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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 28.3%
Average: 9.43%
Pretty Bad: 7.55%
Total Crap: 7.55%

2 reviews, 41 user ratings

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by Brian McKay

"Where is the DVD special edition of this film?"
5 stars

John Boorman's 1981 retelling of the Arthurian legend is a classic. With its sweeping panoramas of the English countryside, its epic battles of clashing men in full plate armor, and its mature storytelling, it is without a doubt the most faithful adaptaton of the legend ever told on film.

Excalibur is a gorgeous spectacle that attempts to capture the essence of the Arthurian mythos in its entirety. Most of the time, it succeeds. It begins with Arthur's father, Uther Pendragon, and ends with the final climactic battle between the King and his illegitimate son, Mordred. Merlin (Nicol Williamson) is the glue that binds the story together, as he is there to both witness and shape the beginning and the end.

In addition to its lavish sets and costumes, Excalibur boasts some of the best medieval fighting to ever grace the screen, as knights in full armor brutally clash and clang, lopping off limbs and sending blood spurting everywhere. If it weren't so deadly serious, it could almost be funny in a "Monty Python's Holy Grail" kind of way.

Although at times it focuses a bit too much on some of the drier aspects of the legends (The quest for the Holy Grail goes on WAY too long, with an unsatisfying end), the love triangle between Arthur (Nigel Terry), Guinivere (Cheri Lunghi) and Lancelot (Nicholas Clay) is handled with just the right ammount of pathos. Likewise, Helen Mirren delivers the goods as the lascivious, treacherous Morgana Le Fay, who seduces both Merlin and Arthur - the former for power, and the latter for a son to take the throne.

Drive-In Triple Feature Picks for Excalibur:

Braveheart - even though I'm sick of all the lame parodies and people screaming "They'll never take our freedom", this was still a great fucking movie with some killer action.

Henry V - Branagh revamps the Shakespearean play about the battle of Agincourt with gusto! His "Band of Brothers" speech is gauranteed to make the manliest of men fight back a tear.

Acceptable Substitution: Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring.

Major props to Boorman for picking through the murky haystack of Arthurian legend and finding a golden needle. Likewise, Mad props to Nicol Williamson for the most memorable Merlin that ever was or shall be.

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originally posted: 09/01/02 21:56:29
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User Comments

3/06/11 art A GRAND PITCURE i saw it at a CINEMa in PORT HURON! 4 stars
12/25/10 dmitri papastavrou impressive 5 stars
9/08/10 R-M-H Is it only me... 3 stars
2/28/09 Craig M Wheres the freakin blu ray 5 stars
1/14/09 Shaun Wallner My kind of film. 5 stars
10/03/08 Mercedes This movie is ridiculously fake. We had to watch this in English 12 Honors. 1 stars
8/11/08 K1LLA Pretty shit except for the sex scenes which were very good. Rock on Camelot and Guinnevere 3 stars
6/27/07 STANLEY weingarden best non-musical which was camelot. 5 stars
5/19/07 Dougle Visually great, good soundtrack, horrible acting, sloppy plot 2 stars
4/19/07 joey sucks balls 2 stars
12/15/06 Z Mystical, dark, stunning, great music - essential for classic fantasy and myth! Brilliant! 5 stars
10/27/06 David Cohen The definitive Arthur movie, with no absurd pretentions of being "historically accurate" 5 stars
8/10/06 Dragon The Artist Not even worth a Sci Fi Channel showing,complete with fake-@$$ blood&grituitious sex.CRAP!! 1 stars
6/18/06 chienne God, Mrs Maine you waffle on, get 2 the point, ur reviews r as tedious as some of the films 5 stars
3/14/06 David avery When Arthur is sworn in as as Knight by Uryance, it always brings tears to my eyes!! 5 stars
10/04/05 Joshua Needleman the only King Arthur Movie I couldn't finish watching 1 stars
7/08/05 Ikhsandr probably best fantasy movie ever, through i did not like nigel terry as young arthur 5 stars
2/27/05 mike boring and absurd 1 stars
12/27/04 Alex The acting was poor at times but the good far outways the bad. Much better than King Arthur 5 stars
11/18/04 chris dissapointing 3 stars
10/13/04 bob it was pretty good 5 stars
8/30/04 DM What can we say, Jason Long? Some people are just wrong. 5 stars
8/05/04 Jason Long This film is a classic! Cheesey acting? No. Redo with new effects? No f'n way. Must see 5 stars
7/08/04 Stevo If only he made it today with modern effects 4 stars
7/06/04 Monster W. Kung So-so adaptation plagued by bad acting and cheesy effects. 2 stars
7/05/04 sdfr majestic and grand ! i love it! 4 stars
2/21/04 Andy Otero I am not a fan of incest, or men's butts being flashed before my eyes! do not see this mov 2 stars
11/27/03 John a great film with a wonderful blend of magic and believability/ the music is phenomenal! 5 stars
9/13/03 Jim A touch dated but still engrossing. 4 stars
7/28/03 Johan Stein The best Arthur Saga movie . 5 stars
7/07/03 Hermmdawgg at the end I thought the police van was gonna drive up 4 stars
6/06/03 Kyle Ain't half bad. 4 stars
3/12/03 Butterball Cenobite bloody, lusty, dreamlike -- a fine, very dark retelling of Arthurian myth 4 stars
11/03/02 R.W. Welch Big bucks production of the legend with impressive cinematography. 4 stars
9/11/02 Francofile Creeped me out as a kid -- mystical, desolate, intoxicating stuff. 4 stars
9/01/02 Charles Tatum Pretty pictures, but "funny" Merlin is all wrong 3 stars
7/02/02 KMG Conan the Bore-barian meets Beastmaster meets Stevie Nicks video 3 stars
6/28/02 Zefram Mann Beautiful movie. Increadible acting performances and brilliant dialogue.. 5 stars
4/08/02 Gil Carlson Great visual, great interpretation of myth 5 stars
1/21/02 Frances Guy pretty cool but it's a bit dated now. 5 stars
3/31/01 Paul W. Very Dark version 5 stars
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  10-Apr-1981 (R)
  DVD: 21-Sep-1999


  02-May-1982 (M)

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