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Comparison of King Arthur in History Vs. King Arthur in Hollywood

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The film King Arthur is a narration of the legend who leads the Britons in the fight against invaders from Saxon. The warrior leads the fight against the invaders through the assistant of a powerful sword a magical beard and knights in shining armor. The film is one of a kind as it is the only one to date that has explored the history of the warrior King Arthur. It paints a picture of the historical medieval period that has not been explored by many films. Hollywood has put a lot of effort into promoting the film as the true account of the legendary King Arthur. Many individuals however still believe that the narrative has a lot of myth in it and as such is not the true account of the story.


Artorious the roman general is in charge of the Sarmatians Calvary that is charged with executing the suicide mission through the order of the Roman government based in Britain. The Romans are almost withdrawing from Britain owing to the pressure mounted on them by the barbarians. The pope, however, sends a bishop to Artorius insisting that the knight have to go on a final mission to rescue the pope’s godson. Coincidentally, when the order for the last mission came, the Saxon invaders had just landed in Britain in troops of thousands of bloodthirsty men. The battles in the film are quite huge but bloodless. The uniqueness of the film is that it does not include a lot of speeches of freedom and equality required for any historical production in Hollywood. The film essentially tells the tale of a hero that all historians agree that arose during the Dark Age’s period. King Arthur in the film is represented as a warrior who effortlessly defended democracy and became popular for that. Any keen person in films can easily identify why King Arthur is an interesting subject for exploration by Hollywood filmmakers. King Arthur has been portrayed as a Celtic Folklore but not as a historical figure by many historians. Those who believe the legend of Arthurian, debate strongly about the king stronghold’s whereabouts.

Comparing King Arthur in Historical Events and King Arthur in Hollywood (2004)

The film essentially captures important details about King Arthur and his history but on many occasions, there are discrepancies between the history of the king and the tale told by the film. The discrepancies evidenced are what historians describe as details that the film got so wrong about the king Arthur. The film essentially is wrong about London being the main city in Britain as of that time. The Saxon invaders had invaded London and as such the current main city by then was called zirconium in Shropshire. Historians also disagree with the origin of King Arthur as described in the film to be Camelot. The film must have twisted the name to rhyme with the loyal knight to the king in the film.

The film shows King Arthur plucking a sword from the stone an indication that he was the right and deserving King for Britain. The historians argue that there were two swords as opposed to the story in the film that only shows one sword. The first sword is drawn from the stone as indicated in the film. The film, however, fails to tell about the second sword which is Excalibur. The original history of King Arthur tells of how he received the sword from a mysterious creature. The creature, lady of the lake, hands to the king the Excalibur which enables him to be invincible during the war. During his death, Arthur ordered one of the knights to throw the Excalibur into the nearest lake and when that was done the creature who had given it to him would take it back. The narrative about the second sword seems to most people unbelievable in all the tales about King Arthur and that may explain why Hollywood found it had to feature it in the film. Throwing the sword into the lake is however in line with the culture of the Britons that was like a rite of passage. When a warrior died, their most prized property was thrown into the lake to a goddess that ensured passage into the next life.

Merlin who in the film is featured as a companion for the king and also a wizard was, by all means, a legend just like the king. The film, however, does not capture the fact that Merlin is a roman warrior who in history possibly advised the king. Historians disagree on the issue of there being an inspiration for the king. The film indicates that there was a figure that inspired the king Arthur in his leadership that was clouded with a lot of democracy. The King who was indeed a legendary leader had no figure to inspire him according to historians who believe that the king was a self-made leader who revolutionized Britain. Historians also disagree with the timing of the period in which the film says the king existed. Characters in the film according to history are older than they are portrayed in the film.

The other controversy between historians and the film, which is less popular, is about the existence of the king. Some historians describe King Arthur’s narrative as a myth and fiction. The debate as to whether King Arthur existed or not has been in existence since the first record of the Arthurian legend. King Arthur is described as a leader to the Britons who helped Britain overcome a possible invasion by the Saxons between the 5th and the 6th century. King Arthur was a leader who embraced unity and unified Britons. Despite his good works and being a democratic leader, King Arthur’s death was tragic. Many historians view the story of the legend as a fiction owing to the many irregularities in the records about the legends. Many films have narrated the story of King Arthur the most popular being king Arthur: the legend of the sword. One of the inaccuracies of the narration in the film King Arthur is the fact that some characters like merlin existed in the 12th century so questions are raised how they featured during the 6th century as those are two very different periods.

The film King Arthur tells of a tale of a round table where the king would gather all the knights to discuss warfare for the Saxon invaders. Historians disagree with the argument of the roundtable saying there was no such thing. The myth from the film may have been taken from the ritual of the King’s men sitting in a circle sharing a meal. The practice was used to portray trust among King Arthur’s men as they ate and drank from a communal cauldron.

To conclude, the film telling the story about the legend that saved the Britons from an invasion by the Saxons has ideally the wrong setting and style of the narration. The film misses quite a lot about the historical setting of the king and that needs to be rectified in future films. Films must use legends and myths in their artistic license but the historical setting, fortifications, costumes, and weapons must not be altered.


  1. Bryden, I. (2016). Reinventing King Arthur: The Arthurian Legends in Victorian Culture. Routledge.
  2. Clarke, D. (2019). Wearing historicity: genre, stardom, and American identity in Hollywood’s medieval films, 1949-1956 (Doctoral dissertation, University of Sheffield).
  3. Higham, N. J. (2018). King Arthur: The Making of the Legend. Yale Univer

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Comparison Of King Arthur In History Vs. King Arthur In Hollywood. (2021, May 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 25, 2022, from
“Comparison Of King Arthur In History Vs. King Arthur In Hollywood.” GradesFixer, 14 May 2021,
Comparison Of King Arthur In History Vs. King Arthur In Hollywood. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Jan. 2022].
Comparison Of King Arthur In History Vs. King Arthur In Hollywood [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 May 14 [cited 2022 Jan 25]. Available from:
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