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The 50 greatest fairy tale movies

30. Penelope (2006)

The Fairy Tale Movie: Christina Ricci plays a young woman suffering from an inconvenient family curse she's got a pig's snout where her nose should be! What follows is a sweetly told fable about the skin-deep nature of beauty and the search for true love. Awww.

Most Magical Moment: The breaking of the curse. All it required was a little self-worth.

29. Tangled (2010)

The Fairy Tale Movie: Disney riffs on the fairy tale of Rapunzel in this eye-wateringly beautiful animation. Combining traditional animation with CGI wizardry, this is probably the best looking tale on the list, a fitting accolade for Disney's fiftieth animated feature.

Most Magical Moment: Mother Gothel's cracking rendition of 'Mother Knows Best'. It's no surprise to learn that actress Donna Murphy is a broadway star.

28. Ever After (1998)

The Fairy Tale Movie: Drew Barrymore stars in this glossily affable take on the classic Cinderella story set in rural 17th Century France, charming Dougray Scott's prince with her quick wit and stoicism. Hooray!

Most Magical Moment: The ornately beautiful ball is a visual treat. Lovely stuff.

27. Willow (1988)

The Fairy Tale Movie: Warwick Davis takes a starring role as the titular dwarf who finds himself the unlikely hero in a quest to protect a special baby from the malicious attentions of a wicked queen. An epic adventure from the days when George Lucas had a direct line to his audience's imagination.

Most Magical Moment: The animal transformation scene was pretty spectacular for the time!

26. Le Dernier Chaperon Rouge (1996)

The Fairy Tale Movie: Emmanuelle Beart stars in this twisted version of Little Red Riding Hood, in which Red discovers an underground laboratory where an evil scientist has been kidnapping and mutilating girls. The last of his victims has survived him however, and she rather fancies herself a new pair of legs

Most Magical Moment: The discovery of the garden is both creepy and wondrous, as the animals and flowers sway to the strains of a mysterious song...

25. Sleepy Hollow (1999)

The Fairy Tale Movie: Tim Burton takes on the seminal American fairy tale of the Headless Horseman, with Johnny Depp leading a fantastically pallid cast through a blood-curdling tale of deception and revenge.

Most Magical Moment: When Depp's Ichabod Crane returns the Horseman's head, allowing him to make his return to hell. It's a happy ending, of sorts.

24. Snow White And The Seven Dwarves (1937)

The Fairy Tale Movie: The Snow White story has been adapted more times than we can count, but none have managed to top the Mouse House's seminal take on the fairest maiden in the land. Reasonably frightening in places (the forest scene in particular), it's one of Disney's darker dabblings with fairy tale lore.

Most Magical Moment: The transformation of the wicked queen into the hideous apple-bearing crone is deliciously grotesque.

23. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

The Fairy Tale Movie: Guillermo Del Toro blends crushing realism with outlandish fantasy in this tale of a small girl living in Franco's fascist Spain. Creating a fairy tale world in her mind is the only way she can cope with the horrors of her day to day life, a fact that is revealed in the film's heartbreaking finale.

Most Magical Moment: The Pale Man sticks in the memory, but the bittersweet conclusion presents a classic fairy tale ending, albeit one that's tinged with tragedy.

22. The Matrix (1999)

The Fairy Tale: Bear with us here, because to our minds, The Matrix is basically a sci-fi retelling of Alice In Wonderland. A wide-eyed innocent stumbles into a bizarre and baffling world that makes him question the whole nature of existence. Surrounded by a cast of odd characters, none of whom will give him a straight answer about where he is, he takes on an all-powerful ruler to break this world's bizarre set of rules for the better. They're one and the same story!

Most Magical Moment: Bullet-time, baby! Alice hasn't got anything on that.

21. Splash (1984)

The Fairy Tale Movie: Disney puts a new spin on The Little Mermaid, with Daryl Hannah's mer-dweller capturing the heart of Tom Hanks' average joe. The course of true love never runs smoothly however, and that adage is doubly true when one half of the couple is a fish.

Most Magical Moment: The final scene in which Hanks takes the plunge, committing himself to a life under the sea. It's much better down where it's wetter, don't you know?

George Wales
George is GR's resident movie news person, based out of London. He understands that all men must die, but he'd rather not think about it.