The Fisher King
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The Fisher King can be found here.

After making a glib comment on his shock-jock radio show, New York DJ Jack Lucas (Jeff Bridges) is horrified when one of his callers goes on a murderous spree in a local bar. One of the casualties is the wife of former university professor Henry Sagan (Robin Williams), now referring to himself as 'Parry', who became unhinged and homeless after losing his wife and who now suffers from hallucinations centered around the legend of the Fisher King. Despondent because he was the cause of Parry's life being shattered, Jack seeks redemption by befriending Parry and helping him in his quest to recover the Holy Grail and to win the heart of Lydia Sinclair (Amanda Plummer), the woman he loves from afar.

No. The Fisher King was filmed from a script by American screenwriter Richard LaGravenese, who based the story on an Arthurian legend about The Fisher King (also known as 'The Wounded King.')

When frequent caller Edwin Malnick phones Jack to tell him about meeting a girl in Babbitt's, a bar popular with single, young professionals. Jack rails the bar as a 'yuppie watering hole' where 'they only mate with their own kind', which is why 'so many of them are retarded and 'wear the same clothes.' He tells Edwin that they're 'evil' and 'must be stopped', because 'it's us or them.' That night, Edwin goes back to the bar with a shotgun and kills seven people before turning the gun on himself.

'The Fisher King' is hailed in Arthurian legend as being a keeper in a long line of keepers charged with protecting the Holy Grail. Shot in his manhood (hence 'the wounded king'), he is rendered sterile and unable to procreate, which prevents him from keeping the line going. Little is left for him to do but fish (hence, 'the fisher king') in a nearby river and wait for someone to heal him.

Who is the Red Knight?

The Red Knight, like the Fisher King, is a figure from Arthurian legend. He was introduced as an adversary in French troubador Chrtien de Troyes' poem 'Perceval, the Story of the Grail', written during the 1100s. In the story, the Red Knight steals the grail from King Arthur and is killed by Round Table knight, Sir Perceval, also spelled 'Parsival' in various retellings of the story. (Viewers of The Fisher King frequently point out the similarity between the names 'Perceval/Parsival' and 'Parry.') It is generally believed by most viewers that the Red Knight represents Parry's repressed memories of his wife's death, the billowing red flags being synonymous with the blood spatter, the bursts of flame with the shotgun blast, even the name 'Red Knight' alluding to the 'red night' of his wife's murder. Note that the Red Knight shows up whenever Parry is forced to confront this memory.

How does the movie end?

Jack successfully steals the 'grail' from the 'castle' and places it in Parry's hands. Thoroughly exhausted, he then falls asleep in a chair next to Parry's hospital bed. Parry's fingers slowly begin to work their way up the cup, and his eyes open. Coming out of his catatonic state, Parry relates to Jack the memory of his wife as though it came to him in a dream but notes that he really misses her. The next day when Lydia comes to visit, she finds Parry dressed in his watermelon pajamas and leading the other patients in an enthusiastic rendition of 'How About You?' Parry embraces her and asks 'Are you my girl?' Sniffing on her tears, Lydia replies, 'Yes.' Jack pays a visit to Anne (Mercedes Ruehl) at her video store and tells her that he loves her. She slaps him but then jumps into his arms. In the final scene, Jack and Parry lie naked on the grass in Central Park. Jack notices the clouds parting, revealing a full moon. 'Am I doing that?' Jack asks. 'Are you crazy?' Parry replies. 'It's the wind.' They laugh and begin singing 'How About You?'

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