Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight starring Sean Connery, Miles O’Keeffe and Peter Cushing was a film which was on constant video rotation in my home when I was a kid. I also studied the tale as part of my English degree in the early 00s but the 1984 film from director Stephen Weeks was my introduction to it.
Connery’s Green Knight challenges King Arthur’s knights to a fight to the death – and only a young squire named Gawain (O’Keeffe) accepts. Gawain decapitates the Green Knight, but the Knight does not die. Instead he takes back his head and gives Gawain one year to learn about virtue (and grow a beard) and then face another battle. Thus begins Gawain’s adventure.
Filmed in Wales, Ireland and France, Sword of The Valiant is a wonderful medieval adventure with a tone pitched somewhere between Clash Of The Titans and Excalibur. Miles O’Keefe might be something of a wooden star – he was coming off his break-out in John Derek’s Tarzan, The Ape Man but he’s not terrible. The main draw here is Sean Connery as The Green Knight. The film is from around the time when Connery was taking on quirky little cameos in in films like Time Bandits and Highlander.