Adventure Movies

10 Movies Like Lord of the Rings to Watch If You Love Fantasy

February 18, 20246 Mins Read

Easily in the top three of the best book-to-movie series ever, The Lord of the Rings retains a long-time fanbase that varies between casual viewers and all-out lore obsessors. While many existing fantasy epics held similar themes and canonical mythologies (elves, dwarves, wizards, goblins, dragons, etc.), none of them utilized the existing tools quite as well as Tolkien.

Director Peter Jackson has been hailed by fans and crew/cast members alike for having stayed true to the source material, save a few key character changes (Faramir and Arwen) and removed events (Tom Bombadil and the Scouring of the Shire). Though this may enrage some superfans of the LotR books, Jackson succeeded in his mission to make Lord of the Rings one of the most critically acclaimed fantasy trilogies of all time, picking up 17 Oscar wins.

Needless to say, finding films that are similar to The Lord of the Rings movies is quite difficult, though I’ve done my best to compile this list of 10 movies like LoTR below.

The Hobbit Trilogy

A fairly obvious starting point on the list, The Hobbit Trilogy carries multiple similarities that will likely entertain most LOTR fans – save the sticklers. Based on the prequel novel that started it all, a young hobbit named Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is unexpectedly whisked away by a curious wizard and a gaggle of hardheaded Dwarves to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Retaining a large amount of the same source material, this trilogy is more zany and drawn out than LOTR, in some good ways and some not.

Willow (1988)

A cult classic in the fantasy realm, Willow remains a go-to for fans of general fantasy lore. After he encounters an abandoned child on the shoreside of his humble community, a mild-mannered farmer named Willow (Warwick Davis) embarks on a quest that challenges everything he knows about his world. As with Lord of the Rings, there are stellar representations of similar characters highlighted by memorable performances from Davis and Val Kilmer, who carry familiar Frodo and Aragorn traits.

There was also Willow TV series that came out in 2022, but it has since been removed from Disney+.

Tolkien (2019)

Through love, friendship, and war, the story of Tolkien is developed as the author writes his masterpieces that will be admired through the ages. Nicholas Hoult plays Tolkien as a young adult building his legacy through turmoil. While the events of the film aren’t exactly synonymous with the events of the trilogy, Tolkien provides insight into the life and inspirations of the man behind the iconic Middle-earth stories.

Read our review of Tolkien.

Legend (1985)

Containing more classical themes of good vs. evil and damsels in distress, Legend features impressive aesthetics and practical effects ahead of their time. Fighting to prevent the eternal night from covering the world in darkness, Jack (Tom Cruise) must rescue Princess Lilli (Mia Sara) before she, too, is consumed by evil. While not the most memorable or best of Ridley Scott’s films, the adventure and action portrayed are still a wonder to behold.

Beowulf (2007)

Based on the classic literary poem, Beowulf expands upon the myth with striking gusto. Plagued by his past decisions, Beowulf (Ray Winstone) pays for the glorious kingdom he built with the blood of his people. With stunning animation created from motion-capture technology, the actors are visually represented in the best way possible to create a breathtakingly gruesome tale.

Read our review of Beowulf.

The Princess Bride (1987)

A tonally different tale that focuses more on true love, The Princess Bride retains themes of heroism, fantasy, and adventure that fans of LOTR are looking for. Separated from his love after being captured by pirates, Westley (Cary Elwes) returns after years a new man bent on reuniting with his dear Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright). As it is much more of a fairytale than LOTR, the grittiness that trilogy fans love is not present, but the story is still endearing for those with a sense of adventure.

Warcraft (2016)

Based on the popular video game series World of Warcraft, the Warcraft movie capitalizes on its fanbase by creating a derivative story that long-time gamers can enjoy. As Orcs start to move into the human land of Azeroth, unlikely and unwanted alliances are formed out of desperation for survival. The world-building and animation are its greatest appeal, and LOTR fans will enjoy the mystical creatures and the battles between them.

Read our review of Warcraft.

Solomon Kane (2009)

Solomon Kane could be considered a distant cousin to Aragorn as far as heroism and badassery are concerned. Bound to a life of violence and a sure sentence to hell, Solomon Kane (James Purefoy) is forced out of his vow of peace to rescue a woman from an evil sorcerer. With heightened violence and carnage, Kane resembles characters like Aragorn, John Wick, and Van Helsing in the best of ways.

Stardust (2007)

Though magic and lore is not the main focus of this fun and charming movie, Stardust is riddled with great characters, imaginative tribulations, and endless adventure. Coming from a small village on the border of a magical land, Tristan Thorn (Charlie Cox) embarks on an adventure to retrieve a falling star for the woman he loves — but encounters much more than he bargained for. The endearing and diverse characters of this movie make it great, with the added bonus of an exciting story of romance and fantasy.

Read our review of Stardust.

Eragon (2006)

Based on the highly acclaimed children’s book series The Inheritance Cycle, Eragon is a fantastical adventure about the wonder of dragons. A young farm boy stumbles upon a dragon egg in his homeland of Alagaesia, beginning a journey of good vs. evil as Eragon (Ed Speleers) defends his land with the help of his dragon friend, Saphira. While the movie features similar fantasy themes and deep lore, it is ultimately far from the book-to-movie success LOTR was. That being said, there is an Eragon TV series eventually arriving on Disney Plus that could be promising.

Read our review of Eragon.

Connor Sheppard is an Oregon-grown culture writer for IGN with previous work on The Manual. Intrigued from a young age by pop culture and movies, he has developed into an experienced critic and consumer of all things media. From his time earning a bachelor’s degree in digital communications at Oregon State University, he found a love for writing and appreciating specific actors and directors in the many films he watches.

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