Sean Connery, Richard Gere, Julia Ormond, Ben Cross, Christopher Villiers, Valentine Pelka and John Gielgud

Jerry Zucker

Running Time:
134 mins

Out to buy on Blu-Ray 05/05/08

"You have to give everything in a fight"

After uniting his country as their king, Arthur (Connery) returns to Camelot in a time of peace, to take a wife and start a family. The woman who will be his wife is Guinevere (Ormond), who accepts his offer of marriage if Arthur and his armies promise to protect her hometown of Leonesse. Before she met her future husband however, she was saved from kidnap by Lancelot (Gere), a brave sword fighter who gains favour with the King for his endeavours. Little does Arthur know but Lancelot is attracted to Guinevere and she might just well feel the same.

The legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table has been the storyline for many a Hollywood movie but can a more true to life telling of the tale be as much of a hit?

In 1995 director Jerry Zucker, who is best known for his spoof comedies like 'Airplane' and 'The Naked Gun', tried his hand at a serious take on the Arthurian legend, concentrating more on the love triangle between Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot than the myths and magic that have surrounded the stories for centuries. Gone are Merlin, Excalibur, the sword in the stone and any of the magic that has ran through the tale of the English King to be replaced with a more realistic version of the story but does it work? Well the answer is yes and no.

The love triangle between Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot was one of the main cornerstones of the Arthurian legend. It was this that led to the downfall of the king and the break up of the Knights of the Round Table. The decision just to concentrate on this factor only however is probably why the movie wasn't as successful as it could have been on its original release.

What Jerry Zucker and his creative team got right however was the casting. When you look for an older actor to play the regal and power presence of King Arthur than you could have looked no further than Sean Connery. One of the great screen actors of all time, Connery's portrayal of the legendary king is one that makes the movie much better than it should have been. The decision to cast Richard Gere as Lancelot is a strange on however. Much the same as Kevin Costner's Robin Hood, this is a very American version of the legendary knight of the Round Table but Gere has always been good as creating passionate performances and he makes Lancelot a character you would think that Guinevere would leave a King for. The then flavour of the month Julia Ormond follows her hit 'Legends of the Fall' with another big budget spectacular, playing the beautiful Guinevere. When it came to casting a woman who could cry and look emotional, there was nobody better and for the British actress these two movies would probably be the biggest of her career. There is a good performance from Ben Cross as the evil, former Round Table Knight Prince Malagant and it is always good to see Sir John Gielgud in a movie.

While it might not have the myth and magic of the Arthurian legend, 'First Knight' is still an entertaining love story with some action thrown in for good measure. With good performances from Connery, Gere and Ormond, this is a movie worth revisiting and one that might just become a love story favourite in years to come.


The Blu-Ray disc presents the movie in High Definition widescreen 1:85 up to 1080p, with Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround sound. The picture quality is extremely good, showing the excellent art and production design of the piece but it does make the film look a little too clean for the time period it was set.


Director and Producer Commentary
Director Jerry Zucker and producer Hunt Lowery come together to provide a reflective commentary for 'First Knight'. As is usual with Jerry Zucker, he injects a large dollop of humour into the mix by questioning why someone like him, who was best known for comedies would direct a movie like this but the pair do try and take the track seriously, talking about the mammoth production of the sets and what is was like working with this amazing cast. This is a good commentary track for the movie and one that is quite funny.

The Quest for Camelot (18.51 mins/Standard Definition)
Director Jerry Zucker, producer Hunt Lowery and stars Sean Connery, Julia Ormond, Valentine Pelka and Ben Cross talk about their adaptation of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

The Creation of a Kingdom (18.11 mins/Standard Definition)
Director Jerry Zucker, production designer John Box, art director Robert W. Waing and stars Sean Connery and Julia Ormond talk about the sets for Camelot, Leonesse and Malagant's castle.

In Shining Armour: Knights in training (18.32 mins/Standard Definition)
The director of The Association of Renaissance Martial Arts (ARMA) John Clements and his fellow members talk about how sword fighting was an art in medieval times. They take you through the their study of how knights thought and the techniques and skills they used during the dark ages.

Deleted and Extended Scenes (7.16 mins/Standard Definition)
Entitled 'Stable council', 'Horse whispers', 'Swords and woods' and home', these deleted and extended scenes suffer from the lack of a commentary track or an introduction to reveal why they were removed.

Previews of 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind: 30th Anniversary Edition' and 'The Jane Austen Book Club'


The Blu-Ray treatment for 'First Knight' is one that fans of the movie should enjoy. With a funny and informative commentary and some decent featurettes, this has a good selection of special features but it is a shame that these are no different than that of a DVD release.


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