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The Sword in the Stone (1963)

aka The Sword in the Stone

"Tired of living in a Medieval mess...Merlin uses all his magic powers to change a scrawny little boy into a legendary hero!"

Directed By: 
Written By: 
Details: 79 mins · English · G (USA)


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From Everybody:

I saw this for the first time last year. and I thought it was so cute. It was a very fun movie. Not as good as early Disney or Disney Renaissance, but still a very good movie

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Small The Narrator/Sir Ector
No_movie_poster Merlin
No_movie_poster Archimedes the Owl
No_movie_poster Sir Kay
Small The Scullery Maid
Small Sir Pellinore
No_movie_poster Black Bart
Small Arthur


Small Walt Disney Producer
No_movie_poster Wolfgang Reitherman Director
No_movie_poster T.H. White Novel
No_movie_poster Bill Peet Screenplay
No_movie_poster Donald Halliday Editing


"Tired of living in a Medieval mess...Merlin uses all his magic powers to change a scrawny little boy into a legendary hero!"


The film begins in the 6th century in England with the death of the king, Uther Pendragon. Uther did not leave an heir to his throne, and without a king, "it seemed that the land would be torn by war". Suddenly, the "Sword in the Stone" appears in London, with an inscription proclaiming that "Whoso Pulleth Out This Sword of this Stone and Anvil, is Rightwise King Born of England." None succeed in removing the sword, which is soon forgotten, leaving England in the Dark Ages.

Many years later, the film introduces Arthur (also known as Wart), a 12-year-old orphan training to be a squire. While accompanying his older foster brother Kay on a hunting trip, Wart accidentally prevents Kay from shooting a deer. He goes to retrieve the arrow, and falls into Merlin's cottage. Merlin declares himself Wart's tutor and the two return to Wart's home, a castle run by Sir Ector, Arthur's foster father. Although Merlin convinces him that magic exists via conjuring up an indoor blizzard (referred to by Merlin as a "wizard blizzard"), Ector will not allow him to tutor Wart, so Merlin magically disappears, which persuades Ector to let Merlin stay. Ector's friend, Sir Pellinore, arrives with news about the annual jousting tournament to be held on New Year's Day in London, with the new development that the winner will become king. Ector decides to put Kay through serious training for the tournament and makes Wart his squire.

Merlin transforms Wart and himself into fish and they swim in the castle moat to learn about physics. Wart is attacked by a pike and saved by Archimedes, Merlin's owl. Wart is sent to the kitchen as punishment after he tries relating his lesson to a disbelieving Ector. Merlin enchants the dishes to wash themselves, then takes Wart for another lesson and turns them into squirrels to learn about gravity. Wart is almost eaten by a wolf, but is saved by a female squirrel who falls in love with him. After they have returned to human form, Ector accuses Merlin of using black magic on the dishes. Wart defends Merlin but Ector will not listen, punishing Wart for "popping off" by giving Kay a different squire, Hobbs.

For his third lesson, after apologizing to Wart and resolving to redeem him, Merlin transforms him into a sparrow and Archimedes, having charge of Wart's education reassigned to him (because he thought Merlin's "Futuristic Fiddle Faddle" would only confuse Wart), teaches Wart how to fly. Wart is attacked by a hawk and flies down the witch Madam Mim's chimney. Mim's magic uses trickery, as opposed to Merlin's scientific skill. Merlin arrives after she nearly kills Arthur and challenges Mim to a Wizards' Duel, in which the combatants change themselves into various non-imaginary animals to destroy one another. Mim breaks the rules she made first by disappearing, then eventually transforming into a purple dragon. Merlin transforms himself into a germ called "Malignalitaloptereosis" and infects Mim, effectively defeating her, thus demonstrating the importance of brains over brawn.

At Christmas Eve, Kay is knighted but Hobbs comes down with the mumps; Ector reinstates Wart as Kay's squire. Merlin, however, is disappointed and angry that Wart still prefers war games to academics. Wart tries to explain that, as an orphan, nobility is forbidden and a squire is the best position he can attain. This further angers Merlin, who shouts "Blow me to Bermuda!", transporting himself to 20th-century Bermuda.

Ector, Kay, Sir Pellinore, Wart, and Archimedes travel to London for the tournament. Wart realizes he has left Kay's sword at a nearby inn, which is closed because of the tournament. Archimedes notices a sword in a stone in a nearby churchyard. Wart pulls the sword from the stone, unwittingly fulfilling the prophecy. When Arthur returns with the sword, Ector and Black Bart recognize it as the Sword in the Stone and the tournament is stopped. Demanding that Arthur prove he pulled it, Ector replaces the sword in its anvil. None of the other men can remove it as before, but Wart pulls it out again. This time the sky grows brighter and miracles appear in England. The knights all proclaim, "Hail, King Arthur! Long live the King!" as the crowd kneels down before him, the first being Ector, who apologizes to Arthur for his previous harsh treatment.

Arthur, crowned king, sits in the throne room with Archimedes, yet feels unprepared to take the responsibility of royalty. Overwhelmed by the cheering crowd outside, Arthur calls out to Merlin for help, who arrives from Bermuda and is elated to find that Arthur is the King that he saw in the future. Merlin tells the boy that he will lead the Knights of the Round Table, becoming one of the most famous figures in literature and even in motion pictures.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 1963-12-25 : United States of America

DVD : 2001-03-20