Knightriders - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Knightriders Reviews

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January 22, 2016
Written and directed by George A. Romero, better known for making horror films like Night of the Living Dead (1968), The Crazies (1973) and Dawn of the Dead (1978)), makes something completely different. An action-drama set around a medieval fair troupe. It's a long film, but it's Romero's most personal film, and one where he opens his heart and soul. It makes you wish he'd made more films like this one. Billy (Ed Harris), leads a group of travelling performers who specialise in doing jousts on motorbikes, and Billy has the title of 'King William'. The troupe, also consisting of Morgan (Tom Savini), Alan (Gary Lahti), Merlin (Brother Blue), Little John (Ken Foree), Linet (Amy Ingersoll) and Julie (Patricia Tallman) live on the road and live off what they can, but the strain is beginning to show as they can't afford to keep up this lifestyle, and when Billy ends up in jail after an altercation with a corrupt cop, the rest of the group get tempted with an offer by promoter Bontempi (Martin Ferrero), who offers them good pay and better living and working conditions. It's a good film with some very well done motorbike stunts, and for Romero, the change of direction was just what he needed. But hardly anyone got to see it when United Artists, already on their knees because of Heaven's Gate (1980), had to sell off the U.S. rights to a smaller distributor. Which is a shame, as it's an original breed of film.
½ September 28, 2015
I didn't finish Knightriders, that being said, it's certainly an experience. If you're into motorcycles and cheesy 80s movies this one is great. Just don't expect much substance to accompany the goofy visuals.
½ August 30, 2015
Billy (Ed Harris) leads a traveling troupe that jousts on motorcycles. "King William", as he styles himself, tries to lead the troupe according to his Arthurian ideals. However, the constant pressure of balancing those ideals against the modern day realities and financial pressures of running the organization are beginning to strain the group. Billy is also plagued by a recurring dream of a black bird. Tensions are exacerbated by Billy's constantly pushing himself despite being injured and the arrival of a promoter named Bontempi (Martin Ferrero), who wants to represent the troupe. After Billy spends a night in jail watching a member of his troupe beaten because Billy has refused a payoff to a corrupt local cop, Billy returns to the fairground where the troupe is next to perform and is shocked that some members want to join with the promoter. His sense of betrayal is heightened when his queen, Linet (Amy Ingersoll), admits that her feelings for him may not be the reason she remains with the troupe. Things come to a head after Morgan (Tom Savini), leader of the dissident faction who believes he should be king, wins the day's tournament and a melee breaks out between the troupe and rowdy members of the crowd. Billy needs to find a way to keep the troupe together and still keep himself in the position as the proclaimed King...

George A. Romero, mostly known for his horror movies has created a very unique exploitation bikerfilm with the roots in medieval times based on a modern day King Arthur. I honestly wasnīt sure what to think of it the first hour, but somehow it gained on me and Romero has really given the characters proper development and all the side stories enriches the main plotline even if it feels a bit silly at times. Thereīs drama, action, relationship issues and love. But, the film is well over 2 hours and with better editing and a less running time I reckon it wouldīve been a bit better. It feels stretched out for no specific reason and that just falls back on the film in the end. And yes, the film has maybe not the best acting, but Ed Harris shows already here his great acting talent he has refined over the years. "Knightriders" is a film that stands out due to itīs story and plot, but it has its fair share of issues to be fully satisfying.
April 16, 2015
It is mostly interesting, but it's an hour and a half plot stretched into a two and a half hour movie. Several side stories are almost completely unnecessary and I wasn't even sure what Romero was going for most of the time. It's a one of a kind movie, but I'm unsure that was enough for me. I'll probably have to watch it again to get a better opinion of it, but it's so long I'm not in any hurry to do so again soon.
April 15, 2015
It started out promising with Medieval re-enacting bikers that ended up kind of dumb and lame. I understand why Romero stuck with zombie films.
October 13, 2014
George Romero's film about a vagabond group of "rennies" that joust and duel on the backs of modern steel horses strikes a chord in all of us that long for a different reality than the rat race of the present. Merging Excalibur with any open road motorcycle adventure, Romero shows us that life is more than what is normally accepted. If you like adventure and the unusual this is an excellent film to add to your collection.
½ May 28, 2014
It started out promising with Medieval re-enacting bikers that ended up kind of dumb and lame. I understand why Romero stuck with zombie films.
April 19, 2014
George Romero's trademark social commentary takes shape through a contrast between the ideals of chivalry and modern day corporate greed, but it doesn't exactly work most of the time. Still, points for originality as the only knights-jousting-on-motorcycles movie which comes to mind. Features Ed Harris in an early starring role, and many fun-to-spot Romero acting alumni.
½ April 11, 2014
Ummmm. I just really dont see the appeal to this. Great stunts or not.
Kinda bland and lifeless.
½ April 1, 2014
Quirky sort-of retelling of the King Arthur story set in a travelling fair where knights joust on motorcycles. Romero's got a real affection for the characters and there's some cool stunts. But it's also way too long, sputtering to a halt after a 20 minute coda.
February 23, 2014
This is one oddball movie. George A. Romero switches from his usual horror genre to embark on an odd personal drama about a weird group of folks who adhere to some Arthurian legend and joust on motorcycles for show, but there group is somewhat cultish too. It has a unique idea, some cool motorcycle stunts, and decent moments...but it is definitely too long, and drags a bit in the middle. I would definitely say its worth a look, to see if it is for you, or if you're interested to see what Romero can do outside of horror, gore, and zombies.
December 23, 2013
Crazy film I totally dig it.
November 24, 2013
NOTHING HAPPENS. I made it an hour in before being bored to death, despite laughing at a lot of the scenes I just couldn't do it. Romero, Harris, King, or even Savini could hold my interest. Damn. No way I could do 2.5 hours...
Super Reviewer
August 23, 2013
There is a good idea here, but it's buried deep.
April 27, 2013
Expecting Camp I Find Art--Potential Cult Classic!!
April 13, 2013
"I love Ed Harris. He's the best actor in Hollywood."

So said I during a pub based rant a few years ago, but I'll stick with it - and the man is on incendiary early form in this oddity from George Romero.

The film follows a freewheeling motorcycle gang who make their living as knights in a medieval troupe; jousting and selling their wares wherever will have them. Billy (Harris) is the self-styled 'King' of the group; living according to an Arthurian code and plagued by recurring dreams of a black bird which he believes to symbolize his destiny. Billy's chief rival in the group is 'Black Knight' Morgan (Tom Savini) a showboating type who has his own claim to the throne. Tensions rise when the troupe stir up some serious commercial interest and become unwittingly split into factions.

Harris is brilliant in his role as Billy: at times otherworldly; at others driven and brutally intense. A scene where he threatens a crooked cop on the way out of a jail cell builds up into an astoundingly raw, vital piece of acting. When he finally gets even with the boy in blue, it's a crowd-pleasing moment. The cast is filled out with Romero's recurring stock players: Savini is good and cocky in a larger role than usual and Scott Reiniger and Ken Foree ('Dawn of The Dead's SWAT partners) plus John Amplas ('Martin') round out a multicultural, intriguing gang of characters. Horror titan Stephen King (who'd work with Romero on his next film, 'Creepshow') and his wife also turn up for an amusing early moment.

It's a real change of pace for Romero - with its largely gore-free, often romantic drama - yet some of his recurring themes and ideologies still come into play. The idea of the outsider struggling to integrate - as examined in 'Martin' - is explored further with the 'Knightriders' gang and there are strong senses of counter-culturalism and a disillusionment with authority. Also, the over-riding victory of artistic belief over brash commerce which provides the crux of the gang tension seems to mirror Romero's own integrity in his independent film-making.

Did I mention Ed Harris was the King?
September 16, 2012
Interesting but boring, though there are a few thought-provoking nuggets.
½ April 28, 2012
What I find to be the most shameful thing about this movie is its lack of recognition, especially by today's standards. In today's film market, any film of the past can be revisited and brought to a wider and more responsive audience if it didn't do that well the first time around and, consequently, fell into obscurity. It's true that it didn't do well, but Knightriders deserves a much bigger following than it has. The biggest reason for its failing, like a lot of other George Romero projects, is that it isn't really much of a horror movie, and in this particular case, it's not a horror movie at all. It's Camelot meets Easy Rider, but without the drugs I guess. It's better than that, of course, but that's the most valid comparison I can come up with. For me it's just another classic Romero piece that it doesn't get the kind of praise or recognition that it richly deserves. Sure it's overly long and feels its length at times, but it's still a wonderful film with so many great character moments and a unique story. In other words, don't pass it up if you come across it.
February 25, 2012
really want to see this movie again. i saw it years ago but i can't remember it.
January 7, 2012
Imagine jousting done on motorcycles. The movie deals with a touring festival that does just that.
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