By Matt Schwoebel (an amateur historical Arthur scholar/enthusiast)

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Friday, July 16, 2004


My historical rating for this movie using a 10-point scale is a 2 (10 being the best score).  I did like some of the action fight sequences and period costumes/weapons.  However, it seemed to me the movie‚Äôs writers read a handful of Arthurian books each written by a fringe scholar.  Then they threw in the typical required Hollywood political agenda and came up with a French word pronounced remarkably close to Myrddin.  I am such a fan and amateur scholar of the historic Arthur that it was physically painful for me to watch this movie.  Worst of all, they (the producer, director, and misguided cast including some Welshmen, shame on them) seem to believe they were portraying Arthur accurately.  If they had claimed this film was another version of the Arthurian legend placed in about the right time frame, I would have been much happier with the movie.  It scares me to think that the average viewer now believes a great body of literary work is based on such a historically inaccurate figure as the Arthur depicted in this movie.  How would anyone make a leader of six knights into a legend of such epic proportions?  I hope my ten points above help rectify the historical travesty that is the King Arthur film produced by Bruckheimer and directed by Fuqua.  As usual, we must find our history in books, not on the big screen.

Go To Sources


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for providing this! I went searching for some info regarding the historical (in)accuracies of the film and was thrilled to find your well-written criticisms. Thanks again for taking the time to post them.

January 7, 2005 at 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too have read and studied everything out there about the arthur/merlin legend and agree with all you have said. I do think the movie as entertainment only was long as you can seperate the arthur of legend from this.

January 11, 2005 at 6:05 PM  
Blogger BethL said...

"As usual, we must find our history in books, not on the big screen." I'd disagree. For all of the film's inaccuracies, it made an attempt. Somebody out there watched the movie and said "Hey, I want to know more." You imply that history drawn from sources other than books cannot be trusted. Not so! Oral history is equally important. We can learn history from fiction, but we can't take every piece as undeniable fact. We can't even do that with textbooks. Recognizing that the film is a work of (historical) fiction allows the audience to learn a little *and* be entertained. Is that so wrong?

April 23, 2006 at 3:43 PM  
Anonymous Woody said...

Nice one, I have so far refused to see that film so I can't comment on it, but your article has only proven what I feared. Why people can't accept things is beyond me, rather than having to go read some silly semi-fiction by fringe historians.

August 29, 2006 at 3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with bethl. This movie stretched the historical time frames around a little and invented a few things but it seems to go a long way to leading people toward more factual research. It brings an interest to those searching for more accuracy than the overly used medieval depiction of Arthur.

January 12, 2007 at 2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found this post trying to find some proof that the movie was innacurate (I agree with you), so I thank you for your help. The reason why I had to do this is that in college we dealt with the Roman Britain and the Roman Empire ONLY from this movie (which I cosider pathetic), and now I had to comment on the film for the final exam. I hope this will convince my teacher who doesn't know anything about history but likes Clive Owen. Thanks again!

December 16, 2008 at 3:51 PM  
Blogger Mick said...

Although highly innacurate, I still enjoyed this movie (good actors)I was disappointed with some of the facts. I didn't know that the Saxons attacked from north of Hadrians Wall.
Also when the Iazyges(Sarmatians) were sent to Britain by Marcus Aurelius they would have been in Britain about 300 years or about 13 generations to the time of Arthur so they would have assimilated and actually been more British so I think if Arthur had cavalry then they would have been Alans from Brittany not Sarmatians although they are closely related. Some authors think Lancelot is a Alan name and his real name was Alan de Lot

April 29, 2011 at 8:03 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

North of the Wall, the Angles didn't form a kingdom until Bernicia around the time of Ida in 547 A.D. They were there beforehand, but not politically dominant. Bernicia was built on the bones of Briton Byrneich and was mainly north of the Wall. Interesting on Lancelot. I've been wondering how a medieval French troubadour would modify Llaennog to fit French ears. Llaennog ap Masgwid as the ruler of Elmet around the southern Pennines. Yes, Aetius settled Alans in Brittany in the 440's A.D.

April 29, 2011 at 6:13 PM  

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