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The Black Cauldron (film): Wikis


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The Black Cauldron

Original theatrical release poster
Directed by Ted Berman
Richard Rich
Produced by Joe Hale
Ron Miller
Written by Lloyd Alexander (novel)
David Jonas
Ted Berman
Richard Rich
Narrated by John Huston
Starring Grant Bardsley
Susan Sheridan
Freddie Jones
Nigel Hawthorne
John Hurt
John Byner
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date(s) July 24, 1985
Running time 80 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $44,000,000
Gross revenue $21,288,692

The Black Cauldron is a 1985 animated feature produced by Walt Disney Pictures and originally released to theatres on July 24, 1985. The twenty-fifth animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics, the film is based on Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain book series, which is in turn based on Welsh mythology.

The film centers around the evil Horned King who attempts to secure the Black Cauldron in order to rule the world. The Horned King is opposed by the heroes Taran, Princess Eilonwy, Fflewddur Fflam, and a creature named Gurgi.

The film is directed by Ted Berman and Richard Rich, and stars the voices of Grant Bardsley, Susan Sheridan, Freddie Jones, Nigel Hawthorne, and John Hurt. A video game based on the film was released in 1986.



On the small farm of Caer Dallben, Taran (Grant Bardsley) is an Assistant Pigkeeper to the enchanter Dallben (Freddie Jones), with dreams of becoming a great warrior. However, he has to put the daydreaming aside when his charge, an oracular pig named Hen Wen is kidnapped by an evil lord known as the Horned King (John Hurt). The villain hopes Hen Wen will show him the way to The Black Cauldron, which has the power to create a legion of invincible undead warriors, (known as "The Cauldron Born"). With the aid of Princess Eilonwy (Susan Sheridan), an exaggerating middle-aged bard named Fflewddur Fflam (Nigel Hawthorne), and a pestering but ultimately loyal creature called Gurgi (John Byner), Taran tries to save the world of Prydain from the Horned King. As the new friends face witches, elves, magic swords, and the Cauldron itself, Taran starts to learn what being a hero really means and that some things are more important than glory.



The Black Cauldron was the first use of the APT process in a film, which replaced Xerography at Disney. It was the most expensive animated feature made as of its release in 1985. It cost $25 million to produce,[1] but grossed only $21 million at the North American box office.[2]

The first Disney animated feature to employ computer-generated imagery, The Black Cauldron was also the first animated film from Disney to get a PG rating from the MPAA. [1] The film's rating was the result of a number of dark and violent scenes, some of which were edited from the film by newly installed studio chief Jeffrey Katzenberg before the release of the film. [3]

The bulk of the cut scenes involved the undead "Cauldron Born", who are used as the Horned King's army in the final act of the film. While most of the scenes were seamlessly removed from the film, one cut involving a Cauldron Born killing a person by slicing his neck and torso created a jump in the film's soundtrack. Additionally, a scene involving Taran taking the magic sword and slaying his foes while he escapes the Horned King's castle for the first time was removed, as well as another scene with Princess Eilonwy partially nude as fabric was ripped off of her dress as she is hanging by her hands.[citation needed] Another scene cut featured a man being dissolved by mist.[4][5]

As of September 2009, a version of the film with the removed scenes restored has never been released. A version of the film with more cuts has appeared on the Disney Channel and Toon Disney.



The film was first released on July 24, 1985. The Black Cauldron remained out of circulation (both theatrically and on home video) for well over a decade. It was finally released on VHS on August 4, 1998 under the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection.

The film was re-released on VHS and DVD on October 3, 2000 under the Walt Disney Gold Classic Collection. Though the R1 DVD is unrestored and non-anamorphic; the R2 release in France is restored, remastered, and anamorphic. The US DVD release includes the film's theatrical trailer, as well as a still frame gallery, the Donald Duck cartoon, "Trick or Treat," and a, "Quest for the Black Cauldron," set-top game.

Ultimate Disney has announced that a new Special Edition DVD release will be set to come out in June 2010 in the US and UK containing deleted scenes and other features.[6]


The film was a failure at the box-office[7] with some critics blaming the film's lack of appeal on the dark nature of the book. However, Roger Ebert's review of the film was generally positive.[8] It has earned a score of 60% "fresh" at Rotten Tomatoes.


  1. ^ a b Magical Kingdoms
  2. ^
  3. ^ Stewart, James B. (2006). Disneywar. Simon and Schuster. pp. 68-70. ISBN 0-7432-6709-5. 
  4. ^, Graphic image. An animation cel which was auctioned on eBay, from Sarah's Black Cauldron Page
  5. ^, video of trailer for TBC showing one of the deleted scenes
  6. ^
  7. ^, The Black Caudron at Box Office Mojo
  8. ^

External links


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