Elijah Wood in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

10 Best Movies Like ‘The Lord of the Rings’

The Lord of the Rings will stand as a cinematic odyssey that came, saw, and won a slew of awards while transporting viewers to Middle-earth, a land filled with hobbits eating second breakfasts, wizards conjuring fireworks, and armies clashing over a tiny yet fearsome circle of gold. Peter Jackson, a directing genius, expertly guided the series through a forest of J.R.R. Tolkien’s sprawling story, revealing its lore, magnificent vistas, and complicated characters along the way. The trilogy wasn’t just huge; it was Mordor-massive. 

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It resonated with the romantic souls yearning for adventure and even with the couch potatoes (secretly Elvish at heart), who realized that one does not simply watch a film; one immerses oneself in it. And if you’re still craving more epicness after Frodo’s journey, why not hop on a dragon with The Hobbit trilogy or dive wand-first into the magical world of Harry Potter? Moreover, plenty of other films promise adventures nearly as thrilling as joining a fellowship or, you know, simply walking into Mordor. 

The Hobbit (2012-2014)

Dwarves in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

In The Hobbit trilogy, we meander through Middle-earth again, but this time with a little less ring drama and a tad more dragon bling. Peter Jackson, having not had enough of Hobbits, Elves, and Dwarves, decided to regale us with Bilbo Baggins’ younger days and an unlikely band of dwarves seeking to reclaim their home. 

Noticeably less at home without his armchair, Bilbo encounters bewildered trolls, navigates caves inhabited by goblins, and banters with Gollum, teaching us the valuable game of riddles for three whole films. Did I forget to mention the dragon? The Lonely Mountain’s resident diva, Smaug, has a hunger for gold but no patience for uninvited guests. 

Harry Potter (2001-2011)

Ron, Hermione, Harry and Ginny sitting at a table (Warner Bros.)
(Warner Bros.)

Another massive fantasy film series is Harry Potter—a franchise where broomsticks are the preferred mode of transport, owls deliver letters, and eyeglasses are the height of wizarding chic. Over a magical decade, we watched a young, scar-headed boy transform from an under-the-stairs dweller to the Chosen One. With its shifting staircases and nearly lethal sport (who thought flying on brooms chasing balls was child’s play?), Hogwarts became our second home. 

Through quidditch matches, awkward dances, and more “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” encounters than one would prefer, the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron became our magical musketeers. Directorial wands changed hands, yet the essence of J.K. Rowling’s world remained: a place where love triumphs, snakes talk (some more politely than others), and, yes, where the villains could’ve benefited from a decent nose job. 

The Chronicles of Narnia (2005-2010)

Aslan and Edmund Pevensie (Skandar Keynes) in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
(Buena Vista Pictures Distribution)

Journeying through C.S. Lewis’s enchanting universe, we encountered the Pevensie siblings, who taught us that English kids in the 1940s were far more intrepid than most, gallivanting with centaurs and challenging witches before afternoon tea. In The Chronicles of Narnia, Aslan, the lion with a mane more luscious than any hair model, became the gold standard for feline nobility. 

Meanwhile, the White Witch made us reconsider our love for Turkish delight. With each foray into Narnia, whether by wardrobe, painting, or magical train platform (not Platform 9¾, mind you), we were reminded that bravery comes in many forms: be it a young girl with a penchant for befriending fauns or a mouse with a sharper sword and wit than creatures ten times his size. 

Stardust (2007)

Henry Cavill as Humphrey in 'Stardust'
(Paramount Pictures)

Venturing beyond a literal wall, young Tristan Thorn embarks on a quest for a fallen star to win the heart of his beloved, only to realize stars have feelings and rather dazzling human forms. As narratives go, it’s not every day one encounters witches craving celestial beauty treatments, captains of flying pirate ships with a flair for cross-dressing, or princes ruthlessly battling for a throne (and we thought our family reunions were intense).

Neil Gaiman’s Stardust came to the big screen with loads of romance, fantasy, and a dash of swashbuckling. While Stardust wasn’t expanded into a trilogy or multi-film story, it still shows us that excitement, love, and even a little stardust are sometimes just a wall away.

The Golden Compass (2007)

A polar bear in armor roars while being held down by ropes in "The Golden Compass"
(New Line Cinema)

Navigating the chilly streets of an alternative Oxford, we meet young Lyra, who’s more adept at rooftop escapades than classroom studies. The plot thickens like a proper English stew with kidnapped children, armored polar bears (who have strong feelings about their armor aesthetics), and the mysterious Dust—which isn’t what accumulates on your neglected bookshelf, by the way. 

Based on Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, this cinematic endeavor introduced us to a world where the Northern Lights aren’t just a celestial phenomenon but a gateway to myriad universes. And those daemons? Think of them as a mix of lifelong pet, conscience, and personal cheerleader, making us wonder if chatting with our cats isn’t just a one-sided conversation after all.  

The NeverEnding Story (1984)

Noah Hathaway and Falkor in 'The Neverending Story'.
(Warner Bros.)

In The NeverEnding Story, libraries aren’t just repositories of dusty old books but doorways to worlds where luck dragons soar and rock giants roam. We follow Young Bastian, who, in his attempt to dodge school bullies, stumbles upon a tome that not only outshines his homework but actively drags him into the plight of Fantasia, a land ironically fading from existence. 

Along the way, we encounter a wolf with more existential distress than your ordinary teenager, are swept through swamps of sadness, and meet a princess whose name had everyone shouting into the dark of stormy nights. As for Falkor, the luck dragon, he’s essentially the fuzzy flying doggo we didn’t know we needed. 

Willow (1988)

Warwick Davis as Willow in the film Willow raising his arms triumphantly among his fellow villagers
(MGM / UA Distribution Co.)

Willow Ufgood, our sorcerer-in-training with aspirations larger than his stature, finds himself entangled in an epic quest, protecting a baby princess prophesied to defeat an evil queen. With a world concocted by Star Wars creator George Lucas and helmed by Ron Howard, it’s no wonder we’re treated to sorceresses with mood-dependent transformations, warriors with mullets that defy both gravity and modern fashion, and tiny brownies riding equally tiny birds. 

As prophecies go, more is needed to save the baby; one must also battle a two-headed dragon and outwit the evil queen who has never heard of work-life balance. Willow was one of the first films to use digital special effects, and the results are still impressive today.

The Dark Crystal (1982)

A still from the film The Dark Crystal depicting the Gelflings Jen and Kira flying up the side of a rock face
(Universal Pictures)

Picture this: a planet with three suns, vulturous Skeksis throwing the most macabre banquets, and the last of the Gelflings, Jen, who’s handed a quest to restore balance to the world of Thra and overthrow the evil, ruling Skeksis by restoring a powerful broken Crystal. As Jen faces unsettling creatures and pieces together shard puzzles, one can’t help but feel this is what might’ve resulted if Tolkien and Henson had brainstormed over a pot of tea. 

Directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, the maestros of MuppetryThe Dark Crystal might seem an uncanny departure from rainbow connections. Still, it’s a gem, offering a gritty reminder that even in the darkest corners, there’s a glimmer of hope waiting to be discovered. 

Eragon (2006)

Rachel Weisz and Ed Speleers in Eragon (2006)
(20th Century Fox)

Set in the land of Alagaësia, a place with more vowels than most and where rulers really should invest in better PR campaigns, we find young Eragon, who stumbles upon a mysterious stone. Spoiler alert: it’s not just a fancy paperweight. Out pops Saphira, the dragon. Based on Christopher Paolini’s debut novel, Eragon‘s story promised swords, sorcery, and Jeremy Irons. 

While some critics might’ve wished the dragon had roasted the screenplay a touch longer, one can’t deny the allure of a world where dragon riders are the ultimate status symbol and John Malkovich reigns with an iron fist (and a curious accent). 

The Hunger Games (2012-2023)

Finnick Odair holds up his wrist with a bracelet on it

The Hunger Games welcomes us to Panem, a dystopian future where the Capitol fancies its districts in perpetual unrest, and reality TV has taken a turn for the brutal. Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire and occasional songbird, volunteers as a tribute and swiftly turns the deadly arena into her personal stage of rebellion. 

Adorned with a Mockingjay pin and a quiver full of arrows, she challenges a system that’s more crooked than President Snow’s smile. Through love triangles, dubious fashion choices, and the ever-present aroma of night lock berries, we’re served a thrilling banquet of drama and defiance. 

(featured image: New Line Cinema)

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Faith Katunga
Faith is a freelance journalist with an insatiable curiosity for all aspects of current events, from the global economy and fashion to pop culture and travel. She watches an absurd number of cat videos on Instagram when not reading or writing about what is going on in the world. Faith has written for several publications, including We Got This Covered, Italy Magazine, TheTravel, etc., and holds a master's degree in Fashion Culture and Management.