Wondering which movies like Harry Potter are a must-watch? Harry Potter is a fantasy novel series by English author J.K. Rowling.
The novels have been adapted into a series of fantasy films, beginning with the first film’s release in 2001.
The series has become the best-selling book series in history and has been translated into multiple languages.
This list contains movies like Harry Potter, where you can expect a magical twist.
1. Percy Jackson and the Olympians (2010-2013)
- Starring: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel.
- Rating: 5.7 – 5.8/10
Percy Jackson & the Olympians consists of a two-part film series based on the novels of the same name by Rick Riordan.
Although the live adaptation of the books disappointed many fans, if you’re looking for movies like Harry Potter and haven’t read the books, these films fit right into that category.
Like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson is a young boy unaware of his true potential. When a school field trip goes wrong, Percy discovers he is a demigod and that his best friend, Grover, is his protector.
He finds a haven in Camp Half-blood, which – like Hogwarts – is hidden from the outside world and where demigods can train and live in peace.
Percy befriends Annabeth, who, alongside Grover, aids him in his adventures. The trio encounters mythic creatures and magical landscapes along their journeys.
2. Chronicles of Narnia (2005-2010)
- Starring: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Ben Barnes, Will Poulter, Tilda Swinton, Liam Neeson.
- Rating: 6.3 – 6.9/10
The Chronicles of Narnia is a film series based on The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. The franchise has also been extended to include not only the three films in the series but also video games, short films, and digital series.
For lovers of the fantasy genre who are searching for movies like Harry Potter, this trilogy is a must-watch.
It follows the Pevensie siblings who relocate to the countryside in London during The Blitz and accidentally discover a secret entrance to the magical world, Narnia, where they encounter all sorts of creatures – an evil witch, the Noble, and powerful Aslam, King of Narnia, and course a handsome prince.
Though the films cover only the first three books in the novel series, they are still unforgettable watches for all fantasy lovers.
3. Hunger Games Movies (2012-2015)
- Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland.
- Rating: 6.5 – 7.5/10
The Hunger Games movies, based on the trilogy of novels of the same name by Suzanne Collins, are science fiction dystopian adventure films.
Although none of the movies are fantasy or contain magic, the storyline of a group of kids standing up to corrupt adults in positions of authority – just like Harry and his friends – makes these movies a suitable watch for anyone looking for movies like Harry Potter.
The films are set in the ruins of what was once North America, a nation called Panem, which maintains its hold on the various districts within it by forcing them to each select a boy and girl between the ages of 12 and 18, called Tributes to participate in a nationally televised sport called the Hunger Games, in which there will only be one survivor.
16-year-old Katniss Everdeen from District 12 goes in place of her sister and must rely on her wit and hunting skills alone to navigate the games and her relationships.
4. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)
- Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies.
- Rating: 8.8 – 9/10
One of the most famous film franchises of all time, this trilogy is based on The Lord of the Rings novels by J. R. R. Tolkien.
Die-hard fantasy lovers often make comparisons between this and the Harry Potter books that came out decades later, but I think that both are epic.
For those who haven’t seen any and are looking for movies like Harry Potter, I highly recommend this franchise.
The films are set in fictional Middle-Earth. When Elves, Dwarfs, Men, and Lords receive rings of power, the Dark Lord Sauron forges the One Ring, instilling a significant part of his power to enable him to take over Middle Earth. However, he is defeated, and the ring is lost for millennia.
It is found when Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit, who is unaware of its history, leaves it for his nephew Frodo.
When Gandalf the Grey informs Frodo of the danger he is in, a fellowship of hobbits, men, dwarfs, and elves sets out to Mount Doom to destroy the ring, beginning an epic and dangerous journey spanning the course of the three films.
5. Fantastic Beasts Films (2016 – 2022)
- Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Carmen Ejogo, Johnny Depp, Jude Law.
- Rating: 6.2 – 7.2/10
To the excitement of Potterheads, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 was not the last we saw of the wizarding world.
The Fantastic Beasts is based on the book of the same name by J. K. Rowling and is a spin-off prequel to the Harry Potter series. It is set 70 years before the events of Harry’s time and consists of three films.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them follows magizoologist Newt Scamander as he arrives in New York with some magical creatures in a magical briefcase and discovers the magical community there, as well as tries to recapture the beasts who’d escaped.
The Crimes of Grindelwald shows great wizard Albus Dumbledore teaming up with Scamander to try to stop Gellus Grindelwald, who is gathering supporters to take over the non-magical world.
The last film in the trilogy, The Secrets of Dumbledore, follows the duo’s efforts as they put together a team of witches and wizards to put a definite end to Grindelwald, despite Dumbledore being unable to fight him. Needless to say, if you’re looking for movies like Harry Potter, this is a good start.
6. Matilda (1996)
- Starring: Mara Wilson, Danny DeVito, Pam Ferris, Rhea Perlman, Embeth Davidtz.
- Rating: 6.9/10
Are you up for fantasy with elements of comedy added to the mix? Then Matilda is just the film for you. If you’re looking for movies like Harry Potter to add to your watchlist, this 1996 film based on Roald Dahl’s famous novel is recommended.
It follows 6-year-old Matilda Wormwood, an intelligent girl subjected to abuse by her uncaring parents, and Miss Trunchbull, the tyrannical principal at her school.
However, she discovers a friend in Miss Jennifer Honey, her teacher who always encourages her. When she discovers her psychokinetic abilities, she uses them to protect her friends from Miss Trunchbull’s evil practices and stand up to her unkind family. Sound familiar?
7. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
- Starring: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Chris O’Dowd, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp, Ella Purnell, Judi Dench, Samuel L. Jackson.
- Rating: 6.7/10
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children follows a young boy named Jake who sets out to find the truth about the mysterious circumstances surrounding his grandfather, Abe’s death.
Unfazed by the assumptions of other family members that it is a natural death, Jake recalls the stories Abe used to tell him as a boy about a school for Peculiars, that is, children with unique abilities, and journeys to Wales to find the truth.
He discovers a mystery that spans different worlds and times, and as the mystery deepens, he befriends the children at the school, learning about their powers and foes.
Ultimately, it is Jake’s special gift that can help save his new friends and the world he’s come to love. Among movies like Harry Potter, this one gives me many callbacks.
Young boy? Check. Hidden school? Check. Fantasy? Check. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Ransom Riggs.
8. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010)
- Starring: Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, Teresa Palmer, Toby Kebbell, Monica Bellucci.
- Rating: 6.1/10
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice features the Arthurian legend. It starts with the great magician Merlin who, alongside his two students, Balthazar and Veronica, battles Morgana Le Fey, an evil sorceress who’d killed a lot of other magic practitioners (just like Voldemort).
She is eventually subdued, and Merlin tells Balthazar that only the Prime Merlinean, his descendant, would be able to defeat her for good.
Dave Stutler is just an average guy, but an encounter with Balthazar, who identifies him as the Prime Merlinean, changes his life for good.
He reluctantly learns the art of magic from Balthazar, and as they prepare to defeat Morgana, he begins to experience doubt and must find his courage.
Dave shares similarities with Harry, such as just being a simple boy until an encounter that changed everything, so if you’re looking for movies similar to Harry Potter, this should be on your list.
9. Doctor Strange (2016)
- Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stulhbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelson, Tilda Swinton.
- Rating: 7.5/10
In a franchise full of science fiction and technological advancements, Doctor Strange offered a different approach to the world with its introduction to magic and the mystical arts.
After an accident leaves him unable to use his hands, thus ending his career, the highly arrogant Doctor Strange seeks help everywhere.
However, traditional medicine failing him leads him to strive for solutions in the mysterious Kamar-Taj.
His experience at the school of learning delivers more than what he expected as he finds himself at the forefront of a battle.
Doctor Strange must choose between getting the help he needs for his hands or sacrificing his needs to defend the world.
The film shares some similarities to Harry Potter – a not-so-public school of mystic arts, a teacher who died protecting others (sound familiar?) – and so is a big recommendation for anyone looking for movies like Harry Potter.
10. The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018)
- Starring: Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Owen Vaccaro, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Sunny Suljic, Kyle MacLachlan.
- Rating: 6/10
The House with a Clock in Its Walls is a fantasy comedy film based on the 1973 novel of the same name by John Bellairs.
It follows 10-year-old Lewis Barnavelt, who goes to live with his uncle following the death of his parents, only to be thrown into a world of magic and deadly curses. This is a must-watch for anyone looking for movies like Harry Potter.
After Lewis moves in with his uncle, he hears a strange “tick-tock” noise at night and discovers his uncle, Jonathan, and kind neighbor Florence Zimmerman are advanced magical practitioners.
An evil magician and his wife previously inhabited the house and planted the clock in a secret place, though no one knows the purpose.
When Lewis mistakenly releases Isaac’s ghost, the trio must work quickly and efficiently to undo the damage before Isaac unleashes unimaginable catastrophe.
11. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
- Starring: Jim Carrey, Liam Aiken, Emily Browning, Timothy Spall, Catherine O’Hara, Billy Connolly, Cedric the Entertainer, Luis Guzmán, Jennifer Coolidge, Meryl Streep.
- Rating: 6.8/10
Although there are no fantasy elements in this film, it deals with orphaned kids and a wicked caretaker. This situation is so reminiscent of Harry’s experience with the Dursleys.
When the Baudelaire children – Violet, Klaus, and Susan suddenly lose their parents in a fire in their mansion, they are left in the care of Count Olaf, a wicked stage actor who is determined to confiscate their fortune.
Despite the kids being sent to their quirky uncle Montgomery and later to their pan-phobic aunt Josephine, Olaf still determinedly pursues them.
It is up to the kids to rescue themselves and deal with this menace once and for all. The film is based on the first three novels of the book series, A series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket.
12. Bridge to Terabithia (2007)
- Starring: Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb, Bailee Madison, Zoey Deschanel, Robert Patrick.
- Rating: 7.2/10
This fantasy film based on the 1977 novel of the same name by Katherine Paterson is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.
It depicts just how strong the ties of friendship can be and how powerful a role make-believe can play in one’s life.
When Jess Aaron, a 12-year-old with issues with his family, meets Leslie Burke, a new student at school who is also his next-door neighbor, he has no idea how important she’ll be to him.
They become friends and often venture into the woods, where they come upon an abandoned treehouse. They invent an imaginary magical world called Terabithia with different creatures such as trolls (anyone else getting major Harry Potter flashbacks here?) and “hairy vultures.”
Despite the difficulties in their individual lives, they rule as king and queen of Terabithia, and soon, one of the friends must turn to this imaginary world to seek solace and comfort.
13. The Golden Compass (2007)
- Starring: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Sam Elliott, Eva Green, Ian McKellen, Dakota Blue Richards.
- Rating: 6.1/10
For book lovers, you might be familiar with Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. You can head to HBO Max to binge the series if you aren’t.
The Golden Compass is based on Northern Lights, the first trilogy book set in an alternate world. In this world, everyone has a dæmon, the person’s inner spirit that manifests as an animal companion.
Lyra Belacqua discovers that dark forces are at work and that beings known as Gobblers are kidnapping children, including her best friend, Roger.
She joins a tribe of seafarers, along with her dæmon, Pan, a witch, and other companions, to rescue Roger and save her world. I recommend this film to anyone looking for movies like Harry Potter.
14. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
- Starring: Sergi López, Maribel Verdú, Ivana Baquero, Doug Jones, Ariadna Gil, Álex Angulo.
- Rating: 8.2/10
Pan’s Labyrinth is a 2006 Spanish-Mexican dark fantasy film. For Harry Potter lovers, the labyrinth in the movie might give you serious Goblet of Fire flashbacks, only this is much darker and is an R-rated movie.
The film is set in Spain five years after the Spanish civil war in 1944, and fans looking for movies like Harry Potter would enjoy this film.
In the film, the underworld King has built mazes everywhere possible in the hope that one day, his daughter’s spirit (Princess Moana) will return.
10-year-old Ophelia is led into the labyrinth by a fairy, and there she meets a faun who believes she is the reincarnation of Moana and gives her three tasks to complete to acquire immortality.
Naturally, she has to deal with monsters and magic, as well as her stepfather’s sadistic brutality, before achieving her goal.
15. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
- Starring: Johnny Depp, Freddy Highmore, David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor, Missi Pyle, James Fox.
- Rating: 6.7/10
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tells the story of Charlie Bucket, a kind and loving boy who lives near the prestigious Wonka factory in poverty with his family.
This reminds me of Harry’s experience with the Dursleys, the difference being there was animosity between Harry and the Dursleys, while Charlie loved his family.
Luck falls upon him, and he wins a contest with four other kids and is led by the eccentric Willy Wonka on a magical tour of the factory (not quite Hogwarts, but at least there’s magic!)
It turns out that the eccentrically Wonka has a hidden agenda for the tour, which will only be revealed when the children show their true colors.
The film is based on Roald Dahl’s novel of the same name, albeit more haunting. It incorporated different themes like tragedy, comedy, and even reconciliation, but with enough fantasy to make it an excellent addition to the list of movies like Harry Potter.
16. Vampire Academy (2014)
- Cast: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Danila Kozlovsky, Dominic Sherwood, Cameron Monaghan, Sami Gayle, Sarah Hyland.
- IMDb Rating: 5.4/10
Vampire Academy is a horror movie adapted from a book of the same name by Richelle Mead. The film centers on two vampire girls at St. Vladimir’s Academy boarding school and their interactions with the various people associated with them.
Rose is a Dhamir, a breed of Vampire humans sworn to protect the Moroi vampires, and her friend Lissa is a Moroi princess.
The pair escape the confines of their boarding school, but soon after, they’re discovered and returned to school. Subsequently, Lissa is threatened upon their return at every turn and discovers some hidden abilities.
17. Seventh Son (2014)
- Cast: Kit Harrington, Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges, Alicia Vikander, Julianne Moore, Djimon Hounsou, Olivia Williams, Antje Traue.
- IMDb Rating: 5.5/10
Next on our list of movies like Harry Potter is Seventh Son, adapted from the book The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch in the United States by Joseph Delaney. According to reports, it received many negative reviews, but it’s still worth checking out.
The movie tells the story of Tom Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son who served as the apprentice to Gregory, the last remnants of the Knightly Falcons, a body charged with protecting Earth from supernatural forces.
The two join forces with help from outside to defeat Malkin, a witch who plans to bring terror to Earth. Check this out to see all the other events that occur alongside her quest.
18. A Monster Calls (2016)
- Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Tobby Kebbell, Lewis MacDougall, Liam Neeson.
- IMDb Rating: 7.4/10
A Monster Calls is one of the movies like Harry Potter that is adapted from a book. In this case, it was adapted from Patrick Ness’s book of the same name. The story follows 12-year-old Connor O’Malley’s encounter with the yew tree turned Monster.
Connor’s mother is fatally ill and has been diagnosed with cancer. In between the burden of maintaining the home in her absence, he also gets bullied at school.
One night he watches the yew tree close to his home transform into a monster, leading to an exciting interaction between the two.