1. The Princess Bride (1987)
The first movie on my list is a true classic. The Princess Bride (1987) is about a woman who agrees to marry a king after losing her true-love, only for said true-love to pop back up just in time to start some drama before the wedding. The storyline contains love, betrayal, revenge, and epic sword fights, all tied up in a nice “for the family” bow. The Princess Bride is really one of those films that nearly everyone knows. Chances are that you have encountered at least one pop-culture reference to it if you spend any time online, even if you don’t actually know who Inigo Montoya is or what guy should be preparing to die. (Hint: Inigo looks kind of like Gideon from Criminal Minds, only younger with more hair.) One of the best things about this movie is the fact that it isn’t actually all that great. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously, and as a result remains fun and heart-warming throughout.
2. Stardust (2007)
Stardust (2007) is one of my favourite movies of all time. The film follows the story of a social outcast named Tristan, who embarks on an epic journey through a magical realm in hopes of finding a fallen star for the woman he loves. Unfortunately, everyone and their mother is also after said star (who is actually a woman and does not wish to be carted around by strangers), including princely brothers and sinister witches. Stardust (2007) is the perfect movie for adults who crave the feeling invoked by watching fairytale movies as children, but would also rather more sophisticated subject matter than one would find in the average kid’s movie. The film is based on a book of the same name written by acclaimed author, Neil Gaiman.
3. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
The final film on my list is much darker than the other two, which were about magic and true love and happy endings. The movie tells the story of a young girl living in Spain during the years following the Spanish Civil War. She and her pregnant mother are moving in with her new stepfather, who is a ruthless military Captain. While exploring his estate, she encounters a mystical faun, who convinces her that she is actually the long-lost princess of a magical kingdom. However, she must prove her identity by passing a series of tests if she ever hopes to return home. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) is more along the vein of the original versions of fairytales, which were meant to teach children life-lessons by scaring the bejeezus out of them. The fantasy creatures are a tad bit unnerving, and the humans are even more bleak. Regardless, there is something captivating about this film that made it a must for my list. If fairytales existed alongside us today, I feel as if they would be something like this. (Or perhaps my inherent pessimism is simply showing through.)