Fantasy movie releases A-Z by decade...
The Fantasy movie genre in the 1960s was pitched at the younger viewing audience, with a mixture of ancient legends, tales from far away lands and Walt Disney productions filling the bulk of the release slate. Ongoing improvements with optical effects allowed film makers to extend their storytelling and the likes of Ray Harryhausen helped to make the unreal seem just a little more believable with each passing film. That said, while the Sixties may have the Flower Power decade of Peace & Love, it's generally considered that the decade produced only a handful of genuinely memorable Fantasy movies.
1960 - 1969 highlights include:
The 1970s saw some improvement over the previous decade and it was the combination of Fantasy blended with other genres that delivered some of its genuine classics. Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka is as memorable today as he was in 1971, with the tour of his Chocolate Factory still holding up to repeated viewings almost 50 years later with its clever, dark humour and catchy musical numbers. Likewise, the Monty Python team took their absurdist comedy and delivered some of the best remembered Fantasy movies of all time with their own versions of the Holy Grail and Jesus Christ stories.
1970 - 1979 highlights include:
The 1980s saw the Fantasy genre take a giant leap forward, as film makers and studios took heart from the emergence of genre blockbusters from the late 1970s, thanks largely to George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Some of the decade's best Fantasy movies were released early on, with John Boorman's Excalibur in 1981 and John Millius's Conan the Barbarian in 1982. The latter movie also announcing the arrival of Arnold Schwarzenegger as a movie star on the rise. Classics such as Highlander came later in the decade, along with the much-loved 1987 quintessential fairy tale - The Princess Bride.
1980 - 1989 highlights include:
The 1990s saw the genre diversify, with Fantasy becoming a vehicle for attracting big name talent to movies that delved into the humanistic aspect of the genre. Movies like Groundhog Day and Sliding Doors were updates of the Dickens classic Fantasy, A Christmas Carol, with characters getting a glimpse of parallel lives. Other movies such as Hook and Jumanji were movies that saw Robin Williams push his unique comedic talent into the mainstream with big-budget, family-friendly fare. Finally, a Stephen King story got an adaptation worthy of its literary basis, with Tom Hanks in The Green Mile.
1990 - 1999 highlights include:
The first three years of the 21st Century belonged to Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings movies. The towering achievement of Jackson's accomplishment was rewarded with 2003's Return of the King sweeping all before it both at the box office and during the ensuing Awards season. 2001 also saw the first Harry Potter movie hits screens, with the franchise running through until 2011. Along the way, there were some tremendous stand-alone Fantasy movies that have become genre classics from Directors such as Guillermo del Toro, Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder.
2000 - 2009 highlights include:
In the 2010s, the Fantasy genre has reached new levels of sophistication as visual effects technology has made it possible to deliver the grand spectacle that comes to mind when audiences contemplate the scope of the genre. Even lesser films appear superior by comparison to past efforts, but, at the end of the day, the best of the current crop have story and character at their core. Films like Midnight in Paris, Hugo, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, A Monster Calls, & Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them are stories about people set among fantastic events.