The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973)

golden voyage of sinbad poster 1973 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 9/10

Fantastic Ray Harryhasen creations

Not very PC in today's world, pacing problems

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Golden Voyage of Sinbad

Studio:  Ameran Films

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  December 20, 1973 (Premiere)/April 7, 1974 (US)

MPAA Rating:  G

golden voyage of sinbad john phillip law caroline munro

I shall protect you fair maiden!

When Sinbad (John Phillip Law) discovers a strange charm, he finds himself in a race against time against Koura (Tom Baker) who intends to use the charm to help him discover Lemuria and the Fountain of Destiny.  The Fountain of Destiny grants wishes and could make a king of whomever locates the talismans…and Sinbad is holding a key to the puzzle.  Teamed with the vizier (Douglas Wilmer) and a slave girl named Margiana (Caroline Munro) Sinbad is seeking the treasure that could make him a king, but the treasure had guards and the danger is real.

Directed by Gordon Hessler, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad is an action-adventure fantasy film.  Following The 7th Voyage of Sinbad from 1958, the movie is considered a loose sequel due to Ray Harryhausen’s connection and Columbia.

I loved Sinbad as a kid (and Ray Harryhausen films in general).  I particularly remember watching Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger and loving it…but the visuals and style of all the Sinbad movies make them memorable, and this movie continues the tradition.

golden voyage of sinbad vs kali statue

One of Harryhausen’s coolest creations

The movie does have pacing problems.  It finishes strong with the battle over the fountain, the centaur, and the griffin, but getting there takes some work.  It feels like the movie misses some opportunities for adventure in the early parts of the movie because it relies too heavily on the visuals.  Sinbad’s quest could be epic, but it slightly misses the mark.

The cast is rather bland in general.  John Phillip Law is an ok Sinbad, but of course in a PC world, he isn’t a very good choice.  Tom Baker is barely recognizable as Sinbad’s nemesis Koura (it did help him land Baker’s his role as the Fourth Doctor), and like Law it would be nice for someone to be cast that fits the ethnicity of the character (though there was little chance of that happening 1973).  Caroline Munro plays the damsel-in-distress leading lady and it is one of her first outing on film though she had already built an audience with Lamb’s Navy Rum advertisements and Hammer horror movies like Dracula A.D. 1972.  Robert Shaw has an uncredited role as the Oracle of All Knowledge.

golden voyage of sinbad centaur vs griffin ray harryhausen

The centaur vs. griffin fight terrified me as a kid (particularly the centaur)

The real takeaways of The Golden Voyage of Sinbad is the special effects from Ray Harryhausen.  I like the imp and the wooden masthead, but the film really steps up when it gets to Lemuria.  The introduction of the statue of Kali and the multi-arms ups the ante.  The Kali statue segues into the one-eyed centaur (which is a terrifying creation), and the battle between it and the griffin is a masterwork of stop-motion animation.  All of this is nicely blended with real-life actors.

If you haven’t had a deep dive into Ray Harryhausen films, you need to.  His visuals made so many movies, and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad is one of them.  I don’t know if the film would have been a success without Harryhausen, but with him, it is a great piece of fantasy even with pacing problem.  Sinbad returns in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger in 1977.

Related Links:

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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