The 30 greatest mythical movies

20. Excalibur (1981)

The Movie: Based on Malory's classic version of Arthurian legend, Morte d'Arthur, John Boorman brought a full-blooded visual intensity (half-romance, half-grit) to the material.

Most Magical Moment: The Knights of the Round Table emerge from the dog during the climactic battle with Morgana's forces.

19. Troll Hunter (2010)

The Movie: This Norwegian mockumentary imagines the fate of Hans, the titular hunter trying to track down various breeds of troll familiar from the country's folklore.

Most Magical Moment: Hans and his team lures a troll from under a bridge using - what else? - goats.

18. I Walked With A Zombie (1943)

The Movie: While the zombies of George A. Romero (and countless imitators) don't really come from a mythical background, several films are based on traditional Haitian folklore - notably this celebrated RKO B-movie about a nurse who discovers a woman cursed by voodoo.

Most Magical Moment: En route to a voodoo ceremony, Betsy Connell (Frances Dee) comes face to face with Carre-Four (Darby Jones), guardian of the crossroads.

17. Die Nibelungen (1924)

The Movie: The classic 13th century German poem about a hero who becomes (nearly) immortal after bathing in dragon's blood formed the basis for Fritz Lang's epic, two-part silent movie.

Most Magical Moment: Siegfried's battle with a dragon. Creaky to modern eyes, maybe, but with a charm and tactility that is refreshing in the age of glossy CGI.

16. O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000)

The Movie: Trust the Coen brothers to relocate the Odyssey to Depression-era America, with George Clooney playing the tellingly-named Ulysses trying to find his way back home.

Most Magical Moment: The Cyclops is re-imagined as John Goodman's violent, eyepatch-wearing Bible salesman Big Dan Teague.

15. Time Bandits (1981)

The Movie: 'Myth bandits' would be more accurate, as a group of thieving dwarfs drag a young boy on an adventure through time that includes visits to Robin Hood's Sherwood Forest and Ancient Greece (complete with minotaur).

Most Magical Moment: The bandits think they're safe aboard a ship, only to discover the vessel is actually a hat worn by a giant.

14. 300 (2006)

The Movie: Forget the actual historical Battle Of Thermopylae, as Zack Snyder and Frank Miller print the legend of how 300 Spartan warriors defeated a Persian army full of weird monsters.

Most Magical Moment: Just in case a hapless Persian messenger hasn't figured out where he is, King Leonidas helpfully spells it out by kicking him down a well. "This is Sparta!" indeed.

13. Thor (2011)

The Movie: This is what you get if you take Norse mythology, pretend it all actually happened in space, and then mix the characters with the rest of Marvel's superheroes.

Most Magical Moment: Thor is forced to destroy the Bifrst, the bridge that connects Asgard to Earth. For scholars of Norse mythology, this is officially A BIG DEAL.

12. Clash Of The Titans (1981)

The Movie: Gods (a roll call of Britain's finest thesps) vs monsters (courtesy of Ray Harryhausen), with Harry Hamlin's muscle-man Perseus caught in the crossfire. Avoid the remake.

Most Magical Moment: Perseus takes on Harryhausen's Medusa, a slithering stop-motion nightmare with snakes in her hair and a stare that can turn you to stone.

11. An American Werewolf In London (1981)

The Movie: John Landis takes the legend of lycanthropy and boldly merges it to an even greater myth, namely what Americans think England is like.

Most Magical Moment: David Naughton's still startling transformation, Exhibit A in proving that old-school prosthetics are better than CGI.

Click 'Next Page' to see the top 10 in our countdown of the best mythical movies.