This action/adventure film covers the life of Arthur (Clive Owen) — treating the legend as a historical figure — before he becomes king. It takes place during the fall of the Roman Empire in 450 A.D. After long military service for Rome, Arthur and his fellow knights are assigned one more mission before they are granted their freedom. With only a few men including Lancelot (Loan Gruffudd) and Galahad (Hugh Dancy), they are to rescue a family important to Rome before their homeland is overtaken by the Saxon army. When they arrive at the family’s estate, they discover that the head of the house is a cruel taskmaster and has imprisoned and tortured many who worked for him. From the dungeons, Arthur frees all of those who are still alive including Guinevere (Keira Knightley). Arthur’s task has now become even greater; in addition to bringing safety to an evil man, his conscience drives him to rescue those who served him.
Arthur, a devoted Christian who is bound by the heathen laws of Rome, is asked to fulfill a mission in which he does not believe. He is also committed to his fellow knights and warriors — all of them pagans — who have fought faithfully by his side. Arthur is taunted by his peers when they witness people claiming to be servants of God involved in hideous acts. There are numerous violent battle scenes, but the blood and gore is minimal. There is also some bad language and two scenes of implied sexuality. The film’s overriding message is positive: do good in the midst of evil. King Arthur provides many opportunities for discussion. Dove cautiously gives King Arthur the Dove Seal at a 12+ rating but warns that it may be too intense for younger children.