Richard the Lionheart and Saladin, Crusade Superstars go to the movies

Attention all crusaders! As we approach the Third Crusade, I thought it might be fun to think about how Richard and Saladin have been portrayed in film. I can’t say I’ll be rushing to see the above. Still, it can’t be too much worse than almost any Robin Hood movie. Sean Connery was, incidentally, uncredited, and given quite how cheesy this cameo is, perhaps on grounds of taste. It reminds one quite how hard it can be to parody Hollywood doing British history. Must admit I’ve never seen the film, but if the rest of it quite this bad it might almost be worth it. And, obviously! Richard would have had that so familiar Scottish accent. If you want to minimise the dreck, go straight to 3:30.

Nothing like a bit of historical realism, is there? The idea of Richard as the good king, popping up to accept Robin’s loyalty is a staple.

Mind you, Richard has his own TV series in the ‘sixties.

What of Saladin? Kingdom of Heaven gives the wise, cultured, Merciful and all that.

Interestingly, way back in the ‘thirties, Cecil B Demille’s epic gives us a civilised, sophisticated Saladin too.

In my humble opinion, so far so bad. There is one very good film featuring Richard, in this case the younger Richard in the reign of his father, Henry II. In a stellar cast, including Peter O’Toole as Henry and Katharine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard was played by Antony Hopkins, making his movie debut.

I’m not the only one who likes it.

And here’s that scene.

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