First Knight

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3 1/2

Content: +3

The legend of Camelot, a fantasy medieval kingdom ruled by King Arthur, is one of English literature's most famous stories. This new film about King Arthur's Camelot and his knights of the round table is much more dramatic than the classic musical "Camelot." A middle-aged King Arthur (Sean Connery) plans to marry Lady Guinevere of Leonesse (Julia Ormond) and live peacefully and happily ever after. While Guinevere is traveling from Leonesse to Camelot for the wedding, her party is attacked by the evil knight Malagant (Ben Cross). Guinevere is gallantly rescued by a wandering rogue, Lancelot (Richard Gere), who then leads her party safely to the anxious king. What young, beautiful maiden wouldn't fall in love with such a gallant, brave and handsome Lancelot? Arthur's dilemma is that he readily acknowledges that Lancelot has knightly qualities and accepts him as such, which changes Lancelot. But the kindly, gentle king also loves Guinevere, and is crushed when he realizes her feelings for Lancelot. The laws of Camelot demand that the two young lovers must be tried as traitors. FIRST KNIGHT is beautifully filmed, with scenes of the English countryside, battles of epic proportions and breath-taking special effects. Even some of the battle scenes are beautiful, with moonlight reflected off thousands of knights' armor, and hundreds of flaming arrows are shot into the darkness. All of these elements combined make for outstanding entertainment.

Virtues such as brotherly love, generosity, honor, courage and service to others are extolled. Christianity is shown in a favorable light. For example, Arthur prays before each meeting of the Round Table, and Lancelot spends the night in prayer before he is knighted. One sexually suggestive remark made by Lancelot is to protect Guinevere. However, this is a legend about the war between good and evil, so it contains much violence. There are warring armies, hand-to-hand sword fights, burnings of villages, people run through with weapons, torture chambers, frightening escapes and other scenes of brutality and carnage. The script is void of any crude, obscene or profane language, and there is no hint of sexual misconduct. It is a shame FIRST KNIGHT is too graphically violent for children under 12. Though the violence is intense, it does not seem exploitive and is an integral part of the drama. With this in mind, we feel FIRST KNIGHT's messages of integrity, sacrifice and honor make it appropriate for mature teenagers and adults.

Preview Reviewer: Margaret Reid
Columbia Pictures, 10202 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: None

Violence: Many times - Moderate and Severe (massive battles, brutality and carnage, hand-to-hand sword fights, torture chambers, stabbings, villages burned)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (Lancelot makes suggestive remark to protect Guinevere; evil knight rips maiden's outer garments; passionate embrace)

Drugs: None

Other: Christianity treated positively; king and knights pray

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Older teenagers and adults

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