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Prince Valiant (1954)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 5 April 1954 (USA)
A young Viking prince strives to become a knight in King Arthur's Court and restore his exiled father to his rightful throne.



(screenplay), (based on King Features Syndicate's "Prince Valiant" by) (as Harold Foster)

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Complete credited cast:
Mary Philips ...
Howard Wendell ...
Morgan Todd


Young Prince Valiant, son of the exiled King of Scandia, journeys to Camelot to become a knight at King Arthur's Round Table. He hopes to help his father reclaim his throne from the pagan Viking usurper Sligon and restore the Christian faith to their homeland. On his journey he stumbles upon a mysterious Black Knight plotting with Sligon's representatives to overthrow Arthur. Barely escaping with his life, Valiant encounters Sir Gawain, one of the most illustrious knights of the Round Table, and an old friend of his father's, who tutors the young Viking in the skills needed to be a knight. Valiant and Gawain's pupil-mentor relationship is complicated by their romantic involvement with Princess Aleta and her sister Ilene, daughters of the King of Ord. If Valiant is to restore his father's throne and prevent the coup d'etat against Arthur, he must uncover the true identity of the Black Knight. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


From the land of the Vikings ... into the hearts of millions ...


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 April 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Prins Valiant  »

Box Office


$2,970,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Primo Carnera, who played Sligon, had such a thick Italian accent that his voice was dubbed. See more »


In the final sword fight between Prince Valiant and the Black Knight, Valiant swings and hits a wooden chair with his huge sword and doesn't even scratch it. See more »


Sir Gawain: Stop interrupting and I'll tell you what happened. After you left I went out after you. That's when I came upon the Black Knight.
Prince Valiant: You found him?
Sir Gawain: Aye. He was searchin' the wood when I challenged him. We fought and he was good. His lance broke and I outhorsed him. I came in to finish him, when a dozen armed men came charging out at me.
Prince Valiant: They were on foot? Armed with bows?
Sir Gawain: Aye. It was only with luck I escaped through a hail of arrows.
Prince Valiant: So did I!
Sir Gawain: You what?
Prince Valiant: I was set upon by a band of archers, escaped...
See more »


Spoofed in Prince Violent (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

Expected mediocrity
17 November 2015 | by (Belgium) – See all my reviews

Even in the fifties Hollywood was adapting comic books? Thankfully the film was unsuccessful, otherwise the comic book film craze Hollywood has institutionalised now would have originated in those times. According to Aubrey Solomon and the Variety weekly it did not break even at the box office, with a budget of 2,970,000$ and an estimated total earnings of 2.6 million dollars. Hollywood was still protective of their films, so it did not earn anything outside of the theatres.

Henry Hathaway did not lose his love for fast cutting he displayed in Rawhide, even in the early CinemaScope era. This is further proved by the aspect ratio of 2.55 instead of 2:35:1; the time before the put magnetic sound and optic sound on each film version, reducing the space for the picture itself. You could say the fast cutting style was determined by Robert L. Simpson, the film editor for both films. However Robert L. Simpson has shown to be willing to have long takes, as is shown in As Young as You Feel, Call Me Madam and The Best of Everything. So I think it is fair to credit the fast pace, especially for an early CinemaScope film, to Henry Hathaway. He did conform to the early CinemaScope standard consisting of heavy use of long shots and very long shots.

You can really tell this was adapted from a comic book for kids, I had my suspicions, which were later fulfilled by the acknowledgment of my nostalgia-filled parents. There are many scenes that look like they were picked out of a random 'adventures of Valiant'. In my opinion they did not translate well to the big screen, especially for the epic spectacle it fruitlessly tries to be.

Another problem was the combination of the early Bausch and Lomb anamorphic lenses and Technicolor, this required enormous amounts of light for the camera to capture the film. Quite a problem then, when the apotheosis of the film occurs in the dead of night; maybe it was better on the big screens in those times, but I could barely follow the action.

Robert Wagner is a very limited actor in his role, he reminds me of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Hercules in New York (yes, that bad). It is evident he was casted for his physical feats and not his acting chops. I am also not fond of the performances of Janet Leigh and Debra Paget, both overacted horribly.

To conclude, I do not recommend this film, even if you happen to be a fan of the old comic books.

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