princess_and_the_frog_web.jpgLOS ANGELES (AP) — Everyone wants the happily-ever-after, which is why fairy tale movies are so popular — such as Mirror Mirror, the cheeky take on Snow White from the perspective of the evil Queen, played by Julia Roberts. Here's a look at five other films that just might have viewers believing in miracles.

The Wiz (1978)

“An adaption of The Wizard of Oz that tries to capture the essence of the African-American experience” is how aptly describes it. The Motown Productions-Universal Pictures adaptation of the Broadway musical stars Diana Ross as Dorothy, former Motown star Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow, Nipsey Russell as the Tin Man, Richard Pryor as the Wizard, jazz singer Thelma Carpenter as Miss One, Lena Horne as Glinda the Good Witch and Ted Ross as the Cowardly Lion. Although panned by critics and a commercial failure, the cast of heavyweights make this urban fantasy a must-see.

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

A little girl escapes the horrors of 1944 Fascist Spain by spending time in the ruins of an ancient labyrinth, where the satyr Pan befriends her and assigns her a series of tasks to prove herself and return to her once-happy life. Guillermo del Toro moves seamlessly between fantasy and reality — each with its own vivid, nightmarish imagery — and has crafted a film that was very much deserving of its Academy Awards for cinematography, art direction and makeup. Gorgeous and terrifying; it'll make you marvel at its imagination and cringe in fear.

The Princess Bride (1987)

Rob Reiner found such a difficult balance in satirizing bedtime stories in general and fairy tales specifically: He came up with a film that was self-referential without being smug and sweet without being saccharine. It has such a great cast (Billy Crystal, Mandy Patinkin, Wallace Shawn, Andre the Giant and, of course, Robin Wright and Cary Elwes as the destined young lovers), so many memorable moments.

Sleeping Beauty (1959)

We had to have an actual, traditional fairy tale on this list, right? It was a favorite animated Disney film for many growing up, and when you're a little girl, it does indeed seem magical. Aurora's just so pretty, so graceful, can sing in the forest with the furry, little woodland creatures and still effortlessly manage to charm a prince without missing a beat. The hand-inked animation is beautifully detailed too, and the whole experience is enhanced by the sweeping score adapted from Tchaikovsky's ballet.

The Princess and the Frog (2009)

The most recent and by many estimates the best, this musical family film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios brought the fairy tale genre into the 21st century.  Finally, a princess with whom all little girls could relate, with main character Tiana as Disney's first black princess. Featuring such voices as Anika Noni Rose, Keith David, Oprah Winfrey and Terrence Howard, the film earned three Academy Award nominations.


The Princess and the Frog