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
When Count Adhemar comes to visit William in jail, he says, "He that strives to touch the stars, oft stumbles at a straw." He is quoting Edmund Spenser's poem The Shepheardes Calender, published in 1579. This movie is intentionally anachronistic in many ways. 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 »
The DVD includes six extended/deleted scenes:
A scene of Will, Roland and Wat around a campfire during the training, where Will comes up with the idea for sir Ulrich's crest: a phoenix. Wat and Roland say there should be three phoenixes, since there's three of them.
Lord Adhemar's original introduction scene, where he slaps around one of his servants while having his armor fitted, and reference is made to the "triple phoenix" design of Sir Ulrich's crest.
Chaucer giving another substantial introduction for Sir Ulrich, similar to the first one, right before his match with Lord Adhemar. He berates Adhemar's herald before the speech; after the speech, Adhemar's herald appears impressed, which leads to his imitation of Chaucer's style later in the film.
When Adhemar leaves the dance, we find out the reason for his pained expression; in a deleted scene, he reveals to a monk that he is tone-deaf, and has never been able to hear music as anything more than noise. Adhemar then strides out into the midst of the poor, waiting outside the castle for handouts, and starts a riot by throwing food and money into the crowd.
Another deleted scene has Will, Roland, Wat, and Kate seeing Chaucer walking back to their quarters naked again. They follow him, but it turns that he was fetching food for his wife, Phillipa (who is also naked), and had not lost his clothes gambling like they thought. They leave, laughing, and run into Jocelyn and Christiana. Christiana and Roland leave together (with a suggestion of romance), William and Jocelyn leave together, but when Wat holds out his hand for Kate, she just hands him a pastry and walks off. Wat says "Hey, Beautiful" to the pastry and walks off happy anyway.
The original version of the scene with William in the stocks is considerably longer, and has an extensive speech by Chaucer (which is probably his best in the film). Rather than having the crowd calmed by the appearance of Prince Edward, the crowd is converted by Chaucer's speech, and has already begun chanting "William, William!" by the time the Prince reveals himself. A much stronger version of the scene, but cut down in favor of having the Prince's role expanded.
I'd read that Brian Helgeland had been soured by the movie industry due to his mistreatment on his film, "Payback." I use "his film" in the most liberal sense here, as star Mel Gibson wrestled control of the film from Helgeland and imposed his own view on the final editing process. With this situation in mind, I fully expected "A Knight's Tale" to be a creative response to that negative filmmaking experience, a fun and free film that thumbed its nose at tradition and set style and which allowed the director's true vision to shine through with no outside interference. And my friends, that's exactly what I got when I first sat down to watch in back in 2001. "A Knight's Tale" celebrates the classic and vastly misused/underused genre of medieval movies, while at the same time knocking the genre on its ear by instilling the film with modern themes, attitudes and a classic rock score. Sadly, it was these elements which repelled most viewers and led to "A Knight's Tale's" lackluster performance at the box office. Were these people just a little more open minded, they would have allowed themselves a wonderful movie-going experience that celebrates individuality, love, and above all else, friendship. Though the music is crucial to the uniqueness of this film (and a brilliant addition, I might add), it's the relationships amongst the characters that gives this film its heart. William and Jocelyn are the perfect couple: bickering, floundering, and absolutely in love with one another. Wat, Roland, Kate and Geoff, wonderful characters unwilling to be fopped off as simple comic reliefs, show genuine love and loyalty to William, and do as much to contribute and carry the story along as William and the other two leads accomplish. Count Adamar, the film's villain, is a wonderful foil for William. He is cunning and cruel, and even in his moments of defeat, a character to respect. In many cases, such a villain would be made to seem wimpy or, at his moment of defeat, clumsy. Not so here, as Adamar is, throughout the film, a force to be reckoned with. I suppose part of why I love "A Knight's Tale" is my ability to relate to it so personally. I've certainly had my share of challenges, and aspired to be more than what I currently was. And I've also known friendships so loyal and loving that fiction could never invent. Most significantly, I've lived the pursuit of true love and, like William, have obtained it with no small amount of satisfaction. Everyone to some degree or another has also had these experiences in their lives, and its these experiences that built the foundation of "A Knight's Tale," which is exactly what makes it such a wonderful film, more than worthy of a second chance by those who previously doubted it, and much more than worthy of a spot in any fan's movie collection.
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