The Black Cauldron is a 1985 American animated fantasy film directed by Ted Berman and Richard Rich. It is the 25th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, and is loosely based on The Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander. The film was produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Walt Disney Feature Animation and was distributed by Buena Vista Distribution. The film was released on July 24, 1985.
Taran, a young boy living in a farm home to an enchanter named Dallben, aspires to become a warrior. The Horned King, an undead monarch, seeks to use one of the farm's pigs, named Hen Wen, to help him locate the Black Cauldron, which will raise an army that he will use to conquer the world. The Horned King's forces raid the farm and abduct Hen Wen despite Taran's efforts. To recover Hen Wen, Taran ventures off to the Horned King's castle, coming across a creature named Gurgi on his quest. Taran arrives at the castle and frees Hen Wen, but he himself is captured in the process. While imprisoned, Taran meets a princess named Eilonwy and a man named Fflewdurr Fflam, and manages to escape, acquiring a magical sword in the process. Once free, the three reunite with Gurgi.
The four stumble upon into the underground kingdom of the Fair Folk, ruled by King Eiddileg, who have found Hen Wen. Eiddileg reveals he knows where the Cauldron is located and Taran decides to destroy it himself. While the fairies escort Hen Wen back to the farm, Eiddileg's assistant, Doli, leads the group to the marshes, where they meet three witches who guard the Cauldron. The witches agree to trade the Cauldron in exchange for Taran's sword, which he agrees to. However, before vanishing, the witches reveal that the Cauldron is indestructible, and its power can only be broken if someone willingly climbs into it, an action that will result in death.
The Horned King's forces arrive in the marshes and capture the group and the Cauldron, though Gurgi escapes. With the Cauldron in his possession, the Horned King uses its power to raise his undead army. However, Gurgi frees the captives, and Taran resolves to sacrifice himself to destroy the Cauldron's power. Gurgi, however, casts himself into the Cauldron, killing him and destroying the Horned King's army. The Horned King, enraged at his failure, throws Taran towards the Cauldron, but the Cauldron's magic prove too powerful to be contained. The Cauldron consumes the Horned King and destroys the castle, though the group manages to escape unharmed. The witches arrive to claim the inert Cauldron, but Taran convinces them to revive Gurgi, giving up his magic sword permanently. Afterwards, the group journeys back to the farm, observed by Dallben and Doli in a vision created by Hen Wen, and Dollben praises Taran for his actions.
- Grant Bardsley as Taran.
- John Hurt as The Horned King.
- Susan Sheridan as Princess Eilonwy.
- Freddie Jones as Dallben.
- Nigel Hawthorne as Fflewddur Fflam.
- Phil Fondacaro as Creeper.
- John Byner as Gurgi/Doli.
- Arthur Mallet as King Eidilleg.
- Eda Reiss Merin as Orddu.
- Adele Malis Morey as Orwen.
- Billie Hayes as Orgoch.
- Brandon Call as Fair Folk Boy.
- Lindsay Rich as Fair Folk Girl.
- Peter Reneday as Henchman.