The Sword in the Stone (film)

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"Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil is rightwise king born of England."

The Sword in the Stone is a Disney film from 1963 based on parts of The Once and Future King (1958) by T. H. White, in which Merlin the Magician gives social and magical lessons to a young boy known as Wart, who eventually pulls a magical sword from a stone and anvil to become hailed as King Arthur.

Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman. Written by Bill Peet and T.H. White.


All I know is that someone will be coming, someone very important.
Fate will direct him to me, so that I, in turn, may guide him to his rightful place in the world.
So at last, the miracle had come to pass in that far off time upon New Year's Day and the glorious reign of King Arthur was begun.
Boy, boy, boy.... You'll become a great legend. They'll be writing books about you for centuries to come. Why, they might even make a motion picture about you.
[First lines]
Balladeer: [sings]
A legend is sung of when England was young,
And Knights were brave and bold.
The good King had died, and no one could decide
Who was rightful heir to the Throne.
It seemed that the land would be torn by war,
Or saved by a miracle alone —
And that miracle appeared in London town:
The Sword in the Stone.

Narrator: And below the hilt, in letters of gold, were written these words: "Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil is rightwise king born of England." Though many tried for the sword with all their strength, none could move the sword nor stir it. So the miracle had not worked, and England was still without a king - and in time, the marvellous sword was forgotten. This was a dark age, without law and without order. Men lived in fear of one another, for the strong preyed upon the weak.

Merlin: A dark age indeed! An age of inconveniance! No plumbing! No electricity! No... nothing! [almost falls into the well] Oh, hang it all! Hang it all! [finally gets his bucket filled with water out of the well, and tries to leave, but finds that he is caught in something] Oh, now what? Now what?! [sees the chain wrapped around his leg] Here, leave off! LEAVE OFF! Oh, you fiendish chain, you! [kicks it away] Everything complicated! One big medieval mess!

Merlin: Now, let me see. He should be here in, I'd say, half an hour.
Archimedes: Who? Who? I'd like to know who!
Merlin: I told you, Archimedes, I am not sure. All I know is that someone will be coming, someone very important.
Archimedes: Oh, pinfeathers!
Merlin: Fate will direct him to me, so that I, in turn, may guide him to his rightful place in the world.

Kay: [whispers] Quiet, Wart!
Arthur: I'm trying to be.
Kay: And nobody asked you to come along in the first place.
Arthur: I'm not even movin'.
Kay: Shut up. [sees a doe] Aha! Here we go. Oh, what a set-up. Hmm. Right smack through the old gizzard!
[Sir Kay almost shoots the doe with an arrow, but the tree-limb Arthur is on breaks; Arthur falls onto Kay, sending the arrow whistling away into the air; the doe flees.]
Arthur: [as Kay chases him] Oh Kay, please, I'm sorry. I couldn't help it. Please!
Kay: If I ever-- [trips over a ruined tree] If I ever get my hands on you, I'll wring your scrawny your little neck, so help me, I will!
Arthur: [going into the forest] I'll get the arrow, Kay. I'm sure I can find it.
Kay: [chuckles] Don't tell me you're going in there? Why, it's swarming with wolves.
Arthur: I'm not afraid.
Kay: Well, go ahead! It's your skin, not mine! Go on, go on!

Arthur: [Repeated lines] Whoa, wait! WHOA!

[Arthur falls through Merlin's roof]
Merlin: Well! So, you did drop in for tea after all! Oh, you are a bit late, you know.
Arthur: Oh, I am?
Merlin: Yes. Now, my name is Merlin... Come, come, who are you, my lad?
Arthur: Oh, my name's Arthur, but everyone calls me Wart.

Arthur: How did you know that I would--
Merlin: Oh, that-that you would be dropping in? Well, I happen to be a wizard! A soothsayer! A prognosticator! I have the power to see into the future! Centuries into the future! I've even been there, lad.

Merlin: Oh, big news, eh? Can't wait for the London Times - first edition won't be out for at least [looks at his watch] 1200 years. Archimedes, would you mind sailing down there and-
Archimedes: Not interested.
Merlin: Oh, come now! You're as wet as you can get!
Archimedes: NO! No, no, no!
Merlin: Archimedes! I'll turn you into a human!
Archimedes: You wouldn't dare!
Merlin: I will! So help me, I will!
Archimedes: All right! All right!
Merlin: Works every time. Just like magic!

Merlin: (regarding jousting) Science indeed. One dummy trying to knock off another dummy with a bit of a stick.
Archimedes: And the Wart's just as hot for it as the rest of them.
Merlin: Yes. That boy's got real spark, lots of spirit. Throws himself, heart and soul, into everything he does. And that's really worth something. If it could only be turned in the right direction.
Archimedes: Ha-ha! Fat chance of that!
Merlin: Oh, I intend to cheat of course. Use magic! Every last trick in the trade if, I have to.

[Merlin is being chased by a corpulent granny squirrel, eventually falling off a tree branch and into a bush.]
Merlin: By George! I've had enough of this nonsense! ALAKAZAM! [In an atom bomb explosion, Merlin changes back into a human, causing the granny squirrel to scream.] There! Now you see? I'm an ugly, horrible, grouchy old man!
[The granny squirrel runs up a tree and chirps angrily at Merlin. In response, Merlin barks like a dog, scaring her off.]
Arthur: Merlin!
[Merlin turns around to see a girl squirrel hugging Arthur tightly.]
Merlin: So, here we are.
Arthur: Quick, Merlin, the magic!
Merlin: Snick, snack, snorum!
[Merlin turns Arthur back into a human and Arthur laughs, which causes the girl squirrel to gasp.]
Arthur: There, now you see? I'm not a squirrel, I'm a boy. [The girl squirrel chirps as if asking a question.] I tried to tell you. I-I'm a boy. A human boy! [The girl squirrel climbs up to a knot on her tree and sniffs.] Oh! If you could only understand.
[The girl squirrel runs up to the hole in the tree and cries her heart out as Arthur remorsefully walks away.]
Merlin: Ah, you know, lad... that love business is a powerful thing.
[The girl squirrel, sobbing, pokes her head out of her tree hole and watches Arthur and Merlin slowly walk away.]
Arthur: Greater than gravity?
Merlin: Well, yes, boy, in its way, I'd, uh- Yes, I'd say it's the greatest force on Earth.
[The girl squirrel climbs to the top of her tree to get one last look at Arthur and sobs one last time as the screen fades to black.]

Sir Ector: Now, what's all the commotion? Hm?
Scullery Maid: Oh, the kitchen! It's under an evil spell! It's bewitched!
Sir Ector: Oh... I bet it's that old goat Marvin. [To Kay] Come on, son! I knew he'd give us trouble! [Goes to the kitchen and sees the magic Merlin used on the dishes and mops] GADZOOKS! Black magic of the worst kind!!!

[Arthur kneels in the kitchen alone with the broken mop in his hand, feeling sad and ashamed. Merlin magically appears.]
Merlin: I'm sorry, lad. Sorry I spoiled everything. I know that trip to London meant a great deal to you.
Arthur: Oh, it's not your fault. I shouldn't have popped off. Now I'm really done for.
Merlin: No, no, you're in a great spot, boy. You can't go down now, it can only be up from here.
Arthur: I'd like to know how.
Merlin: Use your head, and education, lad.
Arthur: [lightning up] What good would that do?
Merlin: Get it first, and who knows? Are you willing to try?
Arthur: [resigned] Well, what have I got to lose?
Merlin: [patting his back] That's the spirit! We'll start tomorrow! We'll show 'em, won't we, boy?
Arthur: [unenthusiastically] We sure will.

Merlin: Archimedes, have you seen that flying machine model?
Archimedes: I have nothing to do with your futuristic fiddle-faddle, you know that.
Arthur: [pointing to the airplane model right above Merlin] What's that thing up there?
Merlin: Hmm? Oh, yes, of course. Here we are. [takes it down]
Arthur: Do you mean man will fly in one of those someday?
Archimedes: [scoffs] If man were meant to fly, he'd have been born with wings.
Merlin: [winding up the propeller of the model airplane, but not noticing his long beard getting caught in it] I am about to prove otherwise, Archimedes, if you care to watch. Here she goes! [He tosses it out the window] No, no, no - NO! [The plane unravels from his beard at the wrong angle, and starts to fall out of the sky.]
Archimedes: [laughs] Man will fly, all right! Just like a rock! [The model plane lands in the moat with a crash, and is sunken out of sight. Archimedes then laughs harder.]
Merlin: It would have worked if... if it weren't for this infernal beard! [Archimedes continues to laugh hysterically.] Man will fly someday, I tell you! I have been there! I have seen it!
Arthur: Oh, i do hope so. I've always dreamed about flying; that I was a bird and that I could go sailing all over the sky, high above everything... [Merlin sneaks up behind him and quietly changes him into a sparrow] It's my favorite dream. [sighs] But then, I suppose everyone dreams about flying-- [notices his new form; happily] I'm a bird, I'm a bird, I'm a bird! [starts to flutter clumsily out the window]
Merlin: [grabbing him in one hand] Hold it, boy! Not so fast, not so fast. First, I'd better explain the mechanics of a bird's wing. [grabs Archimedes' wing and runs his finger along the feathers] Now, these large feathers are called the primaries, and--
Archimedes: And since when do you know all about birds' wings?
Merlin: I have made an extensive study of birds in flight, and--
Archimedes: [crossly] And if you don't mind, I happen to be a bird!
Merlin: All right, Mr. Know-It-All! He's your pupil! [sets Arthur down firmly]
Arthur: Ouch!
Archimedes: Now boy, flying is not merely some crude mechanical process. [clears his throat offensively at Merlin, who clears his throat in return] It is a delicate art. Purely aesthetic! Poetry of motion! And the best way to learn it is to do it.

Arthur: Oh, I'm not really a sparrow, I'm a boy.
Madame Mim: A boy?!
Arthur: Merlin changed me with his magic. He's the world's most powerful wizard.
Madame Mim: Merlin? [laughs] Oh, Merlin - the world's most powerful bungler! Why, boy, I've got more magic in one little finger! Now don't tell me you've never heard of the marvelous Madame Mim?
Arthur: Well, no, I don't guess so.
Archimedes: Madame Mim! [flies off] Good heavens, good heavens, good heavens...!
Madame Mim: Why, boy, I'm the greatest! I'm truly marvellous! [sings] With only a touch, I have the power, zim-zam-rim-vim, to whither a flower! I find delight in the gruesome and grim!
Arthur: Oh, that's terrible.
Madame Mim: Thank you, my boy. But that's nothing, nothing to me. Because I'm the magnificent, marvellous, mad Madame Mim!

Archimedes: What's going on, boy?
Arthur: They're having a wizard's duel. What's that mean?
Archiemdes: Oh, it's a battle of wits. The players change themselves into different things in an attempt to... to destroy one another.
Arthur: D-d-destroy?
Archimedes: Just watch, boy. You'll get the idea.
Madam Mim: Now! First of all, if you don't mind, I'll make the rules.
Archimedes: Rules indeed! Why, she only wants rules so she can break them!
Madam Mim: [to Archimedes] I'll take care of you later, feather-brain. [to Merlin] Rule 1: No minerals or vegetables, only animals. Rule 2: No make-believe things like, oh, pink dragons and stuff. Rule 3: No disappearing. [squeezes his nose playfully]
Merlin: Rule 4: No cheating!

[Madam Mim transforms into a big purple dragon.]
Merlin: [nervously] Now, Mim! No dragons, remember?
Madam Mim: Did I say no purple dragons? DID I?!

[Arthur arrives in the castle guestroom in a squire's outfit]
Arthur: [Excitedly] Merlin, look! I'm a squire! [Merlin, angry and disappointed by Arthur's decision, snorts and goes back to his stove]
Archimedes: Oh, uh...very nice, boy.
Merlin: Yes indeed. A fine monkey suit for polishing boots!
Arthur: [His expression falls] It's... It's what all squires wear.
Merlin: And I thought you were going to amount to something! [Gets up out of his chair] I thought you had a few brains! [Kicks over a stack of books] Great future! Hah! A stooge for that big lunk, Kay! Congratulations, boy!
Arthur: [Breaks into tears] What do you-What do you want me to be?! I'm nobody! You...You don't know a thing about what's going on today! [Archimedes gasps] I'm lucky to be Kay's squire!
Merlin: [Loses his temper] Oh! Of all the idiotic...! BLOW ME TO BERMUDA! [He magically rockets off to Bermuda]
Arthur: Where...W-where did he go?
Archimedes: To Bermuda, I suppose.
Arthur: Where's that?
Archimedes: Oh, an island way off somewhere that hasn't been discovered yet.
Arthur: Will he...ever come back?
Archimedes: Who knows? Who knows anything?

[Arthur returns to the tournament with the Sword in the Stone]
Arthur: Kay! Kay! Here's a sword!
Kay: [Takes the sword] This is not my sword!
Sir Ector: Hold on, Kay! Wait a minute. [Reads the inscription under the hilt] Whoso pulleth out this sword... [Shocked] Why it''s the Sword in the Stone!
Sir Bart: The Sword in the Stone?! It can't be!
Sir Ector: But look! It is!
Sir Pellinore: It's the marvelous sword!
Sir Bart: [To the townspeople] Hold everything! Someone's pulled the sword from the stone!

Narrator: So at last, the miracle had come to pass in that far off time upon New Year's Day and the glorious reign of King Arthur was begun.

[Last lines; Merlin magically enters the throne room wearing 20th century style clothes.]
Arthur: Oh, Merlin! You're back from Ber-ber-ber-
Merlin: Bermuda? Yes, back from Bermuda and the 20th century! And believe me, you can have it! One big modern mess! Alakazam! [magically changes back into his regular clothes]
Arthur: I'm in an awful pickle! I'm King!
Archimedes: He pulled the Sword from the Stone.
Merlin: [surprised] Aha! Of course, of course! King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table!
Arthur: Round Table?
Merlin: Oh, would you rather have a square one?
Arthur: Oh, no, round will be fine.
Merlin: Boy, boy, boy.... You'll become a great legend. They'll be writing books about you for centuries to come. Why, they might even make a motion picture about you.
Arthur: Motion picture?
Merlin: Well, uh.... that's something like television. Without commercials.


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