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The Black Cauldron (1985)

PG  |   |  Animation, Adventure, Family  |  24 July 1985 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 20,302 users  
Reviews: 105 user | 54 critic

A young boy and a bunch of misfit friends embark on a quest to find a dark magic item of ultimate power before a diabolical tyrant can.




(novel), (story), 17 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Grant Bardsley ...
Taran (voice)
Susan Sheridan ...
Eilonwy (voice)
Dallben (voice)
Fflewddur Fflam (voice)
King Eidilleg (voice)
Gurgi / Doli (voice)
Lindsay Rich ...
Fairfolk (voice)
Fairfolk (voice)
Gregory Levinson ...
Fairfolk (voice)
Eda Reiss Merin ...
Orddu (voice)
Adele Malis-Morey ...
Orwen (voice)
Billie Hayes ...
Orgoch (voice)
Creeper / Henchman (voice)
Peter Renaday ...
Henchman (voice)
James Almanzar ...
Henchman (voice)


Centuries ago, in the land of Prydain, a young man named Taran is given the task of protecting Hen Wen, a magical oracular pig, who knows the location of the mystical black cauldron. This is not an easy task, for The Evil Horned King will stop at nothing to get the cauldron. Written by Kelly

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

king | cauldron | pig | princess | magic | See All (103) »


Hidden by darkness. Guarded by witches. Discovered by a boy. Stolen by a king. Whoever owns it will rule the world. Or destroy it. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some scary images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

24 July 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Taran and the Magic Cauldron  »

Box Office


$44,000,000 (estimated)


$21,000,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The first Disney animated theatrical feature to receive a PG rating. It even had to be edited twice to avoid being released with a PG-13 rating. See more »


Taran unchains the gate barring their escape from the castle. In subsequent shots, the lock and chains reappear and then, finally disappear. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: Legend has it, in the mystic land of Prydain, there was once a king so cruel and so evil, that even the Gods feared him. Since no prison could hold him, he was thrown alive into a crucible of molten iron. There his demonic spirit was captured in the form of a great, black cauldron. For uncounted centuries, the black cauldron lay hidden, waiting, while evil men searched for it, knowing whoever possessed it would have the power to resurrect an army of deathless warriors... and with ...
See more »


Spin-off The Black Cauldron (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

I wanted to like it. I really did...
10 October 2001 | by (Santa Ana, California) – See all my reviews

For years before I saw this film, I had been a fan of Lloyd Alexander's books. To me, The Chronicles of Preydain rank alongside Tolkien's Middle Earth and Lewis' Narnia as one of the greatest fantasy worlds of all time. Based deeply in Welsh legend and Mythology (many elements come directly from The Mabinogion, almost the bible of Welsh mythology) Preydain is easily one of the deepest, and most developed worlds out there. So, needless to say, when I heard that Disney had a film in the pipeline, I got very excited. Then I saw it...

I can't say that I hated it. More that I was disappointed. This wasn't the Preydain I knew. It was more a fairy tale kingdom than celtic Wales. And what did they do with the characters? Gurgi a cute fuzzy monster? Elonwy turned into a typical damsel in distress? And where were Coll, or Gwydon? I'm sorry, but I didn't know these people. The characters were all different? And what about the rich sense of legend? The books had been based deeply on mythology, but the movie took the first two books, sprinkled bits and pieces of them into a script, and added a ton of fairy tale and fantasy cliches.

I've always wondered what it is with Disney writers that makes them feel it necessary to screw around with anything and everything (witness the amount of "creative license" taken with Pocahantas or Mulan.) I'm sorry, but you don't have to have cute characters or happy endings on everything. But Disney's writers think that you must. And in this case, it cheapened the ending of the film. One of the major plot points of The Black Cauldron is that the cauldron can only be destroyed by a living person sacrificing themselves by throwing themselves into it. This was kept in the film. Yet, when Disney did it, they still copped out to the happy ending by having the three Enchantresses, Ordu, Orwen, and Oregch bring him back to life... Jeeze!

It went on from there. The absence of the true villan of the Preydain chronicles, Arawn, the lord of the dead, the turning of the fair folk (who in celtic mythology were more akin to elves and dwarves) into stock, albeit grouchy, faries.... The list goes on... Disney ruined one of my favorite stories, and I can't ever forget that. Even my love for Disney masterpieces like Beauty and the Beast or 101 Dalmations is tarnished by what they did to some of my favorite books of my youth...

30 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Disney need to get over themselves... molly_hartley
Don't you hate it when movies you loved as children... cadademon
If it wasn't based on a book.... SnowKittyLove
THE HORNED KING (may be the scariest person ever) alexschneider
Taran's voice changed mid film after the 41 minute mark... musicbeing
Disappointing zachberry
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