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The Black Cauldron (1985)

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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.

Directors:

Ted Berman, Richard Rich

Writers:

Lloyd Alexander (novel), David Jonas (story) | 17 more credits »
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4,089 ( 205)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Grant Bardsley Grant Bardsley ... Taran (voice)
Susan Sheridan Susan Sheridan ... Eilonwy (voice)
Freddie Jones ... Dallben (voice)
Nigel Hawthorne ... Fflewddur Fflam (voice)
Arthur Malet ... King Eidilleg (voice)
John Byner ... Gurgi / Doli (voice)
Lindsay Rich Lindsay Rich ... Fairfolk (voice)
Brandon Call ... Fairfolk (voice)
Gregory Levinson Gregory Levinson ... Fairfolk (voice)
Eda Reiss Merin Eda Reiss Merin ... Orddu (voice)
Adele Malis-Morey Adele Malis-Morey ... Orwen (voice)
Billie Hayes ... Orgoch (voice)
Phil Fondacaro ... Creeper / Henchman (voice)
Peter Renaday Peter Renaday ... Henchman (voice)
James Almanzar 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

Taglines:

Magic twelve years in the making. Magic that will live forever. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some scary images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 July 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Taran and the Magic Cauldron See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$44,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,180,110, 28 July 1985

Gross USA:

$21,288,692
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the first and last movie since The Jungle Book (1967), where the old multi-plane cameras were brought briefly out of retirement (with a few improvements this time). New technologies, such as computer graphics imagery, now available to all studios, have made multi-plane photography obsolete. See more »

Goofs

When Taran escapes the Horned King's Castle, he leaves the sword's sheath behind. However, when he is outside, he has the sheath again. 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 »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening or cast and crew credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

Appalled by the film's darkness and graphic nature, and also concerned with its long length, requested that the film's release be delayed from its scheduled Christmas 1984 release to July 1985 so that the whole film could be reworked. was ultimately cut by twelve to fifteen minutes, all of which were fully animated and scored. As a result, some existing scenes were rewritten, reanimated, and reedited for continuity. Many of the cut scenes involved the undead "Cauldron Born", who are used as the Horned King's army in the final act of the film. While most of the scenes were seamlessly removed from the film, one particular cut involving a Cauldron Born warrior killing a person by decapitating his neck and another one killing another person by decapitating his torso created a rather recognizable lapse because the removal of the scene clumsily creates a jump in the film's soundtrack. Other deleted scenes include: many scenes of graphic violence such as the ones where Taran fights his way out of The Horned King's palace with the magic sword Dyrnwyn; shots of Princess Eilonwy wearing ripped garments, as she's hanging for her life with Taran and Fflewddur Fflam; whole sequences involving the world of the Fairfolk; scenes of the Horned King with a flowing cloak; one scene featuring one of the King's henchmen being mauled by one of the Cauldron Born warriors, which causes him to form horrifically detailed lacerations and boils, before he rots away to become one of the Cauldron Born warriors himself (a couple of animated cels of that particular scene can actually now be found on the Internet); and a more action-oriented, dramatic, and intense climatic fight scene between Taran and the Horned King before the latter is sucked into the Cauldron. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Doesn't deserve to be dismissed as harshly as it has been
27 June 2006 | by Articulated_JawSee 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.


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