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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:

  • Aerith and Bob: The three princesses: Caterina, Carolina,...Fantaghirò?
  • Alliterative Name: Caterina and Carolina. Also Romualdo, Cataldo, and Ivaldo, his best friends.
  • Brainless Beauty: 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.
  • 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:
    • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • The Girl Who Fits This Slipper: Romualdo asks ladies of the kingdom to come, so he can compare their eyes to the eyes of the girl in the forest (the only part of Fantaghirò he has seen).
  • Good Hurts Evil: After being forced to commit one act of goodness (via blackmail), the Dark Witch has her Black Magic powers greatly weakened - for instance, instead of turning her minions into worms, she conjures up vases of flowers. Xellesia tries to convince Tarabas that this trope will apply to him as well.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: The Black Queen. Her power is weaker in films 3 and 4 so she is compelled to follow the heroes but she doesn't want to help them, sometimes betrays them, and regrets her power and villainy. Then in film 5, she sentences Fantaghirò to death.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Tarabas in movie 3, and he doesn't know: he was raised to be the most evil wizard ever while being a good person all along. He usually kicks the dog and pets the dog at the same time.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Subverted in the fact that Tarabas has no interest in decimating the good guys and couldn't care less about them before he hears one of them has sworn vengeance against him for reasons unknown to him. Then he goes off to defy the trope.
  • Pair the Spares: Done rather well, actually - Angelica's childish love for Tarabas develops into a genuine desire for him to be happy, even if not with her, while Tarabas learns to distinguish between positive emotions and lets go of his unrequited love for Fantaghirò. We don't see if They Do... but they're on their way.
  • Pinocchio Syndrome: No Name in the fifth movie.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Film 5, "The Eater will be eaten." Meet Chekhovs Woodworm.
  • Really 700 Years Old: All mages are said to be old and immortal.
  • Rebellious Princess: Fantaghirò (It's even the title of the first movie). And Smeralda, as well: she often uses a slingshot and wears trousers like Fantaghirò. Both are Tomboy Princess.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Xellesia. In the fourth film, she confesses that she has always loved Tarabas but has had to keep her love hidden from him. She proves this by sacrificing herself so that Tarabas can escape to safety.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
    • 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.
  • Talking Animal: They all can, and stones, flowers or food can be very chatty as well.
  • 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.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Tarabas' warriors are completely useless when they get wet.


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