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The Dark Crystal (1982)

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On another planet in the distant past, a Gelfling embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of a magical crystal, and so restore order to his world.


Jim Henson, Frank Oz


David Odell (screenplay), Jim Henson (story)
1,307 ( 25)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jim Henson ... Jen, a Gelfling (performer) / High Priest, a Ritual Master (performer)
Kathryn Mullen ... Kira, a Gelfling (performer)
Frank Oz ... Aughra, a Keeper Of Secrets (performer) / Chamberlain (performer)
Dave Goelz ... Fizzgig, a Friendly Monster (performer) / General, Garthim Master (performer)
Steve Whitmire ... Scientist (voice)
Louise Gold Louise Gold ... Gourmand (performer)
Brian Muehl Brian Muehl ... Ornamentalist (performer and voice) / Urzah (performer) / Dying Master (performer and voice)
Bob Payne Bob Payne ... Historian, Scrollkeeper (performer)
Mike Quinn ... Slave Master (performer)
Tim Rose ... Treasurer (performer)
Jean-Pierre Amiel Jean-Pierre Amiel ... Weaver (performer) (as Jean Pierre Amiel)
Hugh Spight Hugh Spight ... Mystic Cook (performer)
Robbie Barnett Robbie Barnett ... Numerologist (performer) / Landstrider (performer)
Swee Lim Swee Lim ... Hunter (performer) / Landstrider (performer)
Simon J. Williamson Simon J. Williamson ... Chanter (performer) (as Simon Williamson)


Another planet, another time. 1000 years ago the mysterious Dark Crystal was damaged by one of the Urskeks and an age of chaos has began! The evil race of grotesque birdlike lizards the Skeksis, gnomish dragons who rule their fantastic planet with an iron claw. Meanwhile the orphan Jen, raised in solitude by a race of the peace-loving wizards called the Mystics, embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of the Dark Crystal which gives the Skesis their power and restore the balance of the universe. Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Another World, Another Time... In the Age of Wonder. See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Site





Release Date:

17 December 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Dark Chrysalis See more »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,657,335, 19 December 1982, Wide Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The reason Universal was only the theatrical distributor of the movie (and continue to retain rights to theatrical re-releases) and never got home video rights is because ITC Entertainment sold their share back to The Jim Henson Company, who had control over home video distribution. They made a deal with Disney and one with Sony (Columbia-TriStar) in the 90s. Even though later on they made deals with Hit Entertainment, Lionsgate, and Vivendi Entertainment. The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and The Storyteller video rights have always remained with Sony. See more »


The Gelfling puppets have three fingers and one thumb on each hand. When Kira and Jen make their way into the castle via a mouth-like entrance, Kira's right hand has five fingers in the long shot (actors, not puppets, were used for long shots of the Gelflings). See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: Another world, another time, in the age of wonder. A thousand years ago, this land was green and good - until the Crystal cracked. For a single piece was lost; a shard of the Crystal. Then strife began, and two new races appeared: the cruel Skeksis, the gentle Mystics. Here in the castle of the Crystal, the Skeksis took control. Now the Skeksis gather in the sacred chamber, where the Crystal hangs above a shaft of air and fire. The Skeksis with their hard and twisted bodies, their ...
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Crazy Credits

The opening credits show only the credits for the crew. See more »

Alternate Versions

The 5.1 audio track created for the 25th Anniversary DVD and subsequent Blu-ray contains some additional dialogue and other audio differences not present in any previous video version, nor in theatrical prints.
  • When Jen is at Aughra's, trying to decide between the three shards, his voiceover now includes the line "I know," just before he pulls out his pipe.
  • After the Scientist's line "Oh it will make you young again sire," he goes on to say, "...and as Emperor you deserve it."
  • When the second landstrider is attacked by the Garthim, Kira is heard yelling, "NO!"
  • When the General orders the Chamberlain's robes returned, the Chamberlain's whimper is a different take than in the original mix.
  • As Kira calls the animals to freedom in the laboratory, the Scientist can be heard shouting, "Back! Back to your cages!"
  • Additionally, Jen's gasp when he sees Kira's footprint (just before Fizzgig startles him) is missing.
  • When Kira knocks out the Crystal Bat with her slingshot, the sound effect of the actual hit is mixed lower than before.
  • Jen's line "Come on!" to his landstrider is almost drowned out by the music, when before it was heard much more clearly.
See more »


Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Creepy Kids Movies (2014) See more »


Gelfling Song
Written by Trevor Jones
Performed by Lisa Maxwell
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Beautifully made but sometimes overwhelmingly disturbing
5 March 2012 | by trixie-k-88See all my reviews

The Dark Crystal is a fantastic film made by Jim Henson. It truly is one of those movies that prove what a genius he was, and that his genius stretched past Kermit and Big Bird. However…I always have mixed feelings about this movie.

The Dark Crystal takes place in a fantasy land that has fallen out of balance and turned evil because "the dark crystal" has lost a shard. Then comes Jen, a "gelfling", a small creature with a sweet face and long hair. Jen has has been raised by the "mystics" large, peaceful creatures that tell him he is the last of his kind. He is the last of his kind because the "skeksies" have killed all the gelflings due to a prophesy that a gelfling will overthrow their reign. The skeksies are evil, bird/reptile like creatures that are the complete opposite of the mystics. Simultaneously, the leader of the skeksies and leader of the mystics die, and Jen goes on a quest to find the missing shard in the Dark Crystal. On his journey Jen finds Kira, a female gelfling raised by "podlings", who also believed she was the last of her kind. Together, Kira and Jen must find a way to restore the shard to the dark crystal, therefore creating balance in their world once more.

This movie is a visual feast. It is absolutely amazing what Henson managed to do with the muppets and the worlds he created. As many have said it is even more amazing to see it in comparison to today's CGI and advanced special effects, and appear superior. The plot is also solid, with lots of meaning and spirit. However…I personally always found the film difficult to enjoy. As a child this movie gave me horrible nightmares, as it did for many other people. This is probably high on the list of traumatizing children's movies! So parents be forewarned, this shouldn't be shown to children under age 8, or even those a bit older who scare easily. In fact, adults can still find many aspects of this film disturbing, including scary characters, music, voices, and actions. One of the most disturbing aspects is how the skeksies would suck the "essence" (soul) out of podlings, drink it to prolong their own youth, and then make the podlings into slaves. As an adult I can look past the scary parts to recognize how well the film is made and written, but I still find it difficult to enjoy. That aside, it's definitely worth a watch.

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