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Series / Fantaghirò

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True love is never ridiculous.

An Italian live-action series of the 1990s, of romantic fantasy, loosely based on the Italian folktale Fanta-Ghiro the Beautiful.

Princess Fantaghirò is the third daughter of a king, who bemoans never having had a son. But Fantaghirò (Alessandra Martines) is as if she were his son, actually: she loves fencing and fighting. In the first film, her kingdom is at war against the nearby country. It's resolved when Fantaghirò and Romualdo, the heir of the other kingdom, fall in love. Then in the next movies, Fantaghirò will fight a black queen, a dark sorcerer and his mother, and the emperor of evil. And sometimes, she has to save/find Romualdo.

Broadcast in several countries (Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Poland, etc.), especially near Christmas. The fans think that it was ruined by the fifth film (the ending, in fact) in 1996, even the director Lamberto Bava has said he wishes could shoot another sequel to correct it. Too many years have passed, unfortunately, unless they decide to recast.


Lamberto Bava shoot others TV movies which were also Romantic Fantasy: Desideria, The Princess and the Pauper and Princess Alisea.

Fantaghirò provides examples of:

  • Babies Ever After: Kinda subverted with Caterina and Carolina - Cataldo and Ivaldo didn't waste a second to knock them up...if only the series ended at #3...
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  • Beware the Nice Ones: The White Witch/White Knight is the Big Good of the first two movies, but pissing her off is a REALLY bad idea, as the army general ( who gets Taken for Granite) and the Black Witch ( who gets DISINTEGRATED!) find out.
  • Big Bad:
    • Film 1: The army general.
    • Film 2: The Black Witch.
    • Film 3: The sorcerer Tarabas and his mother Xellesia.
    • Film 4: Evil Overlord Darken.
    • Film 5: The Ogre "No Name".
  • Big Breast Pride: The Dark Witch, no wonder.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Tarabas develops one for Smeralda: By the end of the movie God help you if you try to harm that child.
  • Big "NO!": The King after the Queen's death.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Carolina, Caterina, and Fantaghirò. They're Beauty, Brains, and Brawn, too. Note that Fantaghirò was a brunette as a child, and her red hair becomes dark when it's cut down.
  • Black Magic: Subversion - Tarabas can still use his extensive dark powers after his Heel–Face Turn, but chooses not to.
  • Black Magician Girl: The Dark Witch.
  • Brainless Beauty / Dumb Blonde: Carolina, who didn't learn how to read.
    • It's a tradition of the reign that females wouldn't be taught to read or write, and even if they were able to, they couldn't unless told so by a man.
  • Brainy Brunette: Caterina. Her intelligence is her main quality, like good looks for Carolina and rebellious temper for Fantaghirò.
  • Broken Bird: Xellesia turns out to be one in movie 4.
  • Brother–Sister Team: Lightning and Bolt, the Black Witch minions.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The Black Witch, in stark contrast with the slightly more realistic (the army general in the first movie) or nuanced (Tarabas) main villains of the series, is a full-blown cartoon villain on par with the likes of Skeletor or Ursula, from the pointless nastiness to the hamminess. Hell, in her first appearance she hammily boasts about how evil and nasty and unbearable she is!
  • The Chosen One: Fantaghirò in all movies.
    • Smeralda in the third is the child fated to destroy Tarabas' evil reign.
    • Tarabas is a dark example. He's not happy.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Even when being called the Evil Sorcerer / Evil Overlord of EVIL, Tarabas has a track record of protesting against his mother killing prisoners and Mooks, trying to earn the trust of children he kidnapped (though conjuring up candy might not have been the best of ideas), saving his adversary several times and falling in love with her in the process, releasing Fantaghirò of her And Now You Must Marry Me promise...
  • Death by Childbirth: Fantaghirò's mother.
  • Death Is Not Permanent: At least any magical one. (A good old blade, in contrast, is very permanent - Tarabas' revival of Smeralda's parents at the end of film 3 is an illusion, and everyone, probably including Smeralda, is aware of that.)
  • Denied Food as Punishment: One of Fantaghirò's punishments as a child, together with being put into a well. The King, however, looks very heartwarmed when he discovers Carolina and Caterina giving food to their little sister and doesn't say anything.
  • Distressed Dude: In every film, at least once.
  • Don't Look at Me!: Fiodor doesn't even want to look at himself.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Inverted - Xellesia claims not to love Tarabas, but her first thought after being rescued in the fourth movie is to see if her son's all right.
  • Evil Is Hammy: The Dark Witch. Ooh, the Dark Witch.
  • Evil Laugh: The Dark Witch.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Subverted - it seems Prince Parsel was the Evil Sorcerer all along... except he just used him as a "means of travel."
  • Rule of Symbolism: Everything in the first movie. Even the pets (the loyal Carolina likes dogs, the intelligent Caterina likes cats, and the goose befriended by Fantaghirò is sacred to Juno, queen of the gods) and the clothing (the King and Fantaghirò, his future heir, both dress in the same tonality of blue).
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Lampshaded in the fourth movie: thanks to his training in dark magic Tarabas doesn't even know the difference between friendship and love.
  • Sapient Steed: Golden Hair, the talking horse.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: A royal child under the age of ten shall defeat Tarabas's evil kingdom.
  • Shapeshifting: The white witch (turns into a goose, a knight, an old guy, a hot chick, an old lady...). And the black witch as well (an eagle, roses, cristal, Fantaghirò look alike...). Tarabas turns into an eagle.
  • She's Got Legs: The Dark Witch wears outfits specifically designed to show this off.
  • Shout-Out: A chinese princess named Angelica in an Italian where did we meet one, NamesTheSame...
  • Spell My Name with an "S": It's pronounced 'Fantagaro' in French. And the title was Cavern of the golden rose, referring to the beginning of film 1.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Romualdo's father's ancestral armor looks like the lovechild of a porcupine and a needle cushion. This trope is defied, though - in his very first appearance, Romualdo points out how horribly useless and uncomfortable the armor is.
  • Spoiled Brat: Angelica, but she gets better.
  • Squishy Wizard: Tarabas has some trouble fighting after renouncing Black Magic. Fantaghirò exaggerates it a bit, though, as he somehow managed to learn a bit of swordfighting in-between movies.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Played with. Tarabas tries to find out who Fantaghirò is and accidentally ends up accompanying her and Smeralda for a while. In about a day, it's Love at First Sight for him - but in an inversion, he doesn't want to know her name or see her ever again, partly due to What Is This Thing You Call "Love"? and knowing that the sentiment won't be returned.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: The King's disappointment worsens when Fantaghirò grows up refusing to be meek and obedient as all women in his kingdom are expected to be.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver:
    • The three princesses in the first film, who are going to war as "knights" disguised in full armours. (Luckily, Caterina and Carolina think this is a drag and go home soon - going against Ivaldo and Cataldo probably would have ended as Curb-Stomp Battle at best and One-Hit Kill at worst.)
    • Romualdo gets Sweet on Polly Oliver.
    • Fantaghirò continues this in later films, wearing short hair and men's outfits. She's often mistaken for a guy. Surprisingly, children can tell her gender better than adults.
    • We desperately need a trope for a Disguised in Drag on top of this - the robbers' captain (who knows Fantaghirò) gets a good chuckle when suggesting to his men (who don't) to dress up the captured Fantaghirò as a harem dancer. They have a blast how realistic "he" looks as a girl...
  • Talking Animal: They all can, and stones, flowers or food can be very chatty as well.
  • Vain Sorceress: The best way to convince the Dark Witch to cooperate is to bank on this trope.
  • Villain Decay: The Black Witch. Because she does help Fantaghirò in the third film, albeit reluctantly, her evil powers are weakened. In the fourth and fifth films, she constantly tries to get back at Fantaghirò so she can be all-powerful again.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: How Romualdo falls in love with Fantaghirò.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Lightning and Bolt just disappear in the fourth movie. Also, we never learn the fate of Prince Parsel.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Boy, does Tarabas not get it at all. Friendship? Stop inventing new words! Love is love, right?
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: The King to Fantaghirò in the first movie.
  • Yandere: Angelica comes across as this at first, hoping to become an ascended fangirl of Tarabas.
  • Youngest Child Wins: Fantaghirò.


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