Movies about witches have been a pop culture staple since the 1930s classic The Wizard of Oz.
A source of both inspiration and fear, the influence of the witch extends past entertainment into aesthetics and even personal philosophies.
Indeed, whether it is or isn’t the Halloween season, every season is the season of the witch.
Find the perfect witchcraft movies for your coven
- Come, little children! Check out these family-friendly witch movies. Scare level: mild.
- Celebrate the bitchin’ witches with the most influential and empowering movies about witchcraft. Scare level: moderate.
- Make a deal with the Devil with these horror movies about vengeful, hedonistic witches. Scare level: high.
The practice of witchcraft has seen a surge in popularity over the last century, although it often looks far less dramatic than you see in movies.
Witchcraft was – and still is in some parts of the world – a very dangerous charge.
Throughout the history of colonization, charges of witchcraft have been levied against indigenous and marginalized people all over the world.
Even now, we often see the witch as an outspoken, sexually-liberated, and socially non-compliant figure.
Some films on this list draw inspiration from that spirit of empowerment and a connectivity with the Earth.
Others feature a more subversive version of the sorceress, who we may adore despite their playing the villain.
Still, other movies about witchcraft use horror to help us confront our ugly history of persecuting people who are different.
Stories about villainous witches resurrected for revenge may be fictional, but they’re based around a history of real societal conflict.
“The witch is a shapeshifter. She transforms from vixen to hag, healer to hellion, adversary to advocate based on who seeks her.”
–Witches, Sluts, & Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive by Kirsten J. Sollee
Our list includes witches of all kinds– from silly to smart, sexy to scary.
As you marathon all the best witch movies, we encourage you to light a candle and take a moment to honor the persecuted ‘witches’ of history.
Kid-friendly movies about witchcraft
Hocus Pocus (1993)
If you grew up in the 90s, Hocus Pocus was on repeat around Halloween.
Shockingling, this iconic witch movie wasn’t spectacularly received upon its theatrical release. But the Sanderson sisters got the last laugh: the film is now considered a cult classic.
Bette Middler, Kathy Najaimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker play a triad of youth-obsessed conjurers from the Salem days.
Max accidentally summons them from the dead one Halloween night. So he and his sister Dani team up with local Sanderson fangirl Allison and Binx, a Salem boy trapped in the body of an immortal cat, to save the town’s children from the witches.
Each year, this romp finds its way to your watchlist for the spooky season. With its combination of action, fun, and adult humor, Hocus Pocus is well-known as one of the best witch movies for audiences of any age.
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
There is no shortage of witches in Hayo Miyazaki’s work, but it’s Kiki’s inspiring journey that put Studio Ghibli on the map.
This stunning anime is all about Kiki, a young witch-in-training who moves to the city to make her way in the world.
Her coming-of-age story is all about learning independence, but also making friends and being vulnerable. And like any Miyazaki film, the animation is breathtaking.
Whether she’s flying her temperamental broom over a lush country landscape or zipping through the city streets to deliver a package, this lighthearted story is quite the magical addition to any witchcraft watchlist.
The Witches (1990)
Scaring the bejeezus out of an entire generation of children, 30 years later and this movie is still pretty nightmare-worthy.
Angelica Huston turns in an unforgettable performance as the Grand High Witch, the leader of a convention of big-nosed, wart-covered, hideous witches.
This story about a little boy who stumbles onto a witch’s convention and is subsequently turned into a mouse is based on the famous children’s book by Roald Dahl.
This movie about witches was also Jim Henson’s last work before he passed away, so it’s him you can thank for your childhood trauma.
Look, The Witches is a complicated addition to the list. For one, many popular witch tropes have antisemitic roots. And Roald Dahl was a dark dude. The famous children’s author expressed some problematic views of Jewish people during his lifetime.
Today, it’s impossible to speak to his intention or awareness of history, but it’s important to acknowledge how biases can influence the art and media around us.
The film will always be regarded as one of the most beloved witch movies of all time, and it will always be a classic– even if Luke didn’t give up his life as a human so he could stay a mouse and die with his grandma.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Ah, the witch that started it all.
Margaret Hamilton went through the wringer to portray arguably the most culturally-significant witch of all time.
Her portrayal of the Wicked Witch of the West is easily the most memorable. Her pointed hat, bright-green skin, and broom likely conjure up a little musical riff that still slaps.
But Margaret wasn’t the only witch in this joint. In fact, Glinda also played a role in shaping how we define the witch in popular culture. Good witches are attractive, young, and fair. And bad witches are old, ugly, and mean.
Still, over the years this green goddess has seen her own resurgence in popularity. Fans of the witch archetype have fallen in love with the classic movie villain.
Are we supposed to understand this ugly, mean woman is truly evil, or, after a lifetime of being told to smile, did she finally just say ‘f*ck it’?
Whether you’re a good witch or a bad witch, Dorothy’s adventure in Oz is a family-friendly good time that has brought joy to audiences for almost 100 years.
No need to load the whole family up onto your broom, you can stream this classic witch movie on several services. You can even bring your little dog, too.
Bedknobs & Broomsticks (1971)
Angela Lansbury charms in this delightful 1971 musical fantasy film based on the books by children’s author Mary Norton.
Combining live-action with music and animation, the film was shelved for almost 10 years because of its similarities to Mary Poppins.
During the London Blitz, three kids are evacuated from their home and placed in the care of Miss Eglantine Price, a witch-in-training who studies through a correspondence school.
Together, she and the kids use a traveling spell to go to London and find her professor Emelius Browne (David Tomlinson).
The lovable charlatan tells her that he created the course from an old book whose final spell is missing, and so they all go off on a quest to find it.
The tunes are bubbly, the animation is cute, and there’s the added plot bonus of helping defeat the Nazis. And what witch can’t get down with fighting some Nazis?
90s-kid Halloween nostalgia doesn’t get any better than Halloweentown.
This Disney channel original classic stars Debbie Reynolds as the witchy grandmother of three kids, Marnie, Dylan, and Sophie.
After Marnie finds out that her mother and grandmother are witches, she and her siblings secretly follow their grandmother to her home – Halloweentown.
There, they meet all manner of spooky (but nice) creatures of Halloween lore, like skeletons, vampires, werewolves, and more.
But when the kids are discovered by their grandmother Aggie (Reynolds), they find out that something truly horrifying is happening in Halloweentown.
Its citizens are disappearing, and there’s a mysterious hooded figure behind it all. It’s up to Aggie, the kids, and their magic to save this town of friendly fiends before it’s too late.
RELATED: 10 Best Halloween Movies on Disney+
Iconic & Empowering Movies About Witches
The Love Witch (2016)
After the suspicious death of her former lover, the seductive Elaine moves to a new town for a fresh start. As soon as she arrives, she starts looking for her true love – and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to find him.
Of course, as the men in the town begin to fall for her, things get sticky – and soon there’s a detective on her case.
The Love Witch was filmed on 35mm and uses classic film techniques to pay tribute to the popular sexploitation films of the 1960s.
Filmmaker Anna Biller injects every frame with glamour and rich imagery. Samantha Robinson turns in an enchanting performance as the love-obsessed sorceress Elaine.
The Craft (1996)
No witchcraft movie list would be complete without the 1990s cult classic The Craft.
This iconic film influenced a generation of outsiders and weirdos. It’s practically synonymous with pop culture witchcraft movies. Plus the fashion and soundtrack have aged exquisitely.
When Sarah starts at a new Catholic school, she finds herself drawn to three girls on the school’s social fringe.
Together, the four of them are able to tap into their magical powers and set right the wrongs that have been done to them.
But you know the saying: be careful what you wish for.
Practical Magic (1998)
When Practical Magic first hit theaters, critics wrote it off as a “chick flick”.
But this tale of two magical sisters has gained a huge cult following, becoming a retroactive success that’s beloved by femmes across generations.
Sally and Gillian Owens are the descendants of Maria, a witch who was hanged for (among other things) falling in love with a married man.
Before Maria died, she placed a curse on her lineage that they would never know love, so as to spare herself and her heirs from heartbreak. Any time an Owens woman fell in love with a man, he would suffer an untimely death.
After the death of her own husband, Sally and her daughters move back to the family home with her magical aunts.
One night, her sister Gillian calls, and the two sisters find themselves in a terrifying predicament.
Now they’ll have to use their magic to protect themselves and fight off that old family curse once and for all.
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
With a lineup like Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeifer, and Cher, you know these characters are dealing in some serious power and charm.
And The Witches of Eastwick does not disappoint. Three best friends have a night of drinking, and they unknowingly use their to words summon a devilish new suitor.
The arrival of Daryl Van Horne (Jack Nicholson) causes quite the scandal in their small town. One by one he seduces the three friends.
But is this man they’ve summoned truly evil? And can these women save themselves from his power before it’s too late?
I Married a Witch (1942)
Iconic Hollywood actress Veronica Lake stars in this black and white film about a witch whose plan for revenge comedically backfires.
Jennifer and her father Daniel are burned at the stake after being accused of witchcraft by Puritan leader Jonathan Wooley.
Before she dies, Jennifer curses Wooley and all of his male descendants, dooming them to always be unlucky in love.
And so it goes, that the Wooley men marry cruel women until 1942 when the witches’ spirits are released.
Jennifer quickly begins scheming more revenge on Wallace Wooley on the eve of his wedding – but when she ends up drinking a love potion meant for him, her plan goes off the rails.
This film was one source of inspiration for the TV show Bewitched. Along with Bell, Book, & Candle (which appallingly isn’t streaming anywhere), this screwball comedy showed witches as mischievous but beautiful, powerful, and clever.
It’s great for classic movie fans since it’s one of the first movies about witches to go mainstream.
Eve’s Bayou (1997)
In this gothic Louisiana drama, 10-year-old Eve Batiste accidentally discovers her father (Samuel L. Jackson) cheating on her mother with another woman in town.
Cisely (Meagan Good), her older sister, convinces Eve that she’s mistaken. But as she discovers more evidence of her father’s infidelity, Eve also discovers that she has the magical gift of sight.
This is a rich tale of family struggles and coming of age, layered with magic and consequence.
Young actress Jurnee Smollett (now DC’s Black Canary in Birds of Prey) turns in a gripping performance as Eve as she struggles to decide what is true and what is not.
The film has been rightfully showered with praise over the years, and its portrayal of witchcraft is culturally and visually vibrant.
Teen Witch (1989)
Teen Witch was meant to be the girl’s version of Teen Wolf, but this 1989 film was able to “Top That” with ease.
If you know, you know – there is no film on this list that screams 80s in quite the same way this one does.
The movie layers the classic “be careful what you wish for” narrative with a good, wholesome layer of “be yourself and everything will be ok”.
Louise Miller is a plain Jane teenage girl. Quiet and bookish, she meets a seer named Madame Serena (Zelda Rubenstein), who tells her that she’s a witch.
On her 16th birthday, her powers emerge and she uses them to make herself popular and loved. But at what cost?
Horrifying & Scary Witch Movies
Witching & Bitching (2013)
Las Brujas de Zugarramurdi is a Spanish film, and buckle up, kiddies, because it’s one hell of a ride.
The story begins with Antonio, José, and José’s son Sergio undertaking a bank heist. When fleeing the scene, they hijack a taxi cab, dragging the taxi driver and a very unfortunate passenger along for their escape across the border to France.
The men find themselves in a town full of cannibal witches just in time for a big ceremony. But while the older witches are preparing to cook the gang, Eva, the leader’s daughter, becomes infatuated with José.
The film is uproariously hilarious – and surprisingly subversive while it cracks jokes about the relationships between men and women.
The witches also switch from funny to terrifying in equal measure, and both representations are likely to leave an impression on viewers.
A thunderous blast right up until the ending, Witching & Bitching is a witch movie that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Black Sunday (1960)
This film may be vintage, but it’ll make your skin crawl in a way that makes you think it’s HD.
People with sensory sensitivity, beware – the first few minutes of this horror classic feature a witch’s execution, and it’s not for the squeamish.
Black Sunday is Italian director Mario Bava’s most well-known tale: a story about an executed witch who returns to terrorize and possess her descendants.
At a short but terrifying 86 minutes, this film packs terror into every frame.
Very heavily censored and banned in some parts of the U.K. upon its release, the film is still known for its incredible use of practical effects.
Bava’s film has since been lauded as an atmospheric masterpiece, and a huge influence on horror movies that came after it.
The Witch (2015)
In 1630s New England, William and his family were banished from a Puritan colony for William’s religious beliefs.
After the birth of her baby brother, eldest daughter Tomasin is alarmed when the infant suddenly vanishes under her care. It quickly becomes clear to the family that a witch is living in the woods.
Using the horror of dark emotions like grief and shame, A24 is notorious for slow-burn horror. Other movies from the studio like Midsommar and Hereditary could also hold their place on this list, and are certainly witchcraft movies worth a watch.
Director Robert Eggers weaves a tale of witchcraft that manages to embrace both the horror and the subversion of the witch archetype.
This story of a 1600s New England family living in exile pulls inspiration from Puritan notions of witchcraft, and makes you ask some fundamental questions about the source of that evil.
Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922)
Part documentary essay film, part dramatized narrative, this Swedish takes a look at witchcraft superstitions from the middle ages through the 20th century.
Writer and director Benjamin Christensen recreated medieval scenes taken from his own study of the Malleus Maleficarum.
In the film, Christensen posits that witch hunts may have their roots in misunderstandings of mental or neurological disorders.
Initially considered too racy for release in the U.S., this silent film includes dramatized depictions of nudity, torture, sex, and opposition to religious authority (gasp!)
This is an excellent movie to put on in the background of a party – or to just sit back and get carried away with the visuals, which, even by today’s standards, are pretty gripping.
There’s also a 1968 version narrated by William S. Burroughs, but sadly that isn’t available for streaming, just on DVD.
The Blair Witch Project (2000)
It is impossible to talk about witch movies and not bring up The Blair Witch Project.
Not only did this movie kick off the found-footage horror genre, it’s a master in improvisational filming (bless the hearts of these poor actors).
Made by film students, it tells the disjointed story of 3 fictional film students who venture into the woods to produce a documentary about the Blair Witch, a local Maryland myth.
The mythology of the film pulls from the name and aesthetic of witchcraft, sure, with all those teeth and stick figures in the trees.
But the witch in this film is completely invisible – and the story that comes together feels like more of a hauntings-of-the-past story.
It’s hard to piece together a linear backstory on this one, but the point isn’t really why, it’s… WHAT IS THAT?!
City of the Dead (1960)
College student Nan Barlow visits the sleepy Massachusetts town of Whitewood in order to study the local history of witchcraft.
Unfortunately, she gets more than she bargained for when she realizes her AirB&B was actually a booking for a virgin sacrifice.
Released in the U.S. as Horror Hotel, this 1960s horror film has been hugely influential on the genre.
Nan’s absence lures her fiancé and her brother to the town, and they must stop the immortal witch and break her hold on this town.
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