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.