A Knight’s Tale

Year: 2001
Directed By: Brian Helgeland
Written By: Brian Helgeland


I feel the need to begin this one with a disclaimer; I know it’s a silly movie.  It came out when I was in high school and despite the fact that at the time I was already established as a movie snob I still liked it.  After all, this movie was specifically made for people my age and although my instincts told me to hate it I still became enamored with the fun of the film.  There is nothing serious about this movie but that is obvious from the very beginning when the crowd at the joust is chanting a Queen song.  I liked that they blended classic rock and contemporary comedy with the medieval theme and I think this movie is great for just sitting back and enjoying from time to time.

This movie has a great cast and I think they all have great chemistry that only makes their performances better.  Heath Ledger was a terrific actor that died much too young.  He was just coming into his own as an actor and had he lived might be one of the most sought after leading men of the day.  When this movie came out he was just beginning to really break out.  He had burst onto the scene with 10 Things I Hate About You and then co-starring with pre-crazy Mel Gibson in The Patriot. This movie was his first leading role and I think he was a great choice.  It’s a movie made for his target audience at the time which was specifically the age I was when the movie came out.  His entourage in the movie was made up of great actors as well and he had great chemistry with them.  This was the first movie I had ever seen Paul Bettany in and I really think he stole every scene he was in.  He brought life to what might have otherwise been a dismal movie and I have been a big fan ever since.  His career hasn’t been as big as I think it should be and that continues to confuse me. However I think Bettany is very talented and would really like to see more of him.  I think Alan Tudyk is very funny, especially in this film.  He plays the dumb guy that is quick to anger and I think he is hilarious.  When he is threatening Bettany with violence if he betrays them and can’t even find words to describe what he will do to him I laugh every time.  “PAIN, lots of pain!” is all he can say and I think it’s so funny.  Re-watching the movie this time I specifically spent a lot of time watching Mark Addy.  I like Addy and think he has been great in many movies but it’s funny to look back and watch him in a role like this after seeing him play King Robert on HBO’s Game of Thrones I thought Addy was excellent in that part and it’s interesting to see him in such a different role.

As for the other actors in this film I think Rufus Sewell was good enough as the bad guy.  I do think he is the weakest of all the actors in the movie but maybe it’s just because he is playing the guy nobody is supposed to like. He has that creepy eye thing going on that makes him a good villain, I can relate to his problem as my eyes tend to look the same way once I have had a few too many drinks. One thing I am still curious about twelve years later is “what’s up with Shannyn Sossamon?” This was her first role in a film and I thought the sky was the limit for her afterwards.  I don’t know that she does anything really flashy acting wise but she is such a beautiful woman I figured we would see her all over the place in time. Sadly it hasn’t happened and I don’t know why.  She is still out there but hasn’t done anything really significant in the longest time. Barely worth mentioning is the role of James Purefoy who has a small but significant role in the film.  I only really think he is worth mentioning because he is part of The Following right now and that’s gotten plenty of buzz.

This movie makes a lot of references to The Canterbury Tales but this is not The Knight’s Tale from the collection of stories.  However I still like the references because when the movie came out I was an English 4 Honors class and we spent a lot of time going over the work of Geoffrey Chaucer.  I like that Bettany plays the part of Chaucer and that he mentions immortalizing the summoner and the pardoner in fiction.  Which of course, anybody familiar with the work of Chaucer will remember those two were immortalized as wicked men. Though nothing about this movie is based in fact other than references to Chaucer and the Black Prince of Wales they did loosely make an effort.  There is chapter of Chaucer’s life in which nobody really knows what he was doing and in this story we are seeing what the writer imagined he might have been doing.  Totally fiction but something fun to play with as a writer and a lot of fun to watch as a viewer.

This movie received mixed reviews when it came out specifically because of its use of contemporary classic rock and 70’s style.  I think that was part of what made the movie so much fun though and I still enjoy watching it.  I might be partial to the movie because of my age when it came out but I still think there is plenty to enjoy about this one today. You can’t take it too seriously or you are doomed.  It’s worth your time because it gives us a chance to see an actor that we can’t see anymore and because Paul Bettany was really exceptional. This movie is a lot of fun and if you get an opportunity to see it you should hang out with it for a while and enjoy.


I have always liked this movie. I think it’s nice to have a movie that is set in this time period and is a funny take on it instead of serious one. I really miss that guy, Heath Ledger. He was so attractive and one hell of an actor.


This isn’t a horrible poster. I don’t think that you really know what the movie is about at all, but not really in a good way. I just feel like the poster is trying to capitalize on Ledger’s beauty. The typography is nice, but not really Knight-like at all. I definitely like the movie more than this poster.

NEXT MOVIE: Kung Pow: Enter the Fist (2002)


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