Fire and Ice (1983 film)

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Fire and Ice
Fire and Ice 1983 poster.png
Theatrical release poster by Frank Frazetta
Directed byRalph Bakshi
Written by
Based onCharacters
by Ralph Bakshi
Frank Frazetta
Produced by
  • Frank Frazetta
  • Ralph Bakshi
CinematographyFrancis Grumman
Edited byA. David Marshall
Music byWilliam Kraft
Distributed by20th Century-Fox
Release date
  • August 26, 1983 (1983-08-26)
Running time
81 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1.2 million
Box office$860,000

Fire and Ice is a 1983 American animated epic dark fantasy adventure film directed by Ralph Bakshi. The film, a collaboration between Bakshi and Frank Frazetta, was distributed by 20th Century-Fox, which also distributed Bakshi's 1977 release, Wizards.[1] The animated feature, based on characters co-created by Bakshi and Frazetta, was made using the process of rotoscoping, in which scenes were shot in live-action and then traced onto animation cels.

The screenplay was written by Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas, both of whom had written Conan stories for Marvel Comics. The background painter was James Gurney, the author and artist of the Dinotopia illustrated novels. Iconic American painter Thomas Kinkade also worked on the backgrounds to various scenes. Peter Chung, the creator of Aeon Flux, was a layout artist.


From their citadel Icepeak, the evil queen Juliana and her son Nekron send forth a wave of glaciers; this forces humanity to retreat south towards the equator. Nekron sends a delegation to Firekeep, the volcano citadel of king Jarol, ostensibly to request the king's surrender. In truth, the ice queen has orchestrated it as a ruse so that her subhuman troops can abduct Jarol's beautiful daughter, princess Teegra. Juliana feels that Nekron should take her as a bride to produce an heir.

Teegra escapes her captors and comes upon a young warrior named Larn, the only survivor of a village destroyed by Nekron's glaciers. The two grow close, but they become separated when Larn is attacked by a monstrous giant squid, and Nekron's subhumans recapture Teegra. She briefly escapes again, but runs into the witch Roleil and her son Otwa, who intend to use her as a bargaining chip for incurring Nekron's favor. However, the subhumans simply kill them and take Teegra to Icepeak. Nekron refuses to marry Teegra, in spite of his mother's plan, but keeps the princess as a hostage.

While looking for Teegra, Larn encounters Darkwolf, a mysterious masked warrior who pursues a personal vendetta against Nekron and Juliana. While Darkwolf holds off Nekron's horde, Larn continues his search and comes upon Roleil's remains, which briefly reanimate and tell him how to find the princess. At the same time, Jarol sends his son, Prince Taro, to Nekron to bargain for Teegra's release. With Larn as a stowaway on their ship, Taro and his emissaries reach Icepeak. Nekron refuses to release Teegra and insults her, inciting Taro to attack him. Using his magic, Nekron forces the prince and his delegation to kill each other.

Larn infiltrates the ice fortress, but fails to retrieve Teegra and is rescued by Darkwolf. They travel to Firekeep to inform Jarol, who decides to give them time to penetrate Icepeak and rescue his daughter until the glacier crosses the border to his realm, forcing him to release the lava from the volcano to destroy the advancing ice. With some help from Jarol's dragon hawk riders, they assault the fortress, but only Darkwolf manages to reach Nekron. Larn, stranded midway during the attack, finally finds and rescues Teegra from Juliana. Darkwolf slays Nekron, but Nekron's dying agony expands the glacier explosively, prompting Jarol to open the volcano's valves. The lava flow swiftly overcomes the glacier, obliterating Icepeak, Juliana, and the subhuman army.

Larn and Teegra barely succeed in escaping the cataclysm. When they encounter a wounded subhuman, Larn prepares to kill him, but Teegra stops him and they embrace with a kiss. From atop a cliff, a smiling Darkwolf briefly watches the pair, then disappears.


Character Performance model Voice actor
Larn Randy Norton William Ostrander
Teegra Cynthia Leake Maggie Roswell
Darkwolf Steve Sandor
Nekron Sean Hannon Stephen Mendel
Jarol Leo Gordon
Taro William Ostrander
Juliana Eileen O'Neill Susan Tyrrell
Roleil Elizabeth Lloyd Shaw
Otwa Micky Morton
Tutor Tamarah Park Clare Torao (as Clare Nono)
Monga Big Yank
Pako Greg Wayne Elam
Envoy Alan Koss
Defender Captain Hans Howes
Subhumans James Bridges
Shane Callan
Archie Hamilton
Michael Kellogg
Douglas Payton
Dale Park
Ray Oliver
Nathan Purdee
Le Tari


By 1982, fantasy films had proven to be considerably successful at the box office, including The Beastmaster and Conan the Barbarian, and Bakshi had a desire to work with long-time friend and fantasy illustrator Frank Frazetta.[2] Bakshi received $1.2 million to finance Fire and Ice from some of the same investors as American Pop, and 20th Century-Fox agreed to distribute the film based upon the financial longevity of Wizards.[2]

Because Fire and Ice was the most action-oriented story Bakshi had directed up until that point, rotoscoping was again used, and the realism of the animation and design replicated Frazetta's artwork.[2] Bakshi and Frazetta were heavily involved in the production of the live-action sequences, from casting sessions to the final shoot.[2] The film's crew included background artists James Gurney and Thomas Kinkade, layout artist Peter Chung, and established Bakshi Productions artists Sparey, Steven E. Gordon, Bell and Banks.[2] Chung strongly admired Bakshi and Frazetta's work, and animated his sequences on the film while simultaneously working for The Walt Disney Company.[2]


Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote, "If you love comic books but can't bear the unnecessary bother of turning pages, 'Fire and Ice' [...] may be for you. It would help if you were a sex-obsessed 12-year old boy, but it isn't essential."[3] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film two stars out of four and called it "attractive to look at, but its slow-moving, predictable story makes viewing it much like reading a comic book with pages made of lead." He added that "the constant rhythm of Teegra being captured and rescued and captured and rescued is, after a while, more than a bit tiring."[4] Sheila Benson of the Los Angeles Times wrote that "in spite of all the glorious washes in the background, which do indeed have the Frazetta look, 'Fire and Ice' is as unintentionally funny a fantasy as you could hope for."[5] Donald Greig of The Monthly Film Bulletin called the action sequences "impressive enough" but stated that "the animators' fetishistic fascination with the human form ... underlines the two-dimensionality of the script, for the artwork is certainly the only fleshing-out that characters receive."[6]

Colin Greenland reviewed Fire and Ice for Imagine magazine, and stated that "Much more enjoyable is his earlier Wizards, now on video from CBS/Fox, a fantasy with a sly sense of humour. Compared with this, Fire and Ice is a bit glum."[7]

Andrew Leal wrote, "The plot is standard [...] recalling nothing so much as a more graphic episode of Filmation's He-Man series. [...] Fire and Ice essentially stands as a footnote to the spate of barbarian films that followed in the wake of Arnold Schwarzenegger's appearance as Conan."[8]

In 2003, the Online Film Critics Society ranked the film as the 99th greatest animated film of all time.[9]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on VHS, Betamax, CED, and LaserDisc by RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video in 1983. GoodTimes Home Video re-released the film on VHS in 1988. In 2005, it was released on DVD by Blue Underground Entertainment on a limited edition two-disc set, paired with the documentary Frazetta: Painting With Fire, about the film's co-creator and producer, Frank Frazetta.[10] The company later released the film on Blu-ray in 2008 with Remastered 1080p video and a 7.1 surround sound remix in both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.


In 2010, Robert Rodriguez announced that he would direct a live-action remake of the film.[11] Bakshi stated that he did not want any involvement with the film, but he agreed to license the rights to Rodriguez.[12] The deal closed shortly after Frazetta's death.[11] On December 18, 2014, Sony Pictures Entertainment acquired the filming rights to the live-action remake version of the film, to be directed by Robert Rodriguez.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. p. 178. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Gibson, Jon M.; McDonnell, Chris (2008). "Fire and Ice". Unfiltered: The Complete Ralph Bakshi. Universe Publishing. pp. 192, 196. ISBN 978-0-7893-1684-4.
  3. ^ Maslin, Janet (November 24, 1983). "Screen: 'Fire and Ice'". The New York Times. C12.
  4. ^ Siskel, Gene (January 24, 1984). "Slow plot weighs down 'Fire and Ice' animation". Chicago Tribune. Section 5, p. 2.
  5. ^ Benson, Sheila (August 26, 1983). "'Fire and Ice' is a Marriage of Genres". Los Angeles Times. Part VI, p. 6.
  6. ^ Greig, Donald (August 1984). "Fire and Ice". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 51 (607): 242.
  7. ^ Greenland, Colin (November 1984). "Fantasy Media". Imagine (review). TSR Hobbies (UK), Ltd. (20): 47.
  8. ^ Beck, Jerry; Martin Goodman; Andrew Leal; W. R. Miller; Fred Patten (2005). "Fire and Ice". The Animated Movie Guide. Chicago Review Press. p. 84. ISBN 978-1-55652-591-9.
  9. ^ "Top 100 Animated Features of All Time". Online Film Critics Society. Retrieved April 21, 2010.
  10. ^ "Fire And Ice (2-Disc Limited Edition)". Blue Underground. Archived from the original on April 26, 2007. Retrieved March 25, 2007.
  11. ^ a b Knowles, Harry (May 19, 2010). "A family friendly Machete? What do you mean no race war? & A secret Frazetta project?? Exclusive Robert Rodriguez interview!!". Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  12. ^ Ashby, Devon (March 14, 2012). "The God's Truth: An Interview With Ralph Bakshi (Part 2)". Crave Online. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
  13. ^ Fleming, Mike (December 18, 2014). "Sony Pictures Acquires Robert Rodriguez & His Frank Franzetta Homage 'Fire And Ice'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 19, 2014.

External links[edit]