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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 20,276 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?


Hayley Mills was originally considered for the role of Eilonwy. See more »


In the swamps of Morva, Fflewddur Fflam is talking to Doli, who is sitting on his hat. On the first full shot of Fflewddur, Doli is not visible, although Fflewddur is clearly looking up at him. The next shot is a close-up of the hat, with Doli on it, then back to a full shot without Doli. 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 »


Referenced in Starchaser: The Legend of Orin (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

Ambitious and different!
27 May 2000 | by (Kansas) – See all my reviews

I must say first that my opinion on this film is slightly biased. I was one of the handful of people to have seen this film on its initial theatrical run. I was also 11 and a boy (a target audience of this film). I owned the Gurgi and Hen Wen plushes, got excited by the preview on the "Pinocchio" video, etc.,etc.

After seeing the movie, I remember being entertained (maybe not enthralled) by the film and was saddened by Gurgi's sacrifice at the end.

Years passed. And passed. And passed. And people seemed to have forgotten "Black Cauldron" in the wake of "Little Mermaid" and her successors.

I must admit that I became somewhat obsessed with finding out why Disney thought of the film so poorly and why everyone gave me "blank stares" when I mentioned it. To say the least, I longed for a video release of the film.

A year or two ago, I got my wish, and now that I'm older and "wiser" I'm able to make a better judgement of the film. Is it Disney's worst film ever? Absolutely not. "Black Cauldron" is probably the finest animated film of the 1980's ("Little Mermaid" not withstanding). It IS a scary film for young kids (hence the PG rating) but I think audiences today are able to deal with that more than they were back in 1985 (just look at "Dinosaur," "Road to El Dorado," and the upcoming "Titan AE" which are all rated PG). The story may not be up to Disney standards, but for a film of its genre (i.e fantasy) it has a very compelling and understandable story. The animation has its highs and lows. But this film was made by a large number of people over a long period of time, so it is inevitable that there should be some fluctuation in quality.

Lastly, I too have read Lloyd Alexander's books, and I too adore them. No, Disney's film does not even begin to compare to the books, but what movie does?

On its own terms, "Black Cauldron" stands as a remarkable achievement in animation, and a film for those people who don't just think cartoons are "babysitters for kids."

21 of 30 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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