I love that the movies of this age have embraced high-end fantasy
concepts.  As a complete SF and Fantasy geek, this is a great age in
which to live.  With the visual effects technology available these days,
we are seeing more and more realistic visions of these mythical
creatures--though, as you may or may not agree--some of the old-style
effects work holds up quite well.

The word dragon originated from the Latin draconem which means "great serpent."  Whether this referred to mythological creatures or real serpents and eels remains a source of contention.  The concept of dragons is apparent in almost every culture.  For example, in China they are represented as snake-like, while European dragons more closely resemble dinosaurs.  The range of the dragon's power varies per tale and per culture.  In some cases they can talk; in others they represent the Earth itself; in others they simply run amok and set things on fire.  In some cases, all three. 

But--we're not here for the history of the dragon, are we?  We're here to watch some badass fire-breathing coolness (if that makes sense).  And believe me--these videos deliver.  Well, except for the first one.  The way I organized this was from worst (which isn't saying it's bad) to best.  These selections are my opinion, though I would be happy to hear from anyone with other suggestions.  Without further ado: Here are my Top 10 dragons in the movies..

10. Falkor from The Never Ending Story

 

Okay, before you slam me about a dragon looking like a snugly puppy, ask yourself this question: "How cool would it be have a giant snugly puppy that could talk and fly you around anywhere?"  Answer: Very cool.  And while the movie failed to deliver on the wonder of the excellent novel by Michael  Ende, it did have some cool visuals.  I have a fond memory of the movie from my childhood--though if you follow this link (which is a bit to risque for this site) you'll have fun... The Never Ending Party (Robot Chicken).

Video uploaded by Steven Duret on April 5, 2010.

 9.  Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty

 

Not only is this dragon mean as hell, but it's also crazy.  Black as night, Maleficent goes to town against brave Prince Phillip in a very unevenly scaled battle.  She pretty much burns the entire forest down while he runs away.  Can't say as I blame him.  That thing is pretty wicked looking.

Video uploaded by Binxmemv4 on April 21, 2006.

 

8.  The Ebersisk from Willow

Sure, it wasn't the most original of films, but Willow was top-notch when it came to design and effects.  The Ebersisk (named so as a joke aimed at film critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel) was quite the scary, parrot-like two-headed fire-breather.  I've wondered if it could have actually crawled out that mote.  I looks a bit ungainly.

Video uploaded by Chaoticmoogle on February 17, 2007.

 

7.  Draco from Dragonheart

With the help of Sean Connery's voice and beyond state-of-the art visual effects, Dragonheart proved to be a thoughtful film with some good action sequences.  Draco looked quite realistic and was embued with a lot of personality.  My only complaint was that he didn't unleash himself upon the bad guys the way that he should have.  This dragon would kick ass.

Video uploaded by TheFantasyCentral on February 3, 2011.

 

6.  The Mother Dragon from Sucker Punch

 

I'm not even gonna get started on the inane nature of this film.  It was (in my opinion) horrible.  But it did have eye-popping visuals (not to mention sexy girls).  The mother dragon sequence of this film was really great, featuring one big, pissed off beast.  Be warned--the opening is a bit....gooey.

Video uploaded by TheBestMovieScenes1 on June 23, 2011.

 

5.  Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon

 

Easily one of my favorite dragons of all time because Toothless reminds me of my recently deceased little feline buddy, Buster.  The way this dragon moves and interacts is very cat-like--and quite funny.  If you've never seen this film, give yourself a treat.  It's great.

Video uploaded by KTLCreator on March 21, 2012.

 

4.  The Hungarian Horntail from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

 

Who hasn't seen the Harry Potter films?  Great stuff, featuring marvelous visuals.  The Hungarian Horntail is one of the scariest dragons I've seen put on film.  And the fact that he's attacking a child make him even more menacing, upping the threat level to 11.  This is a truly well-made sequence with a great monster.

Video uploaded by Ganesh Vernekar on October 7, 2012.

 

3. Any Dragon from Reign of Fire

 

A very underrated film with the most vicious dragon designs I've ever seen.  These things are just terrifying.  With humanity in the balance, a band of rogue fighters come up with some unique ways to deal with the fire-breathing beasts.  Just the skydiving sequence is worth the price of the movie alone.

Video uploaded by Mad9977 on June 26, 2013.

 

2.  Smaug from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

You know I couldn't do this list without Smaug.  Gigantic, intelligent, greedy, and altogether evil, this monster is the bane of Thorin Oakenshield's existence.  While I couldn't find any actual video of Smaug (the movie was released only a few weeks before this article was written), I was able to get the awesome monologue (voiced by the awesome Benedict Cumberbatch) will give you an idea of what the good guys are up against.  Oh, and see the movie--it's great.

Video uploaded by LucariosKlaw on October 1, 2013.

 

1. Vermithrax Pejorative from Dragonslayer

An oldie, but a goody.  Vermithrax Pejorative still holds sway as my favorite cinematic dragon ever.  The use of go-motion animation (initially developed by visual effects master Phil Tippet for the Star Wars films), puppets, and a giant mechanical dragon head and neck, make for the coolest looking dragon ever.  While I must admit that Smaug is everything he says he is, he suffers from vanity.  Vermithrax didn't suffer from anything.  This dragon was a force of nature, a symbol for the end of an era.

Video uploaded by TwistedKingdom74 on July 6, 2012.

So what do you think?  Did I miss any?  Send me your responses!

Photos from Reign of Fire.

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