Disney is known for making classic films with beloved characters, catchy songs and inspiring stories. A great deal of these films are also centered around bold, brave and beautiful princesses, such as Belle, Jasmine, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, and Tiana, who live happily ever after.
But this list is not about those notable leading ladies… This list will be covering the 10 best non-Disney princess movies. So there are still characters and stories to love. However, not all of these flicks are animated, and none of them are from the wonderful world of Disney, yet they are all still worth watching.
10 Ever After
Cinderella is one of the most iconic Disney films, and the tale helped to inspire Ever After: A Cinderella Story from 1998. In this version, The Brothers Grimm tell the real and true story about this princess! Some big names appeared in the Renaissance retelling, such as Drew Barrymore and Anjelica Huston, so this film, which was also known simply as Ever After, was on a lot of people’s radar.
That being said, it can be assumed that many fans have enjoyed this version (and still do!)... Just know that it is actually not a Disney product.
Shrek belongs on this list, as well, since Cameron Diaz’s portrayal of Princess Fiona is magical. The first installment came out in 2001, followed by Shrek 2 in 2004, Shrek the Third in 2007, Shrek Forever After in 2010, and then some specials and even a stage musical. The star of the story is Shrek, an ogre voiced by Mike Myers, but there are tons of memorable characters found in this franchise, since it parodies fairytales. This is all about princesses, though, and Fiona is certainly a good reason to watch or re-watch this movie and its sequels.
8 A Little Princess
In 1995, A Little Princess was released, and one of the morals of the story is that all girls are princesses. The main one in this film was Sara Crewe, who had to endure a rough life at a boarding school after learning that her father passed away during World War I. This movie was inspired by a novel of the same name by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and it was praised and given awards.
Liam Cunningham (known as Davos Seaworth in Game of Thrones) portrayed the father, while Camilla Belle (an actress seen in works such as When a Stranger Calls and 10,000 BC) had a small role, too.
Another animated flick that was actually not given to the world by Disney is Trolls. Released in 2016, this story focuses on trolls trying to save their village, and the main character is the happy-go-lucky Princess Poppy. Voice actors like Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Russell Brand, James Corden, Zooey Deschanel, and Gwen Stefani had roles in it, and a sequel is planned for next year. Whether someone wants to watch this in order to dance to "Can't Stop the Feeling” or to be inspired by another leading lady, this is definitely a suggestion.
Thumbelina, based on the classic story by Hans Christian Andersen, is about a tiny girl who is saved by a fairy prince. This animated movie was released by Warner Bros. in 1994, and as of this year, the film rights are actually owned by Disney! But when it first released, this movie was a non-Disney princess movie, just to be clear.
RELATED: Every Disney Princess Couple, Ranked
There is a fun tie-in, though, since Thumbelina was voiced by Jodi Benson, who voiced Ariel in The Little Mermaid, as well as Barbie in Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3.
5 The Swan Princess
Also in 1994, The Swan Princess came out, to tell about Princess Odette, who gets transformed into a swan (just during the day) by a not-so-nice sorcerer. This animated flick is based on the well-known ballet, Swan Lake, and it was actually directed by Richard Rich, who used to be a Disney animation director. After it was distributed by New Line Cinema, there were eight direct-to-video sequels that were created, as well, and even though many people may not know about them, Princess Odette’s original story is one to watch and love!
4 Roman Holiday
Back in 1953, a Hollywood icon portrayed another princess in another film… Audrey Hepburn starred in Roman Holiday., and it told a classic tale of a royal character wanting to escape from her life, exploring her city and, of course, falling in love with an average Joe (a reporter played by Gregory Peck). An Academy Award was given to Hepburn for this, and the film ended up being preserved in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. While modern-day movies and animated flicks are great, this one here is an oldie but a goodie.
While Disney holds the crown for making movies about cartoon princesses, there is one popular film like this that was actually not created by the brand: Anastasia. This is a 20th Century Fox piece, from the year 1997, and it was inspired by the legend of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia. With big names in it such as Meg Ryan, Kelsey Grammer, John Cusack, Kirsten Dunst, Christopher Lloyd, Angela Lansbury, Hank Azaria and Bernadette Peters, it won nominations for awards and has gone down in history as a great princess story.
2 Pan's Labyrinth
Pan's Labyrinth may not seem like a princess film upon first glance, but it is! This fantasy flick, from 2006, was written and directed by Guillermo del Toro. It focuses on a girl named Ofelia who discovers a strange world, and it was praised for its effects and cinematography. In the labyrinth. Ofelia meets a faun who thinks that she is a reincarnated princess - Princess Moanna. This story is a bit darker and edgier than the others on this list, but nevertheless, Pan's Labyrinth is a must-watch movie that does, indeed, feature a princess.
1 The Princess Bride
And, of course, there is The Princess Bride. From the year 1987, this movie combines the fantasy seen in fairy tales with comedy that has helped make it a cult classic, land it on lists of top movies and get inducted into the National Film Registry. It starred people like Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Fred Savage, Billy Crystal, Mandy Patinkin, and André the Giant and was based on a novel of the same name from 1973. In The Princess Bride, a farmhand has to rescue Princess Buttercup from Prince Humperdinck… and this is obviously a princess film to watch and enjoy!