Monday, 5 March 2012


One of the best ways I know to pull myself out of a bad mood is watching films I used to love when I was little. I'd often watch these films on days off school when I was sick, with tissues and hot chicken soup surrounding my bed. Or on those gloriously free days of summer holidays. Fantasy was my genre of choice. The more imaginative, the better. So I've been watching these films again in the past few days, trying to remember that feeling of freedom and lack of responsibility. I think escaping reality can be good in small doses ...



I can't remember when I first saw Ladyhawke, but it's a childhood favourite of mine. I loved the medieval period when I was little, and this was often mixed with a fascination with folklore and magic, typically associated with the middle ages in fantasy narratives.



My brother and dad rented out Labyrinth for me one day when I was sick. So I owe them my introduction to David Bowie, who quickly became an object of teenage adoration. The amount of fan-fiction on Labyrinth on the internet is astounding, although most of it is too smutty for my innocent memories of the film.

The Neverending Story

Neverending Story

I challenge you to find anyone growing up in the 80s or 90s who hasn't seen The Neverending Story. I first rented this film out with a friend from school on summer holidays and we re-enacted scenes from it for weeks after. I suspect we also drove our respective parents mad with this.

The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride

As you wish ... sigh. I love The Princess Bride. Some of the best dialogue you'll ever find is in this film. I actually taught The Princess Bride at university and it's always a favourite amongst the students. It never fails to make me feel better.

Do you have any childhood favourites too?

P.S. While I'm on the subject of beautiful films, I did a post on Waterloo Bridge with Vivien Leigh for Behind Ballet.


Heather said...

My sister and I LOVED Ladyhawke when we were tweens or whatever age that was... I'm always surprised when anyone else has even heard of it! I'm scared to watch it now, I might understand more than I want to now. ;-)

You must have read the book that Princess Bride was based on? I love the movie too, amazingly, the book is better. I buy a copy whenever I see it in a used book store and am always trying to get people to read it.

Teresa said...

Yes, yes and yes to all of these wonderful films! I have such fond childhood memories of these too (although the wolf in 'The Neverending Story' scared me!) and I adore watching them even today.

Of them all, 'Labyrinth' is probably my favourite and I also adore 'The Dark Crystal'.

Gracia said...

My favourites too, though I'd also add in The Dark Crystal. When I saw it with my Dad at the cinema it came with a glossy printed programme.

Fantasy, I have a soft spot for it. And B&W beauties like The Thin Man, anything Fred & Ginger, The Women... ah, I could go on.

Off to watch something play on my DVD... a film break calls.

Hope you're feeling on the up, Hila. Film is a great lift or comfort.

Monica said...

here's the interesting thing with me... i never really liked any of these films. not disliked, just wasn't thrilled (except i can't remember princess bride so that one needs a go back).

but it's weird because i enjoy fantasy, and loved such escapism as a child. there was just something missing that i can't put my finger on.

i wished i loved them, they would be wonderful to return to on rainy days. :(

Petra said...

Ladyhawk. haven't seen that one in ages. does it have a happy end? I don't remember...

yes, I have a bunch of childhood faves, mostly Russian or Czech fairy tale movies. hard to get on DVD but I managed to collect a few. there is a Czech Cindarella movie that I love love love

a blog about the little things said...

Add Legend and Willow to this list, and it would be a few of my favourite childhood/teen films, too!
I re-watched Princess Bride, Legend, Ladyhawke & Labyrinth so many times that they are now happily ensconced in my memory banks. I find I can't watch them any more; their magic has waned a bit. Which saddens me. I wish I could see them again with eyes anew. Same goes for The Last Unicorn (although that one is too sad for me to watch again).
On the same subject, my early childhood was spent with Star Wars (the original 1977 one). I'll always have a soft spot for Han Solo & Princess Leia.
I won't even get into all the Japanimation cartoons I watched as a kid! I was obsessed with them!

Leah said...

I think I was weirdly late in most of these movies. Labyrinth is definitely my favourite, and I read 'Neverending Story' before watching it, and that was definitely the wrong thing to do because I kept finding faults.

You mention the dialogue in Princess Bride, and I just had to show you this:

I promise it's not spam, it's just absolutely hilarious and kind of cute. I bet it will make you giggle!

Jen said...

I have not seen Ladyhawke...I wonder if it's too late now that I'm grown up?

Definitely The Princess Bride (a favourite) and I had an obsession with all the 'Back to the Futures', The Time Machine and The Wizard of Oz. Some kind of time travel thing going on there.

Nit said...

Quite an acurate list of the movies I absolutely loved as a kid too. Specially Labyrinth, which I see created a lot of teenager crushes on David Bowie, mine, of course, included. And not a lot of people remember LadyHawke, though it still remains one of my favorites too!

Personally, I would add The Goonies, Willow and Dark Crystal to the list.

(And, Hi! as I'm a fairly new reader to your blog)

Amelia said...

The only one on the list I haven't seen is Ladyhawke but I will remedy this soon.

As a child I loved some Italian fantasy movie whose name I have forgotten. :( I think I loved it because I didn't need subtitles to understand what they were saying.

Danielle P. said...

I grew up (mostly) in the 80s and have never seen The Neverending Story! Or The Princess Bride! Then again, I grew up in a small francophone town, and fantasy has never been my favourite genre...

My favourite films are Jean de Florette, Manon des Sources (Manon of the Spring) and Le Festin de Babette (Babette's Feast). I love them with a passion, and sob every time I watch them.

Ella said...

I love this list! Reminds me of the days of sliding the princess bride tape into the VCR and being scared it wouldn't make it through the millionth run.
I remember feeling slightly sad when I realized EVERYBODY loves the Princess Bride and it wasn't that special show only my sisters and I loved to death. It's such a sentimental family movie for me.
Not technically a movie but Anne of Green Gables was the centre of my universe for a few years.

Anonymous said...

One of my favourite films that can also come under the fantasy genre is Return to Oz (1985 with Fairuza Balk) I am always surprised at how many of my contemporaries this wonderful film has passed by. I am 34 and it is still my 'comfort film'.

Danielle P. said...

Gosh, I've just realised I've never seen Ladyhawk either! What must you think of me? :-)

Christine said...

The last two definitely take me back to my childhood but I regret that I haven't watched them since. I should try to sometime. I've never seen the first two but I know that they've become cult favorites.

Mariella said...

I loved the neverending story, both the book and the movie, it carries so many childhood memories

Tracy said...

The Boy Who Could Fly comes to mind immediately.

hungryandfrozen said...

Apart from Ladyhawke, yes, yes, and YES! Princess Bride was the favourite for me - unlike some movies that I loved as a child, it really holds up to later rewatching. As does Bedknobs and Broomsticks - my brother and I watched the heck out of that movie and I can still recite it nearly word for word. Angela Lansbury is so amazing in it. See? I'm rambling already, I love this movie so much.

Diana Sudyka said...

Warm and cozy post! These all bring back so many memories. I especially love Princess Bride and Ladyhawke. I swear, I will still quote Princess Bride every now and then. And Peter Falk; so dear. Thanks for giving an excuse to recall some happy childhood memories on a Monday.

CloudyKim said...

Wow, what a great post!!! I grew up watching all of those movies, and a few more besides. Have you ever seen "Legend" with Tom Cruise? I think it was a good movie, but we had a bad quality video so I remember getting frustrated watching it, haha. I need to buy a DVD of it or something :)

How did you teach "The Princess Bride?" That's so cool! I'm thinking of showing my creative writing class "Stranger than Fiction" for obvious reasons, but it would be cool to show them other stuff as well :)

Blaze said...

Fantasy is one of my favorite genres too. I love The Princess Bride! :)

C said...

Like many others, I cannot count the number of times I've seen The Princess Bride!

Though I've head a good deal about it, I've never seen Labyrinth. I've heard from others that the movie's appeal is largely based in nostalgia, so I'm not sure if I'd be able to appreciate it as much having not watched it growing up...

Stephanie said...

Great films! : ) I love this list!

Sasha said...

Great list! The Princess Bride was on repeat when I was younger. As was Labyrinth (even as a kid I couldn't resist David Bowie).

Dark Crystal, too, held a special place in my heart. Though I confess, watching it last year I was wondering why I wasn't a little more terrified. I have friends who insist that film gave them nightmares.

Kelly said...

Yes to it all (and Legend, too). For years I thought the perfect name for a boy was "Bastien," like in Neverending Story.

Also, during this same era on TV in the U.S., was the "Beauty & the Beast" series with Linda Hamilton. I was VERY into the first couple seasons of that show!

Tana said...

oh, the Neverending Story, so many good souvenirs:)

See Hear Say said...

believe it or not, i didn't grow up watching any of these movies!!! still in the theme of childhood memories though, i've recently got the urge of hunting old children books that i read when i was a kid (but the translated to my native language). i just ordered peter pan few days ago hahahahah

Jazzy E (Hivenn) said...

These are so stunning! x hivenn

rooth said...

I am SO glad you put Labyrinth on here. I talk about that movie all the time and no one I know has seen it and look at me like I'm a crazy. Of course, if you haven't and describe it like I do, it does kind of sound like I'm nuts

Ballad of Seasons said...

seriously, I love all your posts about movies! but bizarre enough that I neither know/heard any of those and don't remember myself watching a movie of fantasy genre when I was little. Tho, recently, I'm so into it :)
p.s. Ladyhawke seems so interesting.

B said...

Haha, I grew up in the 90s and The Neverending Story is the only one of these films that I've seen. However, I now want to watch all of them! Fantasy is, was and always will be my favourite. x

Camila Faria said...

Oh, WOW, so many memories! I have to take the time to watch all those amazing movies again. Ladyhawke is a absolute favorite of my childhood, I must have seen it a dozen times.

Rambling Tart said...

Oh, you made my heart happy with this post, Hila. :-) Ladyhawke was one of the first movies I re-watched when I got to Australia, and I've been working my way through beloved old films each week. :-) The Princess Bride is perfection. Although I enjoyed the book for its greater scope of detail, I think the movie cornered the wit and humor beautifully. :-)

odessa said...

Oh my, I was obsessed with most of these films too! I thought Jennifer Connelly was the most beautiful girl in the world. And boy was I in love with Jonathan Brandis in Neverending Story 2. I plastered my room with his posters, along with the boys from Take That -- haha!

Also, I adored Edward Scissorhands and Star Wars + Ewoks. :)

Ana said...

Labyrinth is one of my favorite fantasy movies of all times. As a girl that Bowie character was really confusing for me, because he was the bad guy, but I really liked him.

Very nice post. Now I have to see Ladyhawke and The Princess Bride :)

Lyndall said...

'The Labyrinth' and 'The Princess Bride' are two of my absolute favourite childhood movies. I always wanted Sarah's ball dress, I thought it was the most beautiful thing ever!

Hila said...

Heather: To me, Ladyhawke is a cult classic, I love it to bits. Oh yes, I've read The Princess Bride book - it's so awesome!

Teresa: The Neverending Story scared me too :) I can't believe I left out The Dark Crystal!

Gracia: Oh please, do go on, I love it. Films have been keeping me good company lately, along with poems.

Monica: That's okay, people don't have to like the same films. I bet you had other favourites though.

Petra: It seems like a definite happy ending to me.

a blog about the little things: Of course, I loved Legend and Willow too! The Last Unicorn made me cry, it was such a sad film.

Leah: yep, made me giggle, thanks :)

Jen: It's definitely not too late, you'll enjoy it now too.

Nit: Hi! Welcome :) Ah yes, I think most of us suffered through a Bowie crush.

Amelia: Oh yes, rent it out and watch it, you'll love it.

Danielle: Gasp! But seriously, Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources are great films - I wrote about them in my book :)

Ella: Oh Anne, Anne, she was a favourite of mine too.

Anonymous: I haven't seen it, so thanks for the recommendation - I'll try to hunt it down.

Christine: they always make me feel good, they're comforting and remind me of childhood.

Mariella: for me too.

Tracy: I haven't seen that, sounds good though.

hungryandfrozen: That's the thing about childhood films, they make you gush :)

Diana: haha, I quote The Princess Bride too! It's so funny.

Cloudykim: The Princess Bride film was one of the texts in an English course I taught in about the history of the Romance genre (we also studied a Mills and Boon book). It was so much fun to teach! And yep, I've seen Legend.

Blaze: It seems it has many fans :)

C: I think you'll like Labyrinth, it doesn't hurt to give it a try :)

Stephanie: Thank you!

Sasha: I think Bowie captured my heart at a young age too.

Kelly: Oh my! I remember that show, I loved it so much. I wish they would show it again on TV.

Tana: :)

See Hear Say: Laura, you must go rent them out now! Also, Peter Pan kind of freaks me out as an adult - sort of like Alice in Wonderland does. I never realised how trippy they both were when I was little.

Jazzy E: Thanks!

Rooth: eh, what do they know :)

Ballad of Seasons: then you have much fun discovering now. You'll love these films.

B: I think you'd enjoy the others then.

Camila: mine too - how beautiful was Michelle Pfeiffer in that film?

Rambling Tart: it is indeed very witty, one of the best things about it.

Odessa: haha, I also had a bit of a crush on Jonathan Brandis :)

Ana: Bowie was both creepy and attractive in labyrinth - like he usually is.

Lyndall: I think I had a barbie with a similar dress - it's so 80s :)

celia said...

I love this movie too . . . so much! It's a great one to watch when you're sick . . . or you know any time you're awake:-)

Danielle P. said...

Hee, as if I needed another reason to buy your book! :-)

Caro said...

Oh Princess Bride. If I ever meet a guy that resembles Wesley's character I might die of joy.

Hila said...

Celia: agreed :)

Danielle: aww, thanks!

Caro: he was a dreamboat ;)

Maša said...

I have a silly question for you: didn't you find it a little annoying that Hoggle was so stereotypically Jewish? :)

Hila said...

Masa: yeah, I know what you mean. But I find Hoggle less annoying as a Jewish stereotype, maybe because the film is tied up with my childhood memories :)

Meg the Grand said...

*in a small voice* I haven't seen Neverending Story. My boyfriend choked on his drink when I told him this... fear not, my generation! I will not let you down! I will see it this weekend!

Hila said...

Meg: oh shame on you! ;) You'll love it though.