Up 3,914 this week

Lancelot of the Lake (1974)
"Lancelot du Lac" (original title)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 2,062 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 33 critic

A million miles away from 'Camelot' or 'Excalibur', this film ruthlessly strips the Arthurian legend down to its barest essentials. Arthur's knights, far from being heroic, are conniving ... See full summary »



0Check in

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb at Comic-Con 2014

Follow our coverage of Comic-Con 2014, direct from San Diego July 23-27 in our Comic-Con section.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 21 titles
created 29 Apr 2011
a list of 31 titles
created 09 Jan 2012
a list of 22 titles
created 03 Feb 2012
a list of 26 titles
created 30 May 2012
a list of 45 titles
created 21 May 2013

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Lancelot of the Lake (1974)

Lancelot of the Lake (1974) on IMDb 7.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Lancelot of the Lake.
1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Pickpocket (1959)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Michel is released from jail after serving a sentence for thievery. His mother dies and he resorts to pickpocketing as a means of survival.

Director: Robert Bresson
Stars: Martin LaSalle, Marika Green, Jean Pélégri
Finn Mac Cool (2005)
Short | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Steven Aldridge
Stars: Steven Aldridge, Cian Murchu, Philip Philmar
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In a small town in occupied France in 1941, the German officer, Werner Von Ebrennac is billeted in the house of the uncle and his niece. The uncle and niece refuse to speak to him, but each... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Stars: Howard Vernon, Nicole Stéphane, Jean-Marie Robain
Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

This period action classic features Cornel Wilde, who also co-produced and directed this film, as Lancelot, the bravest knight of the Round Table.

Director: Cornel Wilde
Stars: Cornel Wilde, Jean Wallace, Brian Aherne
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A celebration of working class leisure activities at Hindle, Lancashire, during "Wakes Week", an annual week still observed in parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire when all factories and ... See full summary »

Director: Maurice Elvey
Stars: Estelle Brody, John Stuart, Norman McKinnel
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Edmund, a young boy who lives in war-devastated Germany after the Second World War has to do all kinds of work and tricks to help his family in getting food and barely survive. One day he ... See full summary »

Director: Roberto Rossellini
Stars: Edmund Moeschke, Ernst Pittschau, Ingetraud Hinze
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Bresson's first film is, totally uncharacteristically, a slapstick comedy, centred around two neighbouring republics, Crogandia and Miremia, and the various disasters that befall the ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Bresson
Stars: Beby, Andrée Servilanges, Marcel Dalio
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Director: Pierre Billon
Stars: Pierre Richard-Willm, Jany Holt, Raymond Aimos
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Director: Claude Heymann
Stars: Raimu, Michel Simon, Suzy Prim
The Legend of King Arthur (TV Series 1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The classic story of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table.

Stars: Andrew Burt, Felicity Dean, Maureen O'Brien
Cú Chulainn (TV Series 2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Stars: Gerry Downey, Fearghal MagUiginn, Keith O'Grady
Lancelot of the Lake (TV Movie 1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Claude Santelli
Stars: Gérard Falconetti, Marie-Christine Barrault, Arlette Tephany


Cast overview, first billed only:
Luc Simon ...
Laura Duke Condominas ...
La Reine (The Queen)
Humbert Balsan ...
Vladimir Antolek-Oresek ...
Le Roi (The King)
Patrick Bernhard ...
Mordred (as Patrick Bernard)
Arthur De Montalembert ...
Charles Balsan
Christian Schlumberger
Jean-Paul Leperlier
Marie-Louise Buffet
Marie-Gabrielle Cartron
Antoine Rabaud
Jean-Marie Becar
Guy de Bernis


A million miles away from 'Camelot' or 'Excalibur', this film ruthlessly strips the Arthurian legend down to its barest essentials. Arthur's knights, far from being heroic, are conniving and greedy men who, just before the film starts, have failed miserably to find the Holy Grail. Aimlessly resentful at first, the developing relationship between Lancelot and Queen Guinevere focuses their rage, leading to inevitable tragedy... Written by Michael Brooke <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Romance | War


See all certifications »





Release Date:

26 September 1974 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Lancelot of the Lake  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Featured in The Road to Bresson (1984) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Legendary Deconstruction
1 December 2008 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Lancelot du Lac (1974)

It is my contention that Robert Bresson's films are not so much films as they are philosophical essays stroked out on celluloid. They are often contemplations on the soul, usually of its destruction. His films are highly stylised in that they are without any style at all. Many of the actors he used acted in the film in which he cast them. He left out what would usually be considered key moments in a plot, making them difficult, but always fascinating. He never failed in what he tried to achieve, though that doesn't mean they were all always really that enjoyable, especially If you approach them as you would any other movie anyway. They are an acquired taste, and frankly require a certain degree of intelligence. I don't say that to sound pretentious, but to merely point out the observation that to have to think about something requires a certain amount of intelligence.

In 1974 Bresson applied his philosophic sensibilities to a legendary tale. He took the famous Arthurian story of Lancelot's affair with Arthur's Queen, Guinevere. Of course, everyone knows the story, so I will not bother describing the plot so much as examine how it's executed. Bresson stripped all the lustre and romanticism from the story. Instead, he chose to emphasize the grime and cold-bloodedness. In the opening shot, he has Knights battle each other, hammering their swords against their armour until they strike flesh. Blood pours out like water from a faucet. It is a poignant gesture that Bresson begins (and ends) his film with inexplicable and horrific violence.

Bresson turns ups the sounds of metal scraping on metal as the knights move around. He makes them look almost silly in their shuffling motions. Their pride is a foolish one. Instead of noblemen, Bresson shows them as petty and manipulative. They conspire to kill Lancelot, not by challenging him to a duel, but by waiting for him to exit the Queen's room where, armed or not, they declare he'll be too caught off guard to put up a fight before he is run through. Even Lancelot is ashamed, for he has returned from his quest to find the Holy Grail a failure. His trespasses with the Queen, even if it is true love, are doomed to tragedy because of foolhardy nobility.

Though parts of the film take place in a castle, Bresson wastes no time with an establishing or grandiose shots. Even in battle, most scenes are reactionary. He makes it a point to show the knights lifting and closing their face masks as they speak with one another or prepare for war. The repetition somehow acts almost as satire. I think Bresson recognized the asinine behind the legendry.

Lancelot du Lac was one of Bresson's most abstract films. It was in many ways an exercise in deconstruction that would have done Derrida proud. It obviously must has been quite influential. When I first saw Terrence Malick's The New World, I instantly thought that it must have been influenced in some way by Lancelot du Lac. That film stripped the story of Pocahontas and John Smith to its bare essentials - albeit not to the extent that Bresson goes, but still. There is one scene in The New World which reminded me very much of Lancelot du Lac, the one in which Smith wades through a swampy forest in his clunky armour only to be bested by the nearly nude naturals. He looks foolish trying to navigate and murky forest in such clunky attire. Now whether or not the film was an inspiration or if Malick has even seen it, I cannot confirm (though I suspect he has - his knowledge of cinema is extensive) Bresson often shows his knights gallivanting in the forest, wearing armour as a formal attire in situations that do not require it, other than to shout, "look at me, I am a Knight of King Arthur's Court!." Sure they offer some added protection, but they are still no match for death - as Bresson points out by showing us at the beginning and at the end (purposefully placed no doubt) how blood finds ways to spray from the openings and holes in plates of armour. Their armour is simply a token of their supremacy over the common man.

Lancelot du Lac is Bresson's way of showing us the grandiose self-importance the Knights of King Arthur's Court presented upon themselves, and continues to be placed upon them by fairytale romanticism. When Lancelot asks for help to overcome his temptations from God, it is not for holiness or piety, but his own mortal self-preservation. Their quest for the Grail and their military victories have granted them fame and reputation. They squander what gifts they have been given to defeat one another. On one side, for the sake of Arthur against Lancelot; on the other for the sake of the Queen and Lancelot against everyone else. In the end when Lancelot concedes and returns the Queen to Arthur in exchange for her pardon, a group of Knights turn against the King at his moment of weakness. Now then Lancelot and his men return to fight for Arthur against the usurpers. It is a cycle of battle, or to be more to the point, competition. Throughout the film the Knights are preoccupied with competition in some form - jousting, declaring duels, chess, the love of the queen. They feast on an appetite of destruction.

All is done in the name of Christianity in Arthur's court, but Bresson leaves much of that to subtlety. One shot of Lancelot is framed in the foreground by a crucifix, out of focus on purpose. Guinevere responds that the Knights were looking for God as a trophy - yet God is not a trophy. The Knights have simply taken Christianity as their flag in a battle for self-supremacy, not any theological quest.

20 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
WORST MOVIE I've seen in a long time lordgoblinking
Backs of legs?? rayincumbria
roots of 'holy grail' vfirth64
Correct running length? HolyShackles
Discuss Lancelot of the Lake (1974) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: