John Boorman's epic version of the King Arthur legend takes all the important elements - the sword in the stone, the Knights of the Round Table, the quest for the Holy Grail, the love between Queen Guinevere and Sir Lancelot - and holds them together in a single sweeping story. Nicol Williamson stars as a camp Merlin and Helen Mirren makes a suitably sinister Morgana, but the most memorable aspects of the film are its art direction and cinematography.
A lush retelling of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Excalibur
is a dark and engrossing tale. Director John Boorman (Deliverance
) masterfully handles 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 film is visually stunning and unflinching in its scenes of combat and black magic. Featuring an impressive supporting cast, including early work from the likes of Liam Neeson and Gabriel Byrne, Excalibur
is an adaptation of the legend both faithful and bold. --Robert Lane