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Excalibur (1999)

Liam Neeson , Nigel Terry , John Boorman  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (554 customer reviews)

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Excalibur + King Arthur - The Director's Cut (Widescreen Edition)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Liam Neeson, Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi
  • Directors: John Boorman
  • Writers: John Boorman, Rospo Pallenberg
  • Producers: John Boorman, Edgar F. Gross, Robert A. Eisenstein
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 21, 1999
  • Run Time: 141 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (554 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305558167
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,578 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Excalibur" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Liam Neeson, Nicol Williamson. The romantic legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is brought to life in this spectacular, sensual film from director John Boorman. 1981/color/141 min/R/widescreen.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
269 of 286 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Perfect, But About as Definitive As It Gets January 31, 2000
Format:DVD
It's tough to compress the 900-some-odd pages of text that Thomas Malory used to tell his story of Le Morte d'Arthur into 140 minutes of film, but director John Boorman and screenwriter Rospo Pallenberg give it a good shot. While it sometimes leaves out important details or compresses events in the interest of time, it can never be accused of playing fast and loose with the legend. However, the film also requires a bit of work on the part of the viewer to fill in some of the details, and it's obvious Boorman expects his viewer to be at least passing familiar with the traditions of the Arthurian legend (anyone unfamiliar with Arthur's fate after his death, for example, will be baffled by the film's final shot). So brush up just a bit before you sit down to this one.
With its darkened, cloud-streaked skies, lonely stone castles, eerie green lighting, (all caught in beautiful widescreen glory on the DVD), and effective use of the music of Richard Wagner, you won't find a moodier, more beautifully shot film. In fact, there are some downright breathtaking cinematic moments in this film, none more so than when Perceval hurls Excalibur back into the water, and Wagner's music swells just in time for the Lady of the Lake to make a dramatic clean catch. Great stuff.
It also helps that Nicol Williamson turns in a very game performance as Merlin, but it's Nigel Terry who carries the film in an underappreciated but wholly believeable interpretation of King Arthur. Terry leaves the scenery-chewing to Williamson, and anchors the film instead with a steady, understated performance. Look also for stars-in-the-making Liam Neeson as the jealous Gawain, and Patrick Stewart as Guenevere's father, Leodegrance.
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136 of 147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visuals and soundtrack will knock your socks off December 21, 2000
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" 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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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:DVD
The transfer to DVD is near perfect. The sound is great. It is wonderful to own this piece of film in the super sharp, super clean DVD format, but the real reason to buy this DVD is to listen to John Boorman talking us through the film upto and including the closing credits.
Boorman looks back 20 years on a project that in itself waited some 20 years before Orion came up with the backing. In the process it saw Gabriel Byrne, Patrick Stewart, Liam Neeson and others debuting to go on to better things. Not so with Nigel Terry, whose performance was greatly under-rated.
Boorman is modest, pragmatic and realistic. If the water was too cold for the actors, he would use his daughter or son. Production waited for live fish to be put into a submerged ring of stones from which Merlin would pick up one by hand, only for them to be tipped OUTSIDE the ring to swim away. Effectively, filming was done in his back garden and that of a neighbour. Local Irish stuntmen were used who would then continue fighting in the battle scenes, after "cut" was called, to settle old scores. Wilkinson Sword provided Excalibur. Green filtered lights rendered greener the countryside already made green by the incessant rain requiring many hours and days waiting for the right conditions.
As the young Arthur is taken away from his mother he tugs her hair dramatically across the film screen. Unscripted it came free. The bird pecking out the eye of a strung-up knight took many day's filming.
Very tight scheduling, ensured seasons exactly consonant with the three parts of the film - the Coming of Arthur and Camelot, The Wasteland and the Passing of Arthur.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars for my man
My boyfriend and I watch it daily on dvd he loves it I know hell love it more on blueray
Published 2 days ago by martha louise shaffer
5.0 out of 5 stars Anál nathrach, orth’ bháis’s bethad,do chél...
Excalibur was the first movie I ever saw in the theaters, and it is hard to believe it has been over thirty years already. Read more
Published 17 days ago by D. Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!
This is a wonderful movie - full of surprises and suspense. I highly recommend this fantastic film to movie lovers of all genres.
Published 24 days ago by vb
5.0 out of 5 stars For a old movie, still a classic
It's great to see some of my favorites like Helen Mirren and Liam Neeson looking so young.
Animation is not so great considering what is available in movies now a days. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Ruth Parks
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing!
Disappointing. Good story but poor acting, characters were never developed, often disorganized. Picture quality of the DVD was very poor.
Published 26 days ago by ebie okonkwo
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my top 20 movies
King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Based on the book, "The Once and Future King." Casting perfection.
Published 28 days ago by TCzar
5.0 out of 5 stars Dusting off the cob-webs
Classic movie, well filmed with a sound track of music next to none. I am happy to own this, a great addition to my movie collection.
Published 1 month ago by LittleWolf
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible quality and requires slow, proprietary software installations
The subject says it all. I'm not sure when I bought this or how much I paid but any purchase of Amazon digital content is low quality and a waste of time now that it's 2014. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rohan Parker
4.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST King Arthur Movie!
Simple, Excalibur is THE best rendition of the King Arthur story, period! So far, no one has made a King Arthur Movie better than Excalibur!
Published 1 month ago by R. K. Ohashi
5.0 out of 5 stars great movie to see
best movie about king Arthur and the music score is outstanding. a must have movie to own that you can watch over and over
Published 1 month ago by gary grisaffi
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With the Blu-Ray contain the uncut version?
The R-rated version is 140 minutes, the PG cut is 119 minutes. This is the 140 minute version.
Mar 13, 2011 by Kevin Crawford |  See all 3 posts
Any word on a release date of the Blu-ray?
Let's hope they remaster the video and the audio instead of using the HD master from the HD-DVD (which was notably inferior, especially by today's standards); this film deserves it. Then again, since they botched even high profile titles like Gladiator and The Last of the Mohicans the chances of... Read more
Nov 30, 2010 by Kwisatz Haderack |  See all 3 posts
PG Version?
Some of us would like to use this film as an introduction to Arthurian lore for our children, and would prefer to not wait until they're old enough witness the graphic rape of Ygraine. THAT's why.
Jan 19, 2013 by Your Friendly Discordian |  See all 3 posts
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