40 Movies Like Harry Potter (TV Shows Too!)

movies and tv shows like harry potter

If you love Harry Potter and are missing the mystique and magic of the movies, you’re probably looking for something to fill that void. The bad news is that there are no movies like Harry Potter, at least not exactly. Those movies are absolutely stunning in a way that’s rarely matched in mainstream cinema.

Oftentimes, when a movie or television show is made from a series of books, critics and fans alike rip it apart because it doesn’t live up to the source material.

That wasn’t the case with Harry Potter.

The movies feature three entirely lovable, relatable main characters, were filmed by an absolutely brilliant director, Chris Columbus, and stay fairly true to the source material in all the ways that matter. The massive budget behind them for special effects and CGI also didn’t hurt.

Because of all that, there’s no movie out there that can exactly encapsulate the beauty, wonder and magic of Harry Potter and the Wizarding World.

The good news, though, is that there are a whole lot of movies and television shows that come close in different ways, so while some of them may not be as good, they’re still pretty great and can help fill the void left by the Potterverse.

What Makes a Movie Like Harry Potter?

The first thing people associate with the Harry Potter franchise is, of course, magic. Magic, though, isn’t the only thing that can make a movie feel very Harry Potter-esque.

Watching a “downtrodden” or “misfit” kid discover that life held more in store for him than he ever could have imagined is a huge part of the franchise, and a movie with a similar plot can give off a lot of Harry Potter vibes.

A group of kids/teens forming strong bonds of friendship in the face of adversity, the overwhelming power of good against evil, enduring friendships that stand fast through hardship and hard feelings, an “underdog” rising to the top and defeating a much more powerful adversary, these are all things that can make a movie similar to Harry Potter and also just make it a great flick to watch.

Now let’s take a look at some of the options out there, ranked in order from most like Harry Potter to least like Harry Potter.

40 Best Magical Mystical Movies Like Harry Potter

The Fantastic Beasts Movies (2016-2018)

fantastic beasts movies
Rated PG-13 | Ages 12+ | Time: 2h 12min
Rated PG-13 | Ages 12+ | Time: 2h 14min

When it comes to finding movies like Harry Potter, there’s no better way to do that than by watching a movie set in the same universe. The first Fantastic Beasts movie is based on Rowling’s “Hogwarts Library Book” that talks about all kinds of different magical creatures. The movie features a whole new cast of characters, although you may hear some familiar names thrown around. Despite the new characters, though, the whole movie is very much in the vein of Harry Potter.

The second movie is even more similar to the Harry Potter flicks and features younger versions of some well-known characters like Albus Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall. Dumbledore relies on a young, slightly nerdy, inexperienced man named Newt Scarmander to help him in a great battle against the evil Grindelwald, a man who gives even Voldemort a run for his money in the powerful bad guy department.

If you haven’t seen these yet or if you purposely passed them up because you thought they couldn’t possibly compare to the original eight films, go watch them. You’re sure to love them.

The Percy Jackson & the Olympians Movies (2010-2013)

percy jackson and the olympians movies
Rated PG | Ages 10+ | Time: 1h 58min
Rated PG | Ages 10+ | Time: 1h 46min

If you read the Percy Jackson books, these movies might not be entertaining for you; most fans of the books weren’t fans of the movies. If you’ve never read the books, though, and are just looking for Harry Potter like movies that you might enjoy, give these a shot.

The first movie, in particular, is very reminiscent of the Potterverse because it’s all about a young boy who lives in a bad home – his mom is great, but his stepdad is horrible and abusive – and is an outcast at school. He soon finds out that he’s actually the son of a Greek god and has the powers of a demigod.

The movie becomes even more Harry Potter-like when Percy starts hanging out with two best friends – one male, one female – and together they all go on a quest to stop a huge, evil force from rising into the world. If all of that doesn’t scream Harry Potter, then you must have watched something different.

There’s also a lot of magic in the movie, although it comes from their god-given powers as opposed to wands and spells.

The Chronicles of Narnia Trilogy (2005-2010)

chronicles of narnia trilogy
Rated PG | Ages 9+ | Time: 2h 23min
Rated PG | Ages 10+ | Time: 2h 30min
Rated PG | Ages 10+ | Time: 1h 53min

This is a gorgeous movie that features four young children stumbling into a wardrobe and finding themselves in a magical world full of animals that can talk, creatures from fairy tales and mythology and an evil White Witch who wants to destroy everything beautiful in the land. As the movies progress, the children grow older and more powerful, but so do the foes they face.

Based on the first three books of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series, of which there are seven books in total, these perhaps feel the most like Harry Potter. Much like Harry, the Pevensie siblings are fleeing a horrible life, only theirs is due to war instead of an abusive family.

They also have to learn to trust each other, overcome their differences and work together as family, much as Harry, Ron and Hermione must do in order to defeat their foes.

The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) & The Hobbit (2012-2014) Movies

the lord of the rings and the hobbit movies
Rated PG-13 | Ages 12+ | Time: 2hr 58min
Rated PG-13 | Ages 12+ | Time: 2hr 59min
Rated PG-13 | Ages 12+ | Time: 3hr 21min
Rated PG-13 | Ages 11+ | Time: 2hr 49min
Rated PG-13 | Ages 11+ | Time: 2hr 41min
Rated PG-13 | Ages 12+ | Time: 2hr 24min

These movies have just about everything that fans love about the Wizarding World. There are plenty of magical creatures both good and evil, strong, enduring bonds of friendship, a storyline that features small, powerless creatures pitted against the most powerful evil imaginable and a heroic quest thrown in for good measure. There are even actual wizards in both series in the characters of Galdalf, Radagast and Saruman.

More than all that, though, there’s just an incredibly magical, overwhelming feeling you get when you watch these movies that’s exactly the same as when you watch Harry Potter. Both franchises take you completely into these vast, beautiful worlds that you’re almost saddened to know you’ll never truly get to visit.

The Hunger Games Movies (2012-2015)

the hunger games movie series
Rated PG-13 | Ages 14+ | Time: 2h 22min
Rated PG-13 | Ages 14+ | Time: 2h 26min
Rated PG-13 | Ages 12+ | Time: 2h 3min
Rated PG-13 | Ages 12+ | Time: 2h 17min

Although there’s no magic, The Hunger Games movies have more in common with Harry Potter than you might think, mostly because of the plot. The movie features a brave young woman, Katniss, doing everything she can to defy a system of government that’s been corrupted beyond redemption.

Any true Potterhead can relate to that story. The movies are also similar in that they build over time. The “big bad” gets bigger, badder and harder to defeat with each movie. Trust me, if you dig Harry Potter, you’ll love The Hunger Games.

The Divergent Franchise (2014-2016)

the divergent franchise
Rated PG-13 | Ages 12+ | Time: 2h 19min
Rated PG-13 | Ages 12+ | Time: 1h 59min
Rated PG-13 | Ages 12+ | Time: 2h 19min

This is another movie without magic in it, and yet somehow, it’s still incredibly reminiscent of J.K. Rowling’s magical world. Set in a future, dystopian society, children “coming of age” are “sorted” into different factions (bringing up some serious sorting hat and Hogwarts’ houses vibes) which they then leave their families for and devote themselves to entirely.

Also based on a very popular, best-selling young adult series by Veronica Roth, these movies feature a powerless young girl, Beatrice, who pledges into one of the most violent, physically demanding factions, to the surprise of her family and all who know her.

While there, though, she discovers there’s something darker and more dangerous happening that no one else knows about, and no one else is stopping.

If you’re looking for another movie that allows you to experience the thrill of a seemingly innocent, powerless young person taking down something so much larger than herself, give it a try.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

The Golden Compass (2007)

Stardust (2007)

Charmed (1998-2006)

Inkheart (2008)

Eragon (2006)

Once Upon a Time (2011-2018)

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

The Neverending Story (1984)

Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017-2019)

Matilda (1996)

The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer the series 1997-2003
Rated PG | Ages 8+ | Time: 1hr 36min

If you’ve never watched this late-90’s TV show, you need to run to the nearest TV and watch it now. It’s one of the best TV series, period, no qualifiers needed.

If you’re a Potterhead, though, you’ll be especially fond of it. Buffy, a regular teenage girl, suddenly finds out she’s “the chosen one,” the one girl in all the world who can fight the forces of darkness.

In the same way that Harry finds out he’s a wizard and then finds out he’s destined to fight the greatest dark wizard who ever lived shortly after, Buffy, too, is suddenly given a lot of life-altering information in a very short period of time.

Beyond that, though, there are other similarities. Buffy soon creates a close-knit group of friends who not only stick by her through everything, but without whom, she couldn’t have defeated some of the things she had to face.

If you’re into Harry Potter for the magic, Buffy has you covered there too. In addition to all the magical creatures – vampires, demons, etc. – that are constantly popping up, in season two, Buffy’s best friend, Willow, begins to practice witchcraft.

Although she never flies on a broom or uses a wand, she does learn, use and sometimes really mess up spells, and as the seasons progress, a whole world of magic – pure, witchcraft-type magic – opens up in the show.

Bridge to Terabithia (2007)

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

X-Men: First Class (2011)

The Umbrella Academy (2019-Present)

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)

Stranger Things (2016-Present)

Stranger Things 2016-present
Rated TV-14 | Ages 13+ | Time: 51min

Some people may disagree with me, but I happen to think that anyone who loves Harry Potter will love Stranger Things even more, especially if that person is an adult.

Don’t get me wrong; kid fans of the Potterverse will also enjoy Stranger Things, but that sense of nostalgia we adults get when we rewatch Harry and his friends defeating Voldemort is the same sense of nostalgia we get from the entire Stranger Things series!

Mike, Lucas, Dustin, Will and Eleven (and later Max) will give you some serious Ron, Harry and Hermione vibes. Both sets of kids are put in extremely dangerous situations to which the adults, with very few exceptions in both cases, are completely oblivious and unhelpful.

Both groups of kids also keep finding themselves in all kinds of mischievous and troublesome circumstances on the smaller scale (school, parents, etc.) as well.

While Stranger Things doesn’t feature magic, per se, Eleven’s totally bad-butt powers make up for the otherwise complete lack of magic. Also, they’ve both produced huge, sweeping fandoms that will probably never go away.

The Worst Witch (2017-2019)

Avatar: The Last Airbender (2010)

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)

A Monster Calls (2016)

The Maze Runner (2014)

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010)

Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

The Witcher (2019-Present)

Pirates of the Caribbean Franchise (2003-2017)

pirates of the caribbean franchise
Rated PG-13 | Ages 12+ | Time: 2h 23min
Rated PG-13 | Ages 12+ | Time: 2h 31min
Rated PG-13 | Ages 12+ | Time: 2h 49min
Rated PG-13 | Ages 12+ | Time: 2h 16min
Rated PG-13 | Ages 12+ | Time: 2h 9min

At first glimpse, these movies appear to have very little in common with the Harry Potter series. However, there’s an overwhelming sense of whimsy, excitement and just pure, innocent, childlike fun to both sets of movies that makes them more alike than they first appear.

Although the main characters in Pirates are adults, there’s something in Will Turner (played by Orlando Bloom) that’s just so relatable and actually reminds you a little of Harry.

Additionally, Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow would fit in quite easily with some of the ghosts and spirits at Hogwarts. In fact, I can almost picture him passed out in the corner of the Great Hall, bottle of rum in hand.

Perhaps more importantly, there’s a little bit of magic in the Pirates movies too.

The Magicians (2015-2020)

Warcraft: The Beginning (2016)

Warcraft: The Beginning 2016
Rated PG-13 | Ages 14+ | Time: 2h 3min

Because it was first a series of popular books, Harry Potter had its own pre-made fan base when the first movie premiered.

Similarly, Warcraft, based on the popular MMORPG World of Warcraft, had its own huge group of fans just waiting for the movie to premiere.

The New Mutants (2020)

The Twilight Movies (2008-2012)

the twilight saga
Rated PG-13| Ages 13+ | Time: 2h 2min
Rated PG-13| Ages 13+ | Time: 2h 10min
Rated PG-13| Ages 13+ | Time: 2h 4min
Rated PG-13| Ages 14+ | Time: 1h 57min
Rated PG-13| Ages 14+ | Time: 1h 55min

Although the Twilight movies aren’t really that much like Harry Potter, it seems like the same people who love watching one also love the other set as well. Perhaps this is because both series are based on very popular young adult book series, or perhaps it’s because of the magical elements in both.

There are no witches and wizards in Twilight, but there are vampires and werewolves, and many of the vampires have extra-special powers, such as the ability to read minds, see the future and cause pain with nothing but a look. Either way, these are good flicks to watch if you’re craving a little young adult magic.

Vampire Academy (2014)

Bonus: The Harry Potter Movies (2001-2011)

movies and tv shows like harry potter
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