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The War Lord (1965)

Approved | | Drama, History | 17 November 1965 (USA)
In 11th century Normandy, a Norman duke sends one of his knights to build a defensive fortress in order to guard the borders against Frisian raiders.

Director:

Franklin J. Schaffner (as Franklin Schaffner)

Writers:

John Collier (screenplay), Millard Kaufman (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlton Heston ... Chrysagon
Richard Boone ... Bors
Rosemary Forsyth ... Bronwyn
Maurice Evans ... Priest
Guy Stockwell ... Draco
Niall MacGinnis ... Odins
James Farentino ... Marc
Henry Wilcoxon ... Frisian Prince
Sammy Ross Sammy Ross ... Volc
Woodrow Parfrey ... Piet
John Alderson John Alderson ... Holbracht
Allen Jaffe ... Tybald
Michael Conrad ... Rainault
Dal Jenkins Dal Jenkins ... Dirck
Johnny Jensen ... Boy Prince
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Storyline

A knight in the service of a duke goes to a coastal villiage where an earlier attempt to build a defensive castle has failed. He begins to rebuild the duke's authority in the face of the barbarians at the border and is making progress until he falls in love with one of the local women. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He Battled Two Empires For The Love Of One Woman. See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 November 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The War Lord See more »

Filming Locations:

Universal City, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The part of Odins is played by Niall MacGinnis, a character actor who appeared in countless medieval films in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. See more »

Goofs

When Chrysagon and his men arrive at the tower he complains that the front door has "no protection at all", yet throughout the film nothing is ever done about it. See more »

Quotes

Draco: Did I say it was a turning world?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Grindhouse (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Charlton Heston goes for poetry instead of bombast, romance instead of heroism
22 September 2002 | by tonstant viewerSee all my reviews

If you want a movie about long ago and far away, this one is highly recommendable, unless of course you need light sabers or all-powerful rings to hold your attention.

Costume pictures often reek of Classics Illustrated comic books. This is among the few whose script as filmed is not an insult.

Director Franklin Schaffner obviously loves the material. He later returned to the period with "Lionheart: the Children's Crusade," after "Planet of the Apes," "Patton," and his other famous epics.

The film's atmosphere is incredibly strong - I was absolutely sure that this was shot on location in Europe until I recognized the Universal hillside towards the end. Rarely does a Hollywood movie hide its back lot origins so thoroughly.

Minor drawbacks must be acknowledged. The girl suffers well silently but can't deliver her few lines. Maurice Evans is an awful ham, showing once again why he was Orson Welles' least favorite actor. There's a handful of clumsy process shots, and Paul Frees not only delivers the opening narration but voices both Sammy Ross and Michael Conrad, later familiar from "Hill Street Blues." Someone in the Universal sound department thought that Frees' voice was undetectable; and it isn't. (It gets worse: you can hear Frees as four separate characters in "Spartacus.")

None of these quibbles matter. The "War Lord" is romantic, poetic, mildly gritty (by today's standards), and the production design, cinematography and music are all gorgeous. The tumultuous siege of the tower is solid in the way things were before computers, and features what seems to be every stuntman in Hollywood, including Joe Canutt, Hal Needham, Richard Farnsworth and Buddy Van Horn.

I wish Universal could figure out a way to keep the DVD in print. Remastering might help. If you have a multi-system, multi-region player, at this writing a far superior widescreen Danish transfer is available from both UK and German Amazon.

IMDb lists at least 250,000 worse ways to spend two hours than "The War Lord." Make yourself comfortable and enjoy.


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