1981 R 2h 20m DVD


1981 R 2h 20m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
After humble squire Arthur pulls the sword Excalibur from the stone, his actions beget Guenevere and Lancelot's adultery, the changing balance of power between Merlin and Morgana, and the valiant quest for the Holy Grail.
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Paul Geoffrey, Nicol Williamson, Robert Addie, Gabriel Byrne, Keith Buckley, Katrine Boorman, Liam Neeson
John Boorman
Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1
English, French
French: Dolby Digital Mono, English: Dolby Digital 5.1
R - Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.
age 16+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 16+
age 16+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that this is no bedtime-fairy tale. Sex, gore, and death are fairly explicit in this version of the Arthur story, with bare breasts and buttocks especially in the Lancelot-Guinevere affair. Violence in combat includes impalings, sword- and axe-thrusts, throat slashings, beheadings, and a near-drowning, though the edge is taken off by the old-fashioned special effects. A matricide by strangulation. Nightmare imagery of rotting corpses dead in their armor. Christianity -- at least a Dark Ages brand of it -- is treated respectfully.

Sexual Content

Intercourse between knights, queens and kings -- one guy is fully armored, the woman is completely nude. Sir Lancelot shown naked from the rear. Lancelot and Guinevere have nude adultrous sex. While not depicted explicitly, Morgana bewitches her own half-brother, King Arthur, and deliberately gets pregnant by him.


Frequent jousting and sword-battling, some of which results in blood spilling, throat slashing, impalements, decapitations, near-drownings, and hacked-off limbs, though everything has a less-than-realistic look thanks to the vintage effects. Rotting corpses, one of which is shown getting an eyeball pecked out. A villain beats and strangles his own mother.


Not applicable

Social Behavior

Staying true to source material, the narrative endorses and dramatizes medieval notions of the divine right of a king to rule as a monarch literally chosen by God. Still, there's an original-sin suggestion that Arthur's birth (a result of his father's treacherous lust and Merlin's sorcery) has sewn the seeds of his destruction. Plenty of illicit behavior that's all part of the mythology.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Social drinking, cups around the Round Table. Communion-style drinking in a wedding ceremony and from the Holy Grail.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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