Some films and shows that influenced my early D&D.
Robin of Sherwood
I consider this the best Robin Hood of all times. Has the right blend of grittiness and mysticism. Even the second half with Jason Connery as Robin Hood was very good. It was also noted for the introduction of the Moor into the legend. Look for how the relationship between the Sheriff and Sir Guy changes between the first half of the series with Pread and the second half with Connery.
I will say that the new Robin Hood with Jonas Armstrong has grown on me. But still doesn't top Robin of Sherwood.
The golden standard of Arthurian films. This film is about the LEGEND and the capitals slam down in place throughout the film. While noted for the shiny plate mail it also has it gritty moments at the beginning and the end of the film. Look for wildman Lancelot at the end battle.
Nicol Williamson as Merlin is one of my all time favorite film wizards. Who doesn't love a guy hauling around a staff with a gas feed line attached to it. And how many of you memorized the Charm of Making.
The Land and King are indeed one.
Hawk the Slayer
Jack Palance makes a memorable turn this absolute cheesy yet fun fantasy movie. Legolas has nothing on the rapid fire action of Crow's bow. I am sure one reason Unearthed Arcana became popular because finally there was way to play Crow. (bow specialization). The movie wasn't a one man show as it brought together a diverse group to support Hawk's rescuing of the abbess from his evil brother Voltan. Very much in tune with the spirit of D&D which redeems it cheesiness.
The dragon was awesome, realistic, and kicks butt. Unlike the paltry dragons of AD&D this creature was a force of nature. The plot wasn't bad either and had a neat way of getting Ralph Richardson to the final confrontation.
If you going to go mystical and fantasy sometimes it best to go all out and Legend does that. The fact that it had a simple story was beside the point as it is a fairy tale in every sense of the word. The visuals and music score a home run for me. In my mind Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness is the prototypical Evil Overlord.
One of the best films to illustrate the type of game I like to run is Ladyhawke. It is set in a mundane medieval world yet the story is powered by a epic premise. A curse uttered by a corrupt bishop has condemned a couple to live out their lives together yet apart. It helps that Matthew Broderick plays one of his better roles as the thief Mouse.
There were many other films that I watched, and somewhat enjoyed. But most seemed well ... lacking. After Robin of Sherwood and Excalibur it wasn't until the theatrical release of the Fellowship of the Ring that I watched a fantasy movie that was pitch perfect in every way.