First Knight (DVD)

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First Knight (DVD)

First Knight is a 1995 medieval film based on Arthurian legend, directed by Jerry Zucker. It stars Sean Connery as King Arthur, Richard Gere as Lancelot, Julia Ormond as Guinevere and Ben Cross as Malagant.

The film follows the rogue Lancelot s romance with Lady Guinevere of Leonesse, who is to marry King Arthur of Camelot, while the land is threatened by the renegade knight Malagant. The film is noteworthy within Arthurian cinema for its absence of magical elements, its drawing on the material of Chrétien de Troyes for plot elements and the substantial age difference between Arthur and Guinevere.


King Arthur of Camelot, victorious from his wars, has dedicated his reign to promoting justice and peace and now wishes to marry. However, Malagant, a former Knight of the Round Table, desires the throne for himself.

Lancelot, a vagabond and skilled swordsman, duels in small villages for money. He attributes his skill to his lack of concern whether he lives or dies. Guinevere the young ruler of Lyonesse, decides to marry King Arthur out of admiration and for security against Malagant, who has been raiding local villages under the guise of upholding the law. While traveling, Lancelot chances by Guinevere s carriage on the way to Camelot, and spoils Malagant s ambush meant to kidnap her. He falls in love with her, but she refuses his advances. Though Lancelot urges her to follow her heart, she remains bound by duty. She is subsequently reunited with her escort.

Later, Lancelot arrives in Camelot and successfully navigates an obstacle course on the prospect of a kiss from Guinevere, though he instead kisses her hand. He also wins an audience with her husband-to-be, Arthur. Impressed by his courage and struck by his recklessness and freewheeling, he shows him the Round Table, symbolizing a life of service and brotherhood, and warns him that a man who fears nothing is a man who loves nothing .

That night, Malagant s henchmen arrive at Camelot and kidnap Guinevere. She is tied up and carried off to his headquarters, where she is held hostage. Lancelot follows, posing as a messenger from Camelot. He requests to see Guinevere alive before he delivers the message, then overpowers the guards and escapes with her. Once again, Lancelot tries to win her heart, but is unsuccessful. On the return journey, it is revealed that he was orphaned and rendered homeless after bandits attacked his village, and has been wandering ever since.

In gratitude, Arthur offers Lancelot a higher calling in life as a Knight of the Round Table. Amidst the protests of the other Knights (who are suspicious of his station) and of Guinevere (who struggles with her feelings for him) he accepts and takes Malagant s place at the Table, saying he has found something to care about. Arthur and Guinevere are subsequently wedded. However, a messenger from Lyonesse arrives, with news that Malagant has invaded. Arthur leads his troops to Lyonesse and successfully defeats Malagant s forces. Lancelot wins the respect of the other Knights with his prowess in battle. He also learns to embrace Arthur s philosophy, moved by the plight of villagers.

Lancelot, guilty about his feelings for the queen and loyalty to Arthur, privately announces his departure to her. Not able to bear the thought of his leaving, she finally asks him for a kiss. It turns into a passionate embrace, just in time for the king to interrupt. Though Guinevere loves both Arthur and Lancelot – albeit in different ways – they are charged with treason. The open trial in the great square of Camelot is interrupted by a surprise invasion by Malagant, ready to burn Camelot and kill Arthur if he does not swear fealty.

Instead Arthur commands his subjects to fight, and Malagant s men shoot him with crossbows. A battle ensues, and Lancelot and Malagant face off. Disarmed, Lancelot seizes Arthur s fallen sword and kills Malagant, who falls dead on that same throne he so desired. The people of Camelot win the battle, but Arthur dies of his wounds. On his deathbed, he names Lancelot his successor and asks him to take care of her for me – referring to both Camelot and Guinevere. The film closes with a funeral pyre raft carrying Arthur s body floating out to sea.


  • Sean Connery as King Arthur
  • Richard Gere as Lancelot
  • Julia Ormond as Guinevere
  • Ben Cross as Prince Malagant
  • John Gielgud as Oswald
  • Liam Cunningham as Sir Agravain
  • Christopher Villiers as Sir Kay
  • Valentine Pelka as Sir Patrise
  • Colin McCormack as Sir Mador
  • Alexis Denisof as Sir Gaheris
  • Ralph Ineson as Ralf
  • Stuart Bunce as Peter
  • Angus Wright as the Marauder
  • Rob Brydon as Man in crowd


Director Jerry Zucker, who also co-produced with Hunt Lowry, made First Knight as a follow-up to his Academy Award-nominated 1990 hit Ghost. Previously, he was primarily known for teaming with his brother David Zucker and with Jim Abrahams to create comedies such as Airplane! and The Naked Gun.

The script was written by William Nicholson. Adam Greenberg was in charge of cinematography, while production design was under John Box. The score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith. The film was edited and mixed by Walter Murch.

Rob Brydon played a non-speaking villager before he rose to prominence.


Filming was shot on location in Great Britain. Exteriors were done in Gwynedd, North Wales and in England around Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, with the wedding scene being shot at St Albans Cathedral. Interiors were completed at Pinewood Studios.


The critically acclaimed orchestral score for First Knight was composed and conducted by veteran composer Jerry Goldsmith. Goldsmith was hired as a last-minute replacement to other noteworthy film score veteran Maurice Jarre, who was hired to score the original three-hour cut, but as Jarre stated in a 1995 Film Score Monthly interview, he had four weeks to do 90 minutes and that was not enough time and declined the offer to score the film. As a result, Goldsmith had limited time to compose original music and was left with only three and a half days to record the entire score. A soundtrack was released 4 July 1995 through Epic Soundtrax and features ten tracks of score at a running time of forty minutes. Due to the shortness of the original release, bootleg versions began to appear in 2000. However, limited edition 2-CD (5,000 copies) soundtrack was released April 12, 2011 through La-La Land Records and features the complete score plus the original album tracks and additional alternate recordings.

Box office and reception

The film earned a domestic gross of $37,600,435 and $90,000,000 in foreign markets; overall, earning a combined take of $127,600,435 worldwide. It opened third in the United States with an opening weekend gross of $10,856,442 from 2,161 theaters behind Apollo 13 and fellow opener Species. It opened in the United Kingdom on the same day on 368 screens and was number one for the week with a gross of $2,451,612.

Based on 47 reviews, First Knight is rated at 43% at review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. The site s consensus states: 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. Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film two stars in his review, citing Connery and his performance along with the sets but stating that it paled in comparison to other medieval films released the same year such as Rob Roy and Braveheart (with First Knight coming out two months after the latter film), calling it thin and unconvincing compared to the other two, while also describing Gere as one who plays Lancelot with such insouciance that he doesn t seem serious enough to love. He doesn t have the psychic weight to be worth a kingdom.




Columbia Pictures Corporation; First Knight Prods. Ltd., Hunt Lowry, Jerry Zucker


Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Published Date


Age group
Rating MPA


Recording Studio

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
















2h 14min


Jerry Zucker


Lorne Cameron, David Hoselton, William Nicholson


Sean Connery, Richard Gere, Julia Ormond

Produced by

Hunt Lowry, Kathryn J. McDermott, Gil Netter, Eric Rattray, Janet Zucker, Jerry Zucker

Music by

Jerry Goldsmith

Cinematography by

Adam Greenberg

Film Editing by

Walter Murch

Casting By

Mary Selway

Production Design by

John Box

Art Direction by

Robert W. Laing, Giles Masters, Stephen Scott, Michael White

Set Decoration by

Malcolm Stone

Costume Design by

Nanà Cecchi

Makeup Department

Peter Robb-King, Jane Royle, Elaine Short, Jules Chapman, Caroline Greenough, Siân Miller

Production Management

Hunt Lowry, Alexander De Grunwald, Chantal Feghali

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Chris Carreras, Jamie Christopher, Sara Desmond, Robert Grayson, Cliff Lanning, Mark Layton, Terry Madden, Josh Robertson, Richard Styles, Richard Whelan, Arthur Wooster, Geoff Dibben

Art Department

Dave Coldham, Steven Michael, Simon Needham, Robert Park, Graham Patmore, Bob Walker, Jamie White, Dominic Ackland-Snow, Alex Aitken, Ted Ambrose, Martin Asbury, George Ball, Amanda Bernstein, Pierre Bohanna, Mick Chubbock, Dean Coldham, Peter Dorme, Tony Graysmark, Steve Harris, Alan Hausmann, Darren Holland, Michael Law, Peter Mann, Ginger McCarthy, Ron Nicholls, Ray Norris, Steve Payne, Jean Peyre, Graeme Purdy, Richard Roberts, John Rose, Bryn Siddall, Martin Smith, Julian Walker, David Warren, William Wells, Bradley Woodbridge

Sound Department

Ulrika Akander, Beth Bergeron, Noah Blough, Richard Burton, John T. Cucci, Alison Fisher, Christopher Flick, Gary Gegan, Matthew Iadarola, Laura P. Krasnow, Tricia Linklater, Ian MacGregor-Scott, Michael Magill, Cindy Marty, Thomas P. McNamara, John Morris, Walter Murch, Paul Parsons, John Samworth, Alicia Stevenson, David F. Van Slyke, Ed Callahan, Colin Charles, Larry Hopkins, John Hughes, Fred Peck III, Dennis C. Salcedo

Special Effects by

Gary Cohen, George Gibbs, Joe Bullen, Dave Chagouri, Jason Chalmers, Simon Cockren, Jim Davey, Paul Dimmer, Dan Frye, Terry Glass, Alan Hedgcock, Mathew Horton, Digby Milner, Cliff Wallace, David Watkins, David j Watson

Visual Effects by

Alan Church, Mitchell S. Drain, Dennis Lowe, Mark Nettleton, Robert Baldino, Nicholas Brooks, John Decker, Doug Ferris, Rocco Gioffre, José Granell, Kevin Harris, Ed Hawkins, Antony Hunt, Sharon Lark, Kim Libreri, Sue Rowe, Marc Scott, Joseph Thomas, Courtney Vanderslice, Pete Williams, Aviv Yaron, Craig Zerouni


Kim Billings, Georges Branche, Ken Buckle, Terry Cade, Graeme Crowther, Steve Dent, Jamie Edgell, Sarah Franzl, Joss Gower, Steve Griffin, Paul Heasman, Lyndon S. Hellewell, Paul Herbert, Nick Hobbs, Sy Hollands, Billy Horrigan, Rowley Irlam, Paul Jennings, Jazzer Jeyes, Vincent Keane, Dianne Kelly, Eddie Kidd, Simone Le Lievre, Les Maryon, Peter Miles, Gerard Naprous, Adrian O Neil, Nigel Oliver, Miguel Pedregosa, Eric Petch, Andreas Petrides, Dinny Powell, Gary Powell, Greg Powell, Nosher Powell, Dane Rawlins, José María Serrano, Lee Sheward, Mark Southworth, Terry Walsh, David Ware, Peter White, Nick Wilkinson, Riky Ash, Chris Carey, Marc Cass, Jonathan Cohen, Ray De-Haan, Tom Delmar, Nrinder Dhudwar, Mark Henson, Sy Hollands, Sean McCabe, Royston Munt, Robert Patton, Phillip Van Dyke, Steen Young

Camera and Electrical Department

Fred Brown, Chuck Finch, Philip George, Gordon Hayman, Martin Hume, Billy Merrell, Tim Ross, Micky Wilson, Robert Binnall, Paul Borg, Harry Eckford, Mark Rocky Evans, Kenny Groom, Scott Holland, Gifford Hooper, John Lake, Dean Morrish, Ian Murray, Mike Valentine, Sophia Wellington

Animation Department

Marianne I. van Abbe

Casting Department

Suzy Freeman

Costume and Wardrobe Department

Graham Churchyard, Ken Crouch, Gordon Harmer, Stephen Kill, Jo Korer, Marcus Love-McGuirk

Editorial Department

Dan Farrell, Dale E. Grahn, Derrick Mitchell, Joe Woo Jr., Kimberly Adams, Tom Barrett, Catherine Chase

Location Management

Allan James, Aron Clayton, Bill Darby, Teresa Darby

Music Department

Mark Beasom, Alexander Courage, Kelly Mahan-Jaramillo, Paul Salamunovich, Nancy Sulahian, Tom Boyd, Tom Brown, Daniel Gold, Jim Hoffman, Malcolm McNab, Arthur Morton, Conrad Pope, Emil Richards, James Thatcher, James Walker

Script and Continuity Department

Angela Allen, June Randall, Caroline Sax

Transportation Department

Hector Salomon, Mark Davies, Chico Hernandez, Barry Stevenson, Gerry Turner

Additional Crew

Bob Anderson, Susan d Arcy, Steve Dent, Simon Downes, Mark Ryan, Rebecca West, Charles Bodycomb, Dale Clarke, Laurence Edwards, David Hummel, Mark Ivie, Marianne Jenkins, Abbe Lanning, David Lanphier Jr., Zack Milan, Juanlo Prada Garrudo, Chris Warren, Pam Weaver, Heron White


Action, Adventure, Drama


Columbia Pictures, First Knight Productions









ImDb Rating Votes


Metacritic Rating


Short Description

First Knight is a 1995 medieval film based on Arthurian legend, directed by Jerry Zucker. It stars Sean Connery as King Arthur, Richard Gere as Lancelot, Julia Ormond as Guinevere and Ben Cross as Malagant.

The film follows the rogue Lancelot s romance with Lady Guinevere of Leonesse, who is to marry King Arthur of Camelot, while the land is threatened by the renegade knight Malagant. The film is noteworthy within Arthurian cinema for its absence of magical elements, its drawing on the material of Chrétien de Troyes for plot elements and the substantial age difference between Arthur and Guinevere.

Box Office Budget

$55,000,000 (estimated)

Box Office Opening Weekend USA


Box Office Gross USA


Box Office Cumulative Worldwide Gross



Based on legend,love triangle,arthurian legend,king arthur character,warlord