Excalibur (film)

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It is the doom of men that they forget...

Excalibur (1981) is a fantasy film based on the legends of King Arthur, Excalibur and the knights of the Round Table, directed by John Boorman.


Behold! The Sword of Power! Excalibur! Forged when the world was young, and bird and beast and flower were one with man, and death was but a dream!
  • Merlin, I am the strongest! I am the one! The sword! You promised me the sword!
  • Talk! Talk is for lovers, Merlin. I need the sword to be King!
  • No-one shall have the sword! No-one shall wield Excalibur...But ME!


  • Any man who would be a knight and follow a king, follow me!
  • Merlin if only you were at my side my old friend to give me courage. There are no war tricks that will fool Mordred and Morgana. More than I ever did I need you now.
  • Where are you Merlin? If only you could see me wield Excalibur one more time.
  • Where have you been these many years... are you just a dream Merlin?
  • Ready my knights for battle. They will ride with their king once more. I have lived through others for far too long. Lancelot carried my honor, and Guenevere, my guilt. Mordred bore my sins. My knights have fought my causes. Now, my brother, I shall be... king.
  • I must ride with my knights to defend what was, and the dream of what could be.
  • I have often thought that in the hereafter of our lives, when I owe no more to the future and can be just a man... that we may meet, and you will come to me and claim me as yours, and know that I am your husband. It is a dream I have...
  • Do... as I command! One day, a King will come, and the Sword will rise... again.


I have walked my way since the beginning of time. Sometimes I give, sometimes I take, it is mine to know which and when!
Come father. Let us embrace at last.
  • I have walked my way since the beginning of time. Sometimes I give, sometimes I take, it is mine to know which and when!
  • Behold! The Sword of Power! Excalibur! Forged when the world was young, and bird and beast and flower were one with man, and death was but a dream!
  • You will be the land, and the land will be you. If you fail, the land will perish; as you thrive, the land will blossom.
  • Anál nathrach, orth’ bháis’s bethad, do chél dénmha.
    • The Charm of Making, an incantation repeatedly uttered by both Merlin and Morgana, is in an Old Gaelic dialect that translates to "Serpent's breath, charm of death and life, thy omen of making."
  • Look upon this moment. Savor it! Rejoice with great gladness! Great gladness! Remember it always, for you are joined by it. You are One, under the stars. Remember it well, then... this night, this great victory. So that in the years ahead, you can say, "I was there that night, with Arthur, the King!" For it is the doom of men that they forget.
    • Merlin, following the decisive British Victory over the Saxons at the Great Siege and Battle of Mount Badon.
  • I once stood exposed to the Dragon's Breath so that a man could lie one night with a woman. It took me nine moons to recover. And all for this lunacy called, "love", this mad distemper that strikes down both beggar and king. Never again. Never.
  • The days of our kind are numberèd. The one God comes to drive out the many gods. The spirits of wood and stream grow silent. It's the way of things. Yes... it's a time for men, and their ways.
  • Remember, there's always something cleverer than yourself.
  • Looking at the cake is like looking at the future, until you've tasted it what do you really know? And then, of course, it's too late.


  • I can't give up hope, Lancelot. It's all I have.
  • You and the land are one.
  • Drink from the chalice and you will be reborn and the land with you.
    • To Arthur after the Quest for the Holy Grail has ended in success
  • The fog is lifting.
    • To Arthur at the conclusion of the Battle of Camlann/Slaughterbridge


  • Ector: [before the battles of unification] All these men are loyal.
  • Kay: [following Parsifal succeeding on the Grail Quest] Guards! Knights! Squires! Prepare for Battle!
  • Mordred: [to Arthur during their battle] Come, father. Let us embrace at last.


You shall have it; but to heal, not to hack...
One day, a King will come, and the Sword will rise... again.
Merlin: Uther...
Uther: Merlin?
Merlin: Uther.
Uther: Merlin! I am the strongest! I am the one! The sword! You promised me the sword!
Merlin: And you shall have it; but to heal, not to hack. Tomorrow, a truce; we meet at the river.
Uther: Talk! Talk is for lovers, Merlin! I need the sword to be king!

Merlin: Shall I tell you what's out there?
Arthur: Yes, please.
Merlin: The dragon. A beast of such power that if you were to see it whole and complete in a single glance, it would burn you to cinders.
Arthur: Where is it?
Merlin: It is everywhere. It is everything. Its scales glisten in the bark of trees. Its roar is heard in the wind. And its forked tongue strikes like... [lightning strikes]
Merlin: Whoa! — like lightning!! — yes that's it.

Arthur: [holding Sir Uryens at swordpoint, during the siege of Leondegrance's castle] Swear faith to me, and you shall have mercy! I need battle lords such as you.
Uryens: [sarcastically] A noble knight, swear faith to a squire?
Lot: Never! Never!
Arthur: You're right. I'm not yet a knight. You, Uryens, will knight me. Then, as knight to knight, I can offer you mercy. [hands the sword Excalibur to a shocked Uryens, kneeling before him]
Merlin: [astonished] What's this? What's this?
Lot: Keep it, Uryens!
Uryens: [after struggling with his thoughts for several seconds] ...in the name of God, Saint Michael, and Saint George...I give you the right to bear arms, and the power to mete justice.
Arthur: That duty, I will solemnly obey...as knight...and king.
Merlin: [still astonished] I never saw this!
Uryens: Rise, King Arthur. [kneeling, as do all the other knights] I am your humble knight...and I swear allegiance to the courage in your veins. So strong it is, its' source must be Uther Pendragon. I doubt you no more. [kisses Arthur's hands]

Arthur: Move aside! This is the king's road, and the knights you joined arms against were his very own!
Lancelot: I await the king himself. His knights are in need of training.
Arthur: I am King. And this [draws the sword] is Excalibur, Sword of Kings from the dawn of time. Who are you, what do you seek?
Lancelot: I am Lancelot of the Lake, from across the sea. And I have yet to find a King worthy of my sword.
Arthur: That is a wild boast. You lack a knight's humility.
Lancelot: Not a boast, sir, but a curse. For I have never met my match in joust or duel.
Arthur: Move aside.
Lancelot: I will not. You must retreat, or prove your worth in the test of arms under the eyes of God.
Arthur: Then may He give me the strength to unhorse you, and send you with one blow back across the sea!
Lancelot: Then come across, sir.

Arthur: Merlin! What have I done?
Merlin: You have broken what could not be broken! Now, hope is broken.
Arthur: My pride broke it. My rage broke it! This excellent knight, who fought with fairness and grace, was meant to win. I used Excalibur to change that verdict. I've lost, for all time. The ancient sword of my fathers, whose power was meant to unite all men... not to serve the vanity of a single man. I am... nothing.

Merlin: You have a kingdom to rule.
Arthur: But how? I don't know how.
Merlin: You knew how to draw the sword from the stone.
Arthur: That was easy.
Merlin: Was it? I couldn't have done it.

Perceval: You and the land are one. Drink. [holds the Holy Grail to King Arthur's lips]
Arthur: [listlessly] I am wasting away. I cannot die...and I cannot live.
Perceval: Drink from the chalice. You will be reborn, and the land with you.
[Arthur sips from the Grail]
Arthur: [becoming quickly revived] Perceval. I didn't know how empty was my soul...until it was filled.

Merlin: You brought me back. Your love brought me back. Back to where you are now. In the land of dreams.
Arthur: Are you a dream, Merlin?
Merlin: A dream to some. A nightmare to others.


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