Box art for Excalibur

Excalibur

action & adventure, drama, sci-fi & fantasy


Medieval times are brought to vivid life in this stylish retelling of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table and the rise and fall of Camelot. Starring Liam Neeson and Patrick Stewart.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    82%
  • Audience Score
    81%

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 14
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
1 out of 5
Language
0 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
1 out of 5
Sex
4 out of 5
Violence
4 out of 5

Epic King Arthur saga with illicit affairs and brutality.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is no bedtime-fairy tale. Sex, gore, and death are fairly explicit in this version of the Arthur story, with bare breasts and buttocks especially in the Lancelot-Guinevere affair. Violence in combat includes impalings, sword- and axe-thrusts, throat slashings, beheadings, and a near-drowning, though the edge is taken off by the old-fashioned special effects. A matricide by strangulation. Nightmare imagery of rotting corpses dead in their armor. Christianity -- at least a Dark Ages brand of it -- is treated respectfully.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the centuries-old appeal of the story of King Arthur. How does this version compare to others?
  • How does the violence in this movie compare to more modern movies? Is it less intense because it's less sophisticated?
  • How does the period clothing and setting affect the way the sex is depicted, if at all? Does it seem less realistic than if it were depicted in a modern setting? Or more shocking? Romantic?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    82%
    reviews counted: 6
    see all Excalibur reviews
  • Audience

    81%

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: So far the most honest and most powerful on-screen depiction of the ancient and universal legend.

- Dragan Antulov, rec.arts.movies.reviews, Monday, March 29, 2010

Fresh:

- Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: ...romantic and brutal, lyrically beautiful yet grittily realistic.

- John J. Puccio, DVDTown.com, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Visually breathtaking fantasy film that stands as one of the better works that director John Boorman has done in his career as an filmmaker. Excalibur is mystical, haunting and quite captivating, if a bit muddled, story about King Arthur and the legendary knights of the roundtable. Biggest problem with Excalibur and it's story lies in the source material by Thomas Malory and the screenplay by Boorman and his frequent collaborator Rospo Pallenberg . The story is just too damn epic to be told in a one film and with this running time. This film is also split into two halves. First half is more lighter and shows us who Arthur became a king and a living legend. The second half is much more darker, surreal and hallucinatory with it's tone. It mostly focuses on search of Holy Grail and is filled with brooding menace mixed with interesting use of production design and effects. These two halves does not fit together that well and the end result is distracting and hollow. Casting here is top notch and actors like Gabriel Byrne, Helen Mirren, Liam Neeson and Patrick Stewart can be found from here. Too bad that the acting often feels forced and too theatrical for its own good. Especially Nigel Terry and Nicol Williamson almost turns the whole film into Monthy Python like joke. These elements still cannot destroy the fact that this is ok film that occasionally frustrates with it's flaws.

- emilkakko, Monday, January 21, 2013

3 stars

Visually breathtaking fantasy film that stands as one of the better works that director John Boorman has done in his career as an filmmaker. Excalibur is mystical, haunting and quite captivating, if a bit muddled, story about King Arthur and the legendary knights of the roundtable. Biggest problem with Excalibur and it's story lies in the source material by Thomas Malory and the screenplay by Boorman and his frequent collaborator Rospo Pallenberg . The story is just too damn epic to be told in a one film and with this running time. This film is also split into two halves. First half is more lighter and shows us who Arthur became a king and a living legend. The second half is much more darker, surreal and hallucinatory with it's tone. It mostly focuses on search of Holy Grail and is filled with brooding menace mixed with interesting use of production design and effects. These two halves does not fit together that well and the end result is distracting and hollow. Casting here is top notch and actors like Gabriel Byrne, Helen Mirren, Liam Neeson and Patrick Stewart can be found from here. Too bad that the acting often feels forced and too theatrical for its own good. Especially Nigel Terry and Nicol Williamson almost turns the whole film into Monthy Python like joke. These elements still cannot destroy the fact that this is ok film that occasionally frustrates with it's flaws.

- emilkakko, Monday, January 21, 2013

4 stars

Brilliantly atmospheric retelling of the entire Arthur legend. Some wonderful performances and beautiful photography make this a rousing and entertaining version of the classic tale of old.

- FilmFanatik, Sunday, February 6, 2011