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Excalibur (1981)

R  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Fantasy  |  10 April 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 44,493 users  
Reviews: 340 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 <bole@life.bio.sunysb.edu>

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?


Director John Boorman bought the horse that Percival rides to champion Guinevere. See more »


When Lancelot is injured and Merlin heals him, Guinevere holds Lancelot's hand up close to her but in the next shot, their hands are resting on his body. See more »


Merlin: It is a lonely life, the way of the necromancer... oh, yes. Lacrimae Mundi - the tears of the world.
See more »


Spoofed in Xcalibur, the Lords of Sex (2007) See more »


Prelude to Tristan and Isolde
by Richard Wagner
Specially recorded by London Philharmonic Orchestra (as The London Philharmonic Orchestra)
Conducted by Norman Del Mar
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Operatic,mythic, retelling of Arthurian legend.
10 May 1999 | by (warren michigan) – See all my reviews

At different times in his illustrious career, John Boorman has announced that his intention to make film versions of both The Lord Of The Rings, and Wagners "Ring" cycle.Like Scorsese's plans to do film biographies of Gershwin and Robert Johnson, or Coppola's plans to make versions of Faust and Pinocchio, these grandiose projects have come to nothing. Fortunately, in Excalibur, we have something that comes close..VERY close. Boorman retells the Arthur legend in a way that evokes both the mythic power of Tolkien and the operatic splendor of Wagner.. ( Indeed, the sound track makes frequent use of Wagner.)Some have criticized Boorman for making the story of King Arthur too sexy and violent. Well, in their original , unexpurgated form, the Arthurian legends were just that. Boorman also looks at the Druidic and pagan roots of the arthur story, (" The Land is the King."), and examines the inner conflict between Paganism and Christianity that gave the myth its original power. A great film, and one of my personal favorites. I have not seen Robert Bresson's version of the Arthur myth, Lancelot Du Lac, but I suspect that it may be the only other one by a major film-maker that comes close to the eerie, mythic, glorious heart of Arthurian legend.

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