[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TheFlightOfDragons.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:"Ugh, department store seersucker, all charred with dragon exhaust."]]

'''''The Flight of Dragons''''' is a RankinBassProductions animated film, produced in 1982, but not aired until 1986. It is loosely adapted from GordonRDickson's fantasy novel ''[[Literature/TheDragonKnight The Dragon and the George]]''. However, it replaces the main character with Creator/PeterDickinson, the real life author who wrote ''The Flight of Dragons'', an art book that proposes scientific reasons for the [[HereThereWereDragons prior existence of dragons]]. Got all that?

The film is a HeroicFantasy in which a twentieth-century "man of science", [[LiteraryAgentHypothesis named Peter Dickinson]], travels to the world of magic to defeat [[BigBad Ommadon]], an evil wizard who isn't happy that humans are [[MagicVersusScience choosing science over magic]]. Due to an accident, Peter ends up SharingABody with a dragon and he thus has to learn about how OurDragonsAreDifferent in order to survive. In the end, it turns out that the PowersThatBe selected Peter because they needed someone who ''wouldn't'' [[ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve clap his hands if he believed]].

The film features a remarkably effective voice cast: the late John Ritter is highly sympathetic as Peter, Harry Morgan an amusingly eccentric Carolinus, Victor Buono a convincingly growly Aragh, James Gregory surprisingly lovable as the elderly dragon Smrgol -- and Creator/JamesEarlJones sonorous and magisterially evil as the Red Wizard Ommadon.
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!!This film provides examples of:

* AGodAmI: Ommadon has a fairly [[EvilIsHammy spectacular]] rant on this topic upon going OneWingedAngel. [[DefiedTrope Peter has none of it]].
--> '''Ommadon:''' I am the ''world'', and the world... is Ommadon. I can do ''anything''. Test me. Ask me to reach up and pluck down the Sun... what magic but mine, could move the Sun?
* {{Animesque}}: One of the Rankin/Bass films animated by Topcraft, like ''WesternAnimation/TheLastUnicorn''.
* [[ArchEnemy Arch Enemies]]: Sir Orrin and Bryagh.
* ArtifactOfDoom: The Red Crown of Ommadon, source of that wizard's dark power.
* AsYouKnow: When Peter first wakes up sharing Gorbash's body and Melisande calls him "brother," he gets embarrassed and reminds her that they kissed. The kiss did [[strike: not take place onscreen]] take place, right before Bryagh knocked Melisande to the ground and grabbed Peter.
* BadassBoast: Ommadon has an epic one.
--> '''Ommadon:''' I am the ''world'', and the world... is Ommadon."
* BadassBookworm: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uw9bny88OuY Peter]], who uses scientific facts to unravel Ommadon's magic. His big heroic moment is invoking every discipline of mathematics and science in a PreMortemOneLiner. Never has academia been so awesome.
* BadassCreed: Sir Orrin's LastStand.
--> '''Sir Orrin''': 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. [[TheLastDance Cut well old friend, and then... farewell.]]
* BalloonBelly: Dragons fly by literally inflating themselves with hydrogen. The wings are simply to steer.
* BigBad: Ommadon.
* {{Bowdlerize}}: Most television broadcasts omit the scene of Peter/Gorbash and Smrgol getting drunk in the inn's basement.
* CatchPhrase: "_______ is the greatest magic of all!" Imagination? Or is it inevitability? Or perhaps love?
* [[ChekhovsGun Chekhov's Gun]]: The Shield of Saturn and Flute of the Muses, given to the heroes at the beginning, each come in handy exactly once to overcome an obstacle.
* ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve: Inverted; Peter Dickinson defeats Ommadon by denying the existence of magic. Science, on the other hand...
* ColorCodedWizardry: The four brothers each have an assigned color and element. Carolinus -- green and earth; Lo Tae Shao -- yellow and air; Solarius -- blue and water; Ommadon -- red and fire.
* {{Cyclops}}: The giant [[OurOgresAreHungrier ogre]] whose castle is the gate to Ommadon's kingdom.
** He has two eyes, but he used to have three.
* [[DaddysGirl Daddy's Girl]]: Melisande, to Carolinus. It doesn't really become evident until she's in her weird coma, at which point he calls her "my darling, darling child" and weeps copiously. Possibly the most genuinely moving scene in the whole film.
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy: While initially amused at Carolinus' choise to lead the quest to capture his crown, Ommadon realizes Antiquity must have had a reason and sends Bryagh to deal with Peter.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: Peter's ''[[TitleDrop Flight of Dragons]]'' fantasy role-playing game reflects the ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' boom of the early [[TheEighties Eighties]].
* DoingInTheScientist: The motive behind Ommadon's actions is to deny science in favor of magic.
* DoingInTheWizard: Peter's specialty, and the whole reason he was chosen to lead the quest.
* DoomyDoomsOfDoom: Invoked by Ommadon, along with a TitleDrop, when [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl=en-GB&v=rkeoqVP4N9g sending Bryagh forth]] to battle the heroes.
* TheDragon: Bryagh, who is a literal dragon as well.
* DragonHoard: Dragons sleep on hoards because gold is soft and will not catch fire.
* DyingDeclarationOfLove: Sir Orrin does one to Danielle (who's already dead) after slaying Bryagh.
* EatDirtCheap: As Smrgl shows Peter, dragons eat limestone and will swallow gemstones to help digest them, much like birds eat grit to grind their food. Said limestone produces the gasses necessary for them to fly and breathe fire.
* EthnicMagician: The four brothers are oddly diverse. Carolinus is your typical white Merlin-type of wizard, Solarius is an AmbiguouslyBrown man whose garb suggests Arabia, Lo Tae Shao is Asian (and even has an Asian dragon). Ommadon...well, he's sort of a chalky blue...and hobgoblin-ish.
* EvenTheSubtitlerIsStumped / {{Mondegreen}}: The closed captioning regularly confuses a dragon's ''hoard'' for a dragon's ''horn''.
* [[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses Everything's Better With Princesses]]: Princess Melisande.
* EvilIsHammy: Ommadon.
* EvilSorcerer: Ommadon.
* EvilSoundsDeep: Evil Sounds Like Creator/JamesEarlJones. [[StarWars But we already knew that.]]
* TheFairFolk: Giles is an elf, but you'd hardly know it from his appearance and abilities; Ommadon also tries to beckon various monstrous fantasy creatures at the climax. The usual small, pretty, beneficial fairy types are depicted early on, though.
* FamousAncestor: Peter is said by Antiquity to be the [[RuleOfSeven 777th]] descendant of Great Peter, who taught dragons to speak.
* FantasticNatureReserve: Where all of the magic and magic creatures will go to in order to avoid destruction as man increasingly favors logic over magic.
* FantasticNuke: Ommadon explaining how his magic's influence on man naturally leads to the creation of the bomb.
* ForcedSleep: The flute that Lo Tae Shao gives to the party has the power to put even the fiercest dragon to sleep, and near the end it's used to disable the entire flight of dragons that Ommadon sends against them. All except Bryagh, that is, and since it put Peter to sleep as well, he descends virtually unopposed.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: At Hell's Way Inn (itself a GCPTR incident), as the humans are about to turn in, Danielle mentions that they may not live to see another night. Cue her and Sir Orrin walking out [[PreClimaxClimax hand-in-hand]], and it's never shown whether they were taken from different rooms of the Inn.
* HandWave:
** Melisande's recovery from her strange pseudo-coma. Carolinus believes it to have been Ommadon's crown which revived her, having been brought to her by Peter after the battle, adding that her revival was foretold by prophecy. Not only was that prophecy ''never before mentioned'', but if he knew that was the case, why was he so upset when she first went into the coma?
** Practically ''everything'' about Melisande was handwaved. Who were her parents, who were murdered when she was a child? She's apparently a princess, so how did Carolinus end up as her guardian? Where exactly is the kingdom she's a princess ''of'', and who is running it?
* HereThereWereDragons
* HeroKiller: Bryagh.
* HeroesWantRedheads: Both played straight and averted. There are two heroes, and one ends up with the redhead, and the other gets the blonde, though technically, the redhead herself could count as a RedHeadedHero.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:Smrgol.]]
* HeyItsThatVoice: Fans of [[TheSeventies Seventies]] TV will not only recognize John Ritter (Peter) as Jack Tripper from ''Series/ThreesCompany'', but also Harry Morgan (Carolinus) as Colonel Potter from ''Series/{{Mash}}'' (if not as [[Franchise/{{Dragnet}} Joe Friday]]'s partner) and James Gregory (Smrgol) as Inspector Luger from ''BarneyMiller'' (if not as the Gorilla General from ''PlanetOfTheApes''). Going back a little farther, Victor Buono (Aragh) was the villainous King Tut on ''Series/{{Batman}}''. And need one even mention Creator/JamesEarlJones?
* HonorBeforeReason: Sir Orrin is adamant about following the laws of chivalry, particularly during his first encounter with Bryagh where he notes it seemed a shame to die over an egg, but he'd already made the challenge.
* IFellForHours: "Actually, it's been more like ten centuries!"
* ImprobableHairstyle: Melisande's long blonde hair is beautiful...except for the part where it looks like she's wearing gigantic seashells on either side of her head.
* KillEmAll: Bryagh slays Aragh, Giles and Danielle, and then {{Mutual Kill}}s Sir Orrin, leaving Peter alone with Ommadon for the final confrontation. [[spoiler:Of course, DeathIsCheap, and they're resurrected when the Magic Realm comes into being.]]
* KnightErrant: Sir Orrin Neville-Smythe. Guess "Sir Brian" was too boring of a name...
* KnightInShiningArmor: Sir Orrin Neville-Smythe.
* LeaveHimToMe: A heroic variant. When the group prepares to confront the dragons, Sir Orrin states: "Let me take Bryagh." Of course this is ignored when Bryagh actually arrives, but Sir Orrin was the only one who stood a chance anyway.
* LikeBrotherAndSister: An inter-species version. Melisande, at one point in the film, addresses Gorbash as "brother," presumably because (as Orrin's narration later indicates) they grew up together in the care of Carolinus.
* LiteraryAgentHypothesis: The main character has the same name as the author of the original book and, for good measure, he mentions in the film that he's writing a book called ''The Flight of Dragons''. As well, the diagram he draws on the stone to visualize how dragonfire works is found in the book.
* LoveAtFirstSight:
** Peter and Melisande, more or less; their first meeting is pretty fraught with chemistry, and they later share a little interlude the night before he leaves on the quest. This is apparently enough to [[spoiler:induce her to follow him into the real world at the end.]]
** On a more squicky level, Sir Orrin decided to marry Melisande on their first meeting...when she was five. Fortunately, this turned out to be more of a case of the knight deciding that he was supposed to marry the princess when she grew up, rather than one of genuine attraction, and he pretty much forgot the entire idea once he met Danielle.
* MadeOfShiny: The Silver Owls of the Full Moon; the silver acorn Antiquity gives Carolinus. Antiquity itself, arguably.
* MageTower: Each magician lives in one which reflects his elements and personality, except Carolinus, who lives in a farm.
** This might actually be a bit of fridge brilliance if you think about it. Carolinus is supposed to be the wizard of the green earth, it actually makes sense that he would live on a farm rather than in a tower as this keeps him closer to his element.
* TheMagicGoesAway: To the "Last Realm of Magic."
* MagicMisfire: Carolinus has been doing this more and more often lately, and it's what causes Gorbash and Peter to merge.
* MagicVersusScience: The worlds of science and magic are separate dimensions struggling for dominance, although Carolinus admits that science will ultimately win in the end.
* MeaningfulName: Sir Orrin explains to Peter that he named the baby dragon Gorbash after the circumstances of his hatching -- Orrin had fought with Ommadon's dragon, and it was gory, and he did get bashed up a bit.
* MissingMom[=/=]DisappearedDad: Princess Melisande's parents were killed by "the night demons" when she was a small child, resulting in her being HappilyAdopted by Carolinus. No explanation is ever offered for what became of the kingdom of which she is a princess.
* {{Mordor}}: Ommadon's kingdom.
* MutualKill: Bryagh and Sir Orrin.
* NewPowersAsThePlotDemands: When Ommadon causes Carolinus to lose the ability to track the quest through one magical means, the image of his brother Lo Tae Shao appears and reminds him that Melisande has the previously unmentioned ability to do the exact same thing by entering a trance.
* NotQuiteDead: Averted with Aragh. He DID die drowning, but was revived by Solarius, in exchange for killing the Sandmurk queen and joining the quest.
* TheObiWan: Smrgol.
* ObiWanMoment: An obvious consequence of the above.
* ObviouslyEvil: Ommadon. While the other four wizards are sagely older men (of [[EthnicMagician various racial backgrounds]]), Ommadon is a gaunt, hunched, goblin-like creature with yellow eyes, tusks, and even a horn on his nose, to say nothing of his billowing red robes.
* OffModel: There are minor animation flaws throughout -- ''e.g.'' the dragon-rose, described by Peter/Gorbash as "that small golden flower," is quite clearly deep pink.
* OneWingedAngel: Ommadon does this for the final confrontation and it ain't pretty.
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: Sir Orrin, who clearly has never been any closer to England than Liverpool -- [[ActorAllusion East Liverpool, Ohio]], that is.
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: Dragon biology is discussed rather in depth, including their need to eat limestone to generate hydrogen gas, which enables them to fly and breathe fire, as well as their use of soft metal for bedding, as it will not catch fire. This is actually in reference to the Real Life book ''The Flight of Dragons'' by Peter Dickinson. In it the author hypothesizes that dragons evolved from dinosaurs, survived extinction by pure luck, and evolved to fly and breathe fire using the aforementioned gas.
* OurElvesAreDifferent
* PinnedToTheWall: Danielle's EstablishingCharacterMoment against Giles' elves.
* PlotTailoredToTheParty: Each member of the group overcomes exactly one obstacle. Also, the shield and flute provided to the party by Solarius and Lo Tae Shao each fulfill exactly one function. (Well, the shield fulfills two if you count Peter selling it to the pawn shop guy at the end.) Between this, the Rule of Three entry (a magical quest can't begin without three members), and the beginning of the quest being dictated by Antiquity (itself a vague, intelligent force), it can be inferred that the world of magic is ''supposed'' to run like this.
* PreMortemOneLiner: Spoken by Peter in a final attack to a desperate Ommadon, who'd suffered [[ForMassiveDamage massive wounds]] from Peter's using scientific facts to [[YourHeadASplode to destroy the dragon heads]] Ommadon was using.
--> '''Peter''': "Come algebra, anatomy, astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, geometry, mathematics, meteorology, mineralology, oceanography, paleontology, physics, psychology, sociology, trigonometry, and zoology!"
** Particularly badass when you consider he recited all these ''in alphabetical order''.
* PropheciesAreAlwaysRight: Peter is identified as the ChosenOne to Carolinus because he somehow knows what the four magic brothers, Melisande and Gorbash looked like and made them into pieces for his board game.
* PuffOfLogic
* TheRenaissanceAgeOfAnimation
* RuleOfThree: When Carolinus first decides to inspire the quest to bring about his idealized magic realm, Lo Tae Shao reminds him that there must be three warriors at the start of a quest, because "the laws so command it."
* SamusIsAGirl: Danielle the archer.
* ScienceDestroysMagic: The central premise is a sort of ElementalRockPaperScissors in which magical creatures can't exist in a world where science dominates, and civilizations based on science are destroyed by fear and superstition.
* ShapedLikeItself: Why do humans prefer logic over magic? In the words of Lo Tae Zhao "[because] Logic is so... ''logical."''
* SharingABody: Peter and Gorbash.
* ShutUpHannibal: Peter's confrontation with Ommadon is basically one big series of these... Scientifically-themed, of course.
* SmallAnnoyingCreature: The Sandmurks, ratlike animals whose screechy noises will literally drive the listener mad.
* SssssnakeTalk: Smrgol. Thankfully, it's pretty mild. Odds are you won't notice it for a while.
* TakeOurWordForIt: The Sandmurks' screeches are so horrible that they will drive any listener mad. The audience only hears a mild chittering sound.
* TakingYouWithMe: Sir Orrin.
* TalkingInYourSleep: Melisande, during her weird coma, tells Carolinus what's going on with the quest.
* TalkingTheMonsterToDeath: Peter defeats the villain by reciting formulae and listing scientific disciplines.
* ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks: After Bryagh sets Orrin on fire, Sir Orrin throws his sword through the flames, skewering Bryagh and setting her on fire.
* TimeTravel: "Actually, it's been more like ten centuries!"
* TitleDrop: Not counting the title of the book Peter wrote.
-->'''Ommadon:''' Yes, Bryagh, it's your turn now! You and your legions, attack, demolish, devour, burn, grind them to dust! Go forth and death be thy destination! Doom! Doom! A Flight of Dragons! I COMMAND IT... ''A FLIGHT OF DRAGONS!!''
* TokenEvilTeammate: Ommadon, the only EvilSorcerer among the four wizards, which is lampshaded and discussed by Carolinus. Subverted in that while he held the position for apparently centuries, early in the movie he goes renegade and becomes the BigBad.
* WifeHusbandry: As mentioned, when Sir Orrin first met Melisande when she was five and he was a fully grown adult he decided he would marry her... he changed his mind pretty quickly when the (also fully grown adult) Danielle appeared.
* TheWorldIsJustAwesome: Peter towards the Magic Realm throughout the film. [[spoiler:Ultimately subverted when, by denying magic, he sacrifices his only chance to remain there.]]
* WorldHealingWave: After defeating Ommadon.
* WouldHurtAChild: Sir Orrin's first encounter with Bryagh was when he found her ''[[ImAHumanitarian eating]]'' an entire nest of ready-to-hatch dragon eggs. After he drove Bryagh off, the last surviving egg hatched - into Gorbash.
* [[WrongGuyFirst Wrong Girl First]]: Sir Orrin's love for Melisande and desire to marry her rather conveniently disappear once Danielle joins the party.
* TheXOfY
* YouCantGoHomeAgain: [[spoiler: Melisande gives up life in the Magic Realm to live in modern times with Peter.]]
* [[YouKilledMyFather You Killed My Parents]]: Melisande accuses Carolinus of this during a moment of madness induced by the Sandmurks.
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