch of movies have been made over the years based on the story of Snow White. But, none of them trumps Walt Disney’s original classic, ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’. Unadulterated and true to its content, it is the story of ‘the fairest of them all’, Princess Snow White. Her cunning stepmother, the Queen wants to be the most beautiful woman and fears that Snow White’s beauty will replace her. So, she hires a huntsman to take her to the jungle and kill her. But the Huntsman doesn’t have the heart to kill, so he asks her to run away. But the Queen’s mirror, yet, proclaims Snow White as the fairest maiden, and so the Queen goes after her, with a poisoned apple.
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8. Cinderella (1950)
There is something about the originals that never fades their magic. Cinderella’s story has been another tale that saw many remakes and retellings, sometimes with modern-day twists, and sometimes in its unmodified form. The 1950’s ‘Cinderella’ is the one that started it all. The story of the girl, subdued by her cunning stepmother and stepsisters, but aided by her fairy godmother to attend the royal ball is a timeless classic.
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7. The Princess and the Frog (2009)
Tiana is an aspiring young chef who wants her own restaurant someday. When Prince Naveen of Maldonia arrives in New Orleans, Tiana’s best friend, Charlotte, throws a party to gain his acquaintance as she plans to woo him into marrying her. But an evil wizard places a curse on the Prince and turns him into a frog. Mistaking Tiana for Charlotte, he asks her to kiss him so that the spell can be broken. Instead, Tiana too turns into a frog.
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6. Aladdin (1992)
With the great Robin Williams as Genie, this film remains one of the best out of Disney’s world. A street urchin Aladdin finds a lamp which when rubbed releases a Genie who can do unimaginable things on behest of its owner. Aladdin falls in love with Princess Jasmine but knowing that she’ll never marry a guy like him, he wishes the Genie to turn him into a prince. But the evil Grand vizier, Jafar, plans to take over the kingdom and has his eyes on Aladdin’s lamp.
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5. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
As much as I loved Emma Watson’s live-action ‘Beauty and the Beast’, the original charm of 1991’s animated version isn’t easy to shrug off. Belle is a beautiful bookworm who dreams of adventure, escaping from the mundane village life. In a jungle, there is an enchanted castle with a Beast for its prince and all its servants converted into household items. When Belle’s father is captured by the Beast, she trades herself for him. Living with Beast, Belle realizes that he might not be so bad, after all.
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4. Frozen (2013)
With its hauntingly beautiful song, “Let It Go”, Frozen is one of the most-loved Disney movies. Princess Elsa of Arendelle has a magical power over ice, but she can’t control it. An accident on her crowning ceremony results in the winter that grips the entire kingdom. Elsa runs away to escape the hatred of everyone and finds happiness in living alone and free. Princess Anna believes that Elsa is just frightened and that as her sister she can bring her back home. Along with an iceman, Kristoff and his reindeer, Sven, she embarks on a journey to find Elsa.
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3. Brave (2012)
Princess Merida of the clan Dunbroch is raised to be a perfect queen. But her parents fail miserably at it as Merida doesn’t want to get married. She is interested in archery and adventures. This causes a rift between her and her mother Queen Elinor. Merida seeks the help of a witch to change her life. The witch gives her a spell in the form of a cake, that she gives to her mother. The spell changes Elinor into a bear and throws the kingdom into a chaos. Seeking a way to reverse the spell, Merida embarks on a journey with her mother to learn the true meaning of bravery.
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2. Moana (2016)
Moana is the daughter of chief Tui of Motunui. She dreams of sailing far and away in the ocean, but her father tells her that it is forbidden. After the life seems to drain away from their island, Moana embarks on a journey to find the demigod Maui who had stolen the heart of Te Fiti, the goddess who created life in the ocean. She intends to restore her heart to heal the nature again. An unconventional princess, Moana is free-spirited, curious and headstrong, exactly the kind of princess the world needs right now!
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1. Tangled (2010)
Okay, there might be some resentment there for putting this on number one. But, no matter what you say, ‘Tangled’ remains my favorite fairy-tale, to date. With its catchy songs, lovable characters, and portrait-styled animation, it is a complete joy to watch. Rapunzel is the lost princess with magic hair, locked away in a tower by an evil witch. When a thief, Flynn Rider, accidentally discovers her, Rapunzel makes a deal with him to get out of the tower to watch the floating lamps.
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