Movies + TV

Literally the Best Thing Ever: Labyrinth

I know what would make a good movie! David Bowie singing to a bunch of ugly goblin puppets and a baby!

Labyrinth is a cheesy ’80s fantasy movie starring a rock star and a bunch of puppets. And: it is literally the best thing ever.

First of all, check out this list of people involved in the movie: David Bowie (the rock star pictured above), Terry Jones (Monty Python), George Lucas (you know who he is), Jim Henson (The Muppets), Brian Froud (my favorite artist)… How did all of these people end up working on the same movie? And how could that movie not be awesome?

It all begins innocently enough. Our protagonist, a rather theatrical teenage girl named Sarah, really resents having to babysit her baby brother, Toby (not that I blame her—babysitting never ends well). She starts invoking the goblins from a book she’s reading, and whoops! Turns out they’re real! And they are led by the singing goblin king David Bowie and his awesome mullet, who (Bowie, not his mullet) kidnaps Toby and takes him back to the goblin lair.

Seriously, who came up with this? Who said, “I know what would make a good movie! David Bowie singing to a bunch of ugly goblin puppets and a baby!” Because it was a BRILLIANT IDEA. It’s so patently ridiculous you just have to jump up and start dancing along with the goblins.

Meanwhile, Sarah is going on an Alice in Wonderland type of adventure through a labyrinth. Even though she accidently gave her baby brother to David Bowie, she’s going to do whatever it takes to get him back. And she has to use her wits, because everyone she meets is trying to lie to, trick, or steal from her.

And unlike pretty much every other teenage girl starring in movie, Sarah is never a damsel in distress. Instead of getting rescued, she is the rescuer. And that makes her pretty darn awesome.

For a movie whose cast consists almost entirely of puppets, the characters are unforgettable. There’s Hoggle, Sarah’s constant goblin companion (and sometimes enemy) throughout her journey. There’s Sir Didymus, a tiny fox-dog thing who thinks he is a ferocious warrior (kind of like any small dog). And then there is Ludo, a gentle giant who can move rocks with his voice because “they’re my friends.” And there are plenty of great sets too: a tunnel made out of hands, the labyrinth itself, and an M. C. Escher castle:

There is nothing that is not awesome about this movie: the rock-star goblin king, the ’80s outfits, the strangely endearing puppets, and the fabulous fantasyland adventures. It’s 101 minutes of cheesy, goblin-y goodness. ♦

63 Comments

  • Ruby B. January 25th, 2012 11:05 PM

    I totally forgot about this movie until now, but it was my favorite! I have to go watch it now. It’s just so perfect.

  • burn-your-flesh January 25th, 2012 11:11 PM

    Not to be inappropriate, but I can’t be the only one who was constantly distracted by Bowie’s crotch through out the movie. . . I mean IT WAS RIGHT THERE. You can even see it in that last picture.

    • jessic-uhhh January 26th, 2012 12:09 AM

      Hahaha I was hoping someone would bring up his bulge so I wouldn’t have to, you can’t NOT look at it!

    • SpencerBowie January 26th, 2012 1:25 AM

      Poster should have just said,

      Starring David Bowie and His Crotch!

      ;)

    • Wendy February 11th, 2012 3:33 AM

      ughhh he was so irresistibly sexy in this movie!

  • Laia January 25th, 2012 11:12 PM

    literally best thing ever, totally not cheesy.

    but who would pick a BABY over david bowie?? the answer is NO ONE.

  • GagaMcQueen January 25th, 2012 11:16 PM

    I LOVE THIS MOVIE. I saw it first when I was little and I had no idea who Bowie was and the goblins scared the heck out of me, but now I have matured enough to appreciate the twisted, gothic muppets that haunt my dreams. ;)

  • chelsear January 25th, 2012 11:16 PM

    My friend is quite obsessed with this movie though I’ve never gotten around to seeing it. It’s definitely on my list of movies to watch, especially since David Bowie stars in it.

    http://couturecultureblog.blogspot.com

  • Maialuna January 25th, 2012 11:33 PM

    That tunnel of hands. I saw it when I was pretty young and I never remembered one thing about this movie except for that terrifying hand-tunnel. Except I didn’t realize how scary it was until recently, and tried to imagine how it didn’t give me recurring nightmares for years.

  • Olivia January 25th, 2012 11:39 PM

    my fav movie of all time

  • Olivia January 25th, 2012 11:39 PM

    my brother cried when the goblins came

  • Cerise January 25th, 2012 11:44 PM

    I have been seeing David Bowie everywhere recently! The other day, I was watching The Prestige for the first time, and when I saw the guy playing Tesla, I was like, “That’s David Bowie!” and my friends had no clue who I was talking about. It was a sad moment.

    Ah, Labyrinth. I *love* this movie, in all its fantastical weirdness.

  • ReneeRevolution January 25th, 2012 11:48 PM

    Oh, how I love this movie.

    I was Sarah for Halloween a couple years ago.

    I have to say, though…you mentioned Labyrinth without mentioning David Bowie’s package? Just saying. *shrugs*

    • MissKnowItAll January 28th, 2012 5:47 PM

      It’s okay. I’m pretty sure all of these comments cover that area.

  • Zoe with two dots January 25th, 2012 11:51 PM

    One of the drama classes at my school did this for their end-of-year performance.
    Obviously the sets weren’t as complex, and every character was played by a 15 year old, but it was still awesome.
    My boyfriend played the David Bowie character.
    Fortunately/unfortunately, he did not have tights, nor a mullet.

  • Antionette January 26th, 2012 12:08 AM

    this mas been my favorite movie for years! It is so cheesy and ridiculous, but that is what makes it so great. The amount of David Bowie crotchage is pretty major though.

  • TessAnnesley January 26th, 2012 12:20 AM

    BEST FILM
    DAVID BOWIE AND GOBLINS AND TERRY JONES AND OMG IT’S BANANAS

  • haneaux January 26th, 2012 12:21 AM

    when we were little, my neighbors and i were literally OBSESSED with this movie. i think david bowie’s package was probably our first real introduction to the idea of the male genitalia…and also, jareth was probably my first love. we all wanted to be sarah!

  • Sarah January 26th, 2012 1:04 AM

    GUYSS IT’S ON INSTANT

  • SpencerBowie January 26th, 2012 1:23 AM

    I love this freakin’ movie! It was one of the first ways I got real into David Bowie! I also LOVE Brian Fround (Dark Crystal is the best thing ever too!), and Jim Henson, and Terry Jones! AND THE MAGIC DANCE!

    Everyone always has such fond memories of this movie and it means so much to every person.

    Sometimes though, I judge people on their reaction if I all of the sudden break out a “You remind me of the babe”.

    *Correct answer: “What Babe?”

    The babe with the power!

    OH YEAH!!!

    David f’in Bowie. Labyrinth. Rookie. Best thing ever.

  • marineo January 26th, 2012 1:34 AM

    LUDO SAD.

    *dance magic dance*

  • sophia January 26th, 2012 2:08 AM

    this is LITERALLY the best thing ever. EVER.

  • tellyawhat January 26th, 2012 3:51 AM

    Before I knew David Bowie as a pop star, I knew him as the devil, the frightening, but strangely titillating goblin king. I know I am not the only one who was introduced to my sexuality by this film and at SUCH a young age. It all begins when you start identifying with Sarah: Jareth says he’s helping me, but he’s not really helping me, but IS he? He says I want you to be my Queen, and Queen’s are good right? But, wait, he is like OLD and I am a teenage girl, and WHEN ARE MY PARENTS COMING HOME and WHY IS DAVID BOWIE SEDUCING ME?

    COME ON, YOU CAN’T SHOW THIS TO KIDS! TOOO MUCH SSSSSSEEEEXXXXXXXYYYYY

  • victoriaversailles January 26th, 2012 4:09 AM

    When I was twelve I decided that As The World Falls Down was going to be my Wedding Song. I still haven’t changed my mind to something with a less ridiculous background because LOL.

    • Hedwig January 26th, 2012 10:42 AM

      JUMP MAGIC JUMP MAGIC (Throws baby in air)

      I don’t know what you mean by cheesy….

  • Sphinx January 26th, 2012 4:11 AM

    david bowie’s tight pants

  • blini January 26th, 2012 6:32 AM

    I loved this film when I was little(r) and didn’t know who Bowie was, then I re-watched it later and was like OMIGODitsdavidbowie!1!! …It definitely ranks up there on my theoretical will-never-get-tired-of-watching-over-and-over scale with Miyazaki/Coppola movies.

  • superkat January 26th, 2012 6:41 AM

    after I watched this movie, when I was like 5 or 6, I had the BIGGEST crush on David Bowie, I wanted to marry him..
    As I look back on it as a 13 year old girl, I don’t know why my love hasn’t continued for him.
    Great post though.. :)

  • Nikilodeon January 26th, 2012 6:45 AM

    For some reason, this movie is getting really popular again. There’s a lot of fan art on deviantart and Sarah’s outfit was featured in Nylon. I wonder why..

  • Narnie January 26th, 2012 7:10 AM

    Labyrinth is so good. It reminds me of “Outside Over There” by Maurice Sendak. He should be another Literally the Best Thing Ever.

  • Mar January 26th, 2012 7:24 AM

    Bowie is a dream boat and he has the voice of icecream and sprinkles. I would die if he sang ‘As The Wall Falls Down’…… I also think that the tightness of his pants is totally acceptable/appropriate/the greatest thing in the movie

  • Emma S. January 26th, 2012 8:44 AM

    Agreed, best thing ever. Oh, Jennifer Connelly.

  • sukisukisuki January 26th, 2012 9:31 AM

    My FAVORITE childhood movie! Me and my friends did a dance to the song, dance magic from this movie for our talent show. WITH the david bowie make-up from different time periods painted on our faces. I was Ziggy Stardust (the circle on the forehead) and yes, I even wore my vintage Yoda t-shirt and my mom’s super 80′s pattern pants. Needless to say, it was awesome.

  • jct348 January 26th, 2012 10:52 AM

    Dance magic, dance magic!! I knew you would get around to posting this eventually, because it LITERALLY IS THE BEST THING EVAAR. I still remember coming across the dvd in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart around the time I was 17 and freaking out because I finally had my own copy. I easily watch it several times a year… and I’m 27.

    David Bowie! Jim Henson! Let’s not forget though about Jennifer Connolly and her amazing eyebrows and killer style. Y’all know you’d rock her oufits today, ballgown included :)

    Thanks Rookie, for making my morning!

  • Janelle January 26th, 2012 10:59 AM

    This movie fills me with a joy that no other movie really can… It really is literally the best thing ever!! Every time I watch I end up feeling superbly creative afterwards and have this bizzarre desire to draw goblins and David Bowie in tights. It makes me too happy. Any YES DANCE MAGIC DANCE.

  • Nicole January 26th, 2012 11:01 AM

    man, isn’t it the dream of EVERY teenage girl to dance with david bowie in a hallucinogenic-peach-induced ballroom scene choreographed by gates mcfadden?

  • Megsylegs January 26th, 2012 12:15 PM

    Don’t forget, Jim Henson did the puppets! That must be why they were so magical.

  • talia anais January 26th, 2012 1:00 PM

    Oh man. Like a lot of you here, I saw it when I was about 11 and becoming aware of sexuality as a concept but still not comfortable with it. And so it was pretty uncomfortable to watch! But the filmmakers knew exactly what they were doing when they cast David Bowie and designed those costumes for him. The whole movie can (and should?) be interpreted as an allegory about loss of innocence/sexual awakening – hey, Jim Henson and Co. themselves haven’t denied that interpretation! – so I almost think that watching it when you’re barely pubescent is the best time to experience it. In a mildly creepy way.
    Also, the Bowie songs in this movie are so rad.

  • unicornrider January 26th, 2012 1:08 PM

    You forgot to mention the lovely bubble ballroom scene where Sarah wears the prettiest dress known to man!

    Other than that I’d say this post is spot on and despite not mentioning the bubble ballroom scene I still love this post to pieces <3

  • KinuKinu January 26th, 2012 1:22 PM

    LOVE THIS MOVIE

  • suburban grrrl January 26th, 2012 1:45 PM

    Does anyone remember the part where those orange Jamaican birds started falling apart? I love this movie? Yes?

    http://sub-urbangrrrl.blogspot.com/

    P.S. My friend has a Labyrinth poster hanging in her room. If my mom would let her, my sister would have one, too.

  • lize January 26th, 2012 2:33 PM

    This really is the best thing ever! And the most hilarious movie I have ever seen.

  • Megretson January 26th, 2012 4:24 PM

    I watched it when I was little, and although I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, I KNEW there was SOMETHING wrong with Bowie’s pants……

  • Anaheed January 26th, 2012 4:26 PM

    I love that this has become an entire comments thread devoted to David Bowie’s peen.

    • MissKnowItAll January 26th, 2012 5:52 PM

      The tightness of his pants is just ridiculous.

    • Rachael January 27th, 2012 8:14 PM

      These comments are literally the best thing ever. I was cracking up all day after reading them. I <3 Rookie readers.

  • unefillecommetoi January 26th, 2012 5:28 PM

    this is one of the best movies ever made :)

  • Tallulah January 26th, 2012 5:34 PM

    Oh my god i love this movie! I don’t understand why she didn’t marry him, her brother would still be there, but he’d be , like, a goblin. I’ll marry you Jareth! This will be on tonight at one of those movies by starlight things at my local park tonight…

  • mamacass January 26th, 2012 6:01 PM

    Love love love! David Bowie can do no wrong.

    http://www.cassandrahsieh.com/

  • iwishiwasagiantanteater January 26th, 2012 7:48 PM

    This film actually scarred me for life as a child when a relative sat me in front of it one christmas. I love you rookie, but no. Don’t watch it. And don’t encourage others to. David bowie is scary enough. But in tight scary trouser stealing a baby WITH GOBLINS. no. it’s too much :(
    *runs to a safe place and cries*

  • tomfoolery January 26th, 2012 8:03 PM

    well this has to be one of, if not, my favourite films of all time. One thing i love about it is the fact that Sarah is a complete whiny moany brat who isn’t content with looking after her little bro for like one evening and has a psycho fit when he starts crying. I wouldn’t even say that her attitude is resolved by the end, she just seems to use it to be productive finding her way through the maze instead of moping around. It’s like yeah she’s highly strung but so what! I love the scene where she has to pick a door and one always lies and one doesn’t, and who can forget the wonderful ballroom dream scene, just incredible!

  • Adrienne January 26th, 2012 8:45 PM

    I’ve never seen this movie before, but hey, that’s what Youtube is for! (yes the entire movie is in youtube, divided into 8 segments).

    I couldn’t stop giggling at the songs! And couldn’t help but notice David Bowie’s “wonder muscle” as my friend would put it ;). And the door riddle is so confusing for me haha.. wikipedia is kind of helping. If I were Sarah, I’d totally ditch the kid and pick David Bowie in the end.

    http://theaverageasiangirl.blogspot.com/

  • willow January 26th, 2012 10:53 PM

    YESSSSS omg the grin that appeared on my face when I saw this was unbelieveable
    also, it’s on Netflix instant now!! Guess I’m not reading for microbiology lol woops

  • Minnah January 27th, 2012 2:31 AM

    related, the best facebook group ever:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Bowies-package/143064612386964

  • tankgrrrl January 27th, 2012 3:11 AM

    My freshman year of college, one of my (college) friends died. Labyrinth was her favourite movie, so we had a kind of a wake for her, in which we all dressed up as characters (there were a lot of stuffed crothches) and ate her favourite candy. It’s become kind of a tradition now for all of us who knew Jess. I love this movie a lot, but it still kind of makes me tear up every time I watch it.

    • Rachael January 27th, 2012 8:12 PM

      This sounds like such a lovely and fun way to honor your friend’s memory. Thank you for sharing, and I’m so sorry for your loss.

  • Selenium January 27th, 2012 12:53 PM

    But this is LITERALLY THE BEST THING EVER.
    I actually just watched this recently and have been spending my lonely nights watching it as an alternative to my generic Miyazaki/Brick/Every Tim Burton movie ever over watching.
    I think everyone in the comment hit it spot on with the sexuality. I mean, for a kid’s movie, what’s up with that? Why is he trying to seduce a teen? Why can we see his junk so much? It’s kind of the Alice in Wonderland of teendom into realizing you have emotions…they just like to pretend it isn’t.
    Now let’s do the chant, ya’ll: “You remind me of the babe. What babe? The babe with the power. The power of what? Voodoo! Who do? You do! Do what? Remind me of the babe!”

  • Madness January 29th, 2012 5:44 PM

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mags January 30th, 2012 9:10 PM

    No mention of Jennifer Connelly?

  • awesomelikeapossum January 31st, 2012 10:03 AM

    H.R. Pufnstuf should be on the next Literally the Best Thing Ever.I mean, Labyrinth=good, but this movie is just the best thing ever! From childhood to now I am still willing to watch it. There is a magical talking flute and walking trees and witches and puppets and everything!

    Spirited Away is also a movie I’d consider to be literally the best thing ever, or the doc Catfish or movie Oceans, just sayin’.

  • evie January 31st, 2012 2:29 PM

    Definitely the best thing ever. First time I watched it I was 9, rediscovered it 3-4 years ago. About a month ago I watched it with the girl I babysit, who 9 years old :)

    The music is fantastic, and so are the clothes. I envy Sarah for her dress in the first scene, but also during the dance. Incredible outfits…