25 Best Movies About Magic Ever Made


  • Magic movies have evolved from fairy tales to complex narratives, exploring various forms of magic and its impact.
  • The magical elements in movies range from traditional witches and sorcery to modern twists, creating captivating stories.
  • From beloved classics like The Wizard of Oz to innovative films like Doctor Strange, magic remains a timeless and fascinating theme.



Magic comes in many forms, and the best magic movies explore them all. Magic, sorcery, and illusion pop up most often in fairy tales and family movies, but that’s not always the case, as magic pertains to much more than just Mary Poppins. From the awe of Studio Ghibli productions to the sinister wonder of Pan’s Labyrinth, magic is a broad concept that can open several creative avenues. Whether set in a high-fantasy otherworld or a secretive castle in the near-modern day, movies featuring magic and illusion remain fascinating.

Magic has been a key storytelling component since fiction first formed millennia ago. The concepts of witches, wizards, spells, and sorcerers will likely appear in movies for the remainder of the medium’s relevance. Be it Mickey Mouse charming a bunch of brooms or a bold quest to document the existence of the Blair Witch, magic crops up in many forms across every genre. While most immediately jump to the Harry Potter movies or Hocus Pocus, there’s much more to magic than that, and many great movies of the current day include plenty of magical elements.

Custom image of (left to right) Perseus (Clash of the Titans), Medea (Medea), and Jason (Jason and the Argonauts)
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25 The Wizard Of Oz (1939)

A Girl & Her Friends Battle A Wicked Witch

The Wizard of Oz

Director Victor Fleming Release Date August 25, 1939 Distributor(s) Warner Bros. Pictures Cast Margaret Hamilton , Jack Haley , Judy Garland , Bert Lahr , Ray Bolger

Magic movies have existed since the early days of the silent era, and new editing techniques have allowed them to showcase magicians and parlor tricks. There were also several movies about demonic magic, like The Student of Prague and Faust. However, one of the most magical movies of the golden era came in 1939 with The Wizard of Oz. The film sees a farm girl named Dorothy sent to a magical land where she meets a “good witch” and battles a Wicked Witch to return home.

The movie version of Wicked, which tells the story from the Wicked Witch’s point of view, will be released in 2024.

The movie is full of magic, with the Wicked Witch sending her flying monkeys to stop Dorothy, while the Wizard himself is a perfect example of a magician using parlor tricks to get what he wants. The film has become one of the most beloved classics ever made, watched more than any other movie in apparent history (via AFI). It was also one of the first movies entered into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. There’s an air of magical wonder that has allowed it to remain timeline for decades.

24 The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010)

A Live-Action Version Of The Classic Disney Animated Classic

Sorcerer's Apprentice Poster

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
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Director Jon Turteltaub Release Date July 14, 2010 Distributor(s) Disney Cast Jay Baruchel , Alfred Molina , Teresa Palmer , Toby Kebbell , Omar Benson Miller , Monica Bellucci , Alice Krige , Robert Capron , Ian McShane , Nicolas Cage

In 1940, Disney Animation released Fantasia, which shocked audiences with imagery that some believed was too frightening for young children. Seventy years later, Disney adapted parts of that story into the live-action movie The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which was mostly based on the Mickey Mouse magic storyline from that earlier movie. Jay Baruchel stars as Dave, a college student who becomes the hapless apprentice to the millennia-old sorcerer Balthazar (Nicolas Cage).

Nicolas Cage’s Balthazar Blake is based on Yen Sid from Fantasia.

Dave is clearly over his head and struggles throughout to control his magical powers. Balthazar is barely any help, with Cage in top form as the exasperated master wizard. The movie didn’t receive great reviews when it was released, sitting at 40% on Rotten Tomatoes and only a slightly higher 53% from the audience score. However, most of the praise went to the cast. The movie also did well at the box office, but it didn’t make enough to make it profitable thanks to the bloated budget ($150 million).

23 Doctor Strange (2016)

The Marvel Wizard Makes His Way Into The MCU

Doctor Strange Poster

Doctor Strange
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Director Scott Derrickson Release Date October 25, 2016 Studio(s) Marvel Studios Cast Tilda Swinton , Benedict Wong , Michael Stuhlbarg , Mads Mikkelsen , Scott Adkins , Benedict Cumberbatch , Rachel McAdams , Chiwetel Ejiofor

In Marvel Comics, Doctor Strange is known as the Sorcerer Supreme and is the main source of magic in the hero’s community. In 2016, he made his way to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with his origin story in Doctor Strange.

In this movie, Stephen Strange is a brilliant neurosurgeon who lost the use of his hands in a terrible auto accident and decides to seek out magic to regain those abilities. However, along the way, he becomes the Earth’s most powerful sorcerer and one of its greatest heroes. The movie goes deep into the magic of the Marvel Universe, with evil sorcerers on Earth and from other dimensions vying for control.

The MCU also went all out with the visual appearance of the magical moments, earning an Oscar nomination for the crew’s work. Doctor Strange was really the MCU’s first venture into horror on the big screen, which Sam Raimi went all in on in the sequel. This introduced one of the MCU’s most important characters and created a world of magic for future movies.

22 Constantine (2005)

A DC Universe Magical Thriller Starring Keanu Reeves

Constantine - Poster - Keanu Reeves

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Director Francis Lawrence Release Date February 18, 2005 Cast Keanu Reeves , Rachel Weisz , Shia LaBeouf , Djimon Hounsou , Max Baker , Pruitt Taylor Vince

In 2005, the DC Universe antihero John Constantine got a film of his own. It was a critical flop but has been reappraised as a misunderstood cult classic. The movie cast Keanu Reeves as Constantine, a cynical exorcist who can communicate with angels and demons and realizes that neither Heaven nor Hell wants him. The biggest downfall to the movie at the time of its release is that Reeves’s version is not the character from the Hellblazer comics.

While a better adaptation arrived with Matt Ryan as a more loyal version of the character in the NBC TV series that ended up transitioning to Legends of Tomorrow on The CW, fans have since looked back on Reeves’ movie in a more favorable light. The movie picked up a cult following, and there have been hints that a sequel to the movie could happen, even with the TV version remaining popular. Reeves will return if the Constantine sequel ends up getting a green light.

21 Matilda (1996)

The Roald Dahl Story Of A Young Girl With Magical Powers

Matilda Movie poster

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Director Danny DeVito Release Date June 28, 1996 Studio(s) Sony Cast Danny DeVito , Mara Wilson , Pam Ferris

Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, Matilda tells the story of a young, intelligent six-year-old girl who lives with emotionally abusive parents and ends up in a school with a physically and mentally abusive principal.

However, when she finds an ally in her teacher, Miss Honey, and soon discovers she possesses magical powers that can make anything possible, she finally has a way to stand up for herself and defend not only herself but also her classmates and her beloved teacher.

The movie was a huge success when it came out, with a 92% Rotten Tomatoes score but only a small box office take. Despite the box office, it became a hit on home video. It is a magical film similar to Harry Potter in that it shows a child in a bad situation who finds that magic can help them rise above the pain and despair. Matilda has remained a beloved magical children’s movie and received a remake as Matilda the Musical in 2022, which had a limited release before hitting Netflix.

20 Now You See Me (2013)

A Group Of Magicians Pull Off Heists


Now You See Me

Release Date May 31, 2013 Director Louis Leterrier Cast Woody Harrelson , Mélanie Laurent , Jesse Eisenberg , Michael Caine , Dave Franco , Morgan Freeman , Common , Isla Fisher , Mark Ruffalo Runtime 115 minutes

Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson reunited after Zombieland to star in Now You See Me. This movie revolves around four magicians who call themselves the Four Horsemen and pull off elaborate heists in the hopes of getting into an order of “actual magicians” called The Eye. The film features many great sleight-of-hand tricks and blink-or-you’ll-miss-it moments. The supporting cast features Mark Ruffalo as the FBI agent tracking the Robin Hood-inspired Four Horsemen along with Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.

While the performances are good and the magical elements inspired, the script is unintentionally silly at best. Now You See Me’s ending is complex, but it is excellent popcorn entertainment, and it went on to inspire a franchise. Unlike many magic movies, this one is about magicians and magic tricks, not actual magic powers. This release is more a heist movie than a film about magic, but treats the roles of magicians seriously.

Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny and the cast of Now You See Me
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19 Willow (1988)

A Magical Journey By Ron Howard

Willow wields his magic from the movie of the same name


Release Date May 20, 1988 Director Ron Howard Cast Jean Marsh , Val Kilmer , Joanne Whalley , Patricia Hayes , Warwick Davis Runtime 126 minutes

Ron Howard’s Willow certainly has its merits and is one of the best movies about magic. The fantasy film stars Warwick Davis as a farmer named Willow who must babysit a child destined to defeat the evil Queen Bavmorda. On his journey, Willow masters his powers of sorcery, helped by brownies, fairies, and Val Kilmer as the swordsman Madmartigan.

The newly confident Willow defeats Bavmorda and learns that good triumphs over evil — because this is a fantasy film, after all. The movie was not well-received at the time, but it has since developed a cult following. With a score from James Horner and effects from ILM, it’s a match made in fantasy heaven. Thanks to its cult following, a Willow spinoff series aired on Disney+ with Warwick Davis reprising the role of the titular Willow.

18 Practical Magic (1998)

Two Sisters Seek Love Despite A Magical Curse

Gilly and Sally try to bring Jimmy back to life in Practical Magic

Though Nicole Kidman starred in a disappointing Bewitched adaptation by Nora Ephron, there was a better movie where she played a witch with Sandra Bullock in the rom-com Practical Magic.

Based on the eponymous Alice Hoffman novel, Practical Magic is the story of two sisters with magical powers that come with a curse: any man who falls in love with them dies. The movie is named after the magic they specialize in, as they use practical magic to get by. They soon set out to use it to destroy the evil spirit of one of their abusive boyfriends.

There are plenty of spells and hexes to entertain the most hardened cynic. While the film isn’t a masterpiece by any stretch, it uses magical elements to tell a potent and enjoyable love story. The movie has since picked up a cult following and a Practical Magic sequel is in the works over two decades later.

17 Lord Of Illusions (1995)

Directed By Horror Author Clive Barker

A still from the Clive Barker film Lord of Illusion.

Clive Barker’s work varies from incredibly grotesque and horrific to mildly terrifying and still a little gross. His Hellraiser and Nightbreed rank among the best the horror genre has to offer. One of his lesser-known adaptations is the 1995 movie Lord of Illusions. Scott Bakula played Barker’s iconic Harry D’Amour in the film, marking the character’s first appearance on the silver screen. Barker wrote and directed the film, which is about a man who can use pure magic, called “The Puritan.”

Harry D’Amour exists in the same novel universe as the cenobites and Pinhead from Hellraiser.

Detective D’Amour takes a case involving a murdered psychic and the film benefits from spectacular practical make-up and effects, and magic unique to Barker’s imagination. The movie is only loosely based on Barker’s The Last Illusion, and it is instead mostly a new story with the popular novel character. The film received mixed reviews, and this was the last appearance of Harry D’Amour on the big screen.

16 Hocus Pocus (1993)

One Of The Most Iconic Witch Movies



Hocus Pocus

Created by David Kirschner , Mick Garris First Film Hocus Pocus Cast Bette Midler , Sarah Jessica Parker , Kathy Najimy , Omri Katz , Jason Marsden , Thora Birch , Vinessa Shaw , Whitney Peak , Belissa Escobedo , Lilia Buckingham

The Sanderson Sisters are some of the most beloved characters in Halloween-themed cinema, and the trio are the most memorable characters in one of the best movies about magic. Played by the talented Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Milder, and Kathy Najimy, the witches have one goal: to be young and pretty again. Hocus Pocus is a great Halloween movie for kids of all ages.

Hocus Pocus 2 was released in 2022 as a Disney+.original movie.

Filled to the brim with extravagant costumes, silly spells, and buck teeth, it’s hard not to smile while watching the film. The performances are perfectly campy, though they work better for those with a bit of nostalgia. Fans of Sabrina the Teenage Witch or Halloweentown won’t be disappointed. Viewers are also treated to Bette Milder performing “I Put a Spell on You” as a bonus. The film spawned a sequel nearly 20 years later in which the Sanderson sisters reprised their respective roles.

15 Stardust (2007)

Based On The Story By Neil Gaiman

Promotional art for the family film Stardust.

Stardust Movie Poster

Stardust (2007)

Release Date August 10, 2007 Director Matthew Vaughn Cast Claire Danes , Charlie Cox , Sienna Miller , Ricky Gervais , Jason Flemyng , Rupert Everett , Peter O’Toole , Michelle Pfeiffer , Robert De Niro Runtime 128 Minutes

In Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel, there’s a pirate (Robert de Niro), unicorns, and a fallen star personified as a woman (Claire Danes). The story follows Tristan Thorn (Daredevil’s Charlie Cox), a man who sets out to capture the fallen star for his beloved but falls in love with the star, becoming the master of his destiny.

It also introduces powerful witches who set out to capture the star’s magic for themselves, as Stardust is also a film about a trio of witches who want to remain young and beautiful. Stardust’s supporting cast is spectacular, including Michelle Pfieffer, Mark Strong, Peter O’Toole, Ricky Gervais, Ian McKellen, and Henry Cavill.

The magic on display by Gaiman is colorful and imaginative with strong world-building and great characters. The magic-based movie was released to positive reviews and was a minor box office success. It also won the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form.

14 The Craft (1996)

A Teen Coming-Of-Age Magic Movie


The Craft Movie Poster

The Craft

Release Date May 3, 1996 Director Andrew Fleming Cast Neve Campbell , Fairuza Balk , Robin Tunney , Rachel True Runtime 101 Minutes

One of the most popular movies about witches since the 80s, The Craft is notable for its realistic portrayal of the consequences of spell-casting. While any decidedly un-sinister movie about witches makes room for a morality tale, The Craft is not afraid of getting dark and staying there. Following the story of four intelligent high school girls with incredible powers, The Craft features curses, spells, and more than one murder. This teenage coven is not to be messed with.

Fairuza Balk returns as Nancy Downs in the sequel, The Craft Legacy.

The Craft is a cult classic that features fun performances, great magical effects, and a soundtrack full of hit songs. The film was a moderate success, grossing $55 million off a budget of $15 million. While it received mixed reviews when released, it has stood the test of time and even got a sequel in 2020 with a new group of young witches.

Collage of Saruman in Lord of the Rings, Voldemort in Harry Potter & Doctor Strange in the MCU
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13 The Witch (2015)

One Of The Most Disturbing Movies About Magic

Anya Taylor-Joy's Thomasin covered in blood in The Witch.

The Witch

Release Date February 19, 2016 Director Robert Eggers Cast Kate Dickie , Wahab Chaudhry , Ellie Grainger , Ralph Ineson , Sarah Stephens , Lucas Dawson , Anya Taylor-Joy , Bathsheba Garnett , Harvey Scrimshaw , Julian Richings Runtime 92minutes

2015’s The Witch, the directorial debut of Robert Eggers, features a decidedly dark take on magic and witchcraft. Seen through the lens of a fanatically religious seventeenth-century family, magic in The Witch is presented as an omen of death and horror.

Much of the film asks viewers to question if the events taking place are genuine or the byproducts of religious zealotry, but the final segment makes it clear that the film’s occult occurrences were very real.

It’s far removed from the cozy depiction of magic seen in most films and is one of the best magic movies about witches. When most people think about magical films, they don’t often consider something as uncomfortable and horrific as The Witch. On top of its critical acclaim (90% on Rotten Tomatoes), it was also a box office success and remains one of the best A24 movies of all time for the studio.

12 The Illusionist (2006)

Starring Edward Norton & Jessica Biel

Eisenheim and Leopold in The Illusionist.

Starring Edward Norton and Jessica Biel, The Illusionist is set in 19th-century Vienna, and the film tells the story of the illusionist Eisenheim and how he will go to be with his true love, Sophie. Because Sophie is a duchess and Eisenheim a peasant, their love is forbidden, and Sophie is set to marry the despicable Prince Leopold.

The lovers hatch a plan to use the powers of illusion to free Sophie from her arranged engagement and the city of Vienna of Leopold’s reign. The Illusionist features excellent scenes of magic that range from typical stage acts to summoning dead spirits.

Director Neil Burger ensured that the magic used in the movie remained accurate, as various stage magicians were brought in as consultants, including Ricky Jay, James Freedman, and Scott Penrose. Burger said, “Starting in pre-production, James (Freedman) became a major collaborator; brainstorming, designing and refining everything from small sleight of hand tricks to major narrative set pieces” (via Magic Week).

11 Labyrinth (1986)

David Bowie Stars As The Goblin King


Labyrinth Movie Poster


Release Date June 27, 1986 Director Jim Henson Cast Christopher Malcolm , Toby Froud , Shelley Thompson , Jennifer Connelly , David Bowie Runtime 101 minutes

An undeniable fantasy classic, Labyrinth combines the best that the 1980s had to offer and is one of the best magic movies of any era. Between musician David Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King, fantastical puppets from Jim Henson Creature Shop, and beautiful sets, the film is a sight to behold. Thanks to director Jim Henson, Hoggle and Sir Didymus are incredibly memorable and practical puppets. Bowie and Jennifer Connelly as Sarah are the only human actors in the fantasy world.

The story follows Sarah’s coming-of-age quest to rescue her infant brother Toby from the evil Goblin King that captured him. It is filled with magical beasts that wow the audience and as a story about magic, it wears its heart on its sleeve. While the movie underperformed at the box office, it became a monstrous success on home video and has become a cult classic.

10 Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Guillermo Del Toro’s Masterpiece

The Pale Man in Pan's Labyrinth puts hands with eyes on them up to his face

Pans Labyrinth Movie Poster

Pan’s Labyrinth

Release Date January 19, 2007 Director Guillermo del Toro Cast Sergi López , Doug Jones , Ivana Baquero , Ariadna Gil , Maribel Verdú Runtime 118 minutes

A 2006 Spanish-language dark fantasy film directed by Guillermo del Toro, Pan’s Labyrinth contorts typical magic tropes into something uniquely macabre, resulting in one of the best movies about magic.

Taking place during the Spanish Civil War of the 1940s, it tells the tale of a young girl who is tasked by magical creatures with completing three challenges to claim her place as a ruler of the Underworld. The movie plays as an allegory of the war’s effects on its citizens, including the children who find even danger in their own worlds of imagination.

Often compared to The Chronicles of Narnia, Pan’s Labyrinth explores the corrupting influence of war and hatred on the pure-hearted, and, unlike many films boasting distinct fairy tale aesthetics, the film opts for an ending that’s simultaneously beautiful and melancholic. A movie seeped in the magic of fairy tales, Pan’s Labyrinth won three Oscars and remains one of the best fantasy films of this century.

9 Spirited Away (2001)

Hayao Miyazaki’s Magical Masterpiece

Chihiro and No Face on the train in Spirited Away

Spirited Away Movie Poster

Spirited Away (2001)

Release Date July 20, 2001 Director Hayao Miyazaki Cast Rumi Hiiragi , Miyu Irino , Mari Natsuki , Takashi Naitô , Yasuko Sawaguchi , Tsunehiko Kamijô , Takehiko Ono , Bunta Sugawara Runtime 125 minutes

One of the best magic movies is the award-winning animated fantasy film Spirited Away. Hayao Miyazaki’s movie is the tale of Chihiro, a young girl trapped in the spirit world. After her parents are transformed into pigs by the witch Yubaba, Chihiro must work in her bathhouse to free her family and return to the human realm. The magic here is a large part of the movie, from the witch to the friends that Chihiro meets, specifically the spirit Haku.

Spirited Away was Hayao Miyazaki’s first of four Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature.

In Japan, it became the highest-grossing movie of all time, beating Titanic (via Crunchyroll). It later won the Best Animated Feature Oscar, the first non-English language animated movie to win the award. Chihiro’s liminal journey through the spirit world is populated by shikigami (ghosts), dragons, witches, and No-Face, a creature that eats people. The film is truly a magical work of art and one of Studio Ghibli’s best.

Split image of a witch from The Witches and Thomasin in The Witch
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8 Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

When Harry Potter Movies Grew Up


harry poter

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Release Date May 31, 2004 Director Alfonso Cuarón Cast Gary Oldman , David Thewlis , Daniel Radcliffe , Emma Watson , Rupert Grint , Robbie Coltrane , Timothy Spall , Maggie Smith , Michael Gambon , Richard Griffiths , Fiona Shaw , Alan Rickman Runtime 144 Minutes

The only Harry Potter film not to feature Lord Voldemort is oft-considered the strongest. By director Alfonso Cuarón, Prisoner of Azkaban truly raises the stakes for the characters, crafting a much darker world than before. The Dementors and their deadly kiss, the noble giant Hippogriff, and a professor with a full-moon problem expand on Rowling’s already huge magical mythology.

On top of the more mature magical elements, the film got boosted elsewhere. Namely, the casting of Gary Oldman as Sirius Black was an excellent decision, and the young Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint all see steady improvements in their performances.

The movie is also considered the darkest of the franchise and the instance where it moved from kids’ movies to ones more geared toward older audiences. Cuarón proved himself with this movie and went on to enjoy a career that saw him earn 12 Oscar nominations, winning five of them.

7 The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1940)

Part Of Disney’s Movie Fantasia

A still from the 1940 Disney animated short The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

Conceived in 1937 and debuted in 1940 as part of Disney’s orchestral epic Fantasia, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice stars Mickey Mouse as the hapless helper of a mysterious wizard in one of the best movies about magic. When his master is away, Mickey attempts to replicate one of his spells to help with his chores, but things quickly grow out of control. What results are dancing broomsticks, a flooded basement, and plenty of scary and creative magical moments?

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was the third of eight segments in Fantasia.

Easily one of the character’s most iconic appearances, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a timeless classic that showcases the majesty and potential malignity of magical powers while also showcasing Disney’s astounding feats in animation at the time. This part of Fantasia was also remade decades later with a live-action movie starring Nicolas Cage. As a whole, Fantasia was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 1990.

6 The Prestige (2006)

Christian Bale & Hugh Jackman In A Magical Tale Of Revenge

Michael Caine in the 2006 film The Prestiege.

The Prestige

Release Date October 20, 2006 Director Christopher Nolan Cast Michael Caine , Christian Bale , Hugh Jackman , Scarlett Johansson , Piper Perabo Runtime 130 minutes

Though the film features no real magic at all, The Prestige is far and away the most awe-inspiring film about the craft. Christopher Nolan took a break from The Dark Knight Trilogy by collaborating with Christian Bale again in this 2006 film.

The Prestige tells the story of rival magicians and their quest to pull off the greatest trick. Starring Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, and Michael Caine while featuring David Bowie, the film has truly dramatic and brilliant moments.

The narrative’s twists and turns are some of Nolan’s greatest, and the many scenes of magic, sleight-of-hand, and escape artistry rank far above most films with magicians. While Nolan has proven a master of science fiction and playing with time, he proves here that he can do psychological thrillers while taking the magical prowess of the leads seriously. It earned two Oscar nominations and was a box-office success.

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