Arthurian Legend TV Shows & Movies to Watch After Cursed
The lore and legend of King Arthur go back so far in time that it's easy to assume the was a real historical figure. Over the centuries the Arthurian myth has been constantly re-imagined, and in the age of television and movies, King Arthur's story is remade every few years. The Netflix series Cursedis the latest take on the epic tale and does so centering the story on Nimue, a character whose been underused in modern adaptations.
The Netflix original is not the first nor last attempt at taking on one of the most famous stories ever told. TV, movies and musicals have each taken their turn at re-telling the simple yet still-inspiring tale. So, for those who've finished Cursed, here are some other shows and films based on Arthurian Legend.Click the button below to start this article in quick view. Start now
The Sword in the Stone
The most famous animated adaptation of Arthurian legend is Disney's 1963 adaptation of the popular novel The Once and Future King. While the scene of young Arthur pulling the sword from the stone is an iconic moment, The Sword in the Stone is a forgotten Disney animated feature that was released near the end of their golden age. If the premise isn't enough to sell you, watch it just to look at Merlin's appearance, as animator Bill Peet claimed to have modeled him after of the man himself, Walt Disney.
The 1960 Broadway musical based on the Arthurian legend starred Richard Burton and Julie Andrews, but its place in history is tied in with the legacy of John F. Kennedy. In the 1967 film adaptation, acting legends Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave fill in the big shoes of Burton and Andrews. While the movie has gorgeous costumes and sets, it falls short at becoming one of the definitive movie musicals of the 1960s. Nevertheless, it's still worth checking out how a King Arthur story can be adapted into a musical.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Ironically the most popular and beloved adaptation of King Arthur lore is the one that parodies it. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is considered the pinnacle of Monty Python's legacy and is still quoted and referenced to this day. In order to fully appreciate the comedy and gags in Holy Grail, however, one should consider watching the rest of the King Arthur movies and shows.
The most well-received of the non-parody Arthurian movies is by far the 1981 fantasy cult classic Excalibur. When reading about the un-sanitized Arthurian legend it can be as pulpy as Game of Thrones with incest and messy medieval politics. Viewers who uncover this underrated '80s fantasy flick will also get to with young Liam Neeson and Patrick Stewart in supporting roles. But the biggest treat is seeing Dame Helen Mirren as Arthur's wickedly seductive half-sister, Morgana.
Clive Owen, Keira Knightley and Ian Gruffudd were all bankable draws in 2004 and were cast as the three iconic characters in Arthurian lore. A year after the first Pirates of the Caribbean film was released, producer Jerry Bruckheimer attempted another historical action blockbuster. This film attempted to take the King Arthur story and treat it as if it was an actual event in history. Although the movie didn't receive critical praise, it did its own video game.
Merlin, King Arthur's wizard mentor, has a defining character trait of being very old. But this 2008 BBC mini-series titled Merlin shows the wise mage as a teenager. Before fantasy TV shows were big-budgeted epics, Merlin was a simpler but fun origin story on one of the most important characters in Arthurian lore. And if any more convincing to give this show a watch, John Hurt voices a dragon in every episode of the show.
In the same year Game of Thrones first premiered, Starz attempted their version of a gritty medieval fantasy with Camelot. Like the 2004 King Arthur movie, Camelot attempts to add gritty realism to the Arthurian story. The eternally underrated Eva Green plays Arthur's half-sister Morgan as he feuds with the young King, played by Y.A. star Jamie Campell Bower. The underrated Josephine Fiennes also appears as a younger, edgier Merlin. Unfortunately, Camelot was canceled after only one season, while HBO's medieval fantasy took off and running.