Lionheart (1987 film)

Lionheart (1987 Film)

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Lionheart (1987 film)

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Lionheart is a 1987 adventure film directed by Academy Award-winner Franklin J. Schaffner. 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 Crusade of Richard the Lionheart while protecting the children from the Black Prince (Gabriel Byrne), a disillusioned crusader turned child slave trader. Francis Ford Coppola, who had initially planned to direct the film, is credited as Executive Producer. Coppola's sister, Talia Shire, and brother-in-law, Jack Schwartzman, also produced the film. The screenplay was written by Menno Meyjes and Richard Outten from a story by Meyjes. Oscar-winning composer Jerry Goldsmith wrote the score.

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 worked on Planet of the Apes, Patton, Papillon, and The Boys from Brazil).

The distributor of the film, Orion Pictures, delayed its theatrical release but when they finally did show it 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,...
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