7.4/10
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395 user 116 critic

Excalibur (1981)

Trailer
2:30 | Trailer
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 »
Reviews
Popularity
1,606 ( 411)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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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:

Forged by a god. Foretold by a wizard. Found by a King. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In most Arthurian tales, Mordred's mother is not Morgana (Morgan Le Fay). , but her sister Morgause. The film seems to merge Morgana and Morgause into a single character. See more »

Goofs

When Lancelot is injured and Merlin heals him, Guinevere holds Lancelot's hand up close to her but in the next shot, their hands are resting on his body. See more »

Quotes

[Uther and Cornwall meet]
Merlin: Show the sword! Behold! The Sword of Power! Excalibur! Forged when the world was young, and bird and beast and flower were one with man, and death was but a dream!
[to Uther]
Merlin: Speak the words!
Uther Pendragon: One land, one king! That is my peace, Cornwall!
Lord Cornwall: Lord Uther, if I yield to the Sword of Power, what will you yield?
Uther Pendragon: Me yield?
Merlin: He has given, now you must.
Uther Pendragon: The land from here to the sea shall be yours if you enforce the King's will!
Lord Cornwall: Done!
[...]
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Alternate Versions

The movie was originally put into theatrical release in 1981 as an R-rated film in the USA. Later there was an announcement of a PG rated version, but it was not widely released. The original R-rated cut is 140 minutes. Most home video versions are the R-rated version, but TV and movie channels show the PG cut, making the movie 119 minutes. The R-rated version features about 21 more minutes of graphic sex and violence. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Celebrity Naked Ambition (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Prelude to Parsifal
by Richard Wagner
Specially recorded by London Philharmonic Orchestra (as The London Philharmonic Orchestra)
Conducted by Norman Del Mar
See more »

User Reviews

This Arthurian legend is special
2 August 1999 | by Denver53See all my reviews

I first saw this film back when it came out and I was an usher at a local theatre (I was in high school). I have seen many films based on King Arthur, and for some reason this one always causes a stronger reaction in me. I think it is because it is so dark as well as intense. Merlin is borderline looney yet powerful; Arthur starts off as a good-hearted child and then before your eyes self-destructs under his self-imposed weight of leadership; Modred is mocking and disgusting. The fight scenes and the costumes/armor are disturbing; this is no desensitized movie! I own the VHS and sometimes I like to watch up to the point where Guin's deceit with Lancelot takes place, and then stop. After that point, until the very end, the movie is about the fall of a legend, and I like my legends on their pedestals.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK | USA

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 | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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