1981 Certificate: 15


Nigel Terry plays the legendary King Arthur in director John Boorman's stylish, sensual and gory version of the sword'n'sorcery legend. Weighing in at well over two action-packed hours, it's a visual feast of mystical derring-do boasting early appearances from Liam Neeson (as Gawain) and Gabriel Byrne (as Uther Pendragon). From possession of the sword Excalibur by Uther to the death of his son, King Arthur, it's certainly not for the faint-hearted.


  • John Boorman


  • Helen Mirren

  • Nicholas Clay

  • Cherie Lunghi

  • Nigel Terry

  • Nicol Williamson


Director John Boorman's ambitious but dramatically wobbly romp through the entire Arthurian legend.

From possession of the sword Excalibur by Uther Pendragon to the death of his son, King Arthur, it's a gigantic slice of blood and sorcery which is not for the faint-hearted.

The result is almost always the handsomest of films to behold. Storywise it has its moments, too, although it never quite achieves the difficult blend of grandeur and madness for which it strives.

The battle scenes hold all the excitement and gore that modern wizardry will allow, but Boorman's quieter visual effects can bring gasps to the throat - and giggles, as in Helen Mirren's battle armour, which might well be authentic but seems to have strayed in from Fire Maidens from Outer Space.

Gabriel Byrne and Liam Neeson make their screen debuts, and Star Trek fans will also spot the unmistakeable features of Patrick Stewart.