We’ve scoured the streaming platform’s entire movie library to round up the most must-have movies Prime Video has to offer. The menu covers every conceivable flavor of the genre, from sword and sorcery to magical realism, and includes something for audiences of all ages. We’ve also rated each entry by overall quality to ensure that the decision-making process is much easier.
Best fantasy movies on Prime Video
10. The Beast (1982)
Director: Don Coscarelli
Based on Andre Norton’s 1959 novel The Beast Master, this 1982 outing of sword and sorcery is the definition of a “cult classic.”
The Beastmaster stars Marc Singer as Dar, a muscle-bound warrior who can telepathically communicate with animals, Tanya Roberts as his love interest for Kiri, and Rip Torn as his nemesis, the evil High Priest Maax. Dar, Keri and his animal allies spend the somewhat of a 118-minute film’s runtime fighting to overthrow Maax, in a fictional story that – despite a duo of mongoose thieves – brings very few new ideas to the table.
However, The Beastmaster is a good, fun take on a similar vein to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Conan the Barbarian (which, incidentally, was shown in cinemas the same year). Sure, the budget is low and the quality of the shows is lower, but the entertainment value of this movie is very high. Director Don Coscarelli takes the film’s odd plot and pulp dialogue with commendable seriousness, and when that approach inevitably falters, the Beastmaster’s unintended camp moves the film across the line.
9. The Indian in the Closet (1995)
Director: Frank Oz
The Indian in the Cupboard is an unusual family fantasy movie.
Directed by Frank Oz and based on the 1980 book of the same name by Lynne Reed Banks, the film is built around a simple but effective premise: a magic key allows my nine-year-old to bring his little teddy bear (Litefoot) to life. Soon the boy and his game form a strong bond, as Little Bear teaches Omri some valuable lessons about growing up and being responsible.
The main selling point of The Indian in the Cupboard when it appeared in cinemas in 1995 was the film’s then-developing visual effects. The digital hoaxes used to downsize Litefoot and other support staff members down to the size of an action character are still mostly in place today, and younger viewers in particular will be fascinated by these sequences. This is one of the best fantasy movies on Prime Video for kids without a doubt.
8 – Shrek 2 (2004)
Directors: Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon
All three of Shrek’s sequels are currently available on Prime Video – but among the family-friendly fantasy comedy’s endeavours, only Shrek 2 is truly worth your time. Given the lackluster brilliance of the original film (which ranked sixth on this list, by the way), Shrek 2 boasts a similar winning blend of irreverent humor, spirited themes, and top-notch computer animation.
Directors Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asprey, and Conrad Vernon have a ball that sends out classic fantasy metaphors and fires malicious pop culture references, while still providing an unflatteringly poignant tale about learning to be comfortable in your own skin. They were greatly aided by the Shrek 2 crew of returning artists Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, and (most of all) Eddie Murphy, as well as a host of equally newcomers including Jennifer Saunders and scene-stealing Antonio Banderas.
Shrek 2 is colorful, funny and finished in under two hours – what more could you ask for than an animated fantasy movie on Prime Video?
7. Jabberwocky (1977)
Director: Terry Gilliam
Jabberwocky has many of the hallmarks of a Monty Python movie. Directed by ex-Python Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Gilliam’s co-star Terry Jones are counted among the cast, and has the same surreal comedy vibe that made the British comedy troupe famous. Despite all this, Jabberwocky isn’t an official entry in Python canon, which partly explains why this Lewis Carroll-inspired 1977 fantasy film is largely forgotten today.
That’s a real shame, too, given that Jabberwocky is taken on its own terms, a shout-out—delightfully insane, remorseless spin on the classic “hero quest” formula. Will it reach the same rare heights as its spiritual ancestor Monty Python and the Holy Grail? never.
But Jabberwocky is nonetheless highly imaginative and often funny, and sees Gilliam begin to cultivate the special storytelling sensibilities that would enrich his later, more plausible films like Brazil and The Fisher King.
6- Shrek (2001)
Directors: Andrew Adamson, Vicki Jenson
A breath of fresh air when it hit theaters in 2001, Shrek is arguably the greatest postmodern tale of the past 20 years – if not Start.
Based on William Steig’s 1990 children’s book, Shrek! , this DreamWorks animated comedy easily questions old tales like Snow White, the Seven Dwarfs, and Cinderella (not to mention their Disney adaptations). It also gives us one of the best companion duos in recent memory in the form of ogre-wicked Mike Myers Shrek and wise-mouthed Eddie Murphy.
Shrek’s computer animation is still as cool as ever, with a set of pieces that includes a fire-breathing dragon. But what ultimately makes Shrek such a timeless classic is that, like his titular hero, beneath his rickety exterior beats a heart of gold.
Kids and their parents will gladly return to this story over and over for its poignant message about the true nature of beauty as they will because of the quick gags.
5- Highlander (1986)
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Another cult classic of the ’80s, Highlander chronicles the exploits of immortal swordsman Conor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) as his final showdown with his opponent Corgan (Clancy Brown) approaches. The film is somewhere between opulent and absurd, and the best example of its unique allure is the truly amazing role of Sean Connery as his Spanish mentor, Ramirez of Scottish descent MacLeod.
The Highlander has more to offer than semi-ironic charm. For one thing, the screenplay by Gregory Weyden, Peter Bellwood, and Larry Ferguson deals with the traditions surrounding its immortal heroes and their centuries-old mystical contest with remarkable brilliance. On top of that, director Russell Mulcahy and legendary choreographer Bob Anderson deliver some of the best sword fights in cinema history.
The film is also amazing because of the way Mulcahy and editor Peter Hoeness applied MTV-style music video editing techniques to a traditional Hollywood movie. The Highlander’s quick cuts and transitions were way ahead of their time in 1986 – and they keep the film feeling fresh today, too.
4. Field of Dreams (1989)
Director: Phil Alden Robinson
We’ve hit the pointed end of this roundup of the best fantasy movies on Prime Video, which means we’re officially entering the “prestige image” territory. Every film on the list has henceforth been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture — including Field of Dreams, the big-screen version of WP Kinsella’s 1982 novel Shoeless Joe.
Field of Dreams is the story of Ray Kinsella from Kevin Costner, a farmer who turns his cornfield into a baseball diamond after a deep, otherworldly experience. Ray is soon visited by “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and several long-dead Boston Red Sox players, and things are getting a bit crazier from here. However, despite the increasingly wild events in the Field of Dreams and the prevailing sentimentality, the movie is an absolute home run.
Writer and director Phil Alden Robinson finds true passion behind the story’s timeless themes—things like faith, salvation, fathers and sons—without forgetting to sprinkle some humor as needed. Additionally, Costner is unsurprisingly perfect for the lead role and shares great chemistry with the film’s strong cast, which includes Ray Liotta, Amy Madigan, and James Earl Jones.
Is Field of Dreams Schmaltsee? certainly. But is it also totally fun? You better believe it.
3. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
Director: Benh Zeitlin
The Beasts of the Southern Wild is arguably Prime’s most polarizing fantasy film. Ben Zeitlin’s adaptation of Lucy Alibar’s one-act play Juicy and Delicious opened to strong reviews in 2012, but it has also been heavily criticized for its perceived lack of dramatic precision and perpetuation of some black stereotypes. So one thing is for sure: you’ll have a strong reaction to the Beasts of the Southern Wild.
If you’re willing to meet Zeitlin and Alibar halfway through regarding the film’s perceived shortcomings, you’ll likely immerse yourself in the magical, realism-filled tale they produced. Describing the plot of the film is difficult, but in a nutshell, it is about a young girl named Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) who has to deal with the death of her father and the extinct creatures that live under the covers of melting ice on the ground. So, yes: this is not your standard imagination fare.
But even critics of Beasts of the Southern Wild admit that Wallis’ stunning turn as Hushpuppy is a must-see, so why not give the movie a shot?
2. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Director: Frank Capra
An enduring Christmas classic, It’s a Wonderful Life (like a Field of Dreams) is often unfairly written as a sugary exercise in overly sentimental. But take another look at this festive fantasy flick and you’ll discover that it’s actually much darker (and a lot better) than its healthy reputation might suggest.
Inspired by Philip van Doren Stern’s short story “The Greatest Gift,” It’s a Wonderful Life is often a heartbreaking portrait of a man who never failed to put others first, and what it cost him. Sure, there are moments of incredible warmth and humor in Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey’s life—especially the scenes in which he romanticizes Mary Hatch in Donna Reed—that ensure this picture isn’t totally broken.
However, long stretches of Frank Capra’s 1946 adaptation are devoted to showing a flawed but persistent gentleman who learns time and time again that life doesn’t always go the way you want it to. Of course, George’s decency life eventually pays off – and boy, does he feel this victory has been won when he finally arrives.
1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
Director: David Fincher
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button does not rank in the specifics of David Fincher’s career. Still, this 2008 F. Scott Fitzgerald adaptation earned a whopping 13 Academy Award nominations (more than any other film on this list), so Fincher clearly did something here.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Starring the film’s protagonist, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a man aging in the opposite direction. As much a love story as any, the film charts Benjamin’s decades-long love story with Daisy (Cate Blanchett), complicated by his unique condition. And while her mileage will vary depending on the effectiveness of the life-and-death scenario’s moralizing, there’s no denying Pitt and Blanchett’s level of performance.
Honestly, though, the real stars here are the digital visual effects artists who have produced the revolutionary visual effects used to age (and later, remove age) Pete so convincingly. These influences, along with Fincher’s mastery of cinematic language, make The Curious Case of Benjamin Button the best fantasy movie on Prime Video.
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