Before we begin, here’s a disclaimer. Putting together a list of Movies Like Lord of the Rings was tough. I’m talking Chuck-Norris-escaping from-a-POW-camp and Sylvester-Stallone-fighting-Apollo-Creed tough. Because let’s face it, there really aren’t that many movies out there that feature a completely made up yet totally believable world of breathtaking landscapes with a full, complex history of multiple civilizations each with their own language and cultural identity that culminate in an epic battle of good versus evil fought by all aforementioned creatures in a stunning display of CGI technology, are there?
Based on the novel by J. R. R. Tolkien, the Lord of the Rings series is a trilogy of films set in the fictional world of Middle Earth. The story follows the journey of a young hobbit, Frodo Baggins, as he embarks on a quest to destroy the One Ring – a magical artifact imbued with the malevolent power of Sauron, the Dark Lord, who plotted to use it to gain domination over all of the land.
The films, which combined, were nominated for a total of 30 Oscars, also hold the title for the highest grossing film trilogy of all time. Nearly all aspects of the films received high praise, most notably for their visual effects and musical scores. Needless to say, the film is certainly quite in a league of its own. But if you are hankering for another epic fantasy battle, here are 11 Movies Like Lord of the Rings to check out.
MOVIES LIKE LORD OF THE RINGS
: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
: The Battle of the Five Armies (2015)
Starring Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch and Evangeline Lilly
This is an obvious choice. If you are a LOTR fan, then you certainly must watch The Hobbit. Similarly structured as a trilogy, the film series is also directed by Peter Jackson who made all the movies in the LOTR franchise. Released some ten years later, The Hobbit is set in the same world and meant as a prequel to LOTR.
The Hobbit recounts the tale of Frodo’s uncle, Bilbo Baggins, who embarks on a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. In the company of thirteen dwarves and the wizard Gandalf the Grey, he journeys through treacherous lands, facing a myriad of dangers that put his courage and wits to the test. In this prequel, we also discover how the One Ring comes to be in Bilbo’s possession.
If you are looking for Movies Like Lord of the Rings, this must be your first stop.
Pirates of the Caribbean
: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
: At World’s End (2007)
: On Stranger Tides (2011)
Starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, and Geoffrey Rush
Set in the 17th century, film series centers on a roguish pirate, the notorious Jack Sparrow, and his many escapades on the high seas. The first movie opens after Sparrow’s nemesis Captain Barbossa steals his beloved ship, the Black Pearl and makes off with the daughter of the governor from a small town. Sparrow sets off to recapture his vessel and rescue the girl on a journey that will prove abound with danger and mystery.
Johnny Depp’s performance steals the show in his off-kilter portrayal of the pirate. Interestingly, the character of Jack Sparrow was originally written only as a supporting character. However, Depp’s quirky interpretation of the role, which he later revealed was based on his study of legendary musician Keith Richards, turned the movie on its head and landed him several major award nominations and wins.
If you are looking for Movies Like Lord of the Rings, the Pirates of the Caribbean series might be right up your alley. What’s more, a fifth movie in the franchise is slated to be released in the second quarter of 2017.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: 8.0/10
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest: 7.3/10
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End: 7.1/10
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: 6.7/10
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: 79%
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest: 54%
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End: 45%
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: 32%
: and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
: and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
: and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
: and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
: and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
: and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
: and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010)
: and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson
Similarly based on a book series, the Harry Potter film franchise offers one of the more fleshed-out worlds in the fantasy film genre. The seven-book hit series has given rise to eight films that bring to life the exhilarating adventures of three young wizards, Harry, Hermoine and Ron.
Riveting storylines, breathtaking action scenes and stunning displays of CGI make the Harry Potter movie series a must-watch for any fantasy movie lover. And like LOTR, there are plenty of epic battles to be fought in the age-old quest of good versus evil. If you are looking for Movies Like Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter series probably comes closest in the scale and depth of its constructed world.
And if you’ve developed a taste for magical fantasy book tales, here are more movies like Harry Potter.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: 7.5/10
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: 7.4/10
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: 7.8/10
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: 7.7/10
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: 7.5/10
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: 7.5/10
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1: 7.7/10
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2: 8.1/10
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: 80%
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: 82%
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: 91%
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: 88%
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: 78%
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: 84%
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1: 78%
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2: 96%
: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)
: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)
: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)
Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman
Created by George Lucas, the story takes place, according to the famed opening line “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”. The first three films revolve around the story of young jedi Luke Skywalker and his pursuit of the evil agent Darth Vader to avenge the death of his father and save the Rebel Alliance. The tale of his father, Anakin Skywalker, is later told in the prequel trilogy.
Perhaps one of the most well-known film series of all time, Star Wars is an epic space opera franchise that spans seven films (with two more in the works), released across more than four decades. Considered a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, all seven films have been nominated for Academy Awards in addition to being massive commercial successes. Star Wars is arguably one of the most epic fantasy battles in movie history and on our list of Movies Like Lord of the Rings.
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope: 8.7/10
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back: 8.8/10
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi: 8.4/10
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace: 6.5/10
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones: 6.7/10
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith: 7.6/10
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens: 8.1/10
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope: 93%
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back: 94%
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi: 80%
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace: 55%
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones: 65%
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith: 79%
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens: 92%
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA
: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
: Prince Caspian (2008)
: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)
Starring Liam Neeson, Tilda Swinton, Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley, Ben Barnes, Will Poulter
Four British children find a mystical wardrobe that opens the door to the fantasy world of Narnia. There, a myriad of adventures await as the children fight alongside the majestic lion Aslan to save the realm from evil forces. Their courage and wits will be tested as they battle for the freedom of the magical land and its inhabitants.
Why you should watch it:
Just like Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia is based on a series of fantasy novels. Thus far, three of the seven books have been made in the film series, with a fourth currently in the works.
Starring Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller and Michelle Pfeiffer
A spellbinding fantasy romance, Stardust is the story of a young man Tristan from a sleepy English village who crosses over the Wall – a cobblestone structure that has kept the village safe from a supernatural parallel universe – to retrieve a fallen star in a bid to impress a lady he is courting. When he finds the star to in fact be a woman, he must do everything in his power to bring her to safety even as she is being hunted by a bevy of villains who want to eat her heart and steal a precious gem in her possession.
Based on Neil Gaiman’s 1999 novel of the same name, Stardust is an enchanting tale of love with a big dose of fun. If an epic fantasy battle with a side of romance sounds like your cup of tea, Stardust might be the perfect watch on our list of Movies Like Lord of the Rings.
Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
Starring Todd Armstrong, Nancy Kovack, Honor Blackman and Gary Raymond
Inspired by elements in ancient Greek mythology, Jason and the Argonauts tells the tale of the hero Jason and his voyage to obtain the Golden Fleece – the wool of the gold-haired winged ram that serves as symbol of authority and kingship. Along with a crew of the bravest men in all the land, Jason journeys in an epic endeavor replete with a towering bronze giant, vulturous harpies and a seven-headed hydra among other mythical beasts.
Honored by the American Film Institute in its Top 10 Fantasy Films list, Jason and the Argonauts is considered a cult film classic noted for its masterful stop-motion animation work and its musical score by Bernard Herrmann (of Psycho and Citizen Kane). In the realm of Movies Like Lord of the Rings, Jason and the Argonauts shows us how it’s done.
Starring Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Clancy Brown, and Roxanne Hart
Highlander is the tale of an immortal, Connor MacLeod, who has existed for hundreds of years. He first discovers his powers after he revives following a deadly clan-fight in the Scottish Highlands during the 15th century. Now settled in New York, he must face his past again when an old nemesis, the immortal Kurgan, resurfaces. Kurgan is on a deadly mission to kill all the other immortals in an attempt to receive the promised “Prize”, a special ability given to the last living immortal warrior of vast knowledge and the ability to enslave the entire human race.
Depicted through interwoven past and present-day storylines, the rich world of Highlander succeeds in enthralling audiences with its original plot and terrific performances. Initially a commercial failure, the film later achieved cult status, launching actor Christopher Lambert to stardom. The movie’s popularity also spawned a substantial franchise effort, including four subsequent movies, although all were panned by critics.
Though the sequels should and must be ignored, the original Highlander is a gem of a movie that deserves a special mention in our list of Movies Like Lord of the Rings.
Starring Ray Winstone, Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins, Crispin Glover and Robin Wright Penn
Based on an Old English epic poem of the same name, the film begins in the year 507. Beowulf, a mighty warrior, has been summoned by the Danish king Hrothgar to slay Grendel, a hideously malformed troll-like creature who has been attacking the king’s mead hall. Beowulf defeats the monster but then faces the wrath of Grendel’s mother who seeks revenge. In her watery lair, a devil’s bargain awaits Beowulf and the choice he makes will determine his fate.
Directed by the acclaimed Robert Zemeckis (of Back to the Future and Forrest Gump) and written by Neil Gaiman, the 3D motion capture epic fantasy film has been praised for its technical finesse in the creation of a setting lush with mythic grandeur. If you love the special effects in Movies Like Lord of the Rings, Beowulf will be an impressive watch.
: Underworld (2003)
: Evolution (2006)
: Rise of the Lycans (2009)
: Awakening (2012)
: Blood Wars (2016)
Starring Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Michael Sheen, Shane Brolly and Bill Nighy
The action horror franchise revolves around the underground feud between of two ancient immortal species – vampires and lycans (werewolves). Selene, played by Kate Beckinsale, is a Death Dealer, a vampire tasked with killing lycans. She determines that the lycans have been following a human, medical student Michael Corvin, and believes that he is the key in a plan the lycans are hatching to assassinate the vampire Elders. As she investigates to uncover their plot, her connection with Michael grows and she must soon decide if she will betray everything she believes in.
While the films have largely been panned by critics for their shallow plotlines, they have remained a commercial success and there are rumours of a sixth installment in store. Despite its flaws, Underworld has managed to attract it fair share of fans with its impressive stunt work and visually arresting gothic comic-book-style cinematography. If you like your epic fantasy battles with a bloodthirsty twist, this might be the pick for you in our list of Movies Like Lord of the Rings.
John Carter (2012)
Starring Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Samantha Morton, Dominic West and Mark Strong
Set in 1868, the sweeping action-adventure film tells the story of a Civil War veteran John Carter who finds himself suddenly and inexplicably transported to the dying planet of Barsoom after an altercation with a mysterious priestly man. There, John finds that he is able to leap to great heights and perform astonishing feats of strength. Thanks to his newfound abilities, he becomes embroiled in an epic conflict among the planet’s inhabitants to save their world from the brink of destruction.
Movies Like Lord of the Rings wow with their spectacular visual effects that make the movie-going experience all the more exciting and John Carter does not disappoint on that front. Based on the 1912 science fantasy novel, A Princess of Mars, the film has been praised for its outstanding visuals and nail-biting action sequences. Interestingly, a theatrical film adaptation of the book series had been considered by various studios and producers throughout the 20th century, with the earliest discussion dating back to the 1930s before Disney finally began production in 2009.