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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 Edited by areaseven
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While Excalibur is a fantastic adaptation of Mallory's Le Morte D'Arthur, I find it hard to watch at times considering its supposed to portray Britain during the 6th Century A.D. Of course, that mostly has to do with Mallory casting Arthur into his time when jousting and chivalry were in their flower.

Fully articulated steel plate simply didn't exist at that time and Ive come to dislike it greatly because of its overuse in movies where it didn't exist (The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy is a great example of this). Even the Roman Lorica Segmentata that is shown in the newest King Arthur film by Jerry Bruckheimer was not in use anymore (I believe they had lost the technical means of making such armor).

Of course, the new Bruckheimer movie could well be about another figure that they believe might be the basis for Arthur...one who lived in the late 2nd Century AD and was a Roman Cavalryman...which would be in keeping with the look of the new movie. But leave it to Bruckheimer to cheese up the movie by having Launcelot wielding two Roman cavalry broadswords/spatha's. Drizzt Do'Urden has been a plague and a nuisance in the world of fiction for wielding two scimitars....a feat that is impossible unless your built like Arnold.

I will give Excalibur a thumbs up in regards to the soundtrack. It truly is impressive.

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Cool rev A7

Yeah love that film also, the gold armor is cheesy as hell, but the story keeps

you on your seat

the end is also a good question

has arthur been taken to Avalon to heal, or has he died?

wether it's true to it's historical timeline, i don't care, there are alot more worse

"King Arthur/Excalibur" movies around

(some starring Sean Connery, who would believe that :blink: )

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Great movie! Though I wish they would have chose someone other than Nigel Terry as Arthur. It's great to see Captain Picard and Qui-Gon in suits of armor. The armors is what made the picture, IMO. It's how you picture knights when you talk about chivalry and quests. Frankly I was tired of seeing Prince Valiant type chainmail and robes before Excalibur came out. Arthur was a timeless legend, even the historians couldn't figure out what age the legend is from. But his legend was popularized wildly around the time full suits of armors where used. And that's how his image was represented. A lot of the Pre-Raphaelites painted the Knights of the Round Table straight out of Sir Thomas Malory's book dressed in the full armor. I would guess this is where John Boorman got his imagery.

I can't believe that the new Arthur movie is being touted as THE true story of Arthur. When in fact it's just another adaptation of the legend. Though watching the History Channel's documentary has me interested in watching it.

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I've held out for a Special Edition of this film for far too long now. I should just break down and buy the bare bones DVD.

Edit: and King Arthur is supposedly pretty bad, according to the early buzz. Somebody should just option Jack Whyte's Dream of Eagles books already.

Edited by bsu legato
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Nope Roy... there was some b00bies in that movie. I believe I recall seeing a nekkid Guinevere in the lake w/ Lancelot. No doubt this has been edited out in TV/Cable versions.

Excalibur is a killer flick, though. It's ironic to hear folks complain about the armor details in a film based upon what is mostly legend. To me, what the film really nails is the character interraction between the knights and a certain sense of brutality that is missing from most films regarding Art & co.

I don't expect much other than visual hoo-hah and lameness from the Bruckheimer movie... even though I do really like Clive Owen as Arthur. I guess I could be wrong, but the trailer didn't do much to raise it in my opinion.

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My favorite line "Tonight we shall have a Round Table." and I add "and we shall make the most excellent pizza." :lol: . Seriously I thought Excalibur was a great movie. Very appropo since King Arthur is coming to theatres soon. Does anybody remember the psudo Anime/Archie looking "King Arthur and the Knights of Justice" where football players go back in time?

Edited by gerwalk25
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The music for this movie was GREAT. Wagners music was a great choice for the film.

The music used during the promos and ads for the new Bruckheimer movie turns me off from it big time. I know they have to get as wide as audience as possible but rock music in a medieval film? I sense another "Pirates of the Caribbean", one of the worst movies I have ever seen, coming on.

Hopefully the actual movie will have a better, more appropriate score.

Edited by Sarensaas
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Though watching the History Channel's documentary has me interested in watching it.

The ads for that documentary showing people in plate armor made sure that I didn't bother with it. Putting anachronisms in a work of Arthurian fiction is fine and to be expected. In a documentary though, is stupid.

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I liked Excalibur and I wasn't bothered by the anachronistic armor; as others have said, the movie is an adaptation of Mallory, not a reconstruction of history.

This new film, on the other hand, seems to use the "reconstruction of the real Arthur" concept as part of its premise, and if that's the standard to judge it by, it doesn't look good. For whatever reason, the armor is indeed wrong for the period (5th-6th century AD) and type of troops (cavalry not legionnaires), and turning Guinevere into a warrior maiden has nothing to do with history or legend. (I'm sure they'll trot out a weak excuse regarding female Celtic warriors.) Add in the modern cliches in the dialog and music, and it gives every evidence of being just another crappy Bruckheimer film. The presence of Keira Kneightly and written by David Franzoni (Gladiator) don't help matters.

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Though watching the History Channel's documentary has me interested in watching it.

The ads for that documentary showing people in plate armor made sure that I didn't bother with it. Putting anachronisms in a work of Arthurian fiction is fine and to be expected. In a documentary though, is stupid.

bother with the documentary? or the movie?

I haven't decided whether or not I'll see it. It doesn't look that good. But I enjoyed Fuqua's Training Day but it looks like he may be a fish out of water with this one. I'm half expecting Owen to scream "Uther Pendragon ain't got poo on me!"

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:lol::lol: appearently there is a new censorship chip built into macross world if you type swears you get different stuff, the word sh+it gives you the word poo, and the f+ck gives you the word fart, maybe the mods have noticed to much cursing going on and they are sick of it.
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:lol::lol: I did not think about that, now I know how to get around the censorship :lol::lol: anyhow i do not want to vear to off on this thread , back to the movie I remember seeing this one a while back I do not remember every little detail about it but i remember liking it. i am not to interested in the new Brukheimer version, I can almost see this movie ,,all of the dumb one liners and every action scene in it and it is not even out yet. there are a few movies he should just stay away from. as for the comparisons to Pirates of the Carribean do not be surprised one reporter said the same thing about it, he referred to it as a big goofy and fun, action flick. and on that note alone I do not want to see it.
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You have to get the movie Zardoz, also directed by this guy. It's one of my favorite movies. DOn't bother renting it, either, because Best Buy has it for five bucks on DVD. Really good, really wierd. And definetly Connery's truest role, as all the women in the movie want to bang him, and he delivers.

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I was robbed in the version I saw it just had a naked Lancelot attacked by his armor which stabbed him in the groin.

What mother farter Mod that did this to me! He should go fart a dog!

:lol:

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This new film, on the other hand, seems to use the "reconstruction of the real Arthur" concept as part of its premise, and if that's the standard to judge it by, it doesn't look good. For whatever reason, the armor is indeed wrong for the period (5th-6th century AD) and type of troops (cavalry not legionnaires), and turning Guinevere into a warrior maiden has nothing to do with history or legend. (I'm sure they'll trot out a weak excuse regarding female Celtic warriors.)

I believe I have read that in fact this version of King Arthur is based on Lucius Artorius Castus....who was a member of the Roman Equestrian class. That means the Knights are in fact Roman Equestrians. Guinevere is probably based on Boadicea.

Since this is the case, the use of Lorica Segmentata isnt necessarily wrong...but I don't believe that cavalrmen wore that. I think they wore Lorica Squamata (metal scale/jazzeraint).

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lol, funny trivia from imdb.com:

Some of the crew agreed that Gabriel Byrne's Irish accent made "One night with Igrayne" sound like "One night with your granny".

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I love excalibur, Its one of my favorite movies of all time. Yes the movie was rated R. There are alot of decapitations, and lots of nudity. Many a limb were lost in this film. I don't understand why anyone would try to retell this story. No one could hope to outdo the Job Boorman and his cast did. Boorman's film captured all the finer points of Le Morte De Arthur. Lets chant the Charm of Making.

Edited by Golden Arms
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This new film, on the other hand, seems to use the "reconstruction of the real Arthur" concept as part of its premise, and if that's the standard to judge it by, it doesn't look good. For whatever reason, the armor is indeed wrong for the period (5th-6th century AD) and type of troops (cavalry not legionnaires), and turning Guinevere into a warrior maiden has nothing to do with history or legend. (I'm sure they'll trot out a weak excuse regarding female Celtic warriors.)

I believe I have read that in fact this version of King Arthur is based on Lucius Artorius Castus....who was a member of the Roman Equestrian class. That means the Knights are in fact Roman Equestrians. Guinevere is probably based on Boadicea.

Since this is the case, the use of Lorica Segmentata isnt necessarily wrong...but I don't believe that cavalrmen wore that. I think they wore Lorica Squamata (metal scale/jazzeraint).

Like I said, the armor is wrong for cavalry.

You may have read about the Artorius connection at this Filmforce page or this one. Leaving aside the fact that the connection between Arthur and Artorius is tenuous, the fact is that Artorius lived in the 2nd century. Boadicea was a 1st century figure. Meanwhile, the film portrays a struggle against the Saxon invaders of Britain, a 5th-6th century phenomenon. It can't be a sincere attempt at reconstructing the history behind the legend if all it does is take bits and pieces of history and throw them into a blender.

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Excalibur was fantastic, loved the film :D (I saw it in theaters way back when...yeah, I'm old :p )

I never understood the critisiams against the film's use of plate armor...or how folks get all wrapped up pointing out the historical accuricy (or lack there of) in how the knights are dressed, thier choice of arms, and all that...If the accuricy is your primary concern then gripe number one should be with the music... good grief folks, music from the likes of Wagner and Mozart was not around back then and makes as much sense as useing modern hip-hop...yet the historical accuricy zealots always seem to point out the visual flaws, yet ignore the fact that they are listening to orcestrial musical scores that were not possable to make in the time period (as many of the orcestrial musical instriments had yet to be invented :p ) ... that alone should tell you "it's just a movie!" :p

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ebert and Roeper gave it 2 thumbs up, but they're very soft on summer films. Plus I think they're enamored with the cast (lots of hot up and comers). Atoine Fuqua directed KA. He's respnsible for Training Day.

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Excalibur is bad ass. I've got a good chunk of the lines from that movie memorized. I wish they coulda had a bigger budget and the last battle is kinda rushed. Today it would be a 3 hour movie, but it'd be very difficult for any remake to repeat how good the original captured the bulk of the myth.

Heh. Lancelot gets stabbed in his pelvis though... not in his groin. Though it's close. :ph34r:

Seeing the weird looking Merlin and feminist-appeal Guinevere as well as the name Bruckheimer made me skip King Arthur, though. <_<

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Ebert and Roeper gave it 2 thumbs up, but they're very soft on summer films.

Never trust Ebert & Roeper, as they've given two thumbs up to certain films that don't deserve it:

- The Alamo

- Collateral Damage

- Daredevil

- Hollywood Homicide

- Maid in Manhattan

- Signs

- Speed 2 (co-rated by the late Gene Siskel)

- S.W.A.T.

Not to mention that Ebert gave Gojira (1954) a Thumbs Down. :angry:

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Excalibur is a great movie, not quite as good a King Arthur movie as Holy Grail, but close B))

Reading this thread has made me want to go out and buy Excalibur on DVD, I've been thinking of doing that for a while anyway.

As for First Knight, how could Connery stoop so low? And why were the knights wearing blue spandex?

Graham

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Ebert and Roeper gave it 2 thumbs up, but they're very soft on summer films.

Never trust Ebert & Roeper, as they've given two thumbs up to certain films that don't deserve it:

- The Alamo

- Collateral Damage

- Daredevil

- Hollywood Homicide

- Maid in Manhattan

- Signs

- Speed 2 (co-rated by the late Gene Siskel)

- S.W.A.T.

Not to mention that Ebert gave Gojira (1954) a Thumbs Down. :angry:

Don't forget Episode 1.

And I liked Signs.

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