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Excalibur Blu-ray

United States
Warner Bros. | 1981 | 141 min | Rated R | Mar 08, 2011

Excalibur (Blu-ray)

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French: Dolby Digital Mono
Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono
Portuguese: Dolby Digital Mono
German: Dolby Digital Mono

English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German SDH, Czech, Danish, Finnish… (more)

50GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Region free

List price: $14.98, Price history

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Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Blu-ray rating
Video 3.8 of 53.8
Audio 2.9 of 52.9
Extras 2.1 of 52.1
Based on 16 user reviews

Movie appeal 



Excalibur Blu-ray delivers great video and mediocre audio in this enjoyable Blu-ray release

When a bold young squire slips the enchanted sword, Excalibur, from the stone where it was embedded, the golden age of chivalry and the Knights of the Round Table are born. But the magical kingdom of Camelot harbours evil ambition and Merlin's necromancy in this classic tale of King Arthur's legend.

For more about Excalibur and the Excalibur Blu-ray release, see Excalibur Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.

Director: John Boorman
Writers: John Boorman, Rospo Pallenberg
Starring: Nigel Terry, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Helen Mirren, Cherie Lunghi, Patrick Stewart

» See full cast & crew

Excalibur Blu-ray, Video Quality

  4.0 of 5

Plagued by production woes, shot under harsh conditions and overrun with a diffuse filmic fog, Excalibur -- now thirty-years old -- buckles beneath its burdens in nearly every scene. So much so that many modern filmfans will walk away from Warner's most recent release of the film disgusted; convinced that, by some miracle and ungodly budget, the studio could have transformed Boorman's fantasy into a dazzling high definition spectacle if only its restoration team had the wherewithal to do just that. So if I may, a spirited defense of Warner's fit and faithful 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer. Alex Thompson's misty palette isn't prone to primary pomp and circumstance (just visceral splashes of red and gold), but his earthy, deep-forest hues, gleaming steels, foreboding shadows and arcane greens prove to be quite striking. Skintones are lifelike on the whole as well, saturation is lovely and, all things considered, black levels are satisfying. Contrast and clarity are problematic -- fine textures frequently falter, softness abounds, haziness even more so, colors often grow murky, and dimly lit scenes are ghastly -- but overall detail, uneven as it may be, is rather pleasing. (Again, all things considered.) Edges are sharp and unsullied by egregious edge enhancement, closeups are surprisingly revealing (behold the majesty of Liam Neeson's fake beard), film grain is intact and unobtrusive, and only a handful of shots struck me as being over-processed (the aftermath of Arthur's battle with Mordred being the only outright eyesore among them). In fact, a careful analysis of Warner's efforts confirms just how extensive, nuanced and respectful Excalibur's restoration actually is, despite assumptions to the contrary.

On the technical front, the encode excels. Inherent crush, surges of grain and limited print blemishes appear, but none of it undermines the integrity of the presentation. Artifacting, banding and aliasing are held at bay, and there aren't any notable anomalies (other than those that stem from the film's original photography). Ultimately, Excalibur's transfer isn't going to leave anyone breathless or woo any cinephile who isn't a purist at heart. But its undying devotion to its source should be celebrated, not ridiculed, as it stays true to Boorman and Thompson's every intention, conjures up vivid memories of its theatrical presentation, and handily bests its DVD forbearer.

Excalibur Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  2.5 of 5

It's much more difficult to mount a defense of Excalibur's fatally flawed DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, a flat, erratic and frumpy catalog remix if there ever was one. Dialogue, though clear and intelligible on the whole, struggles with all manner of inconsistencies and distractions (minor as most may be); sound effects range from pointed and piercing to muddled and indistinct, sometimes in the course of the same scene; and dynamics are maddeningly fickle, raising the dead one moment and burrowing in the mud the next. LFE output isn't much better. The thunder of charging horses is occasionally reduced to a weak and sluggish rumble, castle sieges aren't afforded the raw power they deserve, and earthquakes, rock-splitting magic and mystical caverns are too nebulous to leave any sort of lasting impression. And the soundfield? The track may as well be a stereo mix (and an average one at that). Rear speaker activity is nearly non-existent, chaotic scenes are strangely front-heavy, immersion falls to the visuals alone, and the few effects that do flank the listener are feeble, fleeting and largely inconsequential. To be clear: yes, the track represents a marginal improvement over its standard DVD counterpart, yes, the condition of the original sound elements are to blame for some of the aforementioned issues, and yes, as thirty-year old mixes go, it isn't without its lossless charms (not entirely anyway). That being said, I strongly suspect a more meticulous and comprehensive high-dollar overhaul would go a long way toward resurrecting Excalibur from its sonic grave.

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Excalibur Blu-ray, News and Updates

Excalibur Blu-ray Announced - November 10, 2010

Warner Home Video has announced John Boorman's Excalibur for Blu-ray release on March 8, 2011. This adaptation of Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, starring Nigel Terry, Nicol Williamson and Helen Mirren, is widely acclaimed as one of the finest adaptations ...

Excalibur Blu-ray, Forum Discussions

Topic Replies Last post
Excalibur - March 8, 2011 368 May 27, 2014
Excalibur on Blu-ray? 2 Dec 06, 2007

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