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Jason & the Argonauts
D: Don Chaffey (1963) 104m


Ray Harryhausen put his 'Dynarama' stop-motion animation process to good use in this stirring tale based on the ancient Greek myth. Jason returns to Thessaly to lay rightful claim to the throne, but the gods decree he must first find the magical Golden Fleece. He and his crew battle monsters and mythical beasts along the way. Remake from 2000 is a pretty average film.





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Clash Of the Titans
D: Desmond Davis (1981) 108m


Another Ray Harryhausen showpiece, this time with lots of stop-action creatures from the ancient Greek myth of Perseus and Andromeda. The hero completes all sorts of dangerous and challenging tasks in order to win the right to marry the love of his life. The comical mechanical owl is a puzzling inclusion though.





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Raiders of the Lost Ark
D: Steven Spielberg (1981) 115m


Harrison Ford's now-famous Indiana Jones character got its start in this rip-roaring adventure about the search for the mystical Ark of the Covenant - a religious relic thought to contain the Ten Commandments. Archaeologist and occult expert Jones is recruited by the US government and must battle evil Nazis in his quest. Only mild fantasy elements, mainly at the end.





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Conan the Barbarian
D: John Milius (1981) 129m


Arnold Schwarzenegger first came to fame as Robert E Howard's Conan character - a barbarian out to avenge the massacre of his parents by an evil warlord. Written and directed by macho-moviemaker John Milius and, with the luscious Sandahl Bergman in the mix, close to the perfect male adolescent fantasy. Followed by Conan the Destroyer in 1984.





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The Beastmaster
D: Don Coscarelli (1982) 118m


Director Don Coscarelli's first big-budget movie was a box-office flop, cursing him to B-grade oblivion for time eternal. Despite the budget, he didn't seem to be able to afford clothes for the lead actors in this sword & sorcery revenge quest about a suppressed prince who as a psychic link with animals. Harmless fun and spawned a fine TV series.





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Labyrinth
D: Jim Henson (1986) 101m


Written by Monty Python's Terry Jones, Labyrinth is an enjoyable take on the Alice in Wonderland theme. A girl wishes too hard and the Goblin King (David Bowie) kidnaps her baby brother. The rescue involves a journey to a magical land and negotiating a giant labyrinth. Jim Henson contributes some muppet magic.





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Batman
D: Tim Burton (1989) 126m


The joyously camp Batman of the 1966-68 TV series was replaced by the "Dark Knight" of Gotham City in this faithful rendition of the caped crusader's evolution in contemporary DC Comics. Michael Keaton is appropriately moody and brooding in the lead role, but it is Jack Nicholson's Smilex-gassing Joker that steals the show.





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Hook
D: Steven Spielberg (1991) 144m


This film has come in for plenty of criticism, but it certainly has its moments. Robin Williams stars as the adult Peter Pan who must recapture past magic in order to save his kids from Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman). Throw in Julia Roberts as Tinker Bell and a few trips to Neverland, and there is plenty to like about this movie.


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