First Knight [1995]

1995 had already seen the box-office success of sword-wielding heroes in Rob Roy and Braveheart when along came this glossy revision of the Arthurian legend, in which Lady Guinevere (Julia Ormond) is torn between her love for the noble King Arthur (Sean Connery) and the passionate knight Sir Lancelot (Richard Gere). As the story opens, Guinevere's lands are under attack by the evil knight Malagant (Ben Cross), and she must choose between marriage to Arthur and the security of Camelot, or encouraging the affections of Lancelot, who has heroically rescued her from a potentially lethal attack. Anyone looking for meticulous medieval authenticity won't find it here, but director Jerry Zucker (Ghost) keeps the action moving with exuberant spirit and glorious production values. Even if you don't completely believe Richard Gere as a somewhat too-contemporary Lancelot, the performances of Ormond and especially Connery are effortlessly appealing. --Jeff Shannon

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