Unless you have been living under a rock you know that Conan is back! That’s right later this summer everyone’s favourite barbarian will once again be on the silver screen, in 3D no less. The news and trailers of this release got me thinking back to the original release of Conan back in the 80’s. From there it wasn’t hard to begin thinking about all the other great and not so great fantasy movies from that era.
The movies on the list aren’t ranked and there is no rating. They are all worth seeing for one reason or another. Some have begun cult favourites in their own right and continue to endure as popular movies to this day. In each case I’ve provided my memories or brief thoughts about each film. I’ve also included a plot hook inspired by each movie. In some cases these plot hooks aren’t spectacular, but the movies listed below do represent the most basic of fantasy films.
If anyone had told you when this movie released that the star would one day be the Governor of California, you would have laughed. At the time of its release Conan was a great fantasy film that captured the imaginations of many.
An evil warlord who wronged a party member long ago has resurfaced and is once again causing destruction. It is up to the party to end the reign of terror!
There is a scene in this movie where the heroes are fighting a group of skeletons at the top of a cliff. The scene has stayed with me over the years as a great battle sequence full of drama. If you are looking for a film the plays up on Greek mythology Clash of the Titans has it all.
Love and fate intertwine; the only way to save a romantic interest of a player is to slay a great evil.
Jim Henson’s puppets are the primary draw in this whimsical tale. Regretably the plot doesn’t hold up. However, if you can suspend disbelief (it is a fantasy movie and you do play D&D) there is certainly enough there to entertain. At the very least, it’s a break from CGI and a return to a different type of movie making.
An eldritch device was damaged and broken long ago during the war of the ancients. Over time it has leaked dark magic that has deformed the world. Recently a youngster discovered the broken piece and now seeks the party’s aid to restore the item and return balance to the world.
Excalibur is the best movie ever filmed about the Arthurian legends. It explores the story fully and features high production values for its time. First Knight might have had Sean Connery, but it has nothing on Excalibur. This film is well worth watching.
The king requests that the party kill his bastard son, a ruthless warlord bent on conquering the kingdom. What will the party do with this new found information?
Once again the combination of live action and Jim Henson’s puppets in this film strike a chord. Unfortunately, the plot leaves something to be desired. However, if you are looking for a fantasy movie filmed in a different way, Labyrinth may just be what you are looking for. Of course David Bowie as the Goblin King is another reason to watch.
Goblins have been stealing children from a local village. The party must venture into their lair and rescue the children.
As a kid the blend of the real world and a fantastic one grabbed my attention. The theme song was grating, but the movie remains a favourite. I have after all always wanted to fly on the back of a dragon! Sadly there were two sequels to this film. I can’t say that I would recommend either.
The party is resting between adventures. One night in the tavern a village elder reads an ancient story from a scroll. Unknown to all, the scroll and text are magical in nature, the events of the story begin to unfold in real life and the party must deal with the consequences.
I’m not sure how much I really need to say about this movie. It’s a classic. Great action, great drama, great comedy and some of the best lines in any movie. If you haven’t seen it, go rent it now. If you have seen it, go and watch it again. I just did.
The Princess has been kidnapped and the party must rescue her before two peaceful nations are plunged into a deadly war.
The party meets a mysterious pirate. The pirate informs the party that he is willing to swap places with them, allowing them to loot and plunder. Of course there is a bounty on the pirates head.
I remember watching this movie for two reasons. That guy from Conan was in it and Brigitte Nielsen was hot. The rest of the movie is actually rather forgettable. There was almost a sequel or remake a few years ago, but nothing came of it.
An artefact of great power has fallen into the hands of an evil warlord. Only the party can save the day.
~ I know it’s weak, but have you seen the movie?
It’s been a number of years since I last watched Willow. Some memorable quotes from Val Kilmer in the role of Madmartigan are a highlight. Epic battles, swords and sorcery what else could you want in a movie?
A child of prophecy is born. Many are afraid of the threat the child represents to them and set about to kill the child before she reaches maturity. Only the party can intervene.
If you haven’t seen it yet, here is the new Conan trailer. Enjoy!
What is your favourite movie from this time period? Have I left a must see off the list?
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