The ’80s Dark Fantasy Classic Needs Saving For A New Generation

By Douglas Helm | Published

Streaming makes it easy to access a lot of the best films out there, but there are also plenty of films that are left off streaming services. One of those films is the underrated 1985 dark fantasy Legend. While you can always seek out a physical copy of this film, it’s disappointing that there’s nowhere you can watch it easily through streamers (unless you’re willing to rent).

Legend Is A Cult Classic

Legend is one of those films that has a massively talented creative team, but the final product falls short of the assembled talent. Ridley Scott thought up the story and directed the film, and it stars Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubber, and Annabelle Lanyon. It also has makeup effects from Rob Bottin, who had just finished working on The Thing.

A Rare Tom Cruise Fantasy Movie

Legend stars Tom Cruise as Jack, a pure being who must team with Princess Lili (Mia Sara) to stop Darkness (Tim Curry), who wants to plunge the world into eternal light by killing the last of the unicorns. It’s a solid fantasy adventure that didn’t get much recognition when it was released. However, it has developed a decent cult following since then.

Legend Only Exists Because Of Dune

Interestingly, Ridley Scott first had the idea for Legend while filming his directorial debut, The Duelists. However, he ended up doing Alien instead, which instantly boosted his directing career. After Alien, he started working on Dune before production was halted.

Johnny Depp Almost Starred

While David Lynch would eventually complete Dune, Ridley Scott became frustrated after it was delayed and decided to go ahead with his plans to make Legend. Tom Cruise was fresh off his breakout roles in Risky Business and The Outsiders when he was cast, and was just one year away from reaching superstardom in Top Gun. However, Cruise wasn’t the only one up for the role of Jack, as Johnny Depp, Jim Carrey, and Robert Downey Jr. were also considered.

Tim Curry’s Darkness Is The Highlight

With a fresh-faced Tom Cruise and Ridley Scott hot off one of his best films, Legend had all the ingredients to become an instant classic. Rob Bottin also put together some incredible makeup prosthetics for characters like Tim Curry’s Darkness, with Bottin saying at the time that Legend had the largest makeup crew ever assembled for one project. However, the film did not become a commercial success, and critics were harsh upon its release.

An Oscar-Winning Fantasy Film

While Legend did get nominated for the Best Makeup Oscar, it had a relatively muted reception otherwise. Cinema fans have since seen the film’s merits, which makes it even stranger that this film isn’t somewhere on streaming. Part of the issue is deciding which film version should be on streaming.

Difficult To Find Today

There is a theatrical cut and a Director’s Cut of Legend, with the Director’s Cut being incredibly hard to track down in the first place. There are also several alternate endings, and depending on which cut of the movie you see, you’ll either hear a score by Jerry Goldsmith or a score by Tangerine Dream. But no matter which version of the movie you prefer, it’s safe to say that fans would appreciate any version of the film being added to a streaming platform.