The Short List of 1970s Fantasy Movies

April 18, 2023

Precursors and progenitors to The Big List of 1980s Barbarian & Fantasy Movies, which I’ve updated, refreshed, and reorganized for the first time in a decade.

Harryhausen fantasy nights…

  • The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) This sequel to The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) initiated a wave of fantasy movies leading up to the 80s
  • Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)  More polished and underrated compared to Golden Voyage. These two had a pulp vibe and are the strongest progenitors of the 80s fantasy cinema deluge. 

Fantastical sci-fi…

  • Fantastic Planet (1973). French. Animated. Sci-fi but otherworldly to a fantastical degree. 
  • Zardoz (1974). Has a classic fantasy connection and Connery’s character is a barbarianish. 
  • Star Wars (1977)
  • Star Wars Holiday Special (1978).

Robin Hood was here…

  • Robin Hood (1973). Disney. Animated
  • The Legend of Robin Hood (1975) BBC TV
  • Robin and Marian (1976). Audrey Hepburn

Edgar Rice Burroughs trilogy……

  • Land That Time Forgot (1974). Submarine drama becomes dinosaur creature feature. 
  • At the Earth’s Core (1976). Interesting underworld monsters and faction rivalry, but the unrelenting firelight color tones, exploding rocks, and grating dialogue requires one to be in a rare mood to enjoy. 
  • People That Time Forgot (1977). Rescue mission to the Mountain of Skulls where the green skinned Kurtz-type holds the volcano throne of the degenerate samurai tribe. 

Terry Gilliam’s medieval comedies…

  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975).  Oft quoted buffoonery. 
  • Jabberwocky (1977). Kinda like Predator but with castles and peasants. 


  • The Norseman (1978). Vikings and their wizard soothsayer go to the new world on a rescue mission against the natives. 
  • Circle of Iron (1978). Barbarian-type goes on martial arts quest of self-discovery inspired by Bruce Lee. 
  • Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979). Castles and Klaus Kinski. 

Love or hate them, the Bakshi and Rankin/Bass animated fantasies closed out the decade with imaginative momentum…

  • Wizards (1977) Post apocalypse science fantasy fever dream. 
  • The Hobbit (1977) Captures the spirit of the book. 
  • Lord of the Rings (1978) Basically unfinished. 
  • The Return of the King (1980) A 70s product in every way except the final release date. Get past the 10 minutes of convoluted intro and it’s a decent retelling. 

2 Responses to “The Short List of 1970s Fantasy Movies”

  1. […] The Short List of 1970s Fantasy Movies for precursors and […]

  2. Glen said

    Whoa dude. 8 year break? Thanks for reminding me of this excellent list of wack-a-doo movies.

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