Fire and Ice is a 1983 American adult animated adventure-fantasy film directed by Ralph Bakshi. The film, a collaboration between Bakshi and Frank Frazetta, was distributed by 20th Century Fox, which also distributed Bakshi's 1977 release, Wizards. The animated feature, based on characters Bakshi and Frazetta co-created, was made using the process of rotoscoping, in which scenes were shot in live action and then traced onto animation cels.
The screenplay was written by Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas, both of whom had written Conan stories for Marvel Comics. Background painter was James Gurney, the author and artist of the Dinotopia illustrated novels. Thomas Kinkade also worked on the backgrounds to various scenes. Peter Chung, of Aeon Flux fame, was a layout artist.
From their stronghold in Icepeak, the evil Queen Juliana (Eileen O'Neill) and her son, Nekron (Stephen Mendel), send forth a wave of glaciers, forcing humanity to retreat south towards the equator. Nekron sends a delegation to King Jarol (Leo Gordon) in Firekeep to request his surrender, but this is a ruse orchestrated by Queen Juliana for Nekron’s sub-humans to kidnap Jarol’s barefoot, bikini-clad daughter, Princess Teegra (Cynthia Leake); Queen Juliana feels that Nekron should take a bride to produce an heir.
But Teegra makes an escape and comes upon Larn (Randy Norton), a young warrior and the only survivor of a village razed by glaciers, who offers to escort her back to Firekeep. As Teegra is recaptured, Larn teams with the mysterious Darkwolf (Steve Sandor) to save Teegra and then travel to Icepeak to stop Juliana. Darkwolf faces Nekron and kills him as Icepeak succumbs to lava released by King Jarol and is destroyed.
The film finishes with Larn about to kill a beaten sub-human until Teegra stops him saying that "it's over" and embraces him. Darkwolf is seen atop a cliff; he watches the pair, smiles and then disappears. Teegra and Larn kiss as the credits roll.Randy Norton – LarnCynthia Leake – TeegraSteve Sandor – Darkwolf (also voice)Sean Hannon – NekronLeo Gordon – Jarol (also voice)William Ostrander – Taro (also voice)Eileen O'Neill – JulianaElizabeth Lloyd Shaw – Roleil (also voice)Micky Morton – Otwa (also voice)Tamarah Park – TutorBig Yank – Monga (also voice)Greg Wayne Elam – Pako (also voice)Susan Tyrrell – JulianaMaggie Roswell – TeegraWilliam Ostrander – LarnStephen Mendel – NekronAlan Koss – EnvoyClare Nono – TutorHans Howes – Subhuman Defender CaptainRay Oliver – SubhumanNathan Purdee – SubhumanLe Tari – Subhuman
By 1982, fantasy films had proven to be considerably successful at the box office, including The Beastmaster and Conan the Barbarian, and Bakshi had a desire to work with long-time friend and fantasy illustrator Frank Frazetta. Bakshi received $1.2 million to finance Fire and Ice from some of the same investors as American Pop, and 20th Century Fox agreed to distribute the film based upon the financial longevity of Wizards.
Because Fire and Ice was the most action-oriented story Bakshi had directed up until that point, rotoscoping was again used, and the realism of the animation and design replicated Frazetta's artwork. Bakshi and Frazetta were heavily involved in the production of the live-action sequences, from casting sessions to the final shoot. The film's crew included background artists James Gurney and Thomas Kinkade, layout artist Peter Chung, and established Bakshi Productions artists Sparey, Steven E. Gordon, Bell and Banks. Chung strongly admired Bakshi and Frazetta's work, and animated his sequences on the film while simultaneously working for The Walt Disney Company.
Andrew Leal wrote, "The plot is standard [...] recalling nothing so much as a more graphic episode of Filmation's He-Man series. [...] Fire and Ice essentially stands as a footnote to the spate of barbarian films that followed in the wake of Arnold Schwarzenegger's appearance as Conan."
In 2003, the Online Film Critics Society ranked the film as the 99th greatest animated film of all time.
The film was released on VHS twice. First by RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video in 1983 and by GoodTimes Home Video in 1988. In 2005, it was released on DVD by Blue Underground Entertainment on a limited edition two-disc set, paired with the documentary Frazetta: Painting With Fire, about the film's co-creator and producer, Frank Frazetta. The company later released the film on Blu-ray in 2008 with Remastered 1080p video and a 7.1 surround sound remix in both Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio
In 2010, Robert Rodriguez announced that he would direct a live-action remake of the film. Bakshi stated that he did not want any involvement with the film, but he agreed to license the rights to Rodriguez. The deal closed shortly after Frazetta's death. On December 18, 2014, Sony Pictures Entertainment acquired the filming rights to the live-action remake version of the 1983 animated film Fire and Ice that will be directed by Robert Rodriguez.