A Knight's Tale

Synopsis: Inspired by "The Canterbury Tales," as well as the early life of William Marshall (later First Earl of Pembroke), this is the story of William, a young squire with a gift for jousting. After his master dies suddenly, the squire hits the road with his cohorts Roland and Wat. On the journey, they stumble across an unknown writer, Chaucer. William, lacking a proper pedigree, convinces Chaucer to forge genealogy documents that will pass him off as a knight. With his newly-minted history in hand, the young man sets out to prove himself a worthy knight at the country's jousting competition, and finds romance along the way.
Director(s): Brian Helgeland
Production: Columbia Pictures
  4 wins & 10 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
132 min

In medieval times a sport arose.|Embraced by noble and peasant fans

alike though only noble knights could|complete. The sport was jousting.

For one of these knights, an|over-the-hill former champion, it was

the end. But for his peasant squire|William, it was merely the beginning.

Should we help him?

He's due in the lists in two minutes.|Two minutes or forfeit.

Lend us those.

Right. Left.

- Dead.|- Eh?

Three scores to none after two lances.

As long as Sir Ector doesn't|fall off his horse, we've won.

He's dead.

His spirit is gone|but his stench remains.

- Does that answer your question?|- No, no, no.

No, he sleeps. Rouse him.

I haven't eaten in three days!

None of us have!

- Let's fetch a priest.|- No, he's not dead!

Come on!

You manky git!


Squire, Sir Ector must report|at once or forfeit the match.

He's on his way.

I haven't eaten in three days!

Three days! What did you eat, mate?!

If you wasn't dead, I would kill you!

I'll ride in his place.

Strip his armor.|I'm riding in his place.

Wat, stop kicking him!|I'm riding in his place. Help me.

What's your name, William?

It's not Sir William.

It's not Count or Duke or King William.

I know that.

You must be of noble birth to compete.

A detail. The landscape is food.|Do you want to eat or not?

If the nobles find out,|there'll be the devil to pay.

Then pray that they don't.

"A Knight's Tale"|adventure-medieval, USA, 2001


Come on, we're late.

The score stands at three lances|to none in favor of Sir Ector.

Lord Philip of Aragon.

Stand ye ready?

Sir Ector. Stand ye ready?


I tilted against Sir Ector many times.

In practice as his target.|You never struck him.

- Badger me not with details.|- The landscape. Stay on the horse.

He needs 3 points.|He has to knock you off the horse.

I know how to score, Roland.

I've waited my whole life|for this moment.

For Sir Ector to shite himself|to death?

Get it in the cradle. In the cradle.

Get it in the cradle!

William, are you alive?

- We won! We won!|- Can you hear me?

Get off me! William, can you hear me?

We won!

He's breathing. He's breathing!

Sir Ector.

Sir Ector. Remove your helmet.

My lord, the final blow of the lance|has bent it onto my head.

He says the final blow of the--

I present your champion, my lord.


No, 1 0.

- Fifteen.|- Done.

Very good. Cheers.

Fifteen silver florins.|He didn't want that.

That's five for William.

Five for Wat. Five for Roland,|who's going home to England.

Straight to the pub for me.|Eel pie, brie tart...

...tansy cakes with peppermint cream.

We could do this.

We've done it, boy.|That's silver in your hand.

No, I mean, we can do this.|We can be champions.

Give us your coins.

Give me your coins.

Now, that's one for you.

And one...for you.

Which leaves 1 3.

That's 1 3 for training|and outfitting.

The tournament in Rouen is in a month.

We could split a bigger prize.

In one month we'd be on our way|to glory and riches.

Or lying in a ditch with Sir Ector.|William, I just want to go home.

Tansy cakes. Dilled veal balls.|I'll take my five now.

Oh, wait up.

You're going the wrong way!

You can't even joust.

Most of it is the guts to take a blow.|Guts I have.

And technique?|I have a month to learn that.

- In the practice ring.|- You're not of noble birth.

So, we lie.

How did the nobles become noble|in the first place?

They took it at the tip of a sword.|I'll do it with a lance.

- A blunted lance.|- No matter, Wat.

A man can change his stars. I won't|spend the rest of my life as nothing.

That is nothing. And that's|where glory will take us.

We're peasants. Glory and riches|are beyond our grasp.

But a full stomach?|That dream can come true.

If you can take your coins,|go eat cake in England.

But if you can't, you come with me.

See how hungry I am?!

- Do you?!|- Damn your stomach, Wat!

Roland, please.

With 1 3 silver pieces,|three men can change their stars.

God love you, William.

I know, I know. No one else will.


- I think he's getting worse.|- He is getting worse.



You see how dangerous it is?

Faster! Faster!|All right, use those legs!

Come on, Roland. Faster! Faster!

You missed it.

You've done it dozens of times.

Well, I guess that means|we should do it again.

Come on.

Come on, ponies.

Fong him.

Faster. Balance.

No, slower. Keep it steady.

I got it! Look, I got it!

Any minute now.

- Yes, better.|- Nice.

- It's my turn to ride.|- No.

We haven't reached the marker.|And you shouldn't.

How would it look if my squire rode|while I walked?

I don't give a witch's teat!|It's my turn! It's my turn!

Maybe nobody should ride.|The horse is not what he used to be.

Fine. Fine.


Hoy, sir.

What are you doing?


You know, trudging? To trudge?

To trudge the slow, weary...

...depressing, yet determined walk|of a man who had nothing left...

...except the impulse to simply|soldier on.

Were you robbed?

Interesting question. Yes.

And at the same time,|a huge, resounding, "No."

It's more a sort of involuntary|vow of poverty, really.

But on the brighter side,|trudging does represent pride.

Pride, resolve and faith|in the good Lord Almighty.

Please, Christ, rescue me|from my tribu-...


Who are you?

Lilium inter spinas.

The lily among the thorns.

Geoffrey Chaucer's the name.|Writing's the game.


Rate this script:4.4 / 43 votes

Brian Helgeland

Brian Thomas Helgeland (born January 17, 1961) is an American screenwriter, film producer and director. He is most known for writing the screenplays for L.A. Confidential (for which he received the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay), Mystic River, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. Helgeland also wrote and directed 42 (2013), a biopic of Jackie Robinson, and Legend (2015), about the rise and fall of the Kray twins. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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