based on the Novel by Peter S. Begel  became the best animated hit of 1982.


Alan Arkin  as Schmendrick

Jeff Bridges as Prince Lir

Mia Farrow as Unicorn/Almalthea

Tammy Grimms as Molly Grue

Roberrt Klein as the Butterfly

Angela Lansbury as Mommy Fortuna

Christopher Lee as King Haggard

Keenen Wyn as The Harpy Celano and Cully


In an enchanted forest, a unicorn learns she is the last of her kind; a butterfly reveals that a demonic animal called the Red Bull herded her kind to the ends of the earth. Venturing into unfamiliar territory beyond the safety of her home, the Unicorn journeys to find them and bring them back.

The Unicorn is captured by the witch Mommy Fortuna, and is put on display in the witch's Midnight Carnival. She makes friends with Schmendrick, an incompetent magician under the services of Mommy Fortuna. While most of the attractions are normal animals with a spell of illusion placed on them (like a Manticore being a toothless lion, a Satyr being a crippled chimpanzee, and the "Midgard Serpent" being a mere cobra), Fortuna has captured the immortal harpy Celaeno as well. With the help of Schmendrick, the Unicorn escapes, and in the process frees Celaeno, who kills Fortuna and her henchman Ruhk. The Unicorn and the wizard later gain a second traveling companion, Molly Grue, the careworn lover of bandit leader Captain Cully.

When the Unicorn nears the seaside castle of King Haggard, supposed keeper of the Red Bull, she encounters the animal, which turns out to be a monstrous fire elemental. At the last moment before her capture, Schmendrick's unpredictable magic transforms her into a human woman with white knee-length hair. In this guise the Red Bull is uninterested in her and departs. The Unicorn suffers tremendous shock at the feeling of mortality in her body. While Molly wraps the Unicorn's human form in a blanket, Schmendrick states that the magic chose the form and not him.

Schmendrick, Molly Grue and the now-human Unicorn proceed to King Haggard's castle. Haggard is at first unwelcoming, and Schmendrick introduces the Unicorn as his niece, Lady Amalthea. Schmendrick requests that the three of them stay there as members of Haggard's court, only to be told that the only occupants of the castle are Haggard, his adopted son Prince Lír and four ancient men-at-arms. Haggard consents to lodging the trio, replacing his more competent on-call wizard with Schmendrick, and setting Molly Grue to work in his scullery.

Amalthea begins to forget her identity and her reasons for coming to the castle, and falls in love with Prince Lír. Caught in her newfound emotions, she struggles with thoughts of abandoning her quest for the sake of mortal love. Haggard confronts Amalthea in private conversation, hinting at the location of the unicorns, yet from the waning magic in her eyes, he has doubts regarding his previous suspicions that she is more than she seems. Molly learns the location of the Red Bull's lair from a talking cat.

Molly, Schmendrick and Amalthea are joined by Lir as they enter the bull's den. Schmendrick reveals Amalthea's true identity to Lír after explaining what they are looking for. Lír is unmoved and says that he loves her anyway. This makes Amalthea want to abandon the quest and marry Lír, but Lír dissuades her. The Red Bull appears, but is no longer deceived by Amalthea's human form and chases after her. As Lír struggles to protect her, Schmendrick turns Amalthea back into the Unicorn, but she is unwilling to leave Lír's side. The Bull drives her toward the ocean, just as he earlier drove all the other unicorns, but she manages to run away and the Red Bull gives chase. Lír tries to defend her, but is killed by the bull. Enraged, the Unicorn turns on the Bull and forces him into the sea. Carried on the white surf of incoming tides, the other unicorns emerge en masse from the water, causing Haggard's castle to collapse into the sea as they rush past, with Haggard falling to his death.

On the beach, the Unicorn magically revives Lír before departing for her forest. Schmendrick assures Lír that he has gained much by winning the love of a unicorn, even if he is now alone. The Unicorn briefly returns to say goodbye to Schmendrick, who laments that he has done her wrong by burdening her with regret and the taint of mortality. She disagrees and thanks him for having helped to restore unicorns to the world; though she is the only unicorn to feel regret, she is also the only unicorn to know love. Schmendrick and Molly watch the Unicorn depart for her home in the woods.