Movie Review - Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight [1984]

1984 Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Sword of the Valiant is a medieval fantasy quest movie that’s loosely based on a collection of Arthurian legends, most notably the tale about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The film’s director, Stephen Weeks, had such a hard-on for this source material that he adapted it into a movie twice (his first attempt was in ’73, and had the much briefer title Gawain and the Green Knight).

Apparently, Sean Connery wanted to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of his amazing portrayal of a post-apocalyptic barbarian in Zardoz by taking on another role that made him look completely ridiculous.

If you haven’t seen the 1974 John Boorman film, Zardoz (which is actually the first movie Jessica showed me when we started hanging out), this is what I’m referring to:

Sean Connery Zardoz

And this is Sean Connery as the magical Green Knight in Sword of the Valiant:

Sean Connery Green Knight Sword of the Valiant

Sean Connery Green Knight Sword of the Valiant

As if that’s not enough reason to see this movie, it also stars Miles O’Keeffe as Sir Gawain, sporting a pageboy cut that would put He-Man to shame.

Miles O'Keeffe Sword of the Valiant pageboy hair

'80s barbarian movie fans should know Miles as the star of the first three Ator movies, the second of which was lampooned on an episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 under its alternate title, Cave Dwellers.

I’ll be honest. I rented this one mostly because I caught the trailer and wanted to see more of that hair. But it ended up being more entertaining than I expected. It’s certainly not a good movie, but it helps that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and I’m a sucker for fantasy quests. It also has a stronger supernatural element than I was expecting, which I dig. I’d place the tone of this movie somewhere between Monty Python and the Holy Grail and John Boorman’s Excalibur. It’s not nearly as good as either of those classics, but it’s a fun watch.

Satan Factor: I suppose the Green Knight is sort of a satanic figure. He’s a mysterious supernatural dude who comes out of nowhere to challenge a mortal to an unfair game of life and death. There’s also an evil witch.

Ninja Factor: Uh … there’s swordplay. Oh! And a black knight. That's sort of ninja-like.

Boob Factor: Sadly, the only flesh on display in this movie is Miles O’Keefe’s ripped abs and chest.

‘80s Factor: It’s a medieval period piece, but it does have some rad low-budget ‘80s special effects.

Pageboy Haircut Factor: As Jem would say, this factor is so high it’s totally outrageous!

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 pentastars. (Someday I’ll edit all these to include little pentastar icons, once Jessica gets a chance to make ‘em for me.)

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