The Sword in the Stone (film): Wikis


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The Sword in the Stone
Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman
Produced by Walt Disney
Written by Screenplay:
Bill Peet
T.H. White
Starring Rickie Sorensen
Karl Swenson
Junius Matthews
Sebastian Cabot
Norman Alden
Martha Wentworth
Music by Songs:
Richard M. Sherman
Robert B. Sherman
George Bruns
Distributed by Buena Vista Distribution
Release date(s) December 25, 1963
Running time 79 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Gross revenue $12,000,000 [1]

The Sword in the Stone is a 1963 animated fantasy comedy film, produced by Walt Disney originally released to theaters on December 25, 1963. The eighteenth animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics, it was the last Disney animated feature released while Walt Disney was alive.

It is part of the 'English Cyrcle' of Disney animated films, which include Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, 101 Dalmatians, The Jungle Book, Robin Hood and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

The film is based on the novel of the same name, at first published in 1938 as a single novel. It was then later republished in 1958 as the first book of T. H. White’s tetralogy The Once and Future King. From Merlin’s statement that The Times will not come out for another 1200 years ("They can't wait for the London Times. First edition won't be out for at least, uh... 1,200 years."), it may be extrapolated that the film is set circa A.D. 558.



The film begins in England with the death of the king, Uther Pendragon. The "Sword in the Stone" appears in London, with an inscription proclaiming that whomever pulls it out is the rightful King of England. None succeed in removing the sword, which is soon forgotten.

Some years later, Arthur (a.k.a. Wart), a 12-year-old orphan training to be a squire, accompanying his older foster brother Kay on a hunting trip, accidentally prevents Kay from shooting a deer. Wart goes to retrieve the arrow, and falls into Merlin's cottage. Merlin announces he will be Wart's tutor, packs up and the two return to Wart's home, a castle run by Sir Ector, one of Uther's knights. Ector does not believe in magic, and refuses to allow Merlin to tutor Wart. Merlin creates a blizzard, which persuades Ector to let Merlin stay, albeit in a decrepit old tower with countless leaks. Ector's friend and fellow knight, Sir Pellinore, arrives with news about the annual jousting tournament to be held on New Year's Day in London, only this time whose winner would be crowned King of England. Ector proposes that Kay be knighted and compete for the title, despite Kay's obvious ineptitude in both jousting and sword fighting.

Merlin begins his tutoring by transforming Wart and himself into fish and going into the palace's moat. Wart is chased and attacked by a pike, and is saved by Archimedes, Merlin's owl. Wart is sent to the kitchen as punishment after he tried to relate his lesson to a disbelieving Ector. Merlin arrives magics the dishes to wash themselves. He then takes Wart for another lesson, wherein he transforms Wart and himself into squirrels. Merlin teaches Wart about gravity, and about male-female relationships (as two female squirrels become infatuated with them). When they return, Ector accuses Merlin of using black magic on the dishes. Wart defends Merlin, and Ector punishes Wart by setting him with a mountain of chores, grounding him and giving Kay a different squire.

For his 3rd lesson, Merlin transforms Wart into a sparrow. Wart is attacked by a hawk and flies down the witch Madam Mim's chimney. Mim's magic uses trickery, as opposed to Merlin's scientific skill. Mim turns into a cat and chases Wart around her cottage. Merlin arrives and challenges Madame Mim to a Wizard's Duel (in which the combatants try to defeat each other by changing themselves into various non-imaginary animals to destroy one another). Mim immediately breaks the rules by disappearing, and eventually transforms into a dragon. Merlin returns the favour by transforming himself into a germ and infecting her, effectively defeating her.

At Christmas Kay is knighted, but his squire comes down with the mumps, and so Ector reinstates Arthur as Kay's squire. Merlin is disappointed that Wart still prefers war games to academics. Wart tries to explain that he cannot become a knight as he is an orphan, so a squire is the best position he can attain. This aggravates Merlin, who transports himself to 20th-century Bermuda in anger.

Ector, Kay, Pellinore, Wart and Archimedes travel to London for the tournament. Moments before Kay's match, Wart realizes that he has forgotten Kay's sword at their inn, which is closed because of the tournament. Archimedes notices a sword in a stone in a nearby churchyard, and points it out to Wart. Arthur pulls the sword from the stone, unwittingly fulfilling the Sword in the Stone’s prophecy.

When Arthur returns with the sword, Ector and Sir Bart recognize it as the Sword in the Stone, and the tournament is stopped. Demanding that Arthur prove he pulled it, Ector replaces the sword in its anvil. None of the other men succeed in removing it, but Wart manages to pull it out a second time with ease. The knights all proclaim, "Hail!! King Arthur!!", as the crowd, Sir Ector and Kay kneel to Arthur.

Next the film cuts to Arthur, crowned king, sitting in the throne room with Archimedes, feeling unprepared to take the responsibility of royalty. Overwhelmed by the cheering crowd outside, Arthur calls out to Merlin for help, who arrives (in Bermudan attire) and is elated to find that Arthur is King that he had seen in the future. Merlin tells the boy that he will rise and lead the Knights of the Round Table, accomplishing many amazing feats and becoming one of the most famous figures in literature and even in motion pictures (such as this film and the 2004 film.




Recycled animation

There are several scenes with animation recycled from other Disney films, as well as original animation that itself would be recycled in later productions. The deer Kay tries shooting at with his arrow was copied from Bambi's mother from Bambi. When Sir Ector and Kay are in the kitchen fighting against the enchanted dishware, Sir Ector swings his sword backwards and hits Kay on the head, with Kay groaning. Jasper and Horace in One Hundred and One Dalmatians were animated in the same way during the fight scene with Pongo and Perdita, and archive audio of J. Pat O'Malley (who voiced Jasper) was used for Kay's groan. Also, the footage where Wart is affectionately licked by the two castle dogs is reused in The Jungle Book four years later. The scene where Arthur is a squirrel jumping from one tree to the next was reused in The Fox and the Hound in 1981. When Wart goes into the forest to retrieve Kay's arrow, he pushes aside a branch and weaves in and out of a few small trees. This animation was reused in The Black Cauldron.


  • "The Sword in the Stone" (Sung by Fred Darian)
  • "Higitus Figitus" (Sung by Merlin)
  • "That's What Makes the World Go Round" (Sung mainly by Merlin)
  • "A Most Befuddling Thing" (Sung by Merlin)
  • "Mad Madame Mim" (Sung by Mim)
  • "Blue Oak Tree"


Theatricial releases

The film was originally released on December 25, 1963. It was then followed with re-issues in the United States in December 22, 1972 and March 25, 1983 with Winnie the Pooh and a Day For Eeyore.[2][3]

Home media

The film was first released in VHS format in the UK in 1983 and in the US in March 1986, followed by another VHS release in July 1991. Both of these were in the Walt Disney Classics line, The VHS was released again on October 28, 1994 as part of the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection. The VHS was rereleased along with the DVD release of the film March 2001 as part of the Walt Disney Gold Classic Collection. The 45th Anniversary Edition of the DVD was released in June 2008. The Deluxe Edition, which included lithographs, a book, a lenticular card, and a certificate of authenticity, was also released in June 2008.


The film was a financial success at the box office and was the sixth highest grossing film of 1963.[4] It was better received by British critics than American critics, who thought it had too much humor and a "thin narrative."[5] As of 2009, Rotten Tomatoes reported that 73% of critics gave positive reviews based on 22 reviews with an average score of 6/10.[6] In his book The Best of Disney, Neil Sinyard states that, despite being not well-known, the film has excellent animation, a complex structure, and is actually more philosophical than other Disney features. Sinyard suggests that Walt Disney may have seen something of himself in Merlin, and that Mim, who "hates wholesome sunshine", may have represented critics.[5]


The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Score—Adaptation or Treatment in 1963, but lost against Irma La Douce.[7]

Other media

Video games

Merlin is a recurring character in the Kingdom Hearts series, appearing in Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. He is voiced by Jeff Bennett.[8][9]

See also


  1. ^ "The Sword in the Stone - Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  2. ^ "The Sword in the Stone (1963) - Release dates". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  3. ^ "Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore (1983) - Trivia". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  4. ^ "Box Office Report - Revenue Database - 1963". Box Office Report. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  5. ^ a b Sinyard, Neil (1988). The Best of Disney. Portland House. pp. 102–105. ISBN 0-517-65346-X. 
  6. ^ "The Sword in the Stone Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  7. ^ "1963 (36th)". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  8. ^ Square. Kingdom Hearts. (Square Electronic Arts). PlayStation 2. (2002-11-15)
  9. ^ Square. Kingdom Hearts II. (Square Electronic Arts). PlayStation 2. (2005-12-22)

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Though many tried for the sword with all their strength, none could move the sword, nor stir it. So, the miracle had not worked, and England was still without a king.

The Sword in the Stone is a Disney film from 1963 based on parts of The Once and Future King (1958) by T. H. White, in which Merlin the Magician gives social and magical lessons to a young boy known as Wart, who eventually pulls a magical sword from a stone and anvil to become hailed as King Arthur.

Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman. Written by Bill Peet and T.H. White.


I happen to be a wizard! A soothsayer! A prognosticator! I have the power to see into the future! Centuries into the future! I've even been there, lad.
Narrator: [sings] A legend is sung of when England was young, And knights were brave and bold. The good king had died, and no-one could decide, who was rightful heir to the throne. It seemed that the land would be torn by war, for, saved by a miracle alone. And that miracle appeared in London Town, the sword in the stone. And below the hilt, in letters of gold, were written these words, "Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil is rightwise king born of England". Though many tried for the sword with all their strength, none could move the sword, nor stir it. So, the miracle had not worked, and England was still without a king. And, in time, the marvellous sword was forgotten. This was a dark age, without law and without order. Men lived in fear of one another, for the strong preyed upon the weak.

Merlin: A dark age indeed! An age in inconveniance! No plumbing! No electricity! No nothing! Oh, hang it all!

Merlin: Now, let me see. He should be here in, I'd say, half an hour.
Archimedes: Who? Who? I'd like to know, who?
Merlin: I told you, Archimedes, I am not sure. All I know is that someone will be coming, someone very important.
Archimedes: Oh, pinfeathers!
Merlin: Fate will direct him to me, so that I, in turn, may guide him to his rightful place in the world.

Merlin: [Arthur falls through merlin's roof] Well! So, you did drop in for tea after all! Oh, you are a bit late, you know?
Arthur: Oh, I am?
Merlin: Yes. Now, my name is Merlin... Come, come, who are you, my lad?
Arthur: Oh, my name's Arthur, but everyone calls me Wart.
Arthur: How did you know that I would--
Merlin: Oh, that-that you would be dropping in? Well, I happen to be a wizard! A soothsayer! A prognosticator! I have the power to see into the future! Centuries into the future! I've even been there, lad.

Merlin: Oh, big news, eh? Can't wait for the London Times, first edition won't be out for at least [looks at his watch] 1200 years.Archimedes, would you mind sailing down there and--
Archimedes: Not interested.
Merlin: Archimedes, I'll turn you into a human.
Archimedes: You wouldn't dare.
Merlin: I will, so help me, I will.
Archimedes: All right, all right.
Merlin: Works every time, just like magic.

Merlin: That boy's got real spark, lots of spirit. Throws himself, heart and soul, into everything he does. And that's really worth something, if it can only be turned in the right direction.
Archimedes: Haha, fat chance of that.
Merlin: Ah, I plan to cheat of course. Use magic! Every last trick in the trade if, I have to.

Arthur: Oh, I'm not really a sparrow, I'm a boy.
Madame Mim: A boy?
Arthur: Merlin changed me with his magic, he's the world's most powerful wizard.
Madame Mim: Merlin? [laughs] Oh, Merlin, the world's most powerful bungler. Why, boy, I've got more magic in one little finger. Now don't tell me you've never heard of the marvelous Madame Mim?
Arthur: Well, no, I don't guess so.
Archimedes: Madame Mim! [flys off] Good heavens, good heavens, good heavens.
Madame Mim: Why, boy, I'm the greatest! I'm truly marvellous! [sings] With only a touch, I have the power, zim-zam-rim-vim, to whither a flower. I find delight in the gruesome and grim--
Arthur: Oh, that's terrible.
Madame Mim: Thank you, my boy. But that's nothing, nothing to me. Because I'm the magnificent, marvellous, mad Madame Mim.

Narrator: So, at last, the miracle had come to pass in that far off time, upon new year's day. And the glorious reign of King Arthur was begun.

Arthur: I'm in an awful pickle, I'm king.
Archimedes: He pulled a sword from the stone.
Merlin: Aha! Of course, of course! King Arthur and his knights of the round table.
Arthur: Round table?
Merlin: Oh, would you rather have a square one?
Arthur: Oh, no, round will be fine.
Merlin: Boy, boy, boy, you'll become a great legend. They'll be writing books about you for centuries to come. Why, they might even make a motion picture about you.


Wart (voice) - Rickie Sorensen
Merlin (voice) - Karl Swenson
Archimedes (voice) - Junius Matthews
Sir Ector (voice) - Sebastian Cabot
Sir Kay (voice) - Norman Alden
Madam Mim (voice) - Martha Wentworth

External Links

The Sword in the Stone quotes at the Internet Movie Database


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