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The 50 greatest fairy tale movies

20. Hard Candy (2005)

The Fairy Tale Movie: Don't look at us like that! Hard Candy is Little Red Riding Hood by another name. Although this version of Red doesn't need any big strong woodcutter to come and save her. She's more than capable of looking after herself.

Most Magical Moment: The eerie, dream-like final scene in which Ellen Page disappears into the woods, taking a brief look back over her shoulder before she goes.

19. Labyrinth (1986)

The Fairy Tale Movie: A barmy adventure featuring David Bowie as the bizarre Goblin King who steals a young child and hides him in his fantastical labyrinth. When the missing imp's older sister comes looking for him, all kinds of weird and wonderful antics ensue.

Most Magical Moment: The masquerade ball, in which the teenage Jennifer Connolly is profoundly wooed by Bowie's fantasy land.

18. The City Of Lost Children (1995)

The Fairy Tale Movie: Jean-Pierre Jeunet tells the sinister story of Krank, a cruel inventor incapable of dreaming. Tired of missing out, he decides to start kidnapping children in an attempt to steal their dreams for himself

Most Magical Moment: The presence of a flea circus offers Jeunet a chance to show off with a head to head journey filmed from a flea's eye view.

17. Suspiria (1977)

The Fairy Tale Movie: With its witches, labyrinths and deep, dark forests, there's no mistaking the fairy tale origins of Dario Argento's classic horror film. The lurid colour scheme and disconcertingly barmy storyline give it the slippery ambiguity beloved of the finest fairy stories.

Most Magical Moment: The maggot scene might be fairly queasy, but it could be plucked straight from the pages of the Brothers Grimm.

16. Alice In Wonderland (1951)

The Fairy Tale Movie: The definitive adaptation of Lewis Carroll's trippy fairy tale, Disney's version of Alice is surprisingly true to the source material, what with its creepy Cheshire Cat and authentically barmy tea party. Throw in Disney's trademark visuals and you're on to a winner.

Most Magical Moment: The aforementioned tea party is pleasingly bizarre, as is the parade of playing cards.

15. Stardust (2007)

The Fairy Tale Movie: An adaptation of Neil Gaiman's popular novel, Stardust is a veritable smorgasbord of fairy tale tropes, from wicked witches to fair maidens, dashing heroes to flamboyantly camp pirates. Who'd have expected this from Matthew Vaughn, a man whose only previous directorial effort was gritty crime flick Layer Cake?

Most Magical Moment: The transformation of Michelle Pfeiffer's haggard old crone into a stunningly slinky vixen is a sight to behold.

14. Enchanted (2007)

The Fairy Tale Movie: Disney brings postmodernism to the traditional fairy tale by displacing Amy Adams' pure-hearted princess into the stark reality of contemporary New York. Fish out of water funnies ensue

Most Magical Moment: Giselle recruits a posse of neighbourhood animals to clean Patrick Dempsey's flat for him. Neat trick.

13. Black Swan (2010)

The Fairy Tale Movie: This one is probably pushing the definition of fairy tale a little far, but given that the plot borrows heavily from Swan Lake, we think it probably qualifies. And with its woozily ambiguous storyline, it's certainly dark enough to keep the Brothers Grimm happy.

Most Magical Moment: The awe-inspiring dance that forms the film's grand finale. Beautiful and terrifying in equal measure, much like the film itself.

12. Peter Pan (1953)

The Fairy Tale Movie: Disney takes a crack at the boy who never grew up, the two-dimensional forerunner to the tale they would go on to tell in Hook. This one is a more conventional affair than that film, though no less charming for all that. The crocodile is brought to life particularly skilfully, as is Hook himself

Most Magical Moment: The initial nighttime flight from the children's dormitory across the London skyline away to Never Never Land.

11. Shrek (2001)

The Fairy Tale Movie: Dreamworks reinvents the fairy tale, skewering many of its key tropes and cliches in the process. Yet for all the snarkiness, it's also a heartwarming tale of an outsider striving for acceptance. And there's a talking donkey, which is always good.

Most Magical Moment: Donkey's rendition of 'I'm A Believer' is a bona fide showstopper!

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.