Legend (1986)

PG | 89 mins | Fantasy, Adventure | 18 April 1986

Director:

Ridley Scott

Producer:

Arnon Milchan

Cinematographer:

Alex Thomson

Production Designer:

Assheton Gorton

Production Company:

Legend Production Company
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HISTORY

Opening credits are preceded by the prologue: “Once long ago, before there was such a thing as time, the world was shrouded in darkness. Then came the splendor of light, bringing life and love into the Universe, and the Lord of Darkness retreated deep into the shadows of the earth, plotting his return to power….by banishing light forever. But precious light is protected, harbored in the souls of Unicorns, the most mystical of all creatures. Unicorns are safe from the Lord of Darkness, they can only be found by the purest of mortals….Such a mortal is Jack, who lives in solitude with the animals of the forest. A beautiful girl named Lily loves Jack with all her heart. In their innocence, they believe only goodness exists in the world. Together they will learn there can be no good without evil….No love without hate….No heaven without hell….No light without darkness. The harmony of the Universe depends upon an eternal balance. Out of the struggle to maintain this balance comes the birth of Legends.”
       Onscreen credits spell Princess Lili’s name two ways: in the prologue, it is spelled “Lily,” but in end credits, it appears as “Lili.”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, director Ridley Scott approached novelist William Hjortsberg about writing a fairy tale based on an English folk hero, “Jack o’ the Green,” who battles an evil "Lord of Darkness" to rescue a princess, and saves the world from descending into the curse of an icy winter. Later, Scott added other elements like unicorns, and a magic sword and armor. The men spent three years and wrote fifteen drafts before arriving at the final screenplay.
       ... More Less

Opening credits are preceded by the prologue: “Once long ago, before there was such a thing as time, the world was shrouded in darkness. Then came the splendor of light, bringing life and love into the Universe, and the Lord of Darkness retreated deep into the shadows of the earth, plotting his return to power….by banishing light forever. But precious light is protected, harbored in the souls of Unicorns, the most mystical of all creatures. Unicorns are safe from the Lord of Darkness, they can only be found by the purest of mortals….Such a mortal is Jack, who lives in solitude with the animals of the forest. A beautiful girl named Lily loves Jack with all her heart. In their innocence, they believe only goodness exists in the world. Together they will learn there can be no good without evil….No love without hate….No heaven without hell….No light without darkness. The harmony of the Universe depends upon an eternal balance. Out of the struggle to maintain this balance comes the birth of Legends.”
       Onscreen credits spell Princess Lili’s name two ways: in the prologue, it is spelled “Lily,” but in end credits, it appears as “Lili.”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, director Ridley Scott approached novelist William Hjortsberg about writing a fairy tale based on an English folk hero, “Jack o’ the Green,” who battles an evil "Lord of Darkness" to rescue a princess, and saves the world from descending into the curse of an icy winter. Later, Scott added other elements like unicorns, and a magic sword and armor. The men spent three years and wrote fifteen drafts before arriving at the final screenplay.
       A 6 Apr 1984 HR news item announced that principal photography began 26 Mar 1984 in England. Briefs in the 12 Apr 1983 LAHExam and the 6 Jul 1983 Var revealed that budget was set at $30 million.
       Production notes state that production designer Assheton Gorton created several sets including a huge forest at Pinewood Studios on the outskirts of London. It contained giant, "sinister" trees with hills, mossy and wooded paths, glades, and streams that took fifty crew members fourteen weeks to construct. To create winter scenes, 1,500 icicles made out of hot wax and resin were added, along with a generous supply of artificial snow. Another set included the great hall in the Dark Lord’s castle with its signature throne, a fireplace complete with carved sculptures, and huge black marble banquet table, as well as the Dark Lord’s kitchen. Additional sets included the woodcarver’s cottage at the forest’s edge, the Great Tree, and the ancient tomb, the final resting place of a knight clad in gold chain mail surrounded by rich treasures and precious gems.
       According to articles in the 28 Jun 1984 LAT and the 28 Jul 1984 Screen International, a fire broke out 27 Jun 1984 at Pinewood Studios when the cast and crew were on a lunch break. Although the company still had use of four other stages, the largest stage, which was originally built during the filming of The Spy Who Loved Me, (1976, see entry) was destroyed. Two crew members were injured. Production notes state that Scott only had two days left of filming on the forest set at the time of the fire. It was decided to rebuild the portion of the set needed at Thorn EMI Elstree studios, and shoot the final sequences in Oct 1984.
       A 2 May 1986 LA Reader article reported that composer Jerry Goldsmith had written a score described as “a lush, impressionistic, tone poem” for the picture when its running time was two hours and twenty minutes. However, Universal Pictures executives wanted to expand the film’s commercial potential, and persuaded director Scott to edit the movie to ninety-three minutes for U.S. and Canadian audiences. Articles in the 3 Sep and 30 Sep 1985 HR stated that MCA chief operating officer and president Sidney J. Sheinberg ordered the rescoring of the picture, which was a key factor in postponing the movie’s release nearly an entire year. After six months working on the assignment, Goldsmith’s music would only be heard in the picture’s international release. German synthesizer group, Tangerine Dream, was chosen to redo the score to appeal to North Anerican teen audiences. A 4 Jul 1986 LAT article reported that Tangerine Dream group leader, Edgar Froese, claimed that he and his fellow musicians strived to create an updated classical music sound using electronic machines and synthesizers.
       The film received largely negative reviews, and the Jun 1986 Box reported an opening weekend gross of just $4 million from 1,187 theaters. Rob Bottin and Peter Robb King received an Academy Award nomination for the Best Makeup.
       Production notes state that the movie marked actress Mia Sara’s theatrical film debut.
       The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “The Producers gratefully acknowledge the assistance and co-operation of Scott Milne and Albert G. Ruben and Co., Inc.; Bette Smith and The Completion Bond Company, Inc.; Firemans Fund Insurance Company; Ruben Sedgwick Insurance Services; Graham Miller & Co., Ltd.; Regency Films, Inc.; Walford Nursery"; and, “Made by Legend Production Company, Ltd. at Pinewood Studios, London, England, with underwater sequences filmed at Silver Springs, Ocala, Florida, USA.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Jun 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Apr 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Sep 1985
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Sep 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Apr 1986
p. 3, 28.
LA Reader
2 May 1986
p. 11.
LAHExam
12 Apr 1983.
---
Los Angeles Times
28 Jun 1984.
---
Los Angeles Times
18 Apr 1986
Section H, p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
4 Jul 1986
p. 9, 11.
New York Times
18 Apr 1986
p. 15.
Screen International
28 Jul 1984.
---
Variety
6 Jul 1983.
---
Variety
21 Aug 1985
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Arnon Milchan Presents
A Ridley Scott Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
1st asst dir
Unit mgr
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Cam grip
Cam grip
Cam dept trainee
Video op
Video op
Gaffer
Gaffer
Chargehand elec
Addl photog
Addl photog
Still photog
Underwater unit
Underwater unit
Underwater unit
Cam and lenses supplied by
Lighting equip furnished by
Film stock by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Supv art dir
Supv art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Storyboard artist
Art dept trainee
FILM EDITORS
Supv film ed
Asst ed
Ed dept trainee
Ed dept trainee
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Scenic supv
Scenic artist
Const mgr
Const mgr
Draftsman
Draftsman
Draftsman
Prop master
Supv propmaker
Chargehand stand-by prop
Chargehand dressing prop
Prod buyer
Greenery consultant
Supv sculptor
Sculptor modeller
Sculptor modeller
Sculptor modeller
Sculptor modeller
Modeller
Modeller
Modeller
Modeller
Modeller
Modeller
Modeller
Modeller
Modeller
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost des
Ward supv
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Supv, Cost making dept
Supv, Cost making dept
Supv, Cost making dept
Des asst, Cost making dept
Des asst, Cost making dept
Des asst, Cost making dept
Cost maker, Cost making dept
Cost maker, Cost making dept
Cost maker, Cost making dept
Cost maker, Cost making dept
Cost maker, Cost making dept
Cost maker, Cost making dept
Cost maker, Cost making dept
MUSIC
Mus ed
SOUND
Dubbing ed
Prod sd mixer
Prod boom op
Prod maintenance
Chief dubbing mixer
Chief dubbing mixer
Dubbing mixer
Dubbing mixer
Dubbing mixer
Dubbing ed
Supv dial ed
Dial ed
Footsteps ed
Asst dubbing ed
Asst dubbing ed
Asst dial ed
Sd re-rec by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Floor supv, Mechanical eff dept
Eff tech, Mechanical eff dept
Eff tech, Mechanical eff dept
Eff tech, Mechanical eff dept
Eff tech, Mechanical eff dept
Eff tech, Mechanical eff dept
Eff tech, Mechanical eff dept
Eff tech, Mechanical eff dept
Eff tech, Mechanical eff dept
Eff tech, Mechanical eff dept
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
[Spec eff]
Matte photog consultant, Visual opt eff
Matte photog consultant, Visual opt eff
Matte photog consultant, Visual opt eff
Matte photog consultant, Visual opt eff
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Spec makeup created by
Makeup supv
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Chief hairdresser
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
Mia Sara & Annabelle Lanyon hair des
Prod mgr, The Richard Bottin crew
Prod auditor, The Richard Bottin crew
Prod asst, The Richard Bottin crew
Sculptural des, The Rob Bottin crew
Lead spec makeup artist, The Rob Bottin crew
Staff shop supv, The Rob Bottin crew
Lab tech supv, The Rob Bottin crew
Cosmetic paint supv, The Rob Bottin crew
Cosmetic hair supv, The Rob Bottin crew
Prod coord, The Rob Bottin crew
Prod coord, The Rob Bottin crew
Prod coord, The Rob Bottin crew
Contact lens consultant
Contact lens consultant
Contact material supplied by
Contact material supplied by
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Casting (Los Angeles)
Casting (Los Angeles)
Casting (Los Angeles)
Casting (New York)
Casting (London)
Casting (London)
Scr supv
Scr supv
Voice consultant
Prod asst
Prod/Dir's asst
Prod/Dir's asst
Supv prod accountant
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Accounts secy
Adv to prod
Pub consultant
Prod runner
Unicorn trainer
Groom
Animal handler
STAND INS
Stunt coord/Unicorn master
Stunts & doubles
Stunts & doubles
Stunts & doubles
Stunts & doubles
Stunts & doubles
Stunts & doubles
Stunts & doubles
Stunts & doubles
Stunts & doubles
Stunts & doubles
Stunts & doubles
COLOR PERSONNEL
Lab tech
Lab tech
Lab tech
Processed by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Is Your Love Strong Enough," written and performed by Bryan Ferry, produced by Rhett Davies and Bryan Ferry, mixed by Bob Clearmountain, Bryan Ferry appears courtesy of E. G. Records, Ltd., Warner Bros. Records, Inc.
"Loved By The Sun," performed by Jon Anderson with Tangerine Dream, music by Tangerine Dream, lyrics by Jon Anderson, produced by David Tickle and Tangerine Dream.
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 April 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 18 April 1986
Production Date:
began 26 March 1984
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
2 July 1986
Copyright Number:
PA305888
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Dolby Stereo®
Color
Duration(in mins):
89
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27735
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the forest, the Lord of Darkness discusses his fear that unicorns possessing great powers grow in strength, threatening his supremacy. He orders the goblin, Blix, to destroy the unicorns, and bring back their horns. Elsewhere, princess Lili visits the cottage of her commoner friend, Nell, who believes that Lili is almost grown and should attend to more royal matters. Lili believes the cottage is a magical place, and not a waste of her time. However, she bounds into the woods, calling for her friend, Jack o’ the Green. When Jack leaps from a tree to the ground in front of her, Lili is startled, but compliments him on his cleverness. Jack kisses Lili, tells her that he has a surprise, and blindfolds her. At a stream, he removes her blindfold, and they watch two white unicorns run and play. Jack believes as long as unicorns roam the Earth, evil cannot harm the pure-hearted. He cautions Lili not to approach the animals, but she ignores him, and touches one of them. At that moment, Blix shoots a poison dart into the male unicorn and both animals flee. Jack warns her that contact with the unicorns is forbidden, and now her immortal soul is in danger. As Blix and his associates pursue the unicorns, storm clouds form, Lili removes her ring, and tosses it in the stream. She announces that she will marry the suitor who returns the ring. Jack dives into the stream but is unable to find it. When he swims to the surface, the water is frozen and he is trapped below. As he breaks through the ice, Blix’s sword slices the ... +


In the forest, the Lord of Darkness discusses his fear that unicorns possessing great powers grow in strength, threatening his supremacy. He orders the goblin, Blix, to destroy the unicorns, and bring back their horns. Elsewhere, princess Lili visits the cottage of her commoner friend, Nell, who believes that Lili is almost grown and should attend to more royal matters. Lili believes the cottage is a magical place, and not a waste of her time. However, she bounds into the woods, calling for her friend, Jack o’ the Green. When Jack leaps from a tree to the ground in front of her, Lili is startled, but compliments him on his cleverness. Jack kisses Lili, tells her that he has a surprise, and blindfolds her. At a stream, he removes her blindfold, and they watch two white unicorns run and play. Jack believes as long as unicorns roam the Earth, evil cannot harm the pure-hearted. He cautions Lili not to approach the animals, but she ignores him, and touches one of them. At that moment, Blix shoots a poison dart into the male unicorn and both animals flee. Jack warns her that contact with the unicorns is forbidden, and now her immortal soul is in danger. As Blix and his associates pursue the unicorns, storm clouds form, Lili removes her ring, and tosses it in the stream. She announces that she will marry the suitor who returns the ring. Jack dives into the stream but is unable to find it. When he swims to the surface, the water is frozen and he is trapped below. As he breaks through the ice, Blix’s sword slices the horn of the male unicorn. An the ice storm rages, and Lili takes refuge at Nell’s cottage, but Nell and her husband are frozen, and cannot help her. Lili hides, but hears Blix boast that he was able to steal the magical horn because the princess lead him right to the unicorn. As Blix and his gang return to the Lord of Darkness, Lili vows to make things right. Jack staggers through the forest searching for Lili. An elf named Honeythorn Gump appears before him, hoping to learn the reason for the forest’s transformation. When Jack confesses that Lili touched the unicorn, Gump responds that mortals are forbidden to have contact with unicorns, and there are consequences. Jack protests that he did it in the name of love. Gump orders his friend, Brown Tom, to open a bottle of Elderberry wine so they can toast to love. Then, Honeythorn Gump agrees to help Jack search for Lili. Jack approaches the poisoned male unicorn half buried in the snow, and apologizes to the remaining female unicorn. He informs the elves that their world will remain blanketed in ice and snow until they recover the stolen magic horn. Gump believes it is Jack’s destiny to find the horn, and orders Brown Tom to guard the second unicorn, while Oona the fairy shows Jack where to find weapons. The fairy leads Jack to a cave filled with coins, gems, a sword, and gold-plated armor. Meanwhile, Lili follows Blix and the others to their hideaway, the “Great Tree.” Blix announces that as long as he has the magic horn and assumes magical powers, the forest will remain blanketed in darkness. However, as goblins fight over the horn, the Lord of Darkness appears. When the goblins claim that they have destroyed both unicorns, Darkness calls them liars. Dawn comes because a female unicorn is still alive with the power to reproduce. Darkness orders the goblins to track down the remaining unicorn and kill it. Lili finds Brown Tom, and warns that he is in danger. Goblins attack and stun Brown Tom with a dart. The unicorn escapes, but the goblins capture Lili. Jack, Gump, and the others come upon Brown Tom, and are relieved to learn that Lili is still alive. Tracks in the snow lead them to the Great Tree, where the goblins make their sacrifices. They must cross a putrid swamp, and disturb a giant hunchbacked elf named Meg Mucklebones, who refuses to let Jack pass. When she threatens to eat Jack, he decapitates her with his sword. Lili is chained inside the Great Tree, and the unicorn stands nearby. Jack and the elves fall down a hole, and end up in the dungeon of the Great Tree, surrounded by skeletons. An elf named Blunder, disguised as a goblin, warns them to escape. When troll guards abduct Blunder to be sacrificed, Jack wants to rescue him, but Gump insists it is more important to save the unicorn. Jack summons Oona the fairy to appear in human form to search for the dungeon key. She is annoyed Jack has revealed her secret of shape shifting into human form, and demands a kiss as payment for his request. When he offers a quick kiss, she demands a passionate one, and transforms into Lili’s likeness. Jack is not fooled, and refuses. Oona sulks but returns with the key and frees Jack and the elves. They split up into two groups searching for Lili. Meanwhile, Darkness unexpectedly falls in love with Lili, and his father advises him to woo the princess and win her over to the dark side. In the labyrinth of the Great Tree, Lili discovers a glowing chest containing a beautiful diamond necklace that Darkness has left for her. Soon, an anonymous dancing black, sequined creature beckons Lili to join her. They dance next to a glowing fire. Darkness turns Lili’s white torn dress into an outfit befitting a princess of darkness. Lili dances before a full-length mirror, and notices the black, sequined, feathered gown she is now wearing. The taloned hand of Darkness extends from the mirror and beckons Lili to join him, but she faints. When Darkness leans over to kiss her, Lili wakes and recoils, and cries that she dislikes the gown he has given her. He laughs, and calls her his true mate. Darkness declares that he will kill the last unicorn at night, and the sun will cease to rise. Watching Darkness through a keyhole, Jack comes up with a plan to save Lili and the unicorn. He and Gump reunite with elves, Screwball and Pox, and rescue Blunder. They overpower the executioner, and Screwball volunteers to climb a rope through a narrow skylight to organize a series of giant metal plates stolen from Darkness’s kitchen into a makeshift weapon. Darkness wants to know Lili better, but she claims he has stolen her dreams, and she wants nothing to do with him. He offers his love for all eternity, and a cup of wine from the banquet he has prepared. Lili decides to stay with Darkness if he lets her sacrifice the unicorn. As Darkness gives thanks to his God, the “Father,” the chained unicorn becomes agitated as it senses the end. Jack and Gump watch Lili brandish a sword. Jack prepares to shoot Lili with his arrow, thinking she has become consumed with evil, but she uses the weapon to smash the chain, and frees the creature. Jack attacks Darkness and fights for his life. He retrieves the unicorn horn after it plunges into a watery fissure, and stabs Darkness in the chest. Simultaneously, Oona rouses the sleepy Screwball, and together they cause the series of metal plates to reflect sunlight at Darkness and his castle. Darkness claims he cannot be vanquished because one cannot have light without dark. However, Gump pleads with Jack to kill Darkness. Jack uses his sword to break Darkness’s grip on the magical horn, and Darkness is hurled into space. Light returns to the forest, as Jack, Gump and Oona gaze at the sleeping Lili. Jack dives into the stream and retrieves Lili’s ring to claim his rightful place as her suitor. He places the ring back on her finger, and gives her a kiss. Gump returns the magic horn to its owner, and the male unicorn returns to life. Lili awakens, and she and Jack declare their love as they watch the unicorns frolic in the forest. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.