Top Movies: 14 Days of Romance Day 13, Fairy Tale Movies

Fantastical characters, magical spells, enchanted forests and a quest for true love — that’s what fairy tales are made of. And they’ve been the perfect ingredients of movies for nearly 100 years of cinematic wonder.

No matter what fairy tale flavor — even the darker ones — they all end with the triumph of true love. Maybe it’s magic.

But whatever it is, it’s all romance.

So, without further ado, here’s our next entry in our 14 Days of Romance Valentine’s Day countdown — Most Romantic Fairy Tale Movies.

Ladyhawke movie scene3. Ladyhawke

Set in Medieval Europe, Richard Donner’s (The Goonies) 1995 fairy tale fantasy tells of a love that defies species (sort of). A lifetime of happiness between the knight Etienne of Navarre (Rutger Hauer, Sword of War) and the lady Isabeau d’Anjou (Michelle Pfeiffer, Stardust) is put on hold when the pair is placed under an evil incantation resulting in Isabeau taking the form of a hawk by day and Navarre becoming a black wolf at night. Thus,  the two can only “see” each other for a few moments at dusk and dawn before they each transform to their animal alternates. But their love remains true as they search for the evil Bishop (John Wood, The White Countess) who placed them under the spell that keeps them apart even while they’re at each other’s sides. With the help of a sneak thief known as The Mouse (Matthew Broderick, Election) and a solar eclipse that creates “a day without a night and a night without a day,” a happily ever after ending is had and humanity is restored. But the romance was just as real when Hauer and Pfeiffer would gaze at their animal others.

Available on DVD from Warner Home Video but hard to find

Enchanted movie scene2. Enchanted

This modern take on the classic fairy tale features all the most important elements: a prince, a wicked stepmother (Susan Sarandon, Bull Durham), a princess who attracts birds when she sings, a poison apple, animals that talk and, of course, true love’s kiss. And better than any of the classic fairy tale stories, in 2007’s Enchanted, the princess (Amy Adams, The Fighter) can choose between two great guys: James Marsden (X-Men) and Patrick Dempsey (TV’s Grey’s Anatomy). Ultimately, though, it’s true love’s kiss that shows where her heart is, and in true romantic style, the loser still gets a girl.

Available on DVD and Blu-ray from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

The Princess Bride movie details1. The Princess Bride

True love — or twue love — is the theme of this 1987 romance adventure by director Rob Reiner, who knows a thing about romance as the helmer of Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally…. In The Princess Bride, farm boy Westley (Cary Elwes, Robin Hood: Men in Tights) and the beautiful Buttercup (Robin Wright Penn, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee) are in love, but when Westley goes off to make his fortune, Buttercup is forced to get engaged to the evil Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon, TV’s Judging Amy). But love will never be kept down — especially in fairy tales. Westley comes back to rescue his true love, even mostly dying in the process. Very romantic.

Available on DVD and Blu-ray from MGM Home Entertainment/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Check out all our 14 Days of Romance.

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.