Thoughts on the 1981 Film Excalibur and other King Arthur Films

BAYLOR

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The first time I had saw Excalibur was in 1981 at movie theater which no longer exists. The opening sequence started with the the clang, class and battle of Uther Pendragon vs his rivals to the music of Wagner. I was hooked from the open sequences right the very end , with Arthur being taken to to the Island of Avalon. In spite an anachronism of two, this film more then does justice to the story of King Arthur. Ive since seen the film times since and it's still an marvelous peace of film making and has lost none of it magic.

What are your thought on this film and other films that have tackled the story of King Arthur, Guinevere. Lancelot Merlin, Morgana and the Knight of the Round Table ?:)
 

Teresa Edgerton

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I was disappointed in Excalibur the first time I saw it, which was when it first came out. There were things about it that I quite admired, but other things that I found rather ludicrous. However, it has grown on me with subsequent viewings over the years, with the result that I now think rather highly of it. More to the point, I don't think that anyone has come up with anything better, or even as good, before or since. So while I am still waiting for something I could truly regard as the definitive King Arthur film, Excalibur comes closer than anything else I have seen. (I do, however, have a soft spot for Camelot, which I watched when it first came out and quite swept me away back in 1967.)
 

HareBrain

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I watched it at the university film club and was blown away by it. There are some ludicrous elements, but the sheer brio just carries you along, and the use of music is inspired. (I think it was the first time I'd heard any Wagner apart from Ride of the Valkyries.) I can still recite the charm of making, though I've no idea how one should spell it.
 

CupofJoe

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I like the myth of Arthur and I think Excalibur has caught the spirit of this better than any other film [except for maybe Monty Python and the Holy Grail which is a wonderful film and about as historically accurate as the big E].
But as Arthur is much more myth than history I think it will be difficult to come up with a vision that many fine acceptable. Was he post-Roman, Anglo Saxon, Celtic, viking or a renegade Druid? Or really French, Frankish or Norman and the stories just got written down here?
As a kid I loved A Spaceman in the court of King Arthur. I don't know why now, it's an awful film in retrospect. Disney when it was at its cheapest.
 

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I thought the use of Gotterdamerung for a soundtrack was both inspired and poignant. The tale is, in many ways, a tale of the twilight of Arthur himself. It managed to capture both the romance of the legend and the muddy reality of medieval combat. I also think the end scene of Arthur's body on the boat in the sunset is just beautiful. I liked it when it was first released and my affection grows with each time I watch it.
 

-K2-

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I watched it at the university film club and was blown away by it. There are some ludicrous elements, but the sheer brio just carries you along, and the use of music is inspired. (I think it was the first time I'd heard any Wagner apart from Ride of the Valkyries.) I can still recite the charm of making, though I've no idea how one should spell it.

Well, keep in mind every bit of the information in these links could be wrong, here is some speculation on the subject found on the web:



That said, I bet some of the members here could get the spelling and words right compared to what can be found on the net (the repeated and reused info from one source site). @Jo Zebedee comes to mind.

Just personal opinion... yet like many things, in this case a historical language, this should really not be up for debate at this stage of the game. Sadly, however, the real experts rarely chime in on such frivolous things unless pressed... like it's some secret.

Bluntly, it should be set in stone... *snort* :sneaky:

K2
 
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Venusian Broon

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The best King Arthur film is clearly 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail'

However I do have a soft spot for 'Excaliber', so it's a close second. I think it does do a wonderful job at portraying the fantasy of the original material: the mystical and the chivalrous. Bombastic, gaudy and OTT yes, but this is a 1000 year old legend, not a kitchen sink drama. Loved the soundtrack too, as others have pointed out!
 

Toby Frost

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I can still recite the charm of making, though I've no idea how one should spell it.

Yes, that's it! Speak the words!

I love Excalibur. It's one of my favourite films, both and despite its excesses. It looks fantastic, the soundtrack is superb, and the acting is - well, everyone seems right. Particular mention must be made of Nicol Williamson's vaguely West Country Merlin, which is one of the oddest and most manic bits of acting I've ever seen. Whether or not it's objectively good, it gets away from the pointy-hat stereotype. Nice to see Patrick Stewart and Liam Neeson in small roles, too! I particularly respect the way that the film is bloody and rather oddly-shaped, which must have driven away a lot of viewers who wanted something more suited to Hollywood (and maybe even Disney).

Actually, while were here, I like The Holy Grail and even Terry Gilliam's Jabberwocky. They're obviously ridiculous silly films, but something about them does feel right - maybe it's the sheer squalor that they depict, which feels appropriate for the (mystical) middle ages.
 

HareBrain

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Actually, while were here, I like The Holy Grail and even Terry Gilliam's Jabberwocky. They're obviously ridiculous silly films, but something about them does feel right

And there is something epic and heroic about both of them, at times, which works alongside the comedy and isn't eroded by it. Although they both poke fun at the genre, at some level they seem very fond of it too.
 

Vince W

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Exclalibur was and still is my favourite film of the Arthur legend. Is it perfect? No, but it does a better job and in better style than any film before or since. The two worst attempts have to be First Knight and the 2004 film King Arthur. All copies of these two should be hunted down, burned, and the ashes spread in the desert.
 

BAYLOR

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Exclalibur was and still is my favourite film of the Arthur legend. Is it perfect? No, but it does a better job and in better style than any film before or since. The two worst attempts have to be First Knight and the 2004 film King Arthur. All copies of these two should be hunted down, burned, and the ashes spread in the desert.

The time frame of Arthur would been about the 5th or 6th century A D and one biggest issues was with Excalibur, is the armor that King Uther, Duke of Cornwall, King Arthur and the rest of the knights were wearing. All of it was High Medieval armor. Suits of kind of sophistication and technology don't began appearing roughly about the 13th century. The people of that era would have likely worn leather armor or maybe some remanent of Roman Plate armor.
 
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Venusian Broon

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The Time frame of Arthur would been about the 5th or 6th century A D an, d one biggest issues was with Excalibur is the Armor that King Uther, Duke of Cornwall, King Arthur and the rest of the knights were wearing. All of it was High Medieval Armor, You don't being seeing that kind of armor until roughly about the 13th century. The people of that era would have worn leather Armor or maybe some remanent of Roman Plate armor.

C'mon there really isn't a historical Arthur! At least a king like the stories. The stories may have had tiny dregs of much older lore woven into it...but so much was added and invented much later.

I believe that many of the tales that feed into the 12th Century Geoffrey of Monmouth's that is really the first draft of the modern Arthur, centred much more on Merlin as some sort of mad magic hermit. But took bits and pieces from all sorts of places.

So this verion, the first tale of Arthur we'd recognise, was a fantasy right from the start. So who cares what a 1981 film decided was the Arthur's knights armour. If it was really set in the 6th Century then there shouldn't be knights and any chivalrous behaviour!
 

BAYLOR

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C'mon there really isn't a historical Arthur! At least a king like the stories. The stories may have had tiny dregs of much older lore woven into it...but so much was added and invented much later.

I believe that many of the tales that feed into the 12th Century Geoffrey of Monmouth's that is really the first draft of the modern Arthur, centred much more on Merlin as some sort of mad magic hermit. But took bits and pieces from all sorts of places.

So this verion, the first tale of Arthur we'd recognise, was a fantasy right from the start. So who cares what a 1981 film decided was the Arthur's knights armour. If it was really set in the 6th Century then there shouldn't be knights and any chivalrous behaviour!

Im well aware of that King Arthur never actually existed. Im just pointing out that In story set in Britain In the 6th century would'n't likely have Knights in High Medieval armor. I know King Arthur is the work of fantasy imagination.:D There wen't any Knights in that era given the state of the world Chivalry didn't;t exist in form whatsoever.

I do admit that there is a silly dreamer part of me that wishes King Arthur , Merlin and Camelot were all real . Love the story and I love characters very much. :)
 

Venusian Broon

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Im well aware of that King Arthur never actually existed. Im just pointing out that In story set in Britain In the 6th century would'n't likely have Knights in High Medieval armor. I know King Arthur is the work of fantasy imagination.:D There wen't any Knights in that era given the state of the world Chivalry didn't;t exist in form whatsoever.

I do admit that there is a silly dreamer part of me that wishes King Arthur , Merlin and Camelot were all real . Love the story and I love characters very much. :)

Well, Excalibur the movie wasn't set in the 6th Century was it! It was set in the times of Arthurian legend ;) :)
 

BAYLOR

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I was disappointed in Excalibur the first time I saw it, which was when it first came out. There were things about it that I quite admired, but other things that I found rather ludicrous. However, it has grown on me with subsequent viewings over the years, with the result that I now think rather highly of it. More to the point, I don't think that anyone has come up with anything better, or even as good, before or since. So while I am still waiting for something I could truly regard as the definitive King Arthur film, Excalibur comes closer than anything else I have seen. (I do, however, have a soft spot for Camelot, which I watched when it first came out and quite swept me away back in 1967.)

For me, Excalibur never gets old. This film has so much heart and wonder. One scene particular really does it for me. The scene in Merlin's Cave in which Merlin shows to Morgana all the wonders, secrets and visions of Camelot and the power and mystery of the Dragon that give life to the very land. Nigel Terry and Helen Mirren were both amazing in the roles of Merlin and Morgana and they both almost stole the show. :cool:(y)

Ive seen Camelot a few times ans yes, I like that film as well. :cool:(y)
 
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Foxbat

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The one thing about the Arthurian saga is how widespread it is across Britain. There are tales from as far afield as Cornwall, Wales, Glastonbury and even Scotland (Arthur's Seat and the Eildon Hills - where, it's claimed Arthur and his knights are asleep, waiting to be called once more). The legend should ( in my opinion) fill us with wonder and hope. Boorman's version captures that for me:)
 

-K2-

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And then, there is this... (coincidentally from 1981 like Excalibur):

Do yourself a favor, don't watch this :whistle:


K2
 

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