Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy marked a defining moment for the fantasy genre on the big screen. The director put his heart and soul into his adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novels, and the three movies debuted to overwhelming critical claim and became blockbusters that defined the early 2000s. Hit fantasy shows in the years since like Game of Thrones and The Witcher can trace at least part of their DNA back to Jackson's success with The Lord of the Rings.
If you're on a quest to find more movies like The Lord of the Rings, look no further. We've scoured the vast landscape of film history (not to mention the undying lands of the best streaming services) to compile the epic fantasy adventure movies that Tolkien fans should love.
These films tell a range of stories, from a hilarious heist across space and time to centuries-old Arthurian legends brought to life in grandiose fashion. So without further ado, here are the seven best movies like The Lord of the Rings and where you can stream them right now.
Let's kick things off with another blockbuster directed by Peter Jackson. The iconic giant ape is back in this 2005 revival, where we see him on his home turf: Skull Island. An overly ambitious film crew, including screenwriter Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) and filmmaker Carl Denham (Jack Black), venture to the mysterious Skull Island to get the shot of a lifetime, but instead, they end up face-to-face with a slew of deadly flora and fauna. Prehistoric dinosaurs call the island home, as does the titular 25-foot-tall gorilla, and it’s clear neither are too keen for a close-up.
The crew manages to capture King Kong and drag him back to New York City, which is when all hell breaks loose. Lord of the Rings fans may notice the giant ape’s face looks eerily familiar. That’s because Jackson brings back Gollum’s actor, Andy Serkis, to provide the motion-capture performance for King Kong himself. (Serkis also makes a cameo as the ship's cook, Lumpy.)
Jackson’s take on King Kong may not be as universally acclaimed as his Tolkien treatment, but its special effects and sweeping sets are still a feast for the eyes even now, a decade and a half later.
Watch it now on Hulu
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
You're likely already familiar with the story of King Arthur, but Charlie Hunnam's performance as the fabled ruler of Britain breathes new life into the legend.
After the murder of his parents, young Arthur's tyrannical uncle Vortigern (Jude Law) seizes control of the crown. Robbed of his birthright and with no idea of his lineage, Arthur grows up in exile, scrapping by as best he can in the back alleys of London. When Vortigern uncovers the legendary Excalibur stuck in a stone, he has all the men in the city rounded up so they can try to remove it.
Arthur, of course, is the only one able to, at which point he vows to become the legendary fighter and leader he was destined to be. He assembles the toughest fighters in the land, who later become the first knights of his Round Table, to overthrow Vortigern's reign of terror and avenge his father's legacy.
Watch it now on Max
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
Tolkien was close friends with C.S. Lewis, who wrote the Chronicles of Narnia series, and both men drew inspiration from Norse mythology and religious iconography for their fantasy epics. So we'd be remiss not to include Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe on this list.
The first movie in the Narnia trilogy introduces the Pevensie siblings — four children who were forced to flee their home during the Blitz to seek shelter with family living in the countryside. Much like Frodo and Sam must leave their quiet lives in the Shire behind, the Pevensie children also get pulled into a fantastical new world besieged by an evil force. At their new home, they stumble upon a wardrobe that acts as a portal to the world of Narnia, a once-peaceful land suffering from an eternal winter brought on by the evil White Witch (Tilda Swinton).
The sequels, Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, are worth watching too, though they take a bit of a darker turn. But something about the original's majestic set pieces and colorful cast of talking animals captures a certain sense of magic that Lord of the Rings fans will recognize instantly.
Watch it now on Disney Plus
The Green Knight
While the Arthurian legend of The Green Knight may not be as well-known as the tale of Excalibur, without it we wouldn't have The Lord of the Rings to begin with. Tolkien's passion for the epic poem, in which the hero Sir Gawain encounters an array of supernatural creatures, inspired him to create Middle-earth and the diverse races that populate it.
Dev Patel stars as Gawain, a headstrong nephew of King Arthur who, despite sitting at the king's right-hand side at the Round Table, has yet to obtain the mark of a true knight by defining what story to tell as evidence of his valor. When the supernaturally oversized Green Knight crashes the king's New Year's Eve shindig and challenges the other knights to a test of strength, Gawain sees his chance to finally make a name for himself and accepts.
With one year to deliver on his side of the bargain, Gawain sets out on a hellish crusade to find the Green Chapel, where the Green Knight resides, and he encounters the usual Arthurian tests of honor and character along the way.
Watch it now on Max
Kingdom of Heaven
If you liked the large-scale, awe-inspiring battle scenes in The Lord of the Rings, you should definitely add Kingdom of Heaven to your watchlist. Directed by Ridley Scott, of Alien and Blade Runner fame, this historical drama overlaps with The Lord of the Rings in several ways. Both feature a seemingly impossible quest, grandiose scenes of warfare on a cinematic scale as well ass Orlando Bloom in a starring role.
Kingdom of Heaven is set in the Middle Ages during the Crusades, a 200-year-long series of religious wars between Christians and Muslims that helped shape the world we know today. The story follows a French blacksmith named Balian who, reeling from the loss of his wife and child, joins his long-lost father to become a crusader.
Through his journey to the holy land, he hopes to find salvation and learn the true meaning of knighthood. In reality, he finds himself thrust into a long-simmering political dilemma where he must defend a besieged Jerusalem against impossible odds.
Watch it now on Disney Plus
Directed by Ron Howard and produced by Star Wars creator George Lucas, this ’80s fantasy movie has evolved into a beloved cult classic over the years. Like The Lord of the Rings, it stars an unlikely protagonist — Warwick Davis as the titular Willow — who gets pulled into an epic adventure where the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
Willow, a young farmer and aspiring sorcerer, teams up with the mercenary Madmartigan (Val Kilmer) to protect an infant princess from the clutches of an evil queen. It's your classic story of good vs. evil, but its imaginative fantasy setting and colorful cast of characters have enamored fans for decades — so much so that last year Disney Plus released a Willow remake, which is set years later and continues Willow's journey, with Davis reviving his iconic role as the wannabe magician.
Watch it now on Disney Plus
Of the movies on this list, Time Bandits is definitely more comedy than fantasy. But can you honestly expect anything less than a riot with former Python Terry Gilliam at the helm? It features high-concept storytelling with a healthy dose of satire that really evokes the larger-than-life feeling of The Lord of the Rings movies through its fantastical creatures and stunning set pieces.
An eccentric young boy named Kevin (Craig Warnock) discovers that his bedroom wall leads to a portal after six treasure-hunting dwarves stumble in one night. The motley crew travels through time in search of riches, but are on the run after pilfering a map and pissing off the wrong guy, the Supreme Being (Ralph Richardson). Kevin joins them on a fantastic voyage through time and space where they plunder treasure from history's greatest like Napoleon (Ian Holm) and Agamemnon (Sean Connery).
A few other Monty Python veterans make cameos, too. John Cleese plays an overly jolly Robin Hood, leading a crew of not-so-merry men while Michael Palin, who co-wrote the script with Gilliam, plays a lovestruck youth bumbling through time.
Watch it now on Max
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Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment.
Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats. She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.