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25: The Black Cauldron

  Dis­ney Dark Age

25 The Black Cauldron: BCDB List of Disney Animated Films

In 1985, Disney dished up The Black Cauldron. They spent more on this film- 44 million dollars- thank any previous animated film. It was also the first Disney animated film to receive a PG rating. It was based on the largely unread the first two books in The Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander. Boy, with all that going for it, how could you not want to avoid this at the theaters?

And avoid it the audience did. In its initial release, the film did a mere 21 million in box office. This is despite massive re-edits ordered by newly appointed Disney studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg. Katzenberg convinced Disney chairman Michael Eisner of the fatal flaws in the project, and had the release date pushed back six months. During that time, 12 minutes were excised from the film, and some scenes re-animated.

The movie was shot in 70mm with a Dolby Stereo soundtrack.

Nothing would have saved this film. It was too dark, too hard to understand, and too non-Disney.

On the positive side, The Black Cauldron developed the first use of computer generated images in a animated film. A computer was used to animate bubbles, a boat, and even the cauldron itself.

This was also the first Disney film to use the now-familiar Walt Disney Pictures title card featuring a white silhouette of Sleeping Beauty castle over a baby blue background. This logo replaced the previous “Buena Vista Pictures Distribution” card and the “Walt Disney Productions Presents” title card. Instead of the simple “The End” title card at the end of the movie, the movie ends with a full credits roll. This would continue for most Disney animated film releases after The Black Cauldron.

The Black Cauldron


  • Traditional Animation
  • Walt Disney Studios, Silver Screen Partners II
  • Animation Studio: Walt Disney Feature Animation
  • Distributed by: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
  • Cartoon Characters: Taran, Eilonwy, Gurgi, Ffewddur Fflam, Dallben, The Horned King, Creeper, King Eidilleg, Doli, Orgoch, Orddu, Orwen, Hen Wen.
  • Voice Actors: Grant Bardsley, Susan Sheridan, Freddie Jones, Nigel Hawthorne, Arthur Malet, John Byner, John Hurt, Phil Fondacaro, Eda Reiss Merin; Full Voice Cast Full Voice Cast...
  • Directed By Ted Berman, Richard Rich, Mark Hester, Terry Noss, Randy Paton.
  • Produced By Joe Hale, Don Hahn, Ronny Miller, Edward Hansen.
  • Animated By Andreas Deja, Phil Nibbelink, Hendel Butoy, Steven Gordon, Dale Baer, Doug Krohn, Ron Husband, Shawn Keller, Jay Jackson, Mike Gabriel, Barry Temple, Phillip Young, Tom Ferriter; more Animators More Cartoon Animators...
  • Written By David Jonas, Vance Gerry, Al Wilson, Roy Morita, Ted Berman, Peter Young, Richard Rich, Joe Hale, Tony Marino, Steve Hulett; more Writers More Writers...
  • Music: Elmer Bernstein, Peter Bernstein, Jay Lawton, Jack Wadsworth, Kathy Durning, Regnal Hall; more Musicians More Musicians...
  • Editor: James Melton, James Koford, Armetta Jackson.
  • Originally Released on July 24, 1985.
  • Originally Released Theatrically.
  • Running Time: 80 minutes.
  • TechniColor


One Comment

  • Hey, why doesn’t Peter Jackson turn the Chronicles of Prydain into a live-action movie series like he did with The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit?

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