Excalibur

( 15 )

Overview

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...
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Overview

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.
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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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/1/1992
  • UPC: 085392201839
  • Original Release: 1981
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Home Video
  • Format: VHS

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
Charley Boorman Boy Mordred
Brid Brennan Lady in Waiting
Barbara Byrne Young Morgana
Ciarán Hinds Lot
Eamon Kelly Abbot
Garrett Keogh Mador
Niall O'Brien Kay
Liam O'Callaghan Sadok
Patrick Stewart Leondegrance
Clive Swift Ector
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
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Very good movie

    I would recommend this movie to any one interested in the legend of Camelot, King Arthur, Merlin, and the Round Table.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Brings the King Arthur tale to life like no other attempt.

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    SJLR

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Visually Stunning

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Very Good Movie.

    Good solid movie. Certainly the most entertaining regarding the Arthurian legend. The Orff and Wagner music is superbly apt. The cast is very good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Solid effort

    The only Arthurian movie worth watching. Some flaws in the script and less than stellar acting, but nonetheless enjoyable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Magnificent

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Awesome

    This was a truly awesome epic movie. Great music and cool armours. You gotta see it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2011

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