The Five Best Barbie Movies

By: Anna Cox

If you’re anything like me, you absolutely freak out when you see the first look at Margot Robbie as Barbie in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie (2023). And, in honor of the photo of Robbie as the iconic blonde doll coming out, here are the five best Barbie movies.

5. Barbie in a Mermaid Tale (2010)

Marking the beginning of the list, Barbie in a Mermaid Tale has all the quintessential tropes in a good Barbie movie. In the movie, Barbie plays Merliah, a champion surfer who learns that she is a mermaid who needs to rescue her mother, the queen of Oceana. The movie provides a new side of Barbie that wasn’t commonly shown in the films that came before it: sporty Barbie. And, that may seem like a miniscule thing today, as many movies feature women in sports and portray them as something a viewer should attain to be, but barbie movies rarely did this. They always portrayed Barbie as the epitome of femininity and beauty, having her be ballerinas or princesses. But, this movie gave little girls that liked to play sports the reassurance that they were still just as beautiful and feminine as girls who like things that are traditionally feminine. With the help of her pink dolphins and mermaid friends, Merliah is able to save her mother from the evil mermaid aunt, Eris. The movie is all around a very good watch for Barbie lovers and spreads a great message about identity that all young girls should watch.

4. Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper (2004)

Barbie as Princess and the Pauper may be one of the most iconic Barbie movies. With a TikTok audio of one of the movies songs going viral, the movie is beloved by many girls that grew up watching Barbie’s take on the tale of the Princess and the Pauper. The story follows Blonde princess Anneliese and brunette pauper Erika as they build a friendship following their discovery that they look almost exactly the same. They will have to work together to defeat Preminger, who wishes to marry a royal and gain control of the kingdom. The movie explores cliche themes of friendship in unlikely places, but since it is a kids movie, the message it sends is great for kids. It also uses the classic Barbie “girl-power” to defeat someone and gives the main protagonists their happily ever after, as they both end up marrying their loves. It is all around a fun movie and one of Barbie’s best.

3. Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale (2010)

Being the Barbie movie that I find myself rewatching the most, Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale is definitely one of the highlights of my childhood. The movie is one of many where Barbie plays herself, but in this movie Barbie is famous because she makes Barbie movies in this universe. Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale, Barbie is fired during the filming of an adaption of The Princess and the Pea after questioning the choices of the director. She is blacklisted in Hollywood for the time being and Ken breaks up with her over the phone, causing her leave for Paris and live with her fashion designer aunt for a while. Barbie learns that her aunts fashion line is going out of business, so with the help of “flaries” (not to be mistaken with fairies), Barbie is able to save her aunt’s brand and, in the end, gets the opportunity to direct her very own film. Now, the movie may sound all over the place, and it is, but it is still very fun to watch. It explores themes of working for success and getting back on your feet after your confidence has been shot. It is my personal favorite to watch, but it does not quite make it to the number one spot.

2. Barbie: Princess Charm School (2011)

Following the cliche of the lost princess trope, Barbie: Princess Charm School is about Blair, a teenage commoner in the kingdom of Gardenia as she wins a lottery to attend a school where girls learn how to act as princesses. Throughout the movie, Blair’s chances of succeeding at the school are constantly challenged by Dame Devin and her daughter Delancey, as they suspect that she may be the lost princess. Blair, who is in fact the lost princess makes friends throughout the movie and finally gets reconciled with her kingdom. The movie is my personal favorite of the Barbie franchise and has a lot of things that are appealing to young girls. It’s purpose is to make girls who otherwise would feel ordinary, like they are princesses. This is because the whole message is about who a princess isn’t determined by her title, but her character. Yes, it is predictable and cliche, but it is still one of the most entertaining Barbie movies and is very enjoyable to watch.

1. Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses (2006)

If I called Barbie as Princess and the Pauper one of the most iconic, then Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses is THE most iconic Barbie movie. The movie follows Princess Genevieve and her eleven sisters who all share a passion for dancing. Living with their widowed father, the Duchess of Rowena is brought to teach the girls proper manners, and she enforces strict rules; one of those rules being that they can no longer dance. But, the girls find a path to a secret land when they should be in bed sleeping, and dance the whole night in the secret land. But, when the duchess notices that their dancing shoes are worn out, she sends someone to watch them. As the girls go to the magical land, the Duchess is poisoning the king with the hopes of taking over the land, but the girls find out and help save their father. It is one of the most popular Barbie movies, and rightfully so. It is a fun movie that sends a good message about sticking true to your passions. It also made me really want a secret passageway in the middle of my room as a young child.

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