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"A KNIGHT'S TALE"
(2001) (Heath Ledger, Mark Addy) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Mild Heavy Mild Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Minor Mild Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate None Minor Mild Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Action/Adventure: A young squire, accompanied by a hodgepodge of friends, fakes his way into various 14th century jousting contests and then tries to win the hand of a fair maiden all while dealing with a nefarious count who's determined to defeat him.
PLOT:
William Thatcher (HEATH LEDGER) is a young squire who's always dreamed of being a champion knight who competes in prestigious jousting tournaments. Unfortunately, he was born the son of John (CHRISTOPHER CAZENOVE), a poor thatcher, and thus seems unlikely to leave his station in life.

He gets that chance, however, when his master dies and he brazenly takes his place in a tournament that he wins. Buoyed by his success, William tries to convince his two friends, Roland (MARK ADDY) and Wat (ALAN TUDYK), that they could help him train and become a champion. Knowing their place in life, they try to remind William that only knights can compete, and that they'd never get away with such a ruse.

That changes when they run into Geoff Chaucer (PAUL BETTANY), a write with some serious gambling debts who agrees to forge some entry papers for William in exchange for their help. Donning the name and guise of Ulrich von Lichtenstein of Gelderland, the unlikely team trains and enters William into a nearby tournament where he places second in the jousting contest to Count Adhemar (RUFUS SEWELL), the nefarious reigning champion.

Entranced by the lovely maiden Jocelyn (SHANNYN SOSSAMON), and equipped with new and revolutionary armor from outcast blacksmith Kate (LAURA FRASER), William continues on his quest to become champion of his sport. As he continues to woo Jocelyn and has a chance meeting with Colville (JAMES PUREFOY), a.k.a. Edward, the Black Prince, William does what he can to make sure that he can defeat Adhemar upon their next competitive meeting.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Since it's obviously directly aimed at teenagers, it's a good bet many of them will want to see it after being exposed to the film's marketing efforts.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For action violence, some nudity and brief sex-related dialogue.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • HEATH LEDGER plays a young 14th century squire who decides he can change his predetermined station in life through courage, skill and a forged identity of being a knight. Accordingly, he competes in various tournaments under an assumed name, uses some profanity and apparently fools around and/or has sex with Jocelyn.
  • MARK ADDY plays his longtime friend and assistant who helps him carry out that ruse.
  • ALAN TUDYK plays another friend who helps pull off their ruse, although he's the naysayer of the bunch.
  • RUFUS SEWELL plays a conceited Count who looks down on William and goes so far as to cheat in his attempt to defeat him while jousting.
  • SHANNYN SOSSAMON plays the fair maiden who's sweet on William and vice-versa and drives him crazy with her romantic demands of him.
  • PAUL BETTANY plays the famous writer with a gambling problem who agrees to help William enter the jousting competitions by faking his royal pedigree.
  • LAURA FRASER plays the young blacksmith who becomes part of William's team and forges his armor.
  • CHRISTOPHER CAZENOVE plays William's father who encourages his son to be whatever he wants to be.
  • JAMES PUREFOY plays a knight who competes against William and later helps him out of a fix.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this action/adventure film that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of several uses of the "s" word, while other expletives and a few colorful phrases are also used. A song during the closing credits has some sexually related lyrics, while some non-explicit, sexually related dialogue occurs during the film. A young man and woman make out in his bed, and it's somewhat implied that they have sex but we don't know this for sure. A man's bare rear end is seen on several occasions (in a nonsexual context).

    Violence consists of jousting and sword-fighting related activity occurring during competition, where various contestants are hit rather severely with lances (that splinter upon contact and knock various riders from their horses). A few people are injured during such moments (with some mildly bloody results), while some other non-sports related fighting occurs (various punches). Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes (including the hero who forges/fakes his identity) and a few miscellaneous characters drink.

    Should you still be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for anyone in your home who may want to see it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings for more specific examples of what's present and occurs during it.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see people drinking what's presumably ale.
  • It sounds like a man walking by a scene is hawking wine.
  • Some people drink wine in a tavern of sorts.
  • Chaucer tells a person he's defeated in gambling to have a drink on him.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • William pulls some nose plugs made of cloth from his nose and gives them to Roland for the smell coming from their dead master (seen still in his armor and propped up).
  • In the background of a shot, we see a dead person hanging from a gallows, and another apparently dead person in a small cage.
  • After a jousting run, Adhemar pulls a splinter from his armor and it has a tiny bit of blood on it.
  • William has a bruise on his face from being hit there (on his armor) by a lance.
  • Chaucer has a tiny bit of a bloody nose after being punched.
  • We see a small, bloody hole in William's armor after he pulls the broken end of a lance from it (we later see a tiny bit of blood on his shirt as well).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • William, his friends and Chaucer set up a ruse where William acts like a nobleman to enter competitions.
  • Count Adhemar has a condescending attitude toward William and during one of their contests, he illegally uses a lance with a sharpened rather than blunt edge to compete against and subsequently wound William.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • The various jousting scenes - especially ones where William seems injured or in danger of being injured or killed - may be unsettling or suspenseful to some younger viewers. The same holds true for the brief sight in one scene of a dead person hanging from a gallows, and another apparently dead person in a small cage.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Spears: Carried by guards.
  • Swords/Lances: Used during various competitions to battle others, but done mainly in the name of "sport" rather than trying to harm or kill the opponents (except for Adhemar who tries to do that to William).
  • Dagger: Briefly held on Chaucer by William.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "I don't give a witch's t*t" (or something similar sounding), "Oh, jeez," "You sound like an idiot," "Hell yes," "Shut your mouth," "Pissed," "Gave them hell," "God, I'm good" and "Dirty son of a bitch."
  • If kids have access to horses (or dirt bikes, bicycles, etc.), there's the remote possibility they could try to imitate the jousting scenes.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A few instances of dramatic music play in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • The AD/DC song, "You Shook Me All Night Long" has sexual connotations/innuendo throughout it, including lyrics such as "Knocking me out with those American thighs," "She told me to come, but I was already there" and "Cause the walls start shaking, The earth was quaking, My mind was aching, And we were making it and you... Shook me all night long" along with 1 use of "damn."
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 4 uses of the "s" word, what sounded liked 1 slang term for breasts ("t*t"), 4 damns, 2 hells, 1 S.O.B., and 2 uses each of "For God's sakes" and "Oh God" and 1 use each of "God" and "Swear to God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • William, Roland and Wat encounter Chaucer walking along, completely nude (we see several views of his bare butt - from behind and the side as he sits on the ground, but we don't see any explicit full frontal shots).
  • We see Chaucer's bare butt in another scene (after he's literally lost the clothes off his back due to gambling).
  • As Chaucer gives a grandiose introduction to William before a contest, he states that William is the "protector of Italian virginity."
  • Jocelyn wears an outfit that's somewhat transparent that shows part of the inside of her breasts/cleavage through the material.
  • Jocelyn asks William what he'll be wearing to another contest banquet and he sarcastically replies "nothing." She then amusedly states that they'll cause quite a sensation since she'll be dressing to match him (but such nudity doesn't occur).
  • As William tries to write a letter to Jocelyn, one of the others states that he should say something about her breasts (which Kate then comments are not that impressive). Later, when asked by her to recite some poetry, William mentions her breasts being below her throat (or something along those lines).
  • When William asks what Jocelyn wants (by her requesting that he lose to prove his love to her), someone else mentions that she wants what other women want, which is proving that their legs were not uncrossed for nothing (presumably referring to sex).
  • Jocelyn goes into William's tent, which Chaucer sees and causes him to state to himself, "Bed him well." She then climbs onto his bed where he's under the covers. They then make out, but we don't see what else, if anything, happens between them.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We see a flashback to William and his father parting ways when the latter leaves the boy (at a young age) with a knight so that he'll have a better upbringing and life.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • William's belief that people can change and become something more than what their birth status dictates.
  • The "contemporary" soundtrack and some such dialogue added to this period piece.
  • Gambling addiction (what Chaucer has).
  • Kate being a strong and independent working class woman in the 14th century.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Throughout the movie, there are many scenes containing shots of contestants being hit with lances or knocked from their horses while jousting, including shots to armor-covered chests and faces where the wooden lances splinter upon the severe impact. In another such instance, a contestant is knocked from his ride that then lands on him as they also knock down a fence.
  • Wat repeatedly kicks the armor encasing their dead master, trying to get him to wake up.
  • In the background of a shot, we see a dead person hanging from a gallows, and another apparently dead person in a small cage.
  • Roland and Wat tackle William to get their money from him, with Wat apparently biting William on the hand to get his.
  • William briefly holds his dagger on Chaucer upon first meeting him.
  • Upset at Chaucer regarding his gambling debt, Wat grabs him around the neck and punches him several times.
  • We see several sword fights during the competition where contestants hit others on their armor.
  • Chaucer rushes up and pushes Wat down. Later, Wat punches him in the face when Chaucer tells him that he follows (as in dancing) like a girl (while all of them try to teach William how to dance).
  • Kate and the others use something akin to a large battering ram to test her new armor for William and thus hit him in the chest (while he wears that armor) with the large device and it knocks him backwards but he's unhurt.
  • A person smacks/hits another person.
  • Visiting William in jail, Adhemar backhands and repeatedly punches William (who has his hands tied to a log/beam across his shoulders).
  • While William is in the stocks, a little boy runs up and smacks him on the head. Various people in the crowd then throw vegetables and the like at William and his friends who are trying to defend him.
  • During a jousting competition, Adhemar uses a sharp rather than blunt lance that then impales and breaks off into William's armor and body (he's injured, but survives).



  • Reviewed April 19, 2001 / Posted May 11, 2001

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