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66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visuals and soundtrack will knock your socks off
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...
Published on 29 Dec. 2002 by Amazon Customer

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excaliblur
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...
Published on 27 Jun. 2011 by Scott Dean


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66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visuals and soundtrack will knock your socks off, 29 Dec. 2002
By 
Amazon Customer (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Excalibur [VHS] (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
3.0 out of 5 stars Excaliblur, 27 Jun. 2011
By 
Scott Dean (Lincolnshire, UK.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Excalibur (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
5.0 out of 5 stars The days of our kind are num-ber-ed, 8 Nov. 2005
By 
David J. Smith (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Excalibur [1981] [DVD] (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
4.0 out of 5 stars shimmering dazzling, 13 Mar. 2005
This review is from: Excalibur [1981] [DVD] (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Excalibur is a magical journey, 17 Oct. 2005
This review is from: Excalibur [1981] [DVD] (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
5.0 out of 5 stars What a film!!, 19 Oct. 2004
By 
Gavin Moore "Gav" (Gateshead. England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Excalibur [1981] [DVD] (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Excalibur is a credit to the genre., 5 Dec. 2014
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. The elfin Cherie Lunghi provides an occasionally tedious performance as her terribly false accent grates horrendously but she is on the whole quite enchanting as Guenivere. Amongst the notable cast members are some early performances by Patrick Stewart, Liam Neeson and Gabriel Byrne provides one of his better performances as the proud King Uther. John Boorman slips some of his family into the film, most prominently Katrine Boorman plays Arthurs mother Igrayne whilst her sister Telsche Boorman waxes fishy as the Lady of the Lake.

The music score by Trevor Jones breathes life into the production and also uses to great effect two classical music motifs in order to convey some grim weightiness and promote a truly dramatic and heroic feel. The hair raising tones of the "Tannhauser Overture" by Wagner wash over you whilst the stirring "O' Fortuna" taken from Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" is a truly rousing piece (some may remember it from the "Old Spice" advertisements) which fits exceptionally well with the imagery of King Arthur and his knights charging off into battle through the countryside. The enchanting combination of imagery and sound is captivating and exhibits some real power seldom found in "modern cinema". Boorman's direction is almost flawless and the pacing is excellent combined with some superb atmosphere and cinematography (for which it received an Academy Award nomination).

The early eighties did of course sire a whole flurry of sword and sorcery movies but Excalibur is a credit to the genre and is one of the better offerings. Boorman's vision created in Excalibur is both powerful and stirring and makes this one of his best films.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Before "The Lord of the Rings", there was Excalibur, 3 Jun. 2007
By 
E. Jorgensen (Tonsberg, NORWAY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Excalibur [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
Anyone who really likes "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, will most likely enjoy this movie as well. "Excalibur" is over 25 years old, but this film stands the test of time. The costumes and locations are superb, and the battle scenes are both exciting and ravishing. The intense and beautifull music score makes this film truly magnificent. The actors in "Excalibur" are very good, especially Nicol Williamson and Gabriel Byrne. If you like action packed sword and sorcery films, then you should give this one a try. It's one of the very best, if not The Best.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertainment at its best, 22 Jun. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Excalibur [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Knocked by many who take pleasure in finding fault just for the sake of it.This is a mythical story so who cares if it is accurate or not? It is wonderful entertainment with great music helping create a fantastic atmosphere.Sit back and really enjoy this movie again & again. I watch it every couple of years (since 1981) and still enjoy it.A "must-have" in your collection.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best epic film ever, 30 July 2007
This review is from: Excalibur [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
Watched this as I was growing up. Surely the best movie about Arthur and Merlin. The acting was great and direction well done. Everything in this movie is believable. The scene where Oother visits Egraine because Merlin turns him into Egraine's husband using scorcery. The scene was hot. They dont make them like that anymore. Great Battle scenes. Great fun.
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Excalibur [1981] [DVD]
Excalibur [1981] [DVD] by John Boorman (DVD - 2000)
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