This top 10 list of the best movies about magic range from those featuring fantastical magical abilities to the art of illusion & deception known as ‘magic’
We live in a world where the theme of magic and fantasy continues to deliver great works of cinema and while it may seem to be the case, it is not a recent phenomenon that has only exploded this century. In fact, the best movies about magic have been around for a while that have been bringing us worlds full of magic, sorcerers, spells, and much more.
Whether we enter the world of magic through Platform 9 ¾ or be put under an illusion trick, here are 10 best movies about magicians, sorcerers, and witches that every fan of the magic genre should not only watch just once but keep them in a personal collection:
Top 10 Best Movies About Magic That Amaze You All the Way to The End
Table of Contents
- 1. Now You See Me
- 2. Willow
- 3. Lord of Illusions
- 4. Hocus Pocus
- 5. Stardust
- 6. The Illusionist
- 7. Labyrinth
- 8. Spirited Away
- 9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- 10. The Prestige
1. Now You See Me
Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson reunited after Zombieland to star in one of the most confusing movies of recent times. Now You See Me revolves around four wizards who carry out elaborate heists as the Four Horsemen, hoping to break into an order of “real wizards” called The Eye.
Although the performances are functional and the magical elements remarkable, the script is inane and silly at best. Now You See Me is excellent popcorn entertainment, but the signs of anything beneath the impressive surface are more of an illusion.
The fantasy movie stars Warwick Davis as a farmer named Willow who must care for a child destined to defeat the evil Queen Bavmorda. On his journey, Willow masters his powers of witchcraft, aided by brownies, fairies, and Val Kilmer as the swordsman Madmartigan.
The newly confident Willow defeats Bavmorda and learns that good triumphs over evil, as expected of a fantasy movie. This movie was not well received at the time, but it has since developed a cult following and deserves to be among the best movies about magic.
3. Lord of Illusions
Clive Barker’s work ranges from incredibly grotesque and horrifying to slightly terrifying and still a bit gross. His Hellraiser and Nightbreed are among the best the horror genre has to offer. One of his lesser-known works is the 1995 film The Lord of Illusions. Scott Bakula played Barker’s iconic Harry D’Amour in the film.
Barker wrote and directed the film, about a man who can use pure magic called “The Puritan.” Detective D’Amour takes on a case involving a murdered psychic before realizing that there is much more to the mystery than meets the eye. Though not for the faint of heart, The Lord of Illusions is a great dark magic movie with an intriguing premise and impressive tricks.
4. Hocus Pocus
The Sanderson sisters are played by the talented Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Milder, and Kathy Najimy who only have one goal: to be young and beautiful again. Hocus Pocus is a great Halloween movie for kids of all ages. Filled to the brim with outlandish costumes, goofy spells, and deer teeth, it’s hard not to smile while watching the movie.
And the performances are quite down-to-earth, though they work better on those looking for a little nostalgia like fans of Sabrina the Teenage Witch or Halloweentown. Viewers will also be able to enjoy Bette Milder’s performance of “I Put a Spell on You” as a bonus.
Stardust is not just another movie about witches who want to remain beautiful. In Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel, there is also a pirate (Robert de Niro), unicorns, and a star personified as a woman (Claire Danes).
The story involves a man named Tristan Thorn, played by Charlie Cox of Daredevil fame, who falls in love with the star and becomes the master of his own destiny. Stardust cast includes Michelle Pfieffer, Mark Strong, Peter O’Toole, Ricky Gervais, Ian McKellen, and Henry Cavill. The magic is colorful and imaginative, with strong world-building characters who are very likable.
6. The Illusionist
Edward Norton and Jessica Biel were not enough to make this the top 2006 movie about wizards. But that doesn’t mean that The Illusionist is a bad movie; in fact, it is quite good and therefore it occupies this place among the best movies about magic.
Set in 19th century Vienna, the film tells the story of the illusionist Eisenheim (Norton) and the degree to which he will go to be with his true love, Sophie (Biel). Since Sophie is a duchess and Eisenheim a peasant, their love is forbidden and Sophie is to marry the despicable Prince Leopold. The lovers hatch a plan to use the powers of illusion to free Sophie from her arranged marriage and the city of Vienna from Leopold’s reign.
One of the magical fantasy classics, Labyrinth has all the best that the 80s had to offer: From David Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King to fantastic puppets from Jim Henson Creature Shop, beautiful set pieces – the movie is a sight to behold. Although watching it now, you need an open mind and accept that in the 80s special effects were not what they are in the 21st century.
The story, which follows Sarah’s quest for maturity to rescue her little brother Toby from the evil Goblin King who captures him, is filled with magical beasts. Needless to say, David Bowie is stellar, because the movie would be nowhere without him.
8. Spirited Away
Spirited Away tells the story of a young woman trapped in the spirit world. After her parents are transformed into pigs by the witch Yubaba, Chihiro must work at her bathhouse to free her family and return to the human kingdom. Without a doubt one of the best movies about magic that is animated.
The English version of the film was adapted by the great John Lasseter from Pixar. In Japan, it became the highest-grossing film of all time, beating Titanic, and later won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.
Chihiro’s liminal journey through the spirit world is populated by shikigami (ghosts), dragons, witches, and No-Face, a creature that eats people. The stunning animation elevates the simple Alice in Wonderland-esque story above others similar to it. Truly a magical work of art and one of the best movies about magic from Studio Ghibli.
9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The only Harry Potter movie and book that does not feature Lord Voldemort is considered the best movies about magic in the series. From director Alfonso Cuarón, Prisoner of Azkaban was the first of 8 films to feature Hogwarts students in clothing other than their robes. It also introduced viewers to a world much darker than before.
The dementors and their deadly kiss, the peaceful giant Hippogriff, and a professor with a full moon problem expand on Rowling’s already enormous magical mythology. Casting Gary Oldman as Sirius Black was an excellent decision, and young Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint continue to improve in their performances.
10. The Prestige
This is the movie that managed to eclipse The Illusionist as the top movie about magic and magicians in 2006, although it is not the fantastical kind but more real-life illusions. Superior to The Illusionist in almost every way, The Prestige tells the story of rival magicians and their search for the greatest trick.
Starring Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine, and David Bowie, the ensemble cast produced some truly dramatic and highly intelligent moments in the film. The twists and turns of the storytelling are some of Nolan’s greatest and the many scenes of sleight-of-hand magic and fugue art are far above most magician movies.