Dragons in movies used to be considered simply vicious and unmanageable since they were considered to be animals, dangerous animals but little more than beasts. However, any D&D player could tell you that in a game or in today’s movies that dragons might not always be capable of human understanding, but they’re anything but stupid beasts. In the movies they’re typically much smarter, stronger, faster, and much more capable than most humans on just about every level. And if you factor in that some dragons have magical qualities and/or abilities, then they become a lot more dangerous. As mythical creatures dragons are a lot of fun to create, work with, and imagine since the templates that exist are fairly open and allow for a great deal of modifications. But were dragons ever found to exist in this world, you can imagine that overpopulation would cease to be a concern since in the movies they’re not well-known for being too chummy with humans.
Here are some of the greatest dragons to ever set foot on the big screen.
Beowulf is one story that’s had a few different adaptations and been through the Hollywood ringer more than once with different versions coming out each time. It’s not a bad story to be honest and it’s something we might have all heard of at least once in school. But this version is not horrible but not so great that it deserves much more than a mention. However, the dragon in this film is flat out terrifying since it’s not just a destructive, intelligent force, it’s the king’s son that was birthed by his union with the mother of Grendel. Twisted? Oh yes.
9. The Neverending Story
Falkor is probably one of the nicest dragons on this list since he’s a Luck dragon and is not so violent as many other versions that have come around. Plus he looks like a giant dog if you didn’t notice already, and is perhaps the calmest dragon to ever be created. This is the kind of dragon you might actually WANT to meet and have as a pal since by the end of the film he ends up helping the kid take care of his neighborhood bullies. It might be considered overkill but as a kid it was fun to watch.
This film got way overdone as the Dragonheart series began to roll out, but the first one was enjoyable enough as it brought out the idea of being prejudiced against someone for no reason and then the reconciliation that came throughout the movie. Dragons were for the most part being hunted down and systematically destroyed by one man, right up until he realized that what he’d been doing was foolish and ultimately damning to him and to the dragons. The movie was, overall, kind of a disappointment, but the idea of it was sound and the special effects at the time were pretty cool.
7. Pete’s Dragon
Nostalgia is the main reason why this version of Pete’s Dragon made it onto the list and the most current one didn’t. Nothing against the new version, but this is a movie that a lot of us grew up with and can possibly remember fondly. Pete was one of the nicest dragons you’d ever meet until you got him riled up, and then it became a rather comical scene sense he was still kind of cute when he got angry. Right up until the fire breath came out that was.
Dragons seemed more like an add-on in this film at first that didn’t have a lot of prospects once the group was away from the castle. At that point she was really more of a challenge to be worked around than anything. But then she showed up again and you simply knew that she was there to stay since, quite honestly, and creepily, she and Donkey had formed a bond. This proved to be advantageous to the group thankfully and we even got to see, somehow, some strange little donkey/dragon hybrids.
As one of the most vicious and diabolical villains in Disney history it was odd to see Maleficent in a more positive light to begin with. She did go back to villainy at one point in the film, but in truth a lot of people couldn’t blame her since she’d been betrayed and hurt so badly. It definitely puts a different spin on the old tale, but it also keeps a lot of integrity by maintaining Aurora’s innocence while declaring Maleficent’s as well.
4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Smaug is quite simply one of the meanest, nastiest dragons ever brought to film. Even in the cartoon version of The Hobbit he was a vain, arrogant beast, since that’s just the way the character is. So confident is he that no one can touch him that he lays waste to an entire town thinking that he’s unstoppable. Thank goodness for Bard and the black arrow. Smaug was big. mean, and tough, but he sure wasn’t as smart as he seemed to think.
3. How to Train Your Dragon
It’s amusing how one of the smallest dragons of the bunch can be among the the most powerful. Toothless certainly couldn’t go toe to toe with the bigger dragons when it came to brute strength, but when it came to firepower, maneuverability, and intelligence, he could more match just about any dragon. Plus, having Hiccup as his wingman was a big help as the two created a bond that was beneficial to both of them.
2. Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire
Come on, who didn’t predict that Harry would get the biggest, meanest dragon out of the bunch? This is Harry Potter after all, the boy who lived. He’d already taken on a couple of different challenges before this contest and had managed to survive. A dragon was obviously a big step up, but it wasn’t anything Harry couldn’t handle, right? Out-flying a dragon seems like kind of a stretch until you realize how the size difference affects one’s agility, but all in all Harry proved to be just a bit smarter.
1. Reign of Fire
Why is this number one? Well that’s simple. The dragons are massive, mean, nasty, tough, and unfortunately for the humans they’re intelligent. The bull male actually decimated the group that was heading to London to kill it, then followed their back trail and sought to eliminate the rest of the bunch by breathing his napalm breath directly into the castle. Dumb beast? Not really.
Dragons come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing is for certain in the movies, they’re not to be messed with.