Best Fantasy Movies of All Time

Welcome to Rotten Tomatoes’ compendium of cinema’s best-reviewed tales of swords and sorcery, fire and ice, and dungeons and…you get the idea. The swirling mythic cauldron (i.e. our database) reveals to all the best-reviewed live-action fantasy movies of all time, sorted by our ranking formula with at least 20 reviews each!

#84

The Fall (2006)
62%

#84
Adjusted Score: 65022%
Critics Consensus: More visually elaborate than the fragmented story can sometimes support, The Fall walks the line between labor of love and filmmaker self-indulgence.
Synopsis: A bedridden patient (Lee Pace) captivates a hospitalized girl (Catinca Untaru) with a fantastic tale involving heroes, mystics and villains... [More]
Directed By: Tarsem

#83

Solomon Kane (2009)
66%

#83
Adjusted Score: 67239%
Critics Consensus: Solomon Kane's formulaic and bleak narrative is overcome by an entertaining, straightforward adherence to its genre, exciting gore, and a gratifying lead performance by James Purefoy.
Synopsis: A man (James Purefoy) must renounce his newly taken vows of peace to rescue a young woman (Rachel Hurd-Wood) from... [More]
Directed By: Michael J. Bassett

#82
#82
Adjusted Score: 67869%
Critics Consensus: Though Conan may take itself too seriously for some, this adventure film about a former slave seeking vengeance is full of quotable Schwarzenegger lines and gritty action.
Synopsis: Orphaned boy Conan (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is enslaved after his village is destroyed by the forces of vicious necromancer Thulsa Doom... [More]
Directed By: John Milius

#81
#81
Adjusted Score: 67873%
Critics Consensus: This hotly-anticipated pairing of martial arts legends Jackie Chan and Jet Li features dazzling fight scenes but is weighed down by too much filler.
Synopsis: Jason (Michael Angarano), an American teenager, is a huge fan of Hong Kong cinema and old kung-fu movies. While browsing... [More]
Directed By: Rob Minkoff

#80

Ladyhawke (1985)
68%

#80
Adjusted Score: 69437%
Critics Consensus: There's pacing problems, but Ladyhawke has an undeniable romantic sweep that's stronger than most fantasy epics of its ilk.
Synopsis: Upon breaking out of a dungeon, youthful thief Phillipe Gaston (Matthew Broderick) befriends Capt. Navarre (Rutger Hauer), a man with... [More]
Directed By: Richard Donner

#79
Adjusted Score: 70359%
Critics Consensus: Terry Gilliam remains as indulgent as ever, but The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus represents a return to the intoxicatingly imaginative, darkly beautiful power of his earlier work, with fine performances to match all the visual spectacle.
Synopsis: Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer), the leader of a traveling show, has a dark secret. Thousands of years ago he traded... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#78
#78
Adjusted Score: 67590%
Critics Consensus: A goofy, old-school sword-and-sandal epic, Clash of the Titans mines Greek mythology for its story and fleshes it out with Ray Harryhausen's charmingly archaic stop-motion animation techniques.
Synopsis: Perseus (Harry Hamlin), son of the Greek god Zeus (Laurence Olivier), grows up on a deserted island. His destiny is... [More]
Directed By: Desmond Davis

#77

Godmothered (2020)
68%

#77
Adjusted Score: 72345%
Critics Consensus: More bippity boppity than boo, Godmothered tweaks fairytale conventions with just enough self-aware humor to overcome a disappointing deficit of genuine magic.
Synopsis: Set at Christmas time, "Godmothered" is a comedy about Eleanor, a young, inexperienced fairy godmother-in-training (Jillian Bell), who upon hearing... [More]
Directed By: Sharon Maguire

#76

Highlander (1986)
70%

#76
Adjusted Score: 73012%
Critics Consensus: People hate Highlander because it's cheesy, bombastic, and absurd. And people love it for the same reasons.
Synopsis: When the mystical Russell Nash (Christopher Lambert) kills a man in a sword fight in a New York City parking... [More]
Directed By: Russell Mulcahy

#75
Adjusted Score: 73677%
Critics Consensus: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is an entertaining family adventure worthy of the standard set by its predecessor.
Synopsis: One year after their previous adventure, the Pevensie children (Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell) return to the... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Adamson

#74

Sleepy Hollow (1999)
69%

#74
Adjusted Score: 74376%
Critics Consensus: It isn't Tim Burton's best work, but Sleepy Hollow entertains with its stunning visuals and creepy atmosphere.
Synopsis: Set in 1799, "Sleepy Hollow" is based on Washington Irving's classic tale "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Faithful to the... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#73
Adjusted Score: 77362%
Critics Consensus: Peter Jackson's return to Middle-earth is an earnest, visually resplendent trip, but the film's deliberate pace robs the material of some of its majesty.
Synopsis: Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) lives a simple life with his fellow hobbits in the shire, until the wizard Gandalf (Ian... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#72
Adjusted Score: 78135%
Critics Consensus: An entertaining PG detour for gore maestro Eli Roth, The House with a Clock in Its Walls is a family-friendly blend of humor and horror with an infectious sense of fun.
Synopsis: Ten-year-old Lewis goes to live with his oddball uncle in a creaky old house that contains a mysterious ticktock noise.... [More]
Directed By: Eli Roth

#71
#71
Adjusted Score: 78264%
Critics Consensus: A wickedly funny tale of three witches and their duel with the Devil, fuelled by some delicious fantasy and arch comedic performances.
Synopsis: Three small-town friends, Alexandra (Cher), Jane (Susan Sarandon) and Sukie (Michelle Pfeiffer), each having lost the man in their lives,... [More]
Directed By: George Miller

#70

Labyrinth (1986)
74%

#70
Adjusted Score: 78422%
Critics Consensus: While it's arguably more interesting on a visual level, Labyrinth provides further proof of director Jim Henson's boundless imagination.
Synopsis: Teenage Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) journeys through a maze to recover her baby brother (Toby Froud) from a goblin king (David... [More]
Directed By: Jim Henson

#69

Nanny McPhee (2005)
74%

#69
Adjusted Score: 78478%
Critics Consensus: A bit alarming at first, Nanny McPhee has a hard edge to counter Mary Poppins-style sweetness, but it still charms us and teaches some valuable lessons.
Synopsis: Widower Cedric Brown (Colin Firth) hires Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) to care for his seven rambunctious children, who have chased... [More]
Directed By: Kirk Jones

#68
#68
Adjusted Score: 79136%
Critics Consensus: Emma Thompson's second labor of love with the Nanny McPhee character actually improves on the first, delivering charming family fare with an excellent cast.
Synopsis: Enigmatic Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) arrives on the doorstep of a harried mother, Isabel Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who is trying... [More]
Directed By: Susanna White

#67
Adjusted Score: 79958%
Critics Consensus: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children proves a suitable match for Tim Burton's distinctive style, even if it's on stronger footing as a visual experience than a narrative one.
Synopsis: When his beloved grandfather leaves Jake clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds a magical... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#66

Into the Woods (2014)
71%

#66
Adjusted Score: 80570%
Critics Consensus: On the whole, this Disney adaptation of the Sondheim classic sits comfortably at the corner of Hollywood and Broadway -- even if it darkens to its detriment in the final act.
Synopsis: As the result of the curse of a once-beautiful witch (Meryl Streep), a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily... [More]
Directed By: Rob Marshall

#65

Peter Pan (2003)
77%

#65
Adjusted Score: 80693%
Critics Consensus: Solid if far from definitive, this version of Peter Pan is visually impressive, psychologically complex and faithful to its original source.
Synopsis: As Wendy Darling (Rachel Hurd-Wood) recounts stories to her brothers, John (Harry Newell) and Michael (Freddie Popplewell), she is visited... [More]
Directed By: P.J. Hogan

#64

Zathura (2005)
76%

#64
Adjusted Score: 81195%
Critics Consensus: Dazzling special effects for the kids + well-crafted storytelling for the 'rents = cinematic satisfaction for the whole family.
Synopsis: After their father (Tim Robbins) is called into work, two young boys, Walter (Josh Hutcherson) and Danny (Jonah Bobo), are... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#63
#63
Adjusted Score: 81427%
Critics Consensus: Not all of its many intriguing ideas are developed, but The City of Lost Children is an engrossing, disturbing, profoundly memorable experience.
Synopsis: Old and decrepit Krank (Daniel Emilfork) has lost his capacity for dreaming and is attempting to fight death by stealing... [More]

#62

The Dark Crystal (1982)
79%

#62
Adjusted Score: 81770%
Critics Consensus: The Dark Crystal's narrative never quite lives up to the movie's visual splendor, but it remains an admirably inventive and uniquely intense entry in the Jim Henson canon.
Synopsis: Jen (Stephen Garlick), raised by the noble race called the Mystics, has been told that he is the last survivor... [More]
Directed By: Jim Henson, Frank Oz

#61

Big Fish (2003)
76%

#61
Adjusted Score: 82679%
Critics Consensus: A charming father-and-son tale filled with typical Tim Burton flourishes, Big Fish is an impressive catch.
Synopsis: When Edward Bloom (Albert Finney) becomes ill, his son, William (Billy Crudup), travels to be with him. William has a... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#60
#60
Adjusted Score: 82898%
Critics Consensus: A magical journey about the power of a young boy's imagination to save a dying fantasy land, The NeverEnding Story remains a much-loved kids adventure.
Synopsis: On his way to school, Bastian (Barret Oliver) ducks into a bookstore to avoid bullies. Sneaking away with a book... [More]
Directed By: Wolfgang Petersen

#59
Adjusted Score: 83238%
Critics Consensus: While still slightly hamstrung by "middle chapter" narrative problems and its formidable length, The Desolation of Smaug represents a more confident, exciting second chapter for the Hobbit series.
Synopsis: Having survived the first part of their unsettling journey, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his companions (Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage)... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#58
#58
Adjusted Score: 83284%
Critics Consensus: Some may find its dark tone and slender narrative off-putting, but Spike Jonze's heartfelt adaptation of the classic children's book is as beautiful as it is uncompromising.
Synopsis: Feeling misunderstood at home and at school, mischievous Max (Max Records) escapes to the land of the Wild Things, majestic... [More]
Directed By: Spike Jonze

#57

Excalibur (1981)
74%

#57
Adjusted Score: 80413%
Critics Consensus: John Boorman's operatic, opulent take on the legend of King Arthur is visually remarkable, and features strong performances from an all-star lineup of British thespians.
Synopsis: The magical sword of Excalibur starts off in the hands of British lord Uther Pendragon (Gabriel Byrne) and then, years... [More]
Directed By: John Boorman

#56
Adjusted Score: 83788%
Critics Consensus: With first-rate special effects and compelling storytelling, this adaptation stays faithful to its source material and will please moviegoers of all ages.
Synopsis: During the World War II bombings of London, four English siblings are sent to a country house where they will... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Adamson

#55
Adjusted Score: 84120%
Critics Consensus: The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec is an old-school adventure yarn with a distaff European - and generally rather delightful - spin.
Synopsis: A popular novelist deals with her would-be suitors, the cops, monsters, and other distractions.... [More]
Directed By: Luc Besson

#54

Dragonslayer (1981)
82%

#54
Adjusted Score: 84251%
Critics Consensus: An atypically dark Disney adventure, Dragonslayer puts a realistic spin -- and some impressive special effects -- on a familiar tale.
Synopsis: A terrible dragon is terrorizing the medieval land of Urland in the 6th century. Representatives from the kingdom seek the... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Robbins

#53

Stardust (2007)
77%

#53
Adjusted Score: 84384%
Critics Consensus: A faithful interpretation that captures the spirit of whimsy, action, and off-kilter humor of Neil Gaiman, Stardust juggles multiple genres and tones to create a fantastical experience.
Synopsis: To win the heart of his beloved (Sienna Miller), a young man named Tristan (Charlie Cox) ventures into the realm... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Vaughn

#52
#52
Adjusted Score: 84660%
Critics Consensus: A visual treat rich in symbolism, The Holy Mountain adds another defiantly idiosyncratic chapter to Jodorowsky's thoroughly unique filmography.
Synopsis: A Mexican master (Alexandro Jodorowsky) leads a Christ figure (Horacio Salinas) and other disciples to a mountain of immortal wise... [More]
Directed By: Alexandro Jodorowsky

#51
#51
Adjusted Score: 85664%
Critics Consensus: The Spiderwick Chronicles is an entertaining children's adventure, with heart and imagination to spare.
Synopsis: Of the three Grace children, Jared (Freddie Highmore) has always been thought of as the troublemaker. So when strange things... [More]
Directed By: Mark Waters

#50
#50
Adjusted Score: 86151%
Critics Consensus: Like many classic games, Jumanji: The Next Level retains core components of what came before while adding enough fresh bits to keep things playable.
Synopsis: When Spencer goes back into the fantastical world of Jumanji, pals Martha, Fridge and Bethany re-enter the game to bring... [More]
Directed By: Jake Kasdan

#49

Pinocchio (2019)
83%

#49
Adjusted Score: 86378%
Critics Consensus: Sticking closely to Carlo Collodi's original story, Matteo Garrone's Pinocchio pulls every string to create a visually stunning film that proves some tales really are timeless.
Synopsis: Geppetto's puppet creation, Pinocchio, magically comes to life with dreams of becoming a real boy. Easily led astray, Pinocchio tumbles... [More]
Directed By: Matteo Garrone

#48
Adjusted Score: 86717%
Critics Consensus: May leave you exhausted like the theme park ride that inspired it; however, you'll have a good time when it's over.
Synopsis: Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) arrives at Port Royal in the Caribbean without a ship or crew. His timing is... [More]
Directed By: Gore Verbinski

#47

Tale of Tales (2015)
83%

#47
Adjusted Score: 87983%
Critics Consensus: Visually splendid and narratively satisfying, Tale of Tales packs an off-kilter wallop for mature viewers in search of something different.
Synopsis: Three fairy tales revolve around a king (John C. Reilly) who must slay a sea monster, a giant flea and... [More]
Directed By: Matteo Garrone

#46
Adjusted Score: 88153%
Critics Consensus: It can't help but feel like the prelude it is, but Deathly Hallows: Part I is a beautifully filmed, emotionally satisfying penultimate installment for the Harry Potter series.
Synopsis: Without the guidance and protection of their professors, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) begin a... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#45
Adjusted Score: 88352%
Critics Consensus: It's not easy to take the longest Harry Potter book and streamline it into the shortest HP movie, but director David Yates does a bang up job of it, creating an Order of the Phoenix that's entertaining and action-packed.
Synopsis: Now in his fifth year at Hogwarts, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) learns that many in the wizarding community do not know... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#44
Adjusted Score: 89062%
Critics Consensus: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone adapts its source material faithfully while condensing the novel's overstuffed narrative into an involving -- and often downright exciting -- big-screen magical caper.
Synopsis: Adaptation of the first of J.K. Rowling's popular children's novels about Harry Potter, a boy who learns on his eleventh... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#43
Adjusted Score: 90055%
Critics Consensus: Though perhaps more enchanting for younger audiences, Chamber of Secrets is nevertheless both darker and livelier than its predecessor, expanding and improving upon the first film's universe.
Synopsis: The follow-up to "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" finds young wizard Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends, Ron... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#42

Matilda (1996)
90%

#42
Adjusted Score: 90497%
Critics Consensus: Danny DeVito-directed version of Matilda is odd, charming, and while the movie diverges from Roald Dahl, it nonetheless captures the book's spirit.
Synopsis: This film adaptation of a Roald Dahl work tells the story of Matilda Wormwood (Mara Wilson), a gifted girl forced... [More]
Directed By: Danny DeVito

#41
Adjusted Score: 91324%
Critics Consensus: Closer to the source material than 1971's Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is for people who like their Chocolate visually appealing and dark.
Synopsis: Based on the beloved Roald Dahl tale, this comedic and fantastical film follows young Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) and his... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#40
#40
Adjusted Score: 91755%
Critics Consensus: Bridge to Terabithia is a faithful adaptation of a beloved children's novel and a powerful portrayal of love, loss, and imagination through children's eyes.
Synopsis: The life of Jesse (Josh Hutcherson), an adolescent, changes when he befriends Leslie (AnnaSophia Robb), the class outsider. The children... [More]
Directed By: Gabor Csupo

#39
#39
Adjusted Score: 92322%
Critics Consensus: Don Chaffey's Jason and the Argonauts is an outlandish, transportive piece of nostalgia whose real star is the masterful stop-motion animation work of Ray Harryhausen.
Synopsis: After saving the life of his royal father's usurper, Pelias (Douglas Wilmer), whom he fails to recognize, Jason (Todd Armstrong)... [More]
Directed By: Don Chaffey

#38

Time Bandits (1981)
90%

#38
Adjusted Score: 92686%
Critics Consensus: Time Bandits is a remarkable time-travel fantasy from Terry Gilliam, who utilizes fantastic set design and homemade special effects to create a vivid, original universe.
Synopsis: Young history buff Kevin (Craig Warnock) can scarcely believe it when six dwarfs emerge from his closet one night. Former... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#37

The BFG (2016)
74%

#37
Adjusted Score: 93284%
Critics Consensus: The BFG minimizes the darker elements of Roald Dahl's classic in favor of a resolutely good-natured, visually stunning, and largely successful family-friendly adventure.
Synopsis: Ten-year-old Sophie is in for the adventure of a lifetime when she meets the Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance). Naturally... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#36

Cinderella (2015)
84%

#36
Adjusted Score: 93476%
Critics Consensus: Refreshingly traditional in a revisionist era, Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella proves Disney hasn't lost any of its old-fashioned magic.
Synopsis: After her father unexpectedly dies, young Ella (Lily James) finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother (Cate Blanchett)... [More]
Directed By: Kenneth Branagh

#35
Adjusted Score: 93642%
Critics Consensus: Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey celebrates the yuletide season with a holiday adventure whose exuberant spirit is matched by its uplifting message.
Synopsis: Decades after his apprentice betrays him, a once joyful toymaker finds new hope when his bright young granddaughter appears on... [More]
Directed By: David E. Talbert

#34
Adjusted Score: 93685%
Critics Consensus: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle uses a charming cast and a humorous twist to offer an undemanding yet solidly entertaining update on its source material.
Synopsis: Four high school kids discover an old video game console and are drawn into the game's jungle setting, literally becoming... [More]
Directed By: Jake Kasdan

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 94201%
Critics Consensus: The first collaboration between Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, Edward Scissorhands is a magical modern fairy tale with gothic overtones and a sweet center.
Synopsis: A scientist (Vincent Price) builds an animated human being -- the gentle Edward (Johnny Depp). The scientist dies before he... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#32
Adjusted Score: 94789%
Critics Consensus: Dark, thrilling, and occasionally quite funny, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is also visually stunning and emotionally satisfying.
Synopsis: As Death Eaters wreak havoc in both Muggle and Wizard worlds, Hogwarts is no longer a safe haven for students.... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#31
Adjusted Score: 95406%
Critics Consensus: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is strange yet comforting, full of narrative detours that don't always work but express the film's uniqueness.
Synopsis: The last of five coveted "golden tickets" falls into the hands of a sweet but very poor boy. He and... [More]
Directed By: Mel Stuart

#30

The Witches (1990)
93%

#30
Adjusted Score: 95728%
Critics Consensus: With a deliciously wicked performance from Angelica Huston and imaginative puppetry by Jim Henson's creature shop, Nicolas Roeg's dark and witty movie captures the spirit of Roald Dahl's writing like few other adaptations.
Synopsis: While staying at a hotel in England with his grandmother, Helga (Mai Zetterling), young Luke (Jasen Fisher) inadvertently spies on... [More]
Directed By: Nicolas Roeg

#29
Adjusted Score: 94944%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them draws on Harry Potter's rich mythology to deliver a spinoff that dazzles with franchise-building magic all its own.
Synopsis: The year is 1926, and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just completed a global excursion to find and document an... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#28
Adjusted Score: 96043%
Critics Consensus: Bursting with Terry Gilliam's typically imaginative flourishes, this story of a possibly deranged Baron recounting his storied life is a flamboyant and witty visual treat.
Synopsis: During the "Age of Reason" of the late 18th century, the Turkish army lays siege to a European city where... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#27

Life of Pi (2012)
86%

#27
Adjusted Score: 96913%
Critics Consensus: A 3D adaptation of a supposedly "unfilmable" book, Ang Lee's Life of Pi achieves the near impossible -- it's an astonishing technical achievement that's also emotionally rewarding.
Synopsis: After deciding to sell their zoo in India and move to Canada, Santosh and Gita Patel board a freighter with... [More]
Directed By: Ang Lee

#26
Adjusted Score: 97486%
Critics Consensus: The main characters are maturing, and the filmmakers are likewise improving on their craft; vibrant special effects and assured performances add up to what is the most complex yet of the Harry Potter films.
Synopsis: The fourth movie in the Harry Potter franchise sees Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) returning for his fourth year at Hogwarts School... [More]
Directed By: Mike Newell

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 97771%
Critics Consensus: El Espíritu de la Colmena uses a classic horror story's legacy as the thread for a singularly absorbing childhood fable woven with uncommon grace.
Synopsis: In an allegory of life after Gen. Franco's victory in the Spanish Civil War, life in a remote village in... [More]
Directed By: Víctor Erice

#24

Snow White (2012)
95%

#24
Adjusted Score: 98057%
Critics Consensus: Smartly written and beautiful to behold, Blancanieves uses its classic source material to offer a dark tale, delightfully told.
Synopsis: Rescued from her evil stepmother (Maribel Verdú) by dwarves, a young woman (Macarena García) becomes a bullfighter like her late... [More]
Directed By: Pablo Berger

#23

Orpheus (1950)
97%

#23
Adjusted Score: 98469%
Critics Consensus: Heavy with symbolism and deliberately paced, Orpheus may not be for everyone -- but as an example of Jean Cocteau's eccentric genius, it's all but impossible not to recommend.
Synopsis: At the Café des Poètes in Paris, a fight breaks out between the poet Orphée (Jean Marais) and a group... [More]
Directed By: Jean Cocteau

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 98912%
Critics Consensus: With an enchanting cast, beautifully crafted songs, and a painterly eye for detail, Beauty and the Beast offers a faithful yet fresh retelling that honors its beloved source material.
Synopsis: Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) in its... [More]
Directed By: Bill Condon

#21

The Seventh Seal (1957)
94%

#21
Adjusted Score: 100233%
Critics Consensus: Narratively bold and visually striking, The Seventh Seal brought Ingmar Bergman to the world stage -- and remains every bit as compelling today.
Synopsis: When disillusioned Swedish knight Antonius Block (Max von Sydow) returns home from the Crusades to find his country in the... [More]
Directed By: Ingmar Bergman

#20
Adjusted Score: 99790%
Critics Consensus: Under the assured direction of Alfonso Cuaron, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban triumphantly strikes a delicate balance between technical wizardry and complex storytelling.
Synopsis: Harry Potter's (Daniel Radcliffe) third year at Hogwarts starts off badly when he learns deranged killer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman)... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 100059%
Critics Consensus: It requires some viewing commitment, but this beautifully assembled showcase for Douglas Fairbanks' acting offers some splendid treats for classic film fans.
Synopsis: A thief sneaks into a royal palace, where he sees and falls instantly in love with a beautiful princess. Pretending... [More]
Directed By: Raoul Walsh

#18

Enchanted (2007)
93%

#18
Adjusted Score: 100288%
Critics Consensus: A smart re-imagining of fairy tale tropes that's sure to delight children and adults, Enchanted features witty dialogue, sharp animation, and a star turn by Amy Adams.
Synopsis: Banished by an evil queen, Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) from a fairy-tale world lands in modern Manhattan, where music, magic... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Lima

#17
Adjusted Score: 100587%
Critics Consensus: Full of eye-popping special effects, and featuring a pitch-perfect cast, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring brings J.R.R. Tolkien's classic to vivid life.
Synopsis: The future of civilization rests in the fate of the One Ring, which has been lost for centuries. Powerful forces... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 101997%
Critics Consensus: Who Framed Roger Rabbit is an innovative and entertaining film that features a groundbreaking mix of live action and animation, with a touching and original story to boot.
Synopsis: Down-on-his-luck private eye Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) gets hired by cartoon producer R.K. Maroon (Alan Tilvern) to investigate an adultery... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#15

Mary Poppins (1964)
96%

#15
Adjusted Score: 100930%
Critics Consensus: A lavish modern fairy tale celebrated for its amazing special effects, catchy songs, and Julie Andrews's legendary performance in the title role.
Synopsis: When Jane (Karen Dotrice) and Michael (Matthew Garber), the children of the wealthy and uptight Banks family, are faced with... [More]
Directed By: Robert Stevenson

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 102222%
Critics Consensus: Mary Poppins Returns relies on the magic of its classic forebear to cast a familiar -- but still solidly effective -- family-friendly spell.
Synopsis: Now an adult with three children, bank teller Michael Banks learns that his house will be repossessed in five days... [More]
Directed By: Rob Marshall

#13

Pete's Dragon (2016)
88%

#13
Adjusted Score: 102293%
Critics Consensus: Pete's Dragon continues Disney's current live-action winning streak with an update that gives the original a visual overhaul without overwhelming its sweet, soulful charm.
Synopsis: Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford), a woodcarver, delights local children with stories of a mysterious dragon that lives deep in the... [More]
Directed By: David Lowery

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 102714%
Critics Consensus: Dashing, dazzling, and altogether magical, The Thief of Bagdad is an enchanting fantasy for children of all ages.
Synopsis: Deceived and deposed by his sinister adviser, Jaffar (Conrad Veidt), Ahmad (John Justin), the King of Bagdad, must find a... [More]

#11

Ugetsu (1953)
100%

#11
Adjusted Score: 102698%
Critics Consensus: With its thought-provoking themes, rich atmosphere, and brilliant direction, Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu monogatari is a towering classic of world cinema.
Synopsis: In 16th century Japan, peasants Genjuro (Masayuki Mori) and Tobei (Sakae Ozawa) sell their earthenware pots to a group of... [More]
Directed By: Kenji Mizoguchi

#10
Adjusted Score: 102798%
Critics Consensus: Visually breathtaking and emotionally powerful, The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King is a moving and satisfying conclusion to a great trilogy.
Synopsis: The culmination of nearly 10 years' work and conclusion to Peter Jackson's epic trilogy based on the timeless J.R.R. Tolkien... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#9
Adjusted Score: 103668%
Critics Consensus: The Two Towers balances spectacular action with emotional storytelling, leaving audiences both wholly satisfied and eager for the final chapter.
Synopsis: The sequel to the Golden Globe-nominated and AFI Award-winning "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," "The... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 103679%
Critics Consensus: A delightfully postmodern fairy tale, The Princess Bride is a deft, intelligent mix of swashbuckling, romance, and comedy that takes an age-old damsel-in-distress story and makes it fresh.
Synopsis: A fairy tale adventure about a beautiful young woman and her one true love. He must find her after a... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#7

The Green Knight (2021)
89%

#7
Adjusted Score: 106351%
Critics Consensus: The Green Knight honors and deconstructs its source material in equal measure, producing an absorbing adventure that casts a fantastical spell.
Synopsis: An epic fantasy adventure based on the timeless Arthurian legend, THE GREEN KNIGHT tells the story of Sir Gawain (Dev... [More]
Directed By: David Lowery

#6

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
95%

#6
Adjusted Score: 104471%
Critics Consensus: Pan's Labyrinth is Alice in Wonderland for grown-ups, with the horrors of both reality and fantasy blended together into an extraordinary, spellbinding fable.
Synopsis: In 1944 Spain young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her ailing mother (Ariadna Gil) arrive at the post of her mother's... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 104933%
Critics Consensus: With its magical optical effects and enchanting performances, Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast remains the most surreal -- and soulful -- of the fairy tale's film adaptations.
Synopsis: The story of a gentle-hearted beast in love with a simple and beautiful girl. She is drawn to the repellent... [More]
Directed By: Jean Cocteau

#4

A Monster Calls (2016)
86%

#4
Adjusted Score: 105962%
Critics Consensus: A Monster Calls deftly balances dark themes and fantastical elements to deliver an engrossing and uncommonly moving entry in the crowded coming-of-age genre.
Synopsis: Conor (Lewis MacDougall) is dealing with far more than other boys his age. His beloved and devoted mother (Felicity Jones)... [More]
Directed By: J.A. Bayona

#3
Adjusted Score: 109302%
Critics Consensus: Thrilling, powerfully acted, and visually dazzling, Deathly Hallows Part II brings the Harry Potter franchise to a satisfying -- and suitably magical -- conclusion.
Synopsis: A clash between good and evil awaits as young Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) prepare... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#2

The Jungle Book (2016)
94%

#2
Adjusted Score: 114744%
Critics Consensus: As lovely to behold as it is engrossing to watch, The Jungle Book is the rare remake that actually improves upon its predecessors -- all while setting a new standard for CGI.
Synopsis: Raised by a family of wolves since birth, Mowgli (Neel Sethi) must leave the only home he's ever known when... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#1

The Wizard of Oz (1939)
98%

#1
Adjusted Score: 115182%
Critics Consensus: An absolute masterpiece whose groundbreaking visuals and deft storytelling are still every bit as resonant, The Wizard of Oz is a must-see film for young and old.
Synopsis: When a tornado rips through Kansas, Dorothy (Judy Garland) and her dog, Toto, are whisked away in their house to... [More]
Directed By: Victor Fleming

Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection)

All Harry Potter Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

The Harry Potter film franchise ruled the box office for a decade, but it also managed the uncommon feat of earning Certified Fresh status for every single one of its installments. It remains one of the most successful movie sagas of all time, and it’s even spawned a spinoff series. But while the first Fantastic Beasts continue the Certified Fresh streak, the second became the first Rotten entry in this cinematic Wizarding World. The third Beasts film, The Secrets of Dumbledore, releases April 2022. Now, we’re ranking all Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies by Tomatometer!

#10
Adjusted Score: 56395%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has glimmers of the magic familiar to Harry Potter fans, but the story's spell isn't as strong as earlier installments.
Synopsis: In an effort to thwart Grindelwald's plans of raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings, Albus Dumbledore enlists... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#9
Adjusted Score: 94944%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them draws on Harry Potter's rich mythology to deliver a spinoff that dazzles with franchise-building magic all its own.
Synopsis: The year is 1926, and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just completed a global excursion to find and document an... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#8
Adjusted Score: 88153%
Critics Consensus: It can't help but feel like the prelude it is, but Deathly Hallows: Part I is a beautifully filmed, emotionally satisfying penultimate installment for the Harry Potter series.
Synopsis: Without the guidance and protection of their professors, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) begin a... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#7
Adjusted Score: 88352%
Critics Consensus: It's not easy to take the longest Harry Potter book and streamline it into the shortest HP movie, but director David Yates does a bang up job of it, creating an Order of the Phoenix that's entertaining and action-packed.
Synopsis: Now in his fifth year at Hogwarts, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) learns that many in the wizarding community do not know... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#6
Adjusted Score: 89062%
Critics Consensus: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone adapts its source material faithfully while condensing the novel's overstuffed narrative into an involving -- and often downright exciting -- big-screen magical caper.
Synopsis: Adaptation of the first of J.K. Rowling's popular children's novels about Harry Potter, a boy who learns on his eleventh... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#5
Adjusted Score: 90055%
Critics Consensus: Though perhaps more enchanting for younger audiences, Chamber of Secrets is nevertheless both darker and livelier than its predecessor, expanding and improving upon the first film's universe.
Synopsis: The follow-up to "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" finds young wizard Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends, Ron... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#4
Adjusted Score: 94789%
Critics Consensus: Dark, thrilling, and occasionally quite funny, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is also visually stunning and emotionally satisfying.
Synopsis: As Death Eaters wreak havoc in both Muggle and Wizard worlds, Hogwarts is no longer a safe haven for students.... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#3
Adjusted Score: 97486%
Critics Consensus: The main characters are maturing, and the filmmakers are likewise improving on their craft; vibrant special effects and assured performances add up to what is the most complex yet of the Harry Potter films.
Synopsis: The fourth movie in the Harry Potter franchise sees Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) returning for his fourth year at Hogwarts School... [More]
Directed By: Mike Newell

#2
Adjusted Score: 99790%
Critics Consensus: Under the assured direction of Alfonso Cuaron, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban triumphantly strikes a delicate balance between technical wizardry and complex storytelling.
Synopsis: Harry Potter's (Daniel Radcliffe) third year at Hogwarts starts off badly when he learns deranged killer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman)... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

#1
Adjusted Score: 109302%
Critics Consensus: Thrilling, powerfully acted, and visually dazzling, Deathly Hallows Part II brings the Harry Potter franchise to a satisfying -- and suitably magical -- conclusion.
Synopsis: A clash between good and evil awaits as young Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) prepare... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

(Photo by Marvel Studios / Disney, 20th Century Fox, Miramax, TriStar)

For their bravery, wit, general badassery, and unbroken spirit in the face of enormous challenges (be they gender discrimination or acid-hissing aliens), we pay tribute to 87 Fearless Movie Women Who Inspire Us.

How did we arrive at our top 87? With the help of a fearless panel of women critics made up of some of the best writers in the industry, including a few on the Rotten Tomatoes staff. Starting with a long list of candidates, they whittled down the list to an initial set of 72 amazingly heroic characters and ordered them, crowning the most fearless woman movie hero in the process. Want to know more about the ladies who voted? We included their bios at the end! Then, in addition to their contributions, which make up the bulk of the list, we also added a handful of more recent entries chosen by the RT staff.

The final list (you can watch every movie in a special FandangoNOW collection) gives compelling insight into which heroes have resonated through the years, women whose big-screen impact remains even as the times change. We have the usual suspects along with plenty of surprises (Working Girl, your day has come!), and the only way to discover them all is reading on for the 87 fearless women movie heroes — and groups of heroes — who inspire us!


ALIEN, Sigourney Weaver, 1979, TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)

 

Alien (1979) 98%

#1One of the appeals of science-fiction is the luxury to comment on modern issues and social mores, or even eschew them completely. Take a look at the diverse space crews in Star Trek, Sunshine, or Alien, where people are hired based on nothing but competence, and none have proven their competence under extreme pressure as well as Ellen Ripley. She’s tough, pragmatic, and cunning in Alien. Journey with Ripley into Aliens and we get to see her in a new light: mothering and nurturing with hints of deep empathy (Sigourney Weaver was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for this performance), which only makes the Xenomorph-stomping side of her even more badass.


WORKING GIRL, Melanie Griffith, 1988 (20th Century Fox Film Corp.)

(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)

 

Working Girl (1988) 84%

#2And on the other side of the Sigourney spectrum, Weaver here plays Katharine, a particular kind of woman who’s nasty to the competition: other women. The object of her scorn is her secretary, Tess McGill (played by Melanie Griffith), who has her great ideas stolen by Katharine. The plucky Tess in turn pretends to be her boss’s colleague, and proceeds to shake things up in this corporate Cinderella story. Who doesn’t dream of one day suddenly arriving in a higher echelon of society? Of course, it’s what you do once you get there that’s important, and the glowing and tenacious Tess makes the most of it.


Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Marvel)

(Photo by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Marvel)

 

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) 93%

#3Hard-drinking, ass-kicking Valkyrie makes no apologies for her choices and draws solid boundaries. Sure, she’s flawed, but that’s what makes her successes so sweet. That she’s played by Tessa Thompson doubles the fun.


Letitia Wright as Shuri (Marvel/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

(Photo by Marvel/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

 

Black Panther (2018) 96%

#4Letitia Wright proved that a sister doesn’t have to sit in the shadow of her sibling simply because he’s king. Her Shuri has the smarts and the sass to cut her own path, making her technical genius essential not only to the Kingdom of Wakanda, but also the Avengers’ recent efforts to take down the tyrant Thanos.


Janelle Monae, Taraji P. Henson, and Octavia Spencer in Hidden Figures (Fox 2000 Pictures)

(Photo by Fox 2000 Pictures)

 

Hidden Figures (2016) 93%

#5Don’t ask us to choose a favorite among Hidden Figures’ Space Race heroines: Taraji P. Henson as Katherine G. Johnson, Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan, and Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson. The Oscar-nominated drama tells the story of a real-life team of female African-American mathematicians crucial to NASA’s early space program.


Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road (Jasin Boland/Warner Bros)

(Photo by )

 

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) 97%

#6As Imperator Furiosa, Charlize Theron blazed a trail for enslaved post-apocalyptic cult wives in skimpy clothing – literally. With an assist from Max (Tom Hardy), soldier Furiosa set the road on fire to rescue her charges from madman Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), leader of the Citadel.


Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Daisy Ridley as Rey (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Lucasfilm Ltd)

(Photo by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Lucasfilm Ltd)

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) 91%

#7Daisy Ridley gave girls everywhere – and full-grown women, in truth – a fresh new hero to adore when she debuted in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Of humble origins, scrappy Rey overcomes her circumstances living as an orphan in a harsh environment to become an essential component in the Resistance. It helps, of course, that The Force is with her.


 

WONDER WOMAN, Gal Gadot (Clay Enos/Warner Bros. Pictures)

(Photo by Clay Enos/Warner Bros. Pictures)

 

Wonder Woman (2017) 93%

#8Despite her superpowers and privileged background, Gal Gadot as Diana – princess of Themyscira and the Amazons, daughter of Queen Hippolyta and King of the Gods Zeus – retains her humility and a genuine care for humanity. She’s also the most rock solid member of DC’s boys club of Justice League superheroes.


Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Carrie Fisher as Leia (20th Century Fox)

(Photo by 20th Century Fox)

 

Star Wars: Episode VI -- Return of the Jedi (1983) 82%

#9Come on…she’s Princess Leia. She leads the Rebel Alliance. She saves the galaxy again and again (with a little help from Luke, and Han, and Chewy). She eventually becomes a revered general, but from the very start – when she first confronts Darth Vader at the beginning of Episode IV – A New Hope – she shows a defiant, fiery nature that never dims. In her defining film role, Carrie Fisher brings impeccable comic timing to this cosmic princess.


Jennifer Lawrence as Ree, Winters Bone (Roadside Attractions)

(Photo by Roadside Attractions)

 

Winter's Bone (2010) 94%

#10Before she was Katniss, Jennifer Lawrence was Ree, the role that made her a star and earned her the first of four Oscar nominations. A no-nonsense teenager, Ree dares to brave the dangers lurking within the Ozark Mountains to track down her drug-dealing father and protect her siblings and their home. With each quietly treacherous encounter, she shows depth and instincts beyond her years, and a willingness to fight for what matters.


 

Silence of the Lambs, Jodie Foster as Clarice (Orion Pictures Corporation)

(Photo by )

 

The Silence of the Lambs (1991) 96%

#11You can’t have any fear when you’re going up against Hannibal Lecter – or at least you can’t show it. He’ll sniff it out from a mile away. But what’s exciting about Jodie Foster’s Oscar-winning portrayal of the young FBI cadet is the way she works through her fear, harnessing that nervous energy alongside her powerful intellect and dogged determination. Clarice Starling is a hero for every little girl who thought she wasn’t good enough.


Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich (Universal Pictures)

(Photo by Universal Pictures)

 

Erin Brockovich (2000) 85%

#12Julia Roberts won a best-actress Oscar for her charismatic portrayal of this larger-than-life, real-life figure. Erin Brockovich is repeatedly underestimated because of the flashy way she dresses and the brash way she carries herself. But as a single mom who becomes an unlikely environmental advocate, she’s a steely fighter. What she lacks in book smarts, she more than makes up for with heart. Steven Soderbergh’s film is an inspiring underdog story.


BROADCAST NEWS, Holly Hunter (20th Century Fox)

(Photo by 20th Century Fox)

 

Broadcast News (1987) 98%

#13Jane Craig is the toughest, sharpest, most prepared woman in the newsroom at all times, but she isn’t afraid to cry to let it all out when the pressure gets too great. Writer-director James L. Brooks created this feminist heroine, this workplace goddess, but Holly Hunter brilliantly brings her to life. She’s just so vibrant. Even when she’s sitting still (which isn’t often), you can feel her thinking. And while two men compete for her attention, no man could ever define her.


FARGO, Frances McDormand (MGM Studios)

(Photo by MGM Studios)

 

Fargo (1996) 94%

#14It would be easy to underestimate Marge Gunderson. Sure, she’s in a position of power as the Brainerd, Minnesota, police chief. But with her folksy manner – and the fact that she’s so pregnant, she’s about to burst – she’s not exactly the most intimidating figure. But in the hands of the brilliant Frances McDormand, she’s consistently the smartest and most fearless person in the room, and she remains one of the Coen brothers’ most enduring characters. You betcha.


AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, Danai Gurira as Okoye (Marvel/Walt Disney Studios)

(Photo by Marvel/Walt Disney Studios)

 

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) 85%

#15Danai Gurira plays Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje who specializes in spear fighting and strategic wig flipping. Of late, Okoye has been seen keeping company with Avengers.


Bridget Jones's Diary, Renée Zellweger (Miramax Films)

(Photo by Miramax Films)

 

Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) 79%

#16Things Bridget Jones is prone to: accidents, fantasizing about sexy coworkers, worrying about her weight, and running mad into the snow wearing tiger-print underwear. All totally relatable things, so it’s no surprise she’s the highest-ranked romcom heroine on this list. It also doesn’t hurt that, at their best, Bridget’s movies are what romantic comedies aspire to: They’re fun, cute, and just when it feels like everything’s about to fall apart, there’s the exhilarating little twist at the end that leaves watchers feel like they’re floating on air.


CLUELESS, Alicia Silverstone as Cher (Paramount Pictures)

(Photo by Paramount Pictures)

 

Clueless (1995) 81%

#17It’s true that Cher is a little oblivious to the world at large, but she’s just so earnest and she tries so hard. She discovers a passion for doing good after successfully matchmaking a pair of teachers, and after a series of difficult lessons learned, she makes an honest effort to escape her privileged bubble and become a better person. Like we all should.


THELMA & LOUISE, Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis (MGM Studios)

(Photo by MGM Studios)

 

Thelma & Louise (1991) 85%

#18Thelma and Louise, best friends who stick by each other no matter what. And when their girls’ getaway weekend quickly turns from frivolous to frightening, they find even deeper levels of loyalty to each other. Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon have an effortless chemistry with each other, and Ridley Scott’s intimate and thrilling film never judges these women for the decisions they make — or for the lengths to which they’ll go in the name of freedom.


THE COLOR PURPLE, Whoopi Goldberg (Warner Brothers)

(Photo by Warner Brothers)

 

The Color Purple (1985) 81%

#19Enduring racism, misogyny, and emotional, physical, and sexual violence, Celie (Whoopi Goldberg in her film debut) transcends her traumatic life in the rural South, finding friends, strength, and her own voice.


A FANTASTIC WOMAN, (UNA MUJER FANTASTICA), Daniela Vega (Sony Pictures Classics)

(Photo by Sony Pictures Classics)

 

A Fantastic Woman (2017) 94%

#20As a transgender waitress, Marina constantly endures cruelty and confusion from the ignorant people around her. When the one man who loves her for who she truly is dies unexpectedly, she finds herself in the midst of an even more emotional, personal fight. Transgender actress Daniela Vega initially was hired as a consultant on Sebastian Lelio’s film; instead, she became its star, and A Fantastic Woman deservedly won this year’s foreign-language Oscar.


Terminator 2, Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor (TriStar Pictures)

(Photo by TriStar Pictures)

 

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) 93%

#21Sarah Connor makes many want to be a better mother – or at least get to the gym and work on our triceps. The once-timid waitress crafts herself into a force of nature, a fearsome and visceral manifestation of pure maternal instinct. Played most memorably by Linda Hamilton in the first two Terminator movies, Sarah may seem unhinged, but she’s got laser-like focus when it comes to protecting her son, John, from the many threats coming his way.


Jackie Brown, Pam Grier (Miramax Films)

(Photo by Miramax Films)

 

Jackie Brown (1997) 87%

#22The return of blaxploitation queen, Pam Grier! What’s not to love? Especially in Quentin Tarantino’s killer love letter to South Bay Los Angeles. As Jackie Brown, Grier exudes classic cool with a tough exterior.


Zero Dark Thirty, Jessica Chastain (Richard Olley/Columbia Pictures)

(Photo by Richard Olley/Columbia Pictures)

 

Zero Dark Thirty (2012) 91%

#23Jessica Chastain has made a career of playing quick-witted characters with nerves of steel. Nowhere is this truer than in her starring role in Kathryn Bigelow’s thrilling depiction of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Maya is obsessively focused in her pursuit of the al Qaeda leader. She’s a confident woman who has to be extra prepared to survive in a man’s world. But when the mission is over and she finally allows some emotion to shine through, it’s cathartic for us all.


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Warner Brothers/ Everett Collection)

(Photo by Warner Brothers/ Everett Collection)

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) 90%

#24She’s the smartest kid in the class, regardless of the subject. The hardest worker, too. And she’s proud of those qualities, making her an excellent role model for girls out there with an interest in math and science. But Hermione isn’t all about the books. Over the eight Harry Potter films, in Emma Watson’s increasingly confident hands, Hermione reveals her resourcefulness, loyalty, and grace. She’s a great student but an even better friend.


Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday (Columbia Pictures/ Everett Collection)

(Photo by Columbia Pictures/ Everett Collection)

 

His Girl Friday (1940) 99%

#25Howard Hawks’ celebrated screwball comedy benefited from a not-so-small change to the stage play it was based on: In the original The Front Page, Hildy Johnson was a male. But thanks to Rosalind Russell’s lively performance, as well as a few script changes she personally insisted upon, the character blossomed into an early icon of the independent working woman who’s not only just as effective at her job as her male counterparts, but also equally adept with a witty comeback.


The Incredibles (Walt Disney/ Everett Collection)

(Photo by Walt Disney/ Everett Collection)

 

The Incredibles (2004) 97%

#26Elastigirl takes on all the trials of motherhood: She’s got hyper kids, a bored husband, and has to witness certain parts of her body unperkify. Elastigirl also just happens to be a superhero, with the fate of the world resting on her shoulders.


Gina Torres in Serenity (Universal/courtesy Everett Collection)

(Photo by Universal/courtesy Everett Collection)

 

Serenity (2005) 82%

#27Fans of the short-lived but beloved Fox sci-fi series Firefly were already familiar with Gina Torres‘ badassery as Zoe Washburne in Serenity. A veteran of the Unification War and second in command of the ship, Zoe is a strong and loyal ally who rarely pulls punches, whether she’s stating a controversial opinion or engaged in a literal fistfight. With her free spirit and deadly skills, it’s no wonder she became a fan favorite.


Dolly Parton in 9 to 5 (20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection)

(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection)

 

9 to 5 (1980) 83%

#28Dolly Parton is a national treasure, and 9 to 5 allows her to light up the screen with her sparkling, charismatic personality. But while Doralee may seem like a sweet Southern gal, she’s got a stiff backbone and a sharp tongue, and she isn’t afraid to use them when she’s crossed. When she finally stands up to her sexist bully of a boss alongside co-workers Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, it’s nothing short of a revolution – one that remains sadly relevant today.


Geena Davis in A Legaue of Their Own (Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

(Photo by Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

 

A League of Their Own (1992) 80%

#29The story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League is one that deserves to be told, and it’s Geena Davis Dottie Hinson who grounds this fictional account. She’s a talented local player who becomes the star of the Rockford Peaches, and it’s her quick thinking that brings publicity to the sport. When her decision to play in the World Series leads to a spectacular finish, she also demonstrates a very human vulnerability, making her a strong but relatable heroine.


Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice (Focus Features/courtesy Everett Collection)

(Photo by Focus Features/courtesy Everett Collection)

 

Pride & Prejudice (2005) 86%

#30Jane Austen’s classic heroine Elizabeth Bennet jumps off the page in the 2005 film starring Keira Knightley, who gives audiences an intelligent, down-to-Earth, sometimes literally dirty, but uncompromisingly steadfast leading lady.


Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde (courtesy Everett Collection)

(Photo by Everett Collection)

 

Legally Blonde (2001) 70%

#31Never underestimate a sorority girl. They are organized and they know how to get what the want. In the case of Elle Woods, she goes after her law school goals with a smile on her face, a spring in her step, and an impeccably coordinated wardrobe. Reese Witherspoon is impossibly adorable in the role, with a potent combination of smarts and heart to shut down the naysayers who are foolish enough to judge her simply by her looks.


Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow (©Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection)

(Photo by Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection)

 

Edge of Tomorrow (2014) 91%

#32Talk brashly and carry a big sword. As Tom Cruise’s character unravels a complex time travel sci-fi story, a constant in his fluctuating world is Rita Vrataski aka the killer Angel of Verdun. But Emily Blunt gives life to Rita beyond burgeoning love interest. She takes the lead and makes the movie just as much her’s.


Brie Larson as Captain Marvel

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

 

Captain Marvel (2019) 79%

#33When Nick Fury sent that mysterious intergalactic text message right before disappearing into dust at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, eager fans knew what was in store. As played by Brie Larson, Captain Marvel is one of the most powerful superheroes in the MCU — if not THE most powerful — and she’s in such high demand that she spends most of her time battling evil on other planets. She shows up when it counts, though, and she can rock a mowhawk like nobody’s business.


Emily Blunt and Millicent Simmonds in A Quiet Place (Paramount /Courtesy Everett Collection)

(Photo by Paramount /Courtesy Everett Collection)

 

A Quiet Place (2018) 96%

#34Though hit hard by tragedy and seemingly insurmountable odds of surviving an alien invasion, mother and daughter duo Evelin and Regan Abbott prove their mettle in A Quiet Place.


Nichelle Nichols in Star Trek: The Motion Picture Paramount Pictures / Courtesy: Everett Collection)

(Photo by Paramount Pictures / Courtesy: Everett Collection)

 

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) 44%

#35Played first in film by the groundbreaking star of the Star Trek TV series, Nichelle Nichols, the role was passed on to Zoe Saldana in the 2009 reboot film. Uhura, the USS Enterprise chief communications officer, was a critical crew member throughout the franchise in both TV and film.


Dafne Keen in Logan (20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection)

(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection)

 

Logan (2017) 94%

#36Who can stand up to Hugh Jackman’s fierce Wolverine without flinching? His cloned daughter X-23. Dafne Keen imbued the preteen mutant, a.k.a. “Laura,” with a volatile mix of anger, despondency, obstinance, and hope – that we would very much like to see more of.


Kristy Swanson in Buffy The Vampire Slayer (20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection)

(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection)

 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) 36%

#37She’s Buffy. She slays vampires while juggling cheerleading and the SATs. But while Kristy Swanson gives the character a satricial bent, it’s the legendary TV adaptation that gives this character a lasting legacy. But the movie ain’t a bad place to start.

(Photo by WB/ courtesy Everett Collection)

How to Watch Harry Potter Movies In Order

Everyone came into the Wizarding World through the Harry Potter books and movies, which introduced us to a gifted 11-year-old, his friends Ron and Hermione, and their hallowed school of magic, Hogwarts. Watching the Harry Potter movies in order, seeing the story unfold chronologically in-universe, used to be as easy as finding the one where Daniel Radcliffe looks youngest and starting from there.

But the series has expanded now with the Fantastic Beasts movies, set some 70 years before The Sorcerer’s Stone. So to watch the Harry Potter movies in order, your journey now begins with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, set in 1926 and starring Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scarmander. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is set in 1927. The third Fantastic Beasts intends to release July 2022, with two more movies to close out the Scarmander and Grindelwald saga.

Then the story of Harry himself begins, starting with Sorcerer’s Stone and concluding in the second-part of The Deathly Hallows, for eight Certified Fresh movies in a row. There’s also a Harry Potter series early in development for HBO Max. For now, see our guide below on how to watch all Harry Potter movies in order.

#10
Adjusted Score: 94944%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them draws on Harry Potter's rich mythology to deliver a spinoff that dazzles with franchise-building magic all its own.
Synopsis: The year is 1926, and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just completed a global excursion to find and document an... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#9
Adjusted Score: 56395%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has glimmers of the magic familiar to Harry Potter fans, but the story's spell isn't as strong as earlier installments.
Synopsis: In an effort to thwart Grindelwald's plans of raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings, Albus Dumbledore enlists... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#8
Adjusted Score: 89062%
Critics Consensus: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone adapts its source material faithfully while condensing the novel's overstuffed narrative into an involving -- and often downright exciting -- big-screen magical caper.
Synopsis: Adaptation of the first of J.K. Rowling's popular children's novels about Harry Potter, a boy who learns on his eleventh... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#7
Adjusted Score: 90055%
Critics Consensus: Though perhaps more enchanting for younger audiences, Chamber of Secrets is nevertheless both darker and livelier than its predecessor, expanding and improving upon the first film's universe.
Synopsis: The follow-up to "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" finds young wizard Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends, Ron... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#6
Adjusted Score: 99790%
Critics Consensus: Under the assured direction of Alfonso Cuaron, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban triumphantly strikes a delicate balance between technical wizardry and complex storytelling.
Synopsis: Harry Potter's (Daniel Radcliffe) third year at Hogwarts starts off badly when he learns deranged killer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman)... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

#5
Adjusted Score: 97486%
Critics Consensus: The main characters are maturing, and the filmmakers are likewise improving on their craft; vibrant special effects and assured performances add up to what is the most complex yet of the Harry Potter films.
Synopsis: The fourth movie in the Harry Potter franchise sees Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) returning for his fourth year at Hogwarts School... [More]
Directed By: Mike Newell

#4
Adjusted Score: 88352%
Critics Consensus: It's not easy to take the longest Harry Potter book and streamline it into the shortest HP movie, but director David Yates does a bang up job of it, creating an Order of the Phoenix that's entertaining and action-packed.
Synopsis: Now in his fifth year at Hogwarts, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) learns that many in the wizarding community do not know... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#3
Adjusted Score: 94789%
Critics Consensus: Dark, thrilling, and occasionally quite funny, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is also visually stunning and emotionally satisfying.
Synopsis: As Death Eaters wreak havoc in both Muggle and Wizard worlds, Hogwarts is no longer a safe haven for students.... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#2
Adjusted Score: 88153%
Critics Consensus: It can't help but feel like the prelude it is, but Deathly Hallows: Part I is a beautifully filmed, emotionally satisfying penultimate installment for the Harry Potter series.
Synopsis: Without the guidance and protection of their professors, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) begin a... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#1
Adjusted Score: 109302%
Critics Consensus: Thrilling, powerfully acted, and visually dazzling, Deathly Hallows Part II brings the Harry Potter franchise to a satisfying -- and suitably magical -- conclusion.
Synopsis: A clash between good and evil awaits as young Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) prepare... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

(Photo by Caitlin Cronenberg, © Entertainment One/courtesy Everett Collection)

All Robert Pattinson Movies, Ranked By Tomatometer

Robert Pattinson on the Twilight series press circuits would occasionally mock the movies he was out there supposedly promoting, suggesting two things: (1) maybe this new on the scene IT boy was actually a genuine person, and (2) he had made enough money by New Moon to never work in this town again. Many young actors’ careers have been crushed under the weight of the very things that made them famous. And unemployment post-Twilight was a very real threat for Pattinson: Would he only be remembered as that pasty sparkling vegetarian vampire?

As Twilight wound down, Pattinson threw himself before the arthouse gods, who guided him to challenging directors like David Cronenberg (Cosmopolis, Maps to the Stars), Anton Corbijn (Life), Werner Herzog (Queen of the Desert), and David Michôd (The Rover). And though none of those movies represented their respective director’s best work, and in the case of Herzog it was actually his worst, they showcased Pattinson as a dedicated performer and, especially in dystopian western The Rover, a sometimes unpredictable and savage one.

And then in 2017 he put out Good Time, just to show you sometimes all you need is that one movie to turn your image around. As with the Safdie brothers’ later Uncut Gems, Good Time assaults the senses while building a central emphatic and engaging character defined by constant frantic action. Pattinson came out as the indie hero of that year, and having James Gray’s The Lost City of Z release around the same time didn’t hurt, either. A strong 2019 continued that trend with Claire Denis’ High Life and Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse.

His latest film was Netflix thriller The Devil All the Time, opposite Tom Holland. And currently a dark night falls upon Pattinson’s career as he takes on the mantle of Bruce Wayne in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, which is scheduled for an October 21, 2021 release. Before that swings into theaters, take a look at all Robert Pattinson movies, ranked by Tomatometer!

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 22203%
Critics Consensus: Queen of the Desert unites some undeniably talented professionals, but it's difficult to discern what drew them together -- or understand how its compelling real-life story became such a muddled mess.
Synopsis: Gertrude Bell's life as an explorer, cartographer, and archaeologist for the British Empire.... [More]
Directed By: Werner Herzog

#21

Little Ashes (2008)
24%

#21
Adjusted Score: 25971%
Critics Consensus: It has a beautiful cast, but Little Ashes suffers from an uneven tone and a surplus of unintentionally silly moments.
Synopsis: The young life and the loves of artist Salvador Dali.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Morrison

#20
Adjusted Score: 33133%
Critics Consensus: Slow, joyless, and loaded with unintentionally humorous moments, Breaking Dawn Part 1 may satisfy the Twilight faithful, but it's strictly for fans of the franchise.
Synopsis: At last, Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) are getting married. When Jacob (Taylor Lautner) finds out that Bella... [More]
Directed By: Bill Condon

#19

Remember Me (2010)
27%

#19
Adjusted Score: 30900%
Critics Consensus: Its leads are likeable, but Remember Me suffers from an overly maudlin script and a borderline offensive final twist.
Synopsis: Tyler (Robert Pattinson) has had a strained relationship with his father (Pierce Brosnan) since a family tragedy. Rebellious and troubled,... [More]
Directed By: Allen Coulter

#18

Bel Ami (2012)
27%

#18
Adjusted Score: 30472%
Critics Consensus: Bel Ami contains some soapy pleasures but it overall rushes through the narrative and suffers from a vague central performance by Robert Pattinson.
Synopsis: A morally bankrupt schemer (Robert Pattinson) rises to the upper echelons of Parisian society by seducing a series of powerful... [More]

#17
Adjusted Score: 37559%
Critics Consensus: The Twilight Saga's second installment may satisfy hardcore fans of the series, but outsiders are likely to be turned off by its slow pace, relentlessly downcast tone, and excessive length.
Synopsis: After the abrupt departure of Edward (Robert Pattinson), her vampire love, Bella (Kristen Stewart) finds comfort in her deepening friendship... [More]
Directed By: Chris Weitz

#16
Adjusted Score: 56824%
Critics Consensus: Stuffed with characters and overly reliant on uninspired dialogue, Eclipse won't win The Twilight Saga many new converts, despite an improved blend of romance and action fantasy.
Synopsis: Danger once again surrounds Bella (Kristen Stewart), as a string of mysterious killings terrorizes Seattle and a malicious vampire continues... [More]
Directed By: David Slade

#15
Adjusted Score: 57370%
Critics Consensus: It's the most entertaining Twilight, but that's not enough to make Breaking Dawn Part 2 worth watching for filmgoers who don't already count themselves among the franchise converts.
Synopsis: Bella (Kristen Stewart) awakes -- as a vampire -- from her life-threatening labor, and her newborn daughter, Renesmee, proves to... [More]
Directed By: Bill Condon

#14

Twilight (2008)
49%

#14
Adjusted Score: 57019%
Critics Consensus: Having lost much of its bite transitioning to the big screen, Twilight will please its devoted fans, but do little for the uninitiated.
Synopsis: High-school student Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), always a bit of a misfit, doesn't expect life to change much when she... [More]
Directed By: Catherine Hardwicke

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 67487%
Critics Consensus: It's a tale tastefully told and beautifully filmed, but Water for Elephants suffers from a pronounced lack of chemistry between its leads.
Synopsis: Jacob Jankowski (Robert Pattinson), a veterinary student, is close to graduating when a terrible tragedy forces him to leave school.... [More]
Directed By: Francis Lawrence

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 67126%
Critics Consensus: Narratively unwieldy and tonally jumbled, Maps to the Stars still has enough bite to satisfy David Cronenberg fans in need of a coolly acidic fix.
Synopsis: Driven by an intense need for fame and validation, members of a dysfunctional Hollywood dynasty have lives as dramatic as... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#11

Life (2015)
64%

#11
Adjusted Score: 66055%
Critics Consensus: Life may frustrate viewers seeking a James Dean biopic with its subject's intensity, but it remains a diverting, well-acted effort assembled with admirable craft and ambition.
Synopsis: In 1955, young photographer Dennis Stock (Robert Pattinson) develops a close bond with actor James Dean (Dane DeHaan) while shooting... [More]
Directed By: Anton Corbijn

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 77656%
Critics Consensus: The Devil All the Time's descent into darkness can be harrowing to the point of punishment, but it's offset by strong work from a stellar cast.
Synopsis: A young man is devoted to protecting his loved ones in a town full of corruption and sinister characters.... [More]
Directed By: Antonio Campos

#9

Cosmopolis (2012)
66%

#9
Adjusted Score: 72805%
Critics Consensus: Though some may find it cold and didactic, Cosmopolis benefits from David Cronenberg's precise direction, resulting in a psychologically complex adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel.
Synopsis: A 28-year-old billionaire (Robert Pattinson) senses his empire collapsing around him as he takes a limo ride across Manhattan to... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#8

The Rover (2014)
67%

#8
Adjusted Score: 73032%
Critics Consensus: Fueled by engaging performances from Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson, the tension-filled The Rover overcomes its narrative faults through sheer watchability.
Synopsis: In the near future, mankind's greed and excesses have pushed civilization to the breaking point. Society is in decline, and... [More]
Directed By: David Michôd

#7

Damsel (2018)
67%

#7
Adjusted Score: 73453%
Critics Consensus: The beautifully filmed Damsel injects the western genre with a welcome dose of humor and some unexpected twists, although its stately pace may frustrate impatient viewers.
Synopsis: Samuel Alabaster, an affluent pioneer, ventures across the American frontier to marry the love of his life, Penelope. As his... [More]

#6

High Life (2018)
82%

#6
Adjusted Score: 96495%
Critics Consensus: High Life is as visually arresting as it is challenging, confounding, and ultimately rewarding - which is to say it's everything film fans expect from director Claire Denis.
Synopsis: Monte and his baby daughter are the last survivors of a damned and dangerous mission to the outer reaches of... [More]
Directed By: Claire Denis

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 103392%
Critics Consensus: The Lost City of Z's stately pace and visual grandeur hearken back to classic exploration epics, and Charlie Hunnam turns in a masterful performance as its complex protagonist.
Synopsis: At the dawn of the 20th century, British explorer Percy Fawcett journeys into the Amazon, where he discovers evidence of... [More]
Directed By: James Gray

#4
Adjusted Score: 97486%
Critics Consensus: The main characters are maturing, and the filmmakers are likewise improving on their craft; vibrant special effects and assured performances add up to what is the most complex yet of the Harry Potter films.
Synopsis: The fourth movie in the Harry Potter franchise sees Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) returning for his fourth year at Hogwarts School... [More]
Directed By: Mike Newell

#3
Adjusted Score: 92389%
Critics Consensus: The Childhood of a Leader mirrors the rise of fascism in post-WWI Europe with a well-acted, confidently crafted look at one young man's unsettling coming of age.
Synopsis: The childhood of a post-World War I leader.... [More]
Directed By: Brady Corbet

#2

The Lighthouse (2019)
90%

#2
Adjusted Score: 113080%
Critics Consensus: A gripping story brilliantly filmed and led by a pair of powerhouse performances, The Lighthouse further establishes Robert Eggers as a filmmaker of exceptional talent.
Synopsis: Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the... [More]
Directed By: Robert Eggers

#1

Good Time (2017)
92%

#1
Adjusted Score: 108685%
Critics Consensus: A visual treat filled out by consistently stellar work from Robert Pattinson, Good Time is a singularly distinctive crime drama offering far more than the usual genre thrills.
Synopsis: A bank robber stops at nothing to free his brother from prison, launching himself into a nightlong odyssey through New... [More]
Directed By: Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie

It’s the Super Bowl of fantasy series showdowns in the latest edition of Vs., in which we’re pitting the Lord of the Rings movies against the Harry Potter films – including, for both franchises, the prequels. (And no, this does not help either side on the scoreboard.) Do Peter Jackson’s big-screen takes on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels walk all over the movie adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s books like so many Ents stampeding through a forest? Or does the Boy Who Lived snatch up victory as if it were some quick-darting Golden Snitch? Find out as Rotten Tomatoes Contributing Editor Mark Ellis breaks down each franchise by Tomatometer and Audience Score, box office, heroes and villains, and one special wild card category.


The Lord of the Rings films are available to rent or buy on FandangoNOW, Vudu, iTunes, and AmazonThe Harry Potter films are available to rent or buy on FandangoNOW, Vudu, iTunes, and Amazon


Thumbnail images by Universal courtesy Everett Collection

As we all settle in to stay at home and socially distance ourselves, the planet has been given a unique resource not often afforded in the modern world: time. With no place to go, what shall we do with this new abundance of free hours? Time to finish that book you have had on your bedside table? Maybe take an online French class or learn to play an instrument? Time to binge every series that ever was? Or perhaps, like us, you’re thinking of all the films you wished you’d seen but never had the time to before.

Maybe one of those epic movie franchises that seemed too daunting to jump into late in the game – don’t ever admit you’ve never seen an MCU movie, ever – or a series of which you’ve caught a few entries but want to fill in the gaps. Fear not  we have you covered with our Epic Franchise Movie Binge Guide. Read below as we break down some of the most beloved long-running movie franchises – like The Lord of the Rings, Mission Impossible, or the granddaddy of them all, the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and tell you the best way to approach watching them, how long the binge will take, and which titles you can skip. Because hey, even all the time in the world may not be enough time to make you sit through A Good Day to Die Hard.

Disagree with our picks or have a suggestion for a franchise movie binge? Let us know in the comments. 


The Lord of the Rings

What is it: The film adaptations of the fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, set in ”Middle-earth,” the fictitious medieval land where elves, men, dwarves, wizards, and hobbits co-exist, often not so peacefully. Over the course of several films, we follow hobbit Bilbo Baggins and later his young heir Frodo Baggins as they go on adventures and battle against the forces of evil. 

How many hours: Extended editions: 20 hours 30 minutes; Theatrical cuts: 17 hours and 12 minutes.

Starts with:  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)  

Ends with: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)  

Best way to watch: Some would argue the second trilogy – though the first by story chronology – from Peter Jackson was an unnecessary and bloated cash grab that should be avoided at all costs, but we have a better suggestion. We suggest you begin with the LOTR animated film from 1978, which will give you all the events of the films in a quicker and to-the-point format. Then, if you are compelled to see the best of The Hobbit live-action series, we would say check out the standard edition of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which is the best of the three. We would also suggest you try to watch the extended editions of the original live-action LOTR series – they are more than worth it for the extra content. This recommendation would make for a shorter, 16-hour watch, which could be broken up easily over two days. 

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. The Two Towers and The Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King standard editions are streaming on Netflix.


Marvel Cinematic Universe

What is it: The 23-film saga that chronicles the epic adventures of various superheroes, based on the comics first distributed by Marvel and its subsidiaries. 

How many hours: 50 hours and 3 minutes.

Starts with:   Iron Man (2008)  

Ends with:  Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Best way to watch: Not surprising for a franchise that grossed over $22 billion at the global box office, but Marvel Studios’ 23-film, decade-long opus is quite watchable as is. Some folks would have argued in 2010 that Avengers: The Age of Ultron is a skippable mess, but as we detail here, it is essential viewing to truly appreciate the first four phases of the saga that culminated with Avengers: Endgame. Sorry for those looking for a shortcut, but watching it all is worth it. Viewing all 23 movies straight through, without breaks, however, is not the way to do it.

Instead, we suggest you go in release order and complete each day as follows: day one after Avengers; day two after Ant-man; day three after Black Panther; and finish on day four with Spider-Man: Far From Home. If you’ve previously watched the MCU and are looking to watch it in a new way, use our guide here to watch in chronological order based on the events of each film. If the thought of 50 hours of superheroes is still too intimidating for you, but you want to understand enough to get by, watch these character introduction films (Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy) and these team-up films (Civil War, Winter Soldier, Avengers, Ultron, Infinity War, Endgame). Once you have finished that, check out our Oral Histories of the MCU, in which the directors, producer, and casting director who worked on the epic franchise break down all the behind-the-scene secrets.

Where to watch: FandangoNOW, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. All of the films save The Incredible Hulk and the Spider-Man films are streaming on Disney+. The Avengers: Infinity War and The Avengers: Endgame are streaming on Netflix; and Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, and Thor are streaming on Amazon Prime.


Die Hard Franchise

What is it: Follow John McClane, a police detective who seems to be a magnet for maniacal criminals no matter which city/structure he is in, and proves to be a tough man to kill.

How many hours: 10 hours and 14 minutes.

Starts with:  Die Hard (1988)

Ends with: A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)

Best way to watch: The original Die Hard is so beloved that many argue it’s the greatest action film ever made – or maybe the greatest Christmas movie, but that is a debate for another day. The film and its follow-ups have a loyal fanbase, and though the second and third entries pale in comparison to the first, we still say they’re worth a watch. The fourth film, Live Free or Die Hard, is a true return to form and, frankly, it’s where you should stop unless you are a true completist. The series’ most recent film, A Good Day to Die Hard, is the only PG-13 entry on the list, and without McClane’s iconic “Yippee-ki-yay, motherf–ker,” there’s really no point pushing play.

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discounted Bundle), Amazon,  iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Die Hard and Die Hard with a Vengeance are streaming now on CinemaxGoLive Free or Die Hard is streaming on the Starz app.


The Fast & Furious Franchise

What is it: Follow Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew, which he calls his family, as they shift from illegal street-racing criminals to heist experts and then finally emerge as a new crime-fighting unit that tackles the world of espionage.

How many hours: 15 hours and 57 mins. 

Starts with: The Fast and the Furious (2001)

Ends with:  Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Best way to watch: As Dom and everyone in the Fast franchise says – quite often – this is about family. So, if you’re looking for something to skip, it’s hard to imagine who you’d want to kick out one of the family – though, let’s be honest, 2 Fast 2 Furious is definitely not Dad’s favorite. Without Vin Diesel, that entry can barely call itself a Fast and Furious movie, and the 2009 series soft reboot, Fast & Furious, is not much better and an easy call to skip, as well. We would caution against skipping third entry Toyko Drift; its charms are significantly more than its 37% Tomatometer score would suggest (something we wax about in our book Rotten Movies We Love). Not to spoil anything, but when we finally get Fast 9 in 2021, you’ll need to have seen Tokyo Drift to understand everything fully – check out #JusticeForHan after you finish the series, and you will understand. 

Where to watch: FandangoNOW, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Hobbs & Shaw and Fast Five are streaming on HBOnow; Fast 6 is streaming on FXnow.


Rocky Franchise

What is it: Follow Philly underdog boxer-turned-champion, Rocky Balboa, as he battles various fighters in the ring, as well as his own issues outside of it, and later trains the next generation of champions.

How many hours: 14 hours and 55 minutes. 

Starts with: Rocky (1976)

Ends with:  Creed II (2018)

Best way to watch: This one’s real simple: trust us and skip Rocky V. Just pretend it didn’t happen; we’re pretty sure Sylvester Stallone did. 

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, VuduGooglePlayRocky Balboa is streaming on the Starz appCreed II is streaming on Hulu and Amazon.


Harry Potter / Wizarding World Franchise

What is it: The franchise based on JK Rowling’s phenomenally successful novels follows the adventures of Harry Potter, an orphan-turned-famed wizard, the evil He Who Must Not Be Named, and the Wizarding World they inhabit.

How many hours: 24 hours and 6 minutes. 

Starts with:   Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Ends with:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

Best way to watch: As this is a British series, allow us to put this as politely as possible: Fantastic Beasts is simply not quite on form. The first entry is saved by Eddie Redmayne and mesmerizing magical effects; the second entry is the first and only Rotten flick from the Wizarding World and very skippable at this stage. The original seven films are near perfect, but if you wanted to pass over The Chamber of Secrets you wouldn’t miss much – you won’t be too confused later in the series. (Though if watching as a family, this is one the kids tend to like.) If you follow that suggestion, you can finish the entire series in one day.

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlayFantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is streaming on HBONow.


X-Men Franchise

What Is It: Follow Professor Charles Xavier and his X-Men as they try to save the world and the lives of their fellow Mutants. Professor X and co. work with, and sometimes against, mutants like the powerful Magneto, Wolverine, and the wisecracking mercenary Deadpool.
How many hours: 21 hours and 43 minutes.

Starts with:   X-Men: First Class (2011)

Ends with:  Logan (2017)

How to watch: The critics will tell you that both X-Men: The Last Stand (the third of the original films) and X-Men: Apocalypse (the third of the rebooted, second-gen films) are shells of their brilliant predecessors. And with the last X-Men film to enter theaters, Dark Phoenix, disappointing on the Tomatometer and at the box office, you should essentially skip any film that has anything to do with Jean Gray’s Dark Phoenix. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is admittedly a hard watch to suffer through, but you kinda have to just to appreciate the brilliance of Deadpool and its sequel, if only for what they did differently with the character. Every film that character is in after Origins highlights why Ryan Reynolds was born to play the “Merc with a Mouth.”

Watching in the order of events is the best way to approach things if you don’t want to be confused by the time travel that happens later in the series. That order is: First Class, Days of Future Past, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men Apocalypse, Dark Phoenix, X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Wolverine, Deadpool, Deadpool 2, Logan. If you leave off the aforementioned weakest entries (The Last Stand, Apocalypse, Dark Phoenix) you can complete the entire series in one day.

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. X-Men: Days of Future Past and Deadpool are streaming on FXNowX-Men Origins: Wolverine is available to stream on the Starz app. 


Jurassic Park Franchise

What is it: In these films, we welcome you to Jurassic Park, a theme park – and eventually various associated islands, mansions, West Coast cities – where dinosaurs have been genetically recreated to walk the Earth alongside humans. Over the course of series we watch as that combination invariably doesn’t work out well for the humans.

How many hours: 10 hours and 1 minute.

Starts with:  Jurassic Park (1993)

Ends with:  Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

Best way to watch: This was a subject of contentious debate among the RT staff: some thought the Jurassic World part of the franchise is unwatchable, while others had strong takes on Jurassic Park 3 and The Lost World. As this is only a five-film series so far, we compromised: Watch them all and make your own determinations. Either way, we all agreed that the original Jurassic Park is a bona fide classic, and if you haven’t seen it, please remedy this injustice as soon as possible. It only takes a day to watch them all. 

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is streaming on CinemaxGo.


Mission Impossible Franchise

What is it: Watch secret agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his crew of talented spies as they battle the world’s most dangerous criminals along with the bureaucracy of his own organization, the IMF. The films are based on the 1960s television show.

How many hours: 13 hours and 3 minutes.

Starts with:   Mission: Impossible (1996)

Ends with:  Mission: Impossible -- Fallout (2018)

Best way to watch: It’s apparent after six films (with a seventh on the way): Tom Cruise really likes playing Ethan Hunt. And with every film, Cruise looks to top the jaw-dropping stunts from the last. Still, there is a stark contrast between the first three films and the rest, in regards to quality and scope. Many will tell you the second film, directed by John Woo, and the third, directed by J.J. Abrams, are the weakest of the set, but they’re still thoroughly enjoyable and feature some truly astonishing stunts – so we suggest you watch them all. And thankfully this is not – yes, we’re gonna say it – impossible to do in one or two days. 

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Mission Impossible: Fallout is streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu; Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation are streaming on FXNow.


James Bond Franchise

What is it: James Bond, MI6 intelligence officer and international playboy, charms women, thwarts terrorist plots, and sips a shaken martini in well-tailored suits. Based on Ian Fleming’s iconic novels.

How many hours: 55 hours and 11 minutes.

Starts with:  Dr. No (1962)

Ends with:   Spectre (2015)

Best way to watch: For completists, we recommend you start with the Connery films on day one, then do a day of Timothy Dalton, David Niven (the satire Casino Royale from 1967), and George Lazenby’s films, adding one or two of Roger Moore’s. Finish with Moore on day three, then do a full day of Pierce Brosnan for day four, and end the series on day five with Daniel Craig. If that’s a bit too daunting, you can break up the films we suggested for one day across two days instead. If you’re looking for a few to skip, we’d suggest A View to Kill and Octopussy. We’d also suggest you skip Never Say Never Again, as it is a shadow of Connery’s older work; Moonraker is only enjoyable for how laughable it is; and there’s not enough vodka on earth to make The World is Not Enough a good time. Quantum of Solace is another one you can miss, but at least watch the opening scene – it’s fantastic.

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, Itunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, and Die Another Day are streaming on NetflixQuantum of Solace and Casino Royale (1967) are streaming on HBONow.


Star Trek Franchise

What is it: These are the stories of the USS Enterprise, crafted for the silver screen. Watch Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and later Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) as they lead their crews to the furthest reaches of the universe on a peacekeeping mission to discover new worlds. The films are based on the Star Trek television series and its subsequent spin-offs.

How many hours: 25 hours and 17 minutes.

Starts with:  Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

Ends with:  Star Trek Beyond (2016)

Best way to watch: At the risk of angering the original series Trekkies, the first film – Star Trek: The Motion Picture – is simply not very good (it’s 42% on the Tomatometer). The same can be said of The Final Frontier. When we shift into The Next Generation part of the franchise, the series starts off strong but fizzles with Star Trek: Nemesis. We suggest you should skip those four. When you start the reboot franchise, some would advise you to skip Star Trek: Into Darkness, which was much maligned by the fandom but which we say is worth seeing for Benedict Cumberbatch, if nothing else. As far as ordering your binge, watching the series as the films were released is the way to go. Begin with the first set of films featuring the original series characters, followed by the films centering on the cast of The Next Generation, and finish with the reboot films that started in 2009. If you are skipping films following our advice, the new order is original series (The Wrath of Khan, Search for Spock, The Voyage HomeUndiscovered Country), followed by the Next Generation films (Generations, First Contact, Insurrection), and finishing with the 2009 reboot films (Star Trek, Into Darkness, Beyond).

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Star Treks 1-6, First Contact, Insurrection, and Generations are streaming AmazonStar Trek: Into Darkness is streaming on FXnow; and Star Trek Nemesis, First Contact, Generations are streaming on Crackle.


Thumbnail image: yParamount, Paramount, courtesy of the Everett Collection 

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, Hiccup (top, voice: Jay Baruchel), 2010. ©DreamWorks SKG/Courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by ©DreamWorks SKG/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Some dragons are big and scary and could definitely kill you with a single exhale — and others, like How to Train Your Dragon‘s Toothless, are big old sweethearts who just so happen to breathe fire.

Toothless (and his human BFF Hiccup) are back for more adventures in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, as they set out on a new journey to protect their dragon utopia of Berk and head to a world they previously though only existed in myths and legends.

In honor of Toothless’ new adventure, Rotten Tomatoes has rounded up pop culture’s most famous — and infamous — dragons. Which is your favorite?



See these dragons and more in action:

It’s been seven years since Rupert Grint played Ron Weasley, but it could be 70 and Harry Potter fans won’t forget him. So when Grint found himself filming the second season of his Crackle series Snatch in Costa del Sol, Spain, he met Harry Potter fans unlike any he’d met before.

“[They’re] touching, quite tactile,” Grint said. “Hugs are a big thing down there.”

The hands-on fans didn’t hold up filming at all, however. Most of the scenes in Snatch occur in remote beachfront settings. And when the crew ventured into the city proper, Grint was impressed by the Harry Potter devotion he’d see — plenty of fans he encountered had their HP love inked on their bodies.

“The most classic tattoo I see is the Deathly Hallows symbol,” Grint said. “It was nice. They’re quite passionate fans over there. It’s kind of big in Spain. It really sparked something in that culture, I guess.”

Grint shouldn’t have been too surprised, since the off-the-grid actor — he’s not on social media at all — still gets snail mail from fans, many of them located in Spain. But hugs, tattoos, and fan mail are the closest Grint gets to Harry Potter these days. The movie franchise has moved on to Fantastic Beasts, Grint has pretty much ruled out a return. By the time the timeline catches up with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Grint would be old enough to play a Hogwarts teacher.

“I’ve kind of really closed that book, I think,” Grint said. “I mean, I never say never.  I saw the play a few years ago, and it was very strange seeing someone else embody a character that you know so well. I’m very emotionally connected to that character so it was a very strange experience.

“If they made a film about The Cursed Child, I don’t know how I’d feel if I saw someone else play Ron,” Grint continued. “That’d be quite weird. A weird experience.”


Snatch (Sony Crackle)

(Photo by Crackle)

With 20 total hours of Snatch over two seasons, Grint has racked up about as much screen time as Charlie as he did as Ron Weasley. Although the Hogwarts crew reunited every year to make another film, they had the job security of seven books to assure them they were coming back. Season 2 of Snatch was more of a gift.

“This was a little bit more unexpected,” Grint said. “With Potter we always knew that was coming around the corner. It was a much more intense process. Plus I was in school as well, so it was a whole other kind of thing. It’s a very similar experience on Potter really, really getting to know one character you can grow over a long period of time. I really enjoy that.”

The second season of the Crackle series was delayed, and its location was changed several times before the details came together. Series creator Alex De Rakoff considered seasons in Colombia, Fiji, and the Dominican Republic, and each would have told a different story. But something about Spain just made the most sense.

“That is a perfect place to set Snatch, I think: the Costa del Sol,” Grint said. “A lot of British criminals, it’s their first port of call when they leave the country. They go to the Costa Del Sol and hide out. You can really feel that in the air. This place is probably, at that very moment, hiding a lot of bank robbers.”

Season 2 reveals that, after the gang sailed away from England with the money at the end of season 1, hijackers attack the boat on the way to Spain and make off with the score. The group washes up on the beach and subsequently attempts to go straight by running a beachside bar. Albert (Luke Pasqualino) especially wants to run a legitimate business, but it’s not long before the life of crime comes calling again.


(Photo by Sony Crackle)

This restart means it’s a perfect entry point for people who didn’t see season 1.

“The first season is rarely referenced really,” Grint said. “I think it helps to know these characters but it’s a good point because we have nothing. We have to start again. Now Albert is in control, and he’s telling us all what to do, which is kind of great for Charlie.”

Charlie isn’t necessarily made for the criminal life, which made him a very difficult character for Grint to wrap his head around.

“He’s a very strange character,” Grint said. “You never really know where it’s going to go. He is kind of an illusion. Charlie’s just not a very natural fit for this kind of world. He’s just not made for this. He hates violence. He hates guns, which is kind of a problem with this vocation. It’s quite interesting watching him struggle.

“I think in this season he’s very much desperate to take charge,” Grint continued. “That’s why he and Albert butt heads a lot. They’ve got very different strategic plans.”


(Photo by Sony Crackle)

Adapting to the Spanish lifestyle was a major task for both the actors and the characters of Snatch — style included. Charlie still wears suave suits, but they’re much more colorful and bright.

“It’s something I’d never wear myself,” Grint admitted. “It wasn’t the most practical thing to wear in this really hot season, but it was fun. There was a light blue one that was quite cool. The cravats were a new thing as well. Quite an accessory. Whenever you can get as much costume as you can possibly get, it’s more layers, the more of a mask to escape into.”

Even less comfortable was the fake tan they painted on Grint to simulate having spent months luxuriating on the beach.

“They’ve bronzed me up, because he’s supposed to be there for six months, and I am the most palest, transparent person,” Grint said. “They used a lot of fake tan.”

Television has been a fruitful place for the former Hogwarts class. Tom Felton did Murder in the First, an arc on The Flash and the upcoming Origin. Even Daniel Radcliffe has the upcoming comedy Miracle Workers. While separate careers have kept them apart, Grint says the Harry Potter cast will always have a bond.

“We all experienced such a unique way of growing up, there’ll always be a bond there,” Grint said. “Whenever we do see each other, it’s very quick and very easy to reconnect, just like we never left. It was a mad, mad time in our lives, and I think it’s been nice to do new things and unwind from that. We’re still very proud to be a part of it. It’s great to see it live on in lots of different ways.”

Snatch season 2 hits Crackle on Thursday, September 13.


The Harry Potter film franchise ruled the box office for a decade, but it also managed the uncommon feat of earning Certified Fresh status for every single one of its installments. It remains one of the most successful movie sagas of all time, and it’s even spawned a spinoff series — currently in progress — with the Fantastic Beasts franchise. With all of that in mind, we decided to take a look back at every Harry Potter movie ranked, Total Recall style!


8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) 77%

Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros. courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros. courtesy Everett Collection)

After struggling for years to trim J.K. Rowling’s increasingly unwieldy books down to feature length, Warner Bros. decided to split the final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, into two films — a controversial move that was applauded by those who felt it would give the filmmakers an opportunity to spend more time fleshing out the story, and derided by others, who saw it as a money-grubbing move by the studio. Whatever the reasons for the split, it meant that Deathly Hallows, Part 1 would end roughly in the middle of the book, which finds Harry, Ron, and Hermione on the run from Voldemort and his minions while they struggle to find and destroy the Horcruxes — bits of the Dark Lord’s soul, magically preserved in a series of artifacts, granting him immortality as long as they exist. It all adds up to a film that couldn’t help but feel like a setup for the final chapter, which had a definite dampening effect on some critics’ enthusiasm. For others, though, the penultimate Potter stood on its own merits: “Even though it ends in the middle,” argued the New York Times’ A.O. Scott, it “finds notes of anxious suspense and grave emotion to send its characters, and its fans, into the last round.”


7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) 78%

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

As the curtain rises on the fifth Potter film, the wizarding world is in a tizzy over Lord Voldemort’s return, split between two factions: those who believe Harry’s contention that He Who Must Not Be Named is back for vengeance, and those who think the whole thing is nonsense. Unfortunately, Hogwarts’ newest professor, Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton), falls squarely into the latter camp — and when Harry, Ron, and Hermione take it upon themselves to lead a group of students through secret self-defense courses, she makes it her mission to keep them in line by any means necessary. New director David Yates and incoming screenwriter Michael Goldenberg had their work cut out for them when it came to whittling down the 870-page book, and ultimately, plenty of fans and critics felt Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix suffered in its screen translation — at 78 percent on the Tomatometer, it’s the worst-reviewed in the series. But even if it wasn’t quite on par with its predecessors, Phoenix was enough for critics like Desson Thomson of the Washington Post, who said Yates and Goldenberg “have transformed J.K. Rowling’s garrulous storytelling into something leaner, moodier and more compelling, that ticks with metronomic purpose as the story flits between psychological darkness and cartoonish slapstick.”


6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) 81%

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

By 2001, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books were a worldwide phenomenon, with the first four installments in the series selling millions of copies and helping reignite the market for young adult literature along the way — but that was still no guarantee that filmgoers were going to turn out when the Hogwarts gang showed up on the big screen. Of course, we all know what happened next: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone kicked off our ten-year cinematic infatuation with Ron, Hermione, and the Boy Who Lived, grossing nearly $975 million while doing an impressive job of managing the nearly impossible balancing act between staying true to the book and offering a reasonably streamlined film. It entertained audiences while piquing the curiosity of critics like Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader, who wrote, “I hear the J.K. Rowling books are great, and on the basis of this 2001 movie I’m ready to believe it.”


5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) 82%

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

After setting up the war between Harry and Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) with Sorcerer’s Stone, the Potter series set about untangling the mysteries of the Dark Lord’s past with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which posed a crucial riddle (Tom Riddle, to be exact) regarding the evil wizard’s true identity while foreshadowing Harry’s eventual romance with Ginny Weasley. Along the way, Chamber served up a deft blend of comedy and drama, plenty of magical thrills, and a terrific supporting cast that included John Cleese and Kenneth Branagh. “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is superior to its predecessor in every way,” wrote Terry Lawson of the Detroit Free Press, calling it “more thrilling, more entertaining and, yep, more magical.”


4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) 84%

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

For most of the Harry Potter films, Voldemort lurked in the peripheral darkness, gathering his forces and getting ready to strike — but after the climactic battle that closed The Order of the Phoenix, everyone was aware of his return, and all bets were off. As Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opens, Voldemort’s campaign of terror has begun in earnest, and his army is everywhere — even within the hallowed halls of Hogwarts, where Harry and Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) are working overtime to thwart a plan involving Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) and Harry’s nemesis, Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton). Calling it “the franchise’s best so far,” David Germain of the Associated Press praised Prince for “blending rich drama and easy camaraderie among the actors with the visual spectacle that until now has been the real star of the series.”


3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) 88%

(Photo by Warner Bros. courtesy Everett Collection)

At a whopping 734 pages, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire nearly doubled the length of Prisoner of Azkaban, leaving screenwriter Steve Kloves the more-difficult-than-usual task of pruning away all but the most essential bits of story for the film. The final result clocked in at more than two and a half hours, but still skipped over or condensed quite a bit of the book. Fortunately, the story that remained — an account of an underage Harry’s surprise entry in the Triwizard Tournament, his struggles to overcome the challenges of the contest, and his first showdown with an ever-more-powerful Voldemort — was more than enough for filmgoers, who shelled out more than $895 million at the box office, as well as critics like Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times, who wrote, “It’s not until Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that a film has successfully re-created the sense of stirring magical adventure and engaged, edge-of-your-seat excitement that has made the books such an international phenomenon.”


2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) 90%

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

In Harry Potter’s world, things are often not as they seem — whether they’re magical train stations, flying cars, talking paintings, or even the legends of long-lost family friends who have been locked away in wizard prison for murdering one’s parents. It’s a lesson Harry learned in Prisoner of Azkaban, which introduced filmgoers to the menacing Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), a shapeshifting convict whose escape is of grave importance to Harry and his friends — but not for the reasons they might think. The recipient of the Potter films’ best reviews (until Deathly Hallows, Part 2 came out, anyway), Azkaban found things getting mighty dark for our young wizards — and gave Alfonso Cuarón a turn in the director’s chair, taking over after Chris Columbus handled the first two installments. As far as Salon’s Stephanie Zacharek was concerned, it was “The first true Harry Potter movie — the first to capture not only the books’ sense of longing, but their understanding of the way magic underlies the mundane, instead of just prancing fancifully at a far remove from it.”


1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) 96%

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

After teasing all that pent-up demand for the final showdown between the Boy Who Lived and He Who Must Not Be Named, there was a lot riding on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 — and director David Yates delivered with aplomb, using Hallows‘ halved structure to leave himself more than two hours to play with in an action-packed final chapter. Everyone knew it was going to be a hit long before it arrived in theaters, but few would have dared predict just how successful Part 2 would be on a critical level: at 96 percent on the Tomatometer, it outpaced every other entry in the series, sending the franchise out on a triumphant high note. “It has been extraordinarily fun, and now the decade-long saga has reached its grand finale. The best,” wrote Claudia Puig for USA Today, “has been saved for the last.”

I learned the truth at 17, that movie critics can be mean… but not to Hailee Steinfeld and her new movie The Edge of Seventeen, a high school dramedy starring Steinfeld as a neurotic hellcat on the cusp of adulthood. And if the reviews maintain their pace, then Edge will be a future alumni of this week’s 24 Frames gallery of Certified Fresh high school movies since 2000!

Alan-Rickman

(Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images)

 

Alan Rickman, whose dramatic breadth and distinctive vocal delivery made him a legend among cinematic villains and a versatile supporting player in a long list of critically acclaimed films, has passed away at the age of 69 after a battle with cancer.

Born in the Acton ward of London’s Ealing borough, Rickman gained his first acting experience as a teenager, although his working-class background prevented him from immediately seeking it out as a profession. Initially pursuing a career in graphic design, he eventually auditioned with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, earning a spot among the student body and winning several awards during his tenure at the school.

Initially focusing his efforts on the stage, Rickman picked up some early TV credits — including an appearance in the 1982 BBC program The Barchester Chronicles — but his first taste of widespread acclaim came courtesy of his Tony-winning portrayal of the Vicomte de Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, a role he held during the play’s 1985 Royal Shakespeare Company run and reprised when the production moved to Broadway in 1987.

Rickman’s first major film appearance arrived in 1988’s Die Hard, in which he played Hans Gruber, the delightfully snide terrorist whose takeover of a Los Angeles high rise is foiled by the indefatigable efforts of New York cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) — but not before hero and heavy engage in a battle of wits and one-liners that spawned several sequels and a legion of countless action-thriller imitators. It was followed by a number of memorable roles that included eminently loathable bad guys (like the Sheriff of Nottingham in 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), comedic turns in films such as Dogma and Galaxy Quest, and several appearances as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise.

Along the way, Rickman continued to compile a varied list of stage and television credits. He moved into directing, helming The Winter Guest (1995) and A Little Chaos (2015). His voice could be heard in episodes of King of the Hill and Back at the Barnyard. He won a Golden Globe Award, an Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his work in the 1996 HBO movie Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny — and as a recent testament to his range, in 2013, he portrayed Ronald Reagan (in The Butler) as well as legendary club owner Hilly Kristal (in CBGB).

One of Rickman’s most frequent collaborators, Emma Thompson, was among the first to pay tribute after news of his passing broke, sharing that she’d “just kissed him goodbye” and offering a tender eulogy filled with fond memories of their relationship. “He was the ultimate ally. In life, art and politics,” wrote Thompson. “I trusted him absolutely. He was, above all things, a rare and unique human being and we shall not see his like again.”


Touted as the first great horror movie of the year, The Witch offers a visceral exploration of black arts and superstition in a bloody tale set within 17th century New England. The film inspires this 24 Frames gallery of the most iconic witches from movie history.

Lily Collins was born into fame — her dad, Phil, could bang a drum and write a hit tune or two — but she found her own way into an acting career, performing in stage productions as a kid before working as a teenage Hollywood reporter and scoring small roles in movies like The Blind Side. This week she steps into the limelight as the star of Mirror Mirror, director Tarsem’s visually energetic remix of the Snow White fairytale — the first, and likely funniest, of this year’s adaptations of the classic story. As the fairest of them all, Collins dazzles in the late, great Eiko Ishioka’s exquisite costumes, while getting to put Julia Roberts’ evil queen in her place and sharing her first kiss with Prince Winkelvoss, er, Charming, played with a degree of good sportsmanship by Armie Hammer.

We sat down with the English-born Collins recently in her adopted home of Los Angeles, where she talked about the movie, working with Tarsem and her thoughts on Kristen Stewart’s not-really-a-rival take on Snow. First up, she talked us through her five favorite films.

Love Actually (Richard Curtis, 2003; 63% Tomatometer)



These are so raw — this is who I am, these movies. [Laughs] They’re very girly. In no particular order… Love Actually. Most of these movies have British accents in them, because, being from England, there’s something about films that I watch that have a British accent that I just feel so at home with. That film I can watch any day and it makes me smile; and I love Christmas, so it kind of matches perfectly.

Pride and Prejudice (Joe Wright, 2005; 86% Tomatometer)



Pride and Prejudice. I love sweeping British drama period pieces and I hope that one day I can do one just like that, because, to me, I love old English literature. And I’m a big Keira Knightley fan. It’s just so beautiful aesthetically and in terms of story.

Harry Potter series (Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell, David Yates; 2001-11; 78-96% Tomatometers)


Harry Potter. All of them. [Laughs]

That’s cheating. Do you have a particular favorite?

Is it cheating? [Laughs] It’s hard to pick. I wouldn’t necessarily know which. I mean, I love the Goblet of Fire. I don’t know. Maybe the Goblet of Fire. I read those books so quickly when I was a kid, because that whole world was so, like… it took me out of my reality. And I just love magic and I loved that whole world, the creatures, and just how you felt so friendly with all the characters. The way they translated that into movies, I thought was genius. You know when they take a book, and they make it a movie, and you hope that it’s gonna be everything that you hope for and more? To me they just succeeded. I don’t know, I just love them so much. Every time I’m sick I’ll watch a marathon of them and I can repeat all the words.

Hopefully you’re sick for a while… I mean, so you can watch them all.

[Laughs] I know, they’re so long. I just had laryngitis, so…

The Breakfast Club (John Hughes, 1985; 91% Tomatometer)



Breakfast Club. I was actually having trouble because I would say Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles and Breakfast Club, but that would be three. Of all three, Breakfast Club is my favorite. But those John Hughes films, with Molly Ringwald and the Brat Pack, those are my favorite grouped films. They’re just so… they’re timeless. I feel like, even when you’re watching them now, they’re so modern, and the characters are so real. They’re just so appealing to me. I watched them with my mom when I was really young. I always would watch things with my mom that maybe other moms wouldn’t allow their kids to watch. I associated with them right away. I just really, really love John Hughes.

Who’s your favorite character in the movie?

I love Molly Ringwald. But I also love the basket case, Ally Sheedy — you know, with the pixie sticks and the crunching of the sandwich. She’s so fantastic.

Sabrina (Billy Wilder, 1954; 91% Tomatometer)



Sabrina, with Audrey Hepburn. I actually spent my New Year’s this year watching Sabrina, and as it turned midnight I paused it and it was just her face on screen, smiling. I was like, “What a cool way to start the New Year.” She is just someone I’ve always admired. She says so much without saying anything at all. And back then they didn’t do such fast cuts in films; they stayed on a character’s face long enough for them to go from one emotion to another, and for the audience to really feel the emotion with each character — and she in that movie just goes from so many endearing moments to moments of sadness and laughter. It’s just such a classic, and I love black and white. So, that’s my list!

Next, Collins on playing Snow White in Mirror Mirror, what she thinks of Kristen Stewart’s take, and her favorite song by her dad.

 

I noticed you’re nostalgic for a kind of idealized English home, but you moved here when you were quite young, right?

Lily Collins: Yeah, I moved here when I was about six.

So you went back and forth between LA and England?

I did. I used to go for every summer, for like two-and-a-half to three months. The last two summers I haven’t been able to because I’ve been working — no complaining — but I haven’t been able to go in the summer. But I’ve been going at Christmas time. And I can put the accent on. I auditioned for this film, Mirror Mirror, with an English accent, but they went in a different directions. I mean, I did it in both accents. I can turn it on really quickly. There’s something at times that feels more just, natural when I have a British accent. It just feels very me.

Your mom is American?

Yeah, my mom is here and my dad, obviously, is English. I pick up things when I go back, and I still say things like “the car boot,” or “the loo,” or “the bin.” It’s just so beautiful over there. It’s something, like — ’cause I go out in the countryside, so it’s not the hustle and bustle of London. And LA compared to the countryside, I just relax right away. I just love going out in the garden and walking and reading and not answering my phone; just being and talking to people. You know, it’s like all these revolutionary ideas that you just don’t do in the big city. It’s a slower pace way of life. I love it. [Pauses to look out over the Santa Monica beach] I say that as we’re here with the lovely ocean — you don’t get that out in London. [Laughs]

Let’s talk about Mirror Mirror. Were you worried at all about playing an icon like Snow White?

I was more excited, I think, than anything. I was one of those little girls that created their own fairy tales in their head, growing up, and I know that every young girl has their own version of what a fairy tale princess is and should be. So I wasn’t really worried about making sure that I felt like I was everyone’s version of a Snow White — I just wanted to be a young girl that people, you know, that young girls as well as adult women could relate to. I felt like everyone has a little bit of Snow in them. So I wanted to be someone that people thought, “She could be a friend of mine.” Not a caricature of a fairy tale princess, because the [Disney] cartoon does enough justice. The cartoon is the cartoon, and the animation does what it does; it serves its purpose and it’s amazing. You don’t wanna just take that and make it a real-live person. You wanna take something different about it and modernize it and make it more real. My concern is that I wanted to make sure that she was a real girl.

You’ve worked with Sandra Bullock and now Julia Roberts — two of “America’s sweethearts” — and yet, in this movie, Julia is so awful to you.

She was horrible!

I trust she was more civil between takes.

Oh, she’s so cool. The second they yelled “cut” she’s all apologizing, and so sweet.

Is it true that she ripped some of your hair out?

Yes! In one of the scenes, because my shoe got caught in my dress, and I wasn’t as close to her as I was in the rehearsal. But we didn’t stop shooting, because my dress was so big and no one knew, and I wasn’t about to stop the scene. She leans over to do the hair pull, and had to pull me a bit further and harder, and so she pulled my hair out. I was like, “Okay, I’m not gonna react because they’ll probably use this,” and they ended up using that take in the movie, where she ripped it. They yelled “cut” and she goes “I’m so sorry!” So she totally was cool, when we weren’t filming. Even when we were filming, I was having so many moments in my head where I’m looking at her being mean to me and I’m beaming inside and so excited, but I’m not supposed to be smiling — so it taught me a lot about how to mute out everything else you’re thinking but what’s in the scene. If I was showing what I was feeling, Snow White would have been smiling from the get-go.

And yet she’s smiling at you, even while she’s spitting out the nastiest remarks.

I know, right? It’s like in high school when someone’s saying, “Oh I just love your sweater, it’s so cute…”

And they’re really thinking, “I’m gonna kill you…”

Exactly. It’s scary. You don’t know if you love her or hate her.

 

Have you talked to Kristen Stewart about her Snow White, and is there any competition between you two?

It’s funny, we’ve actually laughed about the fact that we’re apparently rivals — because we’re so not.

So you’re friends?

Yeah. She’s so cool, and I’m very excited for the other film. It could not be more different. They’re polar opposites. I think the advertising campaigns prove to everyone how different they are: everything from the tone to the rating to the costumes; everything. She and I, we’re very, very different characters and we just have laughed about it. I’m happy for her, she’s happy for me. I think there’s definitely room for both.

Tell me about working with Tarsem. He seems pretty out there, in a good way.

[Laughs] He’s so cool. He’s lovely. He’s definitely got an interesting sense of humor: you either understand it or you don’t. I totally get it, but things can be taken out of context. But he is — visually, he’s a visionary genius. He’s so… he’s a wizard when it comes to the aesthetic of a film. And also, when it comes to actors, he is all about, “Do you feel comfortable, do you feel confident? How are you feeling? What do you think? Let’s collaborate.” It’s so nice to work with somebody that truly has your best interests at heart and wants you to forget about all the nonsense or politics and just really focus in on your moment: “This is now, here — how do you feel, and let’s work on this together.” It was a really nice environment to be in when you’re taking on this kind of a role; when you’re fighting and you’re hot and you’re tired but you have a director who really believes in you. And from day one he really believed in me, and he never made me feel any different.

I’m compelled to ask this, because I’m an idiot: Does your dad sing “Lily, don’t you lose my number” to you?

[Laughs] Well he used to sing to me all the time.

Do you have a favorite song?

A favorite of my dad’s songs? It’s funny because everyone will probably go, “Really? Not one of the classics?” But I think, because of the sentimentality of it, the song from Tarzan: “You’ll Be In My Heart.” I was there throughout that entire process of creating Tarzan and the songs and everything. I was there for the process of each song, and the animation. Part of that song was written as a lullaby to me, so it’s such a personal song. I just see him as dad. Obviously I know everything he’s accomplished, but when I think of his songs I think of what touches me the most — and that song for sure is one of them.


Mirror Mirror opens in theaters this week.

“It’s actually a thrill to be talking about something else,” Daniel Radcliffe chuckles, pausing to consider a question about his new movie The Woman in Black. He is, of course, referring to the ubiquitous presence of a certain blockbuster franchise that has consumed almost half of his life on the planet. Radcliffe was just an untested 11-year-old when cast as the eponymous hero of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone way back in 2001; now, having triumphantly wrapped the series with last year’s Deathly Hallows, he’s a seasoned 22 and ready to spirit himself into the realm that lies beyond Hogwarts.

“To be honest,” Radcliffe admits, “I want to just cram in as many, and as diverse a range, of parts in films as I possibly can in the next few years — while I’m in this stage of transition from out of the world of Potter.”

Though he’s done a couple of small films between his wizarding gig (and received praise for his stage work in Equus), The Woman in Black represents the first significant step in the actor’s post-Potter direction. Based on a popular English novel and produced under the vintage Hammer label, the Gothic horror is set in a remote village whose children are being terrorized by the specter of dead woman. Radcliffe plays the young lawyer dispatched to investigate — and it’s a role the actor hopes will help cultivate a new screen image.

“The fact that the part is different, in that I’m playing older and I’m playing a father; there’s stuff that will physically separate me from Harry in people’s minds,” he explains. “But what’s more important to me is that the story of this film is so compelling — that even if people go in thinking, “Oh let’s see how he does in his next thing,” within, like, 15 minutes they’re going to be, hopefully, wrapped up in the story; because it’s a great story, and really compelling and scary.”

Audiences will have their chance to see Radcliffe’s transformation (and marvel at his dashing new accoutrements) when The Woman in Black opens in theaters this week. In the meantime, we asked him to talk through his all-time five favorite films.

12 Angry Men (Sidney Lumet, 1957; 100% Tomatometer)


My five favorite films change all the time. Well, no — the top three never change, but the last two are kind of up for grabs constantly. 12 Angry Men is, I think, a feat of writing. It’s brilliant. The fact that it all takes place in one room — I think there’s maybe two minutes, three minutes of screen time that is not in the one room in that film — and yet it is one of the most compelling things I’ve ever seen. I mean, you can’t look away. You’re gripped by the dynamics between the people, by what’s gonna happen, and by the fact that it’s a whodunit, based in one room, which is brilliant.

A Matter of Life and Death (aka Stairway to Heaven) (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1946; 95% Tomatometer)



I think A Matter of Life and Death is one of the great works of imagination in cinema. It’s a brilliant story. David Niven could not be more charming in it if he tried. He starts off, you know, as a World War II pilot about to crash his plane whilst quoting Andrew Marvell down the phone to the mayday operator, who he then falls in love with. There is one shot in it, actually, of the heavenly court before it goes into session, which we absolutely — and I haven’t actually spoken to Mike Newell about this — but we lifted almost identically for the start of the Triwizard tournament in Potter, in the fourth film. There is one shot — because I think I watched Matter of Life and Death shortly after we finished that film — which I watched and went, “Oh my god, we’ve just stolen that!”

Well if you’re gonna steal, steal from the Archers.

Absolutely; if you’re gonna steal, you can’t do much better than those guys. So that would be one of my favorite films. Possibly — possibly — even more than 12 Angry Men.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Stanley Kubrick, 1964; 100% Tomatometer)



Dr. Strangelove showed me, I suppose taught me, a lot about comedy. The stuff that’s funniest is the stuff that scares us most — because all good comedy comes out of fear of death, fear of humiliation, fear of public awkwardness, fear of, you know, all those kinds of things. To have truly, really dark comedy where at the end of the film everyone in the world dies, that was very funny to me. I went to the Kubrick exhibition and there was this whole section on how originally the film had ended with a gigantic pie fight, and it was cut; but in a way I get what that might have been going for — the fact that it is all so ridiculous.

Little Miss Sunshine (Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, 2006; 91% Tomatometer)



Little Miss Sunshine: I find it to be the sweetest, funniest… it’s a modern classic, I think. And I think Steve Carell is brilliant in it; heartbreaking. Also the fact that it came out of nowhere — that I went to the cinema knowing nothing about it.

Jason and the Argonauts (Don Chaffey, 1963; 96% Tomatometer)



The fifth, because it is the film of my childhood, and I still think the skeleton sequence is one of the scariest effects sequences ever, is Jason and the Argonauts. That is the film that, within the first six months of a relationship of any girl that I’m with, I have to make her watch that film — and if she doesn’t react the way I’d like, then that’s kind of a deal-breaker. If you don’t like Harryhausen’s stop-motion then you are not going to be in my life. [Laughs]

Has it ever come to that?

No, fortunately not. Fortunately I think that they all picked up that the stakes were quite high — so at least they pretended to like it.

Really, what kind of awful person wouldn’t like it?

You really have to kind of just have a heart of stone to not be able to get into that film, ’cause it’s just brilliant. You know the other film I like? The Vikings, that Tony Curtis-Kirk Douglas one. It’s really good, just because it’s… well, it’s Vikings; but I think Ernest Borgnine plays, like, Ragnar, the king of the Vikings, and it’s a hysterical film — ’cause made in the ’50s, and there are these shots where they’re panning down the rows of Vikings and they’ve all got horned helmets and scraggly hair, and then you get to Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas who’re just perfectly coiffed, beautiful men still. [Laughs]


The Woman in Black opens in theaters this week.

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