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Pendragon - suggested viewing

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I had a player ask for some suggestions he could watch to get a better understanding of the mood and themes and visuals of the timeframe for the GPC.

Other than the obvious Excalibur (1981) - what other suggestions do people have for TV or movies?

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I really enjoyed, in no particular order:

Black Shield of Falworth

Ivanhoe

Court Jester

Robin Hood

Camelot

Some of these are not absolutely in complete agreement, but all entail someone rising above to make things better.

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I like two French movies: Lancelot du Lac by Bresson (for the feel of the Downfall), and Rohmer's Perceval le Gallois, for a totally different experience, an adaption of the Conte du Graal. Both are an acquired taste. They are also much more faithful to the romances than anything in English.

A Knight's Tale is not Arthurian but is quality entertainment with an excellent ambience for tournaments. The modern music may put off some people, but it does give a sense of the common human enthusiasm we share with the people of the Middle Ages, if that makes sense.

The recent Tristan & Isolde isn't bad and is a (non-Arthurian) representation of that legend that's pretty accessible.

Parsifal from 1982 is pretty trippy but is an amazing performance. The Grail Quest is trippy however.

 

 

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Very good suggestions in above. Court Jester is actually one of my favorite movies of all time, and I am totally agreeing with Jeff about A Knight's Tale capturing the tournament atmosphere.

I might also add Merlin (1998), the three-part TV miniseries starring Sam Neill in the title role. Sure, it takes some liberties with the storyline, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

While not Arthurian, I would also suggest Lion in Winter, both the 1968 and 2003 versions. (The former is more theatrical and bigger budget, also shorter.) Sure, the family dynamic there is not quite Arthurian, even though Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine are often contrasted with Arthur and Guinever. Besides, they are simply very good, entertaining movies.

The War Lord (1966) is good for a more gritty take, suited for Uther and Anarchy Periods.

Speaking of Charlton Heston, El Cid (1961) is very good, too.

 

If we expand to books, I would suggest the Dragon Knight series ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Knight ). It is somewhat higher on magic, set on alternative 14th century England where magic and dragons exist, but the books are very entertaining to read. The main character (Jim Eckert), who is a modern man from USA now living in this word, occasionally bumps into different cultural assumptions of his medieval friends, which gives some insight on how a KAP knight might view things. :) (Alas, it also has medieval machinegun longbow in the form of a Master Bowman Davydd ap Hywel of Wales, but what can you do.) I am seriously thinking about adapting some of those stories into Pendragon adventures for our campaign. Also, in one of the books, they actually meet King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

 

 

Edited by Morien

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Most of the good movies have already been suggested. The thing isd there is a lot more bad Arthurian films, that will give the wrong ideas and are are best to avoid, than good Arthurian films that help with the atmosphere and give the right ideas. I mean Monty Python & the Holy Grail was a comedy and still did a better job of things than the vast majority of Arthurian films.

 

So be careful about what your players watch so they don't pick up the wrong ideas. 

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On 7/30/2019 at 10:17 AM, Hzark10 said:

I really enjoyed, in no particular order:

Black Shield of Falworth

Ivanhoe

Court Jester

Robin Hood

Camelot

Some of these are not absolutely in complete agreement, but all entail someone rising above to make things better.

The 50s Ivanhoe and the 82 Ivanhoe (what a cast) are my favorites.  The BBC miniseries wasn't as good in my opinion.  

Don't forget The Knights of the Round Table.  An excellent movie.

Then there is Knightriders.  

I also like Arn: the Knight Templar.

Edited by Percarde

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The 2011 Camelot TV series may be worth viewing, with Joseph Fiennes as Merlin and Eva Green as Morgan.

 

Edited by Mugen

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So. It might be a bit of a faux pas to suggest  "King Arthur (2004)"
It's got a kickass soundtrack, pretty visuals.
But, I'd actually suggest it a lot more for the recent revelation I just had: It's far closer to the story of Coel Hen, another British King of Legend! If only they had fixed that, it would have been a freaking amazing movie! And almost required viewing for historical Cumbrian games.

And it got my fellow Dane, Mads Mikkelsen, as a Scythian Samurai Steppenomad 😁
Just forget about Pendragon accuracy, and watch it for what has come before!

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I'd like to echo @jeffjerwin's recommendation of Lancelot du Lac (1974) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071737/ gritty, combat only shown from the waist down (saved money on armour) Excellent film poster.

My favourite though is the two part mini series - Mists of Avalon (2001) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0244353/ which is a good adaptation of MZB's novel. 

 

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Sword of the Valiant (1984)

Prince Valiant (1954)

The Legend of Prince Valiant (1991)

The Magic Sword (1962)

So, I guess Quest for Camelot (1991) is just a no go then?

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Last night whilst browsing Amazon Prime Video I stumbled across ‘Knights’, a German documentary. It describes knightly life, starting at the beginning, so, for example, we see knights in mail, as we would expect in early Pendragon. There’s three episodes, with English commentary and subtitles. At times the commentary feels a bit wooden, but that’s easily forgiven as it does a good job of explaining the historical milieu and the social structure. Part 1 tells the story of a a warrior becoming a knight and the responsibilities that brought him. 

Being German, it is of course about their historical knights rather than the Arthurian Romano-British ones, but I find it pleasantly refreshing to see them from a different perspective and flying different colours. And Arthur does get a mention in one of the part 2 cameos  

I did a YouTube search, and you’ll find a playlist here


Not sure I’ll get around to playing Pendragon, but if I do I’ll certainly send my players to watch this first. 

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On 8/3/2019 at 11:35 AM, KungFuFenris said:

And it got my fellow Dane, Mads Mikkelsen, as a Scythian Samurai Steppenoma

Unhappily, his Cerdic landed in the wrong side of the Wall for reasons... But yeah, I like his performance too.

Otherwise, the old LadyHawke is good too, especially the curse and the romantic mood.

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FUN FACT: There is an actual scene from Excalibur that is included in the GPC word for word. IIRC it's when "good ol'"* Uther decides to show off Excalibur and it's coolness. 

*Uther was an idiot and a terrible king.

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40 minutes ago, Redmoongodess said:

FUN FACT: There is an actual scene from Excalibur that is included in the GPC word for word. IIRC it's when "good ol'"* Uther decides to show off Excalibur and it's coolness.

Yep. And that is why in GPC Gorlois and Uther start off as enemies, whereas in HRB, they were friends/allies. It was Gorlois who encouraged Uther to charge the victorious Saxons at Mt. Damen, not Merlin, and the Ygraine incident happens in the following Easter Court. Granted, Excalibur is in good company, since Le Morte starts off with Gorlois and Uther antagonistic as well.

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11 hours ago, Redmoongodess said:

FUN FACT: There is an actual scene from Excalibur that is included in the GPC word for word. IIRC it's when "good ol'"* Uther decides to show off Excalibur and it's coolness. 

It's not exaclty world for word, but it is close. 

11 hours ago, Redmoongodess said:

*Uther was an idiot and a terrible king.

In the film he was, and he took a bit of a hit in KAP5. He's not so bad in the literature. He seems to be  a great general, and a decent king, who goes a bit overboard for Igraine. 

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38 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

He's not so bad in the literature. He seems to be  a great general, and a decent king, who goes a bit overboard for Igraine. 

I think it's helpful overall for the campaign (and Arthur's motivations) to make Arthur a great king (he tries but is uneven in the literature) and his father a pretty bad one.

It's also almost impossible for most female players I've run with to support Uther at all, and certainly his attitude toward Igraine can't be really disassociated (in our modern eyes) from his other acts of greed and selfishness. In order for him to act the way he did he had to check a whole handful of negative personality traits, all at once.

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Frankly I feel that a LOT of shit all of the major characters in Pendragon do are going to be seen as awful by most people with moral values. It's really something you're going to want to modify a lot as you play the game with people who aren't brutal warlords. I am surprised that Pendragon is the ONLY modern adaptation of the story of Arthur I've seen where drowning every baby born in May is mentioned at ALL. 

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On 12/17/2019 at 2:30 AM, Morien said:

Yep. And that is why in GPC Gorlois and Uther start off as enemies, whereas in HRB, they were friends/allies. It was Gorlois who encouraged Uther to charge the victorious Saxons at Mt. Damen, not Merlin, and the Ygraine incident happens in the following Easter Court. Granted, Excalibur is in good company, since Le Morte starts off with Gorlois and Uther antagonistic as well.

I never noticed this part of the timeline since I usually get bored when medieval politics pop into Pendragon. TY! Very interesting!

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