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Excalibur (1981)

R  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Fantasy  |  10 April 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 44,115 users  
Reviews: 339 user | 82 critic

Merlin the magician helps Arthur Pendragon unite the Britons around the round table of Camelot even as forces conspire to tear it apart



(book), (adaptation), 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicholas Clay ...
Robert Addie ...
Keith Buckley ...
Niall O'Brien ...


The myth of King Arthur brought once again to the screen. Uthur Pendragon is given the mystical sword Excalibur by the wizard Merlin. At his death Uthur buries the sword into a stone, and the next man that can pull it out will be King of England. Years later Arthur, Uthur's bastard son draws Excalibur and becomes king. Guided by Merlin, Arthur marries Guenivere and gathers the Knights of the Round Table. Arthur's evil half-sister Morgana sires a son with him, who may prove his downfall. Written by Greg Bole <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


No mortal could possess it! No kingdom could command it! See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

10 April 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Knights  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$11,000,000 (estimated)


SEK 2,986,757 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (edited)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The original cut of the film was over three hours long. Among the many scenes that were lost - but was briefly glimpsed in the trailer - was a scene where Lancelot rescued Guenevere from a forest bandit. See more »


Distance between Mordred and Arthur in the spear scene. See more »


Arthur: [Arthur is dying] Perceval, take Excalibur. Find a pool of calm water. Throw the sword into it.
Perceval: No!
Arthur: Obey me, Perceval. Do it, and return.
Arthur: [Perceval returns after not throwing the sword in] When you cast it in, what did you see?
Perceval: I saw nothing but the wind on the water. My King, I couldn't do it! Excalibur cannot be lost! Other men...
Arthur: DO... as I command! One day, a King will come, and the Sword will rise... again.
See more »


Referenced in Lucinda's Spell (1998) See more »


O Fortuna
from Carmina Burana
by Carl Orff
Performed by The Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Conducted by Herbert Kegel
Courtesy of Polygram Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Great Film
17 November 2003 | by (Albany, NY) – See all my reviews

I am an Arthurian buff and a film fan (aspiring to be a novelist and a screenwriter). EXCALIBUR is a great, great film that holds up very well after more than 20 years. It is an expert distillation of the essential Arthurian legend (this from someone who has read and re-read Malory's original work, Le Morte D'Arthur, on which the movie was based, as well as Tennyson, White, Steinbeck, and many of the other modern fictional treatments, as well as a lot of the secondary literature on the history and meaning of the Arthur myth). The film is wonderful on many, many levels, from Boorman's masterful direction and writing (along with Pallenberg, his screenwriter), to the cinematography, the armor and costumes, the sets and production design, and the acting (with a great cast too numerous to mention). The film has violence, sex, myth, drama, intrigue, heroics, pathos, and aspirations to art, all in the best senses of those terms. The film probably works best if you already have some sort of sense of the Arthur legends, but I would recommend it to anyone. Also, listen to Boorman's director's commentary on the DVD. Perhaps the best and most lucid DVD commentary that I have heard on video; interesting and sharp comments throughout the entire film, and well worth replaying if you aspire to filmmaking in any way, or just want to hear a smart filmmaker talk about his work. I have tried to write Arthurian stories and an Arthurian script, but all have so far paled in comparison to Boorman and Pallenberg's work. Long live Boorman and long live EXCALIBUR!

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