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According to reports from the set, director John Boorman commandeered the Arthurian adventure Excalibur in the manner of a medieval war lord, expecting his cast and crew to figuratively die with swords in hand if need be. As a result, everyone in the film looks as though he or she is prepared to slit the throat of anyone who looks at them cross-eyed. Nigel Terry stars as the idealistic King Arthur, whose establishment of the idyllic Camelot does not take into account the fact that others are not as noble or altruistic as he is. The fly in the ointment is the covetous Morgana (Helen Mirren),… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Give Boorman credit for the loopy grandeur of his imagery and imaginings, for the sweet smell of excess, for his heroic gamble that a movie can dare to trip over its pretensions -- and still fly."
‑ Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine
"For all its audacity, a misguided folly."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"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."
‑ , Sky Movies
"The search for the Holy Grail and the final battle are simply stunning sequences, and, while the dizzying pace leaves scant time for proper characterisation, Nicol Williamson, Nigel Terry and Helen Mirren make their mark."
‑ Alan Jones, Radio Times
"a work of hideous myopathy"
‑ Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central
"There is humor here (in the form of a vaudeville Merlin, played by Nicol Williamson) as well as a diminution of scale that seems intended to help audiences through the thornier byways of Boorman's vision."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"What a wondrous vision Excalibur is! And what a mess."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Excessive but occasionally inspired, Excalibur gives us grimy lumbering knights, gloomy castles, slithering dragons, mesmerizing magic, and (of course) the struggle between good and evil."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Perhaps the best-ever filmed version of the Arthurian legend."
‑ , Film4
"Excalibur is both sober and laughable."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Exquisite, a near-perfect blend of action, romance, fantasy and philosophy, finely acted and beautifully filmed by director John Boorman and cinematographer Alex Thomson."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Mr. Boorman takes these myths very seriously, but he has used them with a pretentiousness that obscures his vision."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"Despite moments of high style and wit, [Excalibur] too often substitutes mayhem for magic."
‑ Ralph Novak, People Magazine
"Remains the definitive big screen telling of the Arthurian legend."
‑ Scott Nash, Three Movie Buffs
"John Boorman's magnificent and magical Excalibur is, to my mind, the greatest and the richest of screen incarnation of the oft-told tale."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Parallax View
More reviews for Excalibur on Rotten Tomatoes

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