Knight's Tale

Knight's Tale

4.4 66
Director: Brian Helgeland

Cast: Brian Helgeland, Heath Ledger, Mark Addy, Rufus Sewell

     
 

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This crowd-pleasing medieval adventure tale is very loosely inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales and mixes the anachronistic elements of modern-day rock music and colloquialisms with a period setting and characters. Heath Ledger stars as William Thatcher, a low-born 14th century squire who, in a fit of inspired spontaneity, replaces his deceasedSee more details below

Overview

This crowd-pleasing medieval adventure tale is very loosely inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales and mixes the anachronistic elements of modern-day rock music and colloquialisms with a period setting and characters. Heath Ledger stars as William Thatcher, a low-born 14th century squire who, in a fit of inspired spontaneity, replaces his deceased employer as the competitor at a jousting competition. Jousting is a pastime only permitted to knights, who are of noble birth, but Thatcher wins and decides to continue his new pursuits. With the help of his two fellow squire friends Wat and Roland (Alan Tudyk and Mark Addy) and none other than the gambling-addicted Geoffrey Chaucer (Paul Bettany), Thatcher has soon adopted a false identity and is winning one joust after another on his way to a championship in London. His victories inspire the affection of a female fan, Jocelyn (Shannyn Sossamon), and the ire of a competitor, Count Adehmar (Rufus Sewell), but Thatcher's ruse is threatened with exposure. A Knight's Tale is the sophomore directorial effort of acclaimed screenwriter Brian Helgeland, who won an Oscar for his work on L.A. Confidential (1997) and debuted behind the camera with the troubled production of Payback (1999).

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Erstwhile teen heartthrob Heath Ledger finally attains stardom as the charismatic leading man of A Knight's Tale, a breezy, briskly paced romp that chronicles the hilarious misadventures of an ersatz nobleman and his band of merry men. Ledger plays a lowly squire who assumes the identity of a recently deceased knight in hopes of competing in a lavish tournament. Mark Addy lends support as a skeptical fellow squire, while Shannyn Sossamon brightens the screen as a beautiful princess, and Rufus Sewell shows suave style as a cruel competitor. Paul Bettany steals many scenes in an absolutely first-rate turn as a garrulous, unknown writer by the name of Geoffrey Chaucer, who forges documents attesting to Ledger's nobility and thus embroils himself in the perilous scheme. Writer-director Brian Helgeland (Payback) employs a delightfully novel approach in the telling of this Tale by liberally sprinkling it with deliberate anachronisms: a tournament audience sings Queen's "We Will Rock You," for example, and the characters spice the King's English with 20th-century slang. Both Helgeland and Bettany discuss the rationale for this in their commentary for the DVD, which also includes an HBO "making of" documentary and a whopping 11 behind-the-scenes featurettes in addition to deleted scenes (introduced by Helgeland), production notes, music videos, web site links, and DVD-ROM content.
All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
The summer of 2001 saw the birth of an unusual new hybrid -- the period film featuring modern-day music, ideas, and catch phrases. In both instances (director Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge [2001] and this medieval fantasy from writer/director Brian Helgeland), the device works. That's probably because both filmmakers fought the powers that be to make it so, relying on the courage of their convictions that they could make it as giddily cool as they envisioned it being. Cool it is, especially in the case of Helgeland's fun-filled frolic, a goofball mishmash of influences ranging from Braveheart (1995) to baseball, Rob Roy (1995) to the rock & roll of AM radio in the 1970s. Sure, the sudden, jarring appearance of "the wave" during a jousting tournament or David Bowie's "Golden Years" during a medieval ball requires some rewiring of one's mental circuitry, and there will be those who can't make the required intellectual leap. There may even be many who don't want to spend a feature-length film's running time with their disbelief fully disengaged. What's groundbreaking or fresh in art or entertainment, however, is often pleasing to those expecting the status quo. It's also often a trail mix of familiar elements jumbled into an inventive new combination, and A Knight's Tale meets that basic requirement. Performances here are not really the point, but Heath Ledger, newcomer Shannyn Sossamon, and the glowering Rufus Sewell are perfectly acceptable, cheekbone-blessed leads. The real standout here is Paul Bettany as the naked, addictive, and fiendishly talented Geoffrey Chaucer, a mirthfully kick-in-the-pants comic character similar to the one that made Rhys Ifans a minor star after Notting Hill (1999). Embracing anachronism is an artistic philosophy that isn't likely to work in most cases, and it will doubtlessly be imitated endlessly, and disastrously so. In 2001, however, it was the "new thing" in Hollywood cinema and an enjoyable development in a summer of particularly boring junk.
Washington Post
Savvy without being smug, cute without being saccharin, and funny without slipping into over-the-top goofiness, this is a 14th-century good time. Desson Howe

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Product Details

Release Date:
01/06/2009
UPC:
0043396118348
Original Release:
2001
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
1
Time:
2:12:00
Format:
Sony PSP

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Heath Ledger William Thatcher
Mark Addy Roland
Rufus Sewell Count Adhemar
Paul Bettany Chaucer
Shannyn Sossamon Jocelyn
Alan Tudyk Wat
Laura Fraser Kate
Christopher Cazenove John Thatcher
Bérénice Bejo Christiana
James Purefoy Colville
Olivia Williams Phillipa Chaucer (uncredited)

Technical Credits
Brian Helgeland Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Todd Black Producer
Tony Burrough Production Designer
Carter Burwell Score Composer
Suzanne Crowley Casting
Richard Greatrex Cinematographer
Caroline Harris Costumes/Costume Designer
John Hill Art Director
Mark Holding Sound/Sound Designer
Mark Kebby Set Decoration/Design
Francine Maisler Casting
Jiri Ostry Asst. Director
Gilly Poole Casting
Dominic Smithers Set Decoration/Design
Kevin Stitt Editor
Guy Travers Asst. Director
Tim Van Rellim Producer
Vaclav Vohlidal Set Decoration/Design
Jan Vohlidal Set Decoration/Design
Jiri Zucek Set Decoration/Design

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