Hawk the Slayer

Hawk the Slayer is a 1980 British sword and sorcery adventure film directed by Terry Marcel, and starring John Terry and Jack Palance.[1] The story follows two warring brothers who fight to gain control of a magical sword. Brave warrior, the titular Hawk, assembles a small force of fighters to help them rid the land of a powerful and devious enemy.

Hawk the Slayer
UK quad poster
Directed byTerry Marcel[1]
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Terry Marcel
  • Harry Robertson
Produced byHarry Robertson
CinematographyPaul Beeson
Edited byEric Boyd-Perkins
Music byHarry Robertson
  • Chips Productions
  • Marcel/Robertson Productions Limited
Distributed byITC Entertainment
Release date
  • 21 December 1980 (1980-12-21)
Running time
94 minutes[2]
CountryUnited Kingdom

Marcel had been working with Harry Robertson when they realized that they both were sword and sorcery fans. Inspired by Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo and Sergio Leone's Fistful of Dollars, the result was an English version of the story set in the Dark Ages. Marcel has stated that it was not originally intended to include magic at all, and was supposed to be a historical film. In the course of writing the script, he then introduced the magical mind stone, changing the overall nature.

The film had an initial negative reception but has since developed a cult following.[3] Sequels were planned, but never produced.


Our tale begins with a reading:

“This is a Story of Heroic Deeds and the bitter struggle for the triumph of Good over Evil and of a wondrous Sword wielded by a mighty Hero when the Legions of Darkness stalk the land.”

The film begins with the evil Voltan on his way to his father's castle, after infiltrating his castle, Voltan demands the key to the ancient power but is denied. The wicked Voltan kills his own father when the latter refuses to turn over the magic of the "last elven mind stone". Before the old man dies, he says “the prophecy is fulfilled, the evil I’ve spawned will now pollute the land.” He bequeaths a great sword with a pommel shaped like a human hand to his other son, Hawk. The hand comes to life and grasps the mind stone. The sword is now imbued with magical powers and can respond to Hawk's mental commands. Hawk then vows to avenge his father by killing Voltan.

Voltan's evil touches the whole countryside. Time passes by, and we are introduced to a man named Ranulf. Ranulf is struggling to run away from Voltan's forces. Ranulf arrives at a remote convent. Ranulf tells the nuns that he survived Voltan's attack on his village and his people, which resulted in the brutal horrifying deaths of women and children. Ranulf was seriously injured in the attack. The nuns nurse him back to health, but unfortunately his hand cannot be saved.

Voltan calls out for the wizard who happens to be his dark lord, Voltan then complains that each day gets worse and worse. The wizard performs a spell on his face, telling him “your face will not pain you for a while” and “there is one who stands between us and the final victory, you will prepare the way to his death.”

Voltan appears at the convent interrupting the nuns mass, the abbess does her best to get Voltan out but she meets her demise. Voltan kidnaps the Abbess, demanding a large sum of gold as a ransom. After Voltan and his henchmen leave with the Abbess, the nuns tell Ranulf to seek the High Abbot at the Fortress of Danesford.

Ranulf arrive at the fortress of Daneford. He meet the High Abbot and is told to find the warrior called Hawk. The High Abbot gives Ranulf a token to give to Hawk when he finds him.

Hawk is seen traveling through the land. He discovers Ranulf with the help of a sorceress, a woman whom he defended from an accusation of witchcraft. Ranulf has been captured by brigands but Hawk rescues him. Ranulf convinces Hawk to rescue the Abbess.

After a long and dangerous journey, Hawk locates his old friends: Gort, a dour giant who wields a mighty mallet; Crow, an elf of few words who wields a deadly bow; and Baldin, a wisecracking dwarf, skilled with a whip. The five men arrive at the convent, protecting the nuns and devising a way to lure Voltan into a trap. They use their combined skills to steal gold from a slave trader with which to pay the ransom.

Hawk doubts that Voltan will free the Abbess after the ransom is paid. He explains that Voltan treacherously murdered Hawk's wife, Eliane. Hawk and his friends decide to try and rescue the Abbess, but they fail. Hawk kills Voltan's son Drogo, who had previously assaulted the convent.

Enraged, Voltan confronts the heroes in a final battle at the convent. But little did the heroes know, a rogue nun helps Voltan capture the heroes; But the evil Voltan repays her by murdering her. With the help of the sorceress, the heroes escape, but the dwarf is mortally wounded.

In the subsequent battle, Hawk exacts his revenge on Voltan, Hawk battles his way to Voltan, taking down Voltan's men relentlessly. He confronts Voltan where he is waiting at a church-like building, as Voltan holds Gort and the Abess sisters as prisoners and hostages, Hawk asks for them to be set free in exchange for Hawk to be Voltan's prisoner. Voltan argues that Hawk is in no position to bargain and requests for him to put down his magical sword and vestment. Hawk obeys as Gort begs Hawk not to. Voltan presumably thinks he has the upper hand at this point as he ask for Hawk to pray, but as Voltan looks at Hawk he recognizes the necklace Hawk wears, as Hawk reveals a hidden blade, he throws and frees Gort before Voltan can react. Hawk then summons his sword. Voltan says that the power of the sword is rightfully his he throws a dagger only for Hawk to deflect it, Voltan get angry and goes for a strike and they duel to a sword fight. Hawk defeats Voltan and in heat of the battle, Voltan reveals a huge scar in his left eye.

Gort and Abbess' sisters are then rescued and the evil wizard decides that Voltan will be restored to life to carry out further evil tasks in the future. Heeding the sorceress' advice, Hawk and Gort travel south to continue their journey and battles against evil.




A possible 1981 sequel was referred to in the US magazine Cinefantastique (Fall 1980 Issue) but never made. The director is quoted as saying "...I'll be going on a trip looking for locations for the next one. Whether ITC does it or not, we will be making HAWK - THE DESTROYER in February [1981]'.

In 2015, a sequel titled Hawk the Hunter was reported to be in development with a $5 million budget. There was an unsuccessful attempt to crowdfund on Kickstarter.[4] The intended beginning of filming in late 2015[5][6] has been postponed. In addition to the sequel, British video game company Rebellion Developments plan to release a game and comic books, and Marcel has plans for a TV series called Hawk the Destroyer.[5]

In a YouTube interview, Marcel stated that he wanted to explore more of the origin of Hawk and Voltan, how Hawk became a warrior and how Voltan became evil. he also wanted to expand on the idea that there was more than one magical stone besides the mind stone that Hawk wields on his sword. He also wanted to show a little bit about the elves in Hawk's land and imagined the film as a prequel to the original.


On October 16, 2014, the film was released as a VOD title by RiffTrax[7]


  1. ^ a b Hal Erickson (2009). "Hawk the Slayer". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 18 September 2009.
  2. ^ "HAWK THE SLAYER (A)". British Board of Film Classification. 18 July 1980. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  3. ^ "Terry Marcel | HAWK THE SLAYER".
  4. ^ Hawk the Hunter by Terry marcel on Kickstarter
  5. ^ a b Curtis, Nick (6 July 2015). "Hawk the Slayer is back – and he's brought his mindsword". The Guardian.
  6. ^ Williams, Owen (2 July 2015). "Hawk The Slayer To Return In A Sequel". Empire.
  7. ^ "Hawk the Slayer". 17 October 2014.

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