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Excalibur (1981)

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

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(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

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Paul Geoffrey ...
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Robert Addie ...
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Niall O'Brien ...
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

10 April 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Knights  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Igrayne, The Lady of the Lake, and young Mordred were all played by John Boorman's real-life children: Katrine Boorman, Telsche Boorman, and Charley Boorman. See more »

Goofs

When Merlin creates a fog, the prolonged mist from Morgana's mouth is clearly coming from a pipe/tube next to her cheek. Her mouth is closed at times and the thick mist still continues. See more »

Quotes

Perceval: [holding the Grail to Arthur's lips] You and the land are one. Drink.
Arthur: I am wasting away. I cannot die and I cannot live.
Perceval: Drink from the chalice. You will be reborn and the land with you.
Arthur: [drinks] Perceval... I didn't know how empty was my soul... until it was filled.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sposi (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Excellent battle scenes. Well worth seeing.
13 September 2001 | by (Isle of Man, British Isles) – See all my reviews

John Boorman's semi-adaptation of La Morte D'Arthur may come as something of a surprise, albeit a pleasant one, as the usually glamorised and fanciful tale is furnished in grimly realistic fashion. The armour, weapons and castles all look very authentic, and indeed it is in the battle sequences that the film excels, especially due to the stirring music selected to accompany each pivotal scene.

Purists will doubtless find plenty to frown and ‘tut' about, but doing justice to the Arthurian legends in film is a monumental task and Boorman delivers a true classic. Acting is fine, although dialogue is shouted more than spoke, and delivered with all the subtlety of a flanged mace. Nicol Williamson stands out in particular as the creepy Merlin, but it's fun to see Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart and Liam Neeson paving their ways to future stardom.

Of course, if the film has any reputation at all it is with its vicious battle scenes, which are still gory even today. They are, it has to be said, very welcome, because without the depictions of desperate, hand-to-hand battle, you might start comparing it with First Knight – which would be something close to sacrilege.

My older DVD copy looks fine but sounds a bit tinny, so it's with some annoyance I see there's a special edition out now, which presumably has had the full restoration work done on it. If you haven't seen Excalibur but have an interest in the subject (and hated First Knight), you should certainly give it a try.


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