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First Knight

Year: 1995
Director: Jerry Zucker
Cast: Sean Connery , Richard Gere, Julia Ormond , Ben Cross, Liam Cunningham, Christopher Villiers, Valentine Pelka, John Geilgud .
Set Locations:
Wales: Shot largely around spectacular Snowdonia in North Wales
Sean Connery, Richard Gere and Julia Ormond starred in the 1995 Jerry Zucker film 'First Knight', a mythical love story based loosely on the tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Richard Gere plays Sir Lancelot and Sean Connery takes the role of King Arthur . Guinevere, played by Julia Ormond, is set to marry King Arthur but is kidnapped by the evil Malagant. Unfortunately, following her rescue by Sir Lancelot, she falls for the dashing knight who has been given a place on the round table for the rescue. This naturally sours the relationship between the King and his top knight, ultimately leading to both Guinevere and Lancelot to be tried for treason. During the trial, however, Malagant (played by Ben Cross) attacks, which gives Lancelot his chance to redeem himself. Arthur is mortally wounded in the battle and, with his dying words, asks Lancelot to "take care of her".

Morgana La Fay and Merlin, mainstay characters and bringers of magical elements to the Arthurian legend, are completely absent from this tale. This is one of the things that has brought some criticism upon this film. Richard Gere's very American Lancelot has also attracted some disdain from the critics.

Instead, the finest points of this film come from the beautiful locations used. The village scenes were filmed at Ashridge Park , Little Gaddesden, Hertfordshire. Ashridge Park is an estate and country house in the Chiltern Hills in Hertfordshire. It boasts a history dating back to Ashridge Priory which was built by Edmund the Second Earl of Cornwall in 1276. Some of the forest scenes are filmed at Black Park Country Park, Wexham in Buckinghamshire. The park covers over 500 acres of woodland, grassland and heathland. It includes a large lake and an orienteering course.

Other forest scenes were filmed at Burnham Beeches in Buckinghamshire, a protected Nature Reserve with many trees that are several hundred years old. Many scenes were filmed in the Harlech area of Gwynned in Wales, with locations including Blaenau Ffestiniog and the Llanfair Slate Mine. Also in Gwynned is Trawsfynydd, which was used for the exterior shots on the island of Camelot. The interior wedding scenes were filmed in St Albans Cathedral , a magnificent building with parts dating back to Norman times. The cathedral also boasts a 275 foot nave, the longest of any cathedral in England. Stratfield Saye House in the north east of Hampshire was also used in the film. This has been home of the Dukes of Wellington since 1817.

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