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Willow (1988)



Average Rating: 5.6/10
Reviews Counted: 28
Fresh: 14 | Rotten: 14

Good production value and decent special effects, but the story is too insipid and slowly paced.

No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 0 | Rotten: 4

Good production value and decent special effects, but the story is too insipid and slowly paced.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 239,473

My Rating

Movie Info

Though Willow was one of director Ron Howard's few box-office disappointments, it definitely deserves a second look. At once an epic celebration and a gentle spoof of the sword-and-sorcery genre, the film concerns the efforts by little person Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) to protect a sacred infant from the machinations of a wicked queen (Jean Marsh). One source book has assessed the picture as a combination of The Ten Commandments and Snow White. This is true enough, except that neither one of


Drama, Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Bob Dolman

Nov 27, 2001

MGM Home Entertainment

Watch It Now



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All Critics (34) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (14) | DVD (33)

The big budget can't conceal the fact that this fiction is fallow, more rootbound than spellbound.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though children will mostly be enthralled by the spectacles, even they might notice the weak story protruding through the industrial magic.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At the story level, Willow is turgid and relentlessly predictable.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (4)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

a forgotten classic that holds a lot of nostalgia

June 9, 2013 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

There's a sunny feeling here that's impossible to deny: a warm, inviting tone unseen in more recent fare.

March 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Sci-Fi Movie Page
Sci-Fi Movie Page

Nice fantasy adventure, looking pretty dated now, but ably helmed by Ron Howard.

January 10, 2009 | Comment (1)

Magic-filled fantasy adventure for tweens and up.

October 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

As a movie, it's a hell of a video game

October 22, 2005
Film Threat

It isn't without significant flaws, but overall an effective and memorable fantasy spectacle.

October 21, 2004
New Times

This is how I always figured the project got started: ILM called Ron, and said 'Ronnnnnnn, we're BORED.'

September 23, 2003


December 29, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

A sloppy and intermittently goofy flick, but it still holds enough charm, excitement and good humor to please quest fans.

May 23, 2002 Full Review Source:

It works better as a portfolio for ILM techies than an example of such hoary entertainment standards as acting, screenwriting, plotting, and direction.

December 24, 2001 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Although the dragon is a fantastic early computer generated creation and must have cost a bundle to design, the film itself is too long, too slowly paced, and not very intelligent.

December 22, 2001 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Grand escapism

November 28, 2001 Full Review Source:

...high production values, elaborate sets, and gorgeous cinematography make it worth seeing at least once. Yet, I found in it no compelling reasons for a revisit.

November 16, 2001
Movie Metropolis

Audience Reviews for Willow

Classic tale of good vs evil with great characters and creatures throughout. All the cast are likeable and fit perfectly into the story making the film quite humorous in places, the 'Brownies' and 'Madmardigan' especially hehe. The action is nice and not too brutal, brings back the feeling of old 'Errol Flynn' films in a way with swords, swashbuckling and the dashing hero.
The main event in this film was the effects in the form of the cgi, first time used in a movie, looks cheesy now but it was state of the art back then. Tippet creatures are nice too with the old stop motion effects, they do look atad raggy these days and are obvious but it kinda harks back to good old fashioned Ray Harreyhausen fantasies.

Probably the first big film for Val Kilmer this, he is good as the sort of anti hero turned complete hero, some nice dialog and visual gags, abit silly but hey. Also the first big lead role for UK born Star Wars star Warwick Davis who really does create quite a cult memorable character that is very likeable.

Classic fantasy fluff and winner.
October 10, 2011

Super Reviewer

Adventure doesn't come any bigger than this.

Well the idea of seeing it as an adult when I really wanted to see as a kid really failed! It was mostly boring at times although the end was the best thing of this movie. The story wasn't that interesting to me sadly. This movie actually was nominated for 2 Oscars even though it didn't won any so give it a shot if you like, maybe your experience will be different.

In the dungeons of the castle of the evil Queen-sorceress Bavmorda, a prisoner gives birth to a child who, according to an ancient prophecy, will put an end to the reign of the Queen. A midwife saves the child from the wrath of Bavmorda, but is forced to throw her cradle in a river when reached by the Hounds of the Queen. The river brings the child near a village of nelwyns, and little Willow finds and adopts her. When the Hounds reach the village, Willow begins a difficult journey to bring the baby back to her people and to fulfill the prophecy.
August 12, 2011
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

As good George Lucas fan this is another example of his remarkable storyteller's skills. It's a story of a nelwyn called Willow that found a baby near a river. And that's when the problems start. With the help of Madmartigan (a thief) and 2 pixies they need to return this baby safetly to a nearby kingdom befor the evil queen Bavmorda foun him first. Just great! 5 stars.
July 12, 2011
Sergio Garcia

Super Reviewer

The only thing going on that sets this film apart from other similar sword and sorcery/hero's quest/fantasy action films is thast this one is basically the Star Wars version of things, Not completely so, but, George Lucas had his hands all over this thing, and it shows, even down to some of the music at times.

Other than that ,this isn't really all that remarkable or special. It's not a bad film, and I was entertained, but it's not like a stone cold classic or anything. I think the main problem is that it just runs on for a bit too long, and often times it feels like it's on autppilot, and everyone's going through the motions. If you like that sort of thing, then fine. It's like a cheeseburger. Almost all cheeseburgers are pretty much the same, yet their familiarity gives a certain kind of comfort that we are okay with, even if it's nothing truly special.

I did like the cast though, because it's nice to see Warwick Davis in a prominent role that doesn't involve tons of leprechaun makeup. Plus, it's just cool seeing the lead played by someone's who's vertically challenged. Val Kilmer fulfills the Han Solo role, and he's fun to watch, even if this isn't really his best or most memorable role. The "Brownies" kind of bugged me, and I now realize that they functioned as foreshadowing of Jar Jar Binks, if you catch my drift.

So I'm giving this thing backhanded compliments and being nit picky, but, like I said, it did entertain me, so I do give it a mild recommendation. Perhaps if I had grown up with this movie I'd have a higher opinion of it, but who knows.
May 18, 2011
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

    1. Willow Ufgood: Don't call me a peck!
    2. Madmartigan: Oh, I'm sorry! Peck! Peck! Peck, peck, peck, peck, peck, peck, peck!
    – Submitted by ethan t (21 months ago)
    1. High Aldwin: Go in the direction the bird is flying!
    2. Burglekutt Prefect: It's going back to the village!
    3. High Aldwin: Ignore the bird. Follow the river.
    – Submitted by T R (23 months ago)
    1. Sorsha: You lost your skirt.
    2. Madmartigan: I've still got what counts.
    – Submitted by T R (23 months ago)
    1. Willow Ufgood: What are you giving her?
    2. Madmartigan: Just some blackroot.
    3. Willow Ufgood: Blackroot! Didn't you ever hear that you never ever give a baby blackroot?
    4. Madmartigan: Nonsense! I was weaned on blackroot! It's good for her. Puts hair on her chest. Doesn't it Nibs?
    5. Willow Ufgood: Her name is NOT Nibs! It's Elora Dannen, and she's a princess. And the last thing she's going to want is a hairy chest!
    – Submitted by T R (23 months ago)
    1. Willow Ufgood: One day I'm gonna...
    2. Burglekutt Prefect: You're gonna what?
    3. Willow Ufgood: ...
    4. Burglekutt Prefect: Bwa-hahahaha!
    5. Willow Ufgood: Some day, Burglekutt. Some day.
    – Submitted by Zach W (24 months ago)
    1. Llug: Wanna breed?
    2. Madmartigan: Err... tempting but, no!
    – Submitted by Bells B (2 years ago)
View all quotes (26)

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Latest News on Willow

March 13, 2013:
Five Favorite Films with Warwick Davis
Since his acting debut at age 13, playing an Ewok in Return of the Jedi, Warwick Davis has gone on...

Foreign Titles

  • Willow (DE)
  • Willow (UK)
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