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Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1984)

Gawain was a squire in King Arthur's court when the Green Knight burst in and offered to play a game with a brave knight. No knights stand to defend their king's honor. Except for the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Linet (as Cyrielle Claire)
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The King
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...
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Wilfrid Brambell ...
Bruce Lidington ...
Douglas Wilmer ...
Brian Coburn ...
Friar Vosper
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Sage
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Morgan La Fay
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Storyline

Gawain was a squire in King Arthur's court when the Green Knight burst in and offered to play a game with a brave knight. No knights stand to defend their king's honor. Except for the valiant Gawain. After being quickly knighted Gawain plays the game, but learns that it's all a trick, and he has lost. But the Green Knight shows mercy, letting Gawain grow a year older before having to face the consequences. Gawain journeys across the land, learning about life, saving damsels, and solving the Green Knight's riddle. Written by Sean Kilby and Jason Parker <gestalt@ix.netcom.com>

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PG | See all certifications »
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17 August 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sword of the Valiant  »

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(Fujicolor)

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of this movie's writer-director Stephen Weeks. See more »

Goofs

Morgan La Fay's hairdo noticeably changes from her long shots to her close-ups. See more »

Quotes

Sir Gawain: I forgot to ask one question during my quick initiation into knighthood.
Humphrey: Oh? What's that?
Sir Gawain: How to relieve myself in this tin suit.
See more »

Connections

Version of Gawain and the Green Knight (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

Wonderful Entertainment for All Ages
22 December 2004 | by (Watsonville, California) – See all my reviews

Both the stories of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Owain a the Lady of the Fountain are classic remnants of an oral tradition more ancient than the French Norman Romances and 14th Century Welsh Mabinogion story collections, yet both thought these two stories worthy of retelling and recording in written form much like Tristan and Parzifal. And there's a good reason for it, obviously good enough reason to get the likes of Sean Connery, Trevor Howard, Lila Kedrova, and John Rhys-Davies to take part in this admittedly cheesy production. (The fact that this was a Golan Globus production should have been a clue to any movie fan.)

The ancient Celtic bards had to memorize some 100 major stories and 200 minor ones to entertain the folks during those long cold winter nights. While Tristan and Parcival belong to the former, Gawain and Owain belong to the latter. These are ribald entertainments for light late night story telling entertainment much like a James Bond, or a cheesy B-Movie. In fact I have heard one professor of Medieval Studies refer to Owain as the James Bond of the Arthurian cycles. And the middle part of this film that deals with Lyonese captures the whole Bond formula (or I should say formula which Fleming followed) of impossible predicament (ala Dr. Evil's "No. Intend to set up an elaborate death and walk away assuming it happened."), narrow escape, beautiful damsel, daring do, hand to hand combat against impossible odds complete with tongue in cheek reparté.

I loved the movie for what it was from the moment I saw Trevor Howard's aging Arthur acting line the mean spirited cranky old fart the Welsh triads depict (not the "boyish" one of the Gawain poem) , through Lina Kedrova's scary horny old widow queen, Rhys-Davis's Fontenbras playing with toy soldiers, and of course Connery's transcendental Green Knight. Sure I missed some of the original story elements of both stories - the fountain and the ogre with the giant club - and I hated that cheesy last scene with Linet that they added on the end of the perfect ending scene with the Green Knight.

But this one captured the spirit of the older tales of the Mabinogion (from which we get the oldest Owain and the Lady of the Fountain) much better than the Saxon-Norman poetic retelling of the Gawain story. Ribald, cheesy, fun with a few moral lessons thrown in for "redeeming social value." In this film's retelling one gets a much better feel for the kind of story the bards might have told the assembled drunken retainers in the King's Hall on a late mid-winter night.

I give it a 7 for capturing the spirit of the tradition (that Monty Python Holy Grail feel that one detractors here noted as though it were a bad thing) , great acting by the legendary actors in smaller parts noted above and the James Bond pulp fiction feel. I'm detracting points for the music, skipping the fountain/storm and the ogre/giant, and that dumb ending scene.

(PS contrary to one reviewer's accusation that it looked like a back lot in Pasadena, these were real Welsch castles including Cardiff and the former Palace of the Pope in Avignion.)


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