Growing up, I was never into all the girly-girl stuff that most of my tween/teen female friends went bananas over. Well, except for blue eye shadow and liner, Sun In, glitter stickers, and my faithful crimper. It was the ’80s, after all.
In terms of music, reading, and movie watching, however, I was all about the atypical selections.
Stephen King in middle school? Oh, you bet. My favorites were The Shining and Misery.
NKOTB in the ’90s did nothing for me, and instead I preferred my folks’ vinyl and other less popular stuff. Granted, it was hard to escape Tiffany and her glorious ’80s mall takeovers, but I managed to recenter my tween self around other more awesome pop stars like Michael Jackson and Madonna.
And movies! Oh, movies. The ’80s and ’90s were ripe with cheesy romantic dramas and coming of age comedies. You can’t escape classics like The Breakfast Club, Beaches, and Pretty Woman. Given the choice, I’d always pick something with more grit. With action and adventure and epic-ness! (And sometimes a little fright!)
I blame it on the the fact that some of my early movie theater experiences included The Goonies, The NeverEnding Story, and Indiana Jones. All of which are solid, epic movies.
Even now—aside from period drama favorites, a great Tarantino flick, or Julie & Julia and The Holiday—I’ll always gravitate towards something epic, adventurous, and
definitely even a little whimsical.
50 Epic Movies To Stream Right Now
THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY
1. The Fellowship of the Ring: In the first part, The Lord of the Rings, a shy young hobbit named Frodo Baggins inherits a simple gold ring that holds the secret to the survival—or enslavement—of the entire world.
2. The Two Towers: In the second part of the Tolkien trilogy, Frodo Baggins and the other members of the Fellowship continue on their sacred quest to destroy the One Ring—but on separate paths.
3. The Return of the King: In the conclusion of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, armies mass for a final battle that will decide the fate of the world — powerful.
4. The Sorcerer’s Stone: Based on the wildly popular J.K. Rowling book about a young boy who, on his eleventh birthday, discovers he is the orphaned boy of two powerful wizards and has unique magical powers.
5. The Chamber of Secrets: Harry returns to Hogwarts, still famous and a hero, when strange things start to happen…people are turning to stone and no-one knows what, or who, is doing it.
6. The Prisoner of Azkaban: In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry, Ron and Hermione return for their third year at Hogwarts, where they are forced to face escaped prisoner, Sirius Black.
7. The Goblet of Fire: When Harry Potter’s name emerges from the Goblet of Fire, he becomes a competitor in a grueling battle for glory among three wizarding schools — the Triwizard Tournament.
8. The Order of the Phoenix: Lord Voldemort has returned, but the Ministry of Magic is doing everything it can to keep the wizarding world from knowing the truth.
9. The Half Blood Prince: While Death Eaters emboldened by the return of Lord Voldemort wreak havoc in both the Muggle and Wizarding worlds, Harry suspects new dangers lie within Hogwarts.
10. The Deathly Hallows: Part 1: Harry, Ron and Hermione set out on their perilous mission to track down and destroy the Horcruxes—the keys to Voldemort’s immortality.
11. The Deathly Hallows: Part 2: Harry, Ron and Hermione finish their perilous mission to track down and destroy the Horcruxes—the keys to Voldemort’s immortality.
12. Raiders of the Lost Ark: Accompanied by his feisty, independent ex-flame Marion Ravenwood, the two-fisted archaeologist embarks on a thrilling quest to locate the mystical Ark of the Covenant. Indy must discover the Ark before the Nazis do, and he has to survive poison, traps, snakes and treachery to do so.
13. The Temple of Doom: After barely escaping a raging Shanghai nightclub brawl, Indy crash-lands into the wilds of India where he uncovers a sinister scheme that has enslaved a remote village’s children in a fortress-like mine. Indy must save the children and avoid becoming a slave himself to the evil Thuggee cult.
14. The Last Crusade: The Nazis are on the trail of the Holy Grail, and have kidnapped Indy’s father. Follow Indy as he inches through the rat-filled catacombs of Venice, battles Nazi flying aces in a thrilling biplane dogfight, and braves the thunderous firepower of an unstoppable tank. And behold the Holy Grail’s power to give and take life, as Indy and his father race against time.
15. Episode IV: A New Hope: Young farm boy Luke Skywalker is thrust into a galaxy of adventure when he intercepts a distress call from the captive Princess Leia. The event launches him on a daring mission to rescue her from the clutches of Darth Vader and the Evil Empire.
16. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back: The Rebels scatter after the Empire attacks their base on the ice planet Hoth. Han Solo and Princess Leia are pursued by Imperials, while Luke trains with Jedi Master Yoda. Luke must battle Darth Vader and learns the shocking truth of his past.
17. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi: The Empire prepares to crush the Rebellion with a more powerful Death Star. The Rebel fleet counters with a massive attack on the space station. Luke Skywalker confronts Darth Vader in a final climactic duel.
18. Episode VII: The Force Awakens (pre-order): Lucasfilm and visionary director J.J. Abrams join forces to take you back again to a galaxy far, far away as Star Wars returns.
Pro Tip: Forget about Episodes I – III.
19. Tomb Raider: Video game adventurer Lara Croft comes to life in a movie where she races against time and villains to recover powerful ancient artifacts.
20. The Cradle of Life: Lara Croft is on a quest to save the world once again, this time from Pandoras box.
21. National Treasure: A man must steal the Declaration of Independence to find a treasure.
22. Book of Secrets: A treasure hunter seeks the truth behind Lincoln’s assassination.
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA
23. The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe: Four siblings play a game of hide and seek and wind up entering a magical land. Once there, they discover a world inhabited by beasts, dwarfs, and giants and find themselves in a battle to defeat a witch.
24. Prince Caspian: The Pevensie siblings return to Narnia a thousand years later.
25. Voyage of the Dawn Treader: Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, along with their cousin Eustace, their royal friend King Caspian, and a warrior mouse named Reepicheep, find themselves swallowed into a painting and on the fantastic ship, the Dawn Treader.
THE PRINCESS BRIDE
26. The Princess Bride: Based on William Goldman’s novel of the same name, The Princess Bride is staged as a book read by grandfather to his ill grandson. The grandfather assures a romance-weary grandson that the book has much more to deliver than a simpering love story, including but not limited to fencing, fighting, torture, death, true love, giants, and pirates.
27. X-Men: Two mutants come to a private academy for mutants whose resident superhero team must oppose a powerful mutant terrorist organization.
28. X-Men 2: As Magneto’s mutants come close to murdering the president, the military sets up a plan to eradicate Charles Xavier’s school — the X-Men now have two foes to conquer!
29. The Last Stand: In the climax of the X-Men motion picture trilogy, a ‘cure’ for mutancy threatens to alter the course of history — for the first time, mutants have a choice: retain their uniqueness, though it isolates and alienates them, or give up their powers to fit in.
31. Days of Future Past: The heroic characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves in an epic battle that must change the past—to save our future!
32. Origins: Wolvarine: Heroic Hugh Jackman breathes the fire into Wolverine — with a vengeance! This pulse-pounding action thriller sinks razor-sharp adamantium claws into the mysterious origins of Logan/Wolverine: his epically violent and romantic past, his complex relationship with Victor Creed/Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber), and the ominous Weapon X program that unleashes his primal fury.
33. First Class: Following the classic Marvel mythology, X-Men: First Class charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga.
THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY
34. Batman Begins: In the wake of his parents’ murder, disillusioned industrial heir Bruce Wayne travels the world seeking the means to fight injustice.
35. The Dark Knight: The Dark Knight reunites Christian Bale with director Christopher Nolan and takes Batman across the world in his quest to fight a growing criminal threat known as The Joker .
36. The Dark Knight Rises: In this epic conclusion to the Dark Knight trilogy, the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist with ruthless plans for Gotham, drives Batman out of his self-imposed exile.
37. Transformers: Dueling alien races, the Autobots and the Decepticons, bring their battle to Earth, leaving the future of humankind hanging in the balance.
38. Revenge of the Fallen: The battle for Earth continues in this action-packed blockbuster. When college-bound Sam Witwicky learns the truth about the ancient origins of the Transformers, he must join Optimus Prime and Bumblebee in their epic battle against the Decepticons, who have returned with a plan to destroy our world.
39. Dark of the Moon: The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and learn its secrets, which could turn the tide in the Transformers’ final battle.
40. Age of Extinction: With humanity facing extinction from a terrifying new threat, it’s up to the Autobots to save Earth. They’ll need new allies, including inventor Cade and the Dinobots!
THE FIFTH ELEMENT
41. The Fifth Element: Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, and Gary Oldman star in acclaimed director Luc Besson’s outrageous sci-fi adventure, an extravagantly styled tale of good against evil set in an unbelievable twenty-third century world.
42. Red Dawn (the original): In this non-stop, death-defying action thriller, the outbreak of World War III has occurred, leaving a group of mid-western high school students turned refugees to slowly organize themselves into an effective guerrilla force. The group becomes sophisticated enough to challenge and take on Soviet invaders.
43. The Matrix: Keanu Reeves stars in an explosive sci-fi adventure about a man who comes to believe that his everyday world is the product of a computer-driven digital matrix that feeds on humans.
44. The Matrix Reloaded: Neo, Trinity & Morpheus lead revolt against Machine Army unleashing their arsenal of extraordinary skills & weaponry against systematic forces of repression & exploitation.
45. The Matrix Revolutions: This third installment focuses on action. Neo is trapped in limbo between reality & Matrix, while Zion, last human city, is attacked by hordes of machines.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN
46. Curse of the Black Pearl: Join the adventures of Jack Sparrow and his nemesis Captain Barbossa.
47. Dead Man’s Chest: Pirate Jack Sparrow must seize the fabled “Dead Man’s Chest” in order to cheat death and eternal damnation. But the high seas present many obstacles — including the mighty Kraken!
48. At World’s End: When pirate Captain Jack Sparrow is trapped on a sea of sand in Davy Jones’ Locker, his shipmates begin a desperate quest to find and rescue him.
49. On Stranger Tides: Johnny Depp returns as Captain Jack Sparrow.
STAND BY ME
50. Stand By Me: Four young friends find the remains of a missing teenager in this first-rate adaptation of Stephen King’s The Body.
What are your favorite epic movies?
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