Flight of Dragons - Heroes to an Impressionable Mind
Flight of Dragons, a Bass and Rankin film released in 1982, had a huge impact on my early years a gamer. I must have seen it on VHS somewhere in 1985 and fell in love with it. This was around the time I was diving into Dungeons and Dragons and roleplaying games and was looking for any inspiration I could find to fuel my obsessive need for fantasy. Novels, comic books, music and movies I hungrily gobbled up, always gravitating towards heroic tales and inspirational figures. In Flight of Dragons, I found that inspiration in the character of Sir Orrin Neville-Smythe.
An older human dressed in plate armor (with questionable chest spikes), plays a significant role to the story, not only due to past actions but also being one of the first allies that the Green Wizard, Carolinus, may call on to defeat his brother the Red Wizard, Ommadon (voiced by the incredible James Earl Jones). Through the actions of Sir Orrin we learn of defending the weak, of charity and compassion and it is towards the end of the film that he shines.
In the lead up to the final confrontation between Peter, the real hero of the story, and Ommadon, the Magnificent Seven team must confront Ommadon’s main ally, the evil dragon Bryagh and his ‘Flight of Dragons’. Relying upon a magic flute given to the questing party by the Yellow Wizard, Lo Tae Zhao, the elf Giles plays a melody that puts all of the Flight to sleep, save Bryagh. Thus the final confrontation, wherein the party must face the evil dragon, save Peter who inhabits the body of the young dragon Gorbash who was susceptible to the flutes magic.
Bryagh attacks and quickly smites the party down, save Sir Orrin who charges with his trident and his thrown from his horse. Drawing his sword, reflecting upon his fallen comrades he utters his prayer:
“Blade with whom I have lived,
blade with whom I now die,
serve right and justice one last time,
seek one last heart of evil, still one last life of pain,
cut well old friend,
and then farewell.”
The evil dragon before him chuckles at his words and breaths a gout of flame upon him, only to see the knight stand firm under the onslaught, losing ground only as he slides backwards by the intensity of the attack. The flame ignites the sword, Sir Orrin reaches back and throws his blade into the chest of Bryagh and they both have been dealt a mortal blow. Staggering to the form of the Archer Danielle, he intones his oath of love and then dies beside her.
Powerful stuff to a kid of eleven.
Heroic companions. Declarations of love. Sacrifice for a noble cause.
This movie is full of great tropes that even now inspire my storytelling mind into various plot points and story elements. Though time has been hard on this tale, I feel it still stands up well. The voice acting is spot on, the characters enjoyable and the art a throw back to be appreciated. Its unfortunate the live action version never went anywhere. Last checked it was released briefly on DVD (I own both DVD and VHS). Clips are on Youtube, the scene above offered below. What movies inspired you? What movies still give you goose-bumps when you watch them? Leave your recommendations in the comments below!