I have decided to do a countdown of my favorite live-action faerytale films for today’s post. On this list, I am keeping it to one entry per tale and some will be modern faerytales. I will only be featuring romantic faerytales. That means that a romantic interaction is a plot point for the tale. Without further ado, here is the list!
Number 7: The Lure (2015)
~For the number seven spot on my list, I had to choose this weird horror musical from Poland. It makes the list as it obviously takes some inspiration from Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, as well as Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué. In this dark take, two mermaid sisters, named Silver and Golden, come onto land in Warsaw and join a Cabaret. Silver falls in love, while Golden just wants to indulge in her appetite!
Number 6: La Belle et La Bete (1946)
~This is the French masterpiece by Jean Cocteau! It has so much lovely surrealistic imagery, including furniture that moves, even if it is not alive like in the Disney version! The film sticks to one of the most common versions of the tale in plot. In addition, I really adore the makeup for the Beast!
Number 5: Ever After (1998)
~This is my favorite version of the Cinderella tale to be put to film! I love the historical setting and the costuming (even if there are obvious historical inaccuracies) because the film is set in a faerytale world of sorts that is still rooted in reality. Drew Barrymore and Angelica Huston are just incredible in this movie! If you want a really good version of this tale, I would definitely recommend this one.
Number 4: Stardust (2007)
~The first new faerytale on the list is Neil Gaiman’s Stardust. I have always loved his book (which I first read a year or two before the film was made) and was so happy that it got made into a film! I feel like this one does not get the love that it deserves, at least the film does not. Claire Danes plays Yvaine, a literal fallen star who falls in love with a human named Tristan after he finds her intending to give the star to a woman he intends to marry, not knowing she was actually humanoid when she fell! As a bonus, the film also includes stellar performances from Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert DiNero.
Number 3: The Princess Bride (1987)
~Of course this one made the list! How could this absolutely modern faerytale classic not rank? Both the novel and the film are incredible! I watch this one with my husband every year on New Year’s Eve, not that this is the only time I watch it. The story of Buttercup and Westley is so romantic and fun. After all, who doesn’t love a princess and pirate love story?
Number 2: Snow White: A Tale of Terror (1997)
~My number two choice is my absolute favorite live-action version of the Snow White tale. This one takes a more realistically dark take on the story. It is much closer to the original Grimm version than many others. The film is certainly a horror version of the story, but does not have to embellish much upon what the Grimm Brothers wrote! I do like that they portrayed the stepmother as wanting to be a good mother, at first, and that the Snow White character (here called Lilli) is not perfect. This added depth to both figures. I truly enjoyed Sigourney Weaver as the stepmother and Monica Keena as the Snow White character!
Number 1: Maleficent (2014)& Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)
~Okay, so I technically listed two films here, but the second is a direct sequel and is the one that ends with a wedding, so I feel they work jointly to tell the whole of the tale! I love the relationship between Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent and Elle Fanning’s Aurora as it develops in these films. I like having this darker take on my number one favorite faerytale, Sleeping Beauty, which gives a deeper understanding of both the dark faery and the princess as characters! Plus, who does not love a good villain origin story and redemption arch? This one gets bonus points for Lana Del Rey’s haunting rendition of ‘Once Upon a Dream!’
~I hope that you have enjoyed this countdown. Did I include your favorite live-action faerytale film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!