Willow is a 1988 American fantasy film directed by Ron Howard, produced by and starring Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh and Billy Barty.

Davis plays the titular lead character and hero in a sword and sorcery setting: a reluctant farmer who assumes a crucial role in protecting a special baby from a tyrannical queen. Industrial Light & Magic created the visual effects sequences, which resulted in a revolutionary breakthrough with digital morphing technology. When it was released in 1988, Willow received mixed reviews from critics, but it was a modest financial success and received two Academy Award nominations.

Plot summary:

Ranon and Mims, the children of Willow Ufgood, a Nelwin farmer and aspiring sorcerer, discover a baby girl in a river and bring her to Willow for care. A terrifying dog-like creature attacks Willow’s village while they are looking for the baby. Willow consults the village council and the wizard The High Aldwin. High Aldwin assigns Willow a task, and she leaves the village to complete the task of delivering the baby girl to a responsible person. However, Willow soon discovers that the baby is Elora Danan, the child destined to bring down the evil sorceress Queen Bavmorda. Willow takes it upon himself to protect Elora from Queen Bavmorda, who intends to kill Elora and prevent her from fulfilling her destiny, with the help of his allies: swordsman Madmartigan, sorceress Fin Raziel, and the Brownies Franjean and Rool.


15 Interesting un facts about the 1988 movie, Willow

(1) Warwick Davis was only 17 years old during the shooting of Willow.

(2) The devil dogs were actually Rottweilers in rubber masks and suits.

(3) The Blackroot  that Madmartigan feeds Elora Danan is actually vanilla bean pods.

(4) Warwick Davis is only 12 years older than Dawn Downing, who plays his daughter, and only 10 years older than Mark Vandebrake, who plays his son.

(5) For the action scenes, a 13-pound (+-5,8kg) animatronic baby, capable of moving its head and opening its mouth, was used. This baby was heavier than the real baby. In scenes where Willow falls with it, a more flexible prop baby was used.

(6) The twins that played Elora Danan, who were six months old at the time, didn’t have a full head of hair yet, so they had to be fitted with wigs. During production they wore wigs that were syrup-applied since regular wig adhesive would be too abrasive for the new-borns’ skin.

(7) Because of the slow pace of production during filming, the babies outgrew the props and the baby carrier Willow was wearing, so they needed a new baby quickly. Gerry Toomey, the second assistant director, suggested his new niece, Rebecca Bearman, who was never credited in the movie.

(8) The scene in the movie where baby Elora Danan gets sick on Burglekutt was not part of the original script. Willow walked with a limp, which made the baby actor, Rebecca Bearman, nauseas. When she was lifted up in the scene, she vomited on the actor, and it was so comical that it was left in the movie.

(9) This was the first feature film to employ the Industrial Light & Magic “morphing” technique.

(10) In an interview with Warwick Davis, the film’s casting call for little people was the largest ever at the time. The film required between 225 and 240 actors.

(11) When Meegosh frees Madmartigan from the cage, Madmartigan joyfully picks up Meegosh and exclaims, “I feel better!” This was not in the script and was Val Kilmer’s idea.

(12) Val Kilmer and Joanne Whalley (Madmartigan and Sorsha) married the same year Willow debuted (1988) and was married until their divorce in 1996.

(13) While fans were waiting for a sequel to Willow, a trilogy of books that were released by author Chris Claremont who wrote the books in collaboration with Lucas between 1995 and 2000.  The Chronicles of the Shadow War includes Shadow Moon, Shadow Dawn and Shadow Star.

(14) George Lucas had planned to title the movie, “Munchkins,” but thankfully decided against it.

(15) Before Val Kilmer was cast, John Cusack auditioned and failed to land the role of Madmartigan.