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

Writers:

Thomas Malory (book), Rospo Pallenberg (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
1,508 ( 139)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nigel Terry ... King Arthur
Helen Mirren ... Morgana
Nicholas Clay ... Lancelot
Cherie Lunghi ... Guenevere
Paul Geoffrey ... Perceval
Nicol Williamson ... Merlin
Robert Addie ... Mordred
Gabriel Byrne ... Uther Pendragon
Keith Buckley ... Uryens
Katrine Boorman ... Igrayne
Liam Neeson ... Gawain
Corin Redgrave ... Cornwall
Niall O'Brien Niall O'Brien ... Kay
Patrick Stewart ... Leondegrance
Clive Swift ... Ector
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Storyline

The myth of King Arthur (Nigel Terry) brought once again to the screen. Uthur Pendragon (Gabriel Byrne) is given the mystical sword Excalibur by the wizard Merlin. At his death, Uthur buries the sword into a stone, and the next man that can pull it out will be King of England. Several years later, Arthur, Uthur's bastard son, draws Excalibur and becomes King. Guided by Merlin, Arthur marries Guenevere (Cherie Lunghi) and gathers the Knights of the Round Table. Arthur's evil half-sister Morgana (Dame Helen Mirren) sires a son with him, who may prove to be his downfall. Written by Greg Bole <bole@life.bio.sunysb.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

No mortal could possess it! No kingdom could command it! See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Arthur's foster brother Kay is depicted as a loyal companion in the film, but is given no other characterization. In legend, Kay was typically depicted as extremely loyal, but he was also famous "for his acid tongue and bullying, boorish behavior". The only work in which he actually betrays Arthur is the romance "Perlesvaus" (13th century), which unusually depicts Kay as a villain rather than a flawed hero. See more »

Goofs

During the siege of Leondegrance's castle, a knight that climbs the scaffold into the castle has a cigarette in his mouth. See more »

Quotes

Arthur: [to Guinevere] I've often thought that in the hereafter of our lives, when I owe no more to the future... can be just a man... we might meet. You'd come to me, claim me yours, know that I am your husband.
[He starts to leave, then turns to face her]
Arthur: It is a dream I have.
[He leaves. She watches him go, knowing that she will never see him again]
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Alternate Versions

CBS edited 20 minutes from this film for its 1985 network television premiere. See more »

Connections

Referenced in There's Nothing Out There (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

O Fortuna
from Carmina Burana
by Carl Orff
Performed by Rundfunkblasorchester Leipzig (as The Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra) and Rundfunkchor Leipzig (as The Leipzig Radio Chorus)
Conducted by Herbert Kegel
Courtesy of Polygram Records
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User Reviews

A Great Film
17 November 2003 | by baronalbany38See all my reviews

I am an Arthurian buff and a film fan (aspiring to be a novelist and a screenwriter). EXCALIBUR is a great, great film that holds up very well after more than 20 years. It is an expert distillation of the essential Arthurian legend (this from someone who has read and re-read Malory's original work, Le Morte D'Arthur, on which the movie was based, as well as Tennyson, White, Steinbeck, and many of the other modern fictional treatments, as well as a lot of the secondary literature on the history and meaning of the Arthur myth). The film is wonderful on many, many levels, from Boorman's masterful direction and writing (along with Pallenberg, his screenwriter), to the cinematography, the armor and costumes, the sets and production design, and the acting (with a great cast too numerous to mention). The film has violence, sex, myth, drama, intrigue, heroics, pathos, and aspirations to art, all in the best senses of those terms. The film probably works best if you already have some sort of sense of the Arthur legends, but I would recommend it to anyone. Also, listen to Boorman's director's commentary on the DVD. Perhaps the best and most lucid DVD commentary that I have heard on video; interesting and sharp comments throughout the entire film, and well worth replaying if you aspire to filmmaking in any way, or just want to hear a smart filmmaker talk about his work. I have tried to write Arthurian stories and an Arthurian script, but all have so far paled in comparison to Boorman and Pallenberg's work. Long live Boorman and long live EXCALIBUR!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 April 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Knights See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,519,706, 12 April 1981

Gross USA:

$34,967,437

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$34,971,136
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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