Quest for Camelot

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This article is about the film. For the video game, see Quest for Camelot (video game).
Quest for Camelot
Quest for Camelot- Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster by John Alvin
Directed by Frederik Du Chau
Produced by
  • Andre Clavel
  • Dalisa Cohen
  • Zahra Dowlatabadi
Screenplay by
Based on The King's Damosel
by Vera Chapman
Music by Patrick Doyle[1]
Edited by Stanford C. Allen
Distributed by Warner Bros. Family Entertainment
Release date
  • May 15, 1998 (1998-05-15)
Running time
86 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40 million[3]
Box office $38.1 million[3]

Quest for Camelot (released in the United Kingdom as The Magic Sword: Quest for Camelot) is a 1998 American animated musical fantasy film directed by Frederik Du Chau and based on the novel The King's Damosel by Vera Chapman. The film stars Jessalyn Gilsig, Cary Elwes, Jane Seymour, Gary Oldman, Eric Idle, Don Rickles, Pierce Brosnan, Bronson Pinchot, Jaleel White, Gabriel Byrne, and John Gielgud. Céline Dion, Bryan White, Steve Perry, and Andrea Corr perform vocals. The film was released on May 15, 1998, by Warner Bros. Family Entertainment.


Kayley's father, Sir Lionel, is one of the knights of the Round Table. Kayley wants to be a knight like her father. At Camelot, one of the knights, Baron Ruber, who wants to become king of Camelot instead of King Arthur, and tries to kill Arthur, but Lionel intervenes and is killed. Ruber flees Camelot in exile after being rebounded by Excalibur. At Lionel's funeral, Arthur said she and her mother would be welcomed in Camelot.

10 years later, a griffin attacks Camelot, stealing Excalibur. Merlin's falcon Ayden attacks the griffin and the sword falls into the Forbidden Forest. Meanwhile, Ruber invades Kayley's home, holds everyone hostage and uses a potion he obtained from some witches to create steel warriors from his human henchmen and a rooster who becomes Bladebeak. He plans to use Juliana, Kayley's mother to gain entrance into Camelot.

Kayley escapes the henchmen and enters the Forbidden Forest where she encounters Garrett; a blind hermit, and Ayden. Kayley convinces him to help her find Excalibur and learns that Garrett was once a young stable boy in Camelot. The stable caught fire and Garrett was rescuing the horses when one of them blinded him by accident. But Lionel still believed in Garrett and taught him to adapt.

They enter Dragon Country and meet the funny two-headed dragon named Devon and Cornwall who do not like each other, cannot breathe fire or fly (which is why they are bullied by other dragons), and both want to be individual dragons. Devon and Cornwall decide to join to the group; Garrett reluctantly agrees after Kayley manages to convince him.

Later, they discover that Excalibur is no longer where the griffin dropped it. Kayley is distressed and babbles on, causing Garrett to miss Ayden's signal and is injured by one of Ruber's men. Kayley drags Garrett away as the thorn bushed creatures hold Ruber and his men captive. Kayley escorts Garrett into a small cave and apologizes profusely as he lays there, but he tells her it is all right, and they realize that they have fallen in love as Garrett is healed by magical forest plants.

Later, the group goes into a dark cave where it lives an ogre who holds Excalibur; currently using it as a toothpick. Kayley succeeds in getting Excalibur and they escape before Ruber and his men get to it.

Exiting the forest, Garrett stays behind, feeling unwanted in Camelot. After he leaves, Ruber captures Kayley and takes Excalibur. Devon and Cornwall, who witnessed this, rush to Garrett convincing him to go save Kayley. By working together for the first time, Devon and Cornwall are able to fly and breathe fire. Meanwhile, Kayley meets her mother; Bladebeak releases Kayley from her ropes and she runs to find Ruber. Garrett finds Kayley and they go inside the castle.

Inside, Ruber tries to kill Arthur with Excalibur; now bonded to his arm. Kayley and Garrett intervene and trick Ruber into returning Excalibur to its stone. The conflict of magic reverts the mechanical men, including Bladebeak, back to normal, and disintegrates Ruber. Later, with Camelot restored to its former glory, Kayley and Garrett get married and become knights of the round table.


Musical numbers[edit]

  1. "United We Stand" – King Arthur and Knights
  2. "On My Father's Wings" – Kayley
  3. "Ruber" – Ruber
  4. "The Prayer" – Juliana
  5. "I Stand Alone" – Garrett
  6. "If I Didn't Have You" – Devon and Cornwall
  7. "Looking Through Your Eyes" – Garrett and Kayley
  8. "I Stand Alone (Reprise)" – Garrett


In May 1995, The Quest for the Grail was Warner Bros. Feature Animation's first announced project, and the studio put the film into production before the story was finalized. Animators spent considerable downtime waiting for management to make up their minds. Bill Kroyer (FernGully: The Last Rainforest) was originally going to direct with his wife, Sue, producing, but creative differences forced the husband and wife team to leave the project in February 1997.[4]:217 Kenny Ortega served as the film's choreographer. CGI was used for a few scenes, such as to create the rock ogre.[5] According to Kit Percy, head of CGI effects, the software they used was designed for use with live-action.[5]

Chrystal Klabunde, leading animator of Garrett, said in an article in Animation Magazine, "It was top heavy. All the executives were happily running around and playing executive, getting corner offices—but very few of them had any concept about animation at all, about doing an animated film. It never occurred to anybody at the top that they had to start from the bottom and build that up. The problems were really coming at the inexperience of everyone involved. Those were people from Disney that had the idea that you just said, 'Do it,' and it gets done. It never occurred to them that it got done because Disney had an infrastructure in place, working like clockwork. We didn't have that."[6] Effects supervisor, Michel Gagné also said, "People were giving up. The head of layout was kicked out, the head of background, the executive producer, the producer, the director, the associate producer—all the heads rolled. It's kind of a hard environment to work in." Dalisa Cooper Cohen, producer of the film, said "We made this movie in a year, basically. That was a lot of the problem. We worked around the clock."[4]:218

Reportedly, "cost overruns and production nightmares" led the studio to "reconsider their commitment to feature animation."[7] Filmmaker Brad Bird (who helmed The Iron Giant, Warner Bros.' next animated film) thought that micromanaging, which he said had worked well for Disney but not for Warner Bros., had been part of the problem.[7]



The film was heavily promoted by Wendy's, who offered themed Kid's meals that included toys and discounts on theater admission. Warner Bros. also teamed up with UNICEF to promote the home video release of the film by advertising trick-or-treat donation boxes before Halloween arrived.

Several posters of the film are featured in a movie theater in the season two episode "Innocence" of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The film was slated for a 1997 holiday season release, but was pushed to May 1998 to avoid competition with Anastasia, Flubber, The Fearless Four, Alien: Resurrection, Titanic, and the re-release of The Little Mermaid.[citation needed]


On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 36% based on 22 reviews.[8] It grossed $6,041,602 on its opening weekend and $22,510,798 during its theatrical run in North America.[9] The studio lost about $40 million on the film.[10]

David Kronke of the Los Angeles Times described the film as "formulaic", and wrote that it was "a nearly perfect reflection of troubling trends in animated features", called Kayley "a standard-issue spunky female heroine", and said that "Garrett's blindness is the one adventurous element to the film, but even it seems calculated; his lack of sight is hardly debilitating, yet still provides kids a lesson in acceptance."[11] Kevin J. Harty, editor of a collection of essays called Cinema Arthuriana, says that the film is "slightly indebted to, rather than, as Warner publicity claims, actually based on" Chapman's novel.[12] Stephen Holden of the New York Times wrote "Coming on the heels of 20th Century Fox's lush but silly Anastasia (a much better film than this one), Quest for Camelot suggests that Disney still owns the artistic franchise on animated features."[13]

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:


Quest for Camelot: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released May 5, 1998
Genre Various
Length 45:07
Label Atlantic Records
Producer Various Artists
Singles from Quest for Camelot: Music from the Motion Picture
  1. "Looking Through Your Eyes"
    Released: March 24, 1998
  2. "The Prayer"
    Released: 1 March 1999
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[15]

The album peaked at #117 on the Billboard 200, and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for "The Prayer", and was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, also for "The Prayer" (though it lost the latter to "When You Believe" from DreamWorks' The Prince of Egypt).

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Artist Length
1. "Looking Through Your Eyes" LeAnn Rimes 4:06
2. "I Stand Alone" Steve Perry 3:43
3. "The Prayer" Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli 2:49
4. "United We Stand" Steve Perry 3:20
5. "On My Father's Wings" Andrea Corr 3:00
6. "Looking Through Your Eyes" The Corrs and Bryan White 3:36
7. "Ruber" Gary Oldman 3:56
8. "I Stand Alone" Bryan White 3:26
9. "If I Didn't Have You" Eric Idle and Don Rickles 2:55
10. "Dragon Attack/Forbidden Forest" Patrick Doyle 3:14
11. "The Battle" Patrick Doyle 2:49
12. "Looking Through Your Eyes" David Foster 3:57
13. "The Prayer" Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli 4:09
Total length: 45:07

Video game[edit]

The video game was released in 1998 for Game Boy Color.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Quest for Camelot". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 4, 2017. 
  2. ^ "THE MAGIC SWORD - QUEST FOR CAMELOT (U)". Warner Bros. British Board of Film Classification. May 27, 1998. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Quest for Camelot (1998)". The Numbers. Retrieved 2016-05-22. 
  4. ^ a b Beck (2005)
  5. ^ a b Quest for Camelot. Special Features: The Animation Process (text) (DVD). Warner Home Video. 1998. 
  6. ^ Animation Magazine, May 1998[title missing][author missing][page needed]
  7. ^ a b Miller, Bob (1999-08-01). "Lean, Mean Fighting Machine: How Brad Bird Made The Iron Giant". Animation World Magazine. Animation World Network. Retrieved 2008-12-09. 
  8. ^ "Quest For Camelot (1998)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 9 June 2016. 
  9. ^ "Quest for Camelot (1998) - Box Office Mojo". 
  10. ^ Bates, James and Eller, Claudia. "Animators' Days of Drawing Big Salaries Are Ending" Los Angeles Times, June 24, 1999. Retrieved on October 4, 2010.
  11. ^ Kronke, David (1998-04-15). "Quest for Camelot: Warner Bros.' Animated 'Camelot' Hits Formulaic Notes". South Florida Retrieved 2008-12-09. 
  12. ^ Harty, Kevin J. (2002). Kevin J. Harty, ed. Cinema Arthuriana: Twenty Essays. McFarland & Company. p. 26. ISBN 0-7864-1344-1. 
  13. ^ Holden, Stephen (May 15, 1998). "Quest for Camelot (1998) FILM REVIEW; Adventures of Some Square Pegs at the Round Table". 
  14. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-05. 
  15. ^ Quest for Camelot at AllMusic

External links[edit]