Knights of the Round Table (1953)

B SDG Original source: National Catholic Register

A conventional but fairly solid adaptation of the King Arthur legend, Knights of the Round Table benefits from its colorful pageantry and strongly Christian milieu, including a royal Catholic wedding and a transcendent moment of revelation involving the Holy Grail.

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1953, MGM. Directed by Richard Thorpe. Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner, Mel Ferrer, Anne Crawford, Stanley Baker, Felix Aylmer.

Artistic/Entertainment Value

Moral/Spiritual Value


Age Appropriateness

Kids & Up*

MPAA Rating


Caveat Spectator

Stylized battle and swashbuckling violence; romantic complications that could be confusing to children, though placed in a moral context.

The story starts a bit stiffly with the tale of Arthur’s rise to power, beginning with the adult Arthur (Mel Ferrer) and rival Mordred (Stanley Baker) meeting at the sword in the stone with their respective advocates, Merlin (Felix Aylmer) and Morgan le Fey (Anne Crawford). Things improve with the arrival of Lancelot (Robert Taylor), who even before meeting Arthur is willing to die for him and his ideals of chivalry, courtesy, and virtue.

The romantic triangle of Lancelot, Guinevere, and Arthur is handled with sufficient delicacy and high-mindedness for family audiences. In this retelling of the story, Lancelot and Guinevere have feelings for one another that precede Guinevere’s marriage to Arthur, but both are loyal to Arthur and to the moral principles Camelot represents, and there is no wrongdoing between them. Despite the heroes’ pious devotion to duty and virtue, a tragic turn of events cannot be avoided, but the ideals of Camelot and Christendom are affirmed in the edifying dénouement.

Action, Adventure, Arthuriana, Romance