Lancelot of the Lake (1974)

Lancelot of the Lake




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This haunting drama begins as the disillusioned Knights of the Round Table return from their unsuccessful bid for the Holy Grail. On the way back to England, the knights engage in bloody excursions and often fight amongst themselves. When they reach Camelot, Lancelot endeavors to resume his affair with Guinevere.

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Robert Bresson
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 25, 2004



as Lancelot
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Critic Reviews for Lancelot of the Lake

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (3)

It's stunningly beautiful, mesmerising, exhausting, uplifting, amazing -- all the things you could possibly expect from a masterpiece.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The style is intact but the content is missing.

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

It belongs with Pickpocket and Au hasard Balthazar at the highest level of Bresson's achievement.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Bresson's stripped-to-the-bone adaptation eschews the traditionally heroic, spectacular, fabulous, and exaltedly romantic aspects of the legendary saga in order to lay bare the confusion and pain within the human soul.

Full Review… | August 28, 2006
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Richly symbolic drama, endlessly inventive.

Full Review… | August 22, 2006
Classic Film and Television

It's often characterized as a 'despairing' film in Bresson's late oeuvre, but in fact, it's an elegiac lamentation...beautifully rendered in loving, rhythmic care.

Full Review… | December 1, 2004

Audience Reviews for Lancelot of the Lake

i love the tales of king arthur, from excalibur to monty python :P this is of course the most minimalist version possible. and it's bloody! those who've seen a bresson film will know what to expect. for the rest, read bort16's review; i think he's said it all

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


Robert Bresson's low-budget attempt to de-romanticize the King Arthur myth has no romance, no gallantry, no smiles, almost no score and just a smidge of what might be called "acting." Instead, the film is mostly about Bresson's strange obsession with incidental sound. Lasting impressions of this film are not about dialogue or plot, but rather rattling armor and listless, unnaturally loud footsteps trudging across forest duff and castle floors. Not exactly compelling. Violence usually occurs off-camera, though the bloody opening minutes can't help but evoke Monty Python & the Holy Grail's notorious "only a flesh wound" scene. The homely, untrained cast is just another way to rob the viewer of any easy pleasures. The story itself skips all the glories of Arthur's court and picks up after the failed search for the Grail, so the mood is nothing but bleak. Approach at your own risk, and don't bother bringing a shrubbery.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer


Returning empty handed in his two-year search for the Holy Grail after having made a wrong turn somewhere, Lancelot(Luc Simon) is given a warm welcome back from King Arthur(Vladimir Antolek-Oresek). Mordred(Patrick Bernhard) emerges from the shadows just long enough to remind everybody that he told them so, before slinking back to his hole. All Queen Guinevere(Laura Duke Condominas) wants to know is why her knight, Lancelot, is not wearing her ring anymore.

To start, "Lancelot of the Lake" takes an intriguing approach to violence, with the only graphic detail in its opening sequence(if it looks familiar, it should be pointed out that "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" was made the following year), before pretty much avoiding it for the rest of the film, which speaks volumes to the knights' worthiness, considering their history of bloodshed and pillaging. This film is set during the downward slide of Arthur's rule, as he has no wish to replace any fallen knights. Otherwise, the movie can be talky, focusing more on relationships, which confirms the eternal power of this venerable tale.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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