Dragonslayer (1981)

dragonslayerDragonslayer (1981)

Directed by: Matthew Robbins

Starring: Peter MacNicol, Caitlin Clarke, Ralph Richardson


The late 70’s and early 80’s were a popular time for high fantasy (for some weird reason who could possibly figure it out hmm), and there were a hundred movies just like Dragonslayer made around that time that nerds in my generation are all supposed to know of and have fond memories of, or else you get kicked out of the lazy remembering bus. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, there’s a kickass dragon in this movie.

A young wizard’s apprentice must go on a journey to save the kingdom after his wizard mentor dies a wizardly mentorish death. He’s young and impulsive and meets a girl and fights a dragon and saves the day. You know, all that “hero’s journey” stuff.

The plot is nothing to write home about, and neither is really anything except for the costumes until you get to the big dragon moneyshot at the end of the film, and god damn is that a nice-lookin’ dragon. ILM did the creature effects for this movie between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and it shows that crew of guys working at their peak. I’ve seen a lot of dragon movies with a lot of dragons in them, from shitty CGI spiky monstrosities voiced by Sean Connery to flimsy marionette puppets the camera doesn’t linger on too much or you’ll be able to see the puppeteer’s hand. And through all of them, basically none of them have good dragon effects. This movie ONLY has good dragon effects. I guess it’ll have to do.


About Reid

Born in a dumpster, died in a fire. View all posts by Reid

One response to “Dragonslayer (1981)

  • StCyril

    Good review. I vaguely remember this one. I have a hard time wrapping myself around a story where the lead hero is the bad guy from Ghostbusters 2. The one cool thing is that the priest who gets fried is Emperor Palpatine.

    One thing you have to understand about this movie is the timing. Think about it… America was coming out of a pretty bad time following the Vietnam War, the Nixon resignation, and then the Carter presidency… which was arguably the worst one in history.
    The King in this movie was meant to be a political statement about the Carter Administration and the result was a dark and rather mean-spirited movie that was completely forgettable.

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