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The 50 greatest fairy tale movies

10. Cinderella (1950)

The Fairy Tale Movie: The traditional story of Cinderella, jazzed up with a funky fairy godmother, a host of talking mice and an evil old cat. So successful was the movie that Disney based their logo upon the Prince's castle. Iconic.

Most Magical Moment: The transformation of a knackered old pumpkin into a glorious carriage never fails to tickle our sense of wonder.

9. The Dark Crystal (1982)

The Fairy Tale Movie: Jim Henson's frequently nightmarish fantasy, charting the existence of a range of weird and wonderful creatures including the Gelflings, the Mystics and the utterly terrifying Skeksis.

Most Magical Moment: The draining of a Gelfling's life force by a Skeksis scientist. Sorry, did we say magical? We meant harrowing.

8. The Little Mermaid (1989)

The Fairy Tale Movie: A delightful tale of boy meets fish, with sea-dwelling Ariel longing to become a human in order to marry the dashing Prince Eric. Enter the genuinely scary sea witch, Ursula, who can make it all happen for a price.

Most Magical Moment: 'Under The Sea' is one of the most toe-tappingly brilliant musical numbers of all time. The fact that it's orchestrated by a flamboyant crab makes it that much better.

7. Edward Scissorhands (1990)

The Fairytale Movie: Tim Burton's moving tale of a gentle humanoid creature with scissors for hands, who was created by Vincent Price's kindly inventor before he dropped dead. All alone in the world, he forges a bond with Winona Ryder, only for the townsfolk to turn against him

Most Magical Moment: The ice-sculpting scene is heartbreakingly beautiful...

6. The Wizard Of Oz (1939)

The Fairytale Movie: One of the more disturbing fairy tales on the list, largely thanks to the presence of Margaret Hamilton's Wicked Witch and her army of flying monkeys. At least there are plenty of jaunty ditties to temper the fear factor!

Most Magical Moment: The first appearance of the Wizard, as a floating disembodied head. Impressive...

5. Hook (1991)

The Fairy Tale Movie: Steven Spielberg takes the fairy tale of Peter Pan and runs with it in this glorious slice of family entertainment. Robin Williams makes for a game Pan, but Dustin Hoffman's preening Captain Hook steals every scene he crops up in. Hence the title of the film.

Most Magical Moment: When Pan reclaims his sword from Rufio. Goosebumps, anyone?

4. Aladdin (1992)

The Fairy Tale Movie: This all-singing, all-dancing account of a street-rat's rise to prominence contains some of the catchiest songs of the entire Disney canon, and in Robin Williams' Genie, one of the finest comedy sidekicks. Throw in a supremely hissable villain in the form of Jafar and some ace visuals, and it's no wonder Aladdin remains so well loved some 20 years later.

Most Magical Moment: The Genie's 'Friend Like Me' routine, in which he shows off the full extent of his powers to a spellbound Aladdin.

3. The Princess Bride (1987)

The Fairy Tale Movie: A gloriously daft adventure from Rob Reiner, in which the swashbuckling action is perfectly balanced by a raft of well-judged, surrealist humour. Packed to bursting with memorable characters, it's the guilty pleasure to end all guilty pleasures.

Most Magical Moment: Inigo Montoya's sword fight with Rugen, soundtracked by his long-rehearsed speech of vengeance...

2. Beauty And The Beast (1991)

The Fairy Tale Movie: Another Disney classic, this time bringing the feelgood tale of Belle and Beast to the big screen. Probably the most shamelessly romantic of all the Disney films, it's also a thrilling ride, particularly when Beast goes toe to toe with the villainous Gaston.

Most Magical Moment: It has to be 'Be Our Guest', doesn't it? A musical number only trumped by Mr. Burns' rendition of 'See My Vest'.

1. Red Shoes (1948)

The Fairy Tale Movie: Powell and Pressburger's ballet-centric adaptation of a Hans Christian Anderson story contains everything a good fairy tale needs: a beautiful young heroine, a tragically fateful twist and a sinister edge a mile wide. An unsettling affair, as classic fairy tales tended to be.

Most Magical Moment: The ballet scenes are deliciously entrancing, helped in no small part by Brian Easdale's Oscar-winning score.

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.