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Prince Valiant (1997)

In a time now lost in the mists of memory, the great King Arthur rules in the legendary citadel that is Camelot. His Knights of the Round Table commit acts of derring-do and spend their ... See full summary »

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(comic strip) (as Harold R. Foster), (story) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Pechet
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King Thane
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Erik the Old
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Hamish Campbell-Robertson ...
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Tiny
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Storyline

In a time now lost in the mists of memory, the great King Arthur rules in the legendary citadel that is Camelot. His Knights of the Round Table commit acts of derring-do and spend their spare time jousting, much to the delight of the local citizens and especially to Princess Ilene, a guest at Camelot. Watching her from afar is a young, inexperienced squire called Valiant, and when the young Welsh princess is sent home to marry Prince Arn, Valiant contrives to accompany her masquerading as Sir Gawain. Meanwhile, the evil sorceress Morgan le Fey, sister to King Arthur, has convinced the tyrannical Sligon, ruler of the Viking kingdom of Thule, that he should steal Arthur's sword, the powerful and magical Excalibur, knowing that its loss could bring about Arthur's downfall. So into the fray comes Sligon's unstable and psychotic brother Thagnar, who manages to steal the sword. Pandemonium reigns. But Valiant is having problems of his own - kidnappers attempt to steal away the Princess, and... Written by Helen Chavez

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He who holds the sword, rules the world.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for medieval action violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

24 July 1997 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

El príncipe Valiente  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie was re-cut by the German producers, while the director was away on Christmas vacation. They wouldn't fly him back to Germany to finish the film. Four key scenes setting up its humorous tone and all religious aspects were removed. See more »

Goofs

When the "Vikings" were in the Round Room, about to steal Excalibur, the Round Table knight that came in to confront the raiders said, "Which of you Vikings wants the first dance?" despite of the fact that all of them were clad in Scottish tartan. See more »

Quotes

Prince Valiant: He told them I was valiant, and that became my name.
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Soundtracks

What We Are Waiting For
Performed by Alannah Myles and Zucchero
Written by Phil Roy, Simon Wilson, Siobhan Maher
Published by Sony Tunes Inc./Philster Music ASCAP,
Bugle Songs Ltd. PRS, BMG Music Publishing PRS
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User Reviews

 
Proof that Europe can hold its own with America when it comes to bad fantasy epics
4 January 2009 | by (Tunbridge Wells, England) – See all my reviews

"Prince Valiant" is, apparently, based upon a comic strip, although I must confess that I had never heard of it before seeing the film. The story is set in Arthurian Britain. The king's magic sword Excalibur has been stolen by a gang of Vikings from the kingdom of Thule, so Valiant, a young squire, is sent to recover it. On the way he falls in love with the beautiful Princess Ilene (a name which can be pronounced either as "Eileen" or "Elaine", depending upon which character is speaking) and discovers that he himself is in fact none other than the long-lost heir to the crown of Thule, which has been usurped by the current incumbent, the villainous Thagnar.

The Arthurian legends have not always transferred well to the cinema screen. In recent years we have had the decidedly average romance "First Knight" and the decidedly below-average epic "King Arthur". "Prince Valiant", however, falls so far below average that it almost falls off the bottom of the scale. It is not a would-be epic along the lines of "King Arthur", but rather a sword-and-sorcery adventure along the lines of "Conan the Barbarian", "Red Sonja" or (to take a more modern example) "The Scorpion King".

Stephen Moyer makes a particularly dull hero, acting as though he were recovering from a serious charisma bypass operation. Katherine Heigl makes a pretty but equally uncharismatic heroine as Eileen/Elaine; on the evidence of this film she may have had the looks to succeed as a Hollywood star, but not the talent, so I was rather surprised that she has gone on to star in successful television series and films like "Gray's Anatomy" and "Knocked Up".Edward Fox, who stars here as Arthur, is a talented actor who should have known better than to sign up for rubbish like this.

The one exception to the generally low standard of acting is Joanna Lumley, still splendidly seductive in her fifties as Arthur's evil half-sister Morgan Le Fay, but this only made me wonder why Joanna, who is one of Britain's most popular television actresses, seems to make so many bad choices when she ventures into the cinema. There have been occasional exceptions, such as her cameo in the excellent "Shirley Valentine", but too many of her films have been awful ones- "Don't Just Lie There, Say Something" and "The Satanic Rites of Dracula" are other examples.

Even worse than the standards of acting are the action scenes and special effects. The fight scenes were all clumsily handled and those alligators were ludicrously unconvincing. The storyline was often confusing and difficult to follow and the lighting was so gloomy as to make me think that the film-makers were interpreting the phrase "Dark Ages" absolutely literally. "Prince Valiant" is billed as a British/Irish/German co-production, which only goes to show that there is at least one field, the tenth-rate fantasy epic, in which the European film industry can hold its own against American competition. I can only assume that the film's European origins were the reason that it was overlooked for a well-deserved Razzie nomination. 2/10


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