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A 1995 film that reinterprets Arthurian mythology. King Arthur (Sean Connery) has spent his entire life bringing justice to the land and wants more than anything else to marry Guinevere and enjoy a peaceful retirement. Despite genuinely caring for him, Guinevere (Julia Ormond) feels it to be her duty to marry him, and its clear that she has a problem with letting obligation make her decisions for her, instead of her heart. Lancelot (Richard Gere) is a wandering mercenary, making as few ties as possible because his family and village were destroyed in the wars. When these three collide, will they save Camelot from its latest threat or doom it?

Tropes used in First Knight include:


  • Arrows on Fire: King Arthur's troops make use of these.
  • Big No: Lancelot when he sees the barricaded church and fears the inhabitants have been murdered, Guinevere as Arthur is fatally wounded during the battle with Malagant.
  • Caught in the Rain: Lancelot and Guinevere, after he rescues her from Malagant.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: Arthur dies in the end, leaving Guinevere and Lancelot free to be together.
  • Demythtification: While it's still very much a medieval-style fantasy and no real-world places like Britain (or England) are ever mentioned, there is no Merlin or any other magic elements from the legends. Arthur's sword, while shiny, is not said to be "Excalibur".
  • Distressed Damsel: Guinevere, pretty much for the entirety of the film.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Welsey Wyndham-Pryce is one of the minor knights.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Arthur insists on trying Guinevere and Lancelot in public and inviting the entire city, leaving himself vulnerable to Malagant's invasion. On the other hand, Malagant relishes the chance to humiliate Arthur in front of the entire kingdom, only to have to contend with infuriated populace when Arthur rallies them to fight back.
  • Honor Before Reason: After catching Lancelot and Guinevere in an embrace (ironically, she had been completely faithful to Arthur and was merely giving Lancelot a good-bye kiss), Arthur bluntly declares, "As a man, I may forgive. As a king. . .", then declares that two will be tried for treason, in public, lest the people think that he is showing favoritism or leniency that he would never have extended to anyone else, though one can't help but wonder if he also wants to publicly humiliate them for their betrayal.
  • I Gave My Word: Her exact words as Guinevere tells Lancelot that she already promised to mary Arthur.
  • May-December Romance: Arthur is 35 years older than Guinevere, though such age differences were probably quite common in those days.
  • Meaningful Name: The villain is named Prince Malagant. It's hard not to notice how similar that is to the word "malignant".
    • Although to be fair, "Maleagant" has appeared in Arthurian legend since the late 12th century.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Should go without saying for Sean Connery, but this totally applies to Richard Gere.
  • Plummet Perspective: When the evil knight Malagant imprisons Guinevere above the oubliette, he tosses a torch in to hint at her fate should she try to escape. The light of the torch disappears into the gloom... but we never hear it hit the ground.
  • The Social Darwinist: Malagant constantly gives speeches about how "the strong rule the weak".
  • Standard Hero Reward: The end has the mortally wounded King Arthur inexplicably hand over the royal sword and rulership of Camelot to Sir Lancelot who, before then, was a roving entertainer who fought people in town squares for money. Earlier on, Arthur had knighted Lancelot for rescuing Guinevere over Lancelot's (and the Round Table Knights') protestations. So he gives his Kingdom (and his soon-to-be widow) over to somebody who he barely knows, who had fallen in love with his wife, and who has no desire or ability to rule.
    • As the film progresses, we see Lancelot's development. Towards the end, after a major battle, he decides to leave Camelot because he finally understands what it means and does not wish to destroy it by continuing to pursue Arthur's wife. Additionally, his insistence on taking the blame and willingness to sacrifice himself for Guinevere's sake demonstrates to Arthur how much he genuinely loves and respects all three, despite his previous actions.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: Malagant lowers a bridge, marches Guinevere over to a ledge, then raises the bridge, trapping her within "walls of air."
  • White Stallion: Guinevere, Lady of Leonesse snd Queen of Camelot, is the only rider whose horse is white.