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  • 15
  • Adventure, Drama
  • 1981
  • 140 mins




Unashamedly overblown, occassionally silly and often great re-telling of the Arthurian legend. Magic, madness, bad dialogue and fantastic costumes


Perhaps the best-ever filmed version of the Arthurian legend, Excalibur sweeps from the savage conception of the boy born to be king through his ascent to the throne, his disastrous love affair with the faithless Guinevere to his final battle with the evil Mordred.

Director Boorman has the vision to create sweeping landscapes mixed with dark powers and populate it with morally ambiguous characters. He finds sympathy and horror throughout the story and refuses to turn it into simple good versus evil pap, which adds considerably to the movie.

Terry's Arthur lacks the passion the role demands, but Williamson as mirror-eyed Merlin and Mirren in a fishnet shawl as Morgana are compelling as the sorcerers driven mad by their magicks, while Clay's Lancelot and Lunghi's Guinevere are suitably sexy in their naked clinches.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Nicholas Clay, Helen Mirren, Nigel Terry, Cherie Lunghi, Nicol Williamson, Paul Geoffrey
  • Director: John Boorman
  • Writer: Rospo Pallenberg, John Boorman
  • Producer: John Boorman
  • Photographer: Alex Thomson

In a nutshell

Look out for Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne and Patrick Stewart in supporting roles.

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