(1981)

Critic Reviews

56

Metascore

Based on 10 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
90
Excalibur is exquisite, a near-perfect blend of action, romance, fantasy and philosophy, finely acted and beautifully filmed by director John Boorman and cinematographer Alex Thomson.
80
Love Excalibur or hate it, but give Boorman credit for the loopy grandeur of his imagery and imaginings, for the sweet smell of excess, for his heroic gamble that a movie can dare to trip over its pretensions— and still fly.
63
What a wondrous vision Excalibur is! And what a mess.
60
John Boorman's 1981 retelling of the Arthurian legends is a continuation of the thematic thrust and visual plan of his Exorcist II, though the failure of that bold, hallucinatory, and flawed film seems to have put Boorman into partial retreat.
60
Excalibur is a grand, clanky, brooding fantasy.
60
Newsweek
Boorman is both a romantic and a realist, an idealist and a skeptic, and Excalibur is an impressive but uneasy attempt to marry these opposites. [13 April 1981, p.82]
50
Mr. Boorman takes these myths very seriously, but he has used them with a pretentiousness that obscures his vision.
50
For all its audacity, a misguided folly.
50
Christian Science Monitor
At a time when most movies try far too little, I don't like berating Excalibur for taking on too much. It's just that Mr. Boorman never quite achieves what he attempts. [23 April 1981, p.19]
50
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
It must be said that the closing sequence, in which Arthur meets the misbegotten Mordred on an orange battlefield illuminated by a shield-sized red sun, is an epic, Oedipal masterpiece of authentic mythic power, a sequence so strong it shakes the torpor from one's shoulders and induces regret that the rest of the saga has been so juvenile, so lifeless and so lacking poetry or Shakespearean sweep. [11 April 1981]

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