The Harry Potter films (2001-present)
In six films based on J.K. Rowling’s books, Emma Watson grew up in front of our Muggle eyes. When she became the love interest of Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), Grint told EW, ”I remember being inches away from her lips and thinking, ‘Good Lord, this is going to be strange.’ ” Falling for a smart, sweet, Brit witch? Stranger things have happened.
THE TEENS OF...
The Craft (1996)
Are they a clique, or a coven? Three occult-curious teens at a Los Angeles parochial high school for girls (Neve Campbell, Rachel True, and Fairuza Balk) discover that when they team up with the troubled new girl in town (Robin Tunney), their spell-casting skills become way scary.
The Little Mermaid (1999)
Voiced by veteran comedienne Pat Carroll, the villain in Disney’s animated blockbuster is an undersea baddie of epic proportions: a giant lipsticked octopus with evil powers. (Ursula’s big song, ”Poor, Unfortunate Souls,” was subjected to an unfortunate Jonas Brothers rehash on a 2006 special edition of the beloved soundtrack.)
THE THREE WITCHES
The supernatural sisters (of ”Double, double, toil and trouble/Fire burn, and cauldron bubble” fame) possessed a power for prophecy that fueled Macbeth’s bloodlust. Their spooky scenes throughout Shakespeare’s tragedy (filmed many times, including the 2006 modern-day Aussie-gangster take starring Sam Worthington) may help explain why the early-1600s play causes superstition to this day: No actor in his right mind courts bad luck by uttering the title of ”the Scottish play” inside a theater.
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
Hayao Miyazaki’s anime classic features the voice of Kirsten Dunst in the English version, as Kiki — a plucky 13-year-old apprentice witch who must fly on her broom to a new village (accompanied by her acerbic black cat) — at a coming-of-age juncture in her life. Without a doubt, one of cinema’s sunniest depictions of a witch, in any language.
WILHELMINA W. WITCHIEPOO
H.R. Pufnstuf (1969-1970)
On the trippy Sid and Marty Krofft kids’ series, young Jimmy’s nemesis on Living Island is named Wilhelmina W. Witchiepoo (Billie Hayes), a hag who rides a vehicle named Vroom Broom and repeatedly tries stealing his pretty little magic flute. We didn’t get the innuendo when we were kids, either.
Immortalized by Elizabeth Montgomery, Sam was a perky housewife living among mortal neighbors on Morning Glory Circle, eager to blend in despite her mother Endora’s meddling. Montgomery’s adorably twitchy nose (the Darrens never knew what hit ’em) helped make Bewitched a syndication hit long after production wrapped.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996-2003)
As a teenager who learns at 16 that she’s been born into a long line of witches, Melissa Joan Hart gave dimension to a character first rendered in Archie comic books. Fans’ affection for the series induced The WB to pick it up for three seasons after ABC cancelled it in 2000.
THE HALLIWELL SISTERS
Dubbed ”the Charmed Ones,” Phoebe (Alyssa Milano), Piper (Holly Marie Combs), Prue (Shannen Doherty), and Paige (Rose McGowan, brought in after Prue was killed off in season 3) are good witches trying to keep their identities secret while living normal lives in San Francisco. No magic could save the Aaron Spelling production, however, when a 2006 network merger made The WB — poof! — disappear.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
Oh, Scooby Gang, what would you do without true-blue Willlow (Allison Hannigan)? When pop culture’s most self-deprecating witch (”I don’t get wild…wild on me equals spaz”) hooked up with Tara in season 4, the taboo-busting storyline was a milestone in the depiction of same-sex relationships on TV.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)
In this Disney musical, Angela Lansbury is a crisply-coiffed fussbudget who studies witchcraft and zooms across WWII England on a flying brass bed with three impish war orphans. Her no-nonsense delivery of the Oscar-nominated song ”The Age of Not Believing” is pure magic.
JADIS THE WHITE WITCH
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)
Talk about perfect casting. In the adaptation of the C.S. Lewis fantasy, ghostly-pale Tilda Swinton portrays the White Witch, a manipulative villainess who’s colder than cold. Perhaps it’s those upside-down icicles on her head.
THE BLAIR WITCH
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Okay, so we never saw the witch. And the three ”filmmakers” lost in the woods never confirmed its existence. But the evil genius of the indie’s marketing campaign captured our imaginations, and here’s what really boggled our minds: how such an amateur-looking film could rake in so much cash ($140 million since its release).
GLINDA THE GOOD WITCH & THE WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Glinda, Good Witch of the North (Billie Burke), visits Munchkinland inside a bubble of pink light and gives an Oz newcomer the ruby slippers, and the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton) gives chase. Until she melts. Without these two scene-stealers, Dorothy (Judy Garland) might have been stuck in Oz forever. And her little dog, too!
THE WITCH KING OF ANGMAR
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)
In the Oscar-winning, trilogy-capping adventure epic, Peter Jackson gives Tolkien fans a terrifying Witch King of Angmar, leader of the Nazgul (once a human until he was given one of nine Rings of Power). What’s so scary about the dude? Just his voice, his spiky helmet, his spiky mace, his total lack of a face?oh, and that monstrous Fell Beast he rides.