1971 - 1972
One of many versions of the Arthurian legend, Camelot is certainly one of the best known and best loved...
The lords and ladies await the arrival of Guenevere, King Arthur of England's future Queen. A nervous Arthur tries to persuade Merlyn, his teacher, to tell him about her. Merlyn, who lives backwards in time and can recall the future as well as the past, refuses to tell the impatient king. An equally apprehensive Guenevere avoids the waiting crowd and on meeting Arthur alone soon becomes charmed with him, and his description of the magical Camelot. As predicted, Merlyn is lured away by a spirit and Arthur is on his own as far as running his kingdom and dealing with his new marital status.
Five years pass and Arthur, a slow thinker, finally grasps the course of wisdom set for him by Merlyn. He develops a new philosophy; a concept of chivalry whose advocates are charged with improving rather than destroying. The Knights of the Round Table are created.
Word of the Round Table spreads to France where Lancelot du Lac heeds its call and journeys to Camelot. In a chance encounter he almost kills Arthur, but is forgiven and accepted as a member of the Court. Guenevere and the Court have gone a-maying and are entertained by the arrival of Pellinore, a comic old knight in search of a "questing beast". The joyous mood is soon altered when Lancelot pontificates on his virtue and strength. Guenevere arranges for a joust against her three strongest knights, hoping he will be defeated and will learn a lesson in humility. However, Lancelot defeats all three and is invested as a Knight of the Round Table.
As time passes, Guenevere and Lancelot find themselves falling for each other, but vow never to consumate their love for fear of destroying the Round Table and Arthur himself. But Arthur already realizes the situation and becomes despondent over the choice he will one day have to make: save Guenevere from herself or save the Round Table.
Mordred, the conniving bastard son of Arthur, arrives at the Court and begins to undermine Arthur's authority and to plot for his downfall. He persuades his aunt, Morgan Le Fey, to detain Arthur and Pellinore overnight during a hunting expedition. That night as Guenevere and Lancelot meet in her bedroom, Mordred and several guards burst in and arrest them for treason. There is a fearsom struggle but the lovers eventually escape and flee to France. Arthur sets off after them, knowing that he must declare war on France if the Round Table is to retain its integrity.
Prior to the battle, he meets them both. Aware that he has lost the love of Guenevere, Arthur forgives them and prepares for battle. Whether or not he is killed, he knows that the Order of the Round Table as he envisioned it will probably die. In a final gesture of hope, he dispatches a young boy back to England to spread the word and help keep alive the dream that was his Camelot.