King Arthur Movies

by Pellam | created - 29 Apr 2011 | updated - 4 months ago | Public

Every King Arthur movie that I have seen, in order of personal preference. Modernisations and animations excluded.

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1. Excalibur (1981)

PG | 140 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

56 Metascore

Merlin the magician helps Arthur Pendragon unite the Britons around the Round Table of Camelot, even as dark forces conspire to tear it apart.

Director: John Boorman | Stars: Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi

Votes: 51,655 | Gross: $34.97M

All of Malory crammed into a movie that has emotional drama, fantastic presentation and profound symbolism. An ageless masterpiece.

2. The Mists of Avalon (2001– )

Unrated | 183 min | Drama, Fantasy

Based on the bestseller by Marion Zimmer Bradley It tells the story of the women behind King Arthur; including his mother, Igraine; his half-sister, Morgaine; his aunt Viviane, the Lady of ... See full summary »

Stars: Anjelica Huston, Julianna Margulies, Joan Allen, Samantha Mathis

Votes: 7,849

Strong feminine and paganic themes make this a memorable and refreshing watch among Arthurian movies.

3. Camelot (1967)

G | 179 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Musical

70 Metascore

The story of the marriage of England's King Arthur to Guinevere. The plot of illegitimate Mordred to gain the throne and Guinevere's growing attachment to Sir Lancelot, threaten to topple Arthur and destroy his "round table" of knights.

Director: Joshua Logan | Stars: Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave, Franco Nero, David Hemmings

Votes: 5,326 | Gross: $31.10M

Is it as brilliant as the original Broadway musical? Probably not. Does it nevertheless retain enough charm to be a thoroughly enjoyable movie experience? Yes Sir!

4. Lancelot of the Lake (1974)

85 min | Drama, History, Romance

74 Metascore

A million miles away from 'Camelot' or 'Excalibur', this film ruthlessly strips the Arthurian legend down to its barest essentials. Arthur's knights, far from being heroic, are conniving ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Bresson | Stars: Luc Simon, Laura Duke Condominas, Humbert Balsan, Vladimir Antolek-Oresek

Votes: 2,896

Bresson's directorial antics are certainly not everyone's cup of tea, but here they fuel a strong, nihilistic love drama.

5. Merlin (1998)

Not Rated | 182 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

The legendary wizard tells his story of his war against Queen Mab of the Sidhe and his creation of Camelot.

Stars: Sam Neill, Helena Bonham Carter, John Gielgud, Rutger Hauer

Votes: 18,932

Merlin is high on magic and thanks to the generous running time also high on mythos. Many absolutely delicious performances keep the story well afloat amidst outdated visuals.

6. Perceval le Gallois (1978)

Not Rated | 140 min | Drama, Music, Romance

The exploits of Sir Perceval, a legendary exemplar of knightly chivalry and one of the champions of King Arthur's Round Table.

Director: Éric Rohmer | Stars: Fabrice Luchini, André Dussollier, Solange Boulanger, Catherine Schroeder

Votes: 946

If you like Chrétien, this is certainly for you. Even if you don't, your struggle against unfinished storylines and stagelike production will be worth it when you get to the masterful conclusion of the quest.

7. Knights of the Round Table (1953)

Approved | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

King Arthur's rule is threatened by the adulterous love between Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere, a relationship the king's enemies hope to exploit.

Director: Richard Thorpe | Stars: Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner, Mel Ferrer, Anne Crawford

Votes: 2,792

Never has Arthur been closer to Hollywood - here we have the biggest names, the widest screen and the most vibrant colors.

8. Tristan + Isolde (2006)

PG-13 | 125 min | Action, Drama, Romance

49 Metascore

An affair between the second in line to Britain's throne and the princess of the feuding Irish spells doom for the young lovers.

Director: Kevin Reynolds | Stars: James Franco, Sophia Myles, Rufus Sewell, David O'Hara

Votes: 47,885 | Gross: $14.73M

Thoroughly proficient filmmaking. But you really can't be proficient in love without spoiling it, and that's where this movie fails.

9. Sword of Lancelot (1963)

116 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Lancelot is King Arthur's most valued Knight of the Round Table and a paragon of courage and virtue. Things change, however, when he falls in love with Queen Guinevere.

Director: Cornel Wilde | Stars: Cornel Wilde, Jean Wallace, Brian Aherne, George Baker

Votes: 381

Lots of knightly action and a well matured love triangle. The most magical thing here is a bar of soap.

10. Parsifal (1982)

PG | 255 min | Drama, Music

Richard Wagner's last opera has remained controversial since its first performance for its unique, and, for some, unsavory blending of religious and erotic themes and imagery. Based on one ... See full summary »

Director: Hans-Jürgen Syberberg | Stars: Armin Jordan, Martin Sperr, Robert Lloyd, Michael Kutter

Votes: 212

You must be able to endure opera, Wagner and glacial pacing to uncover the interesting symbolism Syberberg has added on the top of the original story.

11. Guinevere (1994 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 96 min | Adventure, Fantasy

The legend of King Arthur, Sir Lancelot and Guinevere, told from a somewhat more feminist perspective.

Director: Jud Taylor | Stars: Sheryl Lee, Sean Patrick Flanery, Noah Wyle, Brid Brennan

Votes: 234

A low budget spiritual predecessor to the Mists of Avalon.

12. Prince Valiant (1954)

Approved | 100 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A young Viking prince strives to become a knight in King Arthur's Court and restore his exiled father to his rightful throne.

Director: Henry Hathaway | Stars: James Mason, Janet Leigh, Robert Wagner, Debra Paget

Votes: 2,064

Harmless adventuring with sparse Arthurian references and a dense array of massive Viking horns. Visually very loyal to the comics - they only forgot men's lipstick.

13. First Knight (1995)

PG-13 | 134 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

Lancelot falls in love with Guinevere, who is due to be married to King Arthur. Meanwhile, a violent warlord tries to seize power from Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

Director: Jerry Zucker | Stars: Sean Connery, Richard Gere, Julia Ormond, Ben Cross

Votes: 61,413 | Gross: $37.60M

A very loose adaption with an A-list love triangle and heaps of general silliness. I questioned the pistol crossbows at first, but then realised that they actually might be effective against those Star Trek uniforms.

14. King Arthur (2004)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

46 Metascore

A demystified take on the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Director: Antoine Fuqua | Stars: Clive Owen, Stephen Dillane, Keira Knightley, Ioan Gruffudd

Votes: 148,217 | Gross: $51.88M

Suberb production values, cartoon characters, dismal plot. Owen is especially bad, but then again the script gives him nothing more than pep talk to work with.

15. Merlin of the Crystal Cave (1991– )

164 min | Drama

A star-studded TV production of the classic tale by Mary Stewart which follows Merlin down through history to the days of King Arthur.

Stars: George Winter, Trevor Peacock, Roger Alborough, Robert Powell

Votes: 63

Interestingly set in the times before Arthur, this is a bit more serious than the most recent young Merlin series. Historic name-dropping and beautiful Welsh scenery.

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

PG | 102 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

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 »

Director: Stephen Weeks | Stars: Miles O'Keeffe, Cyrielle Clair, Leigh Lawson, Sean Connery

Votes: 1,692

After a very strong intro scene, the plot becomes a hodgepodge of childish gags. I would have preferred this to be "The Legend of the Green Knight and the Green Knight Only". Connery's chest hair alone has more charisma than the bodybuilder protagonist.

17. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

41 Metascore

Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy - whether he likes it or not.

Director: Guy Ritchie | Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou

Votes: 153,626 | Gross: $39.18M

Arthur and the lads messing about. It's so full of over-the-top action that the story comes up completely empty.

18. Arthur & Merlin (2015)

Not Rated | 100 min | Fantasy

A young Celtic warrior and a hermit wizard must unite to defeat an evil druid.

Director: Marco van Belle | Stars: Kirk Barker, Stefan Butler, Nigel Cooke, Charlotte Brimble

Votes: 1,097

There is a promise of a good bromance, but an inept script fails to milk enough out from the titular characters.

19. Merlin and the Book of Beasts (2010 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 92 min | Fantasy, Thriller

Sorcerer Arkadian has taken over Camelot with a zoo of beasts from his magical book. King Arthur's daughter Avlynn asks Merlin to help her take back Camelot. She also has to find the sacred... See full summary »

Director: Warren P. Sonoda | Stars: James Callis, Laura Harris, Jesse Moss, Patrick Sabongui

Votes: 990

Low budget and high fantasy is rarely a good combination, but this has plenty of unintentional laughs to offer. Never has Merlin sounded more Jamaican.

20. Merlin and the War of the Dragons (2008 Video)

PG | 92 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

In 5th Century Britain, a young Merlin struggles for his place in his known land under the tutelage of The Mage, a local wizard whom sees the young man's potential for magic, as well as ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Atkins | Stars: Simon Lloyd-Roberts, Joseph Stacey, Dylan Jones, Hefin Wyn

Votes: 1,168

Massive blunders in the every domain of film making, starting from pound for pound worst special effects on this list. So woeful that it's actually funny.

21. Prince Valiant (1997)

PG-13 | 91 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Romance

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 »

Director: Anthony Hickox | Stars: Stephen Moyer, Katherine Heigl, Thomas Kretschmann, Edward Fox

Votes: 1,874

At some point, a crocodile in a plate mail jumps out of an indoor pool, and that's enough said about this movie. Still, a chance to see Ron Perlman.

22. Siege of the Saxons (1963)

Approved | 85 min | Adventure, History

In league with the Saxon invaders, Edmund of Cornwall plans to slay King Arthur, marry his daughter and usurp the throne of England but wizard Merlin and outlaw Robert Marshall stand in the way.

Director: Nathan Juran | Stars: Janette Scott, Ronald Lewis, Ronald Howard, John Laurie

Votes: 332

Saxons you say? A historically accurate Knights of the Round Table reboot perhaps? Nope, more like a tacky Knight Rider 2000 prequel.

23. Merlin's Apprentice (2006)

176 min | Adventure, Fantasy

The great sorcerer Merlin has returned to Camelot, a kingdom now vulnerable to ill fates and war since the theft of the Holy Grail, its greatest gift and protection. With the help of Jack, ... See full summary »

Stars: John Reardon, Jennifer Calvert, Clint Carleton, Lindsay Collins

Votes: 1,816

Sam Neill sleepwalks through this ultimate collection of uninteresting clichés.

24. King Arthur: Excalibur Rising (2017)

99 min | Action, Adventure

A re-imagining of the Arthurian legend centered around Arthur's illegitimate son Owain who must learn to take up his father's mantle as king.

Director: Antony Smith | Stars: Adam Byard, Annes Elwy, Gavin Swift, Nicola Stuart-Hill

Votes: 488

The battle between Arthur's sons is ruined by cheap effects and unnecessary gore.

25. Pendragon: Sword of His Father (2008)

122 min | Adventure, Fantasy

Set in 411 AD, Pendragon tells the story of young Artos who is raised to believe that God has a purpose for each day. When his family is killed and he is taken into slavery by the Saxons, ... See full summary »

Director: Chad Burns | Stars: Aaron Burns, Marilyn Mooney, Chad Burns, Cary Annen

Votes: 280

It Burns? Certainly - it's wooden. Arthurian literature is full of Christian themes and references, which this religious movie tries to exploit too heavy-handedly.

26. The Black Knight (1954)

Approved | 85 min | Adventure, History

During King Arthur's time, a sword maker wishes to win Lady Linet's heart but first he must become a noble knight.

Director: Tay Garnett | Stars: Alan Ladd, Patricia Medina, André Morell, Harry Andrews

Votes: 627

Only a year removed from Shane, Alan Ladd is a alarmingly disinterested disaster here.

27. Dragons of Camelot (2014)

Not Rated | 80 min | Fantasy

Camelot is plunged into darkness after King Arthur dies. Now the reign of his cruel sorceress sister, Morgana, begins. Commanding three deadly dragons, she hunts the remaining Knights of the Round Table.

Director: Mark L. Lester | Stars: Alexandra Evans, Mark Griffin, James Nitti, Sandra Darnell

Votes: 256

It's rather shocking how pedestrian everything here is, considering they had an established Hollywood blockbuster director.

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