Sinbad the Sailor searches for the lost continent of Lemuria with the help of his trusty crew along with the disfigured Grand Vizier of Marabia and the perpetually under-dressed ex-slavegirl Margiana. Along the way they will battle the evil sorcerer Prince Koura and encounter fantastic creatures such as the griffin and — in the film's most technically stunning moment — a six-armed statue of Kali brought to life through Koura's magic.
With special effects by Ray Harryhausen and a musical score by Miklós Rózsa (who also scored The Thief of Bagdad (1940)) The Golden Voyage of Sinbad is definitely an enjoyable experience — they don't make 'em like this anymore.
This movie provides examples of:
- Absolute Cleavage: Caroline Munro doesn't wear much on top and her cleavage is oiled up to attract the eye.
- Beauty Equals Goodness: Sinbad's Ragtag Bunch of Misfits are all conventionally gorgeous young men and women, except for the character whose disfigurement is part of the plot (and even he hides his face under a beautifully-designed metal mask except for one significant scene). Koura has a striking but not remotely pretty appearance, with Creepy Blue Eyes and a huge, hooked nose, and becomes visibly older and uglier (with crackled skin and red-rimmed eyes) from the effects of his magic overuse. His allies consist of sailors with more asymmetrical faces than Sinbad's crew, heavily painted tribespeople, and monsters.
- Benevolent Boss: Believe it or not, Prince Koura. He never indulges in a Kick the Dog moment with his second-in-command, Achmed, and as the final confrontation with Sinbad approaches Koura actually sends him to safety rather than place his life at risk.
- Bishounen Line: Koura starts off middle-aged, becomes increasingly elderly and twisted-looking as he starts throwing around more and more magic power, and then finally becomes younger looking than we've yet seen him for the final confrontation. Shortly followed by turning invisible, which may be considered a further increase in prettiness depending on your opinion of Tom Baker's appearance.
- Blood Magic: The evil wizard Prince Koura uses his own blood to create a homunculus.
- Cast from Lifespan: Prince Koura can use black magic, but at the price of aging every time he casts a spell. You have to wonder if he'd been a teenager before he started his sorcerous reign of terror...
- Creepy Cute (In-Universe): The bat-homunculus. A tiny demon made from Koura's blood, Achmed is scared of it but Koura clearly finds it adorable, his eyes melting as he looks at it and clucking at it to lure it onto his arm like it was a pet.
- Deadpan Snarker: Sinbad. For example, when Haroun's father says Allah will smile upon Sinbad for taking on lazy Haroun, Sinbad quips, "More likely he will laugh in my face."
- Dual Wielding: Kali, with six blades.
- Everybody Laughs Ending: At one of Haroun's goofs and the joke Sinbad and the Vizier make about Sinbad's Catch-Phrase.
- Evil Is Hammy: Sinbad's crew lives in a world of Dull Surprise and Eye Takes. Koura, however, is a universe unto himself of Chewing the Scenery, the Evil Laugh, wailing, trembling, moaning magic words in an ecstatic sort of way and shouting people's names really loudly.
- Fanfare: For the Grand Vizier.
- Flynning: All over the movie, particularly pronounced in the fight with Kali. The fight with Koura might be justified, as he's invisible at the time and the only visible part of him is his sword.
- Free Sample Plot Coupon: The Grand Vizier of Marabia gives Sinbad a quest to find the three golden tablets before the evil Koura does. Luckily Sinbad accidentally acquired the first tablet from Koura before meeting the Vizier, and uses it to locate the area where the other two tablets can be found.
- The Good Chancellor: One of the few Arabian Nights movies with a good Grand Vizier instead of an evil one.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: The Grand Vizier (who, as mentioned above, is a good guy, unusual for these sorts of stories) had his entire face burned off thanks to the mischief of Prince Koura, and so now wears a golden mask. He takes it off to scare some hostile tribesmen away, and later regains his face when Sinbad crowns him Sultan.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: Sinbad and his crew has no chance against the statue of Kali. Not only is it surprisingly fast and skilled with it's swords, but since the statue is made of stone, their swords are useless against it. They only win because Haroun manages to knock it off a ledge while it's busy fighting Sinbad, shattering it on the ground below.
- Human Sacrifice: Mariana's birthmark signals that she is supposed to be one for the Cyclops Centaur.
- Large Ham:
- It's Tom Baker, what do you expect? This is especially true when he's controlling the figurehead and when he swordfights with Sinbad near the end. It's true from his very first scene:
''"...and then the WORLD shall KNOW and YOU shall KNOW which way the fates have chose you shall GO!"
- Likewise, an uncredited (and unrecognizable) Robert Shaw absolutely devours the scenery as the Oracle of All Knowledge.
- Living Statue: Famously, the statue of Kali, the most iconic scene in the whole movie. Less well known is the figurehead of Sinbad's ship that Koura animates remotley to steal the map for him.
- Ms. Fanservice: Margiana, played by Caroline Munro. Lord have mercy. Essentially her only role in the story is to look pretty in not very much clothing— even her significant birthmark turns out to just mean that she's supposed to be a sacrifice to the Centaur.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Kali fights with six arms and swords.
- Occult Blue Eyes: Koura has strangely-colored, unearthly blue eyes that receive a lot of camera and color-contrast attention whenever he uses his magic. Played up with copious Eyedscreen and some truly stunning Idiosyncratic Wipes where the scene transitions from a shot of his face around his eyes, leaving them staring disembodied over the emerging scene for a very unsettling effect.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: It's about 50/50 whether Tom Baker can be bothered to affect Koura's vague Arabic accent in a scene.
- Our Centaurs Are Different: The Cyclops-centaur.
- Our Homunculi Are Different: Koura creates two of them. These flying imps are an extension of their creator's senses of sound and sight.
- Plunder: The Crown of Many Riches.
- Rhymes on a Dime: The Oracle speaks in this manner.
- Sadly Mythtaken: Kali. Lemuria too, if mistaking a failed biogeographic hypothesis from 1864 for an "ancient myth" counts.
- Saved by the Phlebotinum: Prince Koura's youth is restored by one of the fountains.
- Slave Liberation: Sinbad values freedom and doesn't like slavery, so he frees Margiana as soon as she's brought to his ship. Later, he does this for himself by refusing the Crown of Many Riches. As he puts it, "A king is never truly free."
- Step into the Blinding Fight: At the end Sinbad must fight Koura while Koura is invisible after being granted a "shield of darkness".
- The Stoner: Haroun's father is tired of him lying around all day smoking hashish, so he pays Sinbad gold and a slave girl to take the boy away.
- Villains Act, Heroes React: The second half of the movie is just Koura overdoing the magic and variously attacking Sinbad's crew with possessed statues, magic exploding temples, green-skinned savages and so on, hoovering up the Plot Coupons as he goes. The only thing Sinbad's crew is really capable of is fighting off whatever he throws at them and chasing after him.
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- What happened to Koura's second-in-command and the ship he came on? Koura sends the sailors who row him to Lemuria and later his second back to the ship, and that's the last we hear of it.
- Also, what exactly happened to Omar, the sailor in Sinbad's crew with a shaved head? He just disappears halfway through the battle with the centaur. We can see his legs sticking out from behind a rock but what happened to him? How did he die?
- What happened to the other unnamed men in Sinbad's island expedition? They apparently disappeared right after the battle with Kali. One of them did get injured in the battle, but it was uncertain whether or not it was fatal. As for the others, were they captured like their comrades by the Lemurians but failed to escape? If so, what was their fate?
- You Didn't Ask: Haroun is glad to finally be on land. When Sinbad asks him "Even dangerous land?" he panics, asking why Sinbad didn't tell him this was going to be dangerous. Sinbad responds with this trope.