Liam Neeson Looks Back at His Breakout Excalibur Role 40 Years Later

The epic fantasy movie Excalibur helped launch the career of Liam Neeson when it was released in theaters four decades ago, and Neeson is looking back at his breakout movie 40 years later. Written and directed by John Boorman, the movie retells the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Neeson plays Sir Gawain, one of the knights who duels Sir Lancelot (Nicholas Clay) in one of the more memorable scenes.

Liam Neeson has certainly come a long way since appearing in Excalibur, but for the accomplished actor, it still doesn’t quite feel like it’s already been 40 years. Reflecting on the movie’s imminent 40-year anniversary, Neeson fondly remembered his Excalibur experience in a new interview with

“It seems like three years ago, in one sense. It was 1980, I think, we did it. The film was released in ’81, but we actually shot in 1980. [It] gave me a start. I fell madly in love with cinema doing that film. I learned to ride horses. [The movie] also launched my pal Gabriel Byrne. A couple people have died – Nicol Williamson, God rest him. Nigel Terry, who played King Arthur. But, it’s a rich film.”

Addressing working director John Boorman, Neeson adds:

“I loved John Boorman. He became a mentor to us, because we hadn’t much experience, certainly not on camera. I had done a lot of theater work, but not on-camera work, and John was a wonderful mentor. He teaches things. He’d bring us behind the camera and say, ‘Look. Here’s what I’m seeing…’ It was a wonderful experience. It really was.”

Neeson didn’t have very much experience at all performing in front of a camera, but with a production shot entirely in Ireland, Excalibur was there to provide the Irish actor with a lucky break very early into his career. Thanks in part to his role as Gawain, Neeson would go on to become one of the highest grossing actors of all time. He has since established himself in more recognizable roles like Qui Gon Jinn in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Oskar Schindler in Schindler’s List, and Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins.

As an action movie star, Neeson is perhaps best known for starring in Taken as Bryan Mills, a retired CIA operative who uses a particular set of skills to save his kidnapped daughter. Neeson would reprise the role in two sequels. He has also appeared in a variety of other action movies, but the actor has recently teased that his time doing these kinds of films is coming to an end.

“There’s a couple more I’m going to do this year — hopefully, COVID allowing us — there’s a couple in the pipeline and, then I think that will probably be it. Well, unless I’m on a Zimmer frame or something,” Neeson said of his action movie run.

He might be getting older, but the Excalibur and Taken star isn’t quite done just yet. He can now be seen in the new movie The Marksman as a rancher and former Marine helping a young boy escape a Mexican drug cartel. Katheryn Winnick, Juan Pablo Raba, and Teresa Ruiz also star. This news comes to us from

Comments are closed.