We can be honest with you, right? We’re all friends here. So, you should know that we’ve watched the Harry Potter movies far more times than should be considered socially acceptable for any adult human. We’re personally OK with this. In fact, we’ll go to our graves vowing that there’s no such thing as visiting Hogwarts onscreen too much! However, we realize that perhaps we should diversify our watching habits to include things outside of the Harry Potter realm. The solution? Tracking down movies like Harry Potter that offer the magical vibes we love so much.
We’re not going to include all of the Harry Potter sequels outside of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on this list (including Fantastical Beasts). Because, well, duh, you’ve seen those a million times. We can sense you’re a Potterhead, too. For the sake of this list, we’re going to stick to movies outside of the Harry Potter franchise. So, keep reading to conjure up a steady stream of content for your viewing queue.
Let the record show that we stand by our assertion that no tale can compare to that of The Boy Who Lived. However, we’re not super-pleased with J.K. Rowling lately, so this list allows us to celebrate other brilliant minds creating cinematic magic out there. Accio, remote control!
Movies Like Harry Potter to Watch ASAP
1. The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)
Why don’t more people talk about this movie? And why, for the love of all things magical, didn’t they create a sequel?! Based on the novels by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, the film follows a boy named Jared and his two siblings as they move to an inherited family home. There, they unexpectedly find magical things all around them. Be forewarned: Your kids will be begging you to get them a pet “brownie” — thanks, Thimbletack!
2. The Chronicles of Narnia Trilogy (2005 – 2010)
You’re familiar with C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia book series, right? If so, you may have already watched this whimsical (although dark at times) trilogy. In the films, the Pevensie siblings unassumingly venture into a wardrobe to discover a magical world beyond. However, just like in Harry Potter, dark forces threaten to overtake those who lack enough fortitude.
3. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
While the Baudelaire siblings at the heart of this film (which later became a Netflix series) don’t possess magical powers, they’re pretty magical nonetheless. The oldest sister Violet has an impressive aptitude for inventing, middle child Klaus boasts a photographic memory, and baby sis Sunny, well, she’s an excellent biter. Similarities to Harry Potter? The siblings are orphaned after an evil overlord kills their parents.
4. The Kid Who Would Be King (2019)
Admittedly, this seems to be one of those movies people either love or they hate. We fall into the former camp! Packed full of history, drama, comedy, adventure, and imagination, The Kid Who Would Be King sees a young boy named Alex discover the mythical sword Excalibur. Upon joining forces with the iconic wizard Merlin, Alex and his friends (the knights of his round dining table) must save humanity from the evil enchantress Morgana.
5. Percy Jackson & The Olympians Series (2010 – 2013)
Rick Riordan’s young adult series about a demigod named Percy Jackson proved to be wildly popular — so much that it became a film series, and a fun one at that. Percy and his friends Annabeth and Grover will give you all the Harry, Hermione, and Ron vibes as they seek to prevent a battle of epic proportions from breaking out.
6. Matilda (1996)
In the canon of magical movies, you can’t get much more classic than Matilda. Created by Roald Dahl, the book-turned-movie follows a young girl raised in an awful home environment — much like Harry. Also like Harry, Matilda sees school as an escape. There’s also the fact that Matilda stumbles upon the knowledge that she can move things with her mind. Plus, we’re pretty sure Professor Umbridge could very well be based on the terrible Ms. Trunchbull.
7. A Monster Calls (2016)
Don’t sleep on this truly magical movie! Based on the novel by Patrick Ness, the film centers on a young boy named Conor. He’s struggling to deal with forces outside of his control: His mother has cancer, his father isn’t really in the picture, the kids at school shun him. He lives with his grandmother, a super-strict woman who he feels doesn’t understand him. But when a magical tree monster beckons, he finds an outlet for his pain. Yes, the story will tug at your heartstrings. But it’s absolutely a worthy watch for Potterheads.
Other Highly-Recommended Movies Like Harry Potter
Bridge to Terabithia (2007)
The NeverEnding Story (1984)
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
The Pagemaster (1994)
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
The Twilight series (2008 – 2012)
Pan’s Labryinth (2006)
The Golden Compass (2007)
The Hunger Games (2012 – 2015)
The Divergent franchise (2014 – 2016)
Avatar: The Last Airbender (2010)
A Wrinkle in Time (2018)