Actor Nigel Terry, who played King Arthur in the 1981 film Excalibur, died last week. Excalibur is the only thing I ever saw him in, to my knowledge, but he was very good in it. King Arthur is a very difficult part, I would imagine, not just to play but to write. Excalibur is a major event in fantasy film history, but it’s also quite an odd film, often times tonally at odds with itself. I chalk that up to the nature of the source material, to be honest. The reason there’s never been a truly great Arthurian film is at least partly that the Arthurian ‘story’ is really a collection of tales, loosely related, that spring from an odd amalgamation of Christian allegory and Welsh myth. Any film of the Arthur story has to do a lot of picking and choosing, and Excalibur is no different. It is, for me, a great film, but it’s also a flawed one. Terry, however, did very well at capturing both a human side of Arthur and the ‘divinely inspired’ side of the Once and Future King.
The film’s music was a combination of classical works and original score by Trevor Jones. Here is the music from the film’s finale, when Bedevere must throw Excalibur back to the Lady of the Lake and then witness as the Three Queens take Arthur to Avalon. It’s actually Wagner’s Siegfried’s Funeral Music.