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  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6h7auwGiK4 Excalibur Orion Pictures/Warner Bros., 1981 Directed by John Boorman (Zardoz, Exorcist II: The Heretic) Screenplay by Rospo Pallenberg (Exorcist II: The Heretic, The Emerald Forest) and John Boorman Based on Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Mallory Running Time: 140 minutes Rated R for graphic violence, nudity, sexual situations, suggestive incest and mild language. "Behold! The Sword of Power! Excalibur! Forged when the world was young, and bird and beast and flower were one with man, and death was but a dream!" - Merlin Cast - Nigel Terry (Archeptolemus in Troy) as King Arthur - Nicholas Clay (1946-2000) as Lancelot - Cherie Lunghi (Victor's mother in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein) as Guinevere - Nicol Williamson (Cogliostro in Spawn) as Merlin - Helen Mirren (Victoria in Red 1-2, Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen) as Morgana - Paul Geoffrey as Perceval - Robert Addie (1960-2003) as Mordred - Gabriel Byrne (Dean Keaton in The Usual Suspects) as Uther Pendragon - Keith Buckley as Uryens - Katryne Boorman as Igrayne - Liam Neeson* as Gawain - Corin Redgrave as Cornwall - Patrick Stewart* as Leondegrance - Charley Boorman as young Mordred - Barbara Bryne as young Morgana - Telsche Boorman (1957-1997) as the Lady of the Lake *If you don't know these guys, you must've been living under a rock for the past decade. "Any man who would be a knight and follow a king... follow me." - King Arthur Synopsis Forged by a God. Foretold by a wizard. Found by a man. That was the great sword Excalibur, which symbolized power over one nation to whoever wielded it. Excalibur was first handed to the ruthless knight Uther Pendragon, who abused his leadership privileges and Merlin's sorcery to betray his comrade Cornwall and steal his wife Igrayne for one night. Nine moons after Cornwall's "accidental" death, Igrayne gave birth to Uther's illegitimate son, who was then taken away by Merlin as part of Uther's deal with him. Before his untimely death at the hands of enemy forces, Uther impaled Excalibur through a stone, vowing that the one who succeeds in drawing out the sword will rule England. Many years later, a young man named Arthur surprises the whole of England by successfully drawing Excalibur out of the stone, immediately granting him the title of King. Using his newly-acquired leadership characteristics and his sword, Arthur establishes the great court of Camelot and assembles the land's greatest warriors to form the Knights of the Round Table. But with glory comes despair, as his wife Guinevere betrays him by having an affair with his best knight Lancelot. Arthur's half-sister Morgana plots her revenge on him and Merlin by seducing him and giving birth to the bastard child Mordred. And Arthur's quest to acquire the Holy Grail has proven to be disastrous with many of his knights perishing halfway through the perilous journey. Can King Arthur and Excalibur still reign throughout these ordeals? "Now, once more, I must ride with my knights to defend what was, and the dream of what could be." - King Arthur Lowdown So why did I bring up this classic film? Seeing that a new King Arthur movie is premiering next week, I once again ask, "What's the whole point of making another King Arthur movie when we already have Excalibur?" First Knight was a complete snooze-fest while the animated film The Quest for Camelot was no better. They all should've learned from director John Boorman and his 1981 masterpiece. Despite its rather adult atmosphere, Excalibur boasts the best acting and cinematography compared to the later adaptations. Solid performances by the predominantly Shakesperean cast (and some of Boorman's family members) give life to Sir Thomas Mallory's epic with a score of memorable lines and excellent character development. The special effects are also nothing short of breathtaking. Perhaps one of the biggest highlights of the movie is its soundtrack. Trevor Jones' (Time Bandits, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) original score is excellent on its own, along with excerpts from Richard Wagner's classical pieces. But what stands out and completely defines the film is "Oh Fortuna", from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. As a matter of fact, after the release of Excalibur, "Oh Fortuna" has been the most widely used classical piece on TV, radio and film. If you haven't seen Excalibur yet, you owe it to yourself to rent buy the DVD. It sure beats coughing out $8 to see another potentially lousy King Arthur adaptation. Other than that, pick up Monty Python and the Holy Grail as well. Rating: A Reference The Internet Movie Database
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