|Released||June 27, 1986|
|Running time||101 minutes|
|Written by||Jim Henson & Dennis Lee (story), Terry Jones (screenplay), Elaine May (uncredited)|
|Original music by||David Bowie (songs), Trevor Jones (score)|
|Studio|| Henson Associates|
Labyrinth is a 1986 fantasy film written and directed by Jim Henson.
A teenage girl named Sarah (Jennifer Connelly), tired of babysitting for her little brother, idly wishes that the goblins would come and take him away--then must make amends when Jareth, the Goblin King (David Bowie), takes her up on the offer. Sarah must find her way to the Castle at the center of the large labyrinth within 13 hours, or she will lose her brother forever. Along the way, she enlists the assistance of Hoggle, a grumpy dwarf; Ludo, a large horned monster with a heart of gold; and Sir Didymus, a knightly dog whose courage far exceeds his capacity to actually do anything useful.
Behind the Scenes
Burned by the negative reception that met The Dark Crystal, Jim Henson set out to make a film that was every bit as technically innovative as his last film, while incorporating the humor and music that audiences loved from Sesame Street and The Muppet Show.
For the humor, Jim enlisted Terry Jones, formerly of Monty Python, to write the script. For music, Jim turned to David Bowie, who wrote all of the songs and also played the lead villain. For production design, Jim once again employed Brian Froud, and Trevor Jones (who had scored Dark Crystal) returned to provide a still fanciful but more lighthearted soundtrack.
To help secure funding for the film, Jim called upon George Lucas to executive produce. Jim and George had a long collaborative history together, as Lucas had worked closely with Jim on the creation of Yoda for the Star Wars movies.
Despite its dynamic creative team, audiences still stayed away. Though not a box-office hit in its initial release, the film has performed steadily for Columbia TriStar over the years in various VHS and DVD editions. It was while in discussions for a sequel to Labyrinth that the idea for the movie MirrorMask was created.
Many Muppet veterans worked on some part of this film. Brian Henson provided the voice and performed the remote-control mouth movements for Hoggle. Dave Goelz performed Sir Didymus, and Steve Whitmire performed Didymus' "trusty steed" Ambrosius. Frank Oz performed a wise old man, and Goelz performed a strange creature that came out of the Wiseman's hat. Many other Muppet alumni contributed to the film, including Karen Prell (as the Worm), Kevin Clash (the lead Firey), and Cheryl Henson. (With the exception of Brian and Kevin, none of these performers contributed voices to the film.) Meanwhile, another Muppet veteran, Louise Gold, appeared as a dancer in the ballroom scene, but did not puppeteer on the film.
Many other LucasFilm alumni contributed to the film including Kenny Baker (played R2-D2 in the various Star Wars movies), Warwick Davis (played Wicket the Ewok and others in the various Star Wars movies), and Jack Purvis (played a Jawa, Ugnaught, and Ewok in the various Star Wars movies).
Danny John-Jules, who later played Cat in the cult sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf, provided the voice for two of the Fireys.
Brian Froud's real son, Toby, plays Sarah's baby brother Toby.
David Bowie recorded music videos for the songs "Underground" and "As the World Falls Down" from the Labyrinth soundtrack for potential airplay on MTV. These videos can be found through EMI's official YouTube channel, and on the DVD The Best of Bowie.
Gates McFadden, who played Dr. Beverly Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation, was one of the film's choreographers (credited as Cheryl McFadden).
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held a 20th anniversary screening of the movie on July 20, 2006 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Brian Henson and members of the film's creative team were scheduled to attend.
Caroll Spinney has offered his own theory as to what he believes contributed to Labyrinth's failure in theaters: shortly beforehand, another dark fantasy movie, entitled Legend, starring Tom Cruise and Tim Curry, had been released, and it too was not a box office success. With two fantasy movies, with a one-word title starting with the letter L, audiences were probably getting the two movies mixed up.
A range of Labyrinth merchandise has been created in recent years, the items available including T-shirts sold at Hot Topic as well as door knockers based on the talking ones featured in the movie. Additionally, Palisades Toys, which garnered great acclaim for its Muppet action figures, produced a 12" Jareth doll for release in April 2006. More figures were initially promised. However, with Palisades' bankruptcy and acquisition by Limited by CAS Inc., the figure was canceled and removed from most online pre-order lists.
A four-part manga comic sequel to Labyrinth called Return to Labyrinth was published by TOKYOPOP between 2006 and 2010. The series was written by Jake T. Forbes, featured cover art by Kouyu Shurei and interior art by Chris Lie.
- Director: Jim Henson
- Writer: Terry Jones
- Story: Dennis Lee and Jim Henson
- Executive Producer: George Lucas
- Producer: Eric Rattray
- Executive Supervising Producer: David Lazer
- Conceptual Design: Brian Froud
- Musical Score: Trevor Jones