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The 18 Best Fantasy Movies of the 1980s

(Image: Columbia Pictures)

The 1980s was a glorious time for cinema. Audiences could swoon over soaring science fiction epics like Dune and Return of the Jedi. It was also a high time for fantasy film making. Leah Schnelbach of Tor has ranked 18 of them. They include some of my favorites of the genre, including Krull, Conan the Barbarian, and The Beastmaster.

Krull is a sadly neglected work that has not received the attention that it deserves. It is not a truly great movie, but it is consistently entertaining. I became enamored of it in my youth. By the time I was 16, I had watched it so many times that I could recite the dialogue from memory.

What movies on the list do you like? Are there any films you would add to it?


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The only reason I went back and watched Krull about a month ago is that I saw that exact still from the film and said, "Hey, that's Michael Eddington from DS9!!!" Of course I had to watch it at that point.
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I generally agree with his choices at the top, and having rewatched The Last Unicorn not that long ago, that movie is merciless - way more sophisticated than I remember. Love it.

I was a bit disappointed in Highlander being so far down the list (though I get his arguments against) but I will always love it for the bizarreo-ness of Queen, Sean Connery as a Spaniard, white tennies, pro wrestling and kilts as far as the eye can see.

I still think Conan the Barbarian is the most perfect fantasy movie ever made, like a great D&D campaign come to the screen. There are other movies on the list I prefer, but nothing captures the fantasy genre for me better than Conan.
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