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Top 10 Fantasy Books That Came Alive on the Big Screen!

"The book is better."

You have either said or heard this dialog each time you watched a movie adaptation of a book you read. In most cases, you'd be right. But we made a list of some fantasy books whose movie adaptations were as spectacular as the books themselves. If there are some on this list that you are yet to watch, make a date with yourself, your favorite movie partners, and some popcorn today.

Fantasy movies based on great books

Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings trilogy on the big screen started with The Fellowship Of The Ring in 2001. Frodo Baggins is chosen by his company of hobbits, elves, dwarves, and wizards to shoulder the responsibility of carrying an evil magic ring to the ends of the world and destroying it while his compatriots embark on parallel adventures to either keep the forces of evil distracted from the quest of Frodo or to fight their own battles to contain the spread of evil across Middle Earth.

Director Peter Jackson created a beautiful world in the movie, through his cinematography. One of the best movie adaptions of books in history, Lord of the Rings, is a sensational adventure that did not disappoint the lovers of the book! The films are estimated to have earned nearly three billion dollars in the box office, cumulatively; a blockbuster success and deservedly so.

The three films were released in three consecutive years, giving it a screen time of over 9 hours in its theatrical release and over 11 hours in the extended version. If you are up for a movie marathon, there's few better than this one.

One of the better adaptions of movies from a book Lord of the Rings gets a thumbs up from us, but like the nitpicky bastards that we are, we'd still recommend that you read JRR Tolkien's masterpiece to appreciate the full scope of this fantasy.

Ugly Score: 100%

Harry Potter Series

Inarguably the most beloved fantasy book of the modern era, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series has captivated kids and adults alike. While it was not necessarily loved by all its readers, but the Harry Potter movie franchise claimed massive box office notoriety.

A mishmash of several directors' vision, the movies still achieved great consistency. Of course, my niece believes that that is all thanks to JK Rowling and not so much the Hollywood studios. While the Harry Potter movies weren't flawless, their biggest achievement was impeccable casting. Perhaps even to the detriment of the actors, Robbie Coltrane is unlikely to be celebrated more as any other character than as Hagrid, and Daniel Radcliffe as Harry, and Emma Watson as Hermoine, and Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley. Now when a fan thinks of these characters, they immediately think back to these actors.

And some of the movies in the franchise also delivered an elite cinematic experience. Our favorites are Philosopher's Stone, Prisoners of Azkaban, and Deathly Hallows Part 1.

Our one massive gripe, the movies did not cover the entirety of the books. While it is understandable given the screen time constraints, die-hard fans were disappointed that many critical elements from the generational fantasy books were omitted.

Ugly Score: 88%

The Hobbit

A prequel to the Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit explores the journey of Bilbo Baggins, Frodo's uncle, and his quest to find a lost treasure. Before director Peter Jackson turned this into a movie, it was also made into an animated film in 1977.

The Hobbit’s success lies in its beautiful cinematography. Director Jackson took Tolkien's book and beautifully translated into a cinematic masterpiece. Jackson was also aided by a brilliant cast of actors, each of whom delivered masterful performances. Incredible visuals, superlative performances, and the journey through fascinating worlds made these movies entertaining fan favorites.

Alas, Jackson had set the bar for himself incredibly high with Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit failed to meet the viewers' enormous expectations.

Ugly Score: 87%

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

A spin-off from the Harry Potter series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them introduced new characters and expanded the Harry Potter universe. JK Rowling wrote the screenplay for the movie herself.

The movie follows the adventures of Newt Scamander, a student of magizoology, the study of magical creatures. Newt radiates an unassuming charm through his awkwardness and his love and compassion for magical, and often extremely dangerous, creatures.

A lovable hero in the making, not unlike Harry himself, mystical creatures, and a peep into the history of Hogwarts, Harry Potter fans have got just the thing they wanted to sink their teeth into. And with the first sequel giving us a real formidable villain, fans are waiting eagerly for the next film in the franchise.

Ugly Score: 90%

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia book was written by CS Lewis during World War 2, around the same time as Lord of the Rings. The book was long considered a classic for children's literature.

The first movie adaptation in the series of three, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, was directed by Andrew Adamson and came out in 2005.

Unlike some others on this list, the movies are perhaps primarily targeted towards children. The movies manage to retain the magical elements that keep children fascinated and engaged while also teaching them essential life-lessons.

The second movie, Prince Caspian, was also successful, but the third one was a hit and miss in the box office as well as with the critics. As a trilogy, however, this is a great children's fantasy movie series.

Ugly Score: 93%

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Roald Dahl’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a children's literature classic that tells the story of five kids who are invited to a tour of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, unaware that they may have a shot at changing their destinies.

A book that has been adapted for screen and stage multiple times, the last incarnation was the 2005 release starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton and starred by Johnny Depp and Freddie Highmore. Unsurprisingly, Johnny Depp's performance was flawless and it perfectly communicated the nuances of a meaningful, layered story about family, relationships, and desires.

While the book may have been aimed at children, the movie embraced a more menacing tone and delivered in perfectly.

Ugly Score: 89%

Twilight Saga

Vampires are fascinating, aren't they? And Stephanie Mayer's Twilight is the favorite vampire romance novel series of hordes of teenagers all over the world. The massive popularity of the books meant that a screen adaptation presented lucrative commercial opportunities and Hollywood jumped on it.

The Twilight Saga is a series of five vampire romance fantasy films directed by various directors. The movies focus on the relation between a human, Bella, and a dreamy vampire in her school, Edward, and how they overcome all odds to find ways to be together.

Going by IMDB scores and Rotten Tomatoes reviews, the films didn't do justice to the books. However, the undeniable commercial success of the films meant that there teenage-vampire-addict aplenty who enjoyed the screen adaptation. We'll leave this one to you. Watch the movies and decide how you feel about them.

Ugly Score: 72%


Based on Neil Geiman’s novel, Stardust is a romantic fantasy film by director Matthew Vaughn released. Although it released in 2007, it still hasn't lost its charm and continues to make new fans.

With an all-star cast including Charlie Cox and Claire Danes, Stardust is a funny, intelligent, and heartfelt story following the journey of a young man named Tristan Thorn. Tristan wants to marry Victoria but she'll accept his proposal only if he can bring her a star from the magical kingdom of Stormhold before her birthday.

Read the book, it is the best version of the story. But the movie is also really well-made and it also won a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic presentation in 2008.

Ugly Score: 81%

Spiderwick Chronicles

Spiderwick Chronicles are a series of children’s adventure fantasy book by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black following the lives of the Grace children. The books became so popular that Hollywood eventually came knocking to recreate the adventures of Jared, Simon, and Mallory on screen.

The story revolves around two twin brothers who unknowingly opened a book of magic and entered into the magical land of Spiderwick Estate. Now, they have to battle with shape-shifting creatures and demons to survive and get out alive.

A true fantasy adventure that includes elements of horror as well as humor, the movie did justice to the elements of the books it focused on. Check out this fascinating movie next time you have a couple hours to yourself.

Ugly Score: 78%


Inkheart is a 2008 British-American fantasy movie based on the novel on the same name by Cornelia Funke. The story revolves around a man, Mo, who can bring out characters from books into real life. And the villain, Dustfinger, is trying to use Mo to find lost treasures in the history.

A novel and unique story with interesting characters that underwhelms just a shade in the action sequences. If you want to watch a feel-good movie, with imagination, fantasy, pure emotions, and a happy ending, this is the movie for you.

Ugly Score: 74%

What do you think of our list? Have you watched every movie we've suggested? If not, get to it already!

And if you liked the above list, we suggest you to check out our list of 9 Amazing Movie Adaptations of Science Fiction Books That You Won't Forget!


  • The images used in this post are either used under fair use principles or licensed to be used and distributed by our team.

  • This listicle has been edited by the Ugly Tales admins.


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