List of works based on Arthurian legends

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King Arthur at the Lyceum Theatre, London, 1895

The Matter of Britain stories, focusing on King Arthur, are one of the most popular literary subjects of all time, and have been adapted numerous times in every form of media. This list enumerates some of the notable works.


Modern literature[edit]

Theatre[edit]

Musical theatre[edit]

Straight plays[edit]

Verse plays[edit]

The Arthurian legend has proved a constant source of material for verse dramatists. Several adaptations exist, most dealing with the love triangle between Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot.[7] Some notable examples are:

Classical verse plays[edit]

Modern verse plays[edit]

Opera[edit]

Film[edit]

English-language theatrical films[edit]

Relatively straightforward adaptations of the legends, reconstructed history, or modern Arthurian material.

Adaptations of the original Arthurian Legend[edit]

These films are generally based on Matter of Britain which are set in medieval time period and King Arthur's the main character.

Adaptations of Tristan legend[edit]

English Language films that are based on the legend of Tristan and Iseult, which originated in the 12th century

Adaptations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight[edit]

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Middle English: Sir Gawayn and þe Grene Knyȝt) is a late 14th-century Middle English chivalric romance. It is one of the best known Arthurian stories, the following films are directly based on the romance:

Films based on A Connecticut Yankee[edit]

Films based on Mark Twain's novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, about a modern man/woman who travels in time to Arthur's period.

Films based on Prince Valiant[edit]

Prince Valiant's an American comic strip set within the Arthurian Legend. The following films were based on the comic strip:

Films set in the Roman Empire[edit]

These films generally feature King Arthur, in Roman Empire settings and as the main character.

  • King Arthur (2004) a motion picture claiming to be more historically accurate (despite being heavily criticised for its historical inaccuracies) about the legend of Arthur as a 5th-century, British-born, Roman commander, with respect to new archaeological findings; similar in story line to Jack Whyte's books.
  • The Last Legion (2007)
  • Pendragon: Sword of His Father (2008) (direct-to-video)

Animated films[edit]

Modernization and parodies[edit]

Productions whose plot "updates" or otherwise moves the legend to modern times.

Foreign-language films[edit]

Foreign-Language films based on the medivel arthurian legends

Films based on Richard Wagner's Parsifal[edit]

foreign languague films that are based on Wagner opera by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg)

Films based on the Tristan legend[edit]

foreign languague films that are based on the legend of Tristan and Iseult.

Other films[edit]

foreign languague animation, derative works, parodies and modern settings:

Television[edit]

English-language, Live-action Television series and films[edit]

Television films and specials[edit]

Television films and specials, modernization and parodies[edit]

Television mini series[edit]

Television series[edit]

  • The 1950s British television series The Adventures of Sir Lancelot (1956–57), recounting the knight's exploits, featured Arthur and many other characters from the legends. This was the first British television series ever to be made in colour (although surviving episodes are in black and white) and one of the first to be aired by an American network. Although it suffered low ratings due to CBS’s Burns and Allen airing at the same time slot.
  • The 1970s British television series, Arthur of the Britons (1972–1973), starring Oliver Tobias, sought to create a more "realistic" portrait of the period and to explain the origins of some of the myths about the Celtic leader.
  • The Legend of King Arthur (BBC TV series, 1979)
  • Camelot is a series on Starz that debuted April 1, 2011. It begins at the very earliest story, with twenty-year-old, long lost son Arthur being crowned king after half-sister Morgan poisons their father King Uther. A more adult-oriented take on the Arthurian legends than the concurrent series Merlin, it was cancelled after one season because of many scheduling conflicts of the cast and showrunners.
  • Cursed (2020)

Television series, modernization and parodies[edit]

  • Raven (1977)
  • Mr. Merlin (1981–82), Merlin lives in modern times.
  • Small World (1988)
  • Doctor Who - Battlefield (1988–1989)
  • Sir Gadabout: The Worst Knight in the Land (2002–2003), a chidren spoof of the arthurian legend.
  • Stargate SG-1 Season 9 to 10 (2006–2007)
  • The BBC series Merlin (2008-2012) is a re-imagining of the legend in which the future King Arthur and Merlin are young contemporaries in Uther's kingdom. Arthur quickly transitions from a spoiled young prince into a beloved king, while Merlin perfects his magic arts in secret. Inspired by Smallville (which was a similar show featuring Superman characters) and the subject of critical acclaim, Merlin ran for five series.
  • The ABC series Once Upon a Time (2011-2018) features many aspects from the Arthurian legends. Camelot is mentioned several times as a region within the Enchanted Forest. Also, Lancelot appears in the second and fifth seasons. In the fifth season, the heroes seek out the sorcerer Merlin to battle the darkness that currently plagues hero-turned-villain Emma Swan. In the third episode of the season, King Arthur (portrayed once again by Liam Garrigan) is revealed to be a villain. As the season progresses, his villainous acts are discovered by the heroes, including his killing of Merida's father, but he is eventually defeated and imprisoned. Towards the end of the season, he is killed by the god of the Underworld, Hades, and is sent to the Underworld. It is there he encounters a deceased Killian Jones, and they work together to help the heroes in the living realm defeat Hades. With the underworld in disarray, Arthur realizes a prophecy he heard that he would repair a broken kingdom wasn't talking about Camelot, but the Underworld. He then bids Killian farewell, and hopes to redeem himself by helping the souls of the deceased.
  • The Canadian TV show Guinevere Jones (2006) features a reincarnation of Guinevere who is helped by the spirit of Merlin to learn magic and fight against Morgana, and dealing with High School problems.
  • The first season of the American television show The Librarians is centered on the efforts of an elderly Lancelot (using his last name, Dulaque, as an alias) to restore Camelot, which he considers to be a golden age of humanity. He manages to release magic back into the world using Excalibur in the second episode, ("And The Sword In the Stone"), and eventually uses a collection of artifacts gathered by the Librarians to access the Loom of Fate, which he tampers with to restore his youth and restart history at the beginning of Camelot. However, Galahad (who has assumed the identity of the Library's caretaker, Jenkins), returns and distracts him long enough for the Librarians to undo the damage, causing Lancelot to disappear.
  • The upcoming TV series Pendragon features the disgraced detective Jude Pendragon as he covertly goes through cold case files and finds one that takes him into another realm of reality, one from which he may, or may not, escape as he entered.

Animation[edit]

Television films and specials[edit]

  • "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" (1970) was an animated early segment of the Famous Classic Tales specials, produced by the Hanna-Barbera Australian subsidiary, Air Programs International
  • A Connecticut Rabbit in King Arthur's Court (1978), also known as Bugs Bunny in King Arthur's Court, a Looney Tunes TV special.

Television series[edit]

  • The Australian animated cartoon series Arthur! and the Square Knights of the Round Table (1966–1968) was a typically wacky take on Arthurian legend.
  • In Sabrina the Animated Series episode Hexcalibur features Harvey Kinkle as the young King Arthur voiced by Bill Switzer (very loose adpation)
  • The animated series The Legend of Prince Valiant (1991–1993) followed the adventures of three young warriors training to become Knights of the Round Table. The series featured Arthur, Merlin, Guinevere, and Gawain in its main cast and several other Arthurian characters in recurring roles.
  • The animated series King Arthur & the Knights of Justice (1992–1993) featured an American Football team called the Knights led by quarterback Arthur King. When the "real" Knights of the Round Table are captured, Merlin magically transports the Knights football team to Camelot to defend the kingdom and rescue the captured knights.
  • Starting within its "Avalon World Tour" story arc, a few episodes of Disney's Gargoyles (1994–1997) devoted themselves partly to Arthur Pendragon, after NYPD detective Elisa Maza awakens the King from his "eternal slumber" within Avalon's "hollow hill" sanctuary. Arthur goes on to recover his sword Excalibur while visiting New York (and directly confronting Macbeth while recovering it), and while in New York, knights the London Clan gargoyle Griff to become his traveling companion from Griff's assistance to the king in recovering Excalibur, as Arthur begins a quest to find Merlin.
  • Blazing Dragons (1996–1998), The series' protagonists are anthropomorphic dragons who are beset by evil humans, reversing a common story convention. The series parodies that of the King Arthur Tales as well as the periods of the Middle Ages
  • Dragon Booster (2004–2006), A teenager named Artha Penn teams up with a dragon named Beau and Artha was the chosen hero called the Dragon Booster.
  • The British animated cartoon series King Arthur's Disasters (2005–2006). Where Arthur is voiced by Rik Mayall.
  • The computer-animated series Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia (2016–2018) features the wizard Merlin as the creator of the Trollhunter's amulet, and his arch-enemy Morgana as one of the main villains of the third season. The series Wizards: Tales of Arcadia (2020) features the return of Merlin and Morgana. Camelot also appears, as members of the main cast travel back to Arthurian times, in the process meeting King Arthur and Lancelot.

Foreign-language, Television series and films[edit]

Live-action Television series[edit]

Animated Television series[edit]

  • King Arthur & the Knights of the Round Table (Entaku no Kishi Monogatari: Moero Arthur), a Japanese anime series produced by Toei Animation from 1979 to 1980, followed by King Arthur: Prince on White Horse (Moero Arthur: Hakuba no Oji) in 1980.
  • The episode "Minnade Daietto!" (English: "Eh! History Changed!?") of the 1991 Japanese anime series Mischievous Twins: The Tales of St. Clare's deals with the abduction of Queen Guinevere by Sir Maleagant and about how she is set free by Sir Lancelot.
  • The Japanese anime series Code Geass (2006–2007, 2008) featured The Knights of the Round, a unit of twelve elite knights in the Holy Empire of Britannia, each being assigned into the group by royalty and under direct command of the Emperor. Each knights pilot a Knightmare Frame, a humanoid shaped war machine. Their Knightmare Frame were named after the Arthurian Knights such as Lancelot, Gawain, and Tristan. The capital city of the Holy Britannian Empire, Pendragon, is also named after King Arthur's surname.
  • In the Japanese anime adaptation of the visual novel Fate/stay night (2006, 2014–2015), Arthur is portrayed as having been a woman (named Artoria) whose spirit is resurrected to serve a mage in the modern day as "Saber", with history recording her as a man for political correctness. She reprises this role in the adaptation's prequel Fate/Zero (2011–2012), which also features a version of Lancelot. Artoria also appears in the film Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (2010), and a recreated anime series (2014–2015) based on the latter, as well as a number of spinoffs based on the franchise. In addition, the OVA Fate/Prototype (2011) (based on an earlier draft of Fate/stay night's story) features a male version of King Arthur, known in the expanded universe as "Prototype Saber", often shortened to "Proto-Saber". Meanwhile, Fate/Apocrypha (2017) features Mordred as a Saber-class familiar, wielding the sword Clarent.
  • The Japanese anime Highschool DxD (2012, 2013, 2015, 2018), the Arthurian legend also plays an important factor in the series such as the Welsh Dragon, the White dragon and King Arthur's dual swords Excalibur and Caliburn, Merlin the wizard of Arthurian Legend was stated to be one of the most important pioneer of magic, two of the main character were direct descendants of King Arthur, Arthur Pendragon and Le Fay Pendragon, the latter being the love interest of the protagonist Issei Hyoudou.
  • Arthur serves as the main antagonist in the Japanese anime Nobunaga the Fool (2014). The anime is a sci-fi telling of famed ancient heroes from the west, such as Arthur, Caeser, and Alexander, going to war against famed ancient heroes from the east, such as Nobunaga, Mitsuhide, and Kenshin over control over two planets, both of which represent Europe and Japan.
  • In Season 2 Episode 15 "The Queen of the Lake" (2014) of Japanese anime Sword Art Online, the main cast is given a quest to save an ancient race of elves from which the main characters races branch from. The reward for the quest is the item known as Excalibur, a legendary sword from Arthurian lore.
  • Japanese Anime The Seven Deadly Sins (2014–2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020) contains several parts of Arthurian legend; such as one of the strongest characters being called King Arthur and his dominion being called Camelot, even though King Arthur's origin castle is the Tintagel Castle.
  • Divine Gate (2016), Japanese animae based on the Smart phone game of same name, which reteling of arthurian legend.
  • A sword-wielding character named Arthur appears in David Production's anime adaptation of the manga series Fire Force by Atsushi Ohkubo. As his pyrokinetic ability, he wields a sword named Excalibur whose blade is made of plasma. Believing himself to be a knight, his power increases as these convictions grow.

Paintings[edit]

Tapestry[edit]

Comics[edit]

Advertising[edit]

King Arthur is the namesake of a brand of flour, King Arthur Flour.

Games[edit]

Board games[edit]

  • The board game Shadows Over Camelot features King Arthur as one of the main playable characters in the game.
  • In the science fiction miniature game Warhammer 40k, the Emperor of Mankind drew many similar inspiration from Arthurian legends while the treacherous Warmaster Horus and Horus Heresy is similar to Mordred.
  • In the fantasy miniature game Warhammer Fantasy Battle, the background of Bretonnia is strongly based on Arthurian legends, including the Grail and the Lady of the Lake.
  • King Arthur alongside many of his knights appear under stylized names in the card game Yugioh in the "Knight of the Round Table" set. Merlin, the Lady of the Lake and Avalon are also referenced.

Role-playing games[edit]

  • The role-playing game Pendragon details how to run adventure games set in the time of the Round Table. Its setting integrates Malory with post-Roman Britain, Celtic myth and English Folklore.
  • In Rifts from Palladium Books, the main story of Britain revolves around the future equivalent of King Arthur and his knights. This is not the original King Arthur awoken from Avalon and he has many different characteristics and strengths, not the least of which is his new blade, Calibur-X, a vibrating gun blade with magical properties.
  • The King Arthur Supplement for the GURPS role-playing game gives three different Arthurian settings, a historical setting based upon post-Roman Britain, a legendary setting based upon Malory, and a cinematic setting based upon modern stories.
  • The storygame Arthur's Legacy (Rise of Avalon) presents a world where Avalon rises from the sea triggering a Rebirth of magic and mystical creatures, as well the return of immortal nobility including King Arthur, his bastard son Mordred, and the witch Anna Morgause. Participants portray reincarnated knights, who embody ideals and wield the ability to perform miracles.

Video games[edit]

  • Tomb Raider: Legend by Crystal Dynamics revolves around the King Arthur legend resembling those of other cultures around the world; pieces of artifacts are forms of Excalibur.
  • Tomb Raider: Underworld by Crystal Dynamics revolves around Lara trying to find Avalon to find her mother.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, the final and most powerful summon materia is Knights of the Round which has 12 knights striking an enemy with the last knight obviously being King Arthur through his extended entrance and grander appearance.
  • Fate/stay night, a visual novel/eroge and anime, features a young female knight called Saber whose true name is Artoria. She became King by pulling free the sword from the stone. Knowing that armies wouldn't follow a woman, she renamed herself King Arthur and used Merlin's magic to hide her gender. Bedivere attends to her as she is dying.
    • Fate/Zero, a prequel, features not only the above King Arthur/Saber, but also Lancelot as a Black Knight under the class Berserker.
    • The spinoff game Fate/extra features Gawain as an enemy-exclusive Saber-class character.
    • The light-novel series Fate/Apocrypha - a parallel world spinoff based on a cancelled MMO concept - features Mordred as a Saber-class for one of the two factions, who, like King Arthur/Saber, is gender-swapped, detailed in the story as being a homunculus half-clone of King Arthur that was created from mixing the King's genes with those of Morgan le Fay. Mordred wields the sword Clarent.
    • All of the aforementioned characters (except Morgan) would later appear in the mobile game Fate/Grand Order alongside versions of Galahad, Gareth, Agravaine and Tristan. Lancelot would come to have another version summonable as the Saber-class in which he is sane, unlike his Berserker form. Artoria would also receive multiple versions of her character, notably a Lancer-class version wielding the spear Rhongomyniad, in addition to corrupted Alter forms and an alternate-universe male form known as "Proto-Saber".
  • RuneScape a MMORPG , King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table are portrayed as having settled in the game's fictional world while awaiting Britain's 'time of greatest need'.
  • Dark Age of Camelot' a MMORPG' takes place after King Arthur's death.
  • The Soul series by Namco features Arthur as a samurai. He wields a katana named Gassan.
  • Sonic and the Black Knight on Wii features the main protagonist, Sonic the Hedgehog saving the city Camelot from King Arthur after he becomes corrupt and calls himself the Black Knight. After defeating the Black Knight/King Arthur, Merlin's granddaughter Merlina reveals to Sonic & the Knight of the Roundtable that the King Arthur they knew was a fake created by her grandfather. In the end, Sonic was revealed to be King Arthur himself, as Caliburn (actually Excalibur) said he was the one who decides who is worthy of the crown.
  • Sir Lancelot is used as character in a 1984 platform / arcade game for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum.
  • Fire Emblem: Fūin no Tsurugi a tactical JRPG contains many characters whose names allude to the King Arthur legend. Although there is no Arthur, characters include: Guinevere, Igraine, Gorlois, Lance, Percival, Uther, Lot, Bors, Merlinus, Niime and Nacien. The game's prequel, Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken, introduces Ninian, but on the whole this game draws more from medieval French mythology than British and Arthurian.
  • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, a 2006 Namco game, is heavily based on the Arthurian legend, with allusions to Excalibur, Avalon, etc.
  • The Order: 1886
  • Wizard101: Morganthe's Arc, Avalon story line (Arc 2 World 3) (video game)
  • Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings: King Arthur represented by a champion infantry.

Music[edit]

Anthem of Cornwall[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Elgar - His Music : King Arthur Suite". www.elgar.org. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  2. ^ "BRITTEN'S KING ARTHUR | Paul Hindmarsh". www.paulhindmarsh.com. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  3. ^ Faudeux, Stephan, ed. (3 November 2016). "La Légende du Roi Arthur revit dans un décor virtuel griffé D/Labs et AMD". Sonovision. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Interview with John Arden and Margaretta D'Arcy | Robbins Library Digital Projects". d.lib.rochester.edu. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  5. ^ Leach, Robert (2012-01-01). "A mighty bust-up: John Arden and Margaretta D'Arcy's The Island of the Mighty at the Aldwych theatre, December 1972". Studies in Theatre and Performance. 32 (1): 3–14. doi:10.1386/stap.32.1.3_1. ISSN 1468-2761.
  6. ^ Coveney, Michael (2012-03-30). "John Arden obituary". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  7. ^ Fisher, Benjamin Franklin (1990). "King Arthur Plays from the 1890s". Victorian Poetry. 28 (3/4): 153–176. ISSN 0042-5206. JSTOR 40002298.
  8. ^ "The Misfortunes of Arthur | Robbins Library Digital Projects". d.lib.rochester.edu. Retrieved 2019-12-06.
  9. ^ "Vortigern: An Historical Tragedy in Five Acts | Robbins Library Digital Projects". d.lib.rochester.edu. Retrieved 2019-12-06.
  10. ^ "Tom Thumb the Great: A Burlesque Tragedy, in Two Acts, Altered, from Fielding | Robbins Library Digital Projects". d.lib.rochester.edu. Retrieved 2019-12-06.
  11. ^ "King Arthur: Or, Launcelot the Loose, Gin-Ever the Square, and the Knights of the Round Table, and Other Furniture. A Burlesque Extravaganza | Robbins Library Digital Projects". d.lib.rochester.edu. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  12. ^ "The New King Arthur: An Opera without Music | Robbins Library Digital Projects". d.lib.rochester.edu. Retrieved 2019-12-06.
  13. ^ "The Marriage of Guenevere: A Tragedy | Robbins Library Digital Projects". d.lib.rochester.edu. Retrieved 2019-12-06.
  14. ^ "The Quest of Merlin: A Prelude | Robbins Library Digital Projects". d.lib.rochester.edu. Retrieved 2019-12-06.
  15. ^ "J. Comyns Carr's King Arthur: A Drama in a Prologue and Four Acts | Robbins Library Digital Projects". d.lib.rochester.edu. Retrieved 2019-12-06.
  16. ^ "The Birth of Galahad | Robbins Library Digital Projects". d.lib.rochester.edu. Retrieved 2019-12-06.
  17. ^ "Taliesin: A Masque | Robbins Library Digital Projects". d.lib.rochester.edu. Retrieved 2019-12-06.
  18. ^ "Tristram & Iseult: A Drama in Four Acts | Robbins Library Digital Projects". d.lib.rochester.edu. Retrieved 2019-12-06.
  19. ^ "Guenevere: A Play in Five Acts | Robbins Library Digital Projects". d.lib.rochester.edu. Retrieved 2019-12-06.
  20. ^ "Mordred: A Tragedy in Five Acts, founded on the Arthurian relation of Sir Thomas Malory | Robbins Library Digital Projects". d.lib.rochester.edu. Retrieved 2019-12-06.
  21. ^ "GSP - Arthur". guerrillashakespeare.org. Retrieved 2019-12-06.
  22. ^ "The Table Round". TURN TO FLESH PRODUCTIONS. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  23. ^ Desk, BWW News. "Photo Flash: Turn To Flesh Productions Creates 'New Shakespeare Plays' For Womxn and Underrepresented Artists In Classical Theatre". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  24. ^ "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1921)". IMDb. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  25. ^ "A Connecticut Yankee (1931)". IMDb. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  26. ^ "New Adventures of a Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1988)". IMDb. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  27. ^ "Song Wiki". Heather Dale. Retrieved 16 November 2020.

External links[edit]

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