10 Movies That Fans Of Disney+'s Pinocchio Should Check Out Next

Considering the legacy of Disney's original 1940 "Pinocchio," it makes sense that the studio would dust the classic tale off the shelf and give it a shiny live-action coat of paint. In this new adaptation (one of many that Hollywood is obsessed with turning out), director Robert Zemeckis takes audiences back into the whimsical and slightly creepy world of a wooden puppet boy and his quest to become real. With a cast filled with exceptional talents such as Tom Hanks, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Keegan-Michael Key, and Cynthia Erivo, it's no wonder moviegoers are invested in this new version. 

In light of this release, chances are you might be on the hunt for another cinematic fairy tale to ingest. Perhaps you're looking for one that will warm your heart? Or what if you're looking for an edgier splash of pixie dust? Don't worry, this list is here to grant all your film-watching wishes, no star required! We're going to examine some films that will likely check all the similar enchanting boxes that Disney's latest take on "Pinocchio" did. Make sure to bring your trusty cricket along so we can dive deep into 10 movies that fans of Disney+'s "Pinocchio" should check out next.

Pinocchio (1940)

When making a list of this nature, it would seem downright sinful not to mention the Disney flick that directly inspired this latest one. While it might seem shocking to die-hard Mouseketeers, there's likely a portion of viewers that still haven't seen this hand-drawn classic, but is it worth revisiting Disney's original 1940 "Pinocchio" right after seeing Robert Zemeckis' interpretation? There's no doubt about it.

While certainly not the most accessible movie in Disney's animated catalog, there's a richness to the brilliant animation and equally dynamic storytelling within this "Pinocchio" that's hard to surpass. The film established Walt Disney and his team of animators (including The Nine Old Men) weren't just one trick ponies with "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," proving they were masters at weaving a tale that's both whimsical, horrific, and intellectual all at once. Simply put, this "Pinocchio" is more than just an animated distraction, it's a genuinely well-crafted piece of filmmaking.

Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1989)

Since you stumbled across this list, chances are you might be looking for another dream-like adventure featuring a young protagonist. Look no further than the fascinating "Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland." The movie centers around Nemo (Gabriel Damon), a boy who — through a series of odd circumstances — finds himself in the magical kingdom far beyond the clouds and night sky. As in other similar tales, Nemo becomes part of a battle against good and evil, leading the unlikely hero to go up against the Nightmare King to get his happily ever after.

Something of an animated "John Carter" of its time, this hand-drawn adaptation of Winsor McCay's classic "Little Nemo" comic strip makes some bold choices. It famously was a Japanese and American collaboration that had a bumpy road to getting to the big screen, including a revolving door of talent. Despite its less-than-stellar box office and critical reception, "Little Nemo" deserves to be respected for its achievements and the ambition behind it. It is also worth checking out before the new live-action version "Slumberland" starring Jason Momoa hits Netflix later this year.

The Jungle Book (2016)

For those looking for another Disney live-action retelling with a character searching for acceptance, the 2016 adaptation of "The Jungle Book" might be just the thing for you. Considered one of the crown jewels of Disney's recent big-budget reimaginings, this Jon Favreau-directed film retools the classic Rudyard Kipling story of a "man cub" and his wild pals into an action-packed tale that honors not only the legacy of the original animated film but arguably improves upon it.

From the dynamite voice cast (Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Idris Elba) to the stunning visual effects that bring the photo-realistic animals to life, this "Jungle Book" is some high-quality entertainment. Sure, it might not have as many memorable tunes as its animated counterpart, but what it lacks in musical sequences it makes up for in rich, emotional storytelling. If you want to see what the top tier of Disney's live-action catalog looks like, this is the one to go for.

Matilda (1996)

Right from the get-go, the 1996 adaptation of Roald Dahl's "Matilda" weaves a dark-yet-quirky tale that respects its lead character in every way. Much like the protagonist Pinocchio, Matilda Wormwood (Mara Wilson) has to go through quite an ordeal to get to her happily ever after, which director Danny DeVito (also playing Matilda's father and the narrator) doesn't shy away from showing. From the odd nature of Matilda's neglectful home life to her even crazier school scenarios with the horrifying principal, Miss Agatha Trunchbull (Pam Ferris), the film goes out of its way to present Matilda's insane situations in the most chaotic of fashions.

This take on Dahl's classic story is so entertaining because of its perfect balance of whimsy and mayhem. Between DeVito's quirky but-calculated direction and the cinematography skills of Stefan Czapsky, this adaptation celebrates the aesthetic of the original novel while also creating its own iconic moments and images. Much like most versions of "Pinocchio," this movie certainly has its horrific aspects, but there's enough oddball sweetness in this "Matilda" for anyone to enjoy.

Return to Oz (1985)

Viewers like the story of "Pinocchio" for different reasons: some prefer it for its heartwarming narrative rewards, while others embrace the fairytale for its spookier elements. If you fall into the second camp, the 1985 cult classic "Return to Oz" might be the right movie to scratch that haunting cinematic itch. The film (which somewhat follows up MGM's "Wizard of Oz") features everything from head-swapping witches, the infamous Wheelies, unnerving stop motion animation, and other unsettling elements that still freak out audiences to this day.

When pushing its scarier aspects to the side, the homages to the source material make "Return to Oz" a must-watch. From the jaw-dropping set design to the detailed creature effects used throughout, every element within this dark fantasy adventure honors "Oz" author L. Frank Baum's unique vision to a T. Plus, there's something to be said about a family film that manages to tackle intense subject matter (such as mental illness and other mature topics) without disrespecting its younger audience members. Ultimately, this movie might spook you to your core, but it's worth a watch for its ambitious nature and incredible visual flair.

The NeverEnding Story (1984)

Wolfgang Petersen's "The NeverEnding Story" is an exciting mix of whimsy and haunting imagery in the grand tradition of similar family entertainment. Featuring fun elements like the charming luck dragon Falkor (Alan Oppenheimer) and a memorable soundtrack including its catchy title song, it's easy to see why many viewers hold this movie close to their hearts. On the other side of the cinematic coin, just as many find Petersen's fantasy epic to be pure nightmare fuel, leading some to send the movie its metaphorical therapy bills since its theatrical release.

With such a description, you're probably wondering why anyone would recommend watching "The NeverEnding Story" in the first place. The answer is simple: it's about the narrative journey. Much like Pinocchio himself, the protagonists of this fantasy classic have to go through quite an ordeal to get to their happily ever after. Like the puppet who wishes to become a real boy, these characters are also rewarded for their efforts in the grandest ways, resulting in a film that's absolutely thrilling from start to finish.

Legend (1985)

In Ridley Scott's "Legend," the battle for good and evil takes narrative supremacy. Our lead fantasy protagonists (played by Tom Cruise and Mia Sara) are similar to Pinocchio because they are the embodiments of innocence. Of course, thanks to Tim Curry's Darkness, both characters are tempted to embrace their more chaotic sides as the world falls into madness. As in any fairy tale, it becomes up to Jack (Cruise) and Lili (Sara) to each play a part in saving the day before Darkness takes over not only their enchanted forest but the rest of the world. 

On paper, "Legend" might not sound exactly the right fit for fans of "Pinocchio" since it is a fantasy film that makes a lot of odd, mature choices while trying to weave a happily ever after conclusion. Yet what ultimately makes "Legend" such an exciting watch for "Pinocchio" fans is the aesthetics of the entire film. Much like Robert Zemeckis, Scott is a master at bringing his unique touch to large-scale fantasy projects, and this dark fairy tale is no different. Plus, like many of Scott's most famous productions ("Alien," "Blade Runner"), there are several director's cuts and other versions of "Legend" to watch, all of which feature exciting elements that almost feel like completely different movies on their own.

Donkey Skin (1970)

If you liked "Pinocchio," chances are you're in the mood for more odd fairy tales or, even more so, fantasy films that involve donkeys. Well, thanks to the directorial talents of Jacques Demy, his fairy tale extravaganza "Donkey Skin" has got you covered. It stars the beautiful Catherine Deneuve as a princess whose father turns her life upside down, resulting in her having to hide away in the woods of her kingdom. She also has a sassy fairy godmother (something that Pinocchio knows a thing about), a plethora of stunning ballgowns, and catchy musical numbers. What's not to love? Pretty much nothing.

Of course, some casual fairy tale cinema viewers might find this movie a bit odd. There are sequences involving parents trying to marry their children, fairies riding in planes, and townspeople being jerks. Considering you're someone who likely enjoys watching kids getting turned into donkeys and seeing a puppet talk to a fox and cricket for a feature-length running time, this psychedelic fantasy shouldn't be that much of a stretch.

A Little Princess (1995)

When it comes to thrilling children's stories, none of them get quite as emotional as Frances Hodgson Burnett's "A Little Princess." In Alfonso Cuarón's take, the tearjerking moments are dialed up to 11, making the tale of a down-on-her-luck Sara Crewe (Liesel Matthews) all the more haunting. The young protagonist finds herself having to cope with not only the loss of her father but the terrors of her new headmistress. With the incredible talents of music composer Patrick Doyle and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki used to their fullest, there's no denying how absolutely stunning of a film this version is.

Why would an adaptation of this classic story be something that "Pinocchio" fans would like? It's all about Sara's emotional bond with her father. Like Pinocchio's love for Geppetto, Sara's admiration for her father and memories of their past life in India keep her going throughout her constant battles with Minchin. Also like Pinocchio, Sara's final heroic act involves her getting drenched in water, though there are no giant whales to be found here.

The Secret Garden (1993)

In Agnieszka Holland's adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's "The Secret Garden," audiences experience this classic tale with a new whimsically gothic twist. It wonderfully embraces both the dark and light parts of Burnett's story without getting too ridiculous, as other recent takes have done. The story focuses on a young girl named Mary Lennox (Kate Maberly), who after being orphaned is sent to live inside her introverted uncle's lavish home. As she spends time there, she uncovers some fascinating secrets that change her family forever. 

Yet what makes this version of "The Secret Garden" a great pairing with "Pinocchio" is how both stories respect the power of their young protagonists. Mary Lennox might seem like a typical young lady of her era, but she's more than that and proves it throughout the film. It's also delightful to see Holland's directorial style honor Mary's agency while not hiding the fact that she is still a kid. Ultimately, this movie is a beautifully enchanting slice of heaven that respects its young characters' intellect while embracing the beauty of childhood.