The Black Cauldron

 (2,833)
6.31 h 20 min1985X-RayHDRUHDPG
A young boy challenges an evil king to save his world.
Directors
Ted BermanRichard Rich
Starring
John HustonGrant BardsleySusan Sheridan
Genres
AnimationKidsFantasyAdventureAction
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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More details

Supporting actors
Freddie JonesNigel HawthorneTed BermanJoe Hale
Producers
Joe Hale
Studio
WDP
Rating
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

2833 global ratings

  1. 82% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 11% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 4% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Elizabeth ChartoReviewed in the United States on January 2, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Favorite
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This is one of my favorite Disney movies and I'm always surprised how few people remember it, maybe that's a bad sign. I think it's just the time it was produced. This is a GREAT fantasy movie and fans of fantasy need to watch it. It doesn't have the feel of most Disney movies, I think it's vastly underrated. If you cringe at stupid singing, dumb princesses, and your average Disney-movie-elements, give this film a try. The Horned King is really cool, it has some classic fantasy elements not seen in many animated films (I mean, come on D&D fans? Here's your Necromancer if ever there was one, and it's cool as heck!) and delivered well. In terms of your run-of-the-mill Disney movie, this does not deliver. It doesn't have songs and the theme and over-all feeling is different. The skeletons and darker elements in the Horned King's castle may frighten very young children (maybe those under 6 years old), judge your child's ability to enjoy the movie by their personal tolerance and likes (if they don't like skeletons and such, do not show them this movie). As a child, I loved it, without fear or issue and I was a pretty big baby and overly sensitive.
9 people found this helpful
Agent_CooperReviewed in the United States on December 6, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
Kind of a forgotten classic!
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Seems like many people these days have never even heard of this movie, much less seen it. It definitely gets no love from Disney anymore. But I remember really liking this movie as a kid and wanted my kids to like it as well (they sort of did). Also, I wanted them to watch something that was a little different from the bulk of kids movies these days that are either overly sweet or completely idiotic...so I grabbed a copy. It seems funny that this is the "25th Anniversary version" as we're now coming up to the 35th anniversary...but whatever.

It's a fun movie...made at a slightly weird time in Disney's history. It's not the best animation (but parts are incredible) and the story gets a little slow & weird at times. But overall, a great movie to add to your collection...especially if you have kids and want them to watch something that's a little different than the current norm.
5 people found this helpful
Jennifer WestReviewed in the United States on March 20, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Amazing, but not super kid friendly!
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Excellent movie one of my absolute favorites from when I was a kid, that being said, despite being an animated Disney movie it's not super kid friendly 😂 I remember my mom would cover my eyes at times watching this when I was little and watching it now as an adult I totally see why, this movie is actually pretty dark and terrifying for a Disney movie ( probably why I grew up to be such a bother lol). But they do a really amazing job of still having that cool whimsical fantasy feel while still having darker themes. Great movie! Just maybe keep it to older kids and teens 😊👌
15 people found this helpful
JoeReviewed in the United States on September 14, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Awesome Disney movie! No singing!
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So, I remember The Black Cauldron DOS game but not much about the movie. This must have passed me by as a kid but I did know the cartoon existed. After reading reviews that this was not Disney's best or it was too scary for children, I had to see it myself. I couldn't disagree more with any negative comments on this movie. It appears most reviews here on Amazon seem to agree, as well. It's a great animated adventure by Disney. I will go as far to say it's now one of my favorite Disney films now. It has a good story and even funny at times. The painted sceneries really add to the atmosphere of the movie. Plus, there's no singing. While I don't mind singing on some films and nice to have a break from it. I like this so much, after viewing via Amazon rental, I purchased the DVD. I just wish it was available on Blu-ray.
6 people found this helpful
Re-master loverReviewed in the United States on December 28, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Gets better with each viewing
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This poor stepchild of a Disney film....I would think this would now be a time for this film to finally come into its own, given the popularity of the Harry Potter/Lord of the Ring films .... I give the fledgling Disney studio without Disney credit for trying to branch out and try something different, something new at the time of its release, both with the story, animation, and as a bonus treat for film score lovers, (they rarely used big name composers for animated features) there is the incomparable Elmer Bernstein! The new BluRay looks fantastic; 100 times better than the DVD, as I really appreciate and enjoy this film the more I see it. The new BluRay, I have heard, is a full restoration. Well, It looks great, and this certainly added the extra enhancement for another go round of it.
S. McGrathReviewed in the United States on March 9, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Said used, came brand new in package!
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I don't even know where to begin. I wanted this movie on some format. I usually only buy Blu-ray & wouldn't buy DVD. But this was only released on DVD. All I could find on here was the 25th Anniversary edition for way too much money. I only found this out of Print Gold Collection one via a Google search. I couldn't find this searching inside Amazon. Bought 3rd party. Was $8 something including shipping. To my surprise in came unopened. I thought I was buying used. Needless to say, I can't open it now. It's out of print. So I guess you could say I couldn't be happier. I picked up a used copy of 25th anniversary edition at a store & I personally believe the artwork is cooler & better on the Gold Collection. Also it looks like the special features are almost identical. Each one has one thing the other doesn't. So it all works out. I highly recommend the Gold or Anniversary editions.
5 people found this helpful
krakrReviewed in the United States on January 5, 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
80's rip off of a wonderful epic young person's tale
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K, it's Disney's attempt to combat Bakshi's Lord of the Rings & Rankin-Bass's Hobbit in the 80's. Both those titles fell flat of the author as well (Bakshi cuz he couldn't get funding for more). A shame noone seems to be considering Alexander's epic "The Chronicles of Prydain".
Luckily, the boxed set of the books is still available (own it) & it wasn't forever, so perhaps there is Hollywood interest after all.
This is a hodge-podge of the first 3 books. A Great screen writer might do that in 1 movie, this one just leaves you disappointed and confused, cherry picking scenes with no context.
Not entirely sure how an audience with zero expectations would take this, but I imagine much like the original box office.
I had the Bakshi LoR jiggsaw puzzle! ... fun being a kid back then
A purchase for Alexander fanatics, but wouldn't recommend a rent from others.
4 people found this helpful
welshrtjrReviewed in the United States on April 22, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
A dark trip back to Disney in the 1980's...
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Some folks left a less than stellar review regarding the lack of special features on the DVD. Yet, they missed the point entirely, IMHO. I first watched Black Cauldron in theaters back when it was released in the summer of 1986. I was an 8-year-old at the time. This was the only Disney animated feature up to that time (and, I think, since) to be given a PG rating by the MPAA instead of the goodie-goodie G rating. Keep in mind that the MPAA was more conservative through the Reagan years than they are today. And, it deserves it.

Anyone who ever read the "Chronicles of Prydain" will tell you that the story is geared more towards teenagers and beyond. Think of this series as JRR Tolken and CS Lewis meets Edgar Allen Poe. The film is not near as dark as the books; and, Disney did take some artistic license with the film to present it towards children and pre-teens. (For instance, the character Gurgi is presented as a cute mammalian gopher kind of creature where in the book he was presented as a huge troll-like being whom smelled powerfully [though, Fleuder-Flam does refer to Gurgi as "pugent"]. Obviously, Disney was going after the cuteness factor. And it worked! At age 8, I would identify with the Disney version before the literary one.)

It was a ballsy leap by Disney at the time to release a film with this type of plot; for, their features were rote and had a reputation for fun, feel-good, family romps. (Think Sword in the Stone, Cinderella as well as the hybrids like Pete's Dragon.) But, this one feature was different. Several of the animators had worked on United Artists' "Secret of NIMN" back in 1982 - and it showed. NIMN was also quite dark. Disney hoped to target an older crowd (13-18) in an attempt to bring in that demographic. Unfortunately, it blew-up in their face.

Back then, I remember my mother being seriously ticked-off by this movie, as she had no idea it was so dark and foreboding. "Here come the nightmares," she thought. And, after what my parents went through with me after I watched "Poltergeist" on HBO that night a couple years before this, I wouldn't blame her! :-P But, I actually liked Black Cauldron. It would not be released on video until the turn of the Century, however.

Disney did a very good job of finding enough of a balance that both those 7-18 and adults would find it a good experience, especially members of the "Lord of the Rings" crowd. The ending (no spoilers) regarding Gurgi - and Taran's reaction to it - was so not Disney. And THAT is what made the film so special, and made me identify with the characters so deeply. But, hang in there. Disney will throw the kids a bone - it will be happy, soon. Yet, it was very fast-paced and hokey.

Technically speaking, there were good and bad things regarding the production of this feature. On the good side, this was the first Disney feature to FINALLY be presented in Dolby Surround, instead of the very dated RCA-Victor. The theatrical version contained six tracks of audio - Front L and R, Rear L and R, and Between L and R (Similar to the THX Format). This would set the stage for the wonderful and rich-sounding tracks of "The Little Mermaid," "The Lion King," and all those after them. Thankfully, the DVD's (The 1999 release and then this one) artfully represent the theatrical Dolby Surround soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1. And, it works well.

This feature was also originally shot in 60mm (similar to TODD-AO), instead of the standard 45mm. This makes the film wider than the standard 16x9 ratio we think of, today. This was only the second film to that time that was shot in 60 when it was released in theaters in 1986 - Fantasia being the first, I think. And, thankfully, it was presented in Anamorphic Widescreen for the 25th Anniversary DVD Release. (The 1999 release was presented in 60mm; however, it was Letterboxed instead of Anamorphic - would not fit the entire screen on a 16x9 television set.)

Disney mixed several special colors for this film - most notably the "radioactive green" used for the birth of the cauldron born. Also, several unique reds were used when the powers of the cauldron were ultimately stopped. The soundtrack was SUPERB, and was conducted by Elmer Berstein - the same musician who conducted the soundtrack for "The Ten Commandments" in 1956, as well as "To Kill a Mockingbird" and even "Ghostbusters." The orchestration of "The Black Cauldron" is truly one of his best, most rare works. And, being presented in Dolby Surround was the true icing on the cake!

But with the good also came the bad. This film had some downright sloppy animation in it - especially towards the beginning during the first seen in Kal Dahlbin (the farm). Not since the "shimmering cape" on the prince in Sleeping Beauty (back in the 1950's) did these errors show back up. It could be excused when the full-color animated features appeared less than 10 years ago at that time - but certainly not in 1986! The 25th Anniversary DVD *DID* clean that problem up successfully, however. If you have the 1999 DVD or VHS tape, you will see what I am talking about. Finally, the plot seemed a tad too rushed, especially towards the end. But, it still worked.

The bottom line is if you love epic fantasy plots like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit, you will also love The Black Cauldron. (If your kids are old enough to watch LOR or HP, they can handle TBC, as well. After all, I did as an 8-year-old in the mid-eighties.) The Black Cauldron holds a special place in my heart, as I am of Welsh ancestry. (The author - Lloyd Alexander, who was also Welsh - placed the story in Wales.) But, if you are looking for a feel-good typical "put it in to shut the kids up" Disney flick, this ain't it. The Black Cauldron truly is a very unique cult classic.
9 people found this helpful
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