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5 Movies like The Princess Diaries: Friends, Family and Princesses

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Jane Howarth itcherWhen you search for good movies like ‘The Princess Diaries’ (2001), what do you look for? There are plenty of options out there, but for me they’ve got to be cute and fun, with the sweetest family and friendship stories (regal or not so much). ~ Jane Howarth

‘A Cinderella Story’ (Mark Rossman, 2004), ‘Ice Princess’ (Tim Fywell, 2005) co-written by the author of ‘The Princess Diaries'(Meg Cabot, 2001), and ‘Ella Enchanted’ (Tommy O’Haver, 2004) starring Anne Hathaway are all great candidates.But you can catch them all here, and besides, I want to share a few more favourites.

What Are Some Good Movies like The Princess Diaries?

Not all films like ‘The Princess Diaries’ are monarchy-themed, but these are a good place to start.

`The Prince and Me´ (Martha Coolidge, 2004)

Paige: Denmark isn’t ready for a Queen like me.
Eddie: Well then they’ll have to be. Because I am.

Julia Stiles plays Paige, a Mia-style college girl who falls in love with an exchange student. The clue’s in the title, so I won’t keep you waiting – it turns out he’s a Danish prince and Paige’s clumsy ways don’t make it easy for her to fit in with his home life.

I usually find it kind of weird when there’s a fictional member of a real monarchy running around, but it’s a cute movie so I guess I’ll overlook it just this one time.

Fun, cheerful and covered in those culture clashes between an everyday girl and the aristocracy, making ‘The Prince and Me’ the perfect match.

`Chasing Liberty´ (Andy Cadiff, 2004)

Because I’m jealous as hell. Because I’d hate to see you with Gus Gus. I’d hate to see you with any other man. Because not only did I adore kissing you in Venice, but also because I’m so un-bloody-hinged just being near you.

Mandy Moore’s Anna is on the run from her life as the American equivalent of a princess, the President’s daughter.

On her adventure, she scoots around lush European locations like Venice and Berlin – cue mopeds, Alps and gondola rides. Even the American scenes get in on the act, with Essex’s Hylands House standing in for the White House.

‘Chasing Liberty’ came out around the same time as ‘First Daughter’ (Forest Whitaker, 2004), which places Katie Holmes as a President’s daughter in college, but I think Mandy Moore’s movie has a little more going on.

Make sure to also check out these other great films similar to ‘Chasing Liberty’.

Anna is a little older and more independent than Mia, while the story’s a fun reversal of the ‘ordinary girl turns princess’ format.

`A Little Princess´ (Alfonso Cuarón, 1995)

[Sara is tracing her father’s face with her finger]
Capt. Crewe: What are you doing? Memorizing me by heart?
Sara Crewe: No… I already know you by heart.

Cuarón sets aside the ‘A Little Princess’s (Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1905) turn of the century London for WWI-era New York, but the basic story stays the same.

Boarding school girl Sara Crewe has to take a servants’ position at the school when her father is declared dead. Sara tells glittering stories from her Indian childhood while she waits for her father to rescue her, sparking mixed reactions from the boarders and headmistress.

What really shows through is the director’s connection with the movie – he felt drawn to pick up the script and found himself weaving on-set experiences, which helped create the enchanting final picture.

A historical setting and a young heroine, but Sara creates a world of dreams and simpler things that I think ‘The Princess Diaries’ fans will love (this fan does).


If you Like The Princess Diaries You Will Like…

Our next two choices drop the princess training for everyday ordinariness, but they’re both sweet and heart-warming stories about families and friendship.

`The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants´ (Ken Kwapis, 2005)

Some people show off their beauty because they want the world to see it. Others try to hide their beauty because they want the world to see something else.

I always find Anne Hathaway really likable in movies, as I do Alexis Bledel and America Ferreira who appear in this movie.

The adaptation of ‘Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants’ (Ann Brashares, 2001) sees four girls discovering a pair of second-hand jeans which fits all of them perfectly. They decide to send them to each other throughout the summer as a way of sharing their separate holidays.

Each wearer of the jeans writes about their adventures, from sports camp crushes to Greek family feuds. What’s really special is that all four stories stand their ground.

The tone’s a little more serious in places, but like Mia, the characters discover something about their families, heritage and friendship.

`My Father the Hero´ (Steve Miner, 1994)

Look at the Goddamn moon! It’s glorious!

Gérard Depardieu reprises his role from French film ‘Mon Père, Ce Héros’ (Gérard Lauzier, 1991), opposite a new onscreen daughter, Nicole, played by Katherine Heigl.

A divorced dad takes his daughter on holiday, but finds it impossible to relate to a daughter who’s not the little kid he knew.

Meanwhile, Nicole flirts with a boy at the resort and, trying to be cool (but kind of failing), she says she’s there with her boyfriend, setting up some really unfortunate misinterpretations.

The premise is a little creepy, but I feel like it’s more about awkward dads, and most of us can relate to that, right?

Daughters of divorced parents getting to know the other side of the family, resulting in awkwardness all round? Sounds familiar.


What Makes Movies Like The Princess Diaries so Special?

From royalty to everyday people, characters like Mia try to be themselves while keeping family and friends happy, and that’s something most people can relate to. Films similar to ‘The Princess Diaries’ get that across in a fun, lovable way.Still looking for inspiration? Paola’s got you covered with a choice of teen movies like ‘Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging’ (Gurinder Chadha, 2008).

Anything Missing?

I hope you found something different to watch, but maybe there’s a really great movie you think Mia Thermopolis’s fans need to know about.

So, are there any films you keep right next to ‘The Princess Diaries’?

Let’s hear your suggestions in the comments.

**For a video playlist of the recommendations, please click here.


Hi, I’m Jane, BA (Drama, Film and TV) and MA (Cultural and Creative Industries). When I’m not writing about creative things, I’m designing or planning them. If you’re brave enough to risk an avalanche, look behind the stacks of books and DVDs and you’ll find me balancing a cup of tea, a handful of knitting and a cupcake.
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