Mr. Steven Fynn
– November 2, 2021
A fantastic modern take on medieval knights. A group of men and women bikers live the life of medieval knights to entertain the public, with the twist that it is all done on the back of motorbikes. Yes motorbikes, a nice twist and therfore ust as good for bikers or medieval fans. I first saw this film on VHS years ago, and have looked for it since on DVD without much hope. The film had hbeen withdrawn from the UK at least. Then to my supprise here it is on DVD as originally released and also Blue Ray at the same time. My prayers were answered and I did not have to try and have mine copied to preserve it from degradation on tape. Go on buy it and be amused and entertained.
Darren in Thanet
– November 5, 2021
Loved this film when i saw it early morning with alex cox hosting.. night of the comet played a week later..may be slow for some, but i lapped up the idea…
– November 20, 2021
Shout’s bluray of this movie is great. I hadn’t watched this before and enjoyed it immensely. Such a great departure from all the zombie madness that Romero is known for. Superb picture quality. Outstanding production and wonderful stunts. Extras are good too. Can’t go wrong with this–even as a blind buy it was awesome!
– November 25, 2021
Very good picture quality and worth the upgrade from the DVD though this package has both. A pity the sound is still mono.
Up The Cat’s Back
– December 6, 2021
This isn’t a biker movie – the bikes are horses with engines, guys, so if you’re looking for a biker movie, like the last reviewer, you’ll be sorely disappointed. The cover looks like they’re trying to sell a flick to an audience which won’t enjoy it.
This is a film which takes dissatisfaction with modern life, pits it against authority, beats it bloody, wrings the tears out of it, makes it stand up again and ultimately turns it into something tragically beautiful. I can’t think of a better way to spend my time.
– December 10, 2021
The BluRay is great. A little blurry at the very beginning, which gave me a moment of worry, but it clears up and is nice and crisp throughout the rest of the movie.
Every year on or about my birthday I watch Knightriders. The gag is this: they’re a wandering troupe of performers who put on jousts … atop motorcycle. Except that what’s an obvious put-on to the outside world, is (to varying degrees) real to the people living the life … late in the movie, watching the knights fight, a girl says: “They’re crazy.” And a scummy agent, watching them fight, grins and says, “Yeah … but that’s what makes them sellable.”
There’s a brilliant bit midway through where King William (played by the best actor of his generation, Ed Harris), sitting by the fire at the side of the road along with his lawyer, with Merlin, and a roustabout named Bagman, talks about his Code: “It’s tough to live by the Code. I mean it’s real hard to live for something you believe in. People try it and they get tired of it, like they get tired of their diets, or exercise, or their marriage or their kids or their job or themselves, or they get tired of their God … you can keep the money you make off this sick world, lawyer, I don’t want any part of it. Anybody wants to live more for themselves doesn’t belong with us. Let ’em go out and buy some pimpy psychiatrist paperback says it’s OK, don’t ask me to say it’s OK, it’s not OK!”
And Bagman responds. He’s just spent the night in jail having his ass whipped by a Bad Cop … he tells a story about waking up in a jail in Alabama after having his ass kicked years back, and just wanting to die, trying to cut his wrists with a bed spring … but now: “Well, last night, I got my ass kicked, and I came up laughing. Because now I’m in Camelot. See, the way I see it is this: you got two separate fights: the one for truth and justice and the American way of life and all that, it’s gotta take a back seat to the one for staying alive, you gotta stay alive, man, you can have the most beautiful ideals in the whole world, but if you die, your ideals are gonna die with you. The important thing is we gotta stay together, we gotta keep this troup together, and if keeping this troup together means we gotta take some of this promoter’s money, I say we take it and get some sleep.”
And everyone does to go sleep, and King Billy stares into the fire … and then wakes up Bagman and rants at him: “Listen, I been thinking about what you said, all that stuff you said earlier, I been thinking about it, I been thinking about it real hard … there’s not two different fights. There can’t be two different fights. You’ve got to fight for your ideals and if you die, your ideals don’t die. The Code that we’re living by is the truth, the truth is our Code. I can’t let people walk on that idea, I can’t.”
… and King Billy borrows his lawyer’s motorcycle and rides off to go do battle with the Dragon.
Knightriders isn’t a great movie. In places it isn’t even a good movie. It’s too long and embarrassingly sincere when Ed Harris and Tom Savini (Mordred, essentially) aren’t on screen. But Savini is good and Harris gives one of the great performances in any movie ever — something comparable to Peter O’Toole’s Lawrence. Imperfect it may be, but it’s my favorite movie.
M. J. Shire
– December 11, 2021
This is for the SHOUT Blu-ray. Knightriders is George Romero’s most personal film, and perhaps his best. A traveling troupe who stage medieval jousts on motorcycles starts to get too much attention and fractures appear between those who are in it as a show and see a bigger opportunity, and those who want to preserve their independence and lifestyle.Those who want a chance at fame are led by Romero make-up wizard Tom Savini (very good as Morgan the Black Knight) and the leader of those who don’t want to lose what they’ve got is Ed Harris (amazing in his first lead role). The tension between the material world and the fight against its corrupting influence is a recurring theme in Romero movies, and at the fore here. Never boring, it is a fascinating look at a small society trying not to lose its soul.The music in Knightriders is one of its best features and fits beautifully. Unfortunately the movie came out the same time as the similarly themed Excalibur, and was buried at the theatres. This is a chance to discover – or rediscover – a gem of a movie.The transfer is good, and much better than the previous DVD release (which was good), but the Blu-ray does highlight some flaws and scratches in the source material at spots. Still a great movie and transfer. Being an older movie the audio is in Mono. Well worth a look if you are unfamiliar with it or with any of Romero’s non-zombie works!
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
– December 13, 2021
George Romero in this film is quite surprising. He describes a world of feudal knights with a King and his court, that tries to live and survive in our modern world. There is a fair amount of nostalgia among those bikers to be willing to recreate in an artificial non-social space a world of dependance that does not exist any more. It reveals that this artificial world is exploited and victimized by the surrounding society, among others by cops who would like to blackmail them into paying under-the-table money in exchange of peace. But it also reveals the desire to create relations between people that are totally direct, without any modern sophistication : direct commercial relations based on a simple buy-and-pay connection, direct social relations based on the domination of the king who is the source of all authority and decisions, direct social relations too based on the acceptation by everyone of his or her position in a hierarchy founded on physical force and prowess. It reveals also the desire to go back to a culture that does not permit an egotistic closure onto one’s inner physical pleasure : this is clear with music, modern pop music being such a tool to get lost in one’s own physical and even organic pleasure, whereas Middle-Ages, Renaissance or creative folk music go back to a music that regulates social life and personal emotions within this social life. This goes along with the great personal pleasure of riding a motorbike, but also with the fact that riding a motorbike has to be performed in a group, in a collective and closely-knit group of people. The most amazing aspect is that this society goes back to the old tradition of the tournament, where knights fought real fights just for the pleasure of demonstrating their prowess and for the pleasure of carrying the colors of someone else, be he or she the King or the Queen, or some other person. Bur Romero reveals this world does not go without dissension. Some barons are tempted into making money by being recuperated by showbizz and television. Some advisors are tempted by some easy money to be made by performing these tournaments in state fairs or other events of that type as plain performers, as a show, whereas for the reigning King this cannot be a show for the outside world, and certainly not a show for money. A final confrontation between the reigning King’s supporters and the discontented barons and their supporters will lead to the defeat of the King and his friends. So the crown will move. The last act of the deposed King is typical of his rejection of society, of his frustration in society : he will commit an act of justice by punishing a corrupt cop who had victimized them earlier and then will go on his last ride and get run over by a truck. When deposed a King can only die, like in King Lear, a play by Shakespeare where a King gives his Kingdom and his power to his daughters and he will end up dead, killed by the new Queens and their husbands. It shows how vicious and violent this feudal society is or was, and it does not have anything to envy from modern society. This violence is maybe less founded on corruption but it is just the same kind of alienation : you have power and you defend it, or you have no power and you can only submit or die. A very drastic and poignant film. A rewriting of the famous Easy Rider, that also ends in death, but with none of the sentimental and humane feelings among the participants, only a direct clash between ambitions and desires to dominate. It reveals the beast in man’s body more than the angel in his soul. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, Paris Universities II and IX.
John M Schneider
– January 3, 2022
My multi-year wait has ended! As the only film George Romero ever made that didn’t have either zombies or vampires, this 146 minute romp based loosely on the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism – sca.com), is an excellent analysis of the obsessed romantic idealist – portrayed effectively by a young Ed Harris in his third film role. As Sir William the Knight, Harris’ character struggles with his idealism in a world that has lost its respect for virtue and honor. With an amusing cameo by a young Steven King, and an excellent supporting cast (Tom Savini, Patricia Tallman, music by Donald Rubenstein), this cult classic pays homage to the thousands of recreational medievalists who call the SCA home.
An absolutely incredible MGM transfer from film master to Blu-Ray! At the risk of going overboard about this, it’s an *entirely* different movie experience than the VHS or DVD transfer. This edition benefits from stunning resolution, and excellent audio rendition. Some great bonus reels, too. Behind the scene shorts with Ed Harris (discussing his experience as a 30-something on set), George Romero (talking about how the movie eventually got made, and the SCA’s influence on the story), and Tom Savini’s views on his character, Morgan. IMO – A must have for any legacy SCA member, and the perfect SCA gift.
– January 4, 2022
King Arthur meets Mad Max….Very unexpected and unusual offering from Romero, it certainly is a change of pace from just about anything else, and it’s actually quite well done cinematically. Although a bit drawn out and somewhat predictable in places, I enjoyed it, thanks to the fine cast and beautifully shot setting in rural 1980’s Pennsylvania.
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