Not all fairy godmothers are created equal. As such this isn't a "best" list... so much as a comprehensive ranking of the characters who have fulfilled this role in all adaptations of Cinderella from who I consider the worst all the way to the best.
10. EVER AFTER - LEONARDO DA VINCI
This poor man was probably rolling over in his grave when this movie was made. One of the greatest artists the world has ever known, and for kicks he was made to be a fairy godmother in a "historical" adaptation of Cinderella? Why?? Oh, so it can be clever and adorable and wonderful of course. All he really does though is add some silly wings to her mother's old dress. Her friend-zoned pal (not that he is interested in leaving that zone...) is in charge of hair and makeup, while other servants make sure she doesn't get caught. This one is pretty much a team effort with no magic involved.
9. RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEINS '57
I just watched this version for the first time last night and imagine my surprise when Cinderella and her fairy Godmother were already chums! So she has known Cinderella this whole time, but kept her magic from her... to what purpose? To watch her be abused her whole life by her horrible stepfamily? What if this ball had never come about? Would she have ever have lifted a wand to save her from her horrible situation? That said... she was a lovely fairy godmother in looks, demeanor, and grace.
8. INTO THE WOODS - DEAD TREE MOM
Well I guess it's cool that when she goes up to some random tree in the woods (or not so random because is her mother buried there?) and cries at it her mom will reward her with anything she wants. Seems like she should have cried for a new life or something... I don't think she's taking enough advantage of this. Cons? The tree is not quite as mobile though as the other Godmothers... and quite frankly a little creepy.
7. A CINDERELLA STORY - RHONDA THE DINER LADY
You might say that Rhonda shares this duty with Sam's friend Carter... but upon further conclusion I think that though helpful, Carter just serves as the coachman (or the Gus Gus if you will of this tale.) Rhonda here is the one that lends her a dress... which is a little weird to just have a random potential wedding dress lying around your house that also happens to fit a teenager.. but whatever, I guess that's her thing and it came in handy. Besides that she's Sam's guardian angel and makes sure that she's taken care of in the end. However when you're not sure who is the godmother in a Cinderella adaptation that probably doesn't make you very memorable.
6. RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN'S '97
Whitney is chewing the scenery in this tv movie and loving every minute of it... but at times it can definitely be a bit over the top. And whoever styled her?!? Yama hama! Whitney was a beautiful lady, but this look seemed a little Ru Paul drag queen to me. But at least she's having fun I guess.
Celeste Holm's Fairy Godmother is a pretty standard, middle of the pack Godmother. She's just about what you expect.. good in the role but nothing incredibly memorable either. She plays her part perfectly well, but she's hardly one of my favorites.
4. CINDERELLA 1950
Everything about that animated version has pretty much become iconic hasn't it? The Fairy Godmother is no exception. She's not as frilly as many of the others... really she kinda comes off as a nice frumpy grandmother (according to my sister anyway.) Yet for the majority of you, she is probably the image you first think of when you hear the words "Fairy Godmother." She's kind of a spaz, but she's totally lovable and she has a great song!
3. CINDERELLA 2015
Helena Bonham Carter is often a love her or hate her kind of actress. I happen to be fond of her, and I thought she was a great addition to the canon of Fairy Godmothers when I saw the new film. She was caring, fun and funny. I didn't love the choice of having her come off as a beggar woman in the beginning, but luckily that didn't last too long.
2. FAERIE TALE THEATRE
The Faerie Tale Theatre version of Cinderella is just a lot of fun, and one of the reasons why is undoubtedly because of Jean Stapleton's version of the fairy godmother. She's a wisecracking old broad who constantly is helping Jennifer Beals' Cinderella lighten up. And trust me... she definitely needs it.
1. THE SLIPPER AND THE ROSE.
This woman basically goes above and beyond to make sure you're taken care of... and not just on the day of the ball, she even helps you get your chores done (kind of like Merlin in The Sword and the Stone.) She provides you with a pet to keep you company, and she makes sure your story ends in marriage (even if she didn't notice for a bit that things were off.) She's incredibly kind and elegant... really she's just a swell Godmother that gives insight into how her position actually works. Definitely the Godmother with the most depth.
Just missed the list? Cindy's "godmother" pal Michael...whom she actually ends up with. Also the old bag/clepto in "The Glass Slipper."
Now onto the category you really want..
10. FAERIE TALE THEATRE - SECOND BALL GOWN
9. A CINDERELLA STORY
The detailing on the waist is fun, but other than that there's not really a lot going on with this dress. I suppose it's your typical "princess" dress and it does its job well... its just not incredibly unique.
8. RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEINS 1997
I always loved this one's color and its sparkle. But somehow it still manages to feel really dated to me... her wedding dress I think ends up being a little more classic.
7. THE SLIPPER AND THE ROSE
6. INTO THE WOODS
5. RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEINS 1965
This one's fabric is just so beautiful. The royal fur definitely is the part of this dress that doesn't really make it for everyone... but I'll admit I'm a bit nostalgic for this adaptation and I always loved this dress. It just looks so cool when she dances, which should be a key component of any Cinderella dress.
4. CINDERELLA 2015
3. RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEINS 1957
This dress is so classy and timeless you can just see a modern day Princess wearing it! While it doesn't have the same benefits as the others in how it moves on the dance floor it still looks beautiful in its movement.. and Julie Andrews looks so graceful in it that you can't help but love it. Her dress for the stage version also was really pretty.
2. EVER AFTER
I'll admit I like this dress a lot more without the wings, but yeah yeah it's a masquerade type thing so it gets a pass. This dress is gorgeous in every detail. The fabric is lovely and catches the light in all the right ways. The lace is delicately beautiful and the whole thing really flatters Drew. Really, this dress is just exquisite.
1. CINDERELLA 1950
The animated dress is just so classic and again, the picture that comes to your head when you think of Cinderella's gown. The way it sparkles and moves is wonderful... but the best is how it completely transforms her. It's just magical.
DIDN'T MAKE THE CUT:
Cindy's dress basically looks like her Godmother Michael stole a wedding dress and told her to wear it to a party.
The dress in "The Glass Slipper" would be pretty if it weren't so overwhelming!
The first dress Jennifer Beals gets in Faerie Tale Theatre is the worst of the worst. If your sleeves are about twice the size of your head I think it's a problem.