Given the state of the world, it’s understandable why some movie lovers prefer to dive into fantasy rather than stories that constantly remind them about some very real problems. And it’s true — some fantasy films are pure escapism. However, there are also a few fantasy tales that have some very pointed commentary about current events, even when the movies in question came out decades ago. Regardless of why you enjoy fantasy stories, Amazon Prime Video recognizes that this is a key category for its subscribers. That said, Prime Video’s search function leaves a lot to be desired. It really shouldn’t be a chore to find something worthy in your favorite category. Fortunately, we’ve already made it easy for you by selecting the best fantasy movies that you can stream on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton play a married couple named Adam and Eve in Only Lovers Left Alive. They’ve been together a very long time — as in centuries, not years or decades. However, this pair of immortal vampires are living apart in the modern era. Both Adam and Eve have ways to hide their true natures, but Adam is increasingly despondent and suicidal. Even across the vast distance between them, Eve realizes that she has good reason to fear for Adam’s well-being. But can she pull him back from the brink of despair before he opts for a drastic solution to his problems?
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Stars: Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin, Jeffrey Wright
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Runtime: 123 minutes
In the late ‘80s, critics weren’t exactly kind to Willow. But it’s become a family-favorite film in the subsequent decades. When the evil Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh) orders the death of a rival kingdom’s infant princess, Elora Danan, Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) becomes her unlikely protector. Willow is an amateur magician who desires to become a great sorcerer. As Willow tries to live up to his ambitions, he is joined by the mercenary Madmartigan (Val Kilmer) and Bavorda’s rebellious daughter, Sorsha (Joanne Whalley). Regardless, the fate of the world and Elora Danan remain in the hands of Willow himself.
Rotten Tomatoes: 51%
Stars: Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Billy Barty, Jean Marsh
Director: Ron Howard
Runtime: 123 minutes
Roberto Benigni seems to have a great deal of affection for the story of Pinocchio. Nearly two decades ago, Benigni played the living puppet and directed his own adaptation of Pinocchio. For this more recent film, Benigni plays Pinocchio’s father/creator, Geppetto, and Federico Ielapi takes over the role of Pinocchio. This film stays closer to Carlo Collodi’s original story than the famous Disney adaptation did. Poor Pinocchio wants to be a real boy, but he falls to temptation far more often than he stays on the straight and narrow. And when Pinocchio lies, we all know what happens to his nose.
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Stars: Roberto Benigni, Federico Ielapi, Rocco Papaleo, Massimo Ceccherini, Marine Vacth
Director: Matteo Garrone
Runtime: 125 minutes
In hindsight, it’s perfectly believable that David Bowie came from another world. For his first leading role in a feature film, Bowie played Thomas Jerome Newton, a.k.a. The Man Who Fell to Earth. Thomas is an alien disguised as a human on an urgent mission to save his homeworld by bringing water from Earth during his return trip. However, Thomas proves to be more human on the inside than even he suspected. While caught up in an affair with a woman named Mary-Lou (Candy Clark), Thomas becomes hopelessly addicted to alcohol and TV. And when his secret comes out, Thomas finds that he no longer has the means to defend himself or his mission.
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Stars: David Bowie, Rip Torn, Candy Clark, Buck Henry, Bernie Casey
Director: Nicolas Roeg
Runtime: 138 minutes
While neither critics nor audiences seemed very interested in the 2019 reboot, 2004’s Hellboy still stands as a great and singular fusion of superhero action and fantasy. The irreplaceable Ron Perlman plays the eponymous hell-borne, stone-fisted hero who protects humanity from supernatural threats as part of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, along with similarly uniquely talented allies like the flame-slinging Liz (Selma Blair) and the aquatic Abe Sapien (Doug Jones). Directed by one of the fantasy film masters — Guillermo del Toro — Hellboy is a gritty and witty visual treat.
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Stars: Ron Perlman, Doug Jones, Selma Blair
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Runtime: 122 minutes
As the end draws closer for Edward Bloom (Albert Finney), his estranged son Will (Billy Crudup) returns to his father’s orbit and decides it’s time to use his skills as a journalist to separate fact from fiction. In the 2003 fantasy dramedy Big Fish, Ewan McGregor plays the younger Edward as we watch the dying man’s version of his autobiography unfold, revealing an impossible tale of war, werewolves, giants, witches, daring bank robberies, and more. While fantasy is no stranger to director Tim Burton, Big Fish is a powerful departure from his usual work, possessing a tangible emotional core usually absent from his adaptations and spookily cartoonish tales of poltergeists and Halloween towns.
Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Stars: Albert Finney, Ewan McGregor, Jessica Lange, Billy Crudup
Director: Tim Burton
Runtime: 125 minutes
Is there a dragon with a cooler name than Vermithrax Pejorative? It’s highly unlikely! Unfortunately, Vermithrax is not a kind dragon in the early ‘80s fantasy Dragonslayer. To save the kingdom from Vermithrax’s rampage, a young woman, Valerian (Caitlin Clarke), is tasked to seek out the great sorcerer, Ulrich of Cragganmore (Ralph Richardson). What she actually gets is Ulrich’s apprentice, Galen Bradwarden (Peter MacNicol). Galen isn’t exactly ready for the battle of his lifetime. However, he’ll have to learn on the job if he wants to save Princess Elspeth (Chloe Salaman) from becoming the dragon’s next victim.
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Stars: Peter MacNicol, Caitlin Clarke, Ralph Richardson, John Hallam, Peter Eyre, Sydney Bromley
Director: Matthew Robbins
Runtime: 109 minutes
Legendary animation producers Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass co-directed the adaptation of Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn. Mia Farrow provides the voice of the Unicorn, who is seemingly the last of her kind. Desperate to discover what happened to the rest of the unicorns, she joins a would-be sorcerer, Schmendrick (Alan Arkin), and Molly Grue (Tammy Grimes) on a dangerous journey. To protect the Unicorn’s identity, Schmendrick transforms the Unicorn into a beautiful young woman named Lady Amalthea. But as a human, Lady Amalthea is tempted by her feelings for Prince Lír (Jeff Bridges) to abandon her quest in the name of love.
Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Stars: Alan Arkin, Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow, Tammy Grimes, Robert Klein, Angela Lansbury
Director: Arthur Rankin Jr., Jules Bass
Runtime: 84 minutes
Audiences and critics were not ready for director Ralph Bakshi’s Cool World, a wild combination of animation and live-action. In this film, the human world and the cartoon-like Cool World exist in separate realities. For decades, Detective Frank Harris (Brad Pitt) has been the lone human living in Cool World. In the real world, cartoonist Jack Deebs (Gabriel Byrne) believes that he created Cool World, and he is frequently visited by visions of Holli Would (Kim Basinger), a “doodle” who wants to become a human and escape from her realm. When Holli’s ambitions threaten both worlds, Frank and Jack are forced to team up to stop her.
Rotten Tomatoes: 4%
Stars: Kim Basinger, Gabriel Byrne, Brad Pitt, Deirdre O’Connell, Charlie Adler
Director: Ralph Bakshi
Runtime: 102 minutes
Death is a part of life that we’ve never conquered. But within the realm of fantasy and sci-fi, it can be overcome. Archive stars Theo James as George Almore, a widowed man who may have found a way to bring his late wife, Jules (Stacy Martin), back to some semblance of life. George uses his highly specialized scientific knowledge to create a robot, J2, that captures several aspects of Jules’ personality. That leads to an improved model, J3, that physically resembles Jules as well. Unfortunately, George was a bit too successful with J2, because she displays jealousy over his feelings for J3. And a jealous robot is always bad news.
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Stars: Theo James, Stacy Martin, Rhona Mitra, Peter Ferdinando, Richard Glover
Director: Gavin Rothery
Runtime: 105 minutes
There can be only one Highlander! And it’s on Amazon Prime. This centuries-spanning epic takes flight after mystical warrior Russell Nash (Christopher Lambert) kills a man in a sword fight in a New York City parking lot. In the process, he leaves a sliver of an ancient weapon lodged in a car. When forensics specialist Brena Wyatt (Roxanne Hart) recovers evidence of the mysterious weapon, she and her partner embark on an investigation of Nash — the Highlander — and find themselves embroiled in a centuries-old feud between immortals.
Rotten Tomatoes: 69%
Stars: Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Roxanne Hart
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Runtime: 116 minutes
A modern fairytale set in a contemporary London garden, a young woman who dreams of becoming a children’s author (Jessica Brown Findlay) discovers an unlikely friendship with the rich curmudgeon next door (Tom Wilkinson). The author retreats to the increasingly dilapidated garden for inspiration, but its untidiness has her facing eviction. Her neighbor just so happens to be an extraordinary horticulturalist, and as the two work together to rejuvenate the garden, it becomes something truly magical.
Rotten Tomatoes: 61%
Stars: Jessica Brown Findlay, Tom Wilkinson, Andrew Scott
Director: Scott Aboud
Runtime: 92 minutes
Based on the 2003 Dean Koontz novel of the same name, Odd Thomas stars the late Anton Yelchin as the titular character, Thomas, a line cook and a gifted psychic (imagine being handed that résumé). When Thomas encounters a man named Robert Robertson (Shuler Hensley), a fellow with some kind of mold-like substance for hair, Odd’s clairvoyance kicks in full force in the form of disturbing dreams that point to Robertson as a figure of evil. It’s up to Thomas, the local sheriff (Willem Dafoe), and Thomas’s girlfriend (Addison Timlin) to thwart Robertson’s wretched plan before it’s too late. A whimsical tour de force of thrills and chills, Odd Thomas may not always stand on two feet, but Yelchin’s performance brings enough spunk and energy to move mountains.
Rotten Tomatoes: 38%
Stars: Anton Yelchin, Willem Dafoe, Nico Tortorella
Director: Stephen Sommers
Runtime: 96 minutes
In John Huddle’s After the Dark (known as The Philosophers outside the U.S.), a group of international university students is given the final exam of a lifetime by one Mr. Zimit (James D’Arcy), their esteemed philosophy instructor. Alluding to a post-apocalyptic world, Mr. Zimit poses a challenge to his class: The students must choose 10 of their peers to live life in a nuclear-proof bunker, with each chosen student receiving designated end-of-the-world professions, with positions including published poet, harpist, and soldier. Combining coming-of-age elements with a big blast of sci-fi, After the Dark is an excellent piece of elevated cinema that makes us wonder how we’d fare in Mr. Zimit’s imagined wasteland.
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Stars: Daryl Sabara, James D’Arcy, Bonnie Wright
Director: John Huddles
Runtime: 114 minutes
A devout dissection of Nordic mythology, co-writer-director André Øvredal’s Mortal follows Eric (Nat Wolff), an early twenty-something living on the fringes of Norwegian society who possesses the miraculous ability to set things ablaze, literally. After Eric is picked up by local authorities, Christine (Iben Arkelie), a psychologist, is drawn to him. Law enforcement wants to question Eric about a series of murders that occurred years before. When Christine learns that the victims were all members of Eric’s family, a symbolic line begins tracing backward from Eric’s fiery abilities to ancient Nordic mythology. Part superhero film, part fantasy, Mortal shoots for the stars with its larger-than-life narrative but delivers major set pieces with big energy and strong performances.
Rotten Tomatoes: 56%
Stars: Nat Wolff, Priyanka Bose, Iben Akerlie
Director: André Øvredal
Runtime: 104 minutes
Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) and Gemma (Imogen Poots) are in search of real estate. When they visit a development of identical suburban homes called Yonder, the couple is seemingly abandoned by their realtor. They decide to pack it in and head home, but it turns out that Yonder keeps the twenty-somethings in some kind of time loop where no matter how far they drive, they always return to house #9 — the domicile their agent showed them. Tom and Gemma decide to stay at the house for the night, but when a newborn baby arrives with instructions stating, “Raise the child and be released,” Tom and Gemma become the unwilling victims of unseen, otherworldly forces. Vivarium combines fantasy, horror, and sci-fi elements in a rather remarkable way. Whenever the story seems to slip, Eisenberg and Poots wrangle it right back in.
Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Imogen Poots, Jonathan Aris
Director: Lorde Finnegan
Runtime: 97 minutes
In director Robert Zemeckis’ adaptation of the age-old text, Ray Winstone stars as the voice of the titular hero. At the court of King Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins) with an army of soldiers, the King wants Beowulf to destroy a horrid troll-like creature known as Grendel (Crispin Glover). Beowulf carries out his mission successfully, but not before Grendel’s mother (Angelina Jolie) learns of her son’s death and swears revenge on the warrior and his forces. Where epic reimaginings of this scale can often fall by the wayside, Zemeckis’ Beowulf manages to feel just as epic and important as the ancient poem we were forced to read in high school literature courses.
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Stars: Ray Winstone, Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Runtime: 114 minutes