The iconic fashion doll Barbie is coming to life in a new movie set for release on July 21. Based on Mattel’s creations, Barbie is a fantasy comedy film directed by Greta Gerwig from a script she co-wrote with Noah Baumbach. After over 40 computer-animated direct-to-video and streaming television films, this first live-action Barbie film aims to expose a new narrative depth while rekindling the mystical enchantment of Barbie’s universe. So it’s no wonder that the Barbie movie has already garnered a lot of buzz before its theatrical release.
Additionally, the film’s star-studded ensemble, which includes Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken, has fans and critics alike thrilled to see how the world of the famed doll translates to the big screen. The full main trailer, released on May 25, has only pumped up the excitement by showcasing a wealth of intriguing references and tributes to popular culture. The new Barbie film promises to be a major motion picture event with its unique blend of nostalgic charm, intrigue, and A-list talent. To tide you over till 2023’s Barbie, here are a few of the best movies featuring the fashion doll from the past years.
10. Barbie: Spy Squad (2016)
Barbie: Spy Squad gives fans of the doll a taste of adventure and action for the first time. In the film, Barbie and her two best friends, Teresa and Renee, play a secret agent team that starts out as hardworking gymnasts. At the outset, we see Barbie, Teresa, and Renee practicing their gymnastics moves. A top-secret spy agency notices them at a major competition and recruits them because of their superior athleticism and intelligence.
The film’s main villain is an intriguing cat burglar who has been wreaking havoc, and the Spy Squad’s mission is to stop her, using their considerable talents. The Spy Squad now begins an action-packed adventure full of high-speed chases, secret missions, and complex gadgetry — some of which feature a humorous spin on their gymnastic skills. Through their efforts to solve the problem as a unit, the Spy Squad exemplifies the film’s primary themes of teamwork, courage, and friendship.
9. Barbie in Rock ‘N Royals (2015)
The musically-themed Barbie in Rock ‘N Royals introduces its lead character, Barbie, as a princess who longs to be a rock star. This story is about finding oneself, making friends, and putting aside prejudice. Starring as a typical royal with a disciplined lifestyle, Barbie plays Princess Courtney. On the other hand, Erika, a rock star with an unconventional way of life, is the polar opposite. However, due to a mix-up, Princess Courtney ends up in Camp Pop and Erika in Camp Royalty, leading to a series of comedic and musical adventures.
The plot centers on how these two girls, who couldn’t be more different, find their own voices after being thrust into strange situations. They overcome obstacles and learn to value the unique perspectives of one another. The film also shows how music serves as a unifying force for people formerly at odds with one another. At its core, Barbie in Rock ‘N Royals conveys a powerful message about being authentic and unafraid to challenge norms and preconceptions. Princess Courtney and Erika show that trying new things is good and that individuals shouldn’t limit themselves to one label.
8. Barbie in The Pink Shoes (2013)
Kristyn Farraday, played by Barbie in the film, is a young ballet dancer with huge goals but difficulty following the choreography. Kristyn opens the story by trying on a pair of dazzling pink ballet shoes she discovers in the costume department. These enchanted shoes transport Kristyn and her friend Hailey to a fantastical ballet world. In this new realm, Kristyn takes on the roles of classic ballet characters such as “Giselle” and “Swan Lake.”
A large portion of the movie follows Kristyn as she travels through different ballet stories, each requiring her to dance to alter the plot and save the characters so that she can finally go home. As a result, she develops an appreciation for her distinctive dancing technique. The Snow Queen, the ruler of the enchanted ballet realm who stands in the way of Kristyn’s return home, is the film’s adversary. Barbie in The Pink Shoes presents a vivid and stunning portrait of the ballet world, complete with fascinating dancing scenes and some of the most well-known ballet music.
7. Barbie: Star Light Adventure (2016)
As a departure from the usual Barbie earthly setting, Barbie: Star Light Adventure places Barbie in a space-themed adventure. In this film, Barbie plays the role of Kara, a space princess from a distant galaxy. The story opens with a prophecy revealed to Princess Kara regarding the slowing and dimming of the dancing stars in the sky, indicating enormous cosmic significance.
Kara’s father, King Constantine, sends her on a journey to save the stars, believing she is the one to do it. Princess Kara embarks on an intergalactic adventure to a world she has never visited before with her loyal companions, a kooky hoverboard champion named Sal-Lee, and a band of cute critters. The crew must overcome exhilarating trials and unforeseen troubles to save the stars and get them dancing again.
6. Barbie and Her Sisters in A Pony Tale (2013)
Barbie and Her Sisters in A Pony Tale follows Barbie and her sisters, Skipper, Stacie, and Chelsea, as they embark on a charming adventure at a prestigious equestrian school in the beautiful Swiss Alps. In this movie, Barbie and her sisters go to Aunt Marlene’s riding academy in Switzerland for a pleasant summer vacation. The plot revolves around the characters’ time spent in the academy, their relationships with the horses, and the eventual discovery of a legendary horse named Majestique. According to local legend, the mythical wild horses live in a secluded valley in the highlands.
After discovering the reality behind the myth, they go on a dangerous rescue attempt to bring Majestique and her herd to safety. Family, teamwork, and bravery are just a few of the topics Barbie and Her Sisters in A Pony Tale delves into, along with the mystical connection that can develop between a rider and their horse. The sisters’ triumphant cooperation and reliance on one another to achieve their goals serve as an inspiring example to the audience. The film is a visual feast, with its gorgeous renderings of the Swiss Alps and the meticulous animation of the horses and riding school.
5. Barbie: Thumbelina (2009)
Hans Christian Andersen’s Thumbelina is the basis for Barbie: Thumbelina, which updates the classic tale with an emphasis on environmental issues. Barbie stars as Thumbelina, a tiny girl who lives in harmony with nature in the magical world of the Twillerbees, hidden among the wildflowers. Thumbelina and her friends enjoy a peaceful life until their home is threatened by construction for a factory.
Thumbelina and her pals Janessa and Chrysella set out to halt development and save their home. Makena, a young girl they meet along the journey, decides to join their cause and become one of their closest allies. The environmental theme in Barbie: Thumbelina makes it unique among the Barbie films. It highlights the effects of human activities on the environment and inspires viewers to respect and care for the natural world. In showcasing Thumbelina’s bravery and will in the face of hardship, the film demonstrates that even the smallest of individuals can make a difference.
4. Barbie in A Mermaid Tale (2010)
In this film, Barbie plays the role of Merliah Summers, a talented surfer from Malibu. Merliah’s journey through the story begins when she learns her mother is the mermaid queen and that she, too, can transform into a mermaid. Meanwhile, her mother, Queen Calissa, is in captivity because of her terrible sister, Eris.
Eris has wreaked devastation on the undersea kingdom in her quest to seize control of the realm. It is now up to Merliah to accept her dual identity and save her people. Merliah initially doubts her newfound identity, but with the support of her new underwater friends, she eventually comes to terms with it and thrives. Ultimately, Merliah frees her mother and brings harmony back to the undersea kingdom.
3. Barbie and the Diamond Castle (2008)
The story of Barbie and the Diamond Castle follows two girls, Liana (Barbie) and Alexa (Teresa), who are best friends and reside in a modest home. Everything changes when they free a beautiful music muse named Melody from a curse cast on a mirror. Melody tells them that the Diamond Castle, the center of musical creation, is in jeopardy due to the ambitions of a muse named Lydia.
Liana and Alexa, equipped with a magic map, face many dangers and perils in their quest to locate the Diamond Castle and save Melody’s home. Despite many obstacles, they press on, buoyed by their undying friendship and mutual appreciation of music.
2. Barbie in The 12 Dancing Princesses (2006)
The plot of Barbie in The 12 Dancing Princesses centers on King Randolph, who summons his strict relative, Duchess Rowena, to the castle to educate his twelve daughters on appropriate royal etiquette because he is worried they are becoming too independent. Rowena, however, is more of a dictator than a teacher, as evidenced by her prohibiting the girls from engaging in their one genuine passion: dancing.
The sisters uncover a fantastic realm in their late mother’s dancing pavilion while exploring their mansion. It’s a magical location where their wishes are granted, and they can freely dance. The most wondrous magic is that one minute in this enchanted realm costs one second in the real world. However, when King Edward suddenly becomes ill, and Duchess Rowena assumes power, things go wrong. The sisters know they must cooperate to save their father and the kingdom. They outwit Rowena by banding together and using their shared passion for dance to rally behind a common goal of reclaiming their world.
1. Barbie in the Nutcracker (2001)
Featuring Barbie as Clara, Barbie in the Nutcracker combines elements from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King with those from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker ballet. Clara’s aunt gives her a magnificent Nutcracker doll for Christmas, and the story opens with her opening it. Later that night, after the Mouse King has broken into Clara’s parlor, the Nutcracker comes to life to protect her.
After waking up and helping the Nutcracker, she is reduced in size by a spell cast by the Mouse King, who then runs away. Since only the Sugarplum Princess can defeat the Mouse King’s spell, Clara and the Nutcracker must go on an incredible quest to locate her. Along the way, they encounter friendly and dangerous figures like the Snow Fairy and the Gingerbread Boy.