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Dragonslayer (1981)

Peter MacNicol , Caitlin Clarke , Matthew Robbins  |  PG |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)

Price: $15.79 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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DRAGONSLAYER DRAGONSLAYER 4.1 out of 5 stars (219)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Peter MacNicol, Caitlin Clarke, Ralph Richardson, John Hallam, Peter Eyre
  • Directors: Matthew Robbins
  • Writers: Matthew Robbins, Hal Barwood
  • Producers: Eric Rattray, Hal Barwood, Howard W. Koch
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: October 21, 2003
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AUHOM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,740 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dragonslayer" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Despite its box-office failure in 1981, Dragonslayer was gradually recognized as one of the finest fantasies to emerge from the post-Star Wars boom in special effects. It's still one of the best adventures of its kind, featuring one of the most fearsome fire-breathing serpents in movie history. Ominously named Vermithrax Pejorative, this ill-tempered monster terrorizes the peasantry of sixth-century England, feeding on maidens sacrificed by a duplicitous king until a sorcerer's apprentice named Galen (Peter MacNicol, long before Ally McBeal) is recruited as a reluctant hero. Aided by a tenacious beauty (Caitlin Clarke) and his resurrected mentor (Ralph Richardson), Galen confronts the soaring beast in a breathtaking climax. Employing a then-innovative technique called Go-Motion to animate the dragon, the special effects are still dazzling, and stunning locations in Scotland and Wales allow director Matthew Robbins (cowriter of Steven Spielberg's feature debut, The Sugarland Express) to maintain a vivid atmosphere for the wealth of movie magic. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

Back in the days when everyone believed in magic, a horrifying fire-breathing dragon terrorized the sixth-century British countryside. The only hope for the beleaguered citizens is an aging sorcerer (Sir Ralph Richardson). But when he is killed before he can save the people, the task falls on his young apprentice, Galen (Peter MacNicol). Galen's mission is complicated by resistance from the king - and by falling in love - but his biggest challenge comes when he is suddenly face to face with the dreaded monster. Is his magic enough to save him?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
98 of 103 people found the following review helpful
Ultimately, "Dragonslayer" succeeds where the vast majority of monster movies fail, which is the point at which you get to see the creature and it is a big disappointment. Very few movies had really great monsters when I was growing up and you get to the point where you just expect them to be bad. Even when the make up is pretty good, say Boris Karloff in the original version of "The Mummy" or Oliver Reed in "The Curse of the Werewolf," you get shorted on how often the monster actually gets to be on screen. "Dragonslayer" ups the ante because there is a big build up to the point when you finally get to see the dragon. But for my money it is well worth the wait because the folks at Industrial Light & Magic delivery even though we are talking 1981 special effects.

The story in "Dragonslayer" combines a couple of recognizable plot lines from the fantasy genre. First there is the hapless young apprentice, Galen (Peter MacNicol), trying to learn his craft from a great wizard, Ulrich (Ralph Richardson). I am certainly reminded of Mickey Mouse from "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" in "Fantasia," except that Galen is a lot more earnest. Second, there is the fact that Casiodorus Rex (Peter Eyre), the ruler of the land, has been sacrificing virgins to keep the local dragon from leveling the countryside. Young Valerian (Caitlin Clarke) arrives to beseech Ulrich, the last wizard around, to kill the dragon, which is probably the last of its kind as well.

The only problem is that Ulrich has died, which means that young Galen has to become a dragonslayer. Galen wants to do the great deed for the right reasons, but there is also the Princess Elspeth (Chloe Salaman) to consider, along with all the other young virgins forced to participate in the grim lottery.
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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly a Masterpiece October 20, 2003
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I grew up on the works of writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, Jules Verne and the Master of Animation, Ray Harryhausen, and so Dragonslayer was destined to become a favorite of mine because of the superb animation effects. When I saw Dragonslayer at the theater I knew only one thing would ever top it, but it was still a book, until now. My VHS copy is mint because I didn't want to lose this classic as I waited for the seemingly eternal release to DVD. The whole movie from start to finish never loses its appeal for me. The storyline, acting and special effects are all at there best. The locations are a perfect blend of light and dark to set the atmosphere of the tale. The characters are very believable and true to their purpose. Todays CGI world works fine for Final Fantasy or Shrek maybe but, CGI would have destroyed the "feel" of the special effects in this movie. The anticipation for this films DVD release was second only to Tolkien's world recently coming to life.
DRAGONSLAYER is the only dragon depiction that has ever been done well and it defines its own period as much as Star Trek and Star Wars defines the galaxies. I will proudly put this one next to the master storytellers in my collection.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At long last ... January 8, 2004
I am still amazed that this film still looks and sounds as good as it does. It is a solid entertainment and most of the dragon effects can still stand alongside any seen in "Lord of the Rings", as they were done by ILM. One wishes that there was at least the movie trailer on this DVD, as it has no extra's to it. Perhaps they will put out a deluxe edition some time in the future. Those who write off early eighties fantasy films, (and there are a lot to write off!), as cheesy, really should take a serious look at this. The only time one wishes the special effects were better is in the Dragon's offspring, where they dont have the believability that the main dragon has.
This was one of the last roles for Sir Ralph Richardson, and he makes the absolute best of it. His scorcerer can stand alonside Merlin or any other.
The period detail is another plus. being made after "Excalibur", (as well as some fine lesser known films of the 70's), the costumes and other effects have a wonderful believeability to them.
So, if your looking for a nice distraction in the fantasy film department, you really can't go wrong with this film!
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43 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dignified precursor to Dragonheart... September 22, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Considering that one of the roles has been given to none other than Sir Ralph Richardson, should speak volumes about this tiny fantasy movie.

Despite the product of the early eighties, in which movies like "Conan the Barbarian" and other similar products very highly popular, this film has the merit to have a dignified treatment, with an original story and a solid cast of newcomers.

I will not spoil you the surprise of the story, but suffice it to say, that no, the Dragon does NOT speak, nor does he (or is it a she?) consider the meaning of life. He rather spits fire and kills people with ease, and therefore must be destroyed.

This is what this movie is all about. But more than that, it is also about the vanity, greed, prejudice and superstition that rules mankind and hence gives more importance to an otherwise harmless creature...

it is a multi-faceted movie. So much so, that nothing is truly what it seems to be and everything is revealed toward the grand finale, which inevitably comes.

The transfer by Paramount has been undertaken with accuracy and grace. Excellent image resolution, fantastic widescreen rendition of the landscapes, and a wonderful surround soundtrack make it the definitive version to own.

If you like Myths, Dragons and Dungeons, this movie is exceptionally for you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun oldie!
My three kids loved watching this classic from when I was a kid. Ok, maybe just my 8 yr old, the eldest. Yaaay 80's movies!
Published 1 day ago by P. and A. Services
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a great movie
I loved this movie 30 plus years ago and it still holds up today. Awaken your inner D&D nerd from back in the day and roll your 20 sided die on Dragonslayer!
Published 4 days ago by rob
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story & excellent special effects
One of my all time favorite action and adventure movies and "fur-sure" the best portrayal of a dragon I've ever seen. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Bert Tram
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay
The plot was a little weak and the actors were not strong enough to hold my attention through the timeframe.
Published 9 days ago by Glenda D Potasnik
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best fantasy movies of all time
Before Game of Thrones and (Peter Jackson's) Lord of The Rings, there was Dragonslayer. A must see for fantasy fans.
Published 9 days ago by John Wao
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful movie
I loved the movie, it is great in all ways. One that you must have if you love fantasy and adventure movies.
Published 19 days ago by AB
2.0 out of 5 stars I've seen better movies
It lacked excitement and didn't start out with anything to catch my attention and/or desire to continue watching long enough to know what was going on.
Published 22 days ago by Karen Swoboda
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but not a repeater
It was OK but I probably won't watch it again. The story is anti-religion in that it explains how wizards got rid of dragons but Christians got the credit. Read more
Published 29 days ago by donaggie6
1.0 out of 5 stars This movie is dumb dumb dumb...
How many ways can I say this movie stinks.... They use the same old story of a girl dressed up like a boy to avoid being put in the lottery for a Dragon snack. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robert Pylant
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool movie.
I watch it every time it comes on tv. A young Peter MacNicol still had hair. The guy who played the wizard was great. Dragon was nicely done as well.
Published 1 month ago by John Clark
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