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Excalibur [VHS]

4.2 out of 5 stars 206 customer reviews

Price: £7.77
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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
  • Language: English
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Warner
  • VHS Release Date: 1 Sept. 1993
  • Run Time: 135 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CIVS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 328,896 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

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

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mr. Joe HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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Format: DVD
A film classic based on Sir Thomas Malory's 1485 book "Le Morte D'Arthur". Everyone has a favorite part. Few remember the whole film. And we notice something more with each viewing.
When you first see Excalibur rising from the lake you know you are in fro a great cinema graphic movie.
We get our entire favorite King Author stories well spliced together of form one cohesive tale including the search for the Grail. The round table had a unique symbol in the center.
Some time is spent trying to recognize our favorite actors when they were young. Who would have guessed that Igrayne (Katrine Boorman) was in the film "Zardos" (1974) also produced by John Boorman.
Also trying to identify the music mostly Richard Wagner (from "Parsifal", "Tristan und Isolde" and "Götterdämmerung").
After viewing this film it is time to get a different view of the same stories with the film "The Mists of Avalon" (2001) or maybe Merlin (1998).
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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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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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Format: DVD
For years, I only ever saw the beginning of this film. Gabriel Bryne is practically unrecognisable as the brutish Uther, in what must be one of his best acting performances. It's his lust for Igrayne that sets the film in motion. To satisfy his hunger, Uther must make a deal with the mercurial Merlin, which, needless to say, he later regrets.
So Arthur starts out on his hero's journey, in scenes quite similar to young Luke Skywalker's tutelage by Yoda in 'The Empire Strikes Back', with Arthur both beguiled and horrified by the creatures of the forest, featuring the ubiquitous owl present in such films of this period. After the boy king draws the sword from the stone, he is much in need of guidance. However, Merlin is an excellent teacher who seems to draw knowledge from Arthur rather than leading him to it. Yet it's not long before Arthur is seduced away from Merlin to other attractions, such as Guenevere. It's around about here that I usually stopped watching the film when I was younger. It was Boorman's battles that had first attracted me, so shiny and brutal as sword impales and thrusts armour.
It's true that Arthur's Round Table is rich and lush, but rather boring. A time of plenty, but very little drama, apart from Gawain's slander. Arthur does not hear Merlin warn him about Guenevere, and ignores the evidence of his own eyes, as Guenevere becomes a tease and a burden to all his men and in a bizarre and highly staged dance in Leondegrance's fortress. It's also taken time for me to like Nicholas Clay's performance as Lancelot. Cherie Lunghi as Guenevere has never really convinced me. The DVD edition makes her chirpy Irish accent even clearer, which is an irritation.
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