First Knight

1995

First Knight

Critics Consensus

This unimaginative reimagining of Arthurian legend dispenses with the magic without achieving a convincing realism in the bargain, suffering from fatal miscasting and a lack of romance.

44%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 45

55%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 166,044
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Movie Info

This rendition of the popular Arthurian tale strips away the mythology and magic and deals with more realistic conflicts as the characters try to balance their passions with their political obligations. Lady Guinevere marries King Arthur to forge a valuable political alliance but discovers that her heart lies with Lancelot.

Cast

Sean Connery
as King Arthur
Richard Gere
as Sir Lancelot
Julia Ormond
as Guinevere
Ben Cross
as Malagant
Liam Cunningham
as Sir Agravaine
Valentine Pelka
as Sir Patrise
Colin McCormack
as Sir Mador
Tom Lucy
as Sir Sagramore
John Blakey
as Sir Tor
Robert Gwyn Davin
as Sir Gawaine
Sean Blowers
as Sir Carados
Alexis Denisof
as Sir Gaheris
Daniel Naprous
as Sir Amant
Jonathan Cake
as Sir Gareth
Jonty Miller
as Gauntlet Man
Rose Keegan
as Mark's Wife
Mark Ryan
as Challenger
Jeffery Dench
as First Elder
Neville Phillips
as Second Elder
Oliver Lewis
as First Marauder
Wolf Christian
as Second Marauder
Angus Wright
as Third Marauder
Jonathan Jaynes
as First Guard
Eric Stone
as Second Guard
Ryan Todd
as Young Lancelot
Dido Miles
as Grateful Woman
Michael Hodgson
as Young Man in Crowd
Susannah Corbett
as Young Woman in Crowd
Susan Breslau
as Wedding Guest
Kate Zucker
as Flower Girl
Bob Zucker
as Little Boy With Birds
Charlotte Zucker
as Bread Vendor
Burt Zucker
as Bread Vendor
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News & Interviews for First Knight

Critic Reviews for First Knight

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (20) | Rotten (25)

  • Whenever Zucker stops piling on battle scenes as if he were directing Braveheart, his film casts a romantic spell.

    May 12, 2001 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • Aside from casting Richard Gere as Lancelot, First Knight marches out as an agreeably intelligent, mature and well-mounted telling of the legendary King Arthur story.

    Feb 13, 2001

    Todd McCarthy

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • The problem for him[Gere], and the film, comes when the non-physical acting begins.

    Feb 13, 2001 | Full Review…
  • There's swordplay to the hilt, but the story itself never quite gets in Gere.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • Pillaged of such mainstays as Merlin and Morgan le Fay-as well as magic, majesty and depth-'Camelot' has become 'Camelite.'

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • [I]f you tingle at the sound of metal unsheathing and the sight of flaming arrows whizzing through moonlight, you'll probably be swept away by this shining Knight in amour.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for First Knight

  • May 08, 2017
    Arthurian lore is deep with fascinating mythology that has been explored many times in many different ways. First Knight uses that lore and twists it into a romantic drama of sorts, to mostly mixed results. With the new King Arthur film just around the corner I thought it'd be interesting to take a look at some of the many adaptions of the lore that we have gotten in film and television. First Knight is an okay film if it were some random medieval story with different settings and characters, but it rarely lives up to the deep mythology it's based on. In First Knight we find Lancelot, a wanderer who's struggling to find a place in the world for his skills with a sword and with women. After Guinevere, soon-to-be bride of King Arthur, is nearly kidnapped, Lancelot steps in and saves her life. Naturally, he falls in love with Guinevere, and there you have the central plot thread of the film. Richard Gere plays Lancelot about as well as you could imagine he would. It's a similar character to that of Sean Connery's James Bond from the 60's, mostly just showing off his looks and skills, rather than doing something of significance. Of course, I bring that up because Connery plays Arthur, albeit a much, much older King Arthur than we usually get, especially considering Guinevere is around 25 years younger. A lot of the film's plot is pushed forward by the romance. Not dissimilar to Braveheart being centered around William Wallace's love for two women, First Knight is clearly a romance first and foremost. The main difference is that Braveheart chooses to have the romance inspire a remarkable story, where First Knight is solely focused on Lancelot's strive for Guinevere's heart. It's not necessarily the wrong way to tell a story with Lancelot & Arthur butting heads, but it's certainly not the most interesting one. It's hard not to fall for Richard Gere's charm as Lancelot and Julia Ormond's innocent and beautiful Guinevere, but it's far from a great medieval war film. There really isn't much war to this film anyway. The main conflict comes by way of Prince Malagant, someone from Arthur's side who went Rogue for reasons that typically influence someone to go Rogue, power, greed, among other things. These battle sequences are trivial at best, even when they try to be big and bold. It all just seems silly in the end. I think to sum it up best is to say that King Arthur doesn't use his sword, not once. +Solid romance -But there's no reason to have that swallow the story -Silly 5.4/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Mar 23, 2012
    Not a serious historical piece (and what do we really know of Pendragon anyway?) but a children's fable extolling virtue, the Zuckers take a chance with this glittering fairy tale. Connery is the Arthur the story wants, or is it that we want Connery to be Arthur, its hard to tell. Gere supplies the dashing derring-do as Lancelot, and Ormond fills the difficult position of being torn between two lovers fetchingly.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • May 23, 2010
    Another terrible rendition of King Arthur. Turning the story into nothing more than a romantic threesome is just pure slander. To change the story to fit a movie is one thing, but this should've just left Arthur's name all together. The acting is terrible, quite possibly Sean Connery's worst performance and the usual Richard Gere treatment.
    Conner R Super Reviewer
  • Sep 16, 2009
    I saw this one in the theatre and can't quite remember the whole film, but I do remember enjoying it.
    Jon L Super Reviewer

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