Sword of the Valiant (1984)
Camelot - Der Fluch des goldenen Schwertes
El Caballero Verde
Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Gawain and the Green Knight
Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Nomination Year: 2009
SYNOPSIS:  The movie starts with an unnamed King lamenting that no Knight in his Court has done any deed even remotely worthy of valor. Suddenly, a weird pagan-looking guy on a big horse (The Green Knight, though he never calls himself that) rides into the King's hall. Since he's played by Sean Connery (during hiatus while otherwise filming Never Say Never Again) everyone takes notice. The Green Knight offers a game. Anyone can take a whack at his neck, but in return, he'll take a whack at theirs. None of the King's knights are brave enough to take up this strange challenge. The King is disgusted with the lot of them, and is about to take up the challenge himself when a squire (Gawain) offers to play the game. The Green Knight allows him a whack (literally), and since Gawain is played by Miles O'Keeffe, he has no trouble severing the neck. Unfortunately, The Green Knight is no mere mortal, and offers to let Gawain live one year, at which time he (the Knight) will take his (the Knight's) swing at his (Gawain's) neck. Unless, of course, Gawain can solve The Green Knight's four-line riddle. In recognition of this act, the King knights Gawain, and then the grand feast (interrupted by The Knight) resumes.

Sir Gawain, canonically, is the "Larry the Cable Guy" of the Knights of the Round Table. And even though this movie is really not all that congruent with the 14th-century poem from which the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight originates, Gawain is still pretty thick. The next morning, he rides out with his new squire, Humphrey (who had been the king's squire), on a grand quest to solve the Knight's riddle. They come across a unicorn, and what does Gawain do? He tries to shoot it so they can eat it. That doesn't work, so they enter a random tent that mysteriously appeared nearby. When they complain about how hungry they are, food appears. What are the odds?

When it's Morgan La Fey's tent, pretty darn good. The next morning, she sends them off to Lyonesse. Gawain kind of accidentally slays the guardian of Lyonesse (The Black Knight), and ends up going to Lyonesse (whose inhabitants are kind of upset that their guardian is dead), falling in love with a woman named Linet, and basically traipsing all over creation. There's a ring which grants its wearer Invisibility (and which is criminally underused). John Rhys-Davies makes an appearance as the murderous glutton Baron Fortinbras. There are wenches galore, and even a few winches. Plus one of the extras looks a lot like Tony Robinson ("Baldrick" from the British series Blackadder).

Gawain saves the day, of course, and keeps his head, even though his beloved must return to Lyonesse (oh! that Lyonesse...), so the movie ends on a bit of a downer. But after more than 100 minutes, darn near any ending is a good one (see Knight Riders for a film where this is not the case).


Now That's a Horse of a Different Color
Sir Gawain is lowered onto a dapple-grey horse. Then the horse walks outside, and it's a bright white horse. Then they continue on for a while, and it's a dapple-grey horse again.

Worst Special Effect

What is this? The Hall of Presidents?
Sir Gawain cuts off The Green Knight's head. But look! In fact, it's an animatronic green Sean Connery head that would give nightmares to the demonic reindeer from Santa Claus.

Actors/Directors of Note
Actor Claim to Fame
Miles O'Keeffe "Ator" in some films. Sometimes he spells it "O'Keefe." 
Sean Connery Said to be the best "James Bond," this guy aged very well, but sadly, he is not very picky about his parts -- he'll do any role, good or Bad 
Lila Kedrova Won Best Supporting Actress in '64 for "Madame Hortense" in Alexis Zorbas 
Peter Cushing One of the kings of B-Movie horror. Played "Grand Moff Tarkin" in Star Wars
John Rhys-Davies "Sallah" in Raiders of the Lost Ark; later "Arturo" on Sliders; even later, "Gimli" in the Lord of the Rings trilogy 
Director Claim to Fame
Stephen Weeks wrote Sword of the Valiant 

Kevin Hogan

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© 2011-2018 Bryan D. Cassidy, Greg Pearson, Matthew Quirk, and Kevin Hogan. All Rights Reserved.