Lionheart (1987 film)
Promotional film poster
|Directed by||Franklin J. Schaffner|
|Produced by||Talia Shire
|Screenplay by||Menno Meyjes
|Story by||Menno Meyjes|
|Music by||Jerry Goldsmith|
|Edited by||David Bretherton
|Distributed by||Orion Pictures|
|Running time||104 minutes|
Lionheart (also known as Lionheart: The Children's Crusade) is a 1987 adventure film directed by Academy Award-winner Franklin J. Schaffner. The film is produced by Talia Shire and Stanley O'Toole. Shire's brother, Francis Ford Coppola, initially planned to direct the film but instead opted to be executive producer along with Shire's husband, Jack Schwartzman. The screenplay was written by Menno Meyjes and Richard Outten from a story by Meyjes. Oscar-winning composer Jerry Goldsmith wrote the score.
Loosely based on the historical Children's Crusade, the story follows an exiled young knight, played by Eric Stoltz, who leads a band of orphans to join the Third Crusade with King Richard the Lionheart while protecting the children from the Black Prince (Gabriel Byrne), a disillusioned crusader turned child slave trader (not to be confused with the real-life Edward, the Black Prince).
- Eric Stoltz as Robert Nerra
- Gabriel Byrne as Black Prince
- Nicola Cowper as Blanche
- Dexter Fletcher as Michael
- Deborah Moore as Mathilda
- Nicholas Clay as Charles De Montfort
- Bruce Purchase as Simon Nerra
- Neil Dickson as King Richard
- Penny Downie as Madelaine
- Nadim Sawalha as Selim
- John Franklyn-Robbins as The Abbot
- Chris Pitt as Odo
- Matthew Sim as Hugo
- Paul Rhys as Mayor of the Underground City
- Sammi Davis as Baptista
- Wayne Goddard as Louis
- Courtney Roper-Knight as David
- Michael Sundin as Bertram
- Louise Seacombe as Girl from Plague Village
- Patrick Durkin as Fat Peasant
- Haluk Bilginer as Merchant
- Ralph Michael as William Nerra
- Barry Stanton as Duke De Bar
- Jan Waters as Duchess De Bar
- Ann Firbank as Catatonic Woman
Lionheart was a big budget movie filmed in Hungary and Portugal utilizing several castles and hundreds of Slavic children hired as extras. The movie was Schaffner’s penultimate film and represented the final collaboration between the director and his friend Jerry Goldsmith (together they previously worked on Planet of the Apes, Patton, Papillon, and The Boys from Brazil). In 1987 Varèse Sarabande released the soundtrack on two discs, with Jerry Goldsmith conducting the Hungarian State Opera Orchestra.
The distributor, Orion Pictures, delayed its theatrical release but when the film was finally shown in August 1987 in Canada, the limited release garnered negative reviews. Therefore the movie was largely unseen until being shown on pay television and finally released on VHS tape and DVD.
Leonard Maltin’s review is a rare complimentary one: “Richly produced, well acted, with a superb Jerry Goldsmith score, it’s a shame this sincere, if slight, film received almost no theatrical release.” Variety's reviewer watched the film at the Cineplex Odeon Canada Square theatre in Toronto on August 18, 1987. The review appeared in the August 26, 1987 issue describing the movie as "a flaccid, limp kiddie adventure yarn with little of its intended grand epic sweep realized" and accurately predicted that the movie "should head straight for the home video shelves".
Warner Home Video brought out a VHS tape in July 1994 and issued a DVD in December 2009 on the Warner Archives label.
- Nash, Jay Robert and Stanley Ralph Ross. The Motion Picture Guide 1988 Annual. Evanston, Illinois: CineBooks, Inc., 1988, pp. 165-166.
- Weinberg, Marc. “Hidden from a Theatre Near You” in Orange Coast Magazine, June 1989, p. 248.