The Transformers: The Movie is a 1986 animated science fiction action film based on the Transformers television series. It was released in North America on August 8, 1986, and in the United Kingdom on December 12, 1986. It was co-produced and directed by Nelson Shin, who also produced the television series. The screenplay was written by Ron Friedman, who created Bionic Six a year later.
The film features the voices of Eric Idle, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Casey Kasem, Robert Stack, Lionel Stander, John Moschitta Jr., Peter Cullen, and Frank Welker, and saw the final film roles for Orson Welles who died 10 months before the film's release and Scatman Crothers who died 3 months after the release of the film. The soundtrack comprises electronic music composed by Vince DiCola and songs from rock and heavy metal acts including Stan Bush and "Weird Al" Yankovic.
The story is set in 2005, 20 years after the TV series' second season. After a Decepticon assault devastates Autobot City, Optimus Prime wins a deadly one-on-one duel with Megatron, but ultimately sustains fatal injuries in the encounter. With Megatron gravely injured, the Decepticons are forced to retreat, saving the Autobots. The Autobots are hunted across the galaxy by Unicron, a planet-sized Transformer intending to consume Cybertron and who transfigures Megatron to become the enslaved Galvatron.
Hasbro's exclusively toy-focused agenda demanded a product refresh, to be contrived by the on-screen extermination of starring characters, at the protest of some creators of the film and TV series. The slaughter of characters, especially Optimus Prime, inadvertently upset the young audience.
The film was a box-office failure, having been released in a season crowded with hit films, and having a failing young distribution company, De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG). Contemporary critics were generally negative, perceiving a thin plot made of blatant advertising and violent action appealing only to children. The film gained cult classic status decades later with many home re-releases and theatrical screenings, especially coinciding with Michael Bay's live-action series in the 2000s. Several critics greatly favor the original over the live-action films; Den of Geek remembered it as "The Great Toy Massacre of 1986" which "traumatized a generation of kids with a string of startling deaths", and as "a milestone in animation history".