Excalibur

Excalibur

4.5 15
Director: John Boorman

Cast: John Boorman, Nigel Terry, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay

     
 

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One thing that can be said about Warner Bros.' DVD library is that it's consistent; their discs rarely contain more than filmographies and a theatrical trailer or two. Fortunately, there are exceptions to that rule, and apparently someone within the studio saw fit to make John Boorman's epic retelling of the Arthurian legend one of those exceptions. The major addition…  See more details below

Overview

One thing that can be said about Warner Bros.' DVD library is that it's consistent; their discs rarely contain more than filmographies and a theatrical trailer or two. Fortunately, there are exceptions to that rule, and apparently someone within the studio saw fit to make John Boorman's epic retelling of the Arthurian legend one of those exceptions. The major addition here comes in the form of a commentary track by director Boorman, whose monologue is refreshingly insightful at a time when many commentaries are used up with friendly yet ultimately meaningless banter. Also featured are, as usual, the theatrical trailer, scene selections, and a cast and crew section that curiously contains only information on Boorman himself. Fans of the film who have until now only seen it on VHS will be amazed at the clarity of the audio mix. The soundtrack has been remixed into a digital 5.1 presentation that makes the best of its limited source material and manages to separate nicely. There is a prominent bass track which was certainly not present in previous incarnations of the film and which adds a great deal of weight and authenticity to the many elaborate battle scenes. The film has never looked so good; almost every instance of film grain has been removed and the colors, particularly the flesh tones, are well balanced. The picture is presented in a non-anamorphic letterboxed format at 1.85:1. Overall, Boorman's insightful commentary alone, not to mention the outstanding audio and video quality, makes this disc well worth owning.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
One of the most ambitious, lavish productions of the Arthurian legend (as set forth in Sir Thomas Malory's La Morte d'Arthur), Excalibur largely fulfills its lofty pretenses. This is not a child's fairy tale, and director John Boorman fashions a violent, sexual world of swords, sorcerers, and seducers. Excalibur is a visual marvel, garnering Alex Thomson a well-deserved Oscar nomination for his cinematography (only the widescreen version of the film does his work justice). Boorman filmed in the lush hills of Ireland, and the movie is suffused with a misty, poetic feel that suits the tone of the material. The principals are generally stellar, and a variety of future leading men can be glimpsed in the supporting cast, including Gabriel Byrne, Patrick Stewart, and Liam Neeson. This is a big movie in every sense, and sometimes Boorman's desire to include everything in the film overwhelms him: the quest for the Holy Grail, for example, may strike some as confusing. Excalibur has detractors as enthusiastic as its fans, which can be said of any work as ambitious as this grandiose spectacle of a film.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/21/1999
UPC:
0085392201822
Original Release:
1981
Rating:
PG
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Mono, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
2:20:00
Sales rank:
2,385

Special Features

Feature-length audio commentary by director John Boorman; Interactive menus; Production notes; Theatrical trailer; Scene access; Languages and subtitles: English and Français

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Nigel Terry King Arthur
Nicol Williamson Merlin
Nicholas Clay Lancelot
Helen Mirren Morgana
Cherie Lunghi Guenevere
Paul Geoffrey Perceval
Robert Addie Mordred
Gabriel Byrne Uther
Keith Buckley Uryens
Katrine Boorman Igrayne
Liam Neeson Gawain
Corin Redgrave Cornwall
Emmet Bergin Actor
Niall O'Brien Kay
Patrick Stewart Leondegrance
Clive Swift Ector
Ciarán Hinds Lot
Liam O'Callaghan Sadok
Charley Boorman Boy Mordred
Garrett Keogh Mador
Brid Brennan Lady in Waiting
Eamon Kelly Abbot
Barbara Byrne Young Morgana

Technical Credits
John Boorman Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Barry Blackmore Asst. Director
Donn Cambern Editor
Michael E. Doyle Special Effects
Anna Dryhurst Makeup
Michael Dryhurst Associate Producer
Roberta A. Eisenstein Executive Producer
Terry English Consultant/advisor
Bryan Graves Set Decoration/Design
Edgar Gross Executive Producer
Peter Hutchinson Special Effects
Tim Hutchinson Art Director
Gerry Johnston Special Effects
Trevor Jones Score Composer
John Lawlor Asst. Director
John Lucas Art Director
John Merritt Editor
David Murphy Asst. Director
Basil Newall Makeup
Rospo Pallenberg Screenwriter
Anthony Pratt Production Designer
Bob Ringwood Costumes/Costume Designer
Mary Selway Casting
Bob Smith Camera Operator
Alex Thomson Cinematographer
Doug Turner Sound/Sound Designer
Bertram Tyrer Art Director
Anthony Van Laast Choreography
Alan Whibley Special Effects

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Scene Selections
1. The dark ages. [3:17]
2. Sword of power. [1:46]
3. Lust shatters a truce. [2:47]
4. A bargain. [2:40]
5. The dragon's breath. [3:05]
6. Uther and Igrayne. [2:34]
7. Merlin's claim. [3:35]
8. Uther's fall. [3:15]
9. Jousting day. [3:05]
10. Arthur draws the sword. [4:43]
11. Arthur and Merlin. [4:06]
12. Leondegrances's castle under siege. [5:06]
13. The acknowledged king. [1:59]
14. This lunacy called love. [3:41]
15. Arthur and Lancelot. [4:58]
16. The Lady of the Lake. [4:02]
17. The fellowship of the Round Table. [2:47]
18. An escort - and a love vow. [2:19]
19. The wedding; Morgana and Merlin spar. [3:27]
20. Lancelot meets Perceval. [2:14]
21. The court of Camelot. [2:39]
22. The queen's honor challenged. [4:48]
23. Lancelot's dream. [1:54]
24. Lancelot duels Gawain. [5:16]
25. "But a king should be afraid.." [1:42]
26. Truth above all. [2:42]
27. Arthur's time. [1:18]
28. The caverns of knowledge. [3:44]
29. The charm of making. [2:22]
30. Mordred conceived and born. [2:41]
31. Quest for the Grail. [10:18]
32. Mordred leads a revolt. [2:20]
33. The death of Uryens. [2:51]
34. Perceval meets Lancelot. [1:29]
35. The secret of the Grail. [2:08]
36. Perceval rallies Arthur. [2:53]
37. Reunited with Guenevere and Excalibur. [3:01]
38. The land of dreams. [3:00]
39. The death of Morgana. [4:36]
40. The battle. [2:07]
41. Arthur and Lancelot. [2:34]
42. "Let us embrace at last.." [2:04]
43. Excalibur reclaimed. [2:42]
44. Arthur's journey. [:30]
45. End credits. [3:10]

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Excalibur 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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oglethorpe More than 1 year ago
This is the definitive rendition of the Arthurian Legend in film. Some of the acting is woody, but the lush scenery and powerful themes more than make up for that. Look for early work from Patrick Stewart, Liam Neeson, and Gabriel Byrne. "Beautiful" describes this well. It doesn't look outdated like many older movies do these days.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great movie. I think that it does a great job at capturing the essence of the middle ages. I saw it with my father and he liked it as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a truly awesome epic movie. Great music and cool armours. You gotta see it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The only Arthurian movie worth watching. Some flaws in the script and less than stellar acting, but nonetheless enjoyable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Good solid movie. Certainly the most entertaining regarding the Arthurian legend. The Orff and Wagner music is superbly apt. The cast is very good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this movie to any one interested in the legend of Camelot, King Arthur, Merlin, and the Round Table.
Guest More than 1 year ago
John Boorman's rendition of the Arthurian myth has been imitated by many and matched by none. This movie is the pinnacle of achievement upon which all Arthurian based pieces are to be judged. The stellar performance of Nicol Williamson as Merlin alone is worth seeing. This is by far one of his best performances as a Shakesperean actor. The story follows the traditional saga of King Arthur and his ascent to the throne by retrieving the magical sword, Excalibur, from the stone; his utopia of Camelot; and his downfall through the carnal betrayal of Guenevere and Lancelot. Unlike typical Hollywood productions of this story, John Boorman strongly emphasizes the story of King Arthur as a mythical story instead of a romanticized one. Merlin is more of a druid than just a sorcerer: appropriate because the actual historical time frame of King Arthur was in the 5th century A.D.; just when Romanized Britain was being invaded by the Germanic tribes of Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. The story therefore has a strong theme of Celtic druidism being supplanted by Christianity. The scenes reflect this theme by placing the scenes in the lush forests of Ireland counterpoised with romantic image of knigthts dressed in armor of a much later era: the Rennaisance. There is therefore a beautiful mixture of the mythical with the romanticized notion of knighthood and chivalry of the 15-16th centuries. This is also a great movie for those who wish to see now great stars in their early career such as Patrick Stewart and Liam Neeson. This is by far one of Boorman's greatest productions along with 'Deliverance' and 'Zardoz': it is an epic. I would recommend this movie to any one who either likes Arthurian movies and/or enjoys movies in the theatrical style as opposed to method acting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The best movie made about King Arthur I ever saw, awesome battles, and good dialogue. If you loved Conan the barbarian or Braveheart you'll love this movie. A landmark film.
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