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The best -- and worst -- quest films

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Our heart-to-heart with Captain Jack inspired us to set out on our own heroic adventure. Trusty steed? Check. Knight in armor? Check. Damsel in distress? Check. Here's our top 10 favorite quest films -- and the ones which had us rooting for the Dark Side.

Don't agree? Think we've missed one? Post your comments to the Screening Room blog and we'll publish the best.

The best...

1. Star Wars
George Lucas, 1977
Undoubtedly the ultimate quest film. Rescue the princess, blow up the Death Star, bring peace to the galaxy -- but when the princess is sassy, the sidekicks are droids, the Wookie is grouchy and the hyperspace button never seems to work, how will those crazy kids thwart Darth Vader's evil plans? "Use the force, Luke..."

2. Raiders of the Lost Ark
Steven Spielberg, 1981
Armed with a whip and a natty hat, Indy sets out to foil a plot to unleash the supernatural power of the Ark of the Covenant on the world. Helped by a feisty-but-bitter former lover, but hindered by sadistic Nazis and crooked archaeologists, Indy romps across jungles and deserts, dodging bullets and booby-trapped tombs. Just watch out for the snakes...

3. The Goonies
Richard Donner, 1985
The ultimate geek quest movie sees a young (and trim) Sean Astin lead the greatest bunch of misfits in film history on the trail of a dead pirate (the questionably named "One-eyed Willie") and his loot. Armed with gadgets, quick wit and the occasional truffle-shuffle, the Goonies race to the treasure, pursued at every turn by the incompetent criminal family the Fratellis. Remember: "Goonies never say die!"

4. The Wizard of Oz
Victor Fleming, 1939
Gorgeously restored in its original Technicolor, Dorothy heads over the rainbow and along the Yellow Brick Road with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. Their quest for a heart, a brain, some courage and a ticket home leads them to the Emerald City; meanwhile, Wicked Witch of the West-induced nightmares became a rite of passage for children everywhere.

5. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Gore Verbinski, 2003
"But why is the rum gone?" Drunken, dreadlocked and self-deprecating, Johnny Depp invents a whole new brand of anti-hero as Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly provide the eye-candy in the first of the Pirate franchise's maritime capers. Instant treasure.

6. Princess Mononoke
Hayao Miyazaki, 1997
Possibly the most beautifully-drawn animated film, Miyazaki's masterpiece "Princess Mononoke" taps into Japanese mythologies to create a magical, spellbinding world teetering on the brink of ecological disaster. Will the curse of the Boar God spell doom for Ashitaka, will San the wolf-girl save him and will the forest spirits survive?

7. The Adventures of Robin Hood
Michael Curtiz and William Keighley, 1938
Errol Flynn swashbuckles in to rescue Marian (Olivia de Havilland) from the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham in this jolly romp. The oppressed Merry Men take pleasure in liberating the Sheriff of his ill-gotten gold -- but can Robin resist the golden arrow?

8. Labyrinth
Jim Henson, 1986
Jennifer Connolly's bratty heroine struggles against David Bowie's malevolent maze to save her baby half-brother. This modern classic, with its outstanding puppets (topped only by Henson's "The Dark Crystal"), tripped-out ballroom scene and Escher-inspired finale, sees its heroes find courage and friendship in the darkest of places.

9. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, 1975
"I'll bite your legs off!" The Python crew combat nubile wenches, killer bunnies and the shrubbery-loving Knights of Ni ("Ni!") in an attempt to retrieve the Holy Grail. If you're setting out on a similar quest, remember to pack a holy hand grenade...

10. The Princess Bride
Rob Reiner, 1987
"My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." The greatest introduction in movie history. Westley, Buttercup and their criminal compadres dodge evil Prince Humperdink amongst the fire swamps, overcoming death, despair and Rodents of Unusual Size to ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after.

And the ones we love to hate... or hate to love.

Ridley Scott, 1985
With wet dishcloth Tom Cruise chasing the soggier-still Princess Lily, played by Mia Sara, we weren't just egging Tim Curry's evil dark lord on, we would have helped. And Cruise's metrosexual mirror solution (ooh! shiny!) was a lame substitute for a heroic showdown.

Lord of the Rings
Peter Jackson, 2001-2003
Ok, let's get this straight. We love the Lord of the Rings. But we don't love Elijah Wood's increasingly anguished expressions, which look more like curry-induced gastro-intestinal discomfort than an inner struggle against the essence of evil. Sean Astin's Sam Gamgee makes the hobbit-quest element bearable, and Andy Sirkis is stunning as Gollum, but that didn't stop us wishing they would just get on with it.

Flash Gordon
Mike Hodges, 1980
"Flash! I love you! But we've only got 14 hours to save the Earth!" Sam J. Jones's blonde beefcake battles Ming the Merciless, helped by the ugliest female sidekick this side of Frigia. Timothy Dalton's slippery Prince Baron steals the show -- and the princess -- while Topol capers in the background. More ham than a holiday hogroast.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Leonard Nimoy, 1986
While "The Search for Spock" nearly made it into our Top 10, by Star Trek IV the magic had left the building. How to bring the energy back? Not by transporting the Enterprise crew to 1986, that's for sure. Humpback whalesong, badly permed hair and instead of fighting the Klingons, they're fighting the flab. Shatner's corsets were oh-so-tight; shame the script wasn't.

Ron Howard, 1988
Warwick Davis takes time out post-Ewok duty to play baby-saving protagonist Willow. That's all well and good, but he's accompanied by lackluster swordsman Val Kilmer, who took the whole "saving the princess" thing a little too literally. Run, Joanne Whalley, run! Oh dear, too late.

Your views

Now it's your turn. What are your favorite -- and worst -- quest films? Which ones have we missed? Post your comments and suggestions to the Screening Room blog and we'll publish the best.

Read other CNN viewers' best and worst quest films >>


"I have a bad feeling about this..." Star Wars: The best quest film in the galaxy.


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