Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Last Unicorn (1982)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Last Unicorn (1982, US/UK)

In Rankin-Bass' animated fantasy film based on Peter Beagle's 1968 novel of the same name that was one of the most emotionally frank, sophisticated and mature G-rated cartoon ever made - an epic quest to find and restore the Unicorns in the world:

  • the opening prologue before the title credits - a discussion between an elder huntsman with his young son when riding on horses through an enchanted forest: (Young son: "Unicorns? I thought they only existed in fairy tales. This is a forest, like any other - isn't it?" Elder Huntsman: "Then why do the leaves never fall here? Or the snow? Why is it always spring here? I tell you there is one unicorn left in the world, and as long as it lives in this forest, we'll find no game to hunt here")
  • the opening dialogue spoken by a white female Unicorn (voice of Mia Farrow) - the last existing one - before the titles: ("I am the only unicorn there is? The last?"); and then: ("That cannot be. Why would I be the last? What do men know? Because they have seen no unicorns for a while does not mean that we have all vanished! We do not vanish! There has never been a time without unicorns. We live forever. We are as old as the sky, old as the moon. We can be hunted, trapped; we can even be killed if we leave our forests, but we do not vanish! Am I truly the last?")
  • the playful, rhyming butterfly (voice of Robert Klein), who made an important announcement and revelation, and provided about hints to the whereabouts of the other Unicorns after they had been herded away by an evil and demonic creature known as the Red Bull (voice of Frank Welker); the last Unicorn ws determined to leave the forest to find them and bring them all back
  • during the Last Unicorn's quest, her capture by evil witch Mommy Fortuna (voice of Angela Lansbury) who imprisoned the unicorn in a cage for display in her Midnight Carnival - and her speech describing her thoughts about having also captured another creature for display - a dangerous immortal harpy named Celaeno: ("The harpy's as real as you are, and just as immortal. And she was just as easy to capture, if you want to know...Oh, she'll kill me one day or another. But she will remember forever that I caught her, and I held her prisoner. So there's my immortality, eh? Now, you were out on the road hunting for your own death, and I know where it awaits you. I know him, that one...The Red Bull of King Haggard")
  • the sequence of the Unicorn's escape from Mommy Fortuna's cage with aid from the clownish, yet heroic, aspiring magician Schmendrick (voice of Alan Arkin) who was in the service of Mommy Fortuna; the Unicorn regretfully told Schmendrick that she couldn't turn him into a magician - his true wish, but she made a request that he join her on her quest to find the other unicorns: ("A butterfly told me of a Red Bull, who pushed all the other unicorns to the ends of the earth. And Mommy Fortuna spoke of a King Haggard. So I'm going where they are, to learn whatever they know...You may come with me if you like, though I wish you'd asked for some other reward for having freed me....I cannot turn you into something you are not. I cannot turn you into a true magician")
  • the introduction of an additional traveling companion - the character of middle-aged and sharp-tongued Molly Grue (voice of Tammy Grimes), the lover of Captain Cully, who delivered a powerful and bitter speech castigating the Unicorn: ("And where were you twenty years ago? Ten years ago? Where were you when I was new? When I was one of those innocent young maidens you always come to? How dare you! How dare you come to me now, when I am this!")
  • the temporary transformation of the Unicorn (when racing away from the fiery Red Bull), who was turned by Schmendrick's magic into a human girl with knee-length white hair named Lady Amalthea, to save her from the Red Bull; Schmendrick promised Lady Amalthea that he would return her to her Unicorn state after her quest was completed
Unicorn - Transformed by Schmendrick
into White Haired Human Lady Amalthea
  • Amalthea's reaction to the shock that she was now mortal, and her song about feeling human: ("Who am I? Why am I here? What is it that I am seeking in this strange place, day after day? I-I knew a moment ago, but I-I have forgotten....(singing) Once, I can't remember, I was long ago, Someone strange, I was innocent and wise, And full of pain. Now that I'm a woman, Everything is strange. I must go to him. I must face the Bull again and discover what he has done with them, before I forget myself forever. But I don't know where to find him. And I'm lonely. (singing) Once, when I was searching Somewhere out of reach, Far away, In a place I could not find Or heart obey, Now that I'm a woman, Everything has changed, Everything has changed, Everything has changed")
  • the dangerously obsessive, unhappy white-haired character of King Haggard (voice of Christopher Lee) in his seaside castle, who was the keeper of the Red Bull; when he became suspicious, he demanded to know Amalthea's real identity: ("What is the matter with your eyes? Why can I not see myself in your eyes? Who is she!?...I want to know who she is!")
  • King Haggard's adopted son Prince Lir (voice of Jeff Bridges) awkwardly courted and fell in love with Amalthea (who was tempted by mortal love)
  • the sequence of Prince Lir, Molly, Schmendrick, and Amalthea confronting the Red Bull in his lair - when Amalthea was turned back into a Unicorn, and Prince Lir sacrificed his life to defend and save her from the Red Bull; in retaliation, the Unicorn forced the Red Bull into the ocean - thereby releasing and freeing hundreds of other white Unicorns from the water; the rush of Unicorns from the sea caused the crumbling and destruction of Haggard's castle (and the death of Haggard himself)
The Other Unicorns Freed From the Sea - and the Crumbling Collapse of Haggard's Seaside Castle, and the Death of King Haggard
  • after all of the other Unicorns were restored to the world, the Unicorn magically revived Prince Lir
  • the final scene of the Unicorn's bittersweet thanks and goodbye to Schmendrick (who was at first apologetic for giving her the taint of mortality) before departing to return to the forest; she was thankful because she was both the only Unicorn who could feel regret - but also feel love: ("I am a little afraid to go home. I have been mortal, and some part of me is mortal yet. I am no longer like the others, for no unicorn was ever born who could regret, but now I do. I regret...Unicorns are in the world again. No sorrow will live in me with that joy - save one. And I thank you for that part, too. Farewell, good magician. I will try to go home")

The Shadow of The Last Unicorn in the Enchanted Forest

The Elder Huntsman Discussing Unicorns With Young Son

The Last White Female Unicorn

The Unicorn Captured and Imprisoned by Mommy Fortuna

The Unicorn Asking For Schmendrick to Join In Her Quest

The Unicorn Racing Away From Fiery Red Bull

King Haggard

The Unicorn's Magical Revival of Prince Lir

The Unicorn's Bittersweet Farewell to Schmendrick


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