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  • Excalibur [1981] [DVD]
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Excalibur [1981] [DVD]


Price: £7.17 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Excalibur [1981] [DVD] + The Name of the Rose  [DVD] [1986]
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Product details

  • Actors: Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Paul Geoffrey
  • Directors: John Boorman
  • Writers: John Boorman, Rospo Pallenberg, Thomas Malory
  • Producers: John Boorman, Edgar F. Gross, Michael Dryhurst, Robert A. Eisenstein
  • Format: PAL, Subtitled
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Arabic, Romanian, Bulgarian
  • Dubbed: Italian
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 15 May 2000
  • Run Time: 135 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004R84J
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,522 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

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.

From Amazon.co.uk

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

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 Dec. 2002
Format: VHS Tape
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" (correction: "SIEGFRIED'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!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Scott Dean on 27 Jun. 2011
Format: Blu-ray
I'm keeping my review of this film strictly to the quality of the transfer (it's a given that if I've bought it again - third time, first on video, then DVD, now Blu Ray - that I love it):

It's visually and audibly better than the current DVD version, but that's about it. I doubt that we'll ever get anything better, so if you want the best quality currently available then grab this. But don't expect anything like what is now acceptable when it comes to most Blu Ray transfers of older films such as this one. It's saving grace is most definitely the John Boorman commentary.

Disappointed, but still the best quality currently available to buy.
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62 of 68 people found the following review helpful By David J. Smith on 8 Nov. 2005
Format: DVD
This is the story of the magic and mysticism in the tale of Arthur, as seen by John Boorman. The story starts with Uther Pendragon convincing Merlin to help him bed Ygraine, and ends with the return of excalibur to the Lake. It is also the story of Merlin, played excellently by Nicol Williamson with a massive vocal range, and the intrigue of Morgana (Helen Mirren in a seductive and evil role). Merlin muses both wryly and poignantly about a changing world in which magic is fading, the natural order is threatened with the arrogance of men, lamenting the "lachrymae mundi", while Arthur and his knights, wearing impossibly heavy armour, lop limbs of their enemies with big weapons. All to the hard-drinking monk's tune of Orff's "O Fortuna". What more could you want from a film, by turns whimsical, sad, mystical, violent, passionate, tender, mysterious and aloof? Speak the charm of making Merlin, set the world to rights.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Ochre on 13 Mar. 2005
Format: DVD
I appear to write reviews only for deranged films with beautiful colours and mad actors-well once again I invite you to be ravished by wonderful cinematography, blood spattered axe weilding madmen,and more madder than you can possibly imagine Mr N Williamson (on top eye popping thespian overdrive).
If you "enjoyed" Gary Oldman in Fifth Element and The Third Stage Guild Navigator in Dune then add this to your collection at once.Hours of mad sword slashing fun and power mad lust crazed grubby snarling troglodytes in beautiful colour.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Sphen Dido on 17 Oct. 2005
Format: DVD
If you have any interest in the legends of King Arthur or the mystery of the Dark Ages in Britain, this film is a must-see. It takes you on a magical journey right into the heart of the myth, through stunning photography and the most awe-inspiring soundtrack. The fact that mostly unfamiliar actors are used adds to the experience, from unyielding warrior Uther Pendragon to dreamlike Merlin and charismatic Arthur himself. Ignore any poor reviews occasionally wheeled out. These critics clearly didn't "get it" and I feel sorry for them. I watch this film several times a year to reconnect with a visionary heroic world that puts present-day Britain to shame. Rise again, King Arthur, we need you now!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Gavin Moore VINE VOICE on 19 Oct. 2004
Format: DVD
This has to be one of my all time favourites.
Everything about it is excellent, right down to the costuming and even the soundtrack! The haunting sound of Carl Orff's 'Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi' and some excellent stuff from Wagner's 'The Ring' for good measure adding that epic feel that classical music often brings.
Expert cinematography and sets really bring it together making it very memorable.
A nice blend of myth & magic done very well indeed and one of the best in this genre. Personally I prefer it to The Lord of the Rings!
Absolute Genius.
I love it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fortuna on 5 Dec. 2014
Format: Blu-ray
The perfect gift for all Historical movie enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
The fact that this film was made back in 1981 is evident as some of the effects do look a little dated but are nonetheless unobtrusive and very well used. The graphic and occasionally brutal swordplay is well set out and choreographed and far from ruling the piece it is nicely balanced by the mythological and magical aspect to the story. John Boorman offers a beautifully photographed and marvelously directed movie that is visually lavish and stunning. Immersing itself deeply into dark age mysticism the film offers an almost alien atmosphere at times but this works in its favour resulting in a captivating film. Some superb and grand set designs afford a sumptuous backdrop. The costumes courtesy of Bob Ringwood are marvellous but the very impressive armour designed by Terry English is simply amazing.

A fantastic cast provide some excellent performances, the late Nicholas Clay was born to play Lancelot and his haunting performance is one that is likely to stay with you. Equally memorable is the eccentric and occasionally hilariously camp performance of Merlin by the superb Nicol Williamson is impressive as he romps away in possibly the best character adaptation of Merlin I have seen and holds the movie superbly together.

The sultry Helen Mirren evocatively oozes her performance of Morgana combining a distinctly sinister and sexy presence. Nigel Terry shows his inexperience but nonetheless provides a good lead portrayal as King Arthur. He is no Lawrence Olivier but he is in keeping with the "boy king" emphasis of the story.
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