Best Wizards in Movies, Ranked
Best Wizards in Movies, Ranked
There is no denying that the wizarding world has long entranced audiences throughout the years, through both books and film. It’s not hard to see why moviegoers are so enamored with the fantastical element of these films: the magic and wonder of it all brings out the child in all of us. Throughout cinematic history, there has been a wide range of movies celebrating sorcery, from dark magic to light, witches to warlocks, whimsical and fun to dark and dangerous, and everything in between.
Here, we celebrate the best wizards in movies. A wizard is described as “a person who is skilled in magic, a sorcerer, or magician”. Over the years, an extensive selection of wizards has been portrayed on the big screen, ranging from young inexperienced wizards to powerful sorcerers and malevolent dark wizards. Regardless, all of these wizards are truly spellbinding to watch, as they enchant their audience. As there are too many marvelous movie mages to include them all, our focus here is on the most powerful sorcerers of any wizarding world. Whether they are on the side of good or evil and whether their power lies in their sorcery skills or charm, we examine the best wizards in film. Here are the best wizards in movies, ranked.
11/11 Willow Ufgood — Willow
Willow Ufgood is the main protagonist in the fantasy adventure film Willow. A Nelwyn and fledgling magician, Willow takes on the heroic task of rescuing an abandoned Daikini baby, named Elora Danan, who was prophesied to become Empress and thus threatens the throne of evil ruler Bavmorda. With the help of some new friends and magic tricks, Willow defeats the powerful queen to ensure Elora Danan’s rightful place in history. Per The Verge, the movie inspired a TV series spin-off set for release on Disney+ in November 2022.
10/11 Jareth the Goblin King — The Labyrinth
In The Labyrinth, David Bowie stars as Jareth the Goblin King, a powerful sorcerer capable of manipulating time, form, and dreamscapes. Despite his immense power, his main focus throughout the film is fostering the affections of the young protagonist Sarah (Jennifer Connolly). In a ploy to make her his queen, he kidnaps her baby brother Tobey and creates a mystical maze to deter her from rescuing him.
9/11 Lo Pan — Big Trouble in Little China
Lo-Pan is Kurt Russell’s nemesis in the cult classic pulp action movie Big Trouble in Little China. The titular ‘big trouble’, Lo-Pan is a malevolent warlock who has the power of hypnosis, demon control, and light manipulation, which allows him to shoot laser beams from his eyes and mouth. Cursed by the emperor, Lo-Pan can only regain his human form if he finds and marries a woman with green eyes.
8/11 Shang Tsung — Mortal Kombat
Shang Tsung is the major antagonist in the 1995 martial arts movie Mortal Kombat based on the video game of the same name. He is the tournament master and powerful sorcerer who must consume souls to sustain his vitality. Despite his power, he is eventually defeated during battle by opponent Lui Kang who sought revenge for the death of his brother Chan. The film inspired a 2021 remake and there is currently a sequel to the 2021 reboot in production.
7/11 Lord Voldemort — Harry Potter Franchise
Lord Voldemort may have ended up one of the most dangerous wizards in the Harry Potter series, but he didn’t start that way. Voldemort’s humble beginnings were the unhealthy curiosities of young Hogwarts student Tom Riddle. Through the use of horcrux magic, Riddle grew into the monster we now know from the popular fantasy series. Using magic to attach himself to various items to ensure immortality, including Harry Potter, his nemesis, who would ultimately be his undoing.
6/11 Harry Potter — Harry Potter Franchise
How would this list be complete without everyone’s favorite boy wizard Harry Potter? The titular character of the fantastical epics captivated audiences for eight films. Harry, an orphan with a dark past, grows up in a loveless home as the black sheep of the family. One fateful day, a magical letter (or several) float through his mail slot at 4 Privet Drive, and forever change his life. Dubbed one of the most powerful wizards, Potter proved his salt time and again, dodging, deflecting, and ultimately defeating one of the most powerful dark wizards in Hogwarts history, Lord Voldemort.
5/11 Saruman — The Lord of the Rings Franchise
Once on the side of good, the powerful sorcerer Saruman was the chief of the white council, leading the fight against Sauron in Lord of the Rings. His studies into dark magic, however, would eventually re-align his allegiance to Sauron as his desire for the One Ring and the power it held finally consumed him. Despite his extensive studies in dark magic, Saruman is the one wizard on this list who is morally neutral.
4/11 Gellert Grindelwald — Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Gellert Grindelwald is a powerful dark wizard in the Harry Potter prequel series Fantastic Beasts. He is played by Johnny Depp in the first two installments and by Mads Mikkelsen in The Secrets of Dumbledore. Grindewald is said to be Dumbledore’s dark magic equivalent. Thus, the pair face off on more than one occasion during the series in some truly epic magical battles.
3/11 Albus Dumbledore — Harry Potter Franchise
Albus Dumbledore is the most powerful wizard in the history of Hogwarts, past and present. Without his help and sacrifice, Harry Potter might not have been able to defeat the powerful Lord Voldemort. Ever keeping a watchful eye, Dumbledore, a shining beacon for good, guides Harry, providing the knowledge, tools, and confidence he would ultimately need to defeat the dark lord. Dumbledore’s storyline reaches its climax in Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince when the audience is finally filled in on Dumbledore’s secrets.
2/11 Gandalf — Lord of the Rings Franchise
Gandalf the Gray, later known as Gandalf the White, is one of the most powerful wizards in movie history. He was one of the founding members of the Fellowship of the ring to destroy the One Ring. Gandalf is wise, compassionate, and one of the most knowledgeable beings in Middle-earth. His powers include the ability to wield light and fire, healing powers, and seeing powers. Further to his magical prowess, he is also a skilled and valiant fighter and is often fighting alongside his companions in the battle against Sauron.
1/11 Doctor Strange — MCU Franchise
Doctor Strange earns the top spot in our list of the best movie wizards as he is a powerful sorcerer and the former Sorcerer Supreme in the MCU. The title was passed on to his friend Wong by default on account that he blipped for five years after the events of Avengers: Infinity War. Once the keeper of the Time Stone, Strange is a very powerful sorcerer with the ability to conjure a myriad of spells, including a variety of barrier and protection spells, the ability to project his astral being from his body, and open dimensional portals. Strange is also able to use his full power in the mortal realm, unlike some other wizards.