STARRING: Nigel Terry, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Helen Mirren, Cherie Lunghi, Paul Geoffrey, Robert Addie, Gabriel Byrne, Keith Buckley, Katrine Boorman, Liam Neeson Gaw, Corin Redgrave

1981, 140 Minutes, Directed by: John Boorman

Description: 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 definitive retelling of the ancient King Arthur legend. Director John Boorman's vision owes more to an idealized vision of the Middle Ages than it does to historical accuracy, but that is exactly the film's strength. Excalibur is a visual feast that is beautiful to merely look at. The mood is set perfectly by his use of classical music such as Wagner and Orff's Carmina Burana.

Which can be unbearably pretentious - depending on your preferences - but the film based on La Morte D'Arthur by Thomas Malory does actually remind one of passages from that novel. Poetic.

Not that the film is faultless: at times it is difficult to keep track of the action and towards the end the film becomes episodic and doesn't build naturally to its speculator climax. But beware: there's some explicit sex and violence . . . so send the little ones to bed beforehand.


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