"Yeah, yeah, laugh it up. But when Patrick Stewart starts mind-controlling everybody, we'll SEE whose hat is silly!"


"Yeah, yeah, laugh it up. But when Patrick Stewart starts mind-controlling everybody, we'll SEE whose hat is silly!"

EXCALIBUR

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

EXT. MUDDY, OVERCAST ENGLAND

It is MEDIEVAL TIMES, and wizard NICOL WILLIAMSON is watching some RANDOM DUDES IN ARMOR ride around stabbing other RANDOM DUDES IN ARMOR. One of them rides up to him.

GABRIEL BYRNE

Hey, Nicol-

NICOL WILLIAMSON

Oh, it’s you, King Gabriel! Sorry, with how dimly-lit and murky this all is, I can barely tell what the fuck is going on.

GABRIEL BYRNE

Yeah, well anyway, what about that magic sword you promised me? This axe is no good, when I bash people with it it just makes a dull “clink” sound like I’m toasting their health or something.

NICOL WILLIAMSON

Fine, hang on a second and I’ll fetch it in a scene so brief and perfunctory that it’ll really undercut the mythic grandeur of Excalibur.

He pops out, gets handed a sword from a lake, then comes back and gives the sword to GABRIEL.

GABRIEL BYRNE

There, do you see this, rival duke Corin Redgrave? The Lady of the Lake has granted me Excalibur, making me king of all England! And I swear to Christ if you make the reference I just know you’re going to make-

CORIN REDGRAVE

Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony!

GABRIEL BYRNE

Ohhhh for fuck’s sake.

CORIN REDGRAVE

If I went around saying I was emperor just because some moistened bint lobbed a scimitar at me-

GABRIEL BYRNE

IF YOU SHUT UP NOW YOU CAN KEEP YOUR HALF OF ENGLAND.

CORIN REDGRAVE

Done! War over! Let’s celebrate at my castle, where I will show off my wife, who’s waaaay hotter than any woman you’ll ever have, ha ha. Ogle her! Ogle the director’s daughter!

KATRINE BOORMAN

Woooo, check out my sensual arm-waggling!

GABRIEL BYRNE

WANT! Hey Corin, any way I can fuck your wife without turning the war back on?

CORIN REDGRAVE

Nope. WAR BACK ON!

NICOL WILLIAMSON

For fuck’s sake you guys.

The FIGHTING RESUMES. One night CORIN leaves his CASTLE to take his army off NIGHT WARRING.

GABRIEL BYRNE

Sweet, this is my chance to get my leg over Katrine! Nicol, can you use your phenomenal cosmic powers to make me look like Corin so I can trick Katrine into sleeping with me?

NICOL WILLIAMSON

Ugh you know what, fine, maybe if you knock her up she’ll pop out a less shitty king. I call dibs, okay?

GABRIEL BYRNE

Whatever, take my first born, I just want to get my dick wet.

GABRIEL is magicked into CORIN and then storms into KATRINE’S BEDROOM, which she shares with daughter YOUNG HELEN MIRREN.

YOUNG HELEN MIRREN

Hey, that’s not my dad! According to my psychic powers, my dad just fell off his horse like a putz, landed on a random sharp thing and died!

(pause)

On second thoughts who needs that dead idiot for a father. Sure, you’re my dad now, whoever the hell you are.

GABRIEL BYRNE

Thanks, little girl! Now be quiet while I plow your mom while you’re right here in the room.

He SEIZES KATRINE, rips her dress open, and starts nuzzling at her exposed breasts.

KATRINE BOORMAN

To reiterate: my father is directing this movie. Just putting that out there.

Nine months later, KATRINE gives birth to BABY NIGEL TERRY.

NICOL WILLIAMSON

I’ll have that, thanks! Remember, the kid’s rightfully mine because Gabriel said so.

KATRINE BOORMAN

Erm, hello?! I’m the kid’s mother and I didn’t agree to anything! Don’t I have any say in this?

NICOL WILLIAMSON

Hmm, let me check.

(looks at watch)

Nope, it’s still medieval times I’m afraid.

KATRINE BOORMAN

Damnit!

NICOL leaves the castle carrying BABY NIGEL, but GABRIEL gets pissed about the whole thing and chases after him. Then GABRIEL is assaulted by some of CORIN’S bitter fans.

GABRIEL BYRNE

Argh, I’m fucked now! Better shove the magic sword into a stone so that it can only be retrieved by someone worthy!

(pause)

And by “worthy” obviously I mean “directly related to me”, because after all this is a monarchy, the dumbest fucking form of government ever invented.

He stabs EXCALIBUR into a BOULDER and then gets KILLED.

NICOL WILLIAMSON

Okay, so Gabriel’s dead, and now I want Baby Nigel to be raised by somebody else until the time is right for me to mentor him. And who better to pick than his mother, who is probably still screaming and crying for him right now some random strangers. Think fast, foster family!

(tosses baby)

EXT. JOUSTING TOURNAMENT

Years later, BABY NIGEL has grown up into NIGEL TERRY, a squire at a jousting tournament.

NIGEL TERRY

Whoops, my master’s sword just got stolen! Better just grab the legendary Sword in the Stone instead.

(does)

There, getting the sword into then back out of the stone took this movie all of four minutes. Don’t know why it took that T.H. White hack a whole novel.

PATRICK STEWART

Holy shit that anonymous uneducated peasant took a thing out of another thing! Let’s immediately make him our national leader!

KEITH BUCKLEY

Well I think that’s kind of a dumb idea. Which somehow makes me the unreasonable one, apparently?

NICOL WILLIAMSON

(showing up)

Don’t you understand, Keith, Nigel is the son of King Gabriel, the selfish, short-sighted, power-mad idiot who thought with his dick! That makes him the obvious correct choice for supreme ruler!

KEITH BUCKLEY

Well I think we all know what this means.

PATRICK STEWART

War still on?

KEITH BUCKLEY

WAR STILL ON!

PATRICK and a bunch of OTHER KNIGHTS follow NIGEL, while KEITH and a bunch of OTHER OTHER KNIGHTS fight them!

KEITH BUCKLEY

I will never follow you, Nigel! You’re not even a knight!

NIGEL TERRY

Oh is that all? Well just knight me then! Here, you can use my sword, man trying to kill me.

He hands over EXCALIBUR, the SWORD OF POWER which is technically the ONLY THING that makes him KING.

KEITH BUCKLEY

Holy shit you’re so stupid and impulsive. Clearly you ARE King Gabriel’s son! WAR OFF FINALLY!

The fighting FINISHES, and there is MUCH REJOICING.

NIGEL TERRY

And relax, people, I’m going to be a good and wise leader, not an irresponsible, self-centred ass with impractical plans and stupid goals like my dad! Now go build me a huge castle made of SOLID SILVER.

EXT. RIVER

Years later, KING NIGEL and his KNIGHTS need to cross some BRIDGE, only to find it blocked by NICHOLAS CLAY, who is KICKING THE ASS of everyone who tries to get across.

NICHOLAS CLAY

None shall pass!

NIGEL TERRY

Look, buddy, why do you care if we go across to the other side? Are you protecting anything in particular?

NICHOLAS CLAY

Nope, I just want to beat up a bunch of guys to prove what a big man I am!

NIGEL TERRY

Fine then, I’ll use my magic sword to defeat you myself!

(breaks magic sword)

OH NO! By using the magic of the sword for petty selfish reasons, I have proven myself unworthy and the sword has been stripped from me! I only hope that, in time, there will be some way for me to regain-

LADY OF THE LAKE

Yeah no sweat, I just fixed it, here you go.

(tosses sword to Nigel)

NIGEL TERRY

(sighs)

Seriously, guys. "Mythic grandeur". Look it up. Anyway, Nicholas, for proving yourself a remorseless bully who does violence for the sake of doing violence, I think clearly you’re knight material. Welcome aboard!

NICHOLAS CLAY

Sweet! What do I get for being a knight? Do I get to have sex with that chick over there? That’d be awesome.

NIGEL TERRY

Who, Cherie Lunghi? She’s my fiancee.

NICHOLAS CLAY

Uh huh neat, so can I bang her?

CHERIE LUNGHI

Yeah, can he?

NIGEL TERRY

Well this doesn’t bode well.

NIGEL marries CHERIE, but she and NICHOLAS can’t stop making eyes at each other. Eventually, this pisses off knight LIAM NEESON.

LIAM NEESON

Damnit, Nigel! Don’t you see why Sir Nicholas avoids coming to Camelot as much as possible? He clearly has feelings for your wife!

NIGEL TERRY

So your big accusation against Nicholas is that he’s trying as hard as possible to NOT sleep with the queen?

LIAM NEESON

No, I think I’m claiming they’re actively having sex, without ever being within twenty miles of one another, somehow. So yeah, TREASON, TREASON EVERYBODY!

NIGEL TERRY

Ugh, I guess if you’re formally accusing her then we’ll have to launch an inquiry-

LIAM NEESON

No no no, we’re doing this the idiotic old-timey way. Which means I accuse her, somebody else says “nuh uh”, then that person and I have to fight to the death to see who’s right.

NIGEL TERRY

Fight Liam Fucking Neeson?! Um - well darn, as king I can’t personally get involved, what are you gonna do. You’ll just have to fight, uhhhh

(knights Paul Geoffrey)

This guy! There ya go.

CHERIE LUNGHI

Wow, way to keep me from getting beheaded. You’re so sleeping on the couch tonight.

But before PAUL has to fight LIAM, NICHOLAS shows up to do it HIMSELF. He WINS!

LIAM NEESON

I lose? Fuck this, losing sucks! From here on out I refuse to lose in a movie unless it’s to Batman, MINIMUM.

CHERIE LUNGHI

Thank you, Nicholas! That sure puts to rest those unfounded rumors that we were banging!

NICHOLAS CLAY

It did indeed!

(pause)

Soooo... wanna bang?

CHERIE LUNGHI

YES PLEASE!

(tears clothes off)

INT. SUBTERRANEAN LAIR

Meanwhile a grown-up HELEN MIRREN is pestering NICOL.

HELEN MIRREN

C’monnnn, tell me the super-secret all-purpose magic spell that pretty much does whatever you want it to.

NICOL WILLIAMSON

No! I don’t trust you, and consider you to be dangerous! Or I just have no respect for you. Or I am intrigued by your magical potential. Or I want to have sex with you. Our relationship is never really defined and keeps changing around from moment to moment.

Suddenly, an EARTHQUAKE starts!

NICOL WILLIAMSON

Oh no, Nigel must have found Cherie and Nicholas fucking each other, and then stabbed Excalibur into the spine of the dragon!

HELEN MIRREN

The... spine of the...??

NICOL WILLIAMSON

You know, the ground. Remember, this is a British fantasy movie from the eighties, which means lots of TRIIIIPPY SHIIIIIT, such as the world being a literal biological dragon.

HELEN MIRREN

Or me storing you in plexiglass!

She steals the EVERYTHING SPELL from NICOL, then encases him in a big block of STUFF.

HELEN MIRREN

Hey, this incomprehensible trippy shit is fun! I’mma go have an evil baby real quick, then how about we go HARD-CORE WEIRD for like forty-five minutes!

She turns into CHERIE, incest-fucks NIGEL and has his BABY, then a whole bunch of...just STUFF starts happening.

NIGEL TERRY

BLORP SOME LIGHTNING CAME OUT OF A WALL AND STRUCK ME AND NOW I HAVE OLD-MAN DISEASE

PAUL GEOFFREY

And now the land has turned barren and pestilent, Lion King style!

NICHOLAS CLAY

And I’m running away to become a hobo priest or something!

(leaves)

NIGEL TERRY

The Holy Grail will fix everything! Knights, just go randomly wandering around until you stumble onto it somehow!

PAUL GEOFFREY

Okay WHOOPS INSTEAD EVERYBODY BUT ME GOT EITHER DEAD OR MADE INTO A ZOMBIE SLAVE BY HELEN

HELEN MIRREN

I also hung a bunch of them from a tree like big clanky Christmas ornaments! And look, my baby’s like ten now, WHOOAA now he’s about eighteen, slow the fuck down movie!

PAUL GEOFFREY

Hey check it out I’m having a hallucination of the Grail! So now I’ll just take the Grail out of my hallucination and give it to Nigel SERIOUSLY WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON

He hands NIGEL the DREAM CUP and it makes NIGEL and ENGLAND all better!

NIGEL TERRY

There we go, now this narrative can start to make some kind of fucking sense again! Anyway, my incest son is raising an army against us. Assemble the knights and we’ll go fight him!

PAUL GEOFFREY

The knights? Didn’t they all die while the movie was going crazy?

NIGEL TERRY

Yeah well, who knows how much of that is even supposed to have happened.

INT. HELEN’S TENT

At the ENEMY CAMP, NICOL shows up in HELEN’S TENT.

NICOL WILLIAMSON

Hi Helen! I’m still plexiglassed, but I can visit people in their dreams, isn’t that cool? Anyway, I can see that you’ve been naughtily using your magic to retain your youth. Why you look exactly the same as you did before all that weird time-skip bullshit!

HELEN MIRREN

But so do Paul and Cherie, and Keith did too before he died, and Nicholas just kinda got dirty and grew a beard-

NICOL WILLIAMSON

But with YOU it’s because of ANTI-AGING MAGIC, okay? Which was kinda pointless because, seriously, do you have any idea how much aging Helen Mirren is going to need to do before she stops being bangable? Anyway, bet you can’t use the all-purpose spell to make fog!

HELEN MIRREN

Uh huh, and I bet YOU can’t rip your own dick off and feed it to a coyote. You don’t expect me to fall for that lame Puss-in-Boots trick, do you?

NICOL WILLIAMSON

The cunning trickster you’ve been established as being wouldn’t. But hey, this movie kind of gave up on consistent characterization a while ago.

HELEN magics up some FOG.

NICOL WILLIAMSON

Mwa ha ha, excellent, this will mean the battle will be in Nigel’s favor somehow! As well as being almost completely impossible to see!

HELEN MIRREN

And fuck, using up my magic like that means that I’ve reverted to my true age!

(peers into mirror)

My true age being... what, a billion years old? This doesn’t make any chronological sense, I should only be like fifty-

(killed by son)

Finally NIGEL’S ARMY attacks and a big BATTLE SCENE begins! A whole bunch of MIST swirls around, through which we get vague shots of random people clopping confusedly around on horseback.

A MURKY SHAPE

To be honest, it doesn’t look like the audience is missing much.

(slowly swings sword in another shape’s general direction)

A SLIGHTLY SHINIER MURKY SHAPE

Yeah, from what little we can see, this battle has choreography that would embarrass your average LARP session.

(bashes sword against other shape’s armor, causing other shape to immediately drop dead)

Eventually everybody has DIED somehow except NIGEL, PAUL, and NIGEL’S EVIL SON ROBERT ADDIE.

ROBERT ADDIE

You can’t defeat me, father! Helen gave me a suit of tacky golden armor which magically protects me from any weapon forged by man!

NIGEL TERRY

She gave you this to use in your showdown against a guy whose whole fucking deal is that he famously has a magic sword that wasn’t forged by man?

ROBERT ADDIE

Oh. Right. Well, that makes things harder for me. Oh, I know! If I make a clumsy, easily-avoidable lunge straight at your chest with my spear, do you think you could just stand there like a dope, not making any attempt to dodge or parry or anything?

NIGEL TERRY

What? Why would I-

(stabbed)

OH FUCK YOU! Fine then, how about I GRAB your spear and pull you helplessly towards me with it?

ROBERT ADDIE

(being dragged towards Nigel)

Oh shit, oh shit! If only there were some way I could, like, LET GO of the spear - wait a minute why the fuck don’t I just do that-

(Excalibur-stabbed)

Wow this was an anticlimactic fucking fight.

(dies)

PAUL holds NIGEL as he lays dying.

NIGEL TERRY

I’m done for, Paul. Any minute now a boat’s gonna come and take me to the Undying Lands, so before that happens I want you to take Excalibur-

PAUL GEOFFREY

Gasp! You want me, your purest knight, your last surviving knight, the guy who found the Holy Grail, to be king? I guess that makes sense.

NIGEL TERRY

LET ME FINISH. Take Excalibur and throw it away. Just dump it in a lake and the land can be kingless for a while. You’ll probably have to put up with a bunch more wars for a while, I dunno, but ONE DAY the fates will confer kinghood on another worthy soul! Just like they did with me, an incompetent fuckup, and my dad, a total asshole!

(dies)

PAUL GEOFFREY

Man, this country needs to figure out democracy quick smart.

END.

EXT. THE WEST

Meanwhile, many years later...

SETH MACFARLANE

Ha, I did it! You lose! To me, Seth MacFarlane!

(smarmy grin)

LIAM NEESON

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!

(dies)

This script was made possible thanks to the support of Patrons like [email protected].

If you'd like to support the site, please check out our Patreon page where pledging can earn you access to an ad-free version of the site, early access to scripts, exclusive scripts, and other cool shit.


Discussion