Dragonslayer (1981)

PG  |   |  Action, Adventure, Fantasy  |  26 June 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 10,195 users  
Reviews: 102 user | 57 critic

A young wizarding apprentice is sent to kill a dragon which has been devouring girls from a nearby kingdom.


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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Hallam ...
Peter Eyre ...
Sydney Bromley ...
Chloe Salaman ...
Emrys James ...
Roger Kemp ...
Brother Jacopus
Ken Shorter ...
Yolande Palfrey ...
Douglas Cooper ...


A King has made a pact with a dragon where he sacrfices virgins to it, and the dragon leaves his kingdom alone. An old wizard, and his keen young apprentice volunteer to kill the dragon and attempt to save the next virgin in line - the Kings own daughter. Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Its talons tear. Its breath burns. It is terror. And only sorcery can destroy it. [UK theatrical] See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

26 June 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El verdugo de dragones  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)


$6,000,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(some 35 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The story has many familiar dragon motifs found throughout Western culture, in particular St. George and the Dragon, in which maiden sacrifices were made to appease a harassing dragon. St. George's tale also includes a sacrificial lottery resulting in the surprise condemnation of a princess. St. George is also frequently depicted with a magic (blessed) lance or a sword. See more »


Obvious matte work during some of the flying sequences and when the dragon is moving on the ground. See more »


[Addressing the dragon]
Brother Jacobus: Unclean beast! Get thee down! Be thou consumed by the fires that made thee!
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Just watched the DVD...
22 October 2003 | by (Victoria, BC) – See all my reviews

The Disney company took a lot of heat from angry parents because many thought this co-production with Paramount was going to be "a Disney movie" (if you follow me), and nowhere as intense as it turned out to be to their freaked-out children! I never saw this in theaters; I first saw this years ago, when it was on TV. With its DVD release I decided to take another look at it, since it was in widescreen and I could see it uncut.

The movie has a lot going for it. The look of it is great - the locations impress and chill you at the same time, the sets (especially the cave interior) are detailed, and some of the dragon special effects are great, beating a lot of similar effects done with computer graphics nowadays. The story had some interesting (and unexpected!) plot turns.

However, while the movie is a good rainy day viewing, I didn't feel it to be much more than that. Minor stuff first. While some of the dragon special effects were good, there were others (mainly when the dragon was flying or crawling) that looked pretty bad. I don't know if it was because of the source print (clearly Paramount didn't bother to restore the movie, given there are some visible scratches in some parts), but on my TV screen the dragon in those sequences looked badly superimposed, and actually *worse* than some computer graphics nowadays!

The biggest problem I had with the movie (and the reason why I think the movie was a box-office failure) is that there are no real strong and compelling characters. The youthful hero (and his eventual girlfriend) don't have that much depth and personality. There are signs that some character development (not just of those two characters) got cut out, given the abruptness of a few scenes. As well, I couldn't really figure out just was what propelling that evil henchman knight character to do all that evil stuff he was doing. Also, the mountaintop climatic fight somehow lacked a good amount of punch, with an ending that was more like a whimper than anything else.

11 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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