As we all know Charlton Heston passed away in 2008, to be reincarnated as a peregrine falcon (the best type of falcon) in 2010. If he were still alive today he would be celebrating his 117th birthday and our world would be a much richer place. But rather than wallow in sadness, we wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate the work of the late, great actor. Thus, we created this moving tribute to what we feel was the high-point of Heston’s gloried career: Willow.
First, let’s take a quick recap of Willow. This movie was the first Star Wars spinoff produced by George Lucas and was directed by The Andy Griffith Show star Opie. In it, Warwick Davis safeguards a baby for two hours while learning lessons about life, magic, and Val Kilmer. There is some great action, sorcerous duels, and crying babies. Without a doubt it is a touchstone to everyone born after 1956 and no doubt it is your favorite movie of all time. It was certainly the movie that Charlton Heston was most proud of.5) When Willow Catches the Pig: Near the beginning of the movie, Willow (Warwick Davis) catches a pig. This is not Charlton’s best scene in the movie, but you can tell that the veteran actor brings a level of gravitas to the entire proceedings that elevates this otherwise uninspired moment.
4) Madmartigan’s Swordplay: Without Charlton’s extensive work , we never would have got the awesome displays of swordsmanship displayed by the displayful Val Kilmer as Madmartigan. Heston worked extensively to ensure that Val Kilmer was able to properly fumble and drop his sword. It took approximately six weeks of training with Heston before Kilmer could pull it off.
3) Parting the Red Sea: This is easily the most iconic moment of Charlton Heston’s career. Ron Howard was initially uncertain about putting it into Willow, arguing that it did not have anything to do with the plot and that they didn’t actually own the rights to the footage from The Ten Commandments. Eventually, however, Ron backed down and added in the entire scene to Willow just before the climactic battle against evil sorceress Bavmorda.
2) When Willow went Evil and Tried to Kill Buffy and Destroy the World: I hate to think about the hate mail I would have gotten if I had left this off of the list. It’s a fantastic scene and easily some of the best collaboration between Alyson Hannigan and Charlton Heston ever captured on screen.
1) When he reminded us that life was worth living because of the beauty found beneath a shady tree next to a pond in the middle of an insufferably hot summer.