#Movies & TV
The Best Fairy Tale Movies for Grown-Ups to Enjoy
by Jennifer Lafferty
Most moviegoers never truly outgrow fairy tales, which is why there are so many popular reimaginings of childhood classics, geared toward older audiences. Check out a few our our favorite fairy tale-based movies for grown-ups.
Ever After: A Cinderella Story
Ever After was among the first movies to give a classic fable a feminist twist. This 1998 romance stars Drew Barrymore as a mistreated young woman who teams up with a prince and forges her own destiny.
Some fairy tales are surprisingly dark and sinister, like Maleficent. Angelina Jolie stars as a vengeful fairy who curses a baby princess in this 2014 Sleeping Beauty-inspired flick, considered by many to be too scary for young children.
Long before Natalie Babbitt’s classic coming-of-age fable Tuck Everlasting made it to Broadway, it was adapted to this compelling 2002 romantic drama starring Alexis Bledel as a sheltered young girl who encounters a mysterious and ageless family.
Although Enchanted was geared more toward kids, this 2007 family comedy starring Amy Adams as a fairy tale princess exiled to modern day New York, where she falls in love with a lawyer (Patrick Dempsey), also appeals to adults.
Alice in Wonderland Franchise
Leave it to imaginative filmmaker Tim Burton and a star-studded cast that includes Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, to bring an intriguing live-action Alice in Wonderland franchise to the big screen, that would excite moviegoers of all ages.
Fans have drawn comparisons between James Cameron’s sci-fi adventure blockbuster Avatar and a number of childhood fables, including The Jungle Book and Tarzan. Cameron himself admits he was inspired by the novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Rudyard Kipling.
Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters
One of the edgiest fairy tale reimaginings, and one definitely not for small children, is 2013 horror/action film Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters, starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as bounty hunters, tracking and killing witches worldwide.
Into the Woods
While this 2014 musical fantasy wasn’t based on a specific fable, it follows a childless couple (Emily Blunt, James Corden), advised by a witch (Meryl Streep) to remove a curse, with magical items from classic fairy tales.
The Brothers Grimm
Matt Damon and Heath Ledger star as two traveling con men, fraudulently taking money to rid villiagers of supernatural beasts, who are suddenly faced with an actual fairy-tale curse in this 2005 adventure-comedy.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Peter Jackson wrote and directed this adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy novel, embraced by children and adults alike. Martin Freeman stars as the heroic Bilbo Baggins, on a quest to save the dwarves’ mountain home, and gold.
Director Steven Spielberg’s 1991 reimagining of Peter Pan follows an adult Peter (Robin Williams), now a busy executive, who must reclaim his youthful spirit to battle Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman), when Hook kidnaps Peter’s two children.
One of the creepiest big screen fairy tale take-offs ever is the twisted 1996 Little Red Riding Hood adaptation Freeway, starring Kiefer Sutherland as a serial killer/pedophile and Reese Witherspoon as a juvenile delinquent runaway.
Beauty and the Beast
The treasured Beauty and the Beast has had many adaptations, most notably the Disney animated classic. But some of these films are geared toward adults such as Jean Cocteau’s sophisticated 1946 French-language romance drama La Belle et la Bête.
Oz the Great and Powerful
While nothing could top 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz, cherished by children of all ages, this 2013 film provided an interesting exploration of Oz, starring James Franco as a small-time magician in a power struggle with three witches.