Fantasy Films Of The 1980s

“Well, you killed your first man at 13

Killer instinct, Animal supreme

By 16 you had learned to fight

The way of the warrior, you took it as your right”

Sun and SteelIron Maiden

I stumbled upon a list of fantasy films of the 1980s while searching for The Beastmaster (1982) on I thought it was interesting that I have seen a larger number of them and I thought it would make an interesting article. 

The 1980s were a real heyday for fantasy films some of which I had already chronicled on this blog. The list that prompted the creation of this article is 41 titles long. Of them, I have only seen a fraction but I will talk about that fraction as I have a deep love/hate relationship with fantasy films in general. I also love b-movies which is a category that covers many of the titles listed here. So anyway, I hope you enjoy this list and find a few films to check out.

Hawk The Slayer (1980)

Classic 80s cheesy fantasy.

Clash Of The Titians (1981)

A high-budget sword and sandal epic.

Dragonslayer (1981)

A dark medieval fantasy involving a wizard fighting a dragon.

Excalibur (1981)

A retelling of the King Authur story.

Heavy Metal (1981)

An animated anthology of science fiction and fantasy stories with a great soundtrack. It was inspired by the magazine of the same name.

The Archer: Fugitive from the Empire (1981)

A TV movie that I remember staying up late on a Sunday night to watch as a teenager.

Ator, the Fighting Eagle (1982)

I saw this in theaters. You can see the nails connecting the wires on the giant spider at the end of the film.

The Beastmaster (1982)

A man and his beast friends take on an evil priest and his cult. Stars Marc Singer and Tanya Roberts.

Conan the Barbarian (1982)

See my article on the Conan films.

The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982)

The hero has a three-bladed sword that is ridiculous. A fun fantasy b-movie.

The Dark Crystal (1982)

A strange film. All the characters are portrayed by muppets.

Fire and Ice (1983)

Made with the art of Frank Frazetta. Terrible story.

Hearts and Armour (1983)

A strange film involving invincible armor and romance. Tanya Roberts stars in this film.

Krull (1983)

A confusing fantasy film that is a lot of fun. One of my personal favorites.

Conan the Destroyer (1984)

See my article on the Conan films.

The NeverEnding Story (1984)

A fun kid’s fantasy film. Good viewing for kids of all ages.

Ladyhawke (1985)

Stars Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, and Michelle Pfeiffer. A classic fantasy film that still holds up. Check it out.

Legend (1985)

Stars a very young Tom Cruise and Tim Curry. A classic cult favorite. I don’t really like this film, to be honest.

Red Sonja (1985)

Stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Brigitte Nielsen, and Sandahl Bergman. Definite b-movie but it is fast paced and fun.  

Highlander (1986)

Immortals who can only be killed by decapitation fighting for a great prize. Stars Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery.

Labyrinth (1986)

Stars Dave Bowie and a bunch of muppets. A strange movie. Gave me nightmares.

The Barbarians (1987)

I saw this one on Comet. It is silly fantasy fun.

Masters of the Universe (1987)

Based on the cartoon and toys of the same name, this fantasy film stars Dolph Lundgren. A great 80s fantasy film.

The Princess Bride (1987)

A fantasy rom-com. Has an all-star cast including Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, André the Giant, and Peter Falk. This is a great film. Everyone should see it.

Willow (1988)

With an all-star cast, this is a high-budget fantasy film. I was never the biggest fan of this film. I thought it was too formulaic.

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