Best Fantasy Movies – The Saragossa Manuscript (1965)

Classic Supernatural Movies

One of the best fantasy movies, The Saragossa Manuscript is in a genre of its own. It is a classic mystery film with elements of best supernatural movies and classic comedy movies. It is also among best classic erotic movies.

One of the best Polish movies, it has a complex and entertaining story-within-story structure, similar to that of the Christopher Nolan Inception movie released in 2010.

A gem among European classic black and white movies, it is praised by Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. One of the best fantasy movies of European cinema was also a favourite of late Grateful Dead guitarist, Jerry Garcia.

Best Fantasy Movies – Film Details

The Saragossa Manuscript
Rekopis znaleziony w Saragossie



Directed by:

Written by:



Wojciech Has

Tadeusz Kwiatkowski, based on a novel by Jan Potocki


Golden Wolf (1965) Bucharest Film Festival

Golden Feather (1965) San Sebastian Film Festival

Best Fantasy Movies - Plot Teaser

Two captains fighting in Spain during Napoleonic wars discover an old book. As they read, they discover a story of a nobleman. On his way to Madrid he meets two foreign princesses who might possess evil supernatural powers.

Best Fantasy Films - Review

Talking about cult classic black and white movies based on cult books!

The author of the novel, on which one of the best fantasy movies was based, lived adventurously traveling the world and died mysteriously worthy of the events in his famous novel. The story goes that he shot himself in 1815 with a silver ball, which his priest blessed at his request. Some suggested that the author himself thought he was turning into a werewolf.

This classic of supernatural movies, just like the book, is a medley of various genres – fantasy, mystery, horror, adventure, comedy and erotica. It is a surreal mystery film. It got a nod of approval from master of surrealism himself - Luis Bunuel, the greatest Spanish filmmaker of all time. "I saw the film three times, which, in my case, is absolutely exceptional," he said.

Many of the best western movies of the time, called Spaghetti westerns, were filmed in Spain. Ironically, this mystery film, although set in Spain, was filmed entirely in Poland with Polish film actors and a Polish crew. Nonetheless, it was successful at creating an authentic Spanish feel. The movie received a number of top awards by the Spanish, including Golden Feather at one of the most important film festivals in the world – San Sebastian Film Festival.

When the movie was released, Poland was a communist country, with strict censorship. Somehow, one of the best fantasy movies had an erotic undercurrent too strong even for western movie standards, becoming one of the best classic erotic movies. There are a few raunchy bedroom scenes. Women in town scenes often wear see-through garments.

One of the top explicit scenes of that time, which involved a threesome, was described by a Polish actress who played a mysterious princess: “Imagine socialist Poland, the early sixties and the three of us are in this bisexual relationship, making out on a bed in that big cave.”

Best Fantasy Films - Trivia

One of the best Polish movies was reborn in America when a fully restored film was released in 2001 thanks largely to the efforts of Jerry Garcia, one of the greatest guitarists of all time, who considered it to be his favourite film.

Zbigniew Cybulski, the lead actor of this mystery film, was voted the best of all Polish film actors.

Best Fantasy Films - Movie Recommendation

This mystery film is one of the best fantasy movies of all time and an absolute delight to watch, but it is 3 hours long. However, the film consists of 2 parts that are interconnected but could be watched separately, which allows you to break up the screening into 2 segments.

This film is a journey you, as a viewer, have never been on before.

Best Fantasy Films – Movie Ratings

FILMIconic movie rating:

Love it! - based on the rating scale below.

Rotten Tomatoes movie rating:

90% certified fresh based on critics’ movie reviews

88% based on viewers’ movie reviews

IMDb movie rating:

7.8/10 based on critics’ and viewers’ movie reviews

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