Who doesn’t love a fairy-tale romance? After all, fantasy and romance are both escapist genres, transporting the viewer to a world of magic, thrills, and adventure in which anything is possible.
From exploring the underworld with your beloved, secretly dating a supernatural being, to fighting otherworldly foes to be with your one true love, these fantasy romance movies will sweep you off your feet.
Based on Neil Gaiman’s award-winning novel, Stardust tells the story of young Tristan, who ventures into the magical realm of Stormhold beyond the Wall to retrieve a fallen star for his sweetheart, Victoria. But the kingdom of Stormhold has its fair share of secrets with witches, unicorns, and scheming princes.
At its heart, Stardust is an old-fashioned fairy tale with a refreshing charm and a happily-ever-after.
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Although adapted from Washington Irving’s 1820 tale “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, this Tim Burton film takes plenty of creative liberties to tell a thoroughly satisfying love story.
Unlike the short story, Ichabod Crane in the film isn’t a bumbling school teacher, but a constable and detective who investigates a series of murders in the fictional village.
Played by Johnny Depp, Ichabod is skeptical of the supernatural and swears by his scientific methods. But his beliefs are tested as he delves deeper into the mystery and slowly falls in love with Katrina Van Tassel, daughter of one of the richest farmers in the locality.
Classic fairy tale meets modern musical in this delightful film directed by Kevin Lima.
Giselle (Amy Adams), a young woman from the fairy-tale kingdom of Andalasia, nurses several romantic fantasies. Along with her chipmunk friend Pip, Giselle suddenly finds herself in modern-day Manhattan.
There, she meets Robert Philip (a very handsome Patrick Dempsey), a cynical divorce lawyer who doesn’t believe in true love. Meanwhile, Prince Edward (from Andalasia) searches for Giselle, who he believes is his true love.
With a mash-up of live action and animation sequences, Enchanted pays homage to Disney’s old animated features while subverting the archetypical story of a Disney princess.
Corpse Bride (2005)
Victor Van Dort and Victoria Everglot barely know each other, but their parents have arranged for them to get married. This marriage of convenience will help the newly-rich Van Dorts climb the class ladder while the aristocratic Everglots become wealthy again.
But while practicing his wedding vows, a nervous Victor accidentally ends up in the underworld and finds himself wedded to a dead woman named Emily. As he tries to return to the Land of the Living and back to his fiancée, Emily’s tragic backstory comes to light, and Victor must set right past wrongs.
A deliciously macabre stop-motion animated film, Corpse Bride is an unforgettable watch.
The Shape of Water (2017)
Like Tim Burton, Mexican film maker Guillermo del Toro is known for his whimsy and fantastical directorial vision.
One of his recent films is The Shape of Water (2017), a heart-tugging romantic fantasy about a mute cleaning lady who falls in love with a fish-like humanoid creature held in captivity at the government laboratory where she works.
Set during the Cold War, the film touches upon racism, disability, illegal experimentation, and the transgressive power of true love.
Ella Enchanted (2004)
If you’re looking for a love story that’s completely set in a fantastical world, Ella Enchanted has you covered.
Ella’s godmother mistakenly blesses her with the “gift of obedience”. As a result, she must obey any order she is given. When people discover her secret, they quickly take advantage of her.
With her life thrown into chaos, Ella searches for a way to undo her gift and embarks on a magical journey across the kingdom of Lamia.
Kate & Leopold (2001)
An underrated timey-wimey rom-com, Kate & Leopold is the answer to your romantic fantasies.
Leopold (Hugh Jackman), His Grace the 3rd Duke of Albany, suddenly ends up in modern-day New York, where he falls for the cynical Kate McKay (Meg Ryan).
But even as Leopold (who is from the 19th century) gradually adjusts to the cultural differences, he never stops being a chivalric gentleman.
Be it his unwavering politeness or the adorable way he princess-carries a sleepy Kate to her room, Leopold is the ultimate fictional boyfriend.
While not a romance per se, this David Bowie-starring dark fantasy film oozes with sexual tension and magic.
When 16-year-old Sarah accidentally wishes her baby brother to be taken away by the goblins, she makes a deal with Jareth, the Goblin King: solve his labyrinth within thirteen hours or risk her brother being turned into a goblin forever.
Her journey into the underworld and her curiosity towards the Goblin King are thinly-veined metaphors for a young woman’s sexual awakening. Plus, Labyrinth has a gorgeous masquerade scene that you’re sure to replay over and over.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
One of Tim Burton’s best films, Edward Scissorhands is sure to make you cry.
An inventive take on the Frankenstein’s monster trope, this movie tells the story of Edward, a mechanical boy whose creator abandons him with scissors for his hands.
Edward lives in a castle all alone until Peg, an Avon saleslady, finds him and invites him to live in the town, where he falls in love with Kim, Peg’s daughter. But Edward's strangeness invites curiosity, wonder, and hatred in equal measure from the town residents and violent jealousy from Kim’s boyfriend.
Edward Scissorhands is a breathtaking fantasy romance with gothic undertones.
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
If you’re up for a darker twist on the Snow White fairy tale, this 2012 blockbuster film starring Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, and Chris Hemsworth might be up your alley.
Snow White, her evil stepmother, and the titular huntsman aren’t one-dimensional characters. Instead, they have complex interweaving storylines.
While Theron’s portrayal of Ravenna (a dark sorceress and Snow White’s stepmother) steals the show, the movie still delivers an enjoyable love story with the fabled happily-ever-after.