Customer Review

269 of 279 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Truth About Arthur, November 17, 2004
This review is from: King Arthur - The Director's Cut (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
Hi - John Matthews here - I was the Historical Advisor on the film. I just want to weigh in with my own take on some the nonsense which has been written about the historical innacuracies in the film. There were some inevitably - but not many, and mostly so small as to pass unnoticed. After all, we were telling a story, not writing a documentary. That said, I can promise you that the story of Arthur as told in the movie, is about as close as you'll ever get to the truth about Arthur. There really was an historical Lucius Artorius Castus and he really did lead a band of Sarmatian warriors from a land roughly between the Black and Red seas today (and no,that's not Russia -which didn't even exist at the time). These men were posted to Britain - about 5500 of them - and they left an indelible stamp on the memory of the British people. Their stories, and the myths they knew and lived by, were the seeds from which later, Celtic stories of Arthur grew. So we are not saying Arthur wasn't a Celt any more than we are saying he was a Sarmatian for that matter - just that as a Roman officer, stationed on Hadrian's Wall, here in the UK - his deeds and valor paved the way for all the later Arthurs. The problem has been that the Arthurian industry, which began in the 11th century, established itself so firmly in our hearts and minds that we can now only think of that Arthur. The reality, as you will see in the film, is very different. So,if you want to know how the story of Arthr really got under way - before the magic and the fantasy got in there - see this film - the best Dark Age movie ever to come out of Hollywood! And if you still want to know more read C Scott-Littleton and Linda Malcor's book 'From Scythia to Camelot' (Linda was my collegue in backing up the history for the movie)or watch out for books by each of us in the pipeline,
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Tracked by 6 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 16, 2011 10:37:07 AM PDT
C. Lunde says:
I appreciate your perspective of the film (I disliked it, but not violently). It seems that this movie tells but one strand of the Arthurian story, which is (possibly) realistic, although so much time has passed it's unlikely that any of us will ever know the truth of the legend. And the Hollywoodized look and feel of "King Arthur" is perhaps inevitable; despite the grit, dirt, and blood, I never quite felt transported historically in the same way as (say) "Marketa Lazarova" or "Jan Hus."

I did a lot of research on the Vulgate Cycle in my college days, with an emphasis on the mammoth (and largely dull to non-scholars) Prose "Tristan." The famous Arthur-Guinevere-Lancelot love story can be directly traced to the events in "Tristan"--Mallory even used shortcuts in his retelling of Arthurian myth because the Tristan/Yseult and Lancelot/Guinevere tales are so similar. But the "true" historical story of "Tristan," if there is one, probably dates to the 9th or 10th century or so, when a Pictish guy named Drust (or Dryst) saved a princess from pirates. I say "probably" because similar stories have existed for ages beyond count, and the actions of famous or semi-famous people get absorbed into the story. Tolkien called this "fairy-tale stew."

As with Tristan, so with Arthur: there are so many contenders for the "real" or "true" person that picking just one and sticking with it is going to seem like travesty to those who know the legend as a series of tales and traits put in the same pot and left to simmer for a thousand years. (Robin Hood is another good example--the recent movie tried for a purely historical angle, and audiences stayed away in droves.) I appreciate what "King Arthur" tried to do, but since its Hollywood gloss makes it insufficient as an historical picture and its paucity of material deprives the popular legend of a lot of its appeal, I also understand the mixed reactions the film received.

Posted on Sep 28, 2011 9:20:55 PM PDT
Fallenangel says:
I love this movie i just wanted to point out about the ending the fact that the Angle Saxons won the war this seems to be ignored in the film! They are the English!

Posted on Feb 21, 2012 8:23:58 AM PST
Thank you for posting this JM

Posted on Feb 22, 2012 7:56:01 PM PST
A. Kalman says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Mar 18, 2012 11:20:57 PM PDT
Dale says:
There's quite a jump between what is presented in this movie vs the historical Lucius Artorius Castus.. Let alone the fact that Lucius lived in the late 2nd to early 3rd centuries before the demise of the empire.... and a good century before the Roman Empire was Christianized. Instead of focusing on a known story about a possible inspiration for the legend of King Author, this movie digresses to a nonsensical story that is purported to be based on recent historical findings (though recent by means of a Kemp Malone in 1924 first suggesting it is a bit of a stretch).

Posted on Oct 24, 2012 9:49:09 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 24, 2012 9:49:50 AM PDT
Bubo says:
I have two issues with this movie.

1. It seems anti Catholic for no apparent reason other than bashing Catholics, pre Henry the 8th.

2. The Eastern Roman Empire was the savior of the Sarmations from the Goths killing over 100,000 invading Goths in one winter campaign. According to the wiki article the Sarmations were distributed throughout the empire in groups aka integrate them in.

In the movie, it is stated that serving the Romans was a fate worse than death for the Sarmations. Apparently the Sarmations would have been either dead, slaves or serfs of the Goths if not for the Romans. Its hard to believe the Sarmations would have hated their now saviors.

Apparently from Trajans column we know that the Sarmations were in fact Cataphracts, aka armored cavalry. Chain-male?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 25, 2013 4:03:58 PM PDT
J. J.Langley says:
I just wanted to point out it is Anglo-Saxons not Angle Saxons... they are not geometry, based. Just saying. If you are going to be all historical spell it right! Okay Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 25, 2013 4:07:21 PM PDT
J. J.Langley says:
Perhaps you should actually follow what the Catholics did to the Druids... It isn't so anti Catholic as it is Anti Roman, 2. Wiki is open source and should never be used as a reference on anything. Just sayin'.
And it is Chainmail not chain-male. If you didn't convert to being catholic they killed you.... Would you like it if someone came to your house held a gun to your head and said, become Mormon or Jehovah's Witness or die?

Posted on Oct 5, 2013 11:50:14 PM PDT
J. Reminiec says:
J.Mathews, could you tell me sir...
Why I always side with the Saxons at the end of King Athur?
I always feel so sorry for the Saxons when King arthur wins the Battle against them.ALso ,I get very angry ,when i see how badly they were treated inteh movie.


In reply to an earlier post on Oct 5, 2013 11:52:07 PM PDT
J. Reminiec says:
watch the ending again !
The Saxons didn;t win the battle!
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