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Knight's Tale

A Knight's Tale

4.4 66
Director: Brian Helgeland

Cast: 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 deceased


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).

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

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Related Subjects

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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A Knight's Tale 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 66 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Like the other reviews say, a fun medieval period movie, with lots of action and great music. Doesn't take itself seriously. Just adding here that another really great movie in a similar way is The Princess Bride. Doesn't have the great music, but is also lots of fun. Cameo by Billy Crystal too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a really complete movie, with: action, love, friendship, honor, bad, etc...it likes me a lot!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Heath Ledger is such so hott!! I loved this movie so much. The modern times is so entertaining. A must see!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A lot of humor-not at all what you would think a 50 year old would like, huh? Well I have watched this three times now. And the music is just fantastic !
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite movie, I glued my eyes to the damn screen again and again- THIS IS A MUST SEE!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i love HEATH LEDGER he is the best actor in the world in my opinion any way yeah i love this movie and i love heath ledger to death 4 ever and always lol.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite movies. It keeps you entertained with a fun story of a guy trying to make a better life for himself and his friends and ends up falling in love with a princess. I love the way it sets a modern story in medieval times. One of the most interesting qualities of this movie is how the entire soundtrack is full of modern music with artists such as Queen. One of the reasons they did this was to show that their music sounded to them then like our music sounds to us today. All in all, it is an inspiring story with a healthy dose of side splitting comedy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A Knight's Tale is a funny movie. While it is not historically correct, with the music and some of the lines it is very funny. Heath Ledger plays William Thatcher, a peasant squire that pretends to be a knight so that he could compete in the joust. He tries to hid his true identity.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's a good movie, and Jocelyn and her maid are two of the hottest freakin' girls I've ever seen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved it the movies great in everyway the clothes the style the actors the most. Shannyn sossamon is the best any movies good if shes in it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is heart warming and fun. This movie was soo good i can't even begin to explain how good it is. You must see it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A Knight's Tale is my favorite movie with Heath Ledger.I have only seen ''A Knight's Tale'',''The Patriot'',and ''The Four Feathers''.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You should buy this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Adaptation of Chaucer's 'Cantenbury Tales' set with modern values, fashion, and music. Why set it in Medieval times then? Between people wearing lampshades and other modern garnments to seeing serfs dance to Queen and other modern tunes I just had to turn this farce of a movie off. Don't waste your time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this movie. I don't understand why people don't realize that all the modern rock music is what the music back then felt like to them. In other words, the music we find stuffy and dull that they played then felt like rock music in medieval times. That's what the directors were going for. And the plot is awesome. Changing your stars. I think everyone should appreciate this movie. It's my favorite!
Guest More than 1 year ago
the movie is really funny, plot easy to understand, and practically no plot holes thankfully. its very funny and i laughed through at least half of it. the movie is remarkably accurate to medieval times except for the princess jocelyn's many odd hairdo-s and the weird ball music. a must see!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was very fun to watch, and the music was great. It kept me lauging the whole time. Especially when Heath Ledger was learning to dance and then seeing him dance at the ball.