King Arthur Movie Poster Image

King Arthur

(i)

 

Entertaining, but ultimately forgettable.
Parents recommend
  • Review Date: December 22, 2004
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 120 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive role models

Strong female character, discussion of equality for all as the ideal.

Violence

Frequent bloody battle scenes; allusions to rape and torture; lead characters die.

Sex

Allusions to sexual prowess, a sensual scene of implicit sex.

Language

Anatomical references, cursing religious beliefs.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink ale, references to drinking to forget and to celebrate.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has many battle scenes and deaths, with lots of swords flashing and arrows flying, even if they do not depict gore and explicit violence. Young Arthur sees his town burnt and knows that his parents have been killed, which will disturb some children. Several victims of torture are shown in weakened states and refer to machines of torture. Two characters have a sensual scene with non-explicit sex. Characters talk about women, sex and their physical attributes. Arthur's men drink to celebrate and drink to mourn loss.

What's the story?

Arthur and his six knights have completed the fifteen year tour of duty guarding Hadrian's Wall required of them by Rome. Arthur's knights are conscripts from Samaria, young, pagan horsemen from the Steppes of present day Georgia/Russia, who cannot return home without safe passage papers from Rome. Meanwhile, half-Roman/half-Celtic Arthur hopes to be reunited with his friend, the moral reformer, Christian, and free-will proponent Pelagius, to partake of the democracy and equality that Arthur believes now rule Rome. However, the Bishop who carries their release papers also brings the news that Arthur and his men have one final mission to complete: they must cross Hadrian's Wall to face the blue-painted tribes to the North led by the sorcerer-warrior, Merlin, in order to retrieve a noble Roman family.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Saying that this KING ARTHUR is "The Truth Behind the Legend" is an overstatement of epic proportions, making the movie's tagline the only thing epic about it. The battle scenes, the dialogue and the attractive actors all place this film squarely in the realm of summer popcorn flicks -- entertaining and briefly uplifting but not destined to linger in memory, much less in history. The story sounds complicated, especially considering that it jettisons just about everything you expect in a story about King Arthur but the Round Table. It piles on the history, but there is just enough plot to fill the scenes between battles.

Those looking for the familiar terrain of King Arthur's legend -- the silvery arm holding Excalibur aloft, the search for the Grail, and the illicit love between Lancelot and Guinnevere -- should head to the library or the video store. Those in search of the true stories behind King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table can look to Celtic, Scottish, Welsh, Roman and Assyrian legends. But those looking for some memorable battle scenes and some attractive actors without too much plot to slow things down can fill up the popcorn bucket and sit back for some summer entertainment.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about leadership and the characteristics that inspire loyalty in this movie, as displayed by Arthur, Merlin, and the Saxons. The horror on the face of the Bishop's men at the sight of the famous Round Table is a statement on hierarchy. Families might wish to talk about the notion of equality that Arthur discusses versus the manner in which the Romans are depicted. The concepts of freedom, duty, and service are all used frequently in describing reasons for battle. Do you think these rallying speeches are moving? Do you think other factors (and if so, which) are what motivate the troops?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 7, 2004
DVD release date:December 21, 2004
Cast:Clive Owen, Ioan Gruffudd, Keira Knightley
Director:Antoine Fuqua
Studio:Touchstone Pictures
Genre:Action/Adventure
Run time:120 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense battle sequences, a scene of sensuality and some language

This review of King Arthur was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 15 years old Written byShinjo April 9, 2008

violent

This game is very fun but very violent kids my age should be able to see this movie but you have to be careful
Parent Written byJenijumpo123654 April 5, 2014

Great movie! one of the best!

Ok, A great story-line and acting! Love keria knightly and clive owen! Some intense battle sequences and a brief sensual scene between Arthur and gwen and some swearing. Other than that one of the best films ever!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byfuzzybunny April 9, 2008

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?