ExcaliburDirector: John Boorman
John Boorman directed this gloriously savage interpretation of Arthurian legend loosely based on Thomas Malory's novel Le Morte d'Arthur. By turns gleaming and filthy, tender and bloody, the film is a visually stunning epic which is never less than compelling. Nigel Terry is perfectly cast as Arthur, whose unwavering trust and faith are shown to be both quietly heroic and achingly naïve. Interestingly, the quest for the Grail is the least effective part of the film, despite bold cinematography by Alex Thomson (who was nominated for an Oscar) and a fine performance by Paul Geoffrey as Perceval, whose greatest desire is attained in his dying sight. It is the scenes of Camelot in which Boorman is at his most effective, as Arthur is betrayed by the burning passions of Guenevere (Cherie Lunghi) and Lancelot (Nicholas Clay), whose boiling internal forces cannot be denied, whatever the cost. The wicked Mordred (Robert Addie) and Morgana (Helen Mirren) are commanding when onscreen, and Nicol Williamson's performance as the grandiosely self-sacrificing Merlin is outstanding. Liam Neeson and Patrick Stewart also appear in this dense, passionate, and stirring triumph featuring a marvelous Trevor Jones score. The gruesome effects by Peter Hutchinson and Alan Whibley, however, and sights such as a knight having sex in full body armor make this a fairy tale strictly for adults.
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- Warner Home Video
- [Wide Screen]
- Sales rank:
Cast & Crew
|Nigel Terry||King Arthur|
|Charley Boorman||Boy Mordred|
|Brid Brennan||Lady in Waiting|
|Barbara Byrne||Young Morgana|
|Barry Blackmore||Asst. Director|
|Michael E. Doyle||Special Effects|
|Michael Dryhurst||Associate Producer|
|Roberta A. Eisenstein||Executive Producer|
|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|
|David Murphy||Asst. Director|
|Anthony Pratt||Production Designer|
|Bob Ringwood||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Bob Smith||Camera Operator|
|Doug Turner||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Bertram Tyrer||Art Director|
|Anthony Van Laast||Choreography|
|Alan Whibley||Special Effects|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This was a truly awesome epic movie. Great music and cool armours. You gotta see it!
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.
The only Arthurian movie worth watching. Some flaws in the script and less than stellar acting, but nonetheless enjoyable.
Good solid movie. Certainly the most entertaining regarding the Arthurian legend. The Orff and Wagner music is superbly apt. The cast is very good.
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.
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.
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.
I would recommend this movie to any one interested in the legend of Camelot, King Arthur, Merlin, and the Round Table.