7 classic fantasy films that will make you (a little) nostalgic

Posted on August 6, 2022


Climate alarmism, health crisis, war in Ukraine… to get our heads out of the ambient gloom, if we went back to the 1980s, the golden age of fantasy At the movie theater ?

The time is at revivalon Amazon Prime or on Netflix, we celebrate the series and pop culture of the 1980s, whether in the form of a man or in parody as in Stranger Things Where Cobra-Kai. Among the rediscoveries guided by nostalgia for an era that no millennials has known, we can point out the renewed interest in the fantasy, this sub-genre of fantastic fiction that mixes magic, poetry, mythology and magic. Prime has recently offered to review Legend (1985) by Ridley Scott, Netflix made a reboot of dark-crystal in series in 2019, while Disney is preparing to offer one this year inspired by Willow (1988).

No doubt we should see in this renewed interest the same desire of the spectator to escape from a heavy climate by returning to marvelous themes which point towards childhood in his imagination populated by fairies, elves and fantastic animals.

Forty years apart, here are some masterpieces of the fantasy who deserve to be pulled from oblivion to get our heads out of a sea of ​​bad news.

Legend (1985)

A fantastic land where the sun threatens to never rise again after the murder of a unicorn by the powers of Darkness. At the center of this American-British film, the love between Jack (Tom Cruise) and Princess Lili (Mia Sara). It looks like a painting by Reynolds, and Ridley Scott borrows from English-speaking British folklore populated by goblins, banshees and fairies to symbolize the alliance between purity and life against evil embodied by Tim Curry, better known in his role as transvestite in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Notable fact: Tom Cruise embodies a “green man”, a legendary being who embodies the rebirth of spring in primitive cultures.

Excalibur (1981)

The rise of King Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, as King of Britain until his final face-off with Mordred, his cursed son, all filmed by British filmmaker John Boorman (Issuance, Yangon). Film shot entirely in Ireland, we discover young Liam Neeson and hairy Patrick Stewart, long before his role as Picard in StarTrek. Chivalrous acts, sparkling armor that give the heroes the false air of American footballers against a backdrop of Carmina Burana and Wagner: undoubtedly the film most immersed in mythology two decades before the release of the trilogy of Lord of the Rings.

Time Bandits (1981)

God has had his map of the Time Gates stolen by his team, dwarves who travel through time and dimensions to rob the greats of this world. They accidentally land in the bedroom of young Kevin, a boy with a wild imagination, and take him on their adventures. We meet in this film by Terry Gilliam a Sean Connery in Agamemnon, John Cleese in Robin Hood or even Ian Holm, who will later interpret Frodo in the trilogy of Lord of the Rings, in the role of Napoleon at the Battle of Castiglione. The film is not so much a Manichean confrontation of good against evil as between the power of the imagination against the narrowly materialistic universe which impoverishes everything and imposes itself on leaving childhood. Terry Gilliam could have been the subject of a top on his own: we owe him a very British -while he was the only American of Monty Python- holy grail ! (1975), Jabberwocky (1977), Fisher King (1991) with the late Robin Williams and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988).

Maze (1986)

David Bowie as King of the Goblins in a film by fantasy who is eyeing the musical, do you believe it? In any case, the public at the time did not follow: this film by Jim Henson, written by Terry Jones (another ex-Monty Python!) was a monumental flop, despite the 6 original songs by the king author pop. It’s a shame: we find there a young girl forced to save her young half-brother Toby from the clutches of Goblins whom she had the misfortune to summon on a whim. Fairies, magic, extraordinary tales to devour with a cup of hot chocolate at the bottom of the duvet.

Dark Crystal (1982)

The crystal that keeps the Thra world alive in perfect harmony darkened for a thousand years, until it shattered, triggering the rise of the Skekses race over the world. This American film, also by Jim Henson, is entirely played by puppets inspired by the Muppet Show universe. Netflix is ​​releasing a serial version in 2019, minus the kitsch side: the special effects have improved significantly in the space of 20 years. But don’t be put off by the puppet aspect, it’s arguably one of the most intricate storylines in the movies. fantasy of the time.

Willow (1988)

Willow, farmer Nelwyn (understand dwarf) of his state, collects an abandoned baby of the race of Daikinis (humans). The baby, in fact a princess promised to bring down the tyranny that oppresses the Daikinis, ends up endangering the entire Nelwyn village. Willow will therefore seek to return her to her people, and there begins a long quest which will end with the fall of Queen Bavmorda. We find in Willow aspects of Tolkien’s work. It is among a small peaceful people that we will find a hero to overthrow the tyrant, as it is among the Hobbits that we will find the bearer of the Ring up to the mountain of destiny in Mordor. Fortunately, the performance of the excellent Warwick Davis (Star Wars, Leprechaun, Harry Potter) literally carries this whole movie (how, there would also be Val Kilmer?) of Ron Howard.

For new generations, Disney will offer the return of the most famous Nelwyn in the form of a series this year.

The Neverending Story (1984)

Fleeing his bullies, little Bastien takes refuge in the attic of his school to read The never-ending story, a mysterious book found in an old bookstore. We discover the wonderful world of Fantasia, threatened by the Void that only the valiant Atreyu on his white horse can save after multiple trials. This German-American film by Wolfgang Petersen has become cult, and not only thanks to the soundtrack by Limahl. Its heroes are children, Fantasia is populated by fantastic animals and its audience has laughed and suffered with Atreyu (ah! the death of Artax!). Another ode to reading and imagination that contrasts radically with our time of disenchantment with the world.

7 classic fantasy films that will make you (a little) nostalgic