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->''Let me sing with inspiration''
->''Of the man born of two nations,''
->''Of Rome and of Britain...''
->''...Arthur the blessed''
->''Led his assault from the Great Wall...''
-->-- Poem used in promotions, attributed to the 6th century Welsh poet, Taliesin. Actually made up.

''King Arthur'' is a 2004 film directed by Antoine Fuqua, written by David Franzoni, produced by JerryBruckheimer and released by Creator/TouchstonePictures. It stars Clive Owen as the title character, IoanGruffudd as Lancelot, and Creator/KeiraKnightley as Guinevere.

KingArthur is introduced not as a king but as an officer in the Roman army in Britain. A reluctant leader, Arthur wishes only to leave Britain and return to the peace and stability of Rome. Before he can head for Rome, one final mission leads him and his Knights of the Round Table, Lancelot, Galahad, Bors, Tristan, Dagonet and Gawain to the conclusion that when Rome is gone, Britain needs a king--someone not only to defend against the current threat of invading Saxons, but to lead the isle into a new age. Under the guidance of Merlin, a former enemy, and the beautiful, courageous Guinevere by his side, Arthur will have to find the strength within himself to change the course of history.

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!!This film provides examples of:

* AllGermansAreNazis: They seemed to be going for this rather blatantly with the Saxon invaders of Britain, who are proto-Germans at best. King Cerdic stops one of his soldiers from raping a local woman because he argues the mixed offspring would pollute the purity of the Saxon warrior's blood, before killing both the soldier and the woman to set an example. Historically the Saxons and Celtic-Roman Britons actually interbred quite a bit, and Cerdic himself may have been the product of such a union.
%%* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The Saxons
* ArtisticLicenseHistory: The movie's claim to be the [[{{Demythtification}} true story]] behind the King Arthur legends is best taken with a grain of salt.
** It's based on the theory that the "real King Arthur" was a Roman officer named Artorius Castus who may have led cavalry in Britain. The real Artorius in question lived during the 2nd century AD while this is set in 467 AD, and it's not even certain whether he even set foot in Britain. The movie acknowledges the gap by making the current Arthur a descendant of the original Artorius, but it's yet another assumption that his name was passed down in Britain. The real Artorius is buried in Croatia.
** The movie combines this theory (sometimes called the "Sarmatian hypothesis" after the troops that Artorius supposedly led, who were from Sarmatia - a region including modern Ukraine, the Balkans and southern Russia) with the "traditional origin" of the Arthurian legend where he leads the British against the Anglo-Saxon invasion. Historically, the British did oppose the Anglo-Saxons under a leader named Ambrosius Aurelianus, who becomes Arthur's uncle Aurelius in the legends.
** The exact date of 467 AD causes more problems. The Romans actually left Britain in 410. [[HistoricalDomainCharacter The real Cerdic and Cynric]] arrived in Britain around 495. The bishop Germanius was also a real person and he went to Britain twice, the last time being 447. The climactic battle is called the Battle of Badon Hill. In the real battle, the British defeated the Saxons (and legend says the British were led by Arthur), but it's dated to between 490 to 516.
** Cerdic and Cynric did not die in the real battle of Badon, and may not even have participated since there was more than one group of Anglo-Saxons expanding in Britain.
** While Pelagius was indeed a British cleric who was branded a heretic he was not executed, only exiled. His teaching was not about political freedom (inspiring the movie's Arthur that all men are free and equal, hence the Round Table) but about religious doctrine which we don't need to get into here. Also he died decades before 467 AD.
** AnachronismStew abounds also. Apart from the far-too-early trebuchets, there are also swords held together with screw heads.
** The Saxons also use crossbows as their signature weapon. While crossbows already existed during the Roman Empire, they didn't become widespread until centuries later.
** The Saxons landing north of Hadrian's Wall instead of south of it. Because in real life the Saxon where not dumb enough land their invasion in a way so they had to cross a large wall in order to get where they wanted instead of just sailing around it.
** Another common anachronism in Arthurian adaptations is the usage of plate armor, despite this film's attempts to ground the legend in history. This was supposed to be a nod [[AcceptableBreaksFromReality to the viewers' expectations for a King Arthur film]], quite apparently a failed one.
** While Arthur gets his name rendered into Artorius, the rest of the characters keep the traditional spellings of their names. This is because...
** The knights used in the movie are almost all inventions of the Arthurian romances from France and elsewhere with no roots in Welsh mythology and thus relations to possible British history, except Tristan and Gawain who are those guys InNameOnly. (Period-appropriate versions of those names would be Drustan and Gwalchmai.) So you have characters who are supposedly Eastern European with French names.
** The movie calls the Picts "Woads" for apparently no reason except RuleOfCool.
*** FantasticSlur, maybe? Picts are well known, accurately or not, for tattooing themselves with woad.
** Cerdic stops a Saxon warrior from raping a woman because he claims it would dilute their "pure German blood". As genetic studies show, the British and the Anglo-Saxons had no problem interbreeding, and this seems to be added in for the sake of DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything. Historians note Cerdic's own name is Celtic, not Germanic, which may suggest he himself had mixed heritage. [[note]]Before the advent of genetics as a tool of historical research this was a relatively well-known theory, so in this case Artistic License involves not as much made-up stuff, as just outdated.[[/note]]
* AscendedExtra: Dagonet. He was normally portrayed on the Arthurian mythos as a buffoon and a coward. He's quite obscure in the mythos itself with its LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters. Few nowadays outside of scholars would have heard of his name if not for the movie.
* BandOfBrothers: Of course. The knights stick with Arthur at the end despite being freed of their duties.
* BashBrothers: Bors and Dagonet fight as a pair and Bors is furious when Dagonet dies. Since they look alike, they might be actual brothers.
* BeardOfBarbarism: Cerdic and the Saxons have thick beards.
* BloodKnight: Cerdic wants to find a worthy opponent as he rampages through Britain.
* BoisterousBruiser: Bors is a loudmouth and a ferocious warrior.
* BrokenPedestal: Rome to Arthur when he learns Pelagius has been branded a heretic and executed.
* CombatAestheticist: Tristan. In the opening battle, his kill count via swordplay isn't as high as the rest of the knights, but his execution doesn't leave him a bloody mess, out of breathe, and his slashes and stabs are clean and smooth. Tristan's sword and bow are uniquely far-eastern (Tibetan?) as well.
* CorruptChurch: Bishop Germanius is a smug nasty piece of work and he sends Arthur and the knights to rescue the Pope's godson, who may be Pope himself someday.
* {{Demythtification}}: The premise of the film is to show the true history behind the legends without the magic, but they take a lot of license with the history anyway.
* DualWielding: Lancelot uses two swords.
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Saxon King Cerdic is a violent BloodKnight who invades Britain mainly for a campaign of RapePillageAndBurn, but he does seem to care for his son and second-in-command Cynric. He threatens to cut his son's tongue out if he openly defies his authority again, but he seems quite willing to die by his hands if his son were [[TheStarscream strong enough to overthrow him]]. Later he refuses to kill Cynric for a defeat against Arthur's forces when Cynric offers his life, and when he sends in the last of Cynric's auxiliaries into an obvious death trap during the final battle he keeps him by his side to keep him from harm.
* ExcaliburInTheStone: The film combines Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone as is often done. Excalibur is an ancestral weapon that Arthur pulled as a boy from his father's gravestone.
* ExternalRetcon: By ways of LiteraryAgentHypothesis.
* FamedInStory: Arthur and the knights are well-known in Britain, stories of them reaching Guinevere and Cerdic before they meet.
* {{Fingore}}: In one scene Arthur has to fix Guinevere's dislocated fingers.
* FriendToAllChildren: Dagonet bonds with the boy they're escorting.
* TheFundamentalist: Marius and his priests/inquisitors imprison Woads for being pagan.
* GentleGiant: Dagonet is a big quiet guy who bonds with a kid.
* TheGhost: Pelagius, a churchman who influenced Arthur and is discussed by him and the Bishop, but who never appears in person. Rectified in the director's cut.
* HeroicSacrifice: Dagonet and Lancelot die protecting others.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Arthur is closest to Lancelot.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: Bishop Germanius, who is actually a saint, and the Saxon chiefs Cerdic and Cynric. Cerdic was the leader of the West Saxons and is considered the founder of the English kingdom of Wessex.
* IHaveNoSon: Played with. Cerdic disowns his son for his failure. But still keeps him back when sending in the remains of his troops into an obvious trap.
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: Subverted. When the Woads ambush Arthur and his knights they shoot arrows at them and no one gets hit. Merlin had ordered not to harm them.
* InNameOnly: Granted that the film is not a straight adaptation of the legends, the choice of knights still feels like this. For instance, Galahad is supposed to be Lancelot's son. Only Lancelot is anywhere close to his legendary counterpart because of his closeness to Arthur.
* TheLastThingYouEverSee: When Arthur meets Cerdic before the battle.
--> '''Arthur:''' I came to see your face so that I alone may find you on the battlefield. And it will be good of you to mark my face, Saxon, for the next time you see it, it will be the last thing you see on this earth.
* LoveTriangle: Very much downplayed, Lancelot and Guinevere share some looks but the movie focuses on her and Arthur.
%%* ManipulativeBastard: Bishop Germanus.
* NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent: The knights are supposedly Sarmatian; the Sarmatians were an Iranian people living in the Balkans and eastern Europe. They all seemed to pretty much go for nondescript English accents, with the exception of Mads Mikkelsen (Danish), who plays Tristan, and never sounds anything BUT Danish.
* PosthumousNarration: The end of the film reveals this is the case with Lancelot.
%%* RedOniBlueOni: Bors' Red to Dagonet's Blue.
* {{Recut}}: There's a director's cut with deleted and rearranged scenes and more gore. In the prologue with young Lancelot, young Arthur is also shown talking with his mentor, the cleric Pelagius (played by Owen Teale).
* {{Reincarnation}}: At the end of the film, there's a few shots of running horses as Lancelot's voiceover says the Sarmatians believe their warriors get reincarnated as horses.
* ReverseGrip: How Arthur mortally wounds Cerdic with Excalibur. It's especially absurd since he's kneeling and facing the other way.
* SacrificialLion: Dagonet. It's the first on-screen indicator that not all the knights will survive till the end.
%%* TheStarscream: Cynric
* SpiritualSuccessor: Fits the bill at being one to ''Film/{{Gladiator}}''. The stories to both films are historical battle epics during the era of the Roman Empire, were originally conceived by David Franzoni, both have Hans Zimmer scores, and both center around a successful and respected military officer who while having never been to Rome holds an idealized image of it in his head.
* SuspiciouslySmallArmy: Arthur holds an entire fort with a mighty force of six men. Fortunately they get backup later on.
* TakingYouWithMe: Cynric fatally wounds Lancelot with a crossbow, but Lancelot kills him first.
* ThisMeansWarpaint: The Woads wear blue face and body paint (woad) in battle, a practice they take their name from.
%%* ThoseTwoGuys: Gawain and Gallahad.
* ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks: Lancelot kills Cynric like this, even as he is on the verge of death himself.
%%* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: Or so they claim.
* {{Warrior Prince}}ss: Guinevere is the daughter of Merlin, the chief of the Woads.
* WeddingsForEveryone: The film ends with Arthur marrying Guinevere.
* WorthyOpponent: After meeting Arthur, Cerdic mutters "Finally, a man worth killing."
* WouldHitAGirl: Cynric. Then again, they're in the middle of a big battle.
%%* {{Xenafication}}: Guinevere.
* YouHaveFailedMe: Subverted. Cynric fails his mission to capture the patrician Roman family that Arthur is transporting back to the south. His father King Cerdic notes that they have lost the enemy's respect and Cynric offers his life in return. Cerdic instead demotes his son and gives him a MarkOfShame by giving him a small scar on his cheek.
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