As the title would suggest, it follows the travels of the legendary sword Excalibur through Arthurian myth, from the violent, powerful hands of Uther Pendragon, to a long-years rest in the stone to being redrawn by Uthers son Arthur, who uses it to defeat the evil invaders and establish the great court of Camelot and the great Knights of the Round Table. It is there in Arthurs glory years and in his decline, brought on by the love affair between his wife Guenevere and best friend and best knight Sir Lancelot, the Holy Grail Quest which produces many casualties among the knights, and the arrival of Mordred, the son Arthur had by his evil half-sister, the sorceress Morgana. Through it all, the magician Merlin watches over everything, always ready to throw in a Charm of Making when its called for.
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Action! You'll find it all here. Excalibur is a movie that really kicksa*s! Could I love this movie more? Can I think about it? For me, the bestpart is the cool incidental music, from Wagner's haunting operas. Tolkiencould very well follow this plot, and the music makes you think the knightsare always headed somewhere really triumphant. True, some of the swords dolook like they were letter openers made in shop class, but hey, com'on! There were some continuity problems to boot, and since I have a little toomuch free time on my hands, I'll get into some. In the pan of the joustingfield, I could of sworn that I saw tire tracks. When Merlin looks out overthe kingdom, I thought I saw a modern city in the back. The funniest one iswhen a pan of Mordred's army shows one of his henchmen sporting a pair ofRay Bans!Rating: 10/10 (The only likeable movie I've seen lately)
THE BEST OF THE TELLINGS. POWER OF THE WORDS SPOKEN. CHEST FILLED WITH THE POUNDING OF HEAVY HOURSE, PALETABLE.TO MUCH TO NOT ENJOY. FROM THE MOMENT WHEN ARTHER ASUMES HIS TRUE KINGSHIP, TO THE MOMENT HIS BROTHER CALLS THE PALACE TO WAR. IT IS AS IT ONCE WAS AGAIN. A VISUAL BEAUTY WONDERFULL FILM WITH TWO STORYS COMBNINEING TO MAKE ONE TRUE TALE. NO WONDER BRAVEHEART CAME AFTER, EXCALIBER WAS THE FATHER. PS: A NON SPELLER LIVES HERE ANY ONE KNOWN WHERE I CAN GET THE MUSIC. recamended book: UTHER PENDRAGON (AURTHERS DADY)
John Boorman says that he made his design staff watch Terry Gilliam's Jabberwocky over and over again to get the correct atmosphere for this piece, and it shows. This is about as realistic and dirty as grail romances get, with an amoral Merlin played meticulously by Nicol Williamson, Nigel Terry's Arthur with feet of Clay, and a sinning and repentant Lancelot played by Nicholas Clay. John Boorman also proves that he knows how to spot talent, with support from Patrick Stewart, Gabriel Byrne and Liam Neeson all lending this movie gravitas and quality. The story is cleverly adapted from Arthurian romance, taking liberties here and there, but entirely in keeping with the tradition of such storytelling.A beautiful film you will want to watch time and time again. It's a shame there are no extras on the DVD
This review is from: Excalibur (DVD) I had recalled this movie to be the best King Arthur film in the genre. Amazon had it at 11.99 for the pre-order dvd so I took a chance and I'm glad I did. Excellent action and filmed quite beautifully. The feature where John Boorman's commentary runs through the film makes it seem like he's in your living room telling you why he used a specific type of lighting and for which type of effect. Boorman's commentary adds so much and illuminates the amount of thought that went into the making of the film. I knew this was an excellent film, but on Dvd you get your money's worth easily. Great music, filming, art direction, action, and 3 great- looking women! You'll enjoy it! Boorman is a real artist.
I loved this movie when it came out, and I still put it into the VCR now and then to watch favorite parts: Arthur kneeling to be made a knight before a man who wants to kill him (Merlin: I've never seen THIS before!), Arthur once again riding at the front of his men, the knights on the hilltop after England has been re-united (Merlin: Think on this moment, savor it! Shades of Shakespeare's Richard III), Gawain taking up Guenivere's cause when Lancelot is late for the duel, the last meeting of Arthur and Guenivere (It is a dream, I have), Lancelot coming in at the critical moment in the last battle (It is the OLD wound, my King). So many.What I really like is the constant use of green light in the movie. Watch closely -- it is EVERYWHERE reflected on on the armor. I think it is meant not as a reflection of the green grass and terrain, but as a symbol of the hope inherent in the legend. Man is are not perfect, but we are capable of so much that is good and great. To Arthur!
I've been reading and watching Arthurian legend stories since I was a child, and Excalibur is the best film I have ever seen. Nicol Williamson is an actor Par excellance and he just steals every scene. The story was not overly sentimental, as it should be, the images were thought-provoking and the scenery inspiring. It contained all the popular elements of the Arthur story and left me feeling "yes, it could have really been that way". I feel sorry for people who can't appreciate fantasy, they just don't know what they're missing. I rate this film 10 out 10.
Great version of Morgana and Merlin! Some of the acting leaves a ltttle to be desired, but the action sequences and the mystical adventures are great.
After watching this movie many years ago I was awestruck by it. Wonderful acting, brilliant action and storylines, and beautiful locales make this movie a must-see. Do yourself a favor and at least rent it.
I thought the costumes (althought not historically accurate), music,acting and atmosphere were top notch!! The accents were a mixed bag ofclassic west-country and RP (recieved pronunciation) with greatdialogue and understanding of chivalry. The sex scenes were brutal andyet strangely erotic at times and Merlin is played by N Williamsomnwith utter relish but making it really entertaining. The images fromBoorman and the use of water as an obsession are extremely well shotand there is fabulous hope in the use of Wagner's music. The battlescenes are realistic and harsh - water, blood and mud mixed togetherwith pain and suffering. Great flick!! Ironduke
'Forged by a God, Foretold by a Wizard, Found by a King' - Excalibur.One of the best films ever made. Gone With The Wind, Dr. Zhivago, TheSeven Samuri,,then came Excalibur! Where to begin? The opening scenesets the stage, the music score rendered from Richard Wagner's 'Ringcycle - The Ring of the Nibelung',,dark, foreboding, cerebral... If onehas no knowledge of the tale of King Arthur, the Knights of the RoundTable, the inscrutable Merlin, this then is the quintessentialenlightenment. The acting is beyond excellent. Nigel Terry, KingArthur, wrenched with the pain of kingship, Cherie Lunghi, Guenevere,torn between passion, love and loyalty, Nigel Williamson, Merlin,present and then absent guiding the youthful Arthur in the ways ofroyalty, Patrick Stewart, as Leon DeGrance, what can I say, it'sPatrick Stewart, Helen Mirren, Morgana, jealous, lustful, confused, andKeith Buckley, Uriens, wishing to be loyal but doubtful of the youthfulArthur ,,, The greatness of the casting and acting goes on and on. Thescenes, each in itself a picture of the real and surreal. Not to cite aspoiler, but when Uriens 'breaks knee'(genuflexes) in the murky moat,grabs Arthur's hand and declares,'I doubt you no more' to me eclipsesall other scenes except for the last fifteen minutes of this epic.This film, a masterpiece, hearkens to one's frailty, vulnerability yetepitomizes the essence of personal strength. See it, enjoy it, love itbut do not think that you will experience light fare, it's not.
In addition to the a one liner above, I thought the armor was veryrealisticas were the entire fighting engagements. I also think the concept of the"dragon" very closely approximates Star Wars' parallel power of the"force".What other medieval era movie even comes close?
I first saw this movie in the theatres; when it ended, the audience was silent. No one left their seats for several minutes. Seeing Excalibur on a television doesn't give it justice, but it's better than nothing! This is one of my 2 favorite movies of all times. I've always loved the Arthur legend, and I can't imagine a more beautiful rendition of the story. I especially loved the music, the costumes, the quirky acting. The battle scenese were appropriately gory, the love scenes very sensuous. My favorite character was Merlin - he was so wise and funny too! Helen Mirren was also so beautiful, powerful and evil! I've seen this movie so many times, and never get tired of it. That's my personal test of a great movie. anyway, I hope anyone who hasn't seen it gives it a try, and simply sits back to take it all in. Analyzing it will just be a waste.
This review is a warning. Do NOT subject yourself to this movie. In Excalibur, the often mind-numbingly awful filmmaking of John Boorman (Zardoz, folks) reaches a nauseating peak. At a running time of approximately 14,000 hours, it is a bloated misfire of epic proportions, being simultaneously horrible, boring, laughable, and way too long. It's as though the production started out with grand, epic intentions, and then Boorman decided "hey let's find the worst actors ever, give them the worst lines ever, write the most retarded script ever seen, and then spend 75% of the budget on LSD." Honestly, Monty Python did a far better job of portraying the King Arthur legend. It is really too much of a strain to go into any great detail about exactly WHY this movie blows so much, but please take my word for it. The acting is weirdly ineffective and dense (as is often the case with Boorman). This is partly the fault of the dialogue, which always seems to be hinting at some higher meaning, but in reality it's just pretentious fluff. The main characters are weak, unlikable, and usually look pretty stupid in their goofy outfits (Mordred has to be seen to be believed). Take King Arthur himself for example. Nigel Terry is so painfully un-tough in the role that he makes Winnie the Pooh look like a Hell's Angel. Another one is Merlin, who could have been such a cool character but ends up being this creepy weirdo that nobody would want hanging around in reality. You end up hating them all so much you really don't care if they get killed. In fact you may even take some giddy pleasure in watching them get picked off one by one. The strongest performance is delivered by the inanimate piece of metal that serves as Excalibur itself. One need only bear witness to what may be the most apalling scene in movie history to sum up this movie. Of course I'm talking about the full armor rape scene, complete with roaring flames and full choral accompanyment. Hideously awkward to watch no matter who you're with, it's best to just laugh nervously and fast forward through it. To make matters worse, the filming is consistently dark and creepy, and only serves to make the proceedings even more bizarre. It's like one of those demented nightmares where nothing makes sense and everything looks weird too. It makes being a knight of the round table seem about as attractive as gargling sand.The first time I saw Excalibur I was almost fooled into thinking it was a good movie. The danger is that it tricks you into thinking it's a great movie if you're not careful. It sneaks up on you, because the beginning is not all that terrible. Then it just goes on and on and on and on, getting stupider and stupider like General Hospital or something, and you start to realize "wow I really don't care how this ends, but hopefully they'll all die." It wouldn't be nearly as bad if it didn't take itself so incredibly seriously. There isn't a single glimpse of humor anywhere. Anyway, I've said enough. It's not that the special effects are dated or that I just "don't get it." The problem with Excalibur is that it's just a really bad movie in every way. I'm quite certain that many people are going to consider this review a mean-spirited affront to a "great" film. If I cared, you could take comfort in my sympathetic laughter. Just don't say I didn't warn you about Excalibur.
This is one of the best King Arthur movies out there. I really like thismovie. for an old movie the FX is good. The plot was good too. Of all themovies about King Arthur this is the best. I recommend this movie to anyonewho likes stories about King Arthur. I also recommend this movie to anyonewho likes a good fantasy movie.
This is by far my favorite Arthurian movie. Nicol Williamson is the quintessential Merlin. His voice will allows be associated with Merlin for me.It's also fun to watch a young Helen Mirren, who is extremelysexy in this movie.Also, watch for Gabriel Byrne and Liam Neeson. Their partsare small. Gabriel Byrne is one mean devious guy.The music in the movie is horribly outdated, but just ignoreit.One driving theme is O Fortuna from Carmina Burana and it is absolutelyhaunting.
What an impotent film. Oh man. I strive to find an outlet for theimpending rant that bubbles inside me, and I strive to find words toexpress how strange and terrible and weird and awesome and awful'Excalibur' is...but nothing comes forth save an incomprehensible rant.I'll start with some formal analysis....The film should have been two hours longer. The temporal pacing is soterrible and confusing that it eventually becomes funny, much likeeverything else in the film. The Grail quest for instance, could be itsown film, but instead gets caught in a terrible twist in the timing ofthe film, and Boorman uses shots that are almost incomprehensible whencompared with others in the rest of the film. Ten years pass in fiveminutes - and suddenly Lancelot, who I just saw two minutes ago as adashing young lad - is bearded and reminds me of that one hobo whotalked to himself in the Cousins on Oakland Avenue. You can't put yourmind around that kind of senseless and terribly thought-out leap.The acting....the acting! How awful. Patrick Stewart and Liam Neesonand Helen Mirren turn in the low points of their professional careers -although Stewart and Neeson have about four lines put together, and youcan just *tell* Stewart regards it as a joke - he just has that tone ofvoice that illustrates he's doing it for fun to have a story for thegrandkids - "Did I ever tell you about that *awful* Camelot movie I wasin? Jesus, you kids should see it. Wait, nevermind, no you shouldn't."And Nicol Williamson's Merlin puts that same kind of inflection intoevery line - it sounds like he's doing the voice-over for a kid's TVshow instead of a serious cinematic effort. And what was with thathelmet? Was he a medieval amateur boxer? And when he falls into theriver - good god almighty. That much camp should never be takenseriously, and obviously wasn't intended to be.And speaking of acting - someone please explain to me how the absoluteWORST actor in the entire film ends up with the lead role? Nigel Terry,whose film acting is so bad he doesn't even have a photo on IMDb, can'tdeliver one single line right in the entire film - he blabbers throughthem all, and when he's required to put some bravado into a line hescreams it at the top of his lungs like Arthur was on fire.All the scenes are so unintentionally funny - through terrible acting,ridiculous staging, Merlin (Merlin!), and verbal bastardization of whatis actually a quality script. The film is devoid of emotion for all butthree minutes, sapped of the stuff by the incompetent acting bestdemonstrated by newborns and hamsters. When Mordred beat Morgana todeath - that was *funny*. I know the beating to death of a haggard oldwoman really shouldn't be, but...Christ, it never occurred to me inthat scene that it was anything but a joke; it was carried out andacted so god awfully.As for Mordred, he was the only character who actually convinced me ofhis role, let alone of his portrayal. The golden armor was actuallyquite creepy and weird and scary, and the "Come father, let us embraceat last" line is delivered with such evil and venom that for a second Iforgot about the other 99% of the movie - almost. Jesus, did I mentionthat toothless old lady got smacked around? Oh right, I did. And shevomited SMOKE. Good god, I'm rambling.And then there's the serious misuse of classical music, which couldencompass an entire rant on its own - you never, NEVER fade out of aclassical piece. Why? Because it was impossible to write them that way.And they fade out of 'O Fortuna' three or four times - god it makes meangry.But on the whole, no matter how awful and terrible and strange (at therisk of repeating myself) 'Excalibur' is, it is an absolute Campmasterpiece - every scene is unintentionally hilarious in some way, thelighting is consistently and rampantly awful, the sound is abbreviatedand often poor, the acting (o god the acting), the staging, the pacing- it's all FUNNY. It's a movie that you watch and laugh and areembarrassed like you were seeing an episode of 'I Love Lucy,' but atleast on 'ILL' the humor was intentional - here it's just...odd. Andthe scene where he finds the Holy Grail...well, you'll just have towitness it yourself. But not after you see the Grail scenes from'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' - just to put things inperspective. He was wearing a loin cloth. How the hell did that happen?God, I have to stop, I'm rambling again...
Excalibur is my No1 Film.I remember seeing it on television when i was about 12.Everything about it was magical.The Castles,Swords,Sorcery and Igraine!This film never gets the respect it deserves in the UK.In the US you seem to appreciate it far more.Does anyone like me shed a tear at the end with Arthur's death? The scene where Excalibur is caught in the lake will live with me always.A STUNNING FILM.
Having read "the knights of the round table" as a child, and "Le MorteD'Artur" in old English as an adult, I have always been profoundly touchedby this story of rise, fall, love, hate, betrayal and hope.As a result, I have developed an intense dislike for most patheticattemptsto put this story on film.Excalibur is the first, and so far, the only film, in my opinion, to comevery close to the brass ring.First some ranting.The early film with Cornel Wilde was a swashbuckling story, nomore.The Disney cartoon "sword in the stone" was one of the first in a longseries of extremely offensive attempts to take inspirational and tragicstories and turn them into something banal.(Anastasia, The hunch Back ofNotre Dame to name a couple)First knight was perfect for displaying Richard Geere's lack of talent,andwasting a perfectly good actor (Connery).This ranks up there with "Plan nine from outer space"Excalibur has put faces to the characters I read about.It infused them with personalities, and gave them life beyond thepages.I was transposed by Merlin's magic on the mountain top, awakening thedragon.I felt a strange elation when Arthur drew the sword, one of the mostmeaningful and defining moments in literary, and now movie,history.I trembled and rejoiced when Arthur handed Excalibur to Uriens and wasknighted.And my eyes welled up with tears when the ship took his body away toAvalonAnd the music... That glorious music, never intrusive, but alwayssuggestiveand underlining the drama subtly.After seeing this movie, anyone hearing Carl Orff Carmina Burana's DeresLuna will forever associate it with courage, rebirth sacrifice andredemption.Anyone seeing this movie will be moved to believing that one day Arthurmayindeed return to redeem us all. It tells us that hope neverdies.
When my teacher for English told us that we had to do a project about KingArthur, we thought of making a video that would mock a movie that depictedthe story of Arthur in a bad way, and we chose Excalibur.I must say that Excalibur tells the story in a completely different waythanwas written in John Steinbeck's novel, and some of it seems to be made up.Such as, Uther having Excalibur from the start? Not that I know of, Arthurwas the first person to have Excalibur, and he didn't get it from pullingitout of a stone, Merlin gave it to him after he pulled a different swordout.And, speaking of Merlin... he does not live until the very end, he istrapped (by someone other then Morgana) long before that.Well, enough of stating what is wrong with the movie (there is more,but..),because there seems to be a lot of people who really like it. I will say,though, that once we cut down the movie to about a half hour splicedversionof it (instead of 2 1/2 hours), it was much better to watch.
In my opinion this film is unique. It follows Thomas Mallory's "Le MorteD'Arthur" fairly accurately. This is something rarely achieved by otherfilms focused on the genre. The casting is excellent, Nigel Terry portraysboth the naive boyish Arthur and the elder statesman with great panachÃ©.Helen Mirren makes for a convincingly evil Morgan Le Faye whilst thegorgeous Cheri Lunghi shines as Arthur's bride. Lancelot is convincing ashe struggles with divided loyalties but the main credit for the film'ssuccess must surely go to Nicol Williamson as Merlin. The film attempts toportray a dark period of English history and this is convincingly portrayedin the atmosphere, costume and make up of the actors but by adopting alighthearted portrayal of a serious character, he manages to balance just theright amount of comic relief.Towards the film's conclusion the charge of the knights through the orchardto the sound of a choir singing the "Carmina Birana" has to be one of thehigh points of British cinema.