King Arthur (film)

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German title King Arthur
Original title King Arthur
King Arthur Logo.svg
Country of production United Kingdom , Ireland , USA
original language English
Publishing year 2004
length Theatrical Version:
121 minutes
Director’s Cut:
136 minutes
Age rating FSK 12 (Theatrical Version)
FSK 16 (Director's Cut)

JMK 12
Director Antoine Fuqua
script David Franzoni
production Jerry Bruckheimer
music Hans Zimmer
camera Slawomir Idziak
cut Conrad Buff ,
Jamie Pearson

King Arthur is an adventure film with elements of the period film from 2004 by director Antoine Fuqua . The film is a reinterpretation of the stories about the Knights of the Round Table with their leader, King Arthur .


452 AD: In the southern Russian steppe , a young Sarmatian named Lancelot is picked up by Roman soldiers for 15 years of military service, which the men of his people are obliged to do after they have been subjugated by the Roman Empire . He is stationed on Hadrian's Wall , which is 120 km long , to protect the Roman province of Britannia from Celtic raids from the north. Its commander is the Roman Artorius Castus or Arthur , the son of a Roman officer and a British woman , who was brought up to believe in freedom and equality by his Christian mentor Pelagius .

Fifteen years later, the last six remaining Sarmatian horsemen - Lancelot, Galahad , Gawain , Tristan , Bors and Dagonet - are at the end of their service on Hadrian's Wall. They are waiting for the Roman license for their months-long journey back to the settlement area of ​​their people on the Black Sea .

Bishop Germanius, a former general arriving from Rome, has these papers with him - but also one last mission for the small troop under their commander Artorius: the Roman bishop ( Pope ) personally instructs them, his godchild and possible heir Alecto from the enemy territory North to bring back behind Hadrian's Wall. The knights also learn from Germanius that a large Saxon army has landed in the north and is advancing to the wall, murdering and plundering, and that the Romans have decided to withdraw their troops from Britain without a fight.

Their mission leads the seven horsemen between the British rebels, Picts and Celts under their leader Merlin and the advancing Saxon army under King Cerdic . Alecto's father, Marius Honorius, has to be forced to come along. In addition, the riders free slaves as well as a little boy named Lucan and the Celtic woman Guinevere . On the way to Hadrian's Wall, Lancelot falls in love with Guinevere, but feels rejected by her. Honorius dares to attempt a coup during a night camp, but is killed in the process. Arthur learns from Alecto that his mentor Pelagius was once murdered at Germanius' instigation. The riders have to face the approaching Saxon vanguard for a first battle in order to be able to bring the civilians to safety. They lure the Saxons to a frozen lake, but the ice does not break. Dagonet sacrifices himself by running towards the Saxons and chopping up the ice, causing most of the Saxons to drown in the freezing water.

Guinevere lures Arthur to Merlin one night. This wants to achieve that Arthur takes over the supreme command of the army of the Celts and Picts. Arthur finally finds himself ready and devises a battle plan. A night of love follows with Guinevere, the next day she is a fighter in the Pict army. The five remaining riders, actually already in the process of being withdrawn, turn around and join Arthur. In the battle of Badon Hill the two leaders of the Saxons as well as Tristan and Lancelot fall. But in the end there is the victory of the Picts, the unification of the peoples and a wedding between Guinevere and Arthur, who becomes the new leader of the British against the Saxons.


The German synchronization was done by FFS Film- & Fernseh-Synchron GmbH, Munich. Benedikt Rabanus directed the dialogue. Dialogue book: Cornelius Frommann and Benedikt Rabanus.

role actor German speaker
Arthur Clive Owen Tom Vogt
Guinevere Keira Knightley Anke Kortemeier
Lancelot Ioan Gruffudd Philipp Moog
Merlin Stephen Dillane Fred Maire
Cerdic Stellan Skarsgård Michael Mendl
Bors Ray Winstone Holger Schwiers
Galahad Hugh Dancy Markus Pfeiffer
Cynric Til Schweiger Til Schweiger
Tristan Mads Mikkelsen Matthias Klie
Dagonet Ray Stevenson Thorsten Nindel
Marius Honorius Ken Stott Dieter Memel
Ganis Charlie Creed-Miles Tobias Lelle
Gawain Joel Edgerton Pascal Breuer
Jols Sean Gilder
Bishop Germanius Ivano Marescotti Bert Franzke
Alecto Lorenzo De Angelis Roman Wolko


  • The Hadrian's Wall as the main setting for the film was reconstructed over a distance of one kilometer of 250 workers in four and a half months on location in Ireland. The Fort am Wall shown in the film is modeled on the historic Roman Vindolanda (from 122 AD) in Chesterholm in northern England.
  • The Picts are referred to in English as the Picts . In the movie, they are called woads instead . In the German dubbing, the word creation was not adopted, but the correct name Picts was used.
  • The film was originally designed and shot for the age rating R-rated (young people only when accompanied by an adult). However, the Disney studios then demanded that the age rating be changed to PG-13 (young people aged 13 and over), which, in addition to shortened and changed scenes, also meant that the blood splatters had to be digitally removed in a two-month process in all battle scenes.
  • In the USA, the movie poster, unchanged in other countries, was retouched and Keira Knightley's breasts were enlarged. The retouched image was also used for the German DVD case.
  • Production costs have been estimated to be between $ 90 million and $ 120 million. The film grossed around $ 203 million in cinemas around the world, including around $ 52 million in the United States.
  • It was released in theaters in the USA on July 7, 2004 and in Germany on August 19, 2004.

Historical references

The film claims to introduce some previously less known influences that may have contributed to the Arthurian legend, especially the so-called " Sarmatian Connection ". For this purpose, various topics and events from the years 410, 440 and 476 were merged and mixed with the historical figure of Lucius Artorius Castus , who lived about 250 years earlier. The film deviates massively from the secured historical events in numerous points and is therefore to be understood as a fantasy , not a historical film.

Rome's troop withdrawal from the province of Britannia was already completed in 410 when Hadrian's Wall was abandoned. In 467 the Pope did not yet play a major role in the crumbling Western Roman Empire, he had neither great political nor even military influence.

The Saxons , thousands of whom land north of Hadrian's Wall in the film, had already established their own empire of Wessex south of the wall before 467 . The arrival of the Saxons and Anglo-Saxons in Britain took place decades earlier and, according to recent research, did not take the form of a major invasion. Saxon King Cerdic , if he existed at all, did not come to Britain until 495, his son (possibly grandson) Cynric was not yet born in 467. Neither of them died in the legendary Battle of Mons Badonicus .

Two advisors were used for the historical background: The Englishman John Matthews, author of works on Celtic mythology , contributed to the archaic representation of the Picto - Celtic inhabitants of Britain. In the English version of the film, however, the Scottish Picts are referred to as Woads , after the English. Name for the woad (German indigo) plant with which they allegedly used to tattoo themselves. The use of woad for tattooing can be excluded and is only due to a translation error in Caesar's text De Bello Gallico . The director Antoine Fuqua explained that Woads would have sounded better acoustically than Picts .

The Trebuchet throwing machines used in the film by the Picts in the great battle against the Saxons are only documented in England from 1216 onwards. In some scenes in the film, modern screws can be seen holding the swords together. Many of the weapons, such as the crossbows shown , actually date from the High Middle Ages . The uniforms and weapons of the Roman soldiers in the film, on the other hand, belong more to the 1st or 2nd century AD, but by no means to late antiquity.

The American Linda A. Malcor, author of popular scientific articles on the Roman officer Lucius Artorius Castus and the Sarmatians in Britain, provided materials for the design of the roles of the half-Roman Artorius and the southern Russian horsemen in Roman service. A preserved inscription testifies that the historical Lucius Artorius Castus lived in the 2nd century and belonged to the Roman Legion VI Victrix as praefectus for several years in Britain . The film character Arthur is said to be his son from his marriage to a Briton.

The iron-armored Sarmatian lancers, also known as cataphracts, were, in a certain sense, actually the first “knights” in Europe, centuries before the advent of knighthood in the Middle Ages. They are portrayed in the film as early prototypes for the Knights of the Round Table . But this connection is speculative, especially since the medieval knight was defined less by his armor than by his way of life and fighting, which was very far from that of the ancient Sarmatians. The film claims that the Sarmatians had to commit to recruiting the Romans around 300 AD is fictitious. However, it is certain that Sarmatian cavalry was stationed in Roman service in Britain in the 2nd century.

The Romans took over the long Contus lance and the dragon standard from the Sarmatians or from other eastern equestrian peoples , which also plays a role in legends: Arthur and his father Uther Pendragon ( dragon ) lead the legends such kite standards. Some amateur historians suspect that the dragon in the coat of arms of Wessex , Wales and other British mansions can be traced back to the Sarmatian Draco standard. Originally, this standard with its long ribbons probably served to indicate the direction and strength of the wind to mounted archers . In the film, the waving standards of the knights are effectively placed on a hill before the great battle. It is also correctly shown that the Sarmatian reflex arcs had greater reach and penetration than the arcs used by the British natives.

The repeated Sarmatian exclamation of "Rus" wants to identify the southern Russian Sarmatians as the namesake for Russia. This so-called “ Rukhs-as- Theory ” is generally rejected. Instead, Rus is used as the name for the later Vikings of the Kievan Rus , who came from Scandinavia.

The template for the film character of Bishop Naius Germanius was probably Germanus von Auxerre (378–448), who visited Britain in 429 and again in the 440s to combat Pelagianism there. The latter emphasized human freedom and rejected the idea of original sin as a basis for belief.

The portrayal of the Picts as "British patriots" is inappropriate. In fact, they were a people of Scots, which consisted of several tribes, some of which were divided. The attacks and looting of the Picts against the Celtic-Roman civilian population, which was almost defenseless after the withdrawal of the Romans in 410, was precisely the reason for the presence of the Saxons and the likewise Germanic Angles . However, these had been in southern Britain for a long time, as they were deliberately used by the Romans as auxiliary troops from the middle of the 4th century to stop and push back the Picts, which were slowly advancing south. Only after this had happened and the Romans had left the country on imperial orders, the Saxons were the only remaining military and the former “guest workers” also took over political power in Britain, mostly peacefully. Only then did a wave of immigration follow with Saxons, Angles, Frisians and Jutes . The idea of ​​a Saxon invasion and military subjugation of Britain around 460 is a historical fiction. The sporadic pirate attacks around 300 were repulsed by the Romans (see Saxon coast ). Only then did the Saxons begin to settle Britain on a small scale under Roman control and tolerance, which generations later led to the use of Saxons in Roman military service. The Chronica Gallica (452) reports that Britain fell to the Saxons (already living there) in 441.


“Melancholically grounded adventure and hero story that wants to fathom the historical truth about the Celtic legendary figure Arthur and his table knights. The result was a visually stunning action film, the lines of which lead to several skilfully and brutally staged battles, with the historically inexperienced dialogues trying to ideologically legitimize the victorious party. The renunciation of a naturalistic painting of the battles allows a youth release, but robs the historicizing description of any appearance of the authentic. "

“This is not the refined courtly world that we have associated with the Arthurian legend since the Chrétien de Troyes epics : a world made up of the round table, the ministry and the quest for the Grail, where wizards and witches cause confusion. Jerry Zucker ’s 1995 film ' The First Knight ' served this image perfectly, with Richard Gere as Lancelot, who has been in unhappy love for his Queen Guinevere all his life. In 1981 John Boorman turned the wild, magical side of the Arthurian saga into a brutal psycho trip with " Excalibur ", Marion Zimmer Bradley read the story in " The Mists of Avalon " as a feminist world conspiracy. Fuqua turns it into a dark winter piece from barbaric times, quite captivating. No trace of the round table, grail and love, also the love between Guinevere and Lancelot, the betrayal of Arthur hardly ever occurs. "

- Christina Tilmann - Der Tagesspiegel

“This knight round is a special forces unit that does its job. Similar to Brad Pitt in “ Troy ”, they lend their iron-hard arm to an overriding reason of state. Therefore the erotic love triangle between Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot is omitted; There is no time for the drama about loyalty, betrayal and the knightly ethos that originally haunted the legend. "King Arthur" simply illustrates the armed conflict of missionaries, interrupted by pithy exchanges and a love scene in which - as original - knowing female hands explore the map of scarred male bodies. "

- Daniel Haas - The mirror

“The tightly laced and braided leather fringed bikini that Keira Knightley wears for a walk as Guinevere is particularly impressive. Who would have ever thought that such stylish clothes existed in the distant past. For this reason alone, one should not underestimate the achievements of the great artist and director Antoine Fuqua. His task was to reinterpret the Arthurian legend, and he delivered a leather bikini as the most beautiful result. [..] In the following you have to imagine the film as a mixture of “ Braveheart ” and “ The Magnificent Seven ”, with the fight scenes being nicely worked out. Unfortunately Fuqua had to cut the beautiful and lavishly staged violence out of the end product because producer Jerry Bruckheimer was driven by the idea of ​​repeating the success of "Pirates of the Caribbean" with "King Arthur". "

- Harald Peters - The daily newspaper

The German Film and Media Assessment FBW in Wiesbaden awarded the film the rating particularly valuable.


The film music was composed by Hans Zimmer , the title Tell me now (what you see) was created in collaboration with Moya Brennan . The soundtrack to the film contains the following titles:

  1. Tell me now (what you see)
  2. Woad to ruin
  3. Do you think I'm Saxon?
  4. Hold the ice
  5. Another brick in Hadrian's Wall
  6. Budget meeting
  7. All of them!

Director's Cut

The film was also released as a Director's Cut with 15 minutes more footage. The FSK approval is for ages 16 and up, as the scenes of violence have not been cut and blood splatters have not been retouched in this version.


  • Scott Littleton, Linda A. Malcor: From Scythia to Camelot. A Radical Reassessment of the Legends of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, and the Holy Grail . Garland Publishing, New York 2000, ISBN 0-8153-3566-0 . (Linda A. Malcor was an advisor to the film crew of "King Arthur")
  • Gillian Bradshaw : The Horsemen of the Sarmatians . Goldmann, Munich 1992, ISBN 3-442-42429-1 . (Novel with reinterpretation of the Arthurian legend)

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Certificate of Release for King Arthur . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry, July 2004 (PDF; test number: 98 729 K).
  2. a b Certificate of Release for King Arthur . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry, October 2004 (PDF; test number: 98 729 DVD).
  3. ^ Age rating for King Arthur . Youth Media Commission .
  4. Keira Knightley . In: Der Spiegel . No. 31 , 2006 ( online - July 31, 2006 ).
  6. z. B. John Matthews et al. (Ed.): Lexicon of Celtic Mythology. Myths, sagas and legends from AZ . Seehamer Verlag, Weyarn 1997, ISBN 3-932131-24-X .
  7. Saigh Kym Lambert: The Problem of the Woad . Untrue fact? Saigh Kym Lambert (ní Dhoireann), accessed March 2, 2016 .
  8. Science Fiction Weekly: Antoine Fuqua, Keira Knightley and Clive Owen revisit the round table with "King Arthur" ( Memento from June 22, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) (2004, English, interviews with the named)
  9. Cathy Schultz: King Arthur - Romans and Saxons and Picts, oh my! Joliet Herald News, July 11, 2004, accessed March 2, 2016 .
  10. "Lucius Artorius Castus Part 1: An Officer and an Equestrian" by Linda A. Malcor, Aliso Viejo, California ( Memento of December 7, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (English, from The Heroic Age , USA 1999)
  11. "Lucius Artorius Castus Part 2: The Battles in Britain" by Linda A. Malcor, Aliso Viejo, California ( Memento from June 16, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (English, from The Heroic Age , USA 1999)
  12. ^ János Makkay: The Sarmatian Connection: Stories of the Arthurian Cycle and Legends and Miracles of Ladislas, King and Saint . Dr. Kaveh Farrokh, accessed March 2, 2016 (excerpts only).
  13. King Arthur. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  14. Film review The Saxons are coming!
  15. ^ Film review Ritter Sport and Bürger-King
  16. King Arthur film review
  17. King Arthur . In: FBW . German Film and Media Assessment (FBW), accessed on November 25, 2017 .