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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:

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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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

Zack Snyder has named Excalibur (1981) as a big influence on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), to the point of making it the film Bruce Wayne saw with his parents on the night of their deaths. He would later cast Ciarán Hinds as the main villain Steppenwolf in its follow-up film, Justice League (2017). See more »

Goofs

During the final battle scene against Mordred, the background audio track of men yelling and swordplay is clearly a re-tread of the Leon De Grance castle battle. In the final battle scene, one can clearly hear the "throw the rope" line that Merlin yells to Arthur from Leon De Grance castle battle, as well as the yell from Arthur as he jumped from the castle into the moat. (00:37:02 same as 02:88:18, 00:40:12 same as 02:09:58). See more »

Quotes

Merlin: When a man lies, he murders some part of the world.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in iCarly: iStart a Fan War (2010) 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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Transcendental
12 May 1999 | by nomercySee all my reviews

Having read "the knights of the round table" as a child, and "Le Morte D'Artur" in old English as an adult, I have always been profoundly touched by this story of rise, fall, love, hate, betrayal and hope. As a result, I have developed an intense dislike for most pathetic attempts to put this story on film.

Excalibur is the first, and so far, the only film, in my opinion, to come very close to the brass ring.

First some ranting.

The early film with Cornel Wilde was a swashbuckling story, no more.

The Disney cartoon "sword in the stone" was one of the first in a long series of extremely offensive attempts to take inspirational and tragic stories and turn them into something banal.(Anastasia, The hunch Back of Notre Dame to name a couple)

First knight was perfect for displaying Richard Geere's lack of talent, and wasting a perfectly good actor (Connery). This ranks up there with "Plan nine from outer space"

Excalibur has put faces to the characters I read about. It infused them with personalities, and gave them life beyond the pages.

I was transposed by Merlin's magic on the mountain top, awakening the dragon. I felt a strange elation when Arthur drew the sword, one of the most meaningful and defining moments in literary, and now movie, history. I trembled and rejoiced when Arthur handed Excalibur to Uriens and was knighted. And my eyes welled up with tears when the ship took his body away to Avalon

And the music... That glorious music, never intrusive, but always suggestive and underlining the drama subtly.

After seeing this movie, anyone hearing Carl Orff Carmina Burana's Deres Luna will forever associate it with courage, rebirth sacrifice and redemption.

Anyone seeing this movie will be moved to believing that one day Arthur may indeed return to redeem us all. It tells us that hope never dies.


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