Posted on Friday, July 30th, 2021 by
The Green Knight opens in theaters this weekend, bringing a new take on the Arthurian legend to the big screen. By all accounts, the film is, which means it might inspire you to seek out other Arthurian movies. And that’s where this list comes in. Below, check out 11 Arthurian movies to watch after The Green Knight.
The Sword in the Stone
The Sword in the Stone, Disney 1963 animated take on King Arthur’s boyhood is on its way to becoming a live-action reboot, because that’s what Disney does these days. I don’t know what reputation this Disney classic has these days – does anyone care about it the way they care about other Disney films from this bygone era? Maybe, maybe not. All I know is that this is the only Arthurian film where Merlin goes on vacation to Bermuda.
Streaming on Disney+.
Camelot, the 1967 film based on the 1960 stage musical of the same name, takes the Arthurian legend and sets it to music, with Richard Harris belting out tunes as his kingdom crumbles around him. The stage musical was one of John F. Kennedy’s favorites, but, of course, he never got to see the movie for…obvious reasons. Talk about a bummer, right?
Streaming on HBO Max.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Guy Ritchie‘s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword was supposed to launch an entire cinematic universe, because that’s what studios want these days. But the film flopped and all plans for sequels flopped with it. I’m not going to sit here and say this is some misunderstood classic – it’s pretty darn stupid. But it has its own goofy charms, even if it barely resembles the familiar Arthurian legend. I guess they were saving that for those sequels.
Streaming on HBO Max.
Antoine Fuqua‘s 2004 King Arthur tried to cash in on the Pirates of the Caribbean hype. Both films were produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and both featured Keira Knightly. But while Pirates was a fun, swashbuckling adventure, King Arthur is a moody, gloomy movie that attempts to create a “realistic” version of the Arthur story. While I can’t call this movie good, it’s worth checking out to see appearances from Clive Owen, Mads Mikkelsen, Joel Edgerton, and more.
Available to rent on Apple TV for $3.99.
I have a feeling most people forgot this 1995 movie where Sean Connery plays an older King Arthur and Richard Gere is wildly out of place as Lancelot. But you know what? First Knight isn’t half bad. I like the angle the film takes, where Arthur’s marriage to Guinevere (Julia Ormond) is out of necessity, not love, thus setting the stage for the Guinevere/Lancelot romance.
Streaming on Starz.
Knightriders isn’t exactly a King Arthur story. Instead, it’s the story of a motorcycle gang who like to live by the code of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. And oh yeah, it was directed by George A. Romero and stars Ed Harris and Tom Savini. How can you not be at least a little interested in that?
Streaming on Tubi, Vudu, and Kanopy.
The Kid Who Would Be King
Joe Cornish, a filmmaker who really should work more, helmed The Kid Who Would Be King, a charming fantasy about modern-day kids who become the new Knights of the Round Table. It’s sweet, and entertaining, and the type of family-friendly adventure that we could use more of these days. Plus: Rebecca Ferguson shows up as the villain.
Streaming on Disney+.
Army of Darkness
Army of Darkness, the third entry in the Evil Dead series, sends Bruce Campbell‘s Ash back in time to battle an army of sword-wielding skeletons. And while this isn’t technically a King Arthur story, there is a Lord Arthur character, so that’s all the excuse I needed to include the movie on this list. Just pretend he’s King Arthur and it works.
Streaming on MAX Go.
The Fisher King
Terry Gilliam‘s sad, beautiful curiosity The Fisher King stars Robin Williams as a mentally ill homeless man who believes he’s on a quest to retrieve the Holy Grail from the Fisher King, a character from Arthurian legend. Jeff Bridges is the former shock-jock who befriends Williams. This is one of Gilliam’s best movies, featuring a gorgeous scene where everyone within a crowded Grand Central Station suddenly stops what they’re doing to tango with each other.
Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
I mean, obviously – how could this list not include Monty Python and the Holy Grail? An unapologetically silly film (and the best of the Python movies), Holy Grail features killer rabbits, impromptu musical numbers, sudden bursts of graphic violence, and much, much more.
Streaming on Netflix.
The best Arthurian film is still Excalibur, John Boorman‘s big, bold, horny take on the story of Arthur and all his friends and foes. Full of visuals that look pulled straight from a drug-induced dream, and featuring a booming musical score, you just can’t beat this movie, so don’t even try.
Available to rent on Amazon for $2.99 and Apple TV for $3.99.
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