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A 1981 Heroic Fantasy film directed by John Boorman, an epic, Cult Classic retelling of the Arthurian myths. Notable at least for two aspects:

  • The movie covers a rather long span of time (60 years, at the very least) and thus, as Boorman put it, focuses on the story rather than on the characters. It can thus roughly be divided into five partially overlapping parts: the first part follows Uther Pendragon, the second follows Arthur, the third follows Lancelot, the fourth follows Perceval, and the last goes back to Arthur.
  • The source material (mostly Malory's Morte Darthur) is treated in a very syncretist kind of way, merging many characters, events and elements. This arguably allows the movie to display many more Arthurian motifs than would have been possible to show in a two-hour movie by staying truer to the original story, all while cleverly avoiding the Compressed Adaptation effect.

Excalibur provides examples of:

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 Arthur: I was not born to live a man's life, but to be the stuff of future memory.

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 Arthur: Merlin. Your wisdom has forged this ring. Hereafter, so that we remember our bonds, we shall always come together in a circle to hear and tell of deeds good and brave. I will build a round table where this fellowship shall meet.

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  • Sentient Cosmic Force: The Dragon.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Uther, arguably — subverted in that he eventually admits that he is tired of wars and battles.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The lyrics to O Fortuna are about how fate is capricious and thus cruel, but the song is treated as something far more uplifting.
  • Stealth Hi Bye: Both played straight and subverted with Merlin. In one scene the audience sees Merlin approaching but the characters don't, and when Arthur says, "Who is Merlin?", previously-unnoticed Merlin steps up and says, "I am Merlin." In a later scene Merlin says, "The time has come for me to go," then turns to leave. Normally one would expect Merlin to just vanish, but Arthur instead starts following him and asks where he's going.
  • Storming the Castle: Averted, subverted, then averted again!
    • The subversion happens when Arthur storms into a castle which is already being stormed, precisely in order to stop said storming.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: The recurring music illustrating the impossible love between Lancelot and Guinevere is Richard Wagner's Prelude to Tristan und Isolde; Perceval finds the Grail while Wagner's Parsifal Overture is playing; and Siegfried's Funeral March (by Wagner) plays while Arthur is transported to Avalon.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Merlin when talking to Arthur says this line:
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 "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* like lightning... yes, that's it!"

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