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The Black Cauldron (1985)

6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 18,315 users  
Reviews: 104 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.

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,

Writers:

(novel), (story), 17 more credits »
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Title: The Black Cauldron (1985)

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Cast

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)
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Storyline

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 (104) »

Taglines:

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:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 July 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Taran and the Magic Cauldron  »

Box Office

Budget:

$44,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$21,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The management team at Disney changed during production. New studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg screened the mostly-completed film and was appalled by its darkness. He suggested editing the film, and when producer Joe Hale protested (animated films are typically not edited in post production the same way live-action films are), Katzenberg himself brought the film into an editing bay and began cutting it himself, ultimately extracting three minutes from the final run time. See more »

Goofs

As the Horned King prepares to activate the Cauldron, he first pulls away the tarp over the cart of dead warriors. The next shot shows the Horned King already holding up one of the corpses over his head. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in Mickey's Cartoon Comeback (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Doesn't deserve to be dismissed as harshly as it has been
27 June 2006 | by See all my reviews

Always curious about The Black Cauldron, I finally got around to it after seeing a DVD at the rental store. Despite a lot of grating elements, I ended up liking it overall.

The movie starts off on the wrong foot. The voices come across as recorded at low fidelity, and when combined with the sometimes hard-to-understand British accents, can be somewhat off-putting. Issues with voice and script become even more pronounced with characters such as Gurgi and his Gollum-esquire speech patterns. Indeed, the second time I watched the DVD I threw the English subtitles on, and not just for Gurgi.

Other problems with voicing include an exceedingly dull lead actor for Taran (he simply can't emote), and an overly chirpy female lead for Eilonwy.

Most other elements of the film proved passable if predictable in the Disney mold of plot, hero design, sidekicks, etc. Where it branches out for the better is in avoiding any and all musical interludes and along the way offering some scenarios and graphic effects that are more mature than most other Disney animated feature films (though later in the '90s the likes of The Lion King, Hunchback, and Tarzan would also tangle with mature themes).

Animation is also spectacularly mixed in quality, an odd distinction among Disney films but a distinction nonetheless. Usually solid, there are high points such as external shots of a dark castle or a visceral chase sequence. There are also low points such as unnatural shifts in hair color that overemphasize different environments, or obvious spots where animation was rushed (a rock slide sequence).

Yet for all these lows and highs, as an animation fan I ended up siding with the high points. Many sequences are inviting to re-watch, even if the entirety of the movie may not be. For all the talk of failure that continues to surround this movie, one can see in the film itself elements of a more mature Disney that could have been extremely promising with a more seasoned batch of animators and a world less hostile to PG animated fare.


16 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Netflix airing HD copy... Darko-Magick
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
Taran's voice changed mid film after the 41 minute mark... musicbeing
THE HORNED KING (may be the scariest person ever) alexschneider
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