IMDb > Excalibur (1981)
Excalibur
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Excalibur (1981) More at IMDbPro »

Videos (see all 3)
Excalibur -- A spirited accounting of one of the most obscure periods of the world's history. This reprisal is magical in its execution and gives its audience something to watch.
Excalibur -- Another retelling of the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Overview

User Rating:
7.4/10   41,547 votes »
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Down 1% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Thomas Malory (book)
Rospo Pallenberg (adaptation)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Excalibur on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
10 April 1981 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
No mortal could possess it! No kingdom could command it! See more »
Plot:
Merlin the magician helps Arthur Pendragon unite the Britons around the round table of Camelot even as forces conspire to tear it apart Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 2 wins & 9 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
The Best Theatrical Re-Telling of the Arthurian Legend--Largely Based on Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur (1485) See more (324 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Directed by
John Boorman 
 
Writing credits
Thomas Malory (book "Le Morte d'Arthur")

Rospo Pallenberg (adaptation)

Rospo Pallenberg (screenplay) and
John Boorman (screenplay)

Produced by
John Boorman .... producer
Michael Dryhurst .... associate producer
Robert A. Eisenstein .... executive producer
Edgar F. Gross .... executive producer
 
Original Music by
Trevor Jones 
 
Cinematography by
Alex Thomson 
 
Film Editing by
John Merritt 
Donn Cambern (uncredited)
 
Casting by
Mary Selway 
 
Production Design by
Anthony Pratt 
 
Art Direction by
Tim Hutchinson 
 
Set Decoration by
Bryan Graves 
 
Costume Design by
Bob Ringwood 
 
Makeup Department
Anna Dryhurst .... makeup artist
Anne Dunne .... hair stylist
Anne McFadyen .... hair stylist
Basil Newall .... makeup artist
 
Production Management
Jack Phelan .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Barry Blackmore .... assistant director
Robert Dwyer-Joyce .... second assistant director
John Lawlor .... second assistant director
Peter MacDonald .... second unit director
Andrew Montgomery .... second assistant director
Ted Morley .... second assistant director
David Murphy .... second assistant director
Martin O'Malley .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Trisha Edwards .... production buyer
Bob Hedges .... property master
Joe Lear .... master plasterer
Joe Lee .... construction manager
John Lucas .... associate art director
Owen Murnane .... master painter
Paddy Murray .... property man
Mario Novelli .... model maker (as Anthony Freeman)
David Rayner .... property man
Mervyn Rowe .... scenic artist
Bertram Tyrer .... associate art director
John Alvin .... poster artist (uncredited)
Cos Egan .... set dresser (uncredited)
Mark Hedges .... trainee propman (uncredited)
Owen Monaghan .... set dresser (uncredited)
Brian Muir .... sculptor (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Pat Brennan .... assistant sound editor
Tom Curran .... sound recordist
Ron Davis .... sound editor
John Fortune .... boom operator
Tony Message .... dialogue editor
Doug E. Turner .... sound mixer (as Doug Turner)
Lionel Strutt .... adr mixer (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Michael Doyle .... special effects
Peter Hutchinson .... special effects
Gerry Johnston .... special effects
Alan Whibley .... special effects
 
Visual Effects by
Wally Veevers .... special optical effects
 
Stunts
Ken Byrne .... stunts
Dominick Hewitt .... stunt double
Paul Kelly .... stunts
Chris King .... stunts
James McHale .... stunts
Ed McShortall .... stunts
Donal O'Farrell .... stunts
Bernard O'Hare .... stunts
Peter Spelman .... stunts
Alan Walsh .... stunts
Alan Walsh .... stunt double (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Mike Brewster .... assistant camera
John Campbell .... assistant camera
Jack Conroy .... electrical supervisor
Louis Conroy .... electrician
Terry Eiffe .... electrician
Derek Hate .... electrician
Martin Holland .... electrician
Peter MacDonald .... photographer: second unit
Shane O'Neill .... assistant camera
Luke Quigley .... camera grip
Bob Smith .... camera operator
Arnaud Sélignac .... still photographer
Peter Versey .... assistant camera
Mike Fox .... second camera operator (uncredited)
Jon Sorensen .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Des Whelan .... second assistant camera: second unit (uncredited)
Robert Willoughby .... special still photographer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Daryl Bristow .... wardrobe master
Janet O'Leary .... wardrobe mistress
 
Editorial Department
Michael Kelliher .... assistant editor
 
Music Department
Trevor Jones .... conductor: original music
Dick Lewzey .... music recording engineer (as Richard Lewzey)
John Richards .... music recording engineer
John A. Coleman .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Transportation Department
Arthur Dunne .... transportation manager
 
Other crew
Terry Baker .... stand-by crew
Philip Bernon .... rider
Telsche Boorman .... general assistant
Richard Collins .... rider
Seamus Collins .... rider
Con Cremins .... assistant accountant
Joe Cullen .... rider
Barry Cunningham .... stand-by crew
Daithi Curren .... rider
Tony Doyle .... rider
Terry English .... armorer
Nick Fitzpatrick .... armorer
Martin Forrestal .... stand-by crew
Donal Fortune .... rider
David Gavaghan .... rider
Beryl Harvey .... production assistant
William Hobbs .... fight arranger
Neil Jordan .... creative associate
Eddie Kennedy .... rider
Peter Leicht .... armorer
Tom Lundy .... stand-by crew
Marie McFerran .... production assistant
Bronco McLoughlin .... rider (as Bronco McLaughlin)
Kevin Moriarty .... location manager
Michael O'Farrell .... rider
Ray O'Toole .... rider
Michael Rowland .... horse master
Jean Skinner .... continuity
Arthur Tarry .... production accountant
Steve Tidiman .... armorer
Anthony Van Laast .... choreographer
Christy Yourell .... stand-by crew
Wayne Docksey .... animal wrangler (uncredited)
Craig Miller .... marketing consultant (uncredited)
Philip Sharpe .... technician (uncredited)
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
140 min | USA:119 min (edited version)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:M | Brazil:16 | Canada:PA (Manitoba) | Canada:R (Nova Scotia/Ontario) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Chile:14 | Finland:K-16 | Germany:12 (DVD rating) | Iceland:12 | Iceland:16 (video rating) | Ireland:15 | Peru:14 | Singapore:M18 | South Korea:15 (cable rating) | Sweden:15 | UK:15 | USA:R | USA:PG (cut) | West Germany:12 (f)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The black smoke in Arthur's first siege on a castle was created by burning tires. It left black flakes on a nearby town.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: Distance between Mordred and Arthur in the spear scene.See more »
Quotes:
Grail Figure:What is the secret of the Grail? Who does it serve?
Perceval:You, my lord.
Grail Figure:Who am I?
Perceval:You are my lord and king. You are Arthur.
Grail Figure:Have you found the secret that I have lost?
Perceval:Yes. You and the land are one.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Prehysteria! 3 (1995) (V)See more »
Soundtrack:
O FortunaSee more »

FAQ

Is this film based on a book?
Where were the forests located?
How did they create the starry sky?
See more »
81 out of 88 people found the following review useful.
The Best Theatrical Re-Telling of the Arthurian Legend--Largely Based on Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur (1485), 30 May 2007
Author: classicalsteve from Oakland, CA

Late in the film, King Arthur is about to fight his last battle against his estranged son Mordred. His kingdom of Camelot is falling. The knights of the Round Table are disbanding. Guinevere has entered a convent. In short, Arthur's world is collapsing. He rides to the nunnery to see Guinevere for the last time. And there, she produces the ancient timeless object hidden beneath some linen: the sword Excalibur, still gleaming, still magical, still potent to fight in the battle that Arthur cannot win. He sheathes Excalibur, and, in full knightly regalia rides with his remaining loyal knights through the English countryside, their pennants and banners flying in the wind. The fortissimo chorus of Carmina Burana accompanies their ride in perfect harmony, chanting the lyrics from the medieval poem "O Fortuna". This is the stuff of legend...

Artistic treatments of the Arthurian legends date back to illuminated codices from the Middle Ages. Thereafter the first, and one of the greatest, attempts to bring the stories into a novelistic form was written in the late 1400's by a knight, Sir Thomas Malory, entitled La Morte d'Arthur ("The Death of Arthur") which is probably the most famous work of English letters proceeding Chaucer but before Shakespeare. Even later renditions include T.H. White's "The Once and Future King". By the 20th century, theatrical adaptations began appearing as well, including "Knights of the Round Table" (1953), Disney's "The Sword in the Stone" (1963), and the musical "Camelot" by Lerner and Lowe which was possibly the most popular rendition of the story before "Excalibur". These last renditions, although they have their appeal, cannot measure up to the movie "Excalibur" which was largely based upon Malory's original tome.

Many here have detailed very well the merits of the film, and since most people know the story, I will keep this short. The reason why this is the best of the Arthurian-based films is its imagery and its dedication to the original Arthurian myths. The entire look of the film, which I have not seen in a movie since, reeks of Medieval Legend. The lush forests, the huge castles, and the glittering swords give a visual and dream-like reality. This is NOT how it was in the Middle Ages. This is how people in the Middle Ages would have liked it to have been, which is the entire point of the Arthurian myths. The filmmakers of Excalibur understood that myth is about dreams.

Several moments in the film are inspired directly from Malory and earlier Medieval codices. For example, several Medieval illuminated manuscripts feature the hand of the Lady of the Lake bestowing the sword Excalibur to Arthur. Strangely this episode, which becomes an important theme throughout Excalibur, is lacking from other theatrical versions and yet it is central to the original myth. Another is the strange rhetoric that Arthur and the land are one, and when Arthur becomes ill, the land of his kingdom becomes barren. This concept was a widely held belief in the Middle Ages: that the sovereign was essentially married to the kingdom.

Another aspect that makes this film outstanding is the portrayal of Merlin by Nicol Williamson. This was possibly the best Merlin ever to come to the large screen. Some of the most humorous moments of the film occur with Merlin. Instead of being the absent-minded wizard of "The Sword in the Stone", he is the last of the Druids, a race giving way to Medieval Christians. Worth the price of admission. It is sad that he obtained very little recognition for this portrayal.

The fact is, a viewer either experiences "aesthetic arrest" with Excalibur, or he or she doesn't. If the scenes when the knights go riding through countryside with their pennants flying behind them doesn't give you the shivers, this is not and will never be your kind of movie. If Malory had lived to see this film, he would have been awed and proud. Malory gave Arthur to the world, and Excalibur gave Arthur back to Malory.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (324 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Excalibur (1981)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Things You Learned from watching Excalibur Darth_Ferior
Documentary 'Behind the Sword in the Stone' fortean2
When Uryens knights Arthur... jimicapone
If they do the remake, you know who could make a great Merlin ... TheGingerReview
Looks dubbed to me Noelle W Dempsey
Morgana! DarkBat1939
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