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Excalibur (1981)

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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
2,054 ( 265)
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 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 brought once again to the screen. Uthur Pendragon 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. Years later Arthur, Uthur's bastard son draws Excalibur and becomes king. Guided by Merlin, Arthur marries Guenivere and gathers the Knights of the Round Table. Arthur's evil half-sister Morgana sires a son with him, who may prove 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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Details

Country:

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, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$34,967,437
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Orion Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Helen Mirren, John Boorman sacked dogs from the film for not acting to his satisfaction. While they looked threatening, they didn't act as such. See more »

Goofs

Full plate metal armor was not invented until about the year 1350, and not used in Europe until much later than that. Numerous such anachronisms (use of stirrups, weaponry) can be excused as being faithful to Sir Thomas Malory's book, which followed 15th-century conventions of making historical characters behave in a contemporary way. See more »

Quotes

Uther: The sword. You promised me the sword.
Merlin: And you shall have it; but to heal, not to hack. Tomorrow, a truce; we meet at the river.
Uther: Talk. Talk is for lovers, Merlin. I need the sword to be king.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Wizards and Warriors: The Dungeon of Death (1983) 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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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