So let's hear it for the shaggy hair-dos, the bare-chested hunks and the beautiful damsels in distress! And lest we forget, the killer music and the outlandish costumes. One small caveat, these fantasy flicks are just that - PURE, unadulterated fantasies. Some movies blurred the lines between fantasies and other genres, so I discounted them - Goonies, Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Flight of the Navigator, E.T. etc. With that said, sit back and wax nostalgia!
Plot: Wicket the Ewok and his friends agree to help two shipwrecked human children on a quest to find their parents.
Why it's a favorite: Growing up, Return of the Jedi was my favorite in the Star Wars trilogy. Why? Mainly, because of those cute, adorable Ewoks. When this made-for-TV movie aired I simply fell. in. love. Sure, it's incredibly hokey now and maybe it was a little back then, but to a five year old's imagination it was everything. This movie gives me nostalgia realness.
9. Batteries Not Included (1987)
Plot: Apartment block tenants seek the aid of alien mechanical life-forms to save their building form demolition.
Why it's my favorite: I was 8 when I fell in love with this off-beat love story. It had my wild imaginative mind hooked from the get-go. As a kid, I couldn't get over how cute those adorable flying mini saucers were. They were to die! They 'truly' became the hopes and dreams for such a small-nit community. It's incredibly hokey now, but for its time it spoke volumes. How on earth was this silly fantasy such a success is beyond my grown-up comprehension, but maybe it's because we all love and hope for miracles ourselves.
Plot: While home sick in bed, a young boy's grandfather reads him a story called The Princess Bride.
Why it's my favorite: No fantasy movie list will ever be complete without including this triumph! Objectively... yeah, it's a bit dated, but who cares. And anyone who grew up with this movie will beg to differ. Give me adventure and romance any day! Superb one-liners, stellar sets and designs, humorous adventure, amazing costumes, kings, pirates, true love, and lest we forget, young Fred Savage. I will 'always' love this movie.
7. Krull (1983)
Plot: A prince and a fellowship of companions set out to rescue his bride from a fortress of alien invaders who have arrived on their home planet.
Why it's my favorite: Sure, the film is a textbook example of some evil power stealing our hero's true love and him fighting to rescue her, but who cares. We've got a magical flying glaive, fire mares, fearless and daring adventure, undying true love, and ridiculously sweet costumes (ahem, Colwyn's striped spandex, anyone?), all of which kept those kiddies in the 80's wildly entertained. I still love this movie to this day!
Plot: A film adaption of the myth of Perseus and his quest to battle both Medusa and the Kraken monster to save the Princess Andromeda.
Why it's my favorite: "A TITAN VS A TITAN!" Oh man, I love this movie so much. Sure, it doesn't quite hold up today, but for its time it was groundbreaking. Greek mythology, fantastic one-liners, stop-motion animation, flying horses, a golden owl, Stygain witches, a gorgeous princess, a handsome demigod named Perseus who travels far and wide to rescue the woman he loves?!!! Be still my heart. To some people, Andromeda is still my nickname to this day. [Side note: Don't waste time with that foul stinky remake. Watch the original instead.]
5. Legend (1985)
Plot: A young man must stop the Lord of Darkness from both destroying daylight and marrying the woman he loves.
Why it's my favorite: Unicorns, fairies, a beautiful princess, insane costumes, goblins, elves, magic, good vs. evil. (sigh) It's no wonder I was drawn to this as a child. I still love this magical fantasy even today. The music is so incredibly fantastical to this day I still swoon (Tangerine Dream). And that black, plunging neckline gown Lili wears is 'truly' what envious things are made of. The colors, the sets... everything in this film is 'pure' fantasy genius. [Side note: It was forever until I actually knew what Tim Curry really looked like. #crushedit]
Plot: A selfish 16-year old girl is given 13 hours to solve a labyrinth and rescue her baby brother when her wish for him to be taken away is granted by the Goblin King.
Why it's my favorite: As a kid I often thought how cool it would be if my mirror turned into another world, which explains part of my fascination with this movie as a child. We also have puppets, pop music, awesome makeup and costumes (ahem, those tights), David Bowie, dashing adventure lurking around each corner... Need I go on? OK, as a kid I wasn't particularly into Bowie yet, but man, I sure had a HUGE crush on him in this film. Long live the Goblin King! This movie was prime for pure kiddo entertainment. And that soundtrack... it will live on forever. "Dance magic, dance." "You remind me of the Babe..."
Why it's my favorite: This movie always gets praised as a timeless fantasy classic, and for good reason. As a kid who didn't want their books to come to life?! This is one wild and crazy fantasy adventure filled with flying dragons, a beautiful empress (I always wanted to be her), a young worrier (I had 'thee' biggest crush on Atreyu), racing snails, flying bats and a giant rock-man. Oh, say no more. Sure, that Artax swamp-of-sadness scene is utterly heart-wrenching, but the ending mends all that, so we'll let that slide. To this day, the Score is still among my favorites. "The NeverEnding Story... Ah-uh-ah-uh-ah."
Plot: 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.
Why it's my favorite: This fantasy is particularly dear to my heart, in large part, because it's one I used to watch with my late daddy. So many incredible fond memories wrapped up in this Jim Henson puppet masterpiece. We've got Gelflings, that adorably cute, whinny dog Fizzgig, Podlings, Aughra, Mystics and Skeksis - Chamberlain is hands down the best. The music is dreamy and so fitting. The sets, the costumes, the great one-liners - "CHAMBERLAIN!" Seriously, I can't say enough good things about the wonderful world of The Dark Crystal.
Plot: A reluctant dwarf must play a critical role in protecting a special baby from an evil queen.
Why it's my favorite: "You 'are' great!" This is one of the few fantasies from the 80's that 'still' manages to hold up today. It grabbed a hold of me tightly as a kid, and it has a firm grasp on my soul even now. I was 'literally' obsessed with this fantastic adventure growing up (ahem, still am). I loved how the underdog became our hero... "Willow, you iiiidiot." We have fairies, hilarious Brownies, an evil queen, the adorable Elora Danan, the ever so beautiful Sorsha (one of my all-time favorite alias' to this day), and lest we forget, the "greatest swordsman that ever lived," Madmartigan (so handsome). I LOVED Sorsha's stellar sword, I loved the romance, the adventure, the magic and the amazing Score. (sigh) In short, best 80's fantasy movie ever!
Being a child of the 80's absolutely RULED! So many excellent fantasy movies to choose from. So many excellent movies to build memories from. The aforementioned flicks will always remain dear to my heart and soul, for they are what dreams are made of. The floor is now yours... Feel free to share your Favorite 80's Childhood Fantasy Movies in the comment section below.