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Arthur the King (1985)

TV Movie  |   |  Adventure, Fantasy, Mystery  |  26 April 1985 (USA)
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Reviews: 15 user | 4 critic

Classic tale of King Arthur and how his wife is kidnapped by his evil sister. Lancelot is sent out to try and retrieve the lost queen and unfortunately falls in love with her. Forbidden ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph Blatchley ...
Rosalyn Landor ...
Philip Sayer ...
Ann Thornton ...
Lucy Gutteridge ...
Denis Lill ...
John Quarmby ...


Classic tale of King Arthur and how his wife is kidnapped by his evil sister. Lancelot is sent out to try and retrieve the lost queen and unfortunately falls in love with her. Forbidden love, revenge, family rivalry, and magic are all prominent themes. Written by Josh Pasnak <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

love | queen | magic | king | lancelot | See All (40) »






Release Date:

26 April 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Merlin & the Sword  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Barry Stokes, Garry Sundquist , Richard Heffer and Lambert Wilson were all possibles for Lancelot. See more »


Version of Knights of the Round Table (1953) See more »

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User Reviews

Dumb sword and sorcery opus.
8 December 2003 | by (Todmorden, England) – See all my reviews

Merlin and the Sword (a.k.a Arthur The King) is a genuinely terrible sword and sorcery opus which features a cast full of seasoned old pros and young stars of the future. Quite how these talented actors and actresses were persuaded to lend their faces to this ridiculous production is anybody's guess, but after a while it becomes embarrassing to watch so many gifted thespians sinking in the quicksand of such a foolish script. Director Clive Donner has made some good films too, so one has to wonder what was going through his mind when he agreed to direct this turkey. Perhaps everyone involved had some overdue bills to pay!

An American tourist, Katharine (Dyan Cannon), is on a day-trip at the ancient monument of Stonehenge when she inadvertently falls down a hole. When she lands at the bottom, she finds herself in a cave - no normal cave, mind you, but a cave which which houses the famous wizard Merlin (Edward Woodward) and his lover Niniane (Lucy Gutteridge). Merlin has apparently been imprisoned with his lover in this cave for a thousand years. The arrival of Katharine gives him an excuse to tell a story, and pretty soon he is narrating a tale about his old companion King Arthur (Malcolm McDowell). Merlin tells of Arthur's marriage to the lovely Queen Guinevere (Rosalyn Landor); the poisonous plotting of Arthur's treacherous half-sister Morgan Le Fay (Candice Bergen); and the forbidden love affair between Guinevere and the trusted knight Sir Lancelot (Rupert Everett).

This cheapjack fantasy never really works in spite of the strong cast. There's something fundamentally stupid about the plot, which could have been serviceable if dealt with in a more tongue-in-cheek manner, but here comes across as merely risible. There's also something terribly wrong with the general atmosphere of the film.... maybe it's the hopelessly '80s music score which is as cheesy as a lump of mature cheddar; maybe it's the over-modernised dialogue which doesn't ring true amid the Middle Ages period trappings; maybe it's the atrocious special effects; or maybe it's just the all-round air of indifference which affects the film both infront of and behind the cameras. It's hard to believe that Rupert Everett and Liam Neeson (here guilty of lacklustre performances) ever went on to become big stars. It's equaly hard to believe that the likes of Woodward, McDowell, Bergen and Michael Gough (who has a bit-part as a forgetful archbishop) ever were big stars in their own right. On the whole, this is definitely one to skip!

6 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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