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This lush retelling of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is a dark and engrossing tale. Director John Boorman (Deliverance) masterfully handles the tale of the mythical sword Excalibur, and its passing from the wizard Merlin to the future king of England. Arthur pulls the famed sword from a stone and is destined to be crowned king. As the king embarks on a passionate love affair with Guenevere, an illegitimate son, and Merlin's designs on power, threaten Arthur's reign. The film is visually stunning and unflinching in its scenes of combat and black magic. Featuring an impressive supporting cast, including early work from the likes of Liam Neeson and Gabriel Byrne, Excalibur is an adaptation of the legend both faithful and bold. --Robert Lane --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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An aura of enchantment is created through the use of luminescent greens and shimmering silver, colours which also heighten the perception of a world in transition from paganism to Christianity. Less satisfactory is Boorman's interpretation of the crucial Grail sequence. The mystical secret of redemption revealed to Percival (Paul Geoffrey) is awkwardly correlated with the corruption of knightly virtues, the land in turmoil and Arthur's (Nigel Terry) depressive sickness. Perhaps it is a symptom of trying to cover too much ground at the expense of structural development. Also unfortunate is the bizarrely outlandish appearance of Mordred (Robert Addie) whose masked helmet looks like something out of a religious mystery play!
Regardless of these imperfections, an impressive array of acting talent including Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart, Cherie Lunghi, Gabriel Byrne and a young Liam Neeson makes the most of an engaging script. Who could forget Arthur's rallying cry to "ride once more with [his] knights to defend what was and the dream of what could be!"
"Excalibur" is not a story about a precise location at some specific point in a time. Rather it is Legend itself; a dreamy tale about one brief, shining moment in a fantastic, magical kingdom. Filled with romance and adventure, "Excalibur" captures both the essence of, and the spirit of, the "knights in shining armor" interpretation of the Arthurian legend.
There are so many beautiful sequences in "Excalibur," such as Perceval's quest for the Holy Grail, or the entire end sequence, set in motion when Mordred says to Arthur, "Come, father, let us embrace at last." Director John Boorman skillfully blends realism and authenticity by way of a mythical setting.
No other film has ever captured the romantic notion of the Arthurian legend, both in scenery and drama, quite like "Excalibur." To this day, I still get the chills when I hear "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana over the visuals of the last of the knights of the Round Table riding into battle with Mordred's forces. "Excalibur" is, quite simply, cinematic perfection.
NOTE: Several exceptional and distinguished Shakespearian actors appear in "Excalibur" including Nicol Williamson, Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart, Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne, Nigel Terry and Cherie Lunghi.
This movie throws in everything from Uther's lust for Igraine and what leads to Arthur being born. Merlin taking Arthur, Arthur pulling Excalibur from the stone, Morgana and Merlin's rivalry, Lancelot and Guinevere's affair, and Mordred vs. Arthur. It also has the quest for the grail, which they could have made a little longer. ... it was too easy. Maybe they were afraid of the movie being to long (alread over two hours). But nevertheless, it gets the job done.
The acting is excellent and the cinemetography is exceptional. You almost forget that this movie was from 1981! And I love how funny Merlin can be at times throughout this movie. Excellent stuff!
Most recent customer reviews
A dated, but still excellent take on Merlin and the sword-in-the-stone legend. Good costume and settings. A visual feast at times. At 2 hrs and 20 mins this is a long film.Published 9 months ago by FilmFan2010
Great Production Values; but with a few weak moments in the script.
It's not very often that Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne and Patrick Stewart are in a movie, with minor... Read more
Excellent move, I liked when it came out VHS, I like it better on DVD.Published 21 months ago by Joseph Regis Decaire
Excellent film but awful transfert to DVD, sound and picture quality is poor.Published 22 months ago by Francois Lefebvre
The best of the many sword in the stone movies over the years. A John Boorman classic production from the 1980's.Published on Feb. 28 2014 by K. Anderson
Great movie; should be in all secondary schools as it gives an excellent overview of Arthurian lore.
David Le Gallant
Excalibur is a 1981 dramatic fantasy film that retells the legend of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table.Published on March 30 2013 by T
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