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Best fantasy movie from the year you were born

Best fantasy movie from the year you were born

Films are meant to capture the audience's imaginations, and, arguably, no genre accomplishes that task better than fantasy. It sends viewers to new worlds with magical powers and supernatural beings we would never have the fortune of meeting in our everyday lives. With the right special effects budget or the right stunning animation, the creative possibilities are endless.

One great part of the fantasy genre is that many entries into it are kid-friendly and can be enjoyed by the entire family. In more recent years, Pixar has cornered the market there, delivering gorgeously rendered, accessible, and philosophically smart releases like 2017's "Coco" and 2020's "Soul." The beloved Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli can't be counted out either. Since 1985, its creators (especially auteur Hayao Miyazaki) have delivered whimsical, environmentally minded masterpieces like "My Neighbor Totoro," "Kiki's Delivery Service," and the Academy Award-winning 2001 film "Spirited Away."

To spotlight the best of what this beloved genre has to offer, Stacker set out to find the best fantasy movies that came out each year, from 1921 to 2020. To do so, we compiled data from IMDb on all feature-length fantasy movies released during those years and found the top film from each year based on IMDb user ratings as of Jan. 27, 2021. With the exception of some years in the 1920s, in which there weren't films over the minimum vote threshold, fantasy movies released from 1921 to 1990 had to have at least 2,500 votes to make Stacker's list. Meanwhile, fantasy films released between 1990 and 2020 needed to have at least 5,000 votes to be counted. So sit back, pop some popcorn, and read on to find out the best fantasy film from the year you were born.

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1921: The Phantom Carriage

- Director: Victor Sjöström
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Votes: 10,672
- Runtime: 107 minutes

In this landmark Swedish film, the driver of the film's "phantom carriage" compels a drunk man named David Holm (Victor Sjöström) to reflect on his shortcomings. It's been cited as a major influence for director Ingmar Bergman and director Stanley Kubrick during the creation of "The Shining."

1922: Nosferatu

- Director: F.W. Murnau
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Votes: 88,727
- Runtime: 94 minutes

An iconic early horror movie, F.W. Murnau's German classic played a big role in making vampires memorable on-screen characters. It premiered nine years before the adaptation "Dracula," but Bram Stoker's estate later attempted to sue the filmmaker for copyright infringement. In the movie, Max Schreck plays a vampire who longs for a married woman.

1923: The Ten Commandments

- Director: Cecil B. DeMille
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Votes: 1,970
- Runtime: 136 minutes

Cecil DeMille's biblical film "The Ten Commandments" unfolds in two different parts. The first retells the story of Exodus, while the second takes place in the present and features two brothers arguing over their interpretations of the Ten Commandments. The movie is part of an unofficial religious film trilogy that includes DeMille's 1927 movie "The King of Kings" and his 1932 movie "The Sign of the Cross."

1924: Die Nibelungen: Siegfried

- Director: Fritz Lang
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Votes: 5,238
- Runtime: 100 minutes

This Austrian film is the first of Fritz Lang's two-part fantasy series and is based on the ancient epic poem "Die Nibelungenlied." In the movie, a powerful prince named Siegfried (Paul Richter) slays a dragon and vies for the beautiful Princess Kriemhild's (Margarete Schön) hand in marriage.

1925: The Lost World

- Director: Harry O. Hoyt
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Votes: 4,631
- Runtime: 110 minutes

This early monster movie is based on famous author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's book of the same name and follows Professor Challenger (Wallace Beery) as he discovers ancient creatures living in the Amazon jungle. "The Lost World" was one of the first feature-length movies to utilize stop-motion animation, which was used to create the story's dinosaurs.

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1926: Faust

- Director: F.W. Murnau
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Votes: 13,930
- Runtime: 107 minutes

As "Faust" begins, a demon known as Mephisto (Emil Jannings) attempts to win a bet he made with an angel by corrupting a kindly alchemist's (Gösta Ekman) soul. It's a high-profile German Expressionist movie, and in a 2006 review, The New York Times' Dave Kehr described it as "one of the most astonishing visual experiences the silent cinema has to offer."

1927: Zvenigora

- Director: Aleksandr Dovzhenko
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Votes: 843
- Runtime: 109 minutes

In "Zvenigora," an elderly Ukrainian man recounts a tale about a secret treasure in a way that blends reality and fiction. The Soviet film was later listed in the 2012 Sight & Sound Director's Poll of the Greatest Films, with Guy Maddin calling it "mind-bogglingly eccentric."

1928: A Daughter of Destiny

- Director: Henrik Galeen
- IMDb user rating: 6.2
- Votes: 296
- Runtime: 108 minutes

The German silent movie "A Daughter of Destiny" begins as a scientist inseminates a prostitute with the semen of a murderer. He raises her daughter, who quickly grows into a vampire who, alas, becomes devious and promiscuous.

1929: The Rocket Bus

- Director: W.P. Kellino
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Votes: 9
- Runtime: 65 minutes

"The Rocket Bus" finds several busmen attempting to save a young girl's father from a caliph with the help of a magic carpet. It's based on W.A. Darlington's 1920 novel "Alf's Button."

1930: The Blood of a Poet

- Director: Jean Cocteau
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Votes: 5,984
- Runtime: 55 minutes

"The Blood of a Poet" is divided into several sections, as Jean Cocteau creates an avant-garde film that seeks to capture different elements of a poet's heart and soul. The Criterion Collection refers to it as "one of cinema's great experiments," one which "stretches the medium to its limits."

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1931: Dracula

- Directors: Tod Browning, Karl Freund
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Votes: 46,827
- Runtime: 75 minutes

In the first sound movie adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula," the iconic vampire (played by Bela Lugosi) travels to London and begins to prey on young women. It was one of Universal Pictures' first major monster movies and led to sequels like "Dracula's Daughter" and "House of Dracula."

1932: Vampyr

- Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Votes: 15,872
- Runtime: 75 minutes

In "Vampyr," a traveler (Julian West) in the French countryside attempts to help a girl who's quickly transforming into a creature of the night. Chicago Reader critic Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote, "The greatness of Carl Dreyer's ["Vampyr"] derives partly from its handling of the vampire theme in terms of sexuality and eroticism and partly from its highly distinctive, dreamy look, but it also has something to do with Dreyer's radical recasting of narrative form."

1933: Gabriel Over the White House

- Director: Gregory La Cava
- IMDb user rating: 6.4
- Votes: 1,171
- Runtime: 86 minutes

"Gabriel Over the White House" sees phony politician Judson Hammond (Walter Huston) bringing peace to America as a dictator after becoming president and is imbued with the divine influence of Abraham Lincoln and the angel Gabriel. In a 2018 Politico article, writer Jeff Greenfield praised it, explaining that the film "offers us significant insights into what tempts countries to travel down an authoritarian road."

1934: March of the Wooden Soldiers

- Directors: Gus Meins, Charley Rogers
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Votes: 6,227
- Runtime: 77 minutes

Originally known as "Babes in Toyland," this Christmas musical features several well-known fairytale characters within Toyland, such as Mother Peep, Little Bo, and Barnaby. Ollie Dee and Stanley Dum try to fend over the villainous Barnaby, who wants to marry Mother Peep and take over Toyland. The New York Times writer Andre Sennwald praised it as "an authentic children's entertainment and quite the merriest of its kind that Hollywood has turned loose on the nation's screens in a long time."

1935: A Midsummer Night's Dream

- Directors: William Dieterle, Max Reinhardt
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Votes: 3,159
- Runtime: 133 minutes

This adaptation of one of William Shakespeare's most famous comedies finds a troupe of actors tangling with mischievous woodland fairies. It later won the 1936 Academy Awards for Best Film Editing and Best Black-and-White Cinematography.

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1936: Dracula's Daughter

- Director: Lambert Hillyer
- IMDb user rating: 6.4
- Votes: 5,921
- Runtime: 71 minutes

In this sequel to the 1931 "Dracula," the vampire's daughter, Countess Marya Zaleska (Gloria Holden), attempts to get rid of her vampiric thirst for blood. But in seeking help from psychiatrist Dr. Garth (Otto Kruger), she soon fights the urge to turn him into a vampire. The film has been cited as an early example of negative Hollywood queer coding, with Marya coded as gay.

1937: Lost Horizon

- Director: Frank Capra
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Votes: 11,999
- Runtime: 132 minutes

Adapted from James Hilton's novel of the same name, "Lost Horizon" follows British diplomat Robert (Ronald Colman) as he and several others become stranded on the mythical valley of Shangri-La after a plane crash. The movie took home multiple Academy Awards in 1938, including Best Art Direction and Best Film Editing.

1938: A Christmas Carol

- Director: Brian Desmond Hurst
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Votes: 20,473
- Runtime: 86 minutes

Reginald Owen stars in one of the best-known film adaptations of Charles Dickens' 1843 novella of the same name, playing grouchy miser Ebenezer Scrooge. With the help of several ghosts, he learns to treat his fellow man better and recognizes the error of his ways. The movie has been a mainstay on TV during the holidays for decades, often appearing on Turner Classic Movies during December.

1939: The Wizard of Oz

- Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, Richard Thorpe, King Vidor
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Votes: 371,239
- Runtime: 102 minutes

"The Wizard of Oz" is the most popular adaptation of L. Frank Baum's children's book, and arguably one of the best-known American movies of all time. It tells the story of Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland), a Kansas girl magically transported to the fantastical land of Oz. It was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards and won Best Original Song for "Over the Rainbow."

1940: Fantasia

- Directors: James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford Beebe Jr., Norman Ferguson, David Hand, Jim Handley, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Ben Sharpsteen
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Votes: 88,582
- Runtime: 125 minutes

In Disney's third animated feature, the studio paired animated sequences with classical music pieces like Paul Dukas' "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and Beethoven's "The Pastoral Symphony." The Los Angeles Times critic hailed it as a masterpiece in 2011, calling it "courageous beyond belief."

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1941: Here Comes Mr. Jordan

- Director: Alexander Hall
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Votes: 5,846
- Runtime: 94 minutes

At the start of "Here Comes Mr. Jordan," boxer Joe Pendleton (Robert Montgomery) unexpectedly dies in a plane crash but is given a second shot at life when an angel (Edward Everett Horton) accidentally places him in the body of a recently murdered millionaire. At the time, Variety praised the film for its "expert handling of characters and wringing utmost interest out of every scene."

1942: Cat People

- Director: Jacques Tourneur
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Votes: 20,080
- Runtime: 73 minutes

"Cat People" follows Irena Dubrovna (Simone Simon), a recently married Serbian immigrant who becomes fixated on the fear that she's descended from a tribe with the ability to transform into panthers when aroused. The film was later followed by a 1944 sequel titled "The Curse of the Cat People."

1943: Heaven Can Wait

- Director: Ernst Lubitsch
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Votes: 9,646
- Runtime: 112 minutes

In "Heaven Can Wait," playboy Henry van Cleve (Don Ameche) arrives in Hell after his death and feels compelled to prove he belongs there to Satan. He then tells the story of his life, including a short-lived affair he embarked upon during his long-term marriage to his wife, Martha (Gene Tierney). Ernst Lubitsch's movie was later nominated for Best Picture at the 1944 Academy Awards.

1944: The Uninvited

- Director: Lewis Allen
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Votes: 9,995
- Runtime: 99 minutes

When composer Rick Fitzgerald (Ray Milland) and his sister Pamela (Ruth Hussey) attempt to buy an English seaside mansion in "The Uninvited," they're soon left to contend with a pair of ghosts. The New York Times critic Bosley Crowther found the film's suspense effective, writing that it was "solemnly intent on raising gooseflesh as any ghost-story weirdly told to a group of shivering youngsters around a campfire on a dark and windy night."

1945: The Picture of Dorian Gray

- Director: Albert Lewin
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Votes: 11,883
- Runtime: 110 minutes

Based on Oscar Wilde's acclaimed novel, "The Picture of Dorian Gray" follows its titular protagonist, who is mysteriously able to retain his youthful beauty over the years. But soon, a painting with mysterious powers begins to reveal his inner corruption.

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1946: It's a Wonderful Life

- Director: Frank Capra
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 405,354
- Runtime: 130 minutes

In this Christmas classic, guardian angel Clarence (Henry Travers) helps a suicidal man named George Bailey (James Stewart) realize how he's touched the lives of the people around him for the better. "It's a Wonderful Life" is widely regarded as one of the best films ever made and was later named as one of the 100 best American movies by the American Film Institute.

1947: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

- Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Votes: 15,768
- Runtime: 104 minutes

Adapted from Josephine Leslie's 1945 novel, "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" centers on Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney), who moves to an isolated seaside cottage and strikes up an unexpected relationship with the sea captain ghost (Rex Harrison) haunting the house. Variety praised it as a "warmly human" movie with an "out-of-this-world romance" that "pulls audience sympathy."

1948: Portrait of Jennie

- Director: William Dieterle
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Votes: 6,206
- Runtime: 86 minutes

"Portrait of Jennie" takes place in Depression-era New York City, where struggling painter Eben (Joseph Cotten) becomes enamored with a girl (Jennifer Jones) who he continues to meet over the years. The title song, which Nat King Cole performed, became a musical success in its own right.

1949: The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

- Directors: James Algar, Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Votes: 13,231
- Runtime: 68 minutes

Through "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad," Disney retells two classic stories in the studio's signature animated style. The first follows a consumerist, Mr. Toad (Eric Blore), while the second adapts "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

1950: Orpheus

- Director: Jean Cocteau
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Votes: 10,532
- Runtime: 112 minutes

"Orpheus" retells the classic Greek myth of the same name, as a poet (Jean Marais) accompanies his wife (Marie Déa) into the underworld. It's part of Jean Cocteau's larger Orphic film trilogy, which also includes "The Blood of a Poet" and "Testament of Orpheus."

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1951: A Christmas Carol

- Director: Brian Desmond Hurst
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Votes: 20,473
- Runtime: 86 minutes

This version of Charles Dickens' classic Christmas tale stars Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge. Reel Reviews critic James Berardinelli described it as "the most memorable of any adaptation of the tale" because of "the strength and depth of its drama."

1952: Road to Bali

- Director: Hal Walker
- IMDb user rating: 6.5
- Votes: 4,476
- Runtime: 91 minutes

The musical "Road to Bali" centers on unemployed vaudeville performers Harold (Bob Hope) and George (Bing Crosby), who get in trouble when an island prince (Murvyn Vye) recruits them to hunt for treasure. The film also features a soundtrack with songs by Hope and Peggy Lee.

1953: Ugetsu

- Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Votes: 20,859
- Runtime: 96 minutes

"Ugetsu" takes place during the 16th-century Japanese Civil Wars, as two supernatural peasants deal with the ramifications of selling their wares to soldiers. Roger Ebert called it "one of the greatest of all films," adding, "the film style is elegant and mysterious, and somehow we know before we are told that this is a ghost story."

1954: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

- Director: Richard Fleischer
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Votes: 29,393
- Runtime: 127 minutes

Based on Jules Vernes' 1870 novel of the same name, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" follows a submarine crew sent to investigate a mysterious and deadly sea monster. The movie is considered one of the earliest examples of steampunk.

1955: Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy

- Director: Charles Lamont
- IMDb user rating: 6.4
- Votes: 5,221
- Runtime: 79 minutes

In "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy," iconic comedy duo Abbott and Costello decide to earn some money by guarding an ancient mummy. However, they get more than they bargained for when they get involved with a cursed medallion.

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1956: Carousel

- Director: Henry King
- IMDb user rating: 6.6
- Votes: 5,689
- Runtime: 128 minutes

"Carousel" is a film adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's acclaimed 1945 musical of the same name. It stars Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones as Billy and Julie, a young couple whose turbulent financial situation makes Billy resort to life-threatening measures to support them.

1957: The Seventh Seal

- Director: Ingmar Bergman
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Votes: 164,735
- Runtime: 96 minutes

While the Black Death rages on in Sweden, a downbeat knight called Antonious (Max von Sydow) competes in a Chess match against the Grim Reaper in hopes of defending his life. The Criterion Collection lauds "The Seventh Seal" as "one of the most influential films of its time," adding that it's a "stunning allegory of man's search for meaning."

1958: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad

- Director: Nathan Juran
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Votes: 12,041
- Runtime: 88 minutes

In this Sinbad film, the hero (Kerwin Mathews) plans to marry Princess Parisa (Kathryn Grant), but their wedding is interrupted when she's shrunken by the evil sorcerer Sokurah (Torin Thatcher). The movie was followed by two sequels: 1973's "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad" and 1977's "Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger."

1959: Black Orpheus

- Director: Marcel Camus
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Votes: 9,989
- Runtime: 100 minutes

Marcel Camus' "Black Orpheus" reimagines the Greek myth of the star-crossed lovers Orpheus and Eurydice. In this version, the lovers are being pursued by a hitman through a Brazilian Carnival event.

1960: Macario

- Director: Roberto Gavaldón
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Votes: 2,756
- Runtime: 91 minutes

In this Mexican supernatural tale, a poor man named Macario (Ignacio López Tarso) is suddenly visited by Death, God, and the Devil. It was the first Mexican movie to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

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1961: Mysterious Island

- Director: Cy Endfield
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Votes: 6,656
- Runtime: 101 minutes

"Mysterious Island" opens as a group of Civil War soldiers escaping a Confederate camp via a hot air balloon find themselves crash-landed on a strange island filled with mutant creatures. It's based on Jules Verne's 1874 novel of the same name.

1962: The Exterminating Angel

- Director: Luis Buñuel
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Votes: 29,663
- Runtime: 95 minutes

In "The Exterminating Angel," chaos erupts when wealthy dinner party guests find themselves unable to leave. It was later adapted into a 2016 opera.

1963: Jason and the Argonauts

- Director: Don Chaffey
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Votes: 24,656
- Runtime: 104 minutes

"Jason and the Argonauts" recounts Greek legend, as hero Jason (Todd Armstrong) is tricked into seeking the mythical Golden Fleece. Memorably, Tom Hanks remarked at the 1992 Oscars, "Some people say 'Casablanca' or 'Citizen Kane.' I say 'Jason and the Argonauts' is the greatest film ever made."

1964: Kwaidan

- Director: Masaki Kobayashi
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Votes: 15,403
- Runtime: 183 minutes

"Kwaidan" brings four classic Japanese folk tales to the screen, such as the story of a poor samurai (Rentarô Mikuni) who marries for magic, and the musician (Osamu Takizawa) forced to perform for an audience only composed of ghosts. Roger Ebert once described it as "an assembly of ghost stories that is among the most beautiful films I've seen."

1965: The Saragossa Manuscript

- Director: Wojciech Has
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Votes: 4,863
- Runtime: 182 minutes

When the Spanish soldier protagonist finds a book that recounts his own grandfather's (Zbigniew Cybulski) story, he learns about the man's travels in a land filled with malevolent spirits. Wall Street Journal writer Kristin Jones called it "a celebration of storytelling and the marvels of cinema."

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1966: The Hawks and the Sparrows

- Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Votes: 4,265
- Runtime: 91 minutes

In "The Hawks and the Sparrows," an Italian man (Totò) and his son (Davoli Ninetto) take a walk with a talking crow as they describe Marxist ideas about class-conflict. It was Totò's final film performance before his death in 1967.

1967: Viy

- Directors: Konstantin Ershov, Georgiy Kropachyov
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Votes: 5,960
- Runtime: 77 minutes

After accidentally killing a landowner's daughter (Natalya Varley) when fighting a witch, aspiring priest and "Viy" lead character Khoma (Leonid Kuravlyov) is forced to sit vigil with the girl's body for three nights all by himself. The movie was the first official Soviet-era horror film that the USSR released.

1968: Yellow Submarine

- Director: George Dunning
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Votes: 24,471
- Runtime: 85 minutes

In this fantastic musical exhibition for The Beatles, the band is called for help by sailor Old Fred (Lance Percival). They help the people of Pepperland defeat the music-hating and evil Blue Meanies who have tried to conquer it.

1969: Medea

- Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Votes: 4,355
- Runtime: 118 minutes

After "Medea's" titular sorceress (Maria Callas) helps the hero Jason (Giuseppe Gentile) capture the Golden Fleece and become royalty once again, she's forced to enact revenge upon him after he casts her out. Callas was mainly an opera singer, and this was her first and only film role.

1970: Scrooge

- Director: Ronald Neame
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Votes: 9,512
- Runtime: 113 minutes

This retelling of Charles Dickens' Christmas tale sets itself apart by being a musical, with 11 original songs. Albert Finney, who played Scrooge, won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy in 1971.

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1971: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

- Director: Mel Stuart
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Votes: 178,596
- Runtime: 100 minutes

This adaptation of Roald Dahl's 1964 book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" follows a poor boy named Charlie (Peter Ostrum), who wins a ticket to tour the mysterious Willy Wonka's (Gene Wilder) world-renowned chocolate factory. Although Dahl is credited with writing the movie's screenplay, he ultimately disowned it because of the added musical numbers and changes to his source material.

1972: Man of La Mancha

- Director: Arthur Hiller
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Votes: 3,911
- Runtime: 132 minutes

"Man of La Mancha" tells the story of the chaotic but chivalrous nobleman Don Quixote (Peter O'Toole) and takes place as a play within a play. The story is actually being told by writer Miguel Cervantes (also O'Toole), who has been imprisoned during the Spanish Inquisition.

1973: The Holy Mountain

- Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Votes: 37,122
- Runtime: 114 minutes

"The Holy Mountain" takes place in a corrupt world, where a Mexican alchemist (Alejandro Jodorowsky) brings a Christ-like messiah (Horacio Salinas) and several companions to a holy mountain where they can hopefully find enlightenment. The film's Rotten Tomatoes consensus describes it as "a visual treat rich in symbolism."

1974: Céline and Julie Go Boating

- Director: Jacques Rivette
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Votes: 4,809
- Runtime: 193 minutes

“Céline and Julie” centers on librarian Julie (Dominique Labourier) and magician Céline (Juliet Berto), who become fast friends and embark on a time-warping adventure full of imagination. The Criterion Collection’s synopsis for the film described it as “one of the all-time-great hangout comedies and a totally unique, enveloping cinematic dream space.”

1975: Monty Python and the Holy Grail

- Directors: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Votes: 500,565
- Runtime: 91 minutes

"Monty Python and the Holy Grail" stars iconic British comedy troupe Monty Python, who plays King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table as they embark on a quest to find the legendary Holy Grail. The movie still has many iconic lines used over four decades after its release, such as "Tis but a scratch" and "I fart in your general direction."

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1976: The Twelve Tasks of Asterix

- Directors: René Goscinny, Henri Gruel, Albert Uderzo, Pierre Watrin
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Votes: 15,446
- Runtime: 82 minutes

In this Belgian-French animated tale, Julius Caesar offers the Roman Empire to two heroes (Roger Carel and Pierre Tornade), provided they accomplish 12 impossible tasks. The movie is based on the "Asterix" comics franchise.

1977: Star Wars

- Director: George Lucas
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 1,230,530
- Runtime: 121 minutes

"Star Wars" has become one of the biggest film franchises of all time, and it all started with the 1977 original. In the iconic movie, fans met characters Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Darth Vader (David Prowse), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) as they set off on an action-packed space epic.

1978: Heaven Can Wait

- Director: Ernst Lubitsch
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Votes: 9,646
- Runtime: 112 minutes

In the second movie adaptation of the play "Here Comes Mr. Jordan," Los Angeles Rams player Joe (Warren Beatty) dies and is accidentally returned to Earth in a dead millionaire's body. The movie received nine nominations at the 1979 Oscars.

1979: Lupin the 3rd: Castle of Cagliostro

- Director: Hayao Miyazaki
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Votes: 26,962
- Runtime: 102 minutes

In this "Lupin" installment, skilled thief Lupin III (Yasuo Yamada) fights to rescue Princess Clarisse (Sumi Shimamoto) from an evil count's clutches. The movie was Hayao Miyazaki's feature-length directorial debut.

1980: Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

- Director: Irvin Kershner
- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 1,158,387
- Runtime: 124 minutes

In the second of the original "Star Wars" movies, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) trains with the wise Jedi Master Yoda (Frank Oz), while Han (Harrison Ford) and Leia (Carrie Fisher) try to evade the Empire's forces on the Millennium Falcon. The film is widely regarded as one of the best sequels in film history.

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1981: The Mystery of the Third Planet

- Director: Roman Kachanov
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Votes: 2,545
- Runtime: 48 minutes

In this Soviet animated movie, several space explorers set out to find endangered space animals but run into dangerous space pirates. The film is based on Kir Bulychev's children's novella "Alice's Travel."

1982: Pink Floyd: The Wall

- Director: Alan Parker
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Votes: 76,033
- Runtime: 95 minutes

"Pink Floyd: The Wall" is a visualization of the popular rock band of the same name's 1979 album, "The Wall." It stars Bob Geldof as Pink, a troubled rockstar who looks back on his life while tripping on drugs.

1983: Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

- Director: Richard Marquand
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Votes: 949,763
- Runtime: 131 minutes

In the final installment of the original "Star Wars" trilogy, Luke Skywalker has his final showdown with Darth Vader. Meanwhile, the Rebellion battles the Empire on the forest moon of Endor. Although the movie received somewhat mixed reviews, its success led to it being re-released in theaters as a "Special Edition" by 1997.

1984: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

- Director: Hayao Miyazaki
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Votes: 150,723
- Runtime: 117 minutes

This Japanese animated film tells the tale of a princess named Nausicaä (Sumi Shimamoto), who attempts to stop two warring nations from destroying their shared planet. The movie is considered a precursor to Studio Ghibli.

1985: The Purple Rose of Cairo

- Director: Woody Allen
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Votes: 47,068
- Runtime: 82 minutes

As "The Purple Rose of Cairo" begins, 1930s waitress Cecilia (Mia Farrow) is unhappy with her life and marriage. But everything changes when dreamy film character Tom Baxter (Jeff Daniels) walks off the movie screen and into her life.

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1986: Castle in the Sky

- Director: Hayao Miyazaki
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Votes: 149,975
- Runtime: 125 minutes

In "Castle in the Sky," a boy and girl with a powerful amulet search for a floating castle as they avoid a series of dangerous enemies. Notably, it was beloved Japanese company Studio Ghibli's first full-length animated movie.

1987: The Princess Bride

- Director: Rob Reiner
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Votes: 393,624
- Runtime: 98 minutes

"The Princess Bride" unfolds as a story within a story, as a grandfather (Peter Falk) tells his sick grandson (Fred Savage) the story of Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright) and her true love, farmhand-turned-pirate Westley (Cary Elwes). The movie was one of Wright's first major roles and is now regarded as a cult favorite.

1988: My Neighbor Totoro

- Director: Hayao Miyazaki
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Votes: 290,683
- Runtime: 86 minutes

In "My Neighbor Totoro," two young sisters (voiced by real-life siblings Dakota and Elle Fanning in the English dub) move to the Japanese countryside and meet magical forest spirits while their ill mother recovers in a nearby hospital. Director Hayao Miyazaki based part of it on his own experiences coping with having a sick mother as a child.

1989: Kiki's Delivery Service

- Director: Hayao Miyazaki
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Votes: 123,953
- Runtime: 103 minutes

From Studio Ghibli, this story centers on a young witch named Kiki, who moves to a new town with her cat Jiji and struggles to grow up while making money by running her own delivery service.

1990: Edward Scissorhands

- Director: Tim Burton
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Votes: 447,147
- Runtime: 105 minutes

In this classic Tim Burton film, Johnny Depp stars as Edward, a gentle and unfinished artificial man with scissors for hands. When Edward moves into a nearby town, he falls in love with a young woman named Kim (Winona Ryder) but struggles to be accepted.

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1991: Beauty and the Beast

- Directors: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Votes: 416,997
- Runtime: 84 minutes

This Disney Renaissance classic tells the tale of a prince doomed to exist as a beast unless he can earn another's love. That person comes in the form of Belle, a headstrong woman from a local village in search of a greater life. Its success led to a 2017 live-action remake starring Emma Watson.

1992: We Are Not Angels

- Director: Srdjan Dragojevic
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Votes: 8,146
- Runtime: 98 minutes

In "We Are Not Angels," reckless playboy Nikola (Nikola Kojo) accidentally impregnates a teenage girl named Marina (Milena Pavlović) during a one-night stand. Later, an angel (Uroš Đurić) and a devil (Srđan Todorović) fight for control of his soul.

1993: Groundhog Day

- Director: Harold Ramis
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Votes: 577,682
- Runtime: 101 minutes

Iconic comedy actor Bill Murray stars in "Groundhog Day" as Phil Connors, a grouchy weatherman who's forced to live the same day over and over again. The movie also features a groundhog called Scooter, who reportedly bit Murray three times during filming.

1994: The Crow

- Director: Alex Proyas
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Votes: 166,336
- Runtime: 102 minutes

"The Crow'' was adapted from James O'Barr's comics of the same name and is about a rock musician named Eric Draven (Brandon Lee). The character is resurrected after a gang brutally murdered him and his fiancée, and he goes forth seeking revenge on the criminals. Lee tragically died due to an on-set accident.

1995: Toy Story

- Director: John Lasseter
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Votes: 886,711
- Runtime: 81 minutes

"Toy Story" was the first movie from animation studio Pixar and an early example of the computer animation that dominates so much of the animated film landscape today. The movie focuses on children's toys who come alive when humans aren't looking and stars Tom Hanks and Tim Allen as Woody and Buzz Lightyear.

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1996: The Frighteners

- Director: Peter Jackson
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Votes: 82,035
- Runtime: 110 minutes

After losing his wife in a car accident, architect Frank Bannister (Michael J. Fox) gains the strange ability to con ordinary people with the help of spirits. However, things become more complicated when a demonic spirit shows up just as he's falling for Dr. Lucy Lynskey, who was married to one of the demon's victims.

1997: Princess Mononoke

- Director: Hayao Miyazaki
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Votes: 342,756
- Runtime: 134 minutes

This Studio Ghibli classic follows a young warrior called Ashitaka, who finds himself torn between mining town residents and a girl raised by forest gods. While many Ghibli films have themes of environmentalism, those themes are arguably most explicitly realized in "Princess Mononoke."

1998: Mulan

- Directors: Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Votes: 256,666
- Runtime: 88 minutes

Inspired by the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, this Disney film stars Ming-Na Wen as Mulan, a young woman who poses as a man to take her father's place in a war against the Huns. Mulan is notably the studio's first Asian and first gender-bending princess.

1999: The Green Mile

- Director: Frank Darabont
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 1,146,559
- Runtime: 189 minutes

Tom Hanks stars in "The Green Mile" as Paul Edgecomb, a Death Row security guard with a charge named John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), who was convicted of murdering two children. However, as Coffey begins to display a supernatural ability, Edgecomb begins to doubt whether Coffey actually committed the crime.

2000: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

- Director: Ang Lee
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Votes: 253,073
- Runtime: 120 minutes

In this Chinese martial arts epic, two 19th-century warriors search for a missing sword. It became one of the most successful foreign-language films ever released, and a much less popular sequel was released on Netflix in 2016.

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2001: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

- Director: Peter Jackson
- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Votes: 1,660,051
- Runtime: 178 minutes

Peter Jackson's beloved "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy kicked off with this 2001 hit, which was based on J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novel of the same name. It begins as an ordinary hobbit named Frodo (Elijah Wood) becomes the owner of an all-powerful ring, which must be destroyed before it falls into evil creatures' hands.

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

- Director: Peter Jackson
- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Votes: 1,484,351
- Runtime: 179 minutes

The second installment in the "Lord of the Rings" movies centers on Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin), as they continue their trek to Mordor in hopes of destroying the series' ultra-powerful ring. Accompanying them is the untrustworthy creature Gollum, who has ulterior motives.

2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

- Director: Peter Jackson
- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Votes: 1,641,467
- Runtime: 201 minutes

In the third of the original "Lord of the Rings" movies, the fight for Middle Earth's future commences as Frodo (Elijah Wood) nears the end of his journey. The movie won a record 11 Academy Awards and grossed over a billion dollars at the box office.

2004: Howl's Moving Castle

- Director: Hayao Miyazaki
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Votes: 333,393
- Runtime: 119 minutes

Based on Diana Wynne Jones' children's novel of the same name, the Studio Ghibli movie "Howl's Moving Castle" tells the tale of Sophie, a shy young woman who befriends moody wizard Hal after being cursed by a witch.

2005: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

- Director: Mike Newell
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Votes: 548,056
- Runtime: 157 minutes

In the fourth "Harry Potter" installment, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is forced to compete in a magical tournament involving dragons, mermaids, and the return of the evil wizard Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). It was the first "Potter" movie to receive a PG-13 rating.

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2006: Pan's Labyrinth

- Director: Guillermo del Toro
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Votes: 618,236
- Runtime: 118 minutes

In this Oscar-winning Spanish fantasy, a girl named Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) discovers a magical underworld against the backdrop of World War II. She's told she's meant to be the princess of the world, but she must first complete three dangerous tasks.

2007: Ratatouille

- Directors: Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Votes: 641,102
- Runtime: 111 minutes

This Pixar entry follows a Parisian rat named Remy (Patton Oswalt), who maneuvers a French chef called Alfredo Linguini (Lou Romano) from under his hat and manages to transform the restaurant he works at for the better. It recently inspired a TikTok musical of the same name, which was performed by an all-star Broadway cast.

2008: Let the Right One In

- Director: Tomas Alfredson
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Votes: 205,525
- Runtime: 114 minutes

In "Let the Right One In," a shy boy named Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) forms a friendship with his new neighbor, a vampire girl named Eli (Lina Leandersson). Horror website Bloody Disgusting ranked the film #1 in their list of the top 20 horror movies of that decade, calling it "an austerely beautiful creation."

2009: Avatar

- Director: James Cameron
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Votes: 1,118,401
- Runtime: 162 minutes

James Cameron's visionary futuristic film stars Sam Worthington as a paraplegic Marine who finds himself torn between an alien race and a greedy corporation seeking to exploit them after landing on the moon of Pandora. The movie won Oscars for Art Direction, Cinematography, and Visual Effects.

2010: Toy Story 3

- Director: Lee Unkrich
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Votes: 756,517
- Runtime: 103 minutes

In the third "Toy Story" movie, Woody (Tom Hanks) and his pals are taken to daycare after their beloved owner, Andy (John Morris), gets too old to play with them. There, they're forced to contend with the evil teddy bear (Ned Beatty) who runs the place.

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2011: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

- Director: David Yates
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Votes: 763,756
- Runtime: 130 minutes

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" is the second of two film adaptations of the final "Harry Potter" novel of the same name. It's now the 13th highest-grossing movie of all time and the most financially successful of all the "Potter" movies.

2012: It's Such a Beautiful Day

- Director: Don Hertzfeldt
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Votes: 11,001
- Runtime: 62 minutes

Don Hertzfeldt's experimental film follows Bill, a stick figure who suffers hallucinations as his psyche begins to break down. Made up of three distinct parts, the philosophical comedy took five years to make.

2013: The Tale of The Princess Kaguya

- Director: Isao Takahata
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Votes: 38,652
- Runtime: 137 minutes

"The Tale of Princess Kaguya" is based on a Japanese folktale and tells the story of a young girl found within a bamboo stalk and how she grows into a mythical princess. The movie reportedly took Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata more than eight years to make.

2014: Song of the Sea

- Director: Tomm Moore
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Votes: 51,590
- Runtime: 93 minutes

"Song of the Sea" centers on an Irish boy named Ben (David Rawle) and his younger sister Saoirse (Lucy O'Connell), who's able to turn into a seal. The two embark on an adventure to free imprisoned fairies in the second of Tomm Moore's animated "Irish folklore trilogy."

2015: Inside Out

- Directors: Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Votes: 615,415
- Runtime: 95 minutes

"Inside Out" is another emotional and complex Pixar movie, this one taking place within the mind of a young girl called Riley (Kaitlyn Dias). As she adjusts to a new town, her different emotions (voiced by actors like Bill Hader and Amy Poehler) go on an epic journey to help her cope.

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2016: Your Name.

- Director: Makoto Shinkai
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Votes: 194,279
- Runtime: 106 minutes

This Japanese film details a magical connection between a teenage girl in rural Japan and a teenage boy living in Tokyo. It allows them to mysteriously swap bodies, with unforeseen consequences. It found massive success upon release and is currently the highest-grossing anime movie of all time internationally.

2017: Coco

- Directors: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Votes: 383,064
- Runtime: 105 minutes

"Coco" follows Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), a young boy who enters the Land of the Dead to find his singer great-great-grandfather after music has been banned in his family for generations. The Pixar film won Oscars for Best Original Song and Best Animated feature at the 2018 ceremony.

2018: Isle of Dogs

- Director: Wes Anderson
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Votes: 138,769
- Runtime: 101 minutes

"Isle of Dogs" is another entry in renowned filmmaker Wes Anderson's quirky filmography. It takes place in Japan, where a boy named Atari (Koyu Rankin) searches for his missing dog, who has been sent to an island full of canines.

2019: Toy Story 4

- Director: Josh Cooley
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Votes: 202,657
- Runtime: 100 minutes

In the latest "Toy Story" installment, Woody and Buzz help a new toy called Forky (Tony Hale), as Woody ponders whether he wants to live as a child's toy anymore. The film features guest voice roles performed by Keanu Reeves and the comedy duo Key & Peele.

2020: Soul

- Directors: Pete Docter, Kemp Powers
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Votes: 152,301
- Runtime: 100 minutes

Another Pixar installment, "Soul" follows Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx), a Brooklyn band teacher and pianist who accidentally winds up trapped in a dimension full of souls preparing for life on Earth. He then mentors a wayward soul named 22 (Tina Fey). The movie was praised for exploring the small joys of being human and not equating your value with certain jobs but received criticism for its handling of race.

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