Excalibur (1981) Poster


Nigel Terry: King Arthur



  • Arthur : Swear faith to me, and you shall have mercy! I need battle lords such as you!

    Uryenes : [scornfully]  A noble knight swear faith to a squire?

    Mador : NEVER... NEVER!

    Arthur : You are right.

    Arthur : You're right... I'm not yet a knight.

    [Hands Excalibur to Uryenes and kneels] 

    Arthur : You, Uryenes, will make me a knight. Then as knight to knight... I can offer you mercy.

    Merlin : [Alarmed]  What's this? What's this?

    Mador : Keep it, Uryenes!

    Uryenes : [hesitates and then touches Excalibur to Arthur's shoulder]  In the name of God, St Michael and St George, I give you the right to bear arms and the power to mete justice!

    Arthur : That duty I will solemnly obey, as knight and king.

    Merlin : I never saw this.

    Uryenes : Rise... King Arthur.

    [Uryenes kneels before Arthur] 

    Uryenes : I am your humble knight, and I swear allegiance to the courage in your veins. So strong it is, its source must be Uther Pendragon's. I doubt you no more!

    [kisses Arthur's hand - other knights also kneel] 

  • [Arthur has broken Excalibur on Lancelot's chest] 

    Arthur : Merlin! What have I done?

    Merlin : You have broken what could not be broken! Now, hope is broken.

    Arthur : My pride broke it. My rage broke it! This excellent knight, who fought with fairness and grace, was meant to win. I used Excalibur to change that verdict. I've lost, for all time, the ancient sword of my fathers, whose power was meant to unite all men... not to serve the vanity of a single man. I am... nothing.

  • Arthur : Now, once more, I must ride with my knights to defend what was, and the dream of what could be.

  • Arthur : [of Lancelot]  Will he live?

    Merlin : Oh, yes.

    Arthur : Will Guinevere...?

    Merlin : Yes.

    Arthur : Merlin, will I ever have a son?

    Merlin : Yes.

    Arthur : No riddles? Nothing but a simple "yes"? That frightens me.

    Merlin : But a King should be afraid, Arthur, always... of the enemy. Waiting, everywhere. In the corridors of his castle, on the deer-paths of his forests, or in a more tangled forest... in here.

    [taps his head with his finger] 

  • Arthur : I have often thought that in the hereafter of our lives, when I owe no more to the future and can be just a man, that we may meet, and you will come to me and claim me as yours, and know that I am your husband. It is a dream I have...

  • Perceval : [holding the Grail to Arthur's lips]  You and the land are one. Drink.

    Arthur : I am wasting away. I cannot die and I cannot live.

    Perceval : Drink from the chalice. You will be reborn and the land with you.

    Arthur : [drinks]  Perceval... I didn't know how empty was my soul... until it was filled.

    Kay : [Upon seeing Arthur cured]  Arthur.

    Arthur : [Speaking to Kay]  Ready my knights for battle. They shall ride with their King once more. I have lived through others far too long. Lancelot bore my honor and Guenevere my guilt. Mordred bore my sins. My Knight have fought my causes. And now my brother, I shall be... King!

  • Grail Figure : What is the secret of the Grail? Who does it serve?

    Perceval : You, my lord.

    Grail Figure : Who am I?

    Perceval : You are my lord and king. You are Arthur.

    Grail Figure : Have you found the secret that I have lost?

    Perceval : Yes. You and the land are one.

  • Merlin : You brought me back. Your love brought me back. Back to where you are now. In the land of dreams.

    Arthur : Are you a dream, Merlin?

    Merlin : [softly]  A dream to some.


    Merlin : A nightmare to others.

  • Arthur : Move aside! This is the king's road - and the knights you joined arms against were his very own.

    Lancelot : I await the king himself. His knights are in need of training.

    Arthur : I am King. And this

    [draws the sword] 

    Arthur : , is Excalibur, sword of kings from the dawn of time. Who are you? What do you seek?

    Lancelot : I am Lancelot of the Lake, from across the sea. And I have yet to find a king worthy of my sword.

    Arthur : That is a wild boast. You lack a knight's humility!

    Lancelot : Not a boast, sir. But a curse. For I have never met my match in joust or duel.

    Arthur : Move aside!

    Lancelot : I will not. You must retreat, or prove your worth in the test of arms under the eyes of God.

    Arthur : Then may He give me the strength to unhorse you. And send you with one blow, back across the sea.

    Lancelot : Then come across, sir.

  • Arthur : Rise, Father, please. I was your son before I became your king; if I am King.

    Sir Ector : You are king, Arthur; the more so because you are not my son, and I am not your father.

    Arthur : Not my father? Then Kay is not my brother?

    Sir Ector : Merlin the magician brought you to me when you were newly born, and bade me raise you as my own. At first, I did so because I feared Merlin, but later because I loved you.

    Arthur : Who is my true father?

    Sir Ector : Only Merlin can tell you that.

    Arthur : And who is Merlin?

    Merlin : [enters suddenly from the forest]  I... am the Merlin.

    Arthur : Whose son am I?

    Merlin : You are the son of Uther and Igrayne. You are King Arthur!

  • Arthur : [Arthur is dying]  Perceval, take Excalibur. Find a pool of calm water. Throw the sword into it.

    Perceval : No!

    Arthur : Obey me, Perceval. Do it, and return.

    Arthur : [Perceval returns after not throwing the sword in]  When you cast it in, what did you see?

    Perceval : I saw nothing but the wind on the water. My King, I couldn't do it! Excalibur cannot be lost! Other men...

    Arthur : DO... as I command! One day, a King will come, and the Sword will rise... again.

  • Arthur : Where hides evil in my kingdom, then?

    Merlin : Always... where you never expect it. Always.

    Gawain : I know where.

    Arthur : Where, Sir Gawain?

    Gawain : I cannot say.

    Arthur : You must speak your heart. You sit at the Round Table. Where is this evil?

    Gawain : He's our best... and our bravest... why, then, is he never here? Without Lancelot, this table is nothing! Is there anyone here who doesn't think him a god? And now to be driven from us

    [points to Guenevere] 

    Gawain : by a woman's desire!

    Guenevere : In the idleness that comes with peace, I see that gossip has bred its own evil! I will forgive your hasty words. Come... drink from Lancelot's cup, and partake of his 'goodness'.

    [the cup is passed to Gawain, who proceeds to slam it upside-down on the table in defiance of Guenevere] 

    Arthur : You DARE accuse the Queen, Gawain?

    Gawain : I do!

    Guenevere : I protest my innocence!

    Arthur : [standing up and drawing Excalibur threateningly]  WERE I NOT KING, I WOULD MAKE YOU PAY WITH YOUR LIFE FOR WHAT YOU'VE SAID!

    Guenevere : Will you not champion me?

    Arthur : I cannot! I am your King, and I must be your judge in this. Lancelot must do it. He also stands accused. I decree - that at sunrise, two days from now, the champions will meet, and the truth shall be known. For by the law of God, no knight who is false can win in combat with one who is true.

  • Merlin : What are you afraid of?

    Arthur : I don't know.

    Merlin : Shall I tell you what's out there?

    Arthur : Yes, please.

    Merlin : The Dragon. A beast of such power that if you were to see it whole and all complete in a single glance, it would burn you to cinders.

    Arthur : Where is it?

    Merlin : It is everywhere! It is everything! Its scales glisten in the bark of trees, its roar is heard in the wind! And its forked tongue strikes like... like...

    [lightning strikes near their feet] 

    Merlin : Whoa! Like lightning! Yes, that's it.

    Arthur : How can I...? What should I...? Must I...?

    Merlin : Do nothing. Be still. Sleep. Rest in the arms of the Dragon. Dream.

  • Arthur : [to Kay]  Ready my knights for battle. They will ride with their king once more. I have lived through others for far too long. Lancelot carried my honor, and Guenevere, my guilt. Mordred bears my sins. My knights have fought my causes. Now, my brother, I shall be... king.

  • 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] 

  • Arthur : Merlin, where are you going?

    Merlin : Where do you think? You have a kingdom to rule.

    Arthur : But how? I don't know how.

    Merlin : You knew how to draw the sword from the stone.

    Arthur : That was easy.

    Merlin : Was it? I couldn't have done it.

    Arthur : You couldn't?

    Merlin : You're the King. Not I.

    Arthur : But where to start?

    Merlin : Well what do think happened since you ran off.

    Arthur : Sir Ector and Kay. They must be waiting all this time. All the great Knights were against me except for Leondegrance of Camelyard. If he supports me, the Knights are all against him.

    Merlin : Right now they lay siege to his castle.

    Arthur : I need him. We must help him.

    Merlin : There you are. That was easy too. Wasn't it?

  • [Arthur and Lancelot are fighting at their first encounter] 

    Lancelot : Your rage has unbalanced you. You, sir, would fight to the death, against a knight who is not your enemy. Over a stretch of road you could easily ride around.

    Arthur : So be it. To the death!

  • Arthur : Do you still have the Sight, Merlin? Are they together?

    Merlin : Yes.

    Arthur : You warned me of this, all those years ago. What must I do now... Kill them?

    Merlin : I can tell you nothing. My days are ended. The gods of once are gone... forever. It's a time for men. It's your time, Arthur.

    Arthur : I need you now... more than ever.

    Merlin : No. This is the moment that you must face at last. To be King, alone.

    Arthur : And you, old friend? Will I see you again?

    Merlin : No. There are other worlds. This one is done with me.

    Merlin : [Arthur embraces Merlin, then walks away; Merlin stares off into the twilit sky then quietly says]  That's it.

  • Mordred : I've come to claim what is mine, Father.

    Arthur : Show yourself.

    [Mordred takes off his mask] 

    Arthur : I cannot give you the land. Only my love.

    Mordred : That's the one thing of yours I don't want! The quest knights have failed. They're all dead. And YOU... are dead, too. I shall come back and take Camelot by force!

  • Arthur : I was not born to live a man's life, but to be the stuff of future memory.

  • Arthur : Any man who would be a knight and follow a king... follow me.

  • Lancelot : [Lancelot unhorses Arthur, then approaches him still on horseback with his lance held out]  Yield sir, I have the advantage.

    Arthur : [in a fit of absolute rage]  I will not! Fight me from your horse or on foot, but fight me, your avoidance mocks me!

    Lancelot : I sought only not to harm you.

    [knocks Arthur to the ground] 

  • Arthur : Which is the greatest quality of knighthood? Courage? Compassion? Loyalty? Humility? What do you say, Merlin?

    Merlin : Hmm? Ah. Ah. Ah, the greatest. Uh, well, they blend, like the metals we mix to make a good sword.

    Arthur : No poetry. Just a straight answer. Which is it?

    Merlin : All right, then. Truth. That's it. Yes. It must be truth above all. When a man lies, he murders some part of the world. You should know that.

  • Arthur : Thanks be to God you're alive.

    Lancelot : I, the best Knight in the world bested! This is a great day! For my search is over, my King. Make me your champion.

    Arthur : But your life and lands are far from here.

    Lancelot : I gave up my castle and my lands. This is my domain. Within this metal skin. And I pledge all that I still own. Muscle, bone, blood and the heart that pumps it.

    Arthur : And a great heart it is. Sir Lancelot, you will be my champion.

  • Lancelot : [Fatally wounded]  Arthur. Forgive.

    Arthur : Lancelot.

    Lancelot : My salvation is to die a Knight of the Round Table.

    Arthur : You are that. And much more. You are its greatest Knight. You are what is best in men.

    Lancelot : It is the old wound my King. It has never healed. Guinevere. Is she Queen again?

    Arthur : She is Lancelot.

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