Willow (film)

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German title Willow
Original title Willow
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1988
length 126 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Ron Howard
script Bob Dolman
George Lucas (Story)
production Nigel Wooll
music James Horner
camera Adrian Biddle
cut Daniel P. Hanley
Mike Hill
Richard Hiscott

Willow is a 1988 fantasy film directed by Ron Howard and starring Val Kilmer , Joanne Whalley and Warwick Davis .


The cruel Queen Bavmorda was prophesied that one day she would be dethroned by a woman with a birthmark on her arm. In a panic, she issues the order to examine all newborn girls and, if the mark is found, to kill them. But her dark plan fails, because little Elora escapes her fate and is found by the unsuspecting dwarf Willow, who wants to be a great magician.

The village wizard orders Willow to take Elora to the Daikini Crossing and hand her over to the first Daikini (human) he meets there. Together with a few companions he sets off and meets the ragged Madmartigan at the Daikini crossing, whom he initially distrusts, not least because he is sitting in a cage. When a squad of Daikini warriors led by Airk Bärenstark pass by, Willow tries to hand Elora over to them. But they refuse because they are on their way to battle. Madmartigan, who used to be friends with Airk, offers this his services and reveals himself to be a warrior; Airk leaves him in the cage, however, with the remark that he is doing him a favor.

At the urging of his companions, Willow releases Madmartigan and gives him the baby. While Willow's companions return to the village, Willow follows Madmartigan, whose baby has since been stolen by two brownies ; But Willow can save Elora. The brownies bring the three to their Queen Cherlindrea, who knows of the prophecy and instructs Willow to take Elora to the sorceress Fin Raziel, who has been banished from Bavmorda. Pursued by Bavmorda's henchmen under the leadership of the sinister Kael and Bavmorda's daughter Sorsha, they finally arrive at the island where Fin Raziel lives in animal form. Willow frees Raziel, but fails to turn her back into a human. Raziel suggests moving on to Tir Asleen Castle, where she hopes for help.

Elora has since been kidnapped by Bavmorda's troops and the group sets out to rescue Elora. While the bailout administered one of the brownies madmartigan accidentally "dust of broken hearts," a love spell in powder form, whereupon madmartigan briefly in love with Sorsha. On the run he is caught by Sorsha; however, she hesitates to kill him and is taken hostage by Madmartigan, who is now back in his senses. The group flees to Tir Asleen, but the castle of Bavmorda has been cursed and all residents have been petrified. Kael's troops approach, and Madmartigan, with the support of the others, faces the hopeless battle. Sorsha realizes her love for Madmartigan and switches sides, ready to die by his side.

At the last moment, Airk and his men appear and drive away Kael's troops, who pursue them to Bavmorda's fortress; however, Kael can bring Elora into his power. Once there, Willow Raziel can finally reproduce her human form and Raziel can use her regained powers to protect the troops from Bavmorda's spell. The next morning, Willow and Raziel appear to be alone in front of the castle and provoke Bavmorda, who then orders an attack. When the gates of the fortress open, the men hidden in holes in the ground attack Airks and storm the castle. During the battle, Kael kills Airk and is in turn killed by Madmartigan. Willow and Raziel rush to the tower where Bavmorda wants to destroy Elora with a spell. A fight breaks out between Raziel and Bavmorda, in which Raziel is defeated but not killed. Willow tries to sneak away with Elora, but is caught by Bavmorda. With a simple magic trick he can trick Bavmorda into believing that Elora has been conjured away; the stunned Bavmorda inadvertently directs the ritual intended for Elora against herself and is wiped out. Evil is destroyed. Madmartigan stays with Sorsha and they raise Elora together. In the end, Willow, now a real wizard, returns to his village and family.


  • Bob Dolman's script is based on a story by George Lucas .
  • Production costs were estimated at around $ 35 million. The film grossed around $ 57 million in US cinemas.
  • Filming for the film began on April 27, 1987 and ended in October 1987.
  • The filmmakers named the two-headed kite "Ebersisk" in reference to the US film critics Siskel and Ebert .
  • It was released in the US on May 20, 1988, and in Germany on December 15, 1988.
  • The story of the film was later continued by Chris Claremont and George Lucas in the book trilogy Shadow Moon , Shadow Dawn and Shadow Star (German book titles: Schattenmond , Schattendämmerung and Schattensonne ).


“Although 'Willow' carries numerous references to Lucas's imagination (Mr Lucas wrote the story and was executive producer on the film), it was directed by Ron Howard, whose approach is rather sober. [...] Even the fight scenes were so resolutely businesslike that no particular details stick out in the turmoil. And Willow, a likable but bland character, doesn't often inspire empathy, so the film lacks an emotional focus. Instead, the film is built on so much exaggeration and repetition that it makes it possible to get tired of even the adorable baby. "

“A technically perfect fantasy film produced with great external effort, which combines the various motifs into an effectively calculated narrative, with the finale turning into a spectacle of effects that trump each other. Although designed with an eye for detail and characters, it is primarily a synthetic entertainment product that lags behind the humane messages. "


  • At the Academy Awards in 1989 , the film was nominated for a prize in two categories: For Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Editing .
  • The film was nominated in two categories for the negative award Golden Raspberry 1989 : In the category Worst Screenplay and Worst Supporting Actor ( Billy Barty ).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Financial data for the film according to IMDB
  2. US film critic Roger Ebert: A star for the star. In: Spiegel Online . June 24, 2005, accessed June 9, 2018 .
  3. ^ Movie Review: Willow (1988), May 20, 1988
  4. Willow. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used