Willow (1988)

PG | 126 mins | Adventure, Fantasy | 20 May 1988

Director:

Ron Howard

Producer:

Nigel Wooll

Cinematographer:

Adrian Biddle

Production Designer:

Allan Cameron

Production Companies:

Lucasfilm, Imagine Entertainment
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HISTORY

The 1 Jul 1987 Var production chart cited that principal photography began on 24 Apr 1987. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, George Lucas stated that the film’s fantasy story “evolved out of some of the research” he was conducting while working on his 1977 film, Star Wars (see entry). The 22 Apr 1987 Var reported that production began in England at Cannon Elstree Studios for twelve weeks. After leaving Great Britain, filming got underway in New Zealand on 10 Jul 1987, as noted in the 27 Apr 1987 HR. Production notes cited other filming locations: Brocket Hall in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England; Snowdonia, Wales; and Queenstown, New Zealand. An Aug 1988 AmCin article reported that production also took place in Marin County, California, and at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM).
       According to the 27 Apr 1987 HR and 30 Nov 1987 LAT, production company Imagine Films Entertainment would be paid a fee of $2.15 million for developing the project and for Ron Howard’s services as director. Reports of the picture’s cost varied: the 29 Jan 1987 DV reported $30 million, while a 14 Apr 1987 HR article cited $25 million and the 11 May 1988 DV cited $35 million. An article in the 19 May 1987 DV reported that distributor Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. would be assuming “the lion’s share” of the picture’s budget.
       The 15 May 1988 LAT noted that a screening was held on 15 Apr 1988 at the Village Theater in Westwood, California. ... More Less

The 1 Jul 1987 Var production chart cited that principal photography began on 24 Apr 1987. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, George Lucas stated that the film’s fantasy story “evolved out of some of the research” he was conducting while working on his 1977 film, Star Wars (see entry). The 22 Apr 1987 Var reported that production began in England at Cannon Elstree Studios for twelve weeks. After leaving Great Britain, filming got underway in New Zealand on 10 Jul 1987, as noted in the 27 Apr 1987 HR. Production notes cited other filming locations: Brocket Hall in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England; Snowdonia, Wales; and Queenstown, New Zealand. An Aug 1988 AmCin article reported that production also took place in Marin County, California, and at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM).
       According to the 27 Apr 1987 HR and 30 Nov 1987 LAT, production company Imagine Films Entertainment would be paid a fee of $2.15 million for developing the project and for Ron Howard’s services as director. Reports of the picture’s cost varied: the 29 Jan 1987 DV reported $30 million, while a 14 Apr 1987 HR article cited $25 million and the 11 May 1988 DV cited $35 million. An article in the 19 May 1987 DV reported that distributor Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. would be assuming “the lion’s share” of the picture’s budget.
       The 15 May 1988 LAT noted that a screening was held on 15 Apr 1988 at the Village Theater in Westwood, California. Screenings at the Village also occurred on 12 May 1988, according to the 18 May 1988 LAHExam.
       Although the 3 Apr 1988 LAT reported that the original release date was scheduled on the eleventh anniversary of the 25 May 1988 release of Star Wars, the opening was moved earlier to 20 May 1988.
       Four days after its release, the 24 May 1988 LAT stated that Willow took in a weekend box-office total of $8.3 million on 1,024 screens. The picture was also screened at the Cannes Film Festival in France on 23 May 1988, as noted in the 26 May 1988 HR.
       According to items in the 13 Mar 1989 HR and 15 Mar 1989 Var, the picture made approximately $56 million in domestic theatrical release, and over $110 million worldwide.
       The film was nominated for two Academy Awards in the following categories: Sound Effects Editing and Visuals Effects.
       A series of three novels, Chronicles of the Shadow War, were produced to continue the saga after the events portrayed in Willow.
       The film opens with a written prologue: “It is a time of dread … Seers have foretold the birth of a child who will bring about the downfall of the powerful Queen Bavmorda. Seizing all pregnant women in the realm, the evil queen vows to destroy the child when it is born …”
       End credits state: “Photographed at Cannon Elstree Studios, Herts, England, and on location In England, Wales, and New Zealand.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Aug 1988
p. 63.
Daily Variety
29 Jan 1987
p. 23.
Daily Variety
19 May 1987
p. 2, 11.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Apr 1987
p. I-1, I-8.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 May 1988
p. 5, 80.
Hollywood Reporter
26 May 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Mar 1989.
---
LAHExam
18 May 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
30 Nov 1987
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
3 Apr 1988
Calendar, p. 28.
Los Angeles Times
15 May 1988
Calendar, pp. 4-6, 40.
Los Angeles Times
20 May 1988
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
24 May 1988
Calendar, p. 2.
New York Times
20 May 1988
Section C, p. 8.
Variety
22 Apr 1987
p. 6, 30.
Variety
20 May 1987
p. 3, 37.
Variety
1 Jul 1987
p. 30.
Variety
18 May 1988
p. 17.
Variety
15 Mar 1989
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Lucasfilm Ltd. production
in association with Imagine Entertainment
A film by Ron Howard
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
Asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, 2d unit
Asst dir, 3d unit
Prod mgr, New Zealand unit
2d asst dir, New Zealand unit
2d asst dir, New Zealand unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op
Cam focus
Cam focus
Video coord
Gaffer
Cam grip
Cam grip
Stills photog
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
Cam focus, 2d unit
Cam grip, 2d unit
Dir of photog, 3d unit
Cam op, 3d unit
Cam focus, 3d unit
Cam grip, 3d unit
Gaffer, 3d unit
Cam op, New Zealand unit
Cam op, New Zealand unit
Cam op, New Zealand unit
Cam focus, New Zealand unit
Cam focus, New Zealand unit
Cam focus, New Zealand unit
Cam grip, New Zealand unit
Cam grip, New Zealand unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dir
Art dir
Concept artist
Concept artist
Art dir, New Zealand unit
Asst art dir, New Zealand unit
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
Film ed
1st asst ed
Asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
Negative cutting by
SET DECORATORS
Prod buyer
Const mgr
Prop master
Supv propman
Chargehand standby propman
Standby propman
Prop storeman
Supv plasterer
Chargehand standby propman, 2d unit
Buyer, New Zealand unit
Set finisher/Painter, New Zealand unit
Const mgr, New Zealand unit
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Ward master
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward supv, New Zealand unit
Ward mistress, New Zealand unit
Ward mistress, New Zealand unit
MUSIC
Mus comp
Mus ed
Mus recording mixer
Instrumentalist
Instrumentalist
Instrumentalist
Instrumentalist
Choral leader
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Sd maintenance
Sd des
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Supv A.D.R. ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley/A.D.R. rec
Foley/A.D.R. rec
A.D.R. rec at
A.D.R. rec at
A.D.R. rec at
A.D.R. rec at
VISUAL EFFECTS
Visual eff, ILM
Visual eff, ILM
Visual eff, ILM
Spec eff supv
Spec eff workshop supv
Sr spec eff tech
Sr spec eff tech
Sr spec eff tech
Sr spec eff tech
Sr spec eff tech
Sr spec eff tech
Spec eff buyer
Animatronic tech
Sr spec eff tech, 2d unit
Spec eff tech, 2d unit
Spec eff tech, 2d unit
Spec eff coord, New Zealand unit
Spec eff tech, New Zealand unit
Spec eff tech, New Zealand unit
Visual eff prod at [Marin County, California]
Opt supv, ILM
Opt supv, ILM
Opt supv, ILM
Matte painting supv, ILM
Visual eff cam, ILM
Visual eff cam, ILM
Vis eff cam, ILM
Amin supv, ILM
Anim cam op, ILM
Anim cam op, ILM
Anim cam op, ILM
Anim cam op, ILM
Rotoscope supv, ILM
Chief visual eff ed, ILM
Unit prod supv, ILM
Post prod supv, ILM
Visual eff coord, ILM
Visual eff coord, ILM
Stage mgr, ILM
Supv stage tech, ILM
Spec creature supv, ILM
Stop motion anim, ILM
Visual eff ed, ILM
Visual eff ed, ILM
Visual eff cam op, ILM
Visual eff cam op, ILM
Visual eff cam op, ILM
Visual eff cam op, ILM
Visual eff cam op, ILM
Visual eff cam op, ILM
Cam asst, ILM
Cam asst, ILM
Cam asst, ILM
Cam asst, ILM
Cam asst, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt lab tech, ILM
Opt lab tech, ILM
Opt lab tech, ILM
Dir of matte photog, ILM
Matte painting photog, ILM
Matte painting photog, ILM
Matte painting photog, ILM
Matte artist, ILM
Matte artist, ILM
Matte artist, ILM
Lip sync anim
Lip sync anim
Lip sync anim
Lip sync anim
Lip sync anim
Lip sync anim
Lip sync anim
Model shop supv, ILM
Chief model maker, ILM
Chief model maker, ILM
Chief model maker, ILM
Chief model maker, ILM
Chief model maker, ILM
Stop motion modelmaker, ILM
Stop motion modelmaker, ILM
Stop motion modelmaker, ILM
Stop motion modelmaker, ILM
Stop motion modelmaker, ILM
Stop motion modelmaker, ILM
Stop motion modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
Rotoscoper, ILM
Computer graphics supv, ILM
Computer graphics supv, ILM
Computer graphics, ILM
Computer graphics, ILM
Computer graphics, ILM
Computer graphics, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Pyro tech, ILM
Pyro tech, ILM
Still photog, ILM
Still photog, ILM
Asst visual eff ed, ILM
Asst visual eff ed, ILM
Asst visual eff ed, ILM
Asst visual eff ed, ILM
Asst visual eff ed, ILM
Storyboard artist, ILM
Conceptual artist, ILM
Conceptual artist, ILM
Anim coord, ILM
Prod asst, ILM
Prod asst, ILM
Opt coord, ILM
Titles and opt eff by
Addl opt printing by
Addl opt printing by
Addl opt printing by
Addl opt eff by
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Make-up/Creature des
Chief make-up artist
Chief hairdresser
Prosthetic foam supv
Prosthetics/Creature supv
Prosthetics/Creature supv
Prosthetics/Creature supv
Prosthetics/Creature supv
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
Make-up artist, 2d unit
Hairdresser, 2d unit
Make-up artist, New Zealand unit
Make-up artist, New Zealand unit
Hairdresser, New Zealand unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod accountant
Prod coord
Snow unit coord
Horse master
Loc mgr (England)
Loc mgr (New Zealand)
Loc mgr (Wales)
Scr supv
Accountant
Loc accountant
Unit pub
Animal arranger
Magic consultant
Asst to Nigel Wooll
Asst to Ron Howard
Dial coach
Crowd casting
Transport capt
Unit nurse
Unit nurse
U.S.A. prod exec
Casting
Scr supv, 2d unit
Scr supv, 3d unit
Prod coord, New Zealand unit
Asst accountant, New Zealand unit
Caterer, New Zealand unit
Horse coord, New Zealand unit
Bird handler, New Zealand unit
Possum trainer, New Zealand unit
Dog handler, New Zealand unit
Unit nurse, New Zealand unit
Unit nurse, New Zealand unit
Facilities coord, New Zealand unit
Transport coord, New Zealand unit
Transport coord, New Zealand unit
Prod secy, New Zealand unit
Catering by
Travel by
STAND INS
Fight arranger
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts-New Zealand
Stunts-New Zealand
Stunts-New Zealand
Stunts-New Zealand
Stunts-New Zealand
Stunts-New Zealand
Stunts-New Zealand
Stunts-New Zealand
Stunts-New Zealand
Stunts-New Zealand
COLOR PERSONNEL
Prod and distributed on
DETAILS
Release Date:
20 May 1988
Premiere Information:
Preview screening at Village Theater, Westwood, CA: 15 April & 12 May 1988
Nationwide release: 20 May 1988
Cannes Film Festival screening: 23 May 1988
Production Date:
began 24 April 1987
Copyright Claimant:
Lucasfilm, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
21 July 1988
Copyright Number:
PA0000397211
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Panaflex® Camera and Lenses by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by DeLUXE®
Duration(in mins):
126
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29173
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When a prophecy declares that a girl born with a mark on her arm will overthrow Queen Bavmorda, all pregnant women are imprisoned. After a girl is born with the foretold mark, her mother convinces the midwife, Ethna, to run away with the child. Bavmorda orders demonic dogs her daughter, Sorsha, to track the midwife and return with the child so she can be killed. As the dogs advance, Ethna places the baby onto a bed of sticks in a stream. The child drifts near the farm of Willow Ufgood, a Nelwyn. Willow recognizes the baby as Daikini, a larger being than Nelwyns. The following day, Willow attends the village festival, hoping to become apprentice to the High Aldwin, a Nelwyn wizard. However, Willow is not chosen. During the festival, the demonic dogs attack, but village guards kill the beasts. At the council meeting, Willow presents the found Daikini child. Burglekutt, the village prefect, assumes the dogs were sent after the child and demands that Willow get rid of her. However, the High Aldwin realizes the baby is special and orders Willow to journey to the crossroads of the Daikini and Nelwyn realms and safely deliver her to the Daikini. Before he leaves with his friend, Meegosh, three village guards, and Burglekutt, the High Aldwin tells Willow he has the potential to be a powerful wizard. At the crossroads, the group comes upon a Daikini named Madmartigan, who is locked in a cage. After Madmartigan promises to protect the child, as he is a great swordsman, Burglekutt orders Willow to leave the baby. However, ... +


When a prophecy declares that a girl born with a mark on her arm will overthrow Queen Bavmorda, all pregnant women are imprisoned. After a girl is born with the foretold mark, her mother convinces the midwife, Ethna, to run away with the child. Bavmorda orders demonic dogs her daughter, Sorsha, to track the midwife and return with the child so she can be killed. As the dogs advance, Ethna places the baby onto a bed of sticks in a stream. The child drifts near the farm of Willow Ufgood, a Nelwyn. Willow recognizes the baby as Daikini, a larger being than Nelwyns. The following day, Willow attends the village festival, hoping to become apprentice to the High Aldwin, a Nelwyn wizard. However, Willow is not chosen. During the festival, the demonic dogs attack, but village guards kill the beasts. At the council meeting, Willow presents the found Daikini child. Burglekutt, the village prefect, assumes the dogs were sent after the child and demands that Willow get rid of her. However, the High Aldwin realizes the baby is special and orders Willow to journey to the crossroads of the Daikini and Nelwyn realms and safely deliver her to the Daikini. Before he leaves with his friend, Meegosh, three village guards, and Burglekutt, the High Aldwin tells Willow he has the potential to be a powerful wizard. At the crossroads, the group comes upon a Daikini named Madmartigan, who is locked in a cage. After Madmartigan promises to protect the child, as he is a great swordsman, Burglekutt orders Willow to leave the baby. However, Willow refuses. Frustrated, Burglekutt and the guards leave Willow and Meegosh. Meanwhile, Bavmorda orders Sorsha to assist General Kael in the search for the child. Later, a Daikini patrol approaches the crossroad and a soldier named Airk recognizes Madmartigan. After announcing that Bavmorda’s army is destroying the land, Madmartigan insists he will fight with Airk if he is freed. However, Airk refuses, knowing Madmartigan to be selfish. Worried about their village, Willow and Meegosh free Madmartigan and entrust him with the child. Later, they are attacked by a group of Brownies. Afterward, Willow and Meegosh find the baby with Cherlindrea, the queen of the fairies. She declares the child is Elora Danan, destined to put an end to Queen Bavmorda’s evil reign. Naming Willow as Elora’s guardian and giving him her magic wand, Cherlindrea instructs him to free exiled sorceress Fin Raziel, then journey to the castle of Tir Asleen. As Meegosh heads back to the village, two Brownies, Franjean and Rool, guide Willow and Elora to Raziel’s island. Later, Willow arrives at a tavern and comes upon Madmartigan. Willow yells at Madmartigan for abandoning Elora, as Shorsha and her soldiers appear. Shorsha attempts to take Elora, but Madmartigan helps Willow and the Brownies escape. Later, the group arrives at the lake surrounding Raziel’s island. Willow rows out and finds Fin Raziel transformed into a muskrat by Bavromda’s spell. Leaving the island, Willow and Raziel are captured by Sorsha, along with Madmartigan. Sorsha travels to General Kael’s encampment with her prisoners. Later, Willow attempts to release Raziel from Bavromda’s spell, but turns her into a crow. Franjean and Rool appear to rescue Willow and Madmartigan, but accidentally cast a love spell on Madmartigan. As Willow looks for Elora, Madmartigan sees Sorsha and kisses her. Afterward, Madmartigan and Willow escape with the baby to a nearby village, guarded by Airk. Sorsha follows, and is taken hostage by Madmartigan. When she asks him about their kiss, the effects of the spell fade, and he does not remember. Raziel guides them to the castle at Tir Asleen, but Sorsha escapes along the way. Willow and Madmartigan find Tir Asleen cursed by Bavmorda and overrun by trolls. Willow and Madmartigan prepare for an attack by Bavromda’s army. As Sorsha battles Madmartigan, she is impressed by his bravery and kisses him. However, Kael kidnaps Elora Danan and takes her to Bavromda. With help from Airk, Willow and the others arrive at Bavromda’s castle. However, Bavromda casts a spell, changing Madmartigan, Sorsha and the soldiers into pigs. Unaffected, Willow uses his wand and restores Fin Raziel to human form. After Raziel undoes the pig spell and returns the soldiers to Daikini form, they devise a plan to rescue Elora Danan. As Madmartigan and the soldiers battle Kael and his army, Willow, Sorsha and Raziel enter the castle. After Bavromda defeats Sorsha and Raziel, Willow hides Elora, leading Bavromda to think the girl has vanished. As Bavromda raises the wand, she is struck by lighting and destroyed. Afterward, Willow entrusts Sorsha and Madmartigan with the protection of Elora Danan. As he prepares to leave, Raziel presents Willow with a spell book. Willow is welcomed back by the villagers as a real wizard. +

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

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