Search - Excalibur on DVD

Actors: Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Paul Geoffrey
Director: John Boorman
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
R     1999     2hr 20min

Director John Boorman's passionate adaptation of Sir Thomas Malory's LE MORTE D'ARTHUR stars Nigel Terry as the faithful King Arthur. Necromancer Merlin (Nicol Williamson) offers the magic sword Excalibur to the warlike Ut...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Paul Geoffrey
Director: John Boorman
Creators: John Boorman, Edgar F. Gross, Michael Dryhurst, Robert A. Eisenstein, Rospo Pallenberg, Thomas Malory
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 09/21/1999
Original Release Date: 04/10/1981
Theatrical Release Date: 04/10/1981
Release Year: 1999
Run Time: 2hr 20min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 13
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French
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Member Movie Reviews

Jeffrey W. (JNYC) from NEW YORK, NY
Reviewed on 9/25/2011...
This is a great film to watch along with Monty Python's "Holy Grail" at a party. Some nice knight-in-full-armor-on-maiden sex scenes too, so not for young kids. R-rated jousting.
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Mary M. (ceresmary) from COLUMBUS, OH
Reviewed on 6/5/2011...
Really did not like this version of Excalibur/Knights of the Round table/Aurthur legend. It is Bloody, the dialog leaves much to be desired, and if you're only interested in the wars of Camelot, this is the right version...If you want something more about the Magic of Camelot, my suggestion is to try to find Mary Stewart's "Crystal Caves" that was done in the UK and worth the search. I give my hat off to the British crew that worked hard on this; Helen Mirren, Nigel Terry, Patrick Stewart, etc. but in my opinion was overly bloody, cartoon dialog, and just wasn't worth the time.
1 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jewl W. (wallja99) from CORDOVA, TN
Reviewed on 9/2/2010...
Very good movie, great special effects
0 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Pamela G. (pamgram1) from CHAFFEE, MO
Reviewed on 3/28/2010...
I Love, Love, Love this movie. It has the best King Arthur tale that you have ever seen. The musical score is fantastic as well as the costumes. You know it's great as it has 5 stars and I highly recommend this romantic, adventure, action movie!!!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Not Perfect, But About as Definitive As It Gets
Brian Jay Jones | Damascus, MD USA | 02/01/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It's tough to compress the 900-some-odd pages of text that Thomas Malory used to tell his story of Le Morte d'Arthur into 140 minutes of film, but director John Boorman and screenwriter Rospo Pallenberg give it a good shot. While it sometimes leaves out important details or compresses events in the interest of time, it can never be accused of playing fast and loose with the legend. However, the film also requires a bit of work on the part of the viewer to fill in some of the details, and it's obvious Boorman expects his viewer to be at least passing familiar with the traditions of the Arthurian legend (anyone unfamiliar with Arthur's fate after his death, for example, will be baffled by the film's final shot). So brush up just a bit before you sit down to this one.With its darkened, cloud-streaked skies, lonely stone castles, eerie green lighting, (all caught in beautiful widescreen glory on the DVD), and effective use of the music of Richard Wagner, you won't find a moodier, more beautifully shot film. In fact, there are some downright breathtaking cinematic moments in this film, none more so than when Perceval hurls Excalibur back into the water, and Wagner's music swells just in time for the Lady of the Lake to make a dramatic clean catch. Great stuff.It also helps that Nicol Williamson turns in a very game performance as Merlin, but it's Nigel Terry who carries the film in an underappreciated but wholly believeable interpretation of King Arthur. Terry leaves the scenery-chewing to Williamson, and anchors the film instead with a steady, understated performance. Look also for stars-in-the-making Liam Neeson as the jealous Gawain, and Patrick Stewart as Guenevere's father, Leodegrance.EXCALIBUR has all the elements one expects in a fantasy, yet, in a sense, Boorman does for the sword-and-sorcery film what Sergio Leone did for the western: whereas prior horse operas showed cowboys riding across the desert and shuffing down dirt streets without a bit of sweat, and firing pistols that never drew blood, Leone made everyone look hot and sweaty, and showed that a Smith & Wesson could rip a real hole through your gut. Boorman does the same for the knight in this film -- knights clunk around clumsily in heavy armor, get skewered on pikes, get their heads bashed in, and cough their guts out in bloody mud puddles. It all lends an air of veracity to the film that makes it all seem like It Could Really Have Happened This Way.The widescreen format available on DVD gives this film the weight and heft it has long deserved, and there are some real gems lurking among the additional features -- including a surprisingly cheezy, Grade B trailer, and a really great alternate soundtrack in which director John Boorman discusses the action and shares some behind-the-scene goodies (such as the fact that Nicol Williamson and Helen Mirren couldn't stand each other, or that the actor playing the grown-up Mordred was actually a first-rate horseman).Give this one a try."
Visuals and soundtrack will knock your socks off
Joseph Haschka | Glendale, CA USA | 12/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Within my memory, there've been only a couple films featuring the legend of King Arthur. However, one of them released in 1981, EXCALIBUR, is the standard by which all others, past and future, must be judged. It's positively stunning in its excellence, and a must-see for any devotee of the tale.In a sense, EXCALIBUR is more a story of Merlin than Arthur since Nicole Williamson's fabulous, unique portrayal of the former overshadows Nigel Terry's role as the latter. However, the film faithfully depicts the Arthurian legend from his conception and birth at Tintagel Castle, to his death at the hands of Mordred. In between are all the other elements of the story one would hope for and expect: Uther Pendragon, the Sword In the Stone, the Battle of Mount Badon, Camelot, the Knights of the Round Table, Sir Lancelot, Guinevere, Sir Percival, the Quest for the Holy Grail, the Lady of the Lake, and Lady Morgana (a.k.a. Morgan La Fey).A note of caution for parents of young children. At times, the film is intensely violent, bloody and sexual. (Gee, it sounds like any normal day at the office.) You are warned. And it's not a movie for squeamish adults, either.The costuming is superb. The brilliant cinematography and film editing, combined with a magnificent soundtrack that includes "Carmina Burana" and "Tristan's Funeral March" at just the right scenes, make EXCALIBUR absolutely awe-inspiring. You'll want to watch it over and over. (I've talked myself into wanting to view it again right now!) The final scene is one you'll wish you could extract from your TV screen and frame, with sound.Oh, my! What a cinematic achievement!"
The best Arthurian film interpretation
Rudy Avila | Lennox, Ca United States | 09/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Of course, many would disagree and state that the older movies capture Malory's originaltext and vision. There are many Arthurian films, i.e. Knights of the Round Table, Sword of Lancelot, etc. But Boorman's is the finest. It makes the legend come alive with brilliant color, drama and music. It is graphic. There is nudity and blood. But such film should be appreciated and not seen by a more immature audience. The use of Wagner's music is perfect. It truly captures and enlivens the moments. Scene: Lancelot and Guinevere meet for a liasion in the forest. Wagner's Tristan and Isolde Prelude music plays. And the final scene: Three queens take Arthur on a barge. Wagne'rs music to the Ring opera plays. I suggest you get the soundtrack which is a rare thing to get a hold of. If you can't, get the following classical: Tristan and Isolde Prelude to Act 2, Siegfried's Funeral March - both by composer Richard Wagner. And Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana - O Fortuna " a work for chorus that is beyond belief, used in the film as music to accompany the battle scenes. Not only the music makes this film great. Great performances by the actors, in particular Nigel Terry and Mirren as Merlin and Morgana. Also check out Liam Neeson doing the role of one of the knights. This is the best interpretation of Malory on film. Great music, great drama, great performances."