Quest for Camelot
Quest for Camelot Title
The Film Title
Film information
Directed by: Frederik Du Chau
Produced by: Andre Clavel
Dalisa Cohen
Zahra Dowlatabadi
Music by: Patrick Doyle
Studio: Warner Bros. Feature Animation
Warner Bros. Family Entertainment
Distributed by: Warner Bros.
Release Date(s): May 15, 1998
Language: English
Budget: $40 million
Gross Revenue: $22,510,798 (USA)

Theatrical Release Poster

Quest for Camelot (released in the United Kingdom as The Magic Sword: Quest for Camelot) is a 1998 American animated musical fantasy film from Warner Bros. Animation, based very loosely on the novel The King's Damosel by Vera Chapman, starring the voices of Jessalyn Gilsig, Cary Elwes, Jane Seymour, Gary Oldman, Eric Idle, Don Rickles, Pierce Brosnan, Bronson Pinchot, Jaleel White, Gabriel Byrne, and John Gielgud with the singing voices of Céline Dion, Bryan White, Steve Perry, and Andrea Corr.


Young Kayley (Sarah Freeman) and her mother Julianna (Jane Seymour) see her father Lionel (Gabriel Byrne) off to Camelot for a meeting with King Arthur (Pierce Brosnan) and his Knights of the Round Table, Kayley expressing to become a knight when he promises her a trip to the kingdom someday. However, a dark-hearted knight named Ruber (Gary Oldman) becomes upset at his share of the land's divisions and attacks Arthur with a mace to usurp him. The knights repel Ruber's attack, but Lionel is killed before King Arthur defeats Ruber with his sword Excalibur. Despite her father's death, Kayley (Jessalyn Gilsig) grows into a young woman, dreaming of her chance to prove herself and become a knight like her father, much to her mother's chagrin who believes it to be too dangerous for her.

Ten years later, a Griffin (Bronson Pinchot) breaks into Camelot and steals Arthur's sword, subsequently being attacked by Ayden (Frank Welker), a silver-winged falcon owned by Merlin. The resulting conflict causes the griffin to lose the sword in the Forbidden Forest as he escapes. Upon King Arthur learning from Merlin (John Gielgud) that Ayden has gone into the Forbidden Forest to look for Excalibur while having his wounds healed, he has a horn blown that notifies the lands that Excalibur has been stolen. The next night, Ruber breaks into Julianna's home and kidnaps Julianna and Kayley, plotting to use them to sneak into Camelot and overthrow Arthur by using a magic potion (which he obtained from some witches) which combines his soldiers and a chicken dubbed Bladebeak (Jaleel White) as a demonstration with various weapons and instruments of destruction. Kayley manages to escape and goes to the forest in search of the sword, Bladebeak being ordered to follow her and report her location to Ruber. While there, Kayley meets Garrett (Cary Elwes), a blind hermit who has learned the ways of the forest and survives with ease with the assistance of Ayden. Despite his initial objections, Garrett allows Kayley to help him recover Excalibur. Coming across Dragon Country, the pair meet a conjoined twin dragon; the sophisticated and intelligent Devon (Eric Idle), and the crude but loyal Cornwall (Don Rickles) who are bullied by the other dragons due to their smaller size and their inability to spit fire or fly. With their help, they manage to escape a dragon attack and a chase by Ruber who has caught up to them. Over the course of their adventure, Kayley teaches Garrett to rise above his pain from the past when she mentions Sir Lionel. Garrett tells her that long ago, he was accidentally blinded by horse in a fire at Camelot, but Sir Lionel trained him.

Soon they come across the belt of Excalibur in the footprints of a giant ogre, but Kayley's insistence on questioning Garrett causes him to miss a key signal by Ayden and he is injured by Ruber. Ruber and his party are delayed by moving trees, allowing the pair to escape. While tending to his wound, Kayley and Garrett develop an attraction toward one another as the magic of the forest heals him. After they find the scabbard of the sword, they trail Excalibur to a giant Rock ogre using it as a tooth pick they manage to steal back the sword use the ogre to again delay Ruber's attempts to overtake them. Exiting the forest with Excalibur, Garrett gives it to Kayley to turn in herself, no longer feeling a part of that world. He returns to the forest with Ayden and Kayley is captured moments later by Ruber and his thugs as she tries to go back for Garrett. Ruber uses the potion to meld Excalibur to his own arm and using Kayley as a bargaining chip, Ruber forces Julianna to gain them entry to Camelot. Devon and Cornwall inform Garrett of this and he rushes to rescue her. Once inside Camelot, Kayley frees herself (with the help of Bladebeak) to warn them and a fight breaks out. Garrett, Devon and Cornwall arrive and assist, Cornwall and Devon finally learning to work together find out how to fly and quickly turn the tide of the battle in their favor where they fight off the Griffin after rescuing Ayden from being attacked.

Confronting Ruber who tries to kill an injured Arthur, Kayley and Garrett manage to defeat Ruber by tricking him into stabbing the sword into the enchanted stone from which it was pulled. The conflict of magic from the enchanted stone destroys Ruber, disintegrating him, and heals those injured in the fight as well as returning Ruber's minions, Bladebeak and Excalibur to normal. Cornwall and Devon are separated, but decide to rejoin in their reignited friendship. Afterwards upon pulling Excalibur out of the stone, King Arthur realizes that the strength of his kingdom is not in the strength of its king alone, but the strength of its people and he knights both Kayley and Garrett for their valor. Afterward, Kayley and Garrett dance at their knighting ceremony and share their first kiss, which signifies at a strong and close blossoming romantic relationship before they ride off on a horse with "Just Knighted" as a sign on the back as the pair of them ride off together.


Musical numbersEdit

  1. "United we Stand" - King Arthur and Knights
  2. "On my Father's Wings" - Kayley
  3. "Ruber" - Ruber
  4. "The Prayer" - Julianna
  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.[1] Kenny Ortega served as the film's choreographer. CGI was used for a few scenes, such as to create the rock ogre.[2] According to Kit Percy, head of CGI effects, the software they used was designed for use with live-action.[2]

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."[3] 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."[1]

Reportedly, "cost overruns and production nightmares" led the studio to "reconsider their commitment to feature animation."[4] 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.[4]



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, Alien Resurrection, Titanic, and the re-release of The Little Mermaid. Kids' WB! did promo spots for the film in May 1998.


The film received mixed reviews from critics; it grossed $6,041,602 on its opening weekend and $22,510,798 during its theatrical run in North America,[5] and the studio lost about $40 million on the film.[6] The film was largely overshadowed by Deep Impact and the opening weekend debut of The Horse Whisperer, the latter of which also starred Jessalyn Gilsig,[7] and the following week by the hyped release of Godzilla.[8]

David Kronke of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the film is "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".[9] 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.[10]


The soundtrack was released May 5, 1998, ten days prior to release. Although the film was not a critical or commercial success, the soundtrack did receive a certain level of praise. 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).

The soundtrack is quite well known due to the celebrity vocals present on it, such as Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli singing "The Prayer", LeAnn Rimes singing her single version of the film's romantic duet, "Looking Through Your Eyes", Andrea Corr singing "On my Father's Wings", "Looking Through Your Eyes" and Steve Perry singing "I Stand Alone", which is also featured on his "Greatest Hits + 5 Unreleased" album. Gary Oldman is also on the soundtrack, singing Ruber's theme. "The Prayer" was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 71st Academy Awards and won the 1999 Golden Globe for Best Original Song - Motion Picture. One of the Celtic Woman members, Chloë Agnew covered "The Prayer" in full English. A former member of the same group, Deirdre Shannon, and her brother Matthew, one of The Celtic Tenors, covered it for her solo album. Another rendition of "The Prayer" was performed at the Closing Ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics by Josh Groban and Charlotte Church.

Video gameEdit

Main article: Quest for Camelot (video game)

A video game adaptation was released in 1998 for Game Boy Color.


Film titlesEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 Beck (2005), pp. 217.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Template:Cite video
  3. Animation Magazine, May 1998Template:Title missingTemplate:Author missingTemplate:Page needed
  4. 4.0 4.1 Miller, Bob (1999-08-01). Lean, Mean Fighting Machine: How Brad Bird Made The Iron Giant. Animation World Magazine. Animation World Network. Retrieved on 2008-12-09.
  6. Bates, James and Eller, Claudia. "Animators' Days of Drawing Big Salaries Are Ending" Los Angeles Times, June 24, 1999. Retrieved on October 4, 2010.
  9. Kronke, David (1998-04-15). Quest for Camelot: Warner Bros.' Animated 'Camelot' Hits Formulaic Notes. South Florida Retrieved on 2008-12-09.
  10. Harty, Kevin J.; in Kevin J. Harty (ed.) (2002). Cinema Arthuriana: Twenty Essays. McFarland & Company, 26. ISBN 0-7864-1344-1. 

External linksEdit