http://www.celtichearts.com/php/images/news/excalibur1.jpg"; align="left" hspace="10" vspace="5" width="300" height="377"> John Boorman's 1981 classic Excalibur is a primary adoption of Malory's Morte d'Arthur (1485) and unless you saw this movie in 1981 when it first came out, you might have missed a great classic that has endured to this day. One actor in the film, Patrick Stewart, you will recognize as the Captain of Star Trek Next Generation. No matter what movie Patrick plays in, he always looks the same - timeless like this movie!

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John Boorman originally intended to film an adaptation of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J.R.R._Tolkien">; J.R.R. Tolkien 's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lord_of_the_Rings">; The Lord of the Rings and much of the imagery and set designs seen in Excalibur were created with that intention. He was, however, unable to secure the rights to the book. Besides a gorgeous cinematic approach to this film, it contains some of the most authentic medieval battle scenes ever filmed. This movie is definitely worth picking up at your local Best Buy or Walmart, if they have it in stock, or you can always order it from amazon.com. You will probably pay less than $10 for a great afternoon or evening of a King Arthur classic. Start popping the corn! Celtic Radio gives John Boorman's 1981 classic Excalibur 5 Movie Stars: http://www.celtichearts.com/php/images/stars/stars-5-0.gif"; align="absmiddle" width="66" height="14">




The film begins with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uther_Pendragon">; Uther Pendragon (Gabriel" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel_Byrne">Gabriel Byrne), in battle against the Duke" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorlois">Duke of Cornwall (Corin" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corin_Redgrave">Corin Redgrave), reminding Merlinhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merlin">Merlin; (Nicol" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicol_Williamson">Nicol Williamson) of his promise of the "Sword of Power", Excaliburhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excalibur">Excalibur; to denote his kingship. Merlin retrieves the sword from the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_of_the_Lake">; Lady of the Lake (Telsche Boorman) and gives it to Uther with the intention of uniting the land as one. After Uther yields portions of "lands from here to the sea" Cornwall yields to Uther and promises to enforce the king's will. Cornwall invites Uther to celebrate at his castle, where Uther meets and is enchanted by Cornwall's wife Igraynehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igraine">Igrayne;. Cornwall is enraged and the truce is broken. The lustful Uther later lays siege to the Duke's castle.

http://www.celtichearts.com/php/images/news/excalibur3.jpg"; align="right" hspace="10" vspace="5" width="250" height="188">Merlin, furious at Uther's recklessness, nevertheless agrees to use his magic to help Uther seduce Igrayne, on the condition that Uther relinquishes to Merlin whatever results from his lust. Merlin summons the dragon who lies beneath the land and transforms Uther into the image of Cornwall, who rides into the castle across the sky on the dragon's breath just as Cornwall leaves to attack Uther's camp. Meanwhile, the Duke of Cornwall is killed during his assault and sensing her father's death, awakes Igrayne's young daughter, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgan_le_Fay">; Morgana. Believing her husband has returned home, Igrayne (Katrine Boorman) makes love to an aggressive Uther while a devastated Morgana sees past Uther's disguise.

Igrayne later gives birth to a son, Arthurhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Arthur">Arthur;. Upon seeing his child, Uther speaks of creating peace and staying with Igrayne. Much to Igrayne's despair, Merlin later arrives and reminds Uther of the oath he took, and takes baby Arthur. Uther pursues Merlin and is later ambushed by the remaining loyal Cornwall knights who were also after Excalibur. He is mortally wounded in the forest but not before thrusting the sword into a large nearby stone. Witnessing this, Merlin exclaims that "he who draws http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sword_in_the_Stone">; the sword from the stone, he shall be king".

Years later, Sir" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Ector">Sir Ector (Clive" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clive_Swift">Clive Swift) and his sons Kayhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Kay">Kay; (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niall_O'Brien">Niall O'Brien) and Arthur (Nigel" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigel_Terry">Nigel Terry) who is now a young adult attend a jousting tournament to win a chance to draw Excalibur from the stone. The best knights in the land gather to compete and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leondegrance">; Leondegrance (Patrick" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Stewart">Patrick Stewart) is the victor but fails to pull the sword from its stone prison. Arthur, now Kay's squire, forgets Kay's sword in a tent and returns only to discover that it has been stolen. While pursuing the thief, Arthur stumbles by the stone in which Excalibur is embedded. By sheer fate and destiny, the sword calls to him and Arthur draws it from the stone. Once news arrives of the sword's release, the tournament crowd gathers around him. Sir Ector commands Arthur to put it back and after a failed attempt by a skeptical Uryenshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urien">Uryens; (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Buckley_(actor)">Keith Buckley), Arthur easily draws the sword from the stone once more. Merlin then appears, revealing to Arthur that he is the son of Uther and Igrayne, hence by birthright, he is the rightful king of the land.

Not all accept Arthur's kingship. As the knights argue, a confused Arthur flees into the forest pursuing Merlin. He later explains Arthur's destiny, telling the boy that he and the land are one. Overwhelmed, Arthur slips off into sleep. The next morning, Merlin tells him that his enemies are laying siege to the castle of one of Arthur's main supporters, Leondegrance. Rallying the other knights loyal to him, Arthur leads a counter-assault and repels the attackers. The battle ends when Arthur asks for Sir Uryens' (Keith" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Buckley">Keith Buckley) faith in Arthur's newfound kingship. Uryens is insulted at swearing faith to a squire. Arthur, realizing what he says is true, gives Excalibur to him to proclaim Arthur a knight. Tempted to take the sword for himself, Uryens hesitates, but after seeing Arthur's grace in victory, grants his request. Afterwards, Arthur later meets Leondegrance's daughter Gueneverehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guinevere">Guenevere; (Cherie" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherie_Lunghi">Cherie Lunghi), who narrowly avoids a kiss from Arthur, while she helps mend his wounds,

Later, Arthur and his knights encounter a brilliant and self-proclaimed undefeated knight named Lancelothttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancelot">Lancelot; (Nicholas" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Clay">Nicholas Clay). In search of a king worthy of his sword, Lancelot will allow none to pass a bridge until he is defeated in single combat. After besting all of Arthur's knights, Lancelot engages Arthur himself in a joust. An enraged Arthur refuses to accept Lancelot besting him and challenges Lancelot in a duel to the death. The two combatants' fight brings them near a nearby lake. Lancelot is surprisingly fast and agile striking at will on the furious and unbalanced Arthur. Lying on the rocks in defeat, Arthur summons Excalibur's power. The "Sword of Power" hums with magic and cuts through Lancelot's spear, piercing his armour and knocking him unconscious, but breaking the sword in half in the process. A devastated and shameful Arthur confesses to Merlin that in his rage he abused the sword's power to serve his own vanity. Arthur throws what is left of the sword into the lake but, upon his words of contrition, the Lady of the Lake shows herself and offers a restored Excalibur to the king. Realizing his error, Arthur quietly vows never to abuse the sword's power again. Lancelot awakens and, realizing that he has finally been bested, swears fealty to Arthur.

After a series of battles, Arthur and his knights unify the land. He decides to create a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Round_Table_(Camelot)"> Round Table and builds his castle, Camelothttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camelot">Camelot;. Arthur ultimately marries Guenevere but Lancelot, who escorts her tohttp://www.celtichearts.com/php/images/news/excalibur2.jpg"; align="left" hspace="10" vspace="5" width="250" height="213"> the wedding, falls deeply in love with her. Arthur's half-sister, Morgana (Helen" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Mirren">Helen Mirren), a budding sorceress, becomes apprenticed to Merlin in hopes of learning the Charm of Making from him. Time passes and Lancelot, the greatest of the knights, is often inexplicably absent from the Round Table, seeking refuge deep in the forest in order to brood. One day while sleeping in the forest, Lancelot encounters a peasant boy named Percivalhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percival">Percival; (Paul Geoffrey), who aspires to become a knight and impresses Lancelot with his resiliency. Lancelot guides him back to Camelot where Percival later becomes his squire.

Though the king's champion, Lancelot's forbidden love for Guenevere keeps him away from Camelot. One evening, Sir Gawainhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gawain">Gawain; (Liam" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liam_Neeson">Liam Neeson), under the corruption of Morgana, openly accuses both knight and queen of adultery at the Round Table. Since he is king, Arthur decrees that he must be the judge and that Lancelot must defend Guenevere's honor in a duel against Gawain. In a nightmare duel with himself, Lancelot pierces himself with his own sword in order to purge himself of his love for Guenevere. As the crowd gather for the duel, Lancelot is nowhere to be seen. A disappointed Arthur looks upon all of his knights and not one volunteers to challenge Gawain, except the squire, Percival. In duress and to the shock of the crowd, Arthur hastily knights Percival. Lancelot finally arrives and despite his injuries, manages to defeat Gawain and have him withdraw his accusation. The duel is too much for Lancelot and he collapses, close to death. Arthur implores Merlin to bring him back, whatever the cost and so Merlin does, placing Guenevere's hand on Lancelot's heart, giving him will to live.

Ultimately, Guenevere realizes her love for Lancelot, and they ride out into the forest where the two consummate their love. A heartbroken Arthur, realizing the two people he loves most in the world have betrayed him, finds Guenevere and Lancelot asleep together in the forest. Meanwhile, Merlin guides Morgana, who is showing signs of hostility towards her half-brother Arthur, to his secret lair intending on luring her into a trap. In the forest, Arthur thrusts Excalibur between the sleeping couple and because of his magical link with the Dragon and Earth, Merlin is instantly impaled by the magical sword also. Seeing a weakened Merlin, Morgana seizes the opportunity to trap him in crystal with the Charm of Making. Morgana (like Uther when he deceived Igrayne) then takes the form of Guenevere and seduces Arthur into making love to her. She later bears a son named Mordredhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordred">Mordred; (Charley" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charley_Boorman">Charley Boorman) and protects him with magic so that no man-made weapon can kill him.

On awakening to the sight of Excalibur, Lancelot cries "the king without a sword, the land without a king" and flees in shame as Guenevere lies there weeping. Time passes and Arthur is struck by lightning while in prayer, causing the land to be stricken with famine and sickness. A broken Arthur sends his knights on a quest for the Holy" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Grail">Holy Grail believing the land will prosper if it is found. More years pass and many knights die on the quest, while some are the walking dead; bewitched by Morgana to serve her and her son.

Stopping by a lake for water, Percival witnesses Mordred viciously murdering Uryens. With his dying breath, Uryens tells Percival that he is the last of the quest knights and that he must continue his search. After being captured by Mordred and Morgana, Percival manages to escape, but not before he dreams of obtaining the grail. Wandering aimlessly, Percival encounters a fat, bearded, and bitter Lancelot preaching to his followers of the failures of the kingdom. Recognizing Lancelot, Percival tries to tell him that he is still needed by Arthur, but with the help of his followers, Lancelot pushes Percival into a river. Rising out of the river, Percival, having lost his armor, has a vision of the Grail and a mysterious figure who asks "Who am I?" and "Have you found the secret that I have lost?" Percival realizes that the figure is King Arthur, and his secret is that he and the land are one. Answering the riddle, he attains the Grail. Arthur drinks from it and is revitalized.

Realizing that now is his time to truly be king, Arthur and his few remaining knights ride to war against Mordred and Morgana. The barren land blooms with life as they pass and is reborn with its King. Learning that Guenevere has joined a nunnery, Arthur pays a visit to her convent, where they reconcile. She reveals Excalibur to him, having kept it safe since the day she fled.

http://www.celtichearts.com/php/images/news/excalibur4.jpg"; align="right" hspace="10" vspace="5" width="250" height="343">Most of the land's nobles have rallied to Mordred and Morgana. In despair, Arthur calls to Merlin and strikes a nearby stone hengehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henge">henge; in his frustration, unknowingly awakening the wizard from his enchanted slumber. Though still imprisoned in crystal, Merlin appears to Morgana in a dream and tricks her into calling the dragon and uttering the Charm of Making, creating a thick fog of the dragon's breath. Her magically-endowed youth dissolves, she grows old and grotesque, much to the dismay of her son Mordred, who strangles her in disgust.

With the help of Merlin, Arthur and his knights survive using Morgana's mist to their advantage to hide their small numbers, but are soon overwhelmed. Out of the fog arrives Lancelot, who joins the fray and turns the tide of the battle. After disposing of the remaining enemies, Lancelot falls to the ground from the old wound that has never healed. Arthur and Lancelot reconcile, and Lancelot dies with Arthur's acknowledgment that he was the Round Table's greatest knight. A distraught Arthur turns to find Mordred ready to pierce his father with his spear. Percival offers to fight, but Arthur realizes Mordred was his sin and stands to face his son. Mordred lunges forward with his weapon and pierces Arthur, but the determined king pulls the spear, and his son, closer to him, whereupon he stabs Mordred with Excalibur (which was forged not by man, but by a god), killing him.

Knowing his time has come, Arthur commands Percival to throw Excalibur into a pool of calm water. He initially balks at the command, but eventually carries out the king's bidding and throws the sword into the pool where it is caught by the glimmering scale-clad hand of the Lady of the Lake. When Percival returns, he sees Arthur's body on a ship sailing away. The king is attended by three formally posed ladies clad in white, sailing into the setting sun toward the Isle of Avalon.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avalon">Avalon.;

 

 

 

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