[[quoteright:320:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Dragonslayer_poster_7228.jpg]]

'''Dragonslayer''' is a 1981 live action fantasy film co-produced by Creator/{{Disney}} and Creator/{{Paramount}} studios. A {{deconstruction}} of many [[HeroicFantasy Sword And Sorcery]] tropes, the film was considerably [[DarkerAndEdgier darker]] than the typical Disney movie, which may have caused its commercial failure despite having very good production values for its time.

The movie features a sorcerer's apprentice named Galen Bradwarden (Peter [=McNicol=]), who studied under an old wizard named Ulrich (Ralph Richardson). One day, they are visited by a group of farmers from a distant kingdom named Urland, led by a young man named Valerian. He explains that their land is threatened by a dragon, Vermithrax Pejorative, and that they feed it a virgin twice each year, chosen by a lottery, to keep it from destorying the kingdom. Ulrich agrees to help, but the farmers have been followed by Tyrian, the king's knight. The king of Urland, Casiodorus Rex, is anxious to avoid stirring up the dragon, and Tyrian demands a test of the sorcerer's magic. Ulrich fearlessly allows Tyrian to stab him to death, using his magic to prevent Galen from interfearing.

The peasants leave disappointed. Ulrich's elderly assistant Hodge burns his corpse and gathers the ashes in a pouch. Galen starts cleaning out his maseter's rooms, but then he finds Ulrich's magic amulet. He follows the Urlanders and offers to kill the dragon for them in Ulrich's place. Galen, Hodge, and Valerian set out for Urland to defeat the dragon.

[[IThoughtItMeant Not to be]] [[SimilarlyNamedWorks confused with]] Creator/{{Falcom}}'s ''VideoGame/DragonSlayer'' games. Or with Creator/DonBluth's classic video game ''DragonsLair'' (which used the exact some font as the film, and is a homonym to boot.) Or with ''Literature/TheLastDragonslayer''.

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!!Provides Examples Of:

* AbsurdlySharpBlade: Galen's lance ''Sicarius Dracorum'' ([[TitleDrop "Dragon Slayer"]]), which is aided by a magic fire to make it sharper than sharp. It ''slices through the anvil'' with ''little effort''.
** Even before being aided by magic fire, the blade slices off part of an iron horseshoe.
* ActionGirl: [[spoiler:Valerian.]]
* AlasPoorVillain: Ulrich on Vermithrax. He sorrowfully says that a dragon that old is in constant pain. NotSoDifferent than Ulrich, perhaps?
* BadassBoast: Ulrich can do it with a single word (and Ralph Richardson's a good enough actor to make you believe it):
-->'''Valerian:''' Are you afraid of dragons?
-->'''Ulrich:''' ''No.''
* BeforeMyTime: Casiodorus asks Galen if he had heard of his brother King Gaiseric, the king before him, but then says, "No, of course not, you weren't even born." The fact that the king had already acquired a low opinion of Galen by this point probably played a part in him deciding Galen wasn't very intelligent.
* BigNo: Galen, when he has a vision [[spoiler: of Hodge being killed]].
* BittersweetEnding: Galen fails to [[spoiler: rescue the princess. And while Ulrich returned from death to confront the dragon, the battle killed him (again) along with the destruction of the magic amulet. Worse, Ulrich's death is unmourned by others, as the King falsely declares himself the "Dragonslayer" while newly converted Christians attribute the dragon's fall to God's will.]] The good news is that [[spoiler:Galen and Valerian are together and the dragon is indeed slain, and that Galen may yet have magic of his own...]]
* TheBlacksmith: Valerian's father. We also get a ForgingScene with him and Galen crafting a spear powerful enough to pierce Vermithrax's thick hide.
* ChainedToARock: All the sacrifices to the dragon (well, to a pole actually).
* UsefulNotes/{{Christianity}}: Just as [[TheMagicGoesAway wizards dragons and magic are fading from the realm]], this new religion worshiping a Carpenter's Son shows up. Subverted and in all ways mocked as the priests railing against the "demonic" dragon are as flammable as the pagan villagers. Worse, the converted believers claim the destruction of Vermithrax is due to God's will rather than the HeroicSacrifice of the last true wizard Ulrich. Ulrich is just fine and dandy with this, because magic comes from belief, and if no one believes in magic, dragons cannot return.
* ComicBookAdaptation: MarvelComics published a two-issue adaptation.
* CorruptBureaucrat: The King, Casiodorus Rex. The lottery is rigged not to include the daughters of men who can pay. He's also caught trying to use Ulrich's amulet for his own bit of alchemy, to create gold from lead. [[spoiler: And when the dragon dies, he quickly arrives, shoves a sword in the burnt carcass, and claims credit.]]
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy: Tyrian.
* DeathIsTheOnlyOption: The only way for the wizard Ulrich to slay the dragon is for him to [[spoiler: allow himself to be killed, twice. His first death puts his soul into an amulet. He later comes back to life, and when the amulet is smashed, his body explodes (killing him ''again''), destroying the dragon.]]
* {{Deconstruction}}: The film takes many [[HeroicFantasy standard fantasy tropes]] of the day... and stands them on their heads. The ironic part is that during the shredding of those tropes, this film [[{{Reconstruction}} introduced new tropes and redefined others.]]
* DirtyCoward: The King. For good reason: his own brother Gaiseric, the previous king, led knights into battle against Vermithrax and never came back.
* TheDragon: No, not Vermithrax. We're talking Tyrian, the King's knight/enforcer. He's still a serious threat even after the King wants Galen to stop the ''real'' dragon from killing his daughter Elspeth.
* DungAges: The film as a whole is rather dark and gritty.
* EndOfAnAge: There's one wizard and one dragon left in the world at the film's start. However...
* TheEndOrIsIt: Galen at the end wishes he had a horse, and one appears. In the {{Novelization}}, Valerian shuts him up before he can make another wish.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep:
** Valerian's father is credited as "Valerian's Father" in the end credits. Valerian calls him "father" and Galen only calls him "Blacksmith" during the film. The novelization names him Simon.
** The first sacrificial victim is credited as simply "Victim" in the end credits. The novelization names her "Melissa Plowman", though she's quite a different character there, being a willing sacrifice.
* EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses: Not really. Elspeth is clueless about the rigged lottery, [[spoiler: and too set on sacrificing herself for her people at the end to save herself when Galen comes to rescue her.]] She's a pretty good person, but in no way special. Recognizing this is what makes her good.
* ExploringTheEvilLair: Three times, in fact.
* {{Fanservice}}: TheReveal of Caitlin Clarke's full, naked body underwater. ''PG'' rated, you say?
* FlatEarthAtheist: Dragons are real, but sorcerers are fake, Tyrian?
* GambitRoulette: Ulrich pre-planned exactly how it would all turn out so well, one wonders whether he [[WildMassGuessing rented his own movie and watched it ahead of time]] on his Betamax[[superscript:TM]] scrying bowl. The dude smiles nonchalantly while letting Tyrian stab him in the heart [[spoiler: just to keep his feet from getting tired on the journey to the dragon's lair.]] And what's up with him reminiscing about the good old days when the sky was full of dragons, and talking about killing Vermithrax as though he were euthanizing a beloved but decrepit old pet? Is there even a trope for that?[[note]]NotSoDifferent[[/note]]
** In the {{Novelization}}, Ulrich uses his cauldron to not only look into the past, but into the future. It's shown briefly in the film.
* GenreSavvy: Valerian thinks [[spoiler: she'll be the name called for the lottery after she drops the pretense of being a boy.]] Had this not been a {{deconstruction}} and subversion of the sword and sorcery trope, [[spoiler: she'd]] have been right.
* HeroicSacrifice:
** Ulrich's.
** And it's what Elspeth is trying to do, at least.
* HumanSacrifice:
-> '''Casiodorus:''' You came here and toyed with the monster. Who are YOU to risk our people, our villages?
-> '''Galen:''' But your children were dying!
-> '''Casiodorus:''' Only a few. Does that sound cruel? It is better that they should die that others might live. I created the Lottery! Me! And from the moment it began, the dragon was tamed. The kingdom has prospered.
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: The King doesn't ''want'' to sacrifice virgins to Vermithrax: it's just that previous battles against it led to fiery reprisals where the sacrifices have kept the beast sated. Figuring the dragon was aging and dying, the King thought he was buying time until old age took the dragon. That is, until Elspeth put her name in the lottery... [[spoiler: He was also unaware that the dragon had offspring.]]
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: [[spoiler: Tyrian.]]
* ImpendingDoomPOV: During the first virgin sacrifice.
* JerkassHasAPoint: Tyrian's opposition stems from his belief that if a wizard failed to slay the dragon, they'd only succeed in angering the dragon, who would then incinerate villagers in reprisal. Guess what happens?
* LanguageOfMagic: Latin. And it's basically accurate, which is cool.
* LastOfHisKind: Both Vermithrax and Ulrich. [[spoiler: Possibly. Maybe.]]
* LettingTheAirOutOfTheBand: Done with live musicians when Tyrian and his men ride up during the villagers' celebration.
* LotteryOfDoom
* LuckilyMyShieldWillProtectMe: Played straight. Valerian crafts for Galen a shield made out of the dragon's discarded skin plates, figuring the dragon's own hide might provide protection from the dragon itself. [[spoiler: It does, though Galen barely survives.
* TheMagicGoesAway: Ulrich mentions that the age of wonders has come to an end. It's hinted that the dying out of both wizards and dragons are linked to each other.
* ManipulativeBastard: Casiodorus Rex. There's nothing he can't spin for good PR.
* TheMiddleAges
* NamedWeapon: The lance, ''Sicarius Dracorum''. Also counts as a TitleDrop, since it's Latin for "Dragonslayer".
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: ''Vermithrax pejorative'' "the Thracian worm who makes things worse".
* NoSell: During the climatic battle with Ulrich, Vermithrax blasts the sorceror with firebreath - which has zero effect.
* {{Novelization}}: Adds quite a bit of backstory to Galen, Valerian, Ulrich, Hodge,and even the (unnamed in the film) girl sacrificed to the dragon on-screen, but it's also quite different from the film in many respects.
* OpenSecret: [[spoiler: Valerian being a girl. Apparently, most in the village already knew.]]
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: Vermithrax (the dragon) is wyvern style, with bat-like wings instead of forelegs.
* PaperThinDisguise: Are we supposed to think Valerian's [[spoiler:a man at first? Really?]]
* PurpleProse: Tons in the novelization, with "reptilian antlers" going into the YouFailBiologyForever territory.
* RedEyesTakeWarning / ItsPersonal: Vermithrax, [[spoiler: after Galen kills its offspring.]]
* RidiculouslyCuteCritter: Subverted [[spoiler: with Vermithrax's baby dragons. Also count towards terrifying when the audience finds out what they did to Elspeth...]]
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Vermithrax, twice. [[spoiler: First, after Galen tries to block the cave with an avalanche, then after Galen kills its offspring.]]
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: [[spoiler: Princess Elspeth,]] though in a more melancholic way.
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere:
** The officials overseeing the virgin sacrifice. Hosrick starts reading the King's proclamation at a pretty good clip to begin with, but just plain runs away once the ground starts trembling, shouting the last few words of the proclamation over his shoulder as he runs.
** Also the virgin sacrifice herself. The girl being fed to the dragon does her level best to get away, and actually does slip free of the chains before [[spoiler: the dragon gets her.]]
** [[spoiler: Princess Elspeth]] is an aversion, as after she is freed she runs into the cave rather than trying to get away.
* SedgwickSpeech: A priest tries to exorcise away the dragon. [[spoiler: It doesn't work.]]
* SheCleansUpNicely: After [[spoiler: Valerian]] enters a big social event in a dress and feminine trappings for the first time in public. No one reacts much to her having cheated the Lottery for most of her life by hiding her [[SamusIsAGirl gender]]. In the {{Novelization}}, her father tells her that they didn't get angry becuase her mother was a victim of the Lottery - apparently not all the sacrifices were virgins.
* ShoutOut:
** To legendary hero Sigurd, aka [[Theatre/DerRingDesNibelungen Siegfried]] who tests his brand-new dragonslaying [[AbsurdlySharpBlade weapon]] by [[spoiler:neatly slicing through the anvil on which it was forged]].
** In the {{Novelization}} Ulrich suggests the Urlanders should try asking [[TheTempest Prospero]] to kill their dragon, only to be told that he has given up his power.
* StealingTheCredit:
** Galen and Valerian witness the King beginning the claim that ''he'' was the one who killed the dragon, despite being a DirtyCoward and doing no such thing.
** The Christians also believe that God destroyed the beast because of their faith, despite what happened to Father Jacopus earlier.
* ShutUpKirk: Vermithrax response to the priest trying to exorcise it is a [[KillItWithFire blast of fire breath]]. Vermithrax wins.
* TakeUpMySword: Subverted and played with. Galen thinks that Ulrich wanted him to kill the dragon in his place. [[spoiler: He didn't. Hodge DID ask Galen to take up ''his'' sword by pouring Ulrich's ashes into the Lake of Fire.]]
* TakingYouWithMe: [[spoiler: Ulrich]] takes Vermithrax down with him.
* TitleDrop: Valerian's blacksmith father named his lance ''Sicarius Dracorum''.
* TotalEclipseOfThePlot-during the climax, natch.
* UnexplainedRecovery:
** [[spoiler: Ulrich.]] Only long enough to defeat Vermithrax.
** Galen mutters sardonically at Valerian, "Still alive," when she finds him after his brief battle with the dragon.
* VirginSacrifice: The town sacrifices its virgin girls to the dragon.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Tyrian. He fights Galen to allow Elspeth to be sacrificed to Vermithrax because that is the law. He is, however, still a dick about it.
* YourMindMakesItReal: Magic. The Latin basically serves as a foci for the mage's will.
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle: The villagers celebrate when Galen causes an avalanche to block the dragon's cave entrance, despite never seeing the dragon actually die and that there might be more caves leading out of its lair. [[spoiler: All Galen did was piss it off.]]

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