Action/Adventure, Art/Photography, Best Movies, Classics, Drama, Family, Foreign-Language, Musical, Romance

The Best Magical Realism Films Of All-Time

“What are the best Magical Realism movies ever made?” We looked at 144 of the top Magical Realism films and ranked them so we could answer that very question!

The top 32 films, all appearing on 2 or more “Best Magic Realism” movie lists, are ranked below by how many times they appear. The remaining 100+ movies, as well as the sources we used, are in alphabetical order on the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



Top 32 Magic Realism Movies



32 .) A Little Princess (1995) directed by Alfonso Cuarón

 A Little Princess (1995)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Uproxx
  • Wikipedia

When her father enlists to fight for the British in WWI, young Sara Crewe goes to New York to attend the same boarding school her late mother attended. She soon clashes with the severe headmistress, Miss Minchin, who attempts to stifle Sara’s creativity and sense of self- worth.



31 .) Adaptation (2002) directed by Spike Jonze

 Adaptation (2002)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Prezi

A love-lorn script writer grows increasingly desperate in his quest to adapt the book ‘The Orchid Thief’.



30 .) Being John Malkovich (1999) directed by Spike Jonze

 Being John Malkovich (1999)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Uproxx

One day at work, unsuccessful puppeteer Craig finds a portal into the head of actor John Malkovich. The portal soon becomes a passion for anybody who enters it’s mad and controlling world of overtaking another human body.



29 .) Cinema Paradiso (1988) directed by Giuseppe Tornatore

 Cinema Paradiso (1988)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • The Cinemaholic

A filmmaker recalls his childhood, when he fell in love with the movies at his village’s theater and formed a deep friendship with the theater’s projectionist.



28 .) Field of Dreams (1989) directed by Phil Alden Robinson

 Field of Dreams (1989)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Uproxx

Ray Kinsella is an Iowa farmer who hears a mysterious voice telling him to turn his cornfield into a baseball diamond. He does, but the voice’s directions don’t stop — even after the spirits of deceased ballplayers turn up to play.



27 .) Groundhog Day (1993) directed by Harold Ramis

 Groundhog Day (1993)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • The Cinemaholic

A narcissistic TV weatherman, along with his attractive-but-distant producer and mawkish cameraman, is sent to report on Groundhog Day in the small town of Punxsutawney, where he finds himself repeating the same day over and over.



26 .) Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011) directed by Jay Duplass

 Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Uproxx

Dispatched from his basement room on an errand for his mother, slacker Jeff might discover his destiny (finally) when he spends the day with his brother as he tracks his possibly adulterous wife.



25 .) Midnight’s Children (2012) directed by Deepa Mehta

 Midnight's Children (2012)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Wikipedia

The story of a pair of children born within moments of India gaining independence from England, growing up in the country that is nothing like their parent’s generation. A Canadian-British film adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s novel of the same name.



24 .) Moulin Rouge! (2001) directed by Baz Luhrmann

 Moulin Rouge! (2001)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Prezi

A celebration of love and creative inspiration takes place in the infamous, gaudy and glamorous Parisian nightclub, at the cusp of the 20th century. A young poet, who is plunged into the heady world of Moulin Rouge, begins a passionate affair with the club’s most notorious and beautiful star.



23 .) Prelude to a Kiss (1992) directed by Norman René

 Prelude to a Kiss (1992)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Wikipedia

A couple fall in love despite the girl’s pessimistic outlook. As they struggle to come to terms with their relationship, something supernatural happens that tests it.



22 .) Synecdoche, New York (2008) directed by Charlie Kaufman

 Synecdoche, New York (2008)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • The Cinemaholic

A theater director struggles with his work, and the women in his life, as he attempts to create a life-size replica of New York inside a warehouse as part of his new play.



21 .) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) directed by David Fincher

 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Uproxx

Tells the story of Benjamin Button, a man who starts aging backwards with bizarre consequences.



20 .) The Milagro Beanfield War (1988) directed by Robert Redford

 The Milagro Beanfield War (1988)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Wikipedia

In Milagro, a small town in the American Southwest, Ladd Devine plans to build a major new resort development. While activist Ruby Archuleta and lawyer/newspaper editor Charlie Bloom realize that this will result in the eventual displacement of the local Hispanic farmers, they cannot arouse much opposition because of the short term opportunities offered by construction jobs.



19 .) The Shape of Water directed by Guillermo del Toro

 The Shape of Water

Lists It Appears On:

  • Film School Rejects
  • Wikipedia

An other-worldly story, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962, where a mute janitor working at a lab falls in love with an amphibious man being held captive there and devises a plan to help him escape.



18 .) The Tin Drum (1979) directed by Volker Schlöndorff

 The Tin Drum (1979)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Uproxx
  • Wikipedia

Oskar is born in Germany in 1924 with an advanced intellect. Repulsed by the hypocrisy of adults and the irresponsibility of society, he refuses to grow older after his third birthday.



17 .) Time of the Gypsies (1988) directed by Emir Kusturica

 Time of the Gypsies (1988)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Wikipedia

In this luminous tale set in the former Yugoslavia, Perhan, an engaging young Romany with telekinetic powers, is seduced by the quick-cash world of petty crime that threatens to destroy him and those he loves.



16 .) Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010) directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul

 Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)

Lists It Appears On:

  • The Dissolve
  • Wikipedia

Suffering from acute kidney failure, Boonmee has chosen to spend his final days surrounded by his loved ones in the countryside. Surprisingly, the ghost of his deceased wife appears to care for him, and his long lost son returns home in a non-human form. Contemplating the reasons for his illness, Boonmee treks through the jungle with his family to a mysterious hilltop cave—the birthplace of his first life.



15 .) Wings of Desire (1987) directed by Wim Wenders

 Wings of Desire (1987)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Uproxx

Two angels, Damiel and Cassiel, glide through the streets of Berlin, observing the bustling population, providing invisible rays of hope to the distressed but never interacting with them. When Damiel falls in love with lonely trapeze artist Marion, the angel longs to experience life in the physical world, and finds — with some words of wisdom from actor Peter Falk — that it might be possible for him to take human form.



14 .) Big Fish (2003) directed by Tim Burton

 Big Fish (2003)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • The Dissolve
  • Wikipedia

Throughout his life Edward Bloom has always been a man of big appetites, enormous passions and tall tales. In his later years, he remains a huge mystery to his son, William. Now, to get to know the real man, Will begins piecing together a true picture of his father from flashbacks of his amazing adventures.



13 .) Birdman (2014) directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

 Birdman (2014)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book My Show
  • Film School Rejects
  • Wikipedia

A fading actor best known for his portrayal of a popular superhero attempts to mount a comeback by appearing in a Broadway play. As opening night approaches, his attempts to become more altruistic, rebuild his career, and reconnect with friends and family prove more difficult than expected.



12 .) Donnie Darko (2001) directed by Richard Kelly

 Donnie Darko (2001)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Film School Rejects
  • IMDB
  • The Cinemaholic

After narrowly escaping a bizarre accident, a troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes.



11 .) Life of Pi (2012) directed by Ang Lee

 Life of Pi (2012)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book My Show
  • Uproxx
  • Wikipedia

The story of an Indian boy named Pi, a zookeeper’s son who finds himself in the company of a hyena, zebra, orangutan, and a Bengal tiger after a shipwreck sets them adrift in the Pacific Ocean.



10 .) Pleasantville (1998) directed by Gary Ross

 Pleasantville (1998)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book My Show
  • IMDB
  • Uproxx

Geeky teenager David and his popular twin sister, Jennifer, get sucked into the black-and-white world of a 1950s TV sitcom called “Pleasantville,” and find a world where everything is peachy keen all the time. But when Jennifer’s modern attitude disrupts Pleasantville’s peaceful but boring routine, she literally brings color into its life.



9 .) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World directed by Edgar Wright

 Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book My Show
  • Film School Rejects
  • Prezi

Scott Pilgrim is a 23 year old radical Canadian gamer and wannabe rockstar who falls in love with an American delivery girl, Ramona Flowers, and must defeat her seven evil exes to be able to date her.



8 .) The Fall (2006) directed by Tarsem Singh

 The Fall (2006)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Uproxx
  • Wikipedia

In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastic story about 5 mythical heroes. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality starts to blur as the tale advances.



7 .) The Green Mile (1999) directed by Frank Darabont

 The Green Mile (1999)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • The Cinemaholic
  • Wikipedia

A supernatural tale set on death row in a Southern prison, where gentle giant John Coffey possesses the mysterious power to heal people’s ailments. When the cell block’s head guard, Paul Edgecomb, recognizes Coffey’s miraculous gift, he tries desperately to help stave off the condemned man’s execution.



6 .) The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) directed by Woody Allen

 The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Uproxx
  • Wikipedia

Cecilia is a waitress in New Jersey, living a dreary life during the Great Depression. Her only escape from her mundane reality is the movie theatre. After losing her job, Cecilia goes to see ‘The Purple Rose of Cairo’ in hopes of raising her spirits, where she watches dashing archaeologist Tom Baxter time and again.



5 .) Midnight in Paris (2011) directed by Woody Allen

 Midnight in Paris (2011)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book My Show
  • IMDB
  • The Cinemaholic
  • Uproxx
  • Wikipedia

A romantic comedy about a family traveling to the French capital for business. The party includes a young engaged couple forced to confront the illusion that a life different from their own is better.



4 .) Like Water For Chocolate (1992) directed by Alfonso Arau

 Like Water For Chocolate (1992)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Film School Rejects
  • IMDB
  • Prezi
  • The Dissolve
  • Wikipedia

Tita is passionately in love with Pedro, but her controlling mother forbids her from marrying him. When Pedro marries her sister, Tita throws herself into her cooking and discovers she can transfer her emotions through the food she prepares, infecting all who eat it with her intense heartbreak.



3 .) Beasts Of The Southern Wild (2012) directed by Benh Zeitlin

 Beasts Of The Southern Wild (2012)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • The Cinemaholic
  • The Dissolve
  • Uproxx
  • Wikipedia

Hushpuppy, an intrepid six-year-old girl, lives with her father, Wink in ‘the Bathtub’, a southern Delta community at the edge of the world. Wink’s tough love prepares her for the unraveling of the universe – for a time when he’s no longer there to protect her. When Wink contracts a mysterious illness, nature flies out of whack – temperatures rise, and the ice caps melt, unleashing an army of prehistoric creatures called aurochs. With the waters rising, the aurochs coming, and Wink’s health fading, Hushpuppy goes in search of her lost mother.



2 .) Amélie (2001) directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet

 Amélie (2001)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Film School Rejects
  • IMDB
  • The Cinemaholic
  • Uproxx
  • Wikipedia

At a tiny Parisian café, the adorable yet painfully shy Amélie (Audrey Tautou) accidentally discovers a gift for helping others. Soon Amelie is spending her days as a matchmaker, guardian angel, and all-around do-gooder. But when she bumps into a handsome stranger, will she find the courage to become the star of her very own love story?



1 .) Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) directed by Guillermo del Toro

 Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Film School Rejects
  • IMDB
  • The Cinemaholic
  • Uproxx
  • Wikipedia

Living with her tyrannical stepfather in a new home with her pregnant mother, 10-year-old Ofelia feels alone until she explores a decaying labyrinth guarded by a mysterious faun who claims to know her destiny. If she wishes to return to her real father, Ofelia must complete three terrifying tasks.



 


The 100+ Additional Best Magical Realism Movies



 

#MoviesDirectorsLists
33A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings (1988)Fernando BirriIMDB
34A Walk in the Clouds (1995)Alfonso ArauIMDB
35About Time (I) (2013)Richard CurtisIMDB
36Alice (1990 film) Wikipedia
37Always, Uproxx
38
An Ambiguous Report About the End of the World
 Wikipedia
39And Then Came Lola (2009)Ellen SeidlerIMDB
40Anti-Christ Uproxx
41Antonia’s Line (1995)Marleen GorrisIMDB
42Arizona Dream Wikipedia
43Asleep in the Sun (2010)Alejandro ChomskiIMDB
44Babette’s Feast (1987)Gabriel AxelIMDB
45Bagdad Cafe (1987)Percy AdlonIMDB
46Big (film) Wikipedia
47Black Cat, White Cat (1998)Emir KusturicaIMDB
48Blue Velvet Uproxx
49Breaking The Waves, Uproxx
50Buy Now, Die Later Wikipedia
51Charlie Countryman Wikipedia
52Chocolat (2000)Lasse HallströmIMDB
53Christopher Robin (film) Wikipedia
54Cows (1992)Julio MedemIMDB
55Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Uproxx
56Defending Your Life Uproxx
57Delicatessen, Uproxx
58Don’t Look Now (1973)Nicolas RoegIMDB
59Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (1976)Bruno BarretoIMDB
60Donovan’s Echo (2011)Jim CliffeIMDB
61Dreams (1990 film) Wikipedia
62Edward Scissorhands Uproxx
63El bosc (2012)Óscar AibarIMDB
64El bosque animado (1987)José Luis CuerdaIMDB
65El lado oscuro del corazón 2 (2001)Eliseo SubielaIMDB
66El Norte (film) Wikipedia
67Electrick Children Wikipedia
68Eréndira (1983)Ruy GuerraIMDB
69Eve’s Bayou (1997)Kasi LemmonsIMDB
70Everyone Says I Love You, Uproxx
71Everything Is Illuminated (film) Wikipedia
72Fly Me To Polaris Uproxx
73Forget Paris (2011)Christopher PresswellIMDB
74Frida (2002)Julie TaymorIMDB
75Ghost Uproxx
76Happy Accidents (2000)Brad AndersonIMDB
77Heaven Can Wait. Uproxx
78Intacto Wikipedia
79Interstate 60: Episodes of the Road (2002)Bob GaleIMDB
80It’s A Wonderful Life, Uproxx
81Jacob’s Ladder (I) (1990)Adrian LyneIMDB
82Jane the Virgin 
Film School Rejects
83Kiki’s Delivery Service Uproxx
84L.A. Story, Uproxx
85La tigra (1990)Camilo LuzuriagaIMDB
86Leap of Faith (1992)Richard PearceIMDB
87Liar Liar Wikipedia
88Little Buddha (1993)Bernardo BertolucciIMDB
89Lost Highway Uproxx
90Love in the Time of Cholera (2007)Mike NewellIMDB
91Ma Vie en Rose (1997)Alain BerlinerIMDB
92Magnolia, Uproxx
93Mararía (1998)Antonio José BetancorIMDB
94Mars (2004 film) Wikipedia
95Mood Indigo (2013)Michel GondryIMDB
96My Neighbor Totoro Uproxx
97Narcos 
Film School Rejects
98No One Writes to the Colonel (1999)Arturo RipsteinIMDB
99Odiyan Wikipedia
100One Day (2010 film) Wikipedia
101Orfeu (1999)Carlos DieguesIMDB
102Oviedo Express (2007)Gonzalo SuárezIMDB
103Paddington 
Film School Rejects
104Pedro Páramo (1978)José BolañosIMDB
105Penelope (2006)Mark PalanskyIMDB
106Ponyo Uproxx
107Porco Rosso (1992)Hayao MiyazakiIMDB
108Prospero’s Books Wikipedia
109Repentance (1987 film) Wikipedia
110Return to Me Wikipedia
111Ruby Sparks 
Film School Rejects
112Sliding Doors (1998)Peter HowittIMDB
113Sohra Bridge Wikipedia
114Spirited Away Uproxx
115Sucker Punch (2011 film) Wikipedia
116The Brothers Bloom (2008)Rian JohnsonIMDB
117The Butcher Boy Uproxx
118The City of Lost Children Wikipedia
119The Cobbler (2014 film) Wikipedia
120The Dark Side of the Heart (1992)Eliseo SubielaIMDB
121The Dark Tower (2017 film) Wikipedia
122The Fisher King (1991)Terry GilliamIMDB
123The House of the Spirits (1993)Bille AugustIMDB
124The Last Judgment (1961 film) Wikipedia
125The Legend of Bagger Vance Wikipedia
126The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)Wes AndersonIMDB
127The Mighty Uproxx
128The Miracle of Father Malachia Wikipedia
129The Mistress of Spices Wikipedia
130The Path of Zarathustra Wikipedia
131The Princess Bride (1987) 
The Cinemaholic
132The Red Violin (1998)François GirardIMDB
133The Secret Of Roan Inish. Uproxx
134The Summer of Miss Forbes (1989 TV Movie)Jaime Humberto HermosilloIMDB
135The Sun Also Rises (2007 film) Wikipedia
136The Wizard Of Oz. Uproxx
137The World According to Garp (1982)George Roy HillIMDB
138To Rome with Love (film) Wikipedia
139Un secreto de Esperanza Wikipedia
140Underground (1995)Emir KusturicaIMDB
141Undertow (2009 film) Wikipedia
142Whale Rider (2002)Niki CaroIMDB
143Winter’s Tale Uproxx
144Zelig, Uproxx

 


8 Best Films Featuring Magical Realism Sources/Lists



Source Article
Book My Show Best Movies That Have Magical Realism
Film School Rejects A Guide to Magical Realism in Film
IMDB Magic Realism in the Top Movies, films, Cinema.
Prezi Magical Realism In Books/Movies
The Cinemaholic 10 Best Magic Realism Movies of All Time
The Dissolve Five magical-realism movies in the spirit of the late Gabriel García
Uproxx 40 films that manage to get magical realism right where
Wikipedia Category:Magic realism films

Click Here To Subscribe To The Cinema Dailies Youtube Channel!

You Might Also Like