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If you’ve been trying to fill the Harry Potter-sized void in your life ever since J.K. Rowling published her seventh book in the original series, you are not alone. Although it’s been nearly a decade since we all bid farewell to the boy who lived, we still can’t get our minds off of the wizarding world (anyone else still waiting on acceptance letters from Hogwarts?!). But thankfully, there are quite a few titles with Potter-like themes and characteristics to enchant our inner child. Whether you’re into magical beasts or fierce young heroes with a knack for defeating the bad guys, here are 20 movies like Harry Potter you should check out.
1. ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Films
Who’s in it? Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler
What’s it about? We'd be remiss not to include these films, which are set in the same universe as Harry Potter. If you recall, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a required textbook for first-year students at Hogwarts. And now, with this film series, Potterheads can take a deep dive into the history of the book's author, Newt Scamander (Redmayne), as he studies magical creatures from around the world.
2. ‘Vampire Academy’ (2014)
Who’s in it? Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Danila Kozlovsky
What’s it about? If you're especially obsessed with Hogwarts, then you might enjoy Vampire Academy, which introduces viewers to a magical safe haven for those in the vampire community. The film centers on Rose Hathaway (Deutch), a half-human, half-vampire, as she attends Vladimir's Academy, a secret boarding school designed to help, train and protect vampires.
3. ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ (2008)
Who’s in it? Freddie Highmore, Sarah Bolger, Mary-Louise Parker, Martin Short
What’s it about? Based on the books by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, this thrilling fantasy follows two siblings who move into a new home and discover a fantasy world, complete with mythical creatures like goblins, trolls, fairies and ogres.
4. ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ Trilogy
Who’s in it? Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell
What’s it about? Inspired by C.S. Lewis’s classic children’s books, the films follow a group of siblings who venture into a closet and get transported to a magical place called Narnia. While there, they team up with a magical lion to help defeat the wicked White Witch, who brought an endless winter to the land.
5. ‘Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events’ (2004)
Who’s in it? Jim Carrey, Liam Aiken, Emily Browning
What’s it about? Following the death of their parents, the Baudelaire children get taken in by the mysterious Count Olaf, who wants to steal their inheritance. It may not have any magical elements, but there are definitely some similarities to Harry Potter. For starters, they’re orphans who have to fend for themselves after their parents get murdered by a dangerous enemy.
6. ‘The Golden Compass’ (2007)
Who’s in it? Nicole Kidman, Dakota Blue Richards, Daniel Craig, Sam Elliott, Eva Green
What’s it about? Set in an alternate universe, where every human’s soul partially exists outside the body as animals called “daemons,” an orphan named Lyra Belacqua sets out to rescue a group of young children after they’re kidnapped by a mysterious group called the Gobblers.
7. ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ (2006)
Who’s in it? Ivana Baquero, Sergi López, Maribel Verdú, Doug Jones
What’s it about? If you were especially drawn to the Triwizard Tournament in Goblet of Fire, then you don’t want to miss this one. Set in 1944 Francoist Spain, the movie follows 10-year-old Ofelia, who lands in a magical world after visiting an abandoned labyrinth. While there, she meets a mysterious creature and learns that she’s destined to rule their kingdom—but not without completing three challenging tasks.
8. ‘Percy Jackson’ Series (2010-2013)
Who’s in it? Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Sean Bean
What’s it about? Based on Rick Riordan’s best-selling series of the same name, these films focus on a young demigod named Percy Jackson, who embarks on several missions to protect the world from dark forces. Seeing his tight-knit relationship with BFFs Grover and Annabeth will remind you a lot of Harry, Hermione and Ron’s dynamic.
9. ‘The Hunger Games’ Trilogy (2012-2015)
What’s it about? The Hunger Games probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Harry Potter, but there are some parallels between the central characters. In the series, Katniss Everdeen’s fearlessness and determination to take down a corrupt system makes her a symbol of hope for many—although her motives are a bit different from Harry’s. Watch for the suspense, colorful characters and compelling storyline.
10. ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ (2018)
What’s it about? It’s not very often that you see young Black girls as the central character in fantasy films, which makes Ava Duvernay’s A Wrinkle In Time all the more special. The star-studded film follows a young girl named Meg (Reid) who, with the assistance of three astral beings, travels across the universe to find her missing father.
11. ‘Alice In Wonderland’ (2010)
Who’s in it? Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Crispin Glover, Mia Wasikowska
What’s it about? Adapted from Tim Burton’s classic Alice in Wonderland, this dark fantasy remake includes the same kind of magical wonder we loved so much in the Harry Potter films. It follows 19-year-old Alice (Wasikowska) teams up with the Mad Hatter (Depp) and tries to save Wonderland from the evil Red Queen.
12. ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ (2007)
Who’s in it? Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb, Bailee Madison, Robert Patrick, Zooey Deschanel
What’s it about? Hogwarts proved to be like a sanctuary for Harry, and similarly, Jesse and Leslie had the magical world of "Terabithia," where they could have epic adventures and rule and king a queen. The coming-of-age film does a brilliant job of highlighting close friendships and the importance of imagination.
13. ‘A Monster Calls’ (2016)
Who’s in it? Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Lewis MacDougall
What’s it about? It’s impossible to not see bits of Harry Potter’s character in Conor (MacDougall), a lonely young boy who lives in a troubled home and struggles with nightmares. His life takes a turn for the better, however, when he gets a visit from a giant, magical tree. The poignant film also addresses quite a few deep issues, like bullying and parental neglect.
14. ‘The Kid Who Would Be King’ (2019)
Who’s in it? Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Tom Taylor, Rebecca Ferguson
What’s it about? The Kid Who Would Be King tells the story of 12-year-old Alex, who discovers King Arthur's legendary sword Excalibur. With the help of his friends and a wizard, Alex must use the magical weapon to save humanity from a dangerous enchantress.
15. ‘Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children’ (2016)
Who’s in it? Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Chris O'Dowd, Allison Janney
What’s it about? When 16-year-old Jake Portman (Butterfield) goes to Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children, an institution designed for kids with magical abilities, he’s tasked with protecting the children. But before long, he gets involved in a dark mystery and everything is not what it seems.
16. ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Trilogy (2001-2003)
Who’s in it? Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen
What’s it about? From wizards and dwarfs to intense battle sequences, this film series offers the closest thing you can get to the wizarding world. Join Frodo Baggins (Wood) and the Fellowship as they embark on a magical quest to destroy the Ruling Ring.
17. ‘The Hobbit’ Films (2012-2014)
Who’s in it? Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch
What’s it about? These movies, based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s eponymous novel, serve as prequels to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and they all tell inspiring tales of bravery. Six decades before the events of LOTR, The Hobbit follows Frodo’s cousin, Bilbo Baggins, who joins 13 dwarves on a mission to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug.
18. ‘Eragon’ (2006)
Who’s in it? Ed Speleers, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Guillory, John Malkovich
What’s it about? Allow us to introduce you to Hagrid’s mini-me, Eragon (Speleers). Set in the fictional kingdom of Alagaesia, the young boy stumbles upon a dragon egg and develops a close bond with the growing creature as he cares for it. But little does Eragon know that this dragon is the key to rescuing his homeland from their evil and powerful ruler, Galbatorix (Malkovich).
19. ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ (2010)
Who’s in it? Noah Ringer, Dev Patel, Nicola Peltz, Jackson Rathbone
What’s it about? The tone and use of magic isn’t quite the same in this film, but like Harry Potter, The Last Airbender centers on Aang (Ringer), an incredibly gifted young boy who's tasked with defeating a major threat.
20. ‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ (2013)
Who’s in it? Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Jemima West
What’s it about? Based on Cassandra Clare’s bestselling YA books, The Mortal Instruments revolves around a teenager named Clary Fray (Collins). When her mother gets kidnapped, she discovers that she’s actually a Shadowhunter, destined to protect the human world from dark forces. But can she hone her talents in time to rescue her mother?