Inspired by "The Canterbury Tales," as well as the early life of William Marshall (later First Earl of Pembroke), this is the story of William, a young squire with a gift for jousting. After his master dies suddenly, the squire hits the road with his cohorts Roland and Wat. On the journey, they stumble across an unknown writer, Chaucer. William, lacking a proper pedigree, convinces Chaucer to forge genealogy documents that will pass him off as a knight. With his newly-minted history in hand, the young man sets out to prove himself a worthy knight at the country's jousting competition, and finds romance along the way.Written by
The initial scene of the two knights jousting in the first scene of the movie is actually footage of Heath Ledger's stunt double in an accident. While filming a later scene, the stunt double's opponent's lance moved off target and hit him in the head. The double fell to the ground unconscious. The entire scene was used for the introduction. See more »
In the final joust, Geoffrey sees that they need more time while Wat is strapping the lance to William's arm. He jumps up into the stand to make his introduction, which he does from the arm of the prince's chair. But in a reaction shot of John Thatcher, the arms are entirely Chaucer-free. See more »
After the credits finish, Roland, Wat, Kate, and Geoffrey Chaucer have a flatulence contest/drinking game. Wat loses, but Kate is the obvious winner. See more »
There is a slight difference between the UK cinema version and the UK DVD release. In the cinematic release, the queen/Robbie Williams version of We Are The Champions starts playing when William and Jocelyn kiss just before the credits, whereas the DVD release has a different song play. However, We Are The Champions still plays over the last half of the credits. See more »
The first time I saw A Knight's Tale (on cable, missed it in theater), I had the same reaction as many of you - Queen? David Bowie? In a movie set in the middle ages?
But I stayed with it, and I'm glad I did. Once you get past the glaring anachronisms (put in the film on purpose, of course), you find the movie is actually quite true to its period.
The presence of Chaucer in the film, combined with some of its details, leads me to suspect that Brian Helgeland has read "Chaucer's Knight" by fellow filmmaker Terry Jones (of Monty Python fame). The book deconstructs the knight in Chaucer's "The Knight's Tale" in a totally unique way -- he is seen NOT as the flower of medieval chivalry (as most scholars have interpreted him), but as a mercenary out for nothing but money and blood. The character in the film Chaucer would have written about, then, is not Sir William Thatcher (Heath Ledger), but Count Adhemar of Anjou (Rufus Sewell).
The part of the film in which this connection "clicked" for me was the scene where Count Adhemar is called away to his command in a "Free Company" -- a particular stain on the reputation of knighthood which Jones talks extensively about in his book.
Jones' book made use of extensive research into medieval history, and Helgeland's film obviously does, too.
Chaucer was a master of satire in his day. Helgeland's use of modern conventions in a period film is a conceit of which - I believe - Chaucer would definitely have approved.
I gave "A Knight's Tale" 9 out of 10 - it's not perfect, but I like it so much, I try to watch it every time it comes on (it's been on HBO and Cinemax pretty regularly for the past several months). Check it out!
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