The Last Unicorn
It is, without question, one of our favorite animated movie of the 80s. Maybe not as excellent as The Little Mermaid… but darn close.
The Last Unicorn hit theaters in the late fall of 1982, and it promptly bombed (making only a little over $6 million during its short run) …and we have no idea why- other than the fact that it was very dark, pretty scary, and often violent.
Seriously, if your target audience is, say, 8-10 year olds, why include images that would make even teenagers hide under the bed? The Red Bull? The wine-loving skeleton? The giant, big-boobed tree that falls in love with Schmendrick? What is this?
Well, it is the now-classic animated movie based on the book by Peter Beagle and brought to the screen by none other than Rankin/Bass (of Rudolph, the Red Nosed-Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman fame).
When a lowly unicorn finds out (from a particularly annoying butterfly) that she’s the last of her kind, she sets off to rescue the others from the clutches of King Haggard and the Red Bull. Along the way, she meets Mommy Fortuna, Schmendrick (the self-proclaimed last of the Red Hot Swamis), and a band of outlaws including sweet Molly Grue.
Mia Farrow, Alan Arkin, Robert Klein, Christopher Lee, Angela Lansbury, and Jeff Bridges provide the celebrity voices, with Rankin/Bass favorites Tammy Grimes and Paul Frees rounding out the bunch. And then, there was Rene Auberjonois as that ol’ skeleton. (“Now… about that wine!”)
All these years later, The Last Unicorn has endured as a favorite among us Children of the 80s. Maybe it’s the great story, maybe it’s the haunting music (courtesy of the band America), maybe it’s just that (now that we’re older) we’re not as likely to hide under our bed anymore.
Whatever the reason…
We ♥ The Last Unicorn.