The 10 Best Movies to Watch if You Love ‘The Wheel of Time’

September 1 marks the launch of Amazon Prime’s most-watched original series, The Wheel of Time Season 2! The tale follows a sorceress, a member of the powerful Aes Sedai, who travels with her Warder to a small town to seek out a villager rumored to be the reincarnation of the Dragon, the one who broke the world.



Since HBO’s Game of Thrones dominated the high-fantasy genre of television, streaming networks have been desperately grasping to find the next big mythical adaption. Shows like Netflix’s The Witcher and Shadow and Bone have achieved massive acclaim, but as seasons push on, storylines tend to shy away from their source material. The Wheel of Time received mixed reviews at its start due to the quality of CGI visuals and lack of character direction; however, Season 2’s trailer promises more danger and eye-opening action, focusing closely on the plot of The Great Hunt. As the wait comes to an end, lovers of magic and lore can let their minds explore classic, high-fantasy films that parallel Robert Jordan‘s unforgettable 14-volume epic.

10 ‘Willow’ (1988)

Willow directed by Ron Howard
Image via Lucasfilm

George Lucas’s Willow is a high-fantasy adventure film starring English actor Warwick Davis. The story takes place in an unknown land where evil sorceress Queen Bavmorda of Nockmaar (Jean Marsh) learns of a prophecy that a baby with a rare birthmark will be born to bring her ultimate demise. The child is smuggled away to a village of dwarfs where a sorcerer-in-training, Willow, vows to protect the baby girl and embarks on a jeopardizing journey to find her a new home.

RELATED: From ‘Willow’ to the Harry Potter Franchise, the Best Warwick Davis Performances

The whimsical picture, directed by Ron Howard, explores themes of sacrifice, bravery, women empowerment, and true friendship. Like The Wheel of Time, the main characters are seen as the “chosen” ones and are imposed with ceaseless threats throughout their expedition to destroy wicked villains, stretching our imagination to believe in the power of magic once again.

9 ‘Legend’ (1985)

Legend starring Tom Crusie
Image via Universal Pictures 

Tom Cruise is one of Hollywood’s most successful action stars, but audiences may not be familiar with the actor’s earlier fantasy debut film Legend. Directed by atmospheric director Ridley Scott, the tale centers on the Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry), who sends his goblin henchmen to rid the world of its last innocence to destroy daylight forever.

In this dark fable, the temptation is at its highest as naive Princess Lili is seduced by the underworld, provoking her forest-boy lover Jack on a treacherous rescue mission. Despite the dooming, negative reception, the film packs in almost every classic fairytale element, from unicorns to elves and even the one mighty, heroic sword. Curry and Cruise’s contrasting roles are unforgettable, and the mesmerizing, enchanting sets can’t be missed.

8 ‘The Black Cauldron’ (1985)

The Black Cauldron 1985
Image via Walt Disney Pictures

Walt Disney Productions’ The Black Cauldron is arguably the scariest thing to come out of the studio. The film is based on the Chronicles of Prydain book series by Lloyd Alexander and is heavily inspired by Welsh mythology. The dark fantasy follows a young swine herder, a princess, and an elderly bard on their journey to find the magical black cauldron before the Horned King uses its demolishing power to rule the world.

Although the gloomy movie was a box-office bomb, The Black Cauldron became one of Disney’s hidden gems and was a tough film to find. It later grew to be a cult classic, and fans of folklore recognized its similarities to J.R.R. Tolkien’s material. The animated adventure was the first Disney animation to include computer imagery, generating haunting visuals that continue to spook audiences of all ages.

7 ‘Labyrinth’ (1986)

Jareth, the Goblin King in Labyrinth.
Image via Tri-Star Pictures

It’s a rarity to stumble upon a live-action, fantasy musical, but Labyrinth broke the boundaries of sing-song storytelling. Boldly mystifying and eclectic, the tale begins when a gullible teen is transported into a labyrinth maze after she wishes that her annoying baby brother gets taken away by the wicked Goblin King Jareth (David Bowie).

RELATED: The 25 Best Musicals of All Time, Ranked

The ’80s musical was directed by puppet master Jim Henson who contributed to using his company’s puppets for the characters in the movie. In the spirit of The Wizard of Oz, Sarah’s journey to the Goblin King’s castle leads her to befriend misfit creatures that become intricate in aiding her brother’s rescue. Though the vibrant film is not jammed with flashing numbers, the songs are thoughtfully spread out. Bowie’s charmingly conniving performance commands the audience’s utmost attention, fading into a faraway dream.

6 ‘Conan the Barbarian’ (1982)

Conan the Barbarian starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
Image via Universal Pictures

The former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is best known for his action flicks, including the sword and sorcery film Conan the Barbarian. The action-adventure fantasy tells the story of a young boy who vows revenge on the fearsome sorcerer Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones) after his family and village are brutally plundered.

Directed by John Milius, the vengeful picture was applauded for its skillful directing style and production design. Robert Ervin Howard created the original character of Conan, and the film masterfully displays the wonder of swordplay action sequences. Later, the barbarian warrior tale became a cult film classic, earning Schwarzenegger worldwide acclaim.

5 ‘The NeverEnding Story’ (1984)

Image Via Warner Bros.

Children often say their first watch of The NeverEnding Story gave them chilling nightmares, but as the story aged, the tale has become a precious treasure. Based on the novel, the nostalgic fantasy surrounds a bullied young boy who is transported into a storybook where the wonderland of Fantasia is in desperate need of a savior.

Directed by Wolfgang Petersen, the first installment of the trilogy highlights the classic “hero” storyline following a unique portrayal of many other themes, including childhood struggles, grief, and pure imagination. The unforgettable, magical picture was praised for its use of special effects and ethereal characters, like the breathtaking imagery of Falkor the luckdragon.

4 ‘Excalibur’ (1981)

Excalibur with Nigel Terry and Cherie Lunghi
Image via Warner Bros.

The magical sword of King Arthur is a legend that’s been retold for centuries and has been adapted into dozens of films and TV shows. The Oscar-nominated medieval epic Excalibur, directed by John Boorman, retells the myth of the knights of the round table when Merlin (Nicol Williamson) guides the bastard son of Uthur Pendragon, Arthur, to pull out the sword from the stone.

Boorman’s ’80s retelling was widely celebrated for its colorful cinematography and triumphant musical score. The beloved, compelling characters boldly shine through against the on-sight scenes shot in the natural beauty of Ireland. The R-rated fantasy film is packed with more artful violence and lust than any version of the myth of Excalibur, satisfying folklore fans for generations.

3 ‘The Dark Crystal’ (1982)

The Dark Crystal Movie
Image via Universal Pictures

“Another world, another time, in the age of wonder.” The Dark Crystal, directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, is a groundbreaking, dark fantasy film completely acted with puppets. The plot follows a young Gelfling who undertakes a life-risking quest to retrieve the last shard of the cracked Dark Crystal. The story was considered suitable for children; however, the creators designed the evil race of lizard birds, Skeksis, to appear more grotesque than marketed.

The nightmarish picture was way ahead of its time and received high praise for its beautifully crafted animatronics. Fans of The Wheel of Time will savor the ethereal lands, witchery, and brewing romance throughout Jen’s expedition far and wide. There’s no good without evil, and The Dark Crystal reminds us that when darkness rises, light always prevails.

2 ‘Ladyhawke’ (1985)

Captain Navarre and Isabeau
Image via Warner Bros.

Ladyhawke is a spellbinding, medieval fantasy romance starring Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, and Michelle Pfeiffer. The storyline revolves around an escaped thief of Aquila who is saved by a mysterious knight and his beautiful hawk. The thief discovers that the pair has been put under a terrible curse by the bishop of Aquila and agrees to help them kill him.

RELATED: 10 Best Medieval Romance Movies

Massively underrated, Ladyhawke is a rare find, and the bewitching soundtrack and swooning love story instantly hypnotize those who stumble upon the film. Director Richard Donner produced some of the best performances out of the early careers of Pfeiffer and Broderick. Lovers of medieval settings, spells and hexes, and star-crossed lovers will undoubtedly have their heartstrings pulled towards the tissue-worthy conclusion.

1 ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ (2001)

The Lord of the Rings- The Fellowship of the Ring
Image via New Line Cinema

When people think of sorcery, monsters, and dwarves, most would imagine the uncharted worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The novels and the film franchise are considered one of the most influential high-fantasy epics in history, having helped shape the modern fantasy genre. The critically acclaimed auteur, Peter Jackson, directed the Academy Award-winning trilogy, starting with the first remarkable installment, The Fellowship of the Ring.

The world of The Lord of The Rings may appear to be complex; however, the heart of the plot is quite simple. A sequel to The Hobbit novel, the film arrives in Middle-earth when tiny hobbit Frodo Baggins is entrusted with the One Ring of the Dark Lord Sauron and embarks on an unexpected adventure to Mount Doom to destroy it. Frodo is accompanied by eight companions along the way, and his journey blooms into a symbolic journey of life, power, friendship, and sacrifice for a timeless, whimsical tale.

KEEP READING: 10 Great Fantasy Book Adaptations on Film and TV, From ‘Wheel of Time’ to ‘The School for Good and Evil’

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