Directed By Ridley Scott
Produced By
Written By
  • William Hjortsberg
Music By
Distributed By
  • 20th Century Fox (International)
  • Universal Pictures (North America)
Release Date(s)
  • December 13, 1985 - United Kingdom
  • April 18, 1986 - United States
Running Time(s)
  • 89 Minutes (US Theatrical Cut)
  • 94 Minutes (US Home Video)
  • 114 Minutes (Director's Cut)
  • 150 Minutes (Definitive Cut)
Filming Location(s)
  • Agnes Scott College - 141 E. College Avenue, Decatur, Georgia, USA
  • Albert R. Broccoli 007 Stage, Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, England, UK (studio) (forest)
  • Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, England, UK (studio)
  • Silver Springs - 5656 E. Silver Springs Boulevard, Ocala, Florida, USA
Language(s) English, Spanish, Italian
Budget $30,000,000 Million
Gross Revenue $15,502,112 Million
Proceeding Film Someone to Watch Over Me
Preceeding Film Blade Runner

Legend is a 1985 fantasy film released by 20th Century Fox in Europe and Universal Pictures in the United States and Canada, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Tom Cruise and Mia Sara. Though not a very notable success when first released, it received an Academy Award nomination (for best makeup) and has since gained a cult following. This is the only fantasy film directed by Ridley Scott and the only time he worked with Tom Cruise. Ridley Scott's brother - Tony Scott had worked with Tom Cruise only once as well.


The following synopsis is based on an early 113-minute version later released on DVD as the "director's cut".

The story is set "once, long ago" in a world of unicorns, fairies, goblins, and demons. Hidden in a dark lair, the antagonist, the Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry) instructs his goblin servant Blix (Alice Playten) to locate the two unicorns that roam in the nearby forest and remove their horns. If the unicorns die and their horns are removed, the Lord of Darkness can ensure that dawn never again breaks, and sunshine never returns.

In the forest, Jack (Tom Cruise), a young hermit, meets with his love, Princess Lily (Mia Sara). As one of few forest dwellers allowed to locate the unicorns, Jack takes Lily to see the creatures, while followed by Blix and her two cohorts Pox and Blunder. The unicorns appear, and Lily ignores Jack's pleas not to touch them. As Lily approaches the unicorns, the goblins attack with a poisoned blowpipe dart, hitting the stallion. The unicorns bolt, with neither Lily nor Jack noticing the attack.

Jack chastises Lily for ignoring his warnings. Unaware of the repercussions of her touching the unicorn, Lily engages Jack in innocent chatter and sets a quest for Jack by throwing her ring into a nearby pond and claiming that she will marry the one who recovers her ring. Jack immediately dives off the cliff into the pond to recover it. Meanwhile, overcome by the venom, the stallion dies and Blix removes its horn. The unicorn's death causes a fierce snowstorm, which freezes the pond. Unable to locate the ring, Jack breaks through the ice and resurfaces, to find world transformed into winter with Lily nowhere in sight. Frightened by the storm, Lily returns to her village and enters a cottage owned by her friend Nell, a woodland dweller. However, she finds that Nell and her family have frozen as part of the curse brought on by the theft of the unicorn's horn. Hearing noises outside, Lily hides just in time to avoid arriving goblins, and overhears clues that explain the cause of the disaster. As the goblins ride off, Lily swears to undo her mistake.

Meanwhile, Jack meets Oona, Honeythorn Gump, Brown Tom, and Screwball (a fairy, an elf, and two dwarves). Due to Jack's great crime of allowing a human to touch a unicorn, Gump is unwilling to lend his aid. At Jack's insistence, Gump puts a difficult riddle to him and offers forgiveness if it is answered correctly, certain that Jack will be unable solve it. Much to Gump's surprise and rage, Jack correctly answers the riddle. Gump soon recovers his composure and admits defeat, and invites Jack to join his party. The group then sets off on its quest together, and they discover the lifeless stallion without its mate, its companion alicorn. Gump and Jack conclude that the alicorn must be found at all costs, and only then will the world return to normal. Jack and the fairies leave Brown Tom with the female unicorn to find weapons for Jack. Lily runs back to tell Brown Tom that the goblins are coming for the female, and tries to help him, but they are discovered by the goblins. After a skirmish, Lily and the surviving unicorn are taken to the Lord of Darkness.

Jack, who has now been fitted with armor and a sword, is happy to learn that Lily is still alive, and resolves to rescue her. The comrades overcome various obstacles to reach the Lord of Darkness' lair, where they witness the evil Dark Lord trying to seduce Lily with his charm and power. Lily seems to succumb to the Dark Lord's advances despite initial resistance, and she asks for the privilege of killing the surviving unicorn.

Jack and his friends overhear the Dark Lord tell Lily that sunlight will destroy him. Consequently they gather large metal dishes to use as mirrors, which they position around the castle in order to channel sunlight into the lair. The Dark Lord brings Lily to the unicorn, and Jack's friends encourage Jack to shoot Lily with an arrow to prevent the animal's death. Jack ignores their pleas, trusting his love. Indeed, Lily betrays the Dark Lord and cuts the unicorn free instead. Angered, the Lord of Darkness strikes Lily and she loses consciousness. Jack then appears and confronts the Dark Lord, but he is undersized and outmatched. As defeat looms, Jack plunges the stallion's horn into the Lord of Darkness' chest just as the last mirror is set in place and sunlight strikes the Dark Lord, destroying him.

Jack tries to revive Lily, but she remains asleep under a spell. Jack dives into the pond and recovers the ring. As Jack slips the ring onto Lily's finger, the Princess awakens. Lily then removes her ring and gives it to Jack, and invites him to return the next day. She returns home, and as Jack runs off into the sunset, Gump, Oona, and the rest of the group, including both unicorns, wave goodbye to Jack, the quest now concluded. The film (as seen in the U.S.) ends with the Lord of Darkness laughing one last time, indicating his statement that darkness cannot be completely destroyed - it always exists to counterbalance light, until the two merge into one, transcending the bounds of duality.


The film was written by William Hjortsberg and produced by Arnon Milchan, but the behind-the-scenes story of the making of the film is in itself a legend. The film was shot at Pinewood Studios using the 007 Stage, named after, and used for many James Bond films. Part-way through the filming the stage burned completely to the ground forcing the producers to finish the film on hastily completed sets. The film then failed in test screenings: test audiences complained about Jerry Goldsmith's score and of how teenage audiences might accept the film.

The film was first released in Europe, cut down to 94 minutes. Both Universal and Scott decided to cut the film drastically for American release, from nearly two hours in length to 89 minutes. They also replaced Goldsmith's score with music by Tangerine Dream, Yes leader Jon Anderson, and Bryan Ferry. Scott allowed Goldsmith's score, which he thought was "good", to remain on European prints.

Also, an alternate ending (as eventually used in the 1986 U.S. version) was made in which Gump puts the horn back on the dead unicorn and it came back to life and finally, Jack and Lily run off into the sunset together, with Gump, the Unicorns, and the others waving at them. The final scene shows the Dark Lord laughing in his new domain and he will come again when darkness covers the world.


Songs in the filmEdit

The following songs were seen in the European and Director's Cuts, with lyrics composed by John Bettis (composer of many Carpenters songs) and music by Jerry Goldsmith:

  • "My True Love's Eyes" (the main theme, sung mostly by Lily. Mia Sara provided some of the singing, while session singers provided vocals wherever Sara was unable to perform).
  • "Living River" (the first reprise of "My True Love's Eyes", sung as Lily calls to the unicorn).
  • "Bumps And Hollows" (sung by Lily after her forbidden act of touching a unicorn).
  • "Sing The Wee" (the theme for the fairies. The first sung version was cut from all editions of the film as it accompanied a scene with Jack and the fairies that was itself cut; the final sung version by the National Philharmonic Chorus is heard over the end credits).
  • "Reunited" (the final reprise of "My True Love's Eyes", sung by Lily as she says goodbye to Jack).

The following songs appeared in the 89-minute U.S. recut when it was rescored by Tangerine Dream:

  • "Loved By The Sun" (music by Tangerine Dream, lyrics written and sung by Jon Anderson, leader of the group Yes).
  • "Is Your Love Strong Enough" (written and performed by Bryan Ferry over the U.S. print's end credits).

Film ScoreEdit

Due to the changes in the film from its European and American releases, Legend has two different soundtracks. The first, produced and composed by Jerry Goldsmith, was used for its initial European release and restored in the director's cut edition of the Region 1 DVD release. The second soundtrack features music by German electronic artists Tangerine Dream and was used for the initial theatrical and home video releases in the United States. This soundtrack also includes songs by Jon Anderson of Yes and Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music. Both soundtracks are available on CD, though the Tangerine Dream soundtrack has become harder to find.

A promotional music video (presumably for the U.S. market, where the Tangerine Dream soundtrack was used) was created for the Bryan Ferry song "Is Your Love Strong Enough". The video, which incorporates Ferry and guitarist David Gilmour into footage from the film, is included as a bonus on disc 2 of the 2002 "Ultimate Edition" DVD release.




When Universal released the home version, the running time was extended at 94 minutes. Though the score of the film was not Jerry Goldsmith and still retained Tangerine Dream's musical score.


In 2002, Universal released a 113-minute "director's cut" on DVD restoring previously cut scenes, and the original Goldsmith Score. In creating the director's cut edition, producer Charles de Lauzirika turned to Legend fan and unofficial historian Sean Murphy, who runs the Legend FAQ and Terry Rawlings, the editor of Legend, for help in finding the footage for the Ultimate DVD creation.

Definitive CutEdit

Ridley Scott admits that comments made by some pot-smoking attendees at a screening got the director second-guessing himself, and influenced him to cut the film from 150 minutes to 98. Suggesting that there is atleast a 150 minute version of the film itself though such cut has never been released to the public.

External LinksEdit

  • Legend at Internet Movie Database