GK Chesterton once said that fairy tales tell children the dragons can be beaten.
Traditionally, knights and princes fight them to save damsels and princesses, but these days, dragons are more than just scary creatures that villains use to thwart heroes—they can be friends, allies, and even family. Of course, they’re pretty cool as villains too.
Here are some cool movies that featured dragons and can tell you how magical these creatures can be.
Often called Hayao Miyazaki’s finest work, this kind of Alice in Wonderland fable is set in the spirit world. It follows the story of a young girl named Chihiro who crosses paths with strange and magical creatures during her journey—one of which is Haku, a young boy who also happens to be a river spirit taking the shape of a dragon.
In the land of Alagaesia, a farm boy named Eragon finds a mysterious stone in the mountains. A dragon, which he named Saphira, hatched from the stone. Because of the power of dragons, an evil king sends his servants to capture them.
Eragon is actually the first book in the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini, who started writing the book at a mere age of 15. The movie did not gather as much love as the series, though, but it’s still a good one to watch.
How to Train Your Dragon
Another movie based on a book series, this time by Cressida Cowell. This is a story about a young Viking boy named Hiccup, who befriended a dragon despite his culture saying otherwise. He and his dragon, Toothless, however, showed friendship and loyalty that eventually gained respect from their different tribes.
A dragon named Smaug has claimed Erebor in JRR Tolkein’s story, and Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey, and the dwarves have been trying to reclaim their land. This prequel to Lord of the Rings is a different kind of adventure but has all the magic of the story just the same.
A dragon-slaying knight, a dragon, and an evil that surrounds them, this is a story of two opposing characters fighting for the greater good. Starring Dennis Quaid, David Thewlis, Jason Isaacs, and featuring the voice of Sean Connery, this film was nominated for several awards, but did not appeal to critics. Still a good watch, though!
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Speaking of David Thewlis and Jason Isaacs, they may be supporting characters in the massive Harry Potter series, but they did work together again. Dragons have made several appearances in Potterverse, but they were most relevant in the fourth film, as the first task of the Triwizard Tournament. The scene may be short but definitely action-packed.
Quest for Camelot
Another take on the story of King Arthur’s Camelot, this story tells the tale of a girl, a blind and reclusive aspiring knight, and a two-headed dragon, who all brave the Enchanted Forest to retrieve the magical sword, Excalibur, which was stolen by a brute who killed a knight from the Round Table. It’s not exactly one that will reveal a lot of history about Camelot, but it’s a fun watch, all the same.
The story of Beowulf has been the bane of every high-school student’s existence. However, Robert Zemeckis’s adaptation used motion capture to retell the epic poem, and it has become an exciting, energetic movie that teens will probably watch if they don’t want to read the poem.
If you’re wondering where the dragon was in the film, well, Mushu has been insistent, even though he looks a lot like a lizard. However, dragons are significant in the Chinese culture, and Mushu being Mulan’s guardian makes him a pretty big influence on the story.
Maleficent becoming a dragon in the animated movie is one of the scariest things a child can watch. The minimalistic design of early animation was terrifying but magical all the same. It’s also the perfect example of a prince on a white horse attempting to rescue a princess from the tower. (Plus, Maleficent is a great villain to fight, in sorceress or dragon form.)
There are a lot of other films that feature dragons, these are just few of them. Did we miss any of your favorites?