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There really should be two different "Legend" movies listed.
docstrange25 December 2006
There's the original version, released in 1986 and on videotape, and the 2002 Director's Cut, available on DVD. The latter version is one of my all-time favorite movies. It compares quite favorably with Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" and is a modern classic.

The theatrical release of 1986, shamefully butchered (chopped up and badly re-edited) by the mindless suits at Warner, and with its original Jerry Goldsmith score replaced by the rather trite Tangerine Dream soundtrack, is the version most people have seen. It was released on videotape as a children's movie. What it is, and was intended to be, is a fairy tale for adults. In fact, it's too intense for really young children.

It's hard to say that the '86 version deserves any more than the "6" it's rated at on its IMDb main page. It is a disappointment, primarily because it's now impossible to watch without think how much better it could be. The feeling and tone of the film were ruined by its treatment.

The Ridley Scott Director's Cut, released in 2002, is a completely different movie. If you haven't seen this version, you haven't seen the movie. It deserves a score of 9 or 10.

It doesn't look like a movie made 20 years ago. Scenes which are vital to the tone of the film and the meaning of the story have been restored. The sumptuous original soundtrack, recorded with a full orchestra, has also been restored, and this adds more to the film than can be put into words.

About the performances: A very young Tom Cruise is excellent as the hero. Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness is awesome; his costume and voice alone are worth the cost of renting or buying the DVD. Mia Sara is absolutely stunning as Lily. She actually plays two different versions of her character, both wonderfully. This was her first role, a risk for Scott on such a big budget film, and she turned in the performance of her career. She's never been better, or looked more beautiful, than in this movie. The elves and fairies, both good and evil, are incredibly real-looking and believable. The costumes are perfect, and the sets are breathtaking, literally. One of the largest indoor sets ever constructed - a huge fantasy forest - was built for this movie.

If you haven't seen this version, rent it. If you have kids, buy it for them; they'll watch it over and over. My daughter and her friends watch it repeatedly, she's probably seen it 50 times.
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To take the horn of the Unicorn is to end all hope!
uds34 April 2002
Never did the phrase "a beautiful film" have more relevance than in this wonderful piece of adult fantasy. Make no mistake, this masterpiece, Ridley Scott's fourth film (it followed BLADE RUNNER) was never intended for children. Those who have written it off as a kids' movie totally betray their limitations and inability to see what is being offered here.

A youthful Tom Cruise was such a good choice as Jack, the forest dweller destined to plunge the world into darkness and then have but one opportunity to restore the light. Mia Sara is the beautiful princess, part Cinderella, part angel, all virgin! and Tim Curry? well, what a simply staggering contribution as the Lord of Darkness. Totally unrecognizable both visually and audibly but what a performance.

All the Ridley Scott trademarks are here, the back-projected blue light, the filtered scenes of wonderment, central characters in a crisis, the enigma of life itself. If anything, LEGEND is better now than when it was released. In '85 it received critical praise - just no-one went to see it! Well that's not strictly true. I attended the Sydney premiere and sat thru it entranced as others fidgeted, whispered, and generally brought attention to their limited attention spans and lowered perceptions!

Certainly it is a film that on one level children could relate to and even enjoy but it is a far deeper film with a host of reflective ideas and quite magical concepts. What really IS the Lord of Darkness? What is the significance of the Unicorns? What becomes of the innocence we leave behind in childhood? If none of this interests you, make sure you avoid this film!
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A fairy tale on film.
Gary201214 February 2008
I've read a lot of opposing views here and there are valid views on both sides. I guess it boils down to what your imagination can be hopefully transfered to film for you enjoyment.

I've seen my fair share of fantasy films in my life and Legend probably reached to that part of me quicker than any film of that genre than has been done before and since. Lord of the Rings surpasses it on many levels...but Legeng still has the ability after all these years to make me think of pure fantasy, and that's what I believe this film is about. Good vs evil is what most films are about, but Legend is what fairies and goblins and a mystical forests are!

Visually I doubt you can find much better even 20 odd years later! Good vs evil in a setting that is set in a purer forum. Character development here are not too strong, but they're not meant to be. They are strong enough to portray love vs evil vs good and bad, and they do it well in the context of the story. Tom Cruise did a good Job as the Nieve and yet courageous Jack, Lily was a the prize of his longing and it came across as undeniable. Mia Sara as lily is the stuff of youthful longing.

Tim Curry played the spoiler and he did it to the point of stealing all of the film. He is the stuff of fantasy. The costume was spectacular, and his portrayal of the character was commanding...And over the top cause that what he does well!

I enjoyed the directors cut film more as it is longer and tells the story just a little better, but I enjoyed Tangarines Dream's score more as it captured the mood of fantasy ( for me) as set in a mystical place! Jerry Goldsmith had some very good moments, but TD for me layed out a fairytale with my eyes closed better.

But at the end you either see this for the pure fantasy it is about or you see it as something deeper that it doesn't pretend to be. It's much purer in it's view on good vs evil and to my taste it hits on every level of that platform. And not to mention it's ability to make for a great dream filled with hope and danger.

Pure fantasy...and should be viewed with that intent.
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A film for special people
ozthegreatat4233013 April 2007
As often happens I have again bucked the crowd. A fine director has given us a charming morality tale for adults. It is lush, sensual, sweet perhaps naive, certainly it is charming. I am sorry that I did not ever get to hear the Goldsmith score, but I thought the Tangerine Dream score was very fitting. The youthful Tom Cruise was perfectly cast as the forest boy Jack and Mia Sara was just right as the girl. But the makeup job and prosthetics that made Tim Curry the Lord of Darkness was outstanding. a film with brownies, fairies, Unicorns, goblins. What more could a fantasy film deliver, and a a bonus the plaintive voice of YES front man Jon Anderson singing the song over the final credits. I am sorry that there so many people that were not mature enough to enjoy the artistry of this film. I would still like to get the DVD version to see the cut I missed.
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A stunning movie .
Shadowman8228 April 2003
Legend is one of those movies you either love or hate . It's a fantasy movie but it doesn't really contain a whole lot of action which is probably why many people are turned off by it . But the film is visually stunning and features a good performance by Tim Curry as "Darkness" , Tom Cruise on the other hand looks a bit confused throughout the movie . Also Rob Bottin's Make up is just amazing .

Now things weren't helped by the fact that there are so many versions of this movie and some are vastly better than others . The weakest and shortest of the all is the US theatrical cut because it misses many scenes and ads a few that seem tacked on but worst of all it contains a score by Tangerine Dream instead of the original one by Jerry Goldsmith .

The European cut is better in that it is longer and it features Jerry Goldsmith's score .

The best version however is the Director's Cut featured on The Ultimate Edition DVD . It runs alot longer than any of the other cuts and it is the most coherent cut as well and it features the score by Jerry Goldsmith.
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The Director's Cut is Gorgeous!
mstomaso12 August 2007
I will join the chorus... This is a beautiful, and thoroughly enjoyable fantasy film as long as you watch it in digital widescreen and do not bother with the 1hr 30min version. The Director's Cut(better known as the European release) is worthy of an IMDb rating of 8. The American theatrical release is worthy of a 6.5.

This is a fairly straightforward fantasy conceived and directed by Ridley Scott, one of the greatest mainstream directors of our time. The story follows a young man who lives in a forest (Jack, played by Tom Cruise) and a spirited young princess (Lily - Mia Sara) who is in love with him. The lord of darkness (Tim Curry) has sent forth his minions to capture the last two remaining unicorns so that he can banish light from the world forever. Unicorns are attracted to innocence, and so they find themselves in Jack and Lily's company just as the dark lord's play begins to unfold. Before long, Jack and his magical forest friends must save Lily, the one remaining unicorn and the world from the grasp of the dark lord at any price.

Even the lengthier director's cut goes by just a little too quickly. But it's pace is not comparable to the incredibly hasty studio chop-job of the American release. The story is epic, but the medium is not. All considered, however, the production team did a great job given the length limits afforded for the film.

Cruise does pretty well with a role that must have been a little hard to interpret. Jack must behave as a hero, a young man who has learned most of his lessons from nature, and a teenager to varying degrees throughout the film. Mia Sara is delightful a Lily. Tim Curry and David Bennent (Honeythorn Gump) get pretty close to stealing the show. In all, the acting is fine, but the star of the film is really the camera.

Scott has often proved his ability to create immersive experiences in worlds which are somewhat alien (no pun intended) to his audience. Legend does this perhaps as powerfully as his most far-out films (Alien, and Bladerunner). The cinematography, editing, and special effects are exceptionally good, and make the fairly average plot glow. Each scene is a work of art.

Highly recommended for fantasy fans, Ridley Scott, Tim Curry and Mia Sara fans and those interested in artfully presented effects. Recommended for fans of Pan's Labyrinth and Mirrormask. Weakly recommended for Tom Cruise fans.
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LEGEND: Gothic, Grim, Beautiful, Enchanting, Magical, Dreamy, Fantastic, and ultimately Constant.
TruPretender22 January 2006
Ridley Scotts' fallen masterpiece "Legend" has, in it's own rite, become one of the most infamous, if not fascinating, legacies in Hollywood. In 1984, Ridley Scott, director of the famed sci-fi "Alien", set out to tell a defining fairy tale. Once he was joined by writer William Hjortsberg, the duo started off on a creative journey to conjure what would become the beloved film "Legend". The film was further more given the appropriate elements for the general fairy tale. The Princess, the Hero, the Villain, the Goblins, the Fairies, and the other magical characters and creatures such as the Unicorns and Honeythorn Gump. Seeing as the film is intended to be a definitive fairy tale, this would also mean tracing the modern genre back to its' roots, Grim style. Indeed, the completed product was pure in it's woven fables. Just as it is tender, and bright, is it also dark, surreal, nightmarish, and ultimately entrancing. More of the film deals with the overshadow of darkness in the magical land. A proper way to show the sudden switch from light and happy, to dark and fearsome indeed.

In the story, we have the world, happy, beautiful, completely compelling in its' own nature. The dark truth lies within its' own reality. Darkness once ruled the world, but has since retreated into the lower levels of the earth, to groan and complain of times in a better existence. The world is happy, because the Unicorn, a very dear, and sacred animal, rules the land. These gorgeous creatures know only love and laughter, and thusly, protect the world from evil. They are attracted to one element in man kind, innocence. Princes Lily is pure at heart, as well as mind and spirit. Her soul friend, Jack, leads her to the creatures, as a gesture of love and affection. Quite unfortunately, however, the Lord Darkness has sent his own army after the creatures too. Once both sides are at the right place, and the wrong time, the Unicorns are harmed, and the earth, in danger. Thus begins a journey full of action, adventure, and suspense.

Tom Cruise has only performed well in this one film, for me anyway. He is actually quite affective, and believable as the hero Jack. He shows both strength and bravery, to contrast with confusion and fear of the unknown. Very plausible indeed. Mia Sara is so gorgeous, naive, and pure as the Princess. Her characteristics consist of a blind ambition, love stricken playfulness, and of course, Innocence. Never, has this genre seen such a perfect portrayal. Now, Tim Curry turns in one hell of a performance. Thanks to modern film-making, Curry is a frightening, disgusting, and yet sexual portrayal of ultimate Darkness. The three stars are all mixed together in a real Fairy Tale, with a message at the end. (note, this message is only seen in the 2002 restored Directors Cut).

I do not feel the need to bring up the controversy that ensued the principal photography, as it is well known by fans and film buffs of all kind. What I can say, is that Ridley Scott was certainly determined to give us the product of his imagination. That said, he gave us a real fantasy. he has given us a real story of magic,, love, hate,adventure, and all kinds of elements that create what a film like this should be. One thing to truly be mentioned, however, is the late Jerry Goldsmith. This master at film composition of the musical persuasion, gave us his ultimate best, and that was being generous and forgetting about getting stabbed in the back during the processing of "Alien". Again, the great musician was tricked, and his beautiful score was thrown out the window from US versions, leaving the film to sugary and sappy. Even worse, important scenes were cut, leaving much of the film uneven and seemingly rushed. Sad enough, this kind of treatment happened a year earlier with 1984's "Supergirl". Fortunately, however, we were given the true version of the film in mid 2002, and rightly so. The film has since then, been seen, and loved by fans as myself, who loved it way back when....as well as now.

The best I can say, is that this movie has a full blown mastermind to it, and the producers and creators etc finally gave the film justice. Same happened with "Supergirl" in 2000. Bottom line, this film is brilliant, and touching, and an ever- glorious masterpiece!
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Violation of innocent, virtuous flesh
DarthBill9 June 2004
The Lord of all that is Darkness (Tim Curry) tries to take over the world by slaying two unicorns. He is distracted by the temptation of innocence, which comes in the form of pretty little Princess Lily, played by Mia Sara in her film debut. The Dark Lord decides he would like to have his way with virgin princess, while her true love Jack (Tom Cruise) tries to rescue her and save the world.

Long, dark, murky, loaded with black humor and undeniably well crafted. A beautiful film to look at that is hopelessly chopped up in the American version which replaces Jerry Goldsmith's original music with music by Tangerine Dream.

Cruise is alright as the hero, as alright as he's ever been anywhere else. Mia Sara is very lovely as the virgin princess whom this film revolves around. Curry sounds like he's having fun as the villain.
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Mediocre Film That Looks Great . . .
MC1-Bjornson23 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
'Legend', The Director's Cut (1985/2002), Unrated, One Hour & 54 Minutes --and-- U.S. Theatrical Version (1986), Rated "PG" by the MPAA, One Hour & 30 Minutes. Content includes: Mild Adult Language, Some Mild Sexual Innuendos, Violence and Some Disturbing Imagery.

My Take ** (Out of ****) or 6/10 on the IMDb Scale.

'Legend' is triumph of art direction, make-up, costume and set design. It's a great movie to look at, but not much else. That goes for both versions of the picture, The Director's Cut or the U.S. Theatrical Version.

'Legend' wants to be a mythical fairy tale. It tells of Darkness (Tim Curry), a demonic overlord, who has been banished from the world to his dark kingdom to reign in exile. The world is a beautiful place of perpetual springtime, complete with sunshine, tweeting birds, pollen in the air and tree blossoms in abundance. The world is kept pure and protected by two unicorns who both harbor goodness, truth and light.

However, Darkness is plotting his return to the world for a hostile takeover. If his lackeys can take out the two unicorns, then Darkness will once again rise to dominate the world. This is not very appealing to Jack (Tom Cruise), a young man who lives in a storybook forest. Jack shares a romance of innocence with the lovely maiden Lily (Mia Sara). When Darkness makes his move for world domination, the world is plunged into a chaotic dark winter. Darkness kidnaps Lily to corrupt her and make her his dark bride. It's up to Jack and his motley crew of fairy friends to put the kabash on Darkness before all hope is lost . . .

Sounds like the groundwork for a fun picture, doesn't it? Unfortunately, that's not the case. For as visually arousing as the film is, it's highly underdeveloped. 'Legend' is all style, with no substance. That's too bad. Everything looks great and the adventure could have been a really great one too.

One problem with 'Legend' is you don't care about anyone or anything in it. There's nothing interesting, funny, witty or imaginative about any of the characters, except for maybe Darkness. We've all seen this kind of story before: Evil is out to vanquish good, the young lad becomes a hero to save the girl and set the wrong things right. It's a timeless story. No doubt, we'll keep seeing it time and time again. When it's done right, we love it. A good example would be the original 'Star Wars' (1977). But 'Legend' doesn't do it right. We're not gripped in the slightest.

Tom Cruise as Jack spends a great deal of the picture looking scared or bewildered. Sara Mia, better known as Matthew Broderick's girlfriend in 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' (1986), is an adequate damsel in distress. Naive, but nice. The scene stealer is Tim Curry as Darkness. He looks great! He is layered in make-up and paint, but he truly looks like the devil, complete with gigantic horns, goat ears, red skin, yellow eyes, a Charles Atlas figure and goat legs. Oddly enough, Curry's performance shines though the latex making Darkness convincing as a sinister presence.

As indicated, the rest of the characters are fairly one dimensional clichés from other (& better) fantasy tales. They're only here as plot devices, completely devoid of any other purpose, to get you through the movie from Point 'A' to Point 'B'. You don't care for them or empathize with them in any way or about their plight. To make a movie like this work, you should at least care about the outcome of it's characters. If you don't, then what's the point of watching it in the first place?

The Director's Cut is more whimsical. It's about 24 minutes longer and has extended dialog with longer scenes. Most notably, this version firmly establishes the lovely Lily as a princess, while the American version is decidedly ambiguous about her background. Also notable is Lily's singing in the forest and to the unicorns. This is more storybook like and I suppose this behavior is to be expected of maidens.

The Director's Cut boasts a lyrical score by Jerry Goldsmith. It's beautifully done and serves the storybook aspect of 'Legend' very well.

The U.S. version is scored by the rock group Tangerine Dream. What I liked about this score is that it's a departure from what is traditionally heard in this kind of picture. I thought this score was a fresh approach to the 'fairy-tale'/'storybook' genre.

Director Ridley Scott has described his director's version of 'Legend' as being the more sophisticated of the two versions. In some ways he's right. Then again, both versions of the picture are rather muddled and lack coherence or any real direction. Both pictures feel choppy, unrealized and cobbled together from other fantasies minus the spark that makes the good ones work in the first place.

Does 'Legend' have a saving grace? It's a visual roller-coaster. It's great to look at. It reminds me of fantasy paintings that have come to life. Too bad that the life we see in the movie is lifeless. If you can get around that fact, then either version of 'Legend' at it's best will be excellent eye candy with terrific cinema-photography and great music, whether it's Goldsmith or Tangerine Dream as the music provider.

In my opinion, The Director's Cut and the U.S. Theatrical Version are on they same par in terms of quality. One is not better then the other. 'Legend' isn't that good to begin with. To be fair, it's not bad either. If it wasn't for the film's visual style, there would really be no reason to even consider watching this picture. 'Legend' is a missed opportunity that left me wanting more from it then what I was given . . .
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Watch both versions and make your OWN cut
apkacdh9 November 2004
As a huge fan of Tangerine Dream and Jon Anderson, I praise the fact that their music is in the "American" cut of this film; their music has always sounded like they were trying to do soundtracks to a movie. You hear a song, you get visual images in your head and make a movie of your own.

However, ...

I do have to say that the American Version with Tangerine Dream's soundtrack only makes this movie into a "Cult" film. It could have been great, but (well, you fill in the blank).

Fortunately, I've seen the way it was SUPPOSED to have been released in the States (which you can find on the 2-disc DVD, which has both versions).

The Non-American version has a story which is much fuller, and the music (with a full symphony orchestra) is much better and adds more drama and punctuates the mood of each scene more properly.

I do find the American version's end much more climatic musically and story-wise with Jon Anderson (singer of Yes)'s angelic voice thundering with Tangerine Dream's score in the background.

So, pick an afternoon when you got about 4 hours to spare and watch BOTH. Then, take parts of each version and make YOUR OWN wonderous story.

And another thing, keep in mind that this movie came out a whole 20 years ago. The early 80's. Next year it can buy it's own beer (if it was a person). So, Tim Curry and a lot of others would have been just voices over CGI characters instead of being in actual makeup and there would have been MORE to the story and script if CGI was as available back then as it is now.

There IS such a thing as knowing limitations, you know.

American Version, good enough to make one wonder what was more.

International Version, done much better and fuller (though I like the American ending better)

As I said, watch both versions and make your OWN version to enjoy.

Aaaaannnd ... CUT!

That's a wrap.
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A fantastic classic
Destiny28 April 2008
What I loved most about this movie is that it pertains a happy medium. What I mean by this is that, while the effects, sets, and visuals of the time were outstanding, the movie was not meant to attract just anyone. It was not a movie that claims familiar sensations and thoughts (except the good vs evil basis), but that branches out into the most wild reaches of the imagination. This is a 'cult' movie because its display is fantastic.

The themes are simple. Good versus evil, hero and villain, a world of fantasy, true love. But what the director accomplished was deeper, more disturbing, darker, and so much more pleasing to the eyes then you could expect from a 'fairytale'. Even when the scenes are cheerful and bright, you sense how fragile it is, and how mortal the characters are. And when the scenes are dark and evil, you can not shield your eyes or feel afraid. You are drawn and can not look away.

It was these effects that played with the mind just the way a fantasy should. You must be left in awe and confusion, and still curious for more.

The actors were great (Cruise, unfortunately, being my least favorite choice, and Tim Curry and the boy who played the Forest Sprite being the absolute best). The costumes, makeup, and set are superb.

One of my 'must sees' for those who not only love 'cult' movies, but who love to feel the movie, to be a part of it, and to be left inspired.
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Not What You'd Expect From Cruise or Scott,
FilmBuff199417 May 2013
Legend is a below average movie.The storyline is promising,but not at all what you'd expect.I am a huge fan of Tom Cruise and I also like a lot of movies Ridley Scott made,but I didn't really like this one at all.It was a very early movie for both of them,and its definitely not a movie that Cruise would star in if it was made today.It isn't necessarily a long movie but if you're like me you will still get very bored.The movie is rated PG,but it is very dark and creepy and I definitely wouldn't recommend you show any child under the age of ten this movie.Fans of very dark fairy tale and fantasy may enjoy Legend,but anyone who watched this because they like Tom Cruise or Ridley Scott movies wont appreciate it.

Jack (Tom Cruise) is deeply in love with a woman who is kidnapped by the Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry,with the only impressive performance in this movie) to be his wife for eternity,its up to Jack save his true love.
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Classic fairytale without the need for cg effects? Is this legal?
juubei-28 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This was one of the first fantasy films I ever saw growing up and it had a lasting impression on me for many reasons, least of all the visuals, which are (like all of Scott's films) well-crafted and almost illustrative in their design. What really stuck out was the mythic quality of it all, and even at a young age the undeniably sexual overtones in the exchanges between the Lord of Darkness and Lily. I think people don't give kids enough credit but they do pick up on these things. I remember being taken aback when Lily's character dons the rather revealing dress late in the film and being shocked at her general demeanor afterwards; how her personality seems to change. All seemed right in the world when Jack and Lily return to their platonic relationship at film's end!

Having viewed the director's cut recently I've found my own perspective has changed dramatically with time but I still like this movie for much the same reasons. A lot of the intensity I felt seeing it back then must've been due to my age, and feeling one with the character of Jack -- something I can sadly no longer do. The fight scenes play out to me rather comically now but back then they were frightening. Its a testament to Scott's direction that this film wasn't too violent for children, while really walking the line of what is acceptable.

The Lord of Darkness make-up is simply outstanding and has only recently been topped with the likes of Hellboy. Once I was old enough to understand it was in fact an actor in a suit I was blown away to learn its actually Tim Curry underneath all that. There's no shortage of wonder on display here, but I think his was just the perfect idealization of evil, or Satan, EVER put to film.

Overall the director's cut leans a little towards the over-long side, and while I haven't heard the tangerine dream score in years I'm sure it suits this '80s fantasy better than a stuffy orchestral score. But as Scott says in the commentary, it is an operatic film and that is how I see it now; almost more like a ballet or a play than a historical fiction like Lord of the Rings. Thank god I was in good hands, or I may have been turned off of fantasy forever! This is one to be passed down, and I look forward to seeing it light up the eyes of my future children.
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Like a root canal, but without the anesthetic...
audby22 February 2003
This is easily the worst film ever written, proving that good actors, a great director, and a decent score can't cover up a truly pathetic script. The plot of the film is a poorly disguised redux of "The Lord of the Rings" -- Dark Lords, innocent heros, mystical powers bound up in unlikely objects -- and could not possibly have been conceived by anyone over the age of six.

In fact, judging by the excruciatingly painful dialogue, a six-year-old may indeed have written the script. The only reason my wife and I continued to watch was because of the macabre curiosity that grips anyone watching a disaster, and watching this film was about akin to watching a slow train wreck, surgery gone wrong, Adam and Eve eating the Fruit, or the slow plummet of a crippled airliner. It was that bad.

This film is worse than most which have gained infamy -- think of "Ice Pirates" or "Mac and Me", but then think of having your nails pulled out while watching them. It's on that level. The opening scroll gives you a clue as to just how painful the film will be, and it just gets worse when people actually appear on the screen. Without a doubt, this film had a bright future behind it.

However, for those who loved "Plan Nine From Outer Space", "Mars Attacks!", and "The Scorpion King", this movie might just provide you with a moment of distraction. For anyone seeking a top-notch fantasy film, go rent "Conan the Barbarian" or "Lord of the Rings"; you could even get a better viewing experience out of "Krull", "DragonSlayer", and "Dungeons and Dragons". As for "Legend", the only thing legendary about it is the amount of money and celluloid they wasted making it.
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Cinematic masterpiece of fantasy
dryamore21 January 2000
the story though a simple tale of good versus evil, has spectacular cinematography, and the score and soundtrack flow with the movie in perfect syncronisity, the imagery gives the full impression of an epic fantasy world, filled with interesting and unusual characters, Tim Curry gives a wonderful portrayal of the personification of Evil. Though not a movie for young children, it is a must see for anyone who is an avid fan of the Fantasy genre.
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Full review available at http://www.sorryimlate.com/reviews/legend.html
mix_daddy3 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Legend is director Ridley Scott's attempt at 80's style fantasy, starring Ferris Bueller's Mia Sara as Princess Lili and as her love interest a pre-Top Gun Tom Cruise as forest dweller Jack. In a convoluted series of events, Jack takes Lili to see some sacred unicorns - which he shouldn't for some reason – and then she proceeds to touch one – which she shouldn't for some reason. This turn of events leads minions of the Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry, in top form) to chop off the stallion's horn – an item of coveted power – and kidnap Princess Lili, both to be brought before Darkness in a master plan to bring eternal night to the world. Now the 'heroic' Jack, aided by his misfit band of elves and dwarfs, must rescue the princess and save the world from its inevitable pitch-black doom.

The massive problem with this movie, and there are copious issues, is the fact that it takes so much pleasure in being so damn dark that there's minimal fun to be had – a crucial element of fantasy. Take similar genre films from the time – Labyrinth had the music, Willow and Princess Bride had charm and characterisation, and the one thing that they all shared was a sense of wonder. Legend is too dark and scary for children yet the plot and pacing is too juvenile for adults.

Which leads me to the plot – or lack thereof it would seem. We have some basic thematic elements such as good versus evil and all that crap, but it's amazing that with such a simplistic storyline that nothing that is happening on screen is ever really clear, instead it seems to rush through the motions of the plot without focus. This is partly due to the fact that these characters are just so damn one-dimensional that we as an audience simply don't care.

The acting by the leads is really appalling. Mia Sara is just plain terrible with an accent that slips in and out constantly, and it's amazing that the fledgling superstar career of Tom Cruise was not affected by this. The major, and dare I say only, highlight of Legend comes in the form of the Lord of Darkness. Tim Curry is super intimidating as the red-skinned demon, delivering an awesome performance with a really fantastic makeup job to boot – Darkness is one of the greatest and most iconic villains in cinematic history.

I do also need to point out the elf Honeythorn Gump, played by David Bennett – I was constantly creeped out by the fact he looks like a tween Anthony Hopkins, running around in a loincloth.

I understand that this was a troubled production – the sets located on the legendary Pinewood Studios were completely lost in fire and replacement sets were thrown together at the eleventh hour – but it doesn't really excuse this abortion of a film. Although Ridley Scott has made some masterpieces (Blade Runner, Alien) his track record of films such as this make me sceptical of his revered status in the film community.

And I am also aware of multiple versions of this movie existing as well. The one that I have viewed does not seem to be the patented Ridley Scott director's cut, but a 90 minute offering with a score supplied by composer Jerry Goldsmith – the original European release if I'm not mistaken.

The Lord of Darkness alone cannot save this heaping pile of unicorn crap from being one of the lamest and boring films of the genre. Legend = 100% ironic title.
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If only Mystery Science Theater had lampooned this horrific film!
mrtnn20 June 2008
I subjected myself to a viewing of the "Director's Cut" of Legend tonight. How I wish there were a MST3K version of it, because if there was ever a film deserving a skewering, this is it.

Costuming in many cases looks laughably, muppet-like, and cheap.

Tim Curry is the movie's only saving grace, but turn the sound off to avoid regurgitating at the campy, laughable dialog... "I offer you this rose, my princess..."

I love the hubcap assembly-line to bring light to darkness. Laugh out loud funny.

Much has been said about the rich set design/cinematography. Right.....if you get weepy and moved by this, you probably were also weepy playing with your "My Little Pony." This movie looks like VAN paintings. C H E E S Y.
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This film was truly awful: Really regret renting it.
pettums18 September 2000
This film was truly awful. I am a Tim Curry fan, but he was not enough to save a film which just made you cringe one moment and make you wish for some kind of plot/humour the next.

It might have been beautifully photographed, but this can't save it from the script.
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Just Die Jack...
rencej2 April 2004
so that this utterly horrid movie would end faster!! I had to watch this on my sister's birthday as it was her "birthday movie". Never before had I so hoped the bad guy would hurry up and kill the good guy so I could get out of the theater! Luckily for Cruise this stinker was bookended by two really good movies or his career may have flamed out.

Most of the other actors did a decent job, but I think the story was just horrible. Hard to create a diamond out of pig s**t, and they really shouldn't have tried. I know it sounds like I'm being really harsh, but watch the movie and you'll understand what I'm saying. It really is painful to watch!
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Fun-filled fantasy romp
Alain English18 February 2008
One of Ridley Scott's 1980s films, "Legend" has a lot going for it in terms of special effects and performances. The simple fairy-tale storyline sees a brave young elf Jack (Tom Cruise) rescue the beautiful Princess Lily (Mia Sara) from the vile clutches of Darkness (Tim Curry).

That's really about it, story-wise, although there's plenty of fun along the way. Some fantastic design gives real life to the forest world where the film is set, along with the fire and shadows of Darkness' lair. In his quest Jack meets, befriends and occasionally has to outwit elves, trolls and sea creatures. It's played pretty low-key most of the time but it's still good fun.

Jack is brought to life well by Tom Cruise. He isn't much of a leading man presence in this picture (that would come when he made "Top Gun") but he still captures the character and fits in well with the movie environment. Mia Sara has the typically thankless role of the damsel-in-distress, but she acquits herself well in a good scene where Darkness seduces her. As for Darkness himself, not only does he look fantastic but he's played with absolute relish by Tim Curry who savours every moment. Character actors Billy Barty and Robert Picardo have two very good supporting turns.

A good movie for a night in. Recommended.
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Legend 25 years later... hit or miss
Quebec_Dragon7 May 2010
I first saw this celluloid fairy tale back when I was a kid in theatres. I don't remember liking it much at the time (made me uncomfortable and queasy actually) and in fact, the only thing I really remembered from the film itself was the big red devil. Perhaps I wasn't sophisticated enough then to enjoy it properly so why not see it again as an adult and give it a second shake...

My main opinion during and after the screening (of the director's cut) was that although the decors and the makeup of the creatures are great even by today's standards, that the movie dragged, mostly in the second half. It felt long and I even yawned a few times. I don't know if it's because the pace is wrong, the film lacks action or the story is not engrossing enough but I was bored too often. I also expect some kind of sense of wonder in fantasy films. It happened with the unicorns, although unfortunately their horns were wobbly at first breaking the illusion, and it did happen with the grand entrance of the devil (seen on the cover). It did not happen much other than that. I loved the devil played by Tim Curry in heavy costume and makeup making him unrecognizable. His deep operatic yet comforting voice (slightly modified) is perfect, his expressions are very good and his movements are quite believable. He's the best representation of a traditional devil I've ever seen. Although the main human actors are played earnestly and rather well by Mia Sara and a young Tom Cruise, I was mesmerized by the character of Honeythorn Gump, the apparent leader of the small fairy-folk. He looks like a child but his big expressive eyes, his often severe facial expressions and the way he moves are reminiscent of someone older, kind of appropriate for an elf having lived for a long time. The actor playing Gump was 19 years old which would explain some of his performance. I found him fascinating yet somewhat sinister. I didn't find the comic-relief goblins and gnomes particularly appealing or interesting. To be fair, they were buried under tons of makeup making them less expressive.

I watched the director's cut on DVD and the normal shorter US version afterwards. I will not go in details on the differences here but those interested can check this link : http://www.figmentfly.com/legend/different4c.html . Neither version is perfect but I think I preferred the director's cut in part because of the classical music score (instead of Tangerine Dream's new age synthesizer remade soundtrack for North America). The relationship between the princess and Jack (Tom Cruise) is also more ambiguous, my favorite character other than Darkness, the elf (?) Gump, has more screen time, the appearance of Darkness is not spoiled right at the beginning making his first "real" entrance a lot more dramatic and the fun swamp "sorceress" is there longer. On the other hand, with the shorter US theatrical version, you are less likely to find your mind wandering or being bored

In closing, Ridley Scott the director said he was proud of his film despite all its problems (main set burning, big commercial flop and critically panned at the time being a few) and that at least, he managed to get that kind of film (fantasy fairy-tale) out of his system. Not the most ringing endorsement if you ask me... Scott might be proud but I would not call Legend really good even today. it's passable but it pales in comparison to other fantasy films of the eighties (Willow, Princess Bride, Neverending Story (only the first one), Labyrinth, etc) that should be rented or purchased long before Legend. However, Legend has several redeeming features pushing it above the lower dregs of that genre. Legend was middle-of-the-pack for that era but suffered from expectations that were too high.

Rating : 5 out of 10
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A great film in its right.
edwardjamessmith29 January 2008
"Legend" (1985) has to be one of the greatest fantasy films I've ever seen. It's better than "Willow" (1988) which I didn't really like that much. Ridley Scott's talent is just mind-blowing. He knows how to make a film from scratch. After seeing Alien, Blade Runner, Black Rain, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and finally Legend, I've just seen how great this guy is with his vision and style of film-making. When I first heard of the film, I didn't even know Tom Cruise was in it. The score composed by Tangerine Dream fits the film perfectly and helps tell the story. Ridley Scott's brother, Tony Scott has also made great films: TOP GUN, Beverly Hills Cop II and True Romance. The make-up effects are brilliant for the time. Tim Curry's reincarnation of Satan is quite disturbing and he plays a brilliant performance which is unforgettable. "Legend" is a film that you can't miss out on so if you see it anywhere on DVD, buy it and you won't regret it.
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Like most other European things, great in Europe, horrible in the United States
Ridley Scott's "Legend" is a terrific bit of fantasy, a stunningly surreal look into a mythical world of wonders.

Unfortunately, I don't believe what we got here in America *was* Ridley Scott's "Legend." It was an impostor. It was a goofy, clunky nightmare full of plot holes and ridiculousness, armed with a wacky Tangerine Dream score that ruined the whole thing. That movie was cut down from a perfectly entertaining 114-minute movie with a story that *made sense* and a purely beautiful Jerry Goldsmith score.

Does something not seem right to you, too? I have no idea why, for Sagan's sake, Universal Studios mangled this movie for its transatlantic journey. They chopped nearly 25 minutes. They did unspeakable things to the soundscape, and not just by changing the musical score. And tragically, they still kept the scene where you can see the Lord of Darkness' horns flopping up and down.

The American version is hideous (even though I still like to watch it). So if that's the only version you have seen, no wonder you don't like it! I suggest you go out and rent the "Director's Edition" before it's too late! Because the "American Version" really only goes to prove that some things (including "The Office") should stay on the proper side of the pond.
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Hardly a 'Legend'...
namashi_129 June 2010
Sometimes the biggest names disappoint. Sometimes even the mighty fails to impress. Well, Ridley Scott - the legendary filmmaker, disappoints big time in his 1985 box office flop 'Legend'.

'Legend' is set once in time of unicorns, fairies, goblins, and demons. It's about light and darkness. It's about Good and Evil. It's about Love and Hate. Sadly, none it's intentions left me awe-struck. 'Legend' is a body beautiful of minus soul. Having seen the director's cut, this film is amongst the weakest efforts by Scott.

Tom Cruise does an okay job. Mia Sara is passable. Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness is wonderfully made, though his performance is hardly a 'Stand Out'.

'Legend' has some amazing make-up for it's characters, but script wise... blah! From this writer, A Thumbs Down!
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