1. The Prestige (2006), 2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, 3. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, 4. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), 5. The Neverending Story (1984), 6. Spirited Away (2014), 7. Now You See Me (2013), 8. Hocus Pocus (1993), 9. The Illusionist (2006), 10. The Witch (2015), 11. The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (2009), 12. The Wizard of Oz (1939), 13. Doctor Strange (2016), 14. The Dark Crystal (2019), 15. Hugo (2011). Magic has been a part of storytelling for millennia, and the themes of witches, wizards, spells, and sorceries will almost certainly continue to appear in films for the rest of the medium's existence. Whether it's Mickey Mouse attracting a swarm of brooms or a daring mission to prove the existence of the Blair Witch, magic appears in a variety of forms in almost every genre. While most people think of Harry Potter or Hocus Pocus when they think of magic, there's a lot more to it than that, and many outstanding modern films contain lots of magical themes. These are some of the best movies based on magic ever made, which Toplist recommends that you watch at least once.
- The Prestige (2006)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
- The Neverending Story (1984)
- Spirited Away (2014)
- Now You See Me (2013)
- Hocus Pocus (1993)
- The Illusionist (2006)
- The Witch (2015)
- The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (2009)
- The Wizard of Oz (1939)
- Doctor Strange (2016)
- The Dark Crystal (2019)
- Hugo (2011)
The Prestige (2006)
This 2006 picture, directed by Christopher Nolan, is set in 19th century London and stars Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale as two magicians who are embroiled in a one-upmanship war. Their animosity builds to a tense crescendo of devastation, putting their lives and the lives of those around them in jeopardy.
The gripping story takes you behind the scenes of old-fashioned showmanship and mystique, revealing some of the more heinous aspects and repercussions. The Prestige’s setting also lends itself to a certain epoch, with technological advancements clashing with traditional notions of magic.
Following up on his introduction to Batman in Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan collaborated with Christian Bale once more in this 2006 film. There are some very dramatic and highly cerebral moments in the film, which stars Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine, and David Bowie.
The plot twists and turns are among Nolan’s best, and the several acts of magic including sleight-of-hand and escape artistry rate far above most films featuring magicians. The best illustration of the art is still Caine’s monologue about how magic works to deceive the audience.
Video: Movieclips Classic Trailers
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Harry Potter, the first film of an eight-part series based on J.K. Rowling’s book series of the same name, has become as synonymous with the world of wizardry as names like Merlin and Gandalf. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is the second name on our list of the best movies based on magic ever made.
“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” created all the magical aspects and characters that develop with audiences by showcasing Harry’s transformation from a typical boy to a student at the famed Hogwarts school for witchcraft and wizardry. While the series has higher highs than the first picture, if you haven’t seen the Harry Potter films yet, there’s no better place to start than with the first.
Photo: Google Play
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
“The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” is the first installment in a three-part film series based on author CS Lewis’ novel of the same name. Set against the backdrop of the London Blitz, four youngsters travel to the countryside to avoid the bombing campaign. They discover a secret gateway inside a wardrobe to the land of Narnia, a region filled with exquisite scenery and fantastical creatures, while there. However, the children soon realize that the realm of Narnia, like their own, is ravaged by warfare. They are unwilling participants in the struggle, with their ascension to the throne being the foretold path to peace for all of Narnia.
While still a children’s picture at heart, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” is not as sanitized as some common fantasy films in the genre, with the prospect of war lurking over the characters throughout.
Photo: Fshare Blog
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
The Middle Earth established by author J.R.R. Tolkien has become famous among fantasy enthusiasts, with a plethora of films, games, and other media all based on his original works. Some fans may be surprised to learn that much of the source material for the series is already well over 50 years old, with one of Tolkien’s first novels, “The Hobbit,” being released in 1937.
Photo: Screen Daily
The Neverending Story (1984)
This 1984 masterpiece may appear out of place in German director Wolfgang Petersen’s oeuvre. A joyful fantasy frolic with dragons and other animals, a far cry from his usual gritty realism, appears to be a long departure from his usual gritty realism. However, behind the surface, “The Neverending Story” is a shockingly dark fairy tale. It is one of the best movies on magic.
The story is told through the pages of a storybook, with the perspective moving between the real world and the fantasy world of the boy reading it. Our protagonist is thrust into the world of Fantasia, a collapsing empire on the verge of collapse. A savage force is known only as “the nothing” threatens to annihilate Fantasia, prompting the story’s hero, Atreyu, to embark on a quest to save the world. He is repeatedly confronted with unfathomable dangers along the road, all while being chased by nothing, who is withering the environment around him as he runs.
Video: Movieclips Classic Trailers
Spirited Away (2014)
Hayao Miyazaki, a Japanese director and co-founder of Studio Ghibli, is known around the world for his ability to tell beautiful stories that are also heartwarmingly pleasant. “Spirited Away,” which he directed in 2001, is still regarded as one of Studio Ghibli’s best works two decades later.
Only their young daughter Chihiro is spared from being turned into a pig by an evil witch when a family mistakenly journeys into the realm of spirits. She doesn’t get off easy, though, as she has been cast into the realm of spirits until she can release her parents from the curse. Chihiro meets various spirit world residents along the journey, including the legendary no-face, as she races against time to cure the bad magic that has afflicted her family.
Video: Madman Anime
Now You See Me (2013)
Many fans think that the 2013 thriller “Now You See Me” is a fun story of high-stakes deceit, combining the genres of mystery, science fiction, and traditional heist films all into one. Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, and Morgan Freeman round out the star-studded cast as four magicians who double as highly proficient burglars thanks to their deception skills.
The Four Horsemen, as they’re known, pull off daring and innovative heists on a regular basis, with the proceeds going to the crowd. The film was well-received by moviegoers, and a sequel was released in 2016, with a third picture in the works. It’s easy to see why, with enough twists and turns to keep audiences engaged until the final moments.
Video: CGV Cinemas Vietnam
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Another one on the list of best movies based on magic is no other than Hocus Pocus (1993). The Sanderson Sisters are some of the most well-known Halloween movie characters. The witches, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Milder, and Kathy Najimy, all want to be young and lovely again.
Hocus Pocus is a fantastic Halloween film for all ages. It’s difficult not to smile when watching the video, which is filled to the brim with elaborate costumes, goofy spells, and buck teeth. The performances are perfectly campy, yet they work best for individuals who have a nostalgic streak. Fans of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Halloweentown will enjoy this film. As an added bonus, viewers will get to see Bette Milder perform “I Put a Spell on You.”
The Illusionist (2006)
“The Illusionist” weaves romance, magic, and a horrific murder mystery into an intricately woven novel about a poor magician and a soon-to-be member of the Austrian royal family. Sophie, the Duchess of Teschen, is planning to run away with Eisenheim, an old flame because she is short to be married to the Crown Prince. The pair is forced to rely on Eisenheim’s quick wit and prowess as a magician to stay together under the possibility of arrest and the violent background of Sophie’s fiance.
The Illusionist has some fantastic magic moments, ranging from traditional stage shows to calling dead spirits. The CW had planned to adapt the film into a TV show, but nothing has happened since 2014. This 2006 picture certainly lives up to its name, with its share of otherworldly themes and fanciful gimmicks.
Photo: Mutant Reviewers
The Witch (2015)
“The Witch” is a scary and eerie interpretation of the concept, lacking the joy and optimism that many films associate with the theme of magic. While the prevalent fear of witches in the 17th century has since been proven to be baseless, the method taken in this 2015 horror film is unmistakable.
A Puritan family’s rural New England farm is beset by a sequence of disasters, ranging from kid abduction to animal mutilation. As their paranoia overcomes them, the nightmare occurrences become increasingly chaotic, pitting family members against one another. The paranormal aspect of the being tormenting the family, on the other hand, is undeniable, as is the uncertainty surrounding the witch’s next move.
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (2009)
“The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus,” another piece in Terry Gilliam’s vast filmography of odd and otherworldly films, is evocative of many of his prior works. The dystopian science fiction setting of films like “Brazil” or “12 Monkeys,” albeit with a more mystical, old-world flavor instead of the bleak sci-fi backdrop.
A wandering circus group led by Doctor Parnassus picks up a mystery visitor with a shady past in the first act. Most of our protagonists have something to hide along the road, and the Devil himself is tailing them, duking it out with the Doctor for the souls of the innocent. Heath Ledger’s abrupt and terrible death partway through production, while playing Tony Shepard, had a significant impact on the 2009 release. Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell were all cast in the role to assist finish the picture, which added a dimension of surrealism to the film by altering Tony’s appearance periodically.
Photo: Empire Online
Video: Sony Pictures Classics
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Whether you grew up watching it or have never seen it, it’s always worth viewing for a fun and wonderful glimpse into Baum’s fantastic world.
Video: Movieclips Trailers
Doctor Strange (2016)
The 2016 film “Doctor Strange,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular reality-bending doctor, helped propel the character to the forefront of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, despite the fact that he was relatively unknown to public audiences at the time. Doctor Strange’s popularity was boosted by Benedict Cumberbatch’s outstanding portrayal, which made him one of the most lovable, if not snarkiest, heroes in the Marvel universe.
Doctor Stephen Strange pursues alternative medicine in an attempt to treat himself after being horribly injured in a car accident. The trip leads him to learn the mystic arts, giving him abilities that rival many of the MCU’s other heroes and villains. “Doctor Strange” is a must-see for fans of Marvel comics and magic alike, thanks to its surreal imagery and memorable ending. The film is definitely one of the best movies based on magic.
Video: Marvel Entertainment
The Dark Crystal (2019)
The 1982 film “Dark Crystal,” directed by legendary puppeteer Jim Henson, will take a far more traditional fantasy-themed approach than his earlier work on “The Muppet Show.” Onscreen, the considerable use of actual effects and puppetry is remarkable, creating a complex world that is unlike anything else before or after.
An unending struggle between the Gelflings and Skeksis has been raging in the far-flung realm of Thra since a magical crystal was shattered. The Skeksis have discovered a method to use the crystal’s abilities for evil, snatching the lives of innocent people in order to prolong their own lives. Jen, a teenage Gelfling, is revealed to be the one who would fix the crystal and release his people from Skeksis enslavement. Along the way, he encounters another of his kind, Kira, and the two embark on a journey to fulfill the prophecy while learning more about the previous years of conflict.
Martin Scorsese, the director, is responsible for some of the most engaging and dramatic films of the contemporary age. Whether he’s making thrilling criminal dramas or horrific psychological thrillers, his films usually deal with serious issues. If you’re seeking a lighter piece by this renowned director, or simply a fan of his most well-known works, “Hugo,” from 2011, will not disappoint.
Hugo Cabret, the son of a clockmaker, is orphaned in early twentieth-century France after his father is brutally slain. In the shape of a mysterious automaton with unknown origins, he leaves behind an unsolved mystery after his death. Hugo ends up under the hands of legendary illusionist Georges Méliès, who employs Hugo in his toy shop along the way. “Hugo” stands out visually thanks to its distinctive images and the almost dreamy world of early twentieth-century machinery on show, as well as the underlying themes of the incomprehensible that run throughout.
Photo: Hanoi Grapevine
Video: Paramount Pictures