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First Knight

4.2 out of 5 stars 358 customer reviews

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(Oct 07, 1997)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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1995 had already seen the box-office success of sword-wielding heroes in Rob Roy and Braveheart when along came this glossy revision of the Arthurian legend, in which Lady Guinevere (Julia Ormond) is torn between her love for the noble King Arthur (Sean Connery) and the passionate knight Sir Lancelot (Richard Gere). As the story opens, Guinevere's lands are under attack by the evil knight Malagant (Ben Cross), and she must choose between marriage to Arthur and the security of Camelot, or encouraging the affections of Lancelot, who has heroically rescued her from a potentially lethal attack. Anyone looking for meticulous medieval authenticity won't find it here, but director Jerry Zucker (Ghost) keeps the action moving with exuberant spirit and glorious production values. Even if you don't completely believe Richard Gere as a somewhat too-contemporary Lancelot, the performances of Ormond and especially Connery are effortlessly appealing. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Sean Connery, Richard Gere, Julia Ormond, Ben Cross, Liam Cunningham
  • Directors: Jerry Zucker
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 7, 1997
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (358 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0800141601
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,490 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "First Knight" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
I am 15 years old, and I just love this movie. "First Knight" ranks up on the list with the musical "Camelot" and Disney's "The Sword and the Stone" as a magnificent telling of the Camelot legend, and may in fact surpass these other two movies in excellance. Creative license was taken so that the "accurate" legend is not portrayed, but the charcters stay true to the story and the affect is nothing short of amazing. Lady Guinevere of Leonesse (sic?) is on her way to marry King Arthur of Camelot when she inadvertantly meets Lancelot, a very cocky mersonary whose arrogant ways hide a dark childhood. Although attempting to stay loyal to her King, Guinevere is twice saved by Lancelot (although she did a good deal of the work to escape herself) and finds herself falling in love with him. To complicate the problem, the evil Prince Malagant is determined to take over both Leonesse and Camelot. Tension builds to a stunning climax, a shocking ending, and a glorious conclusion. ----- This movie is filled with both heart-pounding action cues of suspense and heart-rending conversations of real people. Richard Gere portrays Lancelot beautifully, giving him a self-assured pride and arrogance that later reveal to be merely a cover-up to the pain he experienced as a child. Although I have heard complaints that Gere is too American for the part, he added a dimension to Lancelot's personality that few others could top. There is a chiling reason for his cockiness, and it makes him seem more human. Julia Ormond gives Guinevere beauty, but also independance. She is quite able to handle herself, and is one of the few "damsels-in-distress" that haven't gotten on my nerves by their helplessness. Because this Guinevere is anything but helpless!Read more ›
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Format: DVD
The '95 film `First Knight' is a romantic and adventurous reinventing of the timeless tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. As already mentioned in several previous reviews, the script takes a very different approach to the subject matter than one would expect. There are no personal appearances nor mention of Merlin, Morgan le Fay, or Mordred. Even more unexpected is the manner in which the identities of the 'Knights of the Round Table' remain anonymous.

As if that wasn't enough to send the Arthurian purist screaming into the night there are more surprises ahead. You will find no Holy Grail, no pagan deities or prophetic utterances and no mention whatsoever of the sword Excalibur in this film. When all is said and done the movie resembles the '38 classic `The Adventures of Robin Hood" more than anything else.

Oddly enough, in eliminating the usual esoteric elements long associated with Gnostic Christianity and Celtic paganism the developers of the film saw fit to replace the time honored storyline and symbols with a strong, more traditional Christian allegorical subtext. Relying heavily on the vivid, literary themes and imagery found in John Milton's 'Paradise Lost' and Dante Aligheri's 'Divine Comedy' the film centers on the ages old battle waged between good and evil, the war between God and the rebellious Lucifer, once the greatest of all the heavenly host.

Ben Cross does a superb job of exploring the persona of Lucifer in the role of Malagant, the "first knight" (hence the title of the film). Now banished from the hallowed walls of Arthur's realm, Malagant (i.e.: malignant, maligned) is definitely the embodiment of the "Great Adversary" bent on overthrowing the ideals of Camelot (Heaven) and its fatherly ruler King Arthur (God).
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Format: DVD
As I watched First Knight, I couldn't help but think that if this film had been freed of the constraints of the original Arthurian tales, it would have been a complete success.

But for the original Arthurian tales, the casting of Richard Gere probably wouldn't be as problematic. But for the original tales, the final siege of Camelot would be more believable.

Instead, we do feel a tinge of oddness at Gere's attempt to play Lancelot du Lac, who in Arthurian legend is very much a French aristocrat trained in all the chivalric ways, not the ranger-like, orphaned free spirit he is here. It's too bad we do get distracted by the mismatch between character and actor, because he has some truly great moments with Julia Ormond (strong and pleasingly complex as Guinevere), hot looks, internal torment and emotional cat-and-mouse in that classic Hollywood tradition. No need for Keira Knightley-style bared stomachs and bow and arrows here. The conspicuous absence of important Arthurian characters like Gawain, Gareth and Mordred, of course, also distances this film from Arthurian legend so much that the Camelot setting becomes pretty much cosmetic, with only the Arthur-Guinevere-Lancelot love triangle being the intact element. And even then, the film treats this relationship far differently from the original tales (the complete opposite of what happens in the legends, in fact).

If you're a purist for Arthurian legends, you will definitely be distracted by these elements.
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