A knight is sworn to valor. His heart knows only virtue. His blade defends the helpless. His might upholds the weak. His word speaks only truth. His wrath undoes the wicked! — The Old Code
A 1996 movie starring Dennis Quaid and the voice of Sean Connery.Quaid is Bowen, a knight in 10th Century (Saxon) England who is one of the few left who adhere to the "Old Code" of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Bowen is the teacher and mentor to a young prince named Einon. During a peasant uprising, the King is killed in battle and the prince is horribly injured. Bowen takes the boy to his mother, who strikes a deal with an intelligent dragon (Sean Connery) to perform an ancient ritual, which will give the prince his life back. A few weeks later as Einon assumes his role as the new King, Bowen realizes that Einon is cruel and sadistic, more than the previous King. Disillusioned, Bowen believes that the dragonheart corrupted Einon and sets out to hunt down and kill every last dragon.After many a year of dragonslaying, Bowen comes across the one who performed the dragonheart ritual, though he doesn't recognize him. They fight to a standstill, and decide to strike a partnership instead of killing each other. The dragon harasses towns and Bowen will pretend to kill him. The dragon doesn't have to worry about actual slayers and Bowen makes a living hustling the villagers.Bowen eventually gives the dragon a name, Draco, after the dragon constellation. His time with Draco reminds him of how far he has gone away from the Old Code, and he realizes that Einon was always evil. Both Bowen and Draco believed their influence could change him but they were wrong. They then decide to encourage another peasant uprising to bring down Einon. With Bowen as a leader and with Draco as muscle, they believe they can succeed. What no one expected was that Draco and Einon's fates are linked together through the dragonheart.The movie was one of the first after Jurassic Park to feature such extensive CGI; Draco was a living, breathing character of his own and Sean Connery's voice gave him added weight.Critics were ho-hum about the film, but the majority of moviegoers enjoyed it. Criticisms seemed to be more on the non-Draco production values, compared to epics like Braveheart, showing a few dozen people fighting a battle in a crowded forest didn't give quite the same spectacle (never mind the fact that armies in the dark ages tended to not be much larger than a few dozen men). Also, the humor was sometimes slapstick and at other times anachronistic, with the monk character Gilbert quoting from the 16th century King James Bible.The head screenwriter, Charles Edward Pough, published a novelization of the story which considerably expanded on the characters, events, and world.A sequel, Dragonheart: A New Beginning came Direct-to-Video in 2000. Although the new dragon, Drake, was voiced by Robby Benson of Beauty and the Beast fame, it was fairly standard DTV fare.Toward the end of Bowen's life, he had returned to the cave where he had first met Draco - and discovered a dragon egg. The egg was put in the care of Gilbert's monastery, where it hatched into a young dragon named Drake. Drake is cared for by a friar and the novice Mansel in secret, until he is one day discovered by Mansel's friend Geoff, a stableboy who dreams of being a knight. Meanwhile, a pair of travelers arrive from the East, searching for a dragon they believe has been born; a prophecy says an ancient evil will take hold of the land using a dragon's heart when a two-tailed comet blazes across the sky. The comet is just days away, and they intend to prevent the evil from happening.
Bittersweet Ending: Due to the bond shared by Draco and Einon, in order for Einon to be beaten, Draco himself must die. Oh, and also he's the last dragon still alive in the entire world.
But as for the sweet and/or Heartwarming part: even though Draco dies, by sacrificing his life in order to stop Einon, he's redeemed himself and earned his place in the Dragons' Heaven, among his brothers again at last.
Blood from the Mouth: Hewe has some on the corner of his mouth during the battle at the end, though it's not a fatal example.
Bond One-Liner: Gilbert gets quite a few of these during the battle in the forest.
It's interesting to note, though, that Draco breathes fire from his nostrils, not from his mouth. Most likely, this is to make the stalemate in his battle with Bowen plausible.
It would have been easy for Bowen to stab Draco if Draco burned him so where the fire came from didn't affect the stalemate.
Broken Bird: Kara, to an extent, because of her father's murder. The novelization implies that Queen Aislinn (Einon's mother) may also be one; Einon's father invaded her homeland and slaughtered many of her dragon-loving people, but kept her for his queen because of her beauty.
Butt Monkey: Felton in the novelization. He's always picked on by Einon's men (and occasionally Einon himself), partly because he is poor at hunting (to the point that once he left a dead deer out the day before, claiming to shoot it that day, but didn't realize before telling everyone to look at his "kill" that the carcass had been half eaten by a scavenger overnight). He's caught with his pants down when Draco attacks the village, his house is damaged in the attack, and Bowen steals his money by asking for it in advance and then pretending to have been eaten. He gets his hand cut off by a peasant. Later on, during the battle, Gilbert shoots him in the rear with an arrow, giving a Bond One-Liner to add insult to injury. Immediately after, the girl he had been in bed with attacks him, knocks him out, and then steals some money and his jeweled cuff (which he had been wearing over his stump). In the end, he is stabbed from behind and killed by the peasants.
Cessation of Existence: Draco says that only certain dragons get to have an afterlife, branded by the stars. The others just... disappear when they die.
Chekhov's Gun: During Draco's attack on the castle, a big axe is dropped when one of the dragon slayers gets killed. It is later picked up by Kara to defend herself from Brok and afterwards it's used by Bowen to kill Draco.
Chekhov's Skill: When pretending to be hunted down by Bowen, Draco deftly catches the ballista bolts that Bowen shoots at him. During the final battle, it comes useful when the real dragon killers use ballistas against him.
Chess Motif: In the novelization, Queen Aislinn is forever playing chess. During Einon's childhood she played it with Bowen, who was the only one who saw any value in it; after Einon becomes King, she plays against herself.
Coconut Superpowers: Subverted; the movie takes its time to reveal Draco, but once he is shown in full they don't cut any corners.
Con Man: Bowen and Draco form a duo, scamming villagers out of their money by staging dragon kills.
Constellations: The constellation Draco is also known as the Dragon's Heaven. According to dragon religion, dragons that live honorable lives are allowed to become a star in the constellation when they die.
Covered in Mud: Kara's villagers, in addition to throwing fruits/vegetables at her, throw mud. Bowen taunts her about the mud, and she responds by smearing a smashed watermelon in his face.
Creator Cameo: Director Rob Cohen is Draco's singing voice. He also makes an appearance in the second con scene (the one where the water is too shallow): he is the villager that walks out and says "Meat!" first.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Brother Gilbert turns out to be one of these, once he has a bow and arrow in his hands; he even follows Bowen into situations so dangerous that the men of the village hesitate.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Einon proves to be this when one of his advisors scoffs at the peasant rebellion. Einon refuses to underestimate them, Bowen, or Draco.
The Gift: Parodied with Brother Gilbert, who picks up a bow and arrow pretty quickly.
His first and second shot in his life, after some vague instructions, are both deadly shots.
God Save Us from the Queen!: Averted with Einon's mother, Queen Aislinn, whose only crime was loving her son and trying to save him. Between Einon and his father, this movie is a much stronger example of God Save Us From the Kings.
Hands-On Approach: Bowen gives Kara instruction of how to properly use a battle hatchet.
Here There Were Dragons: The Arthurian days are past, the Old Code is almost forgotten about, and dragons have since been nearly hunted to extinction. And at the end, they're all gone.
Heroic BSOD: Bowen has one after realizing that he had helped wipe out an innocent species for no reason (he thought that Draco's heart had made Einon evil, when in fact Einon had always been a monster.)
Healing Hands: Kara tends to an injury Bowen receives while fighting with Einon; Bowen compliments her on having "a healer's touch."
The Medic: The novelization gives Queen Aislinn this role. It's noted that Einon is annoyed by her frequent forays out into the villages to dispense healing herbs and minister to the sick, but as it doesn't really inconvenience him, he lets her do as she pleases.
Mexican Standoff: Probably the only way they could do it between a man and a dragon. Draco tried to chew Bowen in self-defense, so Bowen grabbed his sword and embedded it in the roof of Draco's mouth. If either tried to make the finishing blow it would be suicide.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Bowen doesn't want to kill Draco because he's the last of his kind. But whose fault is that, dragonslayer?
Not to mention he was only killing dragons in the first place to kill Draco, thinking that it was his heart transplant that made Einon evil. Turns out Einon was a massive prick to begin with and parroted the teachings of the Old Code just to satisfy Bowen and be taught how to fight.
Gilbert's well-aimed arrow to Einon's heart incapacitates Draco long enough for him to be captured.
Offered the Crown: In both the ending narration and the novelization of the film, it's heavily implied that Bowen and Kara are named King and Queen after Einon's death.
Our Dragons Are Different: They're intelligent, can talk, seem capable of some magic, and though they're commonly hunted by humans, they're still expected to help them in order to ascend to their version of "Heaven." Also, they have tails that act like giant scissors, and they can only breathe fire through their nose (said fire tends to have explosive effects.)
Palate Propping: Leads to a standoff with Bowen literally inside Draco's mouth.
Recycled Trailer Music: The main theme has been recycled countless times in other movie trailers. If you don't recognize it right away, go to about 2:28 on that video. If you still don't recognize it, you probably haven't been to a movie theatre since 1996. It is frequently used for montages at the Academy Awards, possibly because the score was not even nominated the year the movie came out.
Redemption Equals Death: According to Draco, a dragon must earn his place in the Dragons' Heaven. If they don't, then in Draco's own words, "our spirit disappears, as if we never were." By sharing his heart with Einon, he loses his place in the Heavens. But by sacrificing his life to stop Einon, he earns his place back, and becomes the brightest star in the Dragons' Heaven.
Redemption in the Rain: Bowen renews his knightly vows in the pouring rain, kneeling before King Arthur himself
Stars Are Souls: Good dragons who die become a star in the Draco constellation. This happens to Draco when he dies.
Draco: To the stars, Bowen. To the stars.
The Stoic/Stoic Woobie: Queen Aislinn, in the novelization. She seems to have developed this personality as a result of her forced marriage to a ruffian and the equally brutal kingship of her only child.
Soul Jar: Draco. As long as he lives, so does Einon.
Synchronization: Draco and Einon can feel each other's pain. Einon also lives as long as Draco does.
That Man Is Dead: Kara speaks of a great knight she saw once. Bowen, the knight in question, responds that "that knight died of his wounds long ago."
This Is My Name on Foreign: Kinda. Draco even replies that Bowen is just calling him "Dragon" in a different tongue instead of his own, but accepts the name because he finds an honor to be named after the constellation.
The Unreveal: Draco's real name, which supposedly can't be pronounced by humans anyway. He's about to say it but it devolves into a loud series of roars and him falling onto his back due to Kara stabbing Einon in the shoulder back at his castle.
Virgin Sacrifice: When the people of Kara's village don't want to pay money to Bowen to drive Draco away, he suggests they offer one of these instead. Of course they pick the loudmouthed redhead who keeps trying to stir up rebellion.
You Killed My Father: Einon slaughters Kara's father right in front of her, inciting her endless hatred.
Dawson Casting: Lian's age isn't ever said, but she appears to be a teenager and is referred to as a "girl" instead of a woman. Whatever her age, it's certainly younger than actress Rona Figueroa's 28 at the time of filming.
A Dog Named Dog: "Drake" is a term meaning "(small) dragon", or certain (small) types of dragon.
Dual Wielding: Both Roland and Osric fight with a sword in each hand at some point.
Fan Disservice: Seeing a monk - even a supposedly teenage one - run around in nothing but underwear (which happens to look quite a bit like a diaper).
Farts on Fire: While learning to breathe fire, Drake starts to lose control of it and turns away from the nearby village to avoid damaging anything. Unfortunately, it comes out the wrong end, and he destroys a building.
Idiot Ball: Lian and Kwan are knowingly carrying around the heart of an extremely evil dragon. How did it not occur to them until Osric regained his true form that his heart, rather than Drake's, might possibly be the one in the prophecy?
Playing Possum: Done by Osric and his men in battle. Osric was pretending that he was dying and needed Drake's heart, but when Geoff realized that Osric wasn't wounded, then some of Osric's "dead" men jumped up and attacked.
Renowned Selective Mentor: Geoff is trained by the king's advisor Osric. Osric claims it is because he's a natural and deserves special attention, but his real motive was to make Geoff eager for battle and to trust him in order to convince Drake to give up half his heart.
Samus Is a Girl: The first time Lian is seen, she is believed to be a boy; it is only a little while later that she is revealed to be a girl.
Secret Test of Character: Kwan and Lian want to test Drake to see if it will be his heart that will cause the evil. Kwan claims that there's a way to learn all of the ancient dragon secrets instantly; Drake passes by refusing and deciding to learn naturally, year by year, from Kwan.
Geoff: Come on, don't say it like that, take some pride in being special! Mansel: All right, I am special! Geoff: It's not like Pride is one of those Seven Deadly Sins or anything. Mansel(stops walking and frowns): ...Actually, it is.
And then later:
(Mansel is holding a whole armload of food) Geoff: Hey, you have fun. 'Cause it's not like Gluttony is on that seven deadly sin list too. (Mansel quickly sets down all the food and walks away)