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May 20, 1988

Willow is a 1988 American dark fantasy drama film directed by Ron Howard. It was produced by George Lucas and written by Bob Dolman from a story by Lucas. It stars Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh, and Billy Barty. Davis plays Willow, a reluctant farmer who plays a critical role in protecting a baby from a tyrannical queen who vows to destroy her and take over the world.

Lucas conceived the idea for the film in 1972, approaching Howard to direct during the post-production phase of Cocoon in 1985. Bob Dolman was brought in to write the screenplay, coming up with seven drafts before finishing in late 1986. It was then set up at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and principal photography began in April 1987, finishing the following October. The majority of filming took place in Dinorwic quarry in Wales with some at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, as well as a small section in New Zealand. Industrial Light & Magic created the visual effects sequences, which led to a revolutionary breakthrough with digital morphing technology.

The film was released in 1988 to mixed reviews from critics. It grossed $137.6 million worldwide against a $35 million budget. While not the blockbuster some expected, it turned a profit based on international box office returns and strong home video and television returns. Additionally, it received two Academy Award nominations.

A television series based on the film is in development, scheduled to be released on Disney+ in 2022. 

Storyline

A baby girl is discovered in a river by Ranon and Mims, the children of Willow Ufgood, a dwarf farmer and magician and the baby girl is taken into the care of Willow's family. But when a terrifying dog-like creature attacks Willow's village, whilst tracking down the baby. Willow consults the village council and the wizard The High Aldwin. The High Aldwin gives Willow a task and Willow leaves the village and embarks on the task to give the baby girl to a responsible person. But Willow soon learns the baby is Elora Danan, the baby girl destined to bring about the downfall of the evil sorceress Queen Bavmorda. Joined by his allies: swordsman Madmartigan, sorceress Fin Raziel and the Brownies Franjean and Rool, Willow takes it upon himself to protect Elora from Queen Bavmorda, who intends to kill Elora and prevent Elora from fulfilling her destiny. And Willow and his allies are pursued by Queen Bavmorda's daughter Sorsha and the evil commander of Queen Bavmorda's army General Kael, whom are searching for Elora and bring her back to Queen Bavmorda's castle, where Queen Bavmorda bids to kill Elora in a ritual and prevent the prophecy of her downfall.

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