Quest for Camelot

Quest for Camelot (released in the United Kingdom as The Magic Sword: Quest for Camelot) is a 1998 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Warner Bros. Feature Animation and directed by Frederik Du Chau and based on the novel The King's Damosel by Vera Chapman. Feature the voices of Jessalyn Gilsig, Cary Elwes, Gary Oldman, Eric Idle, and Don Rickles. Andrea Corr, Bryan White and Celine Dion also do the singing voices of the main characters.

Quest for Camelot
Quest for Camelot- Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster by John Alvin
Directed byFrederik Du Chau
Produced by
  • Andre Clavel
  • Dalisa Cohen
  • Zahra Dowlatabadi
Screenplay by
Based onThe King's Damosel
by Vera Chapman
Music byPatrick Doyle[1]
Edited byStanford C. Allen
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • May 15, 1998 (1998-05-15)
Running time
86 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$40 million[3]
Box office$38.1 million[3]

Quest for Camelot was released by Warner Bros. under their Family Entertainment label on May 15, 1998. It was an "expensive flop", grossing $38.1 million against a budget of $40 million.[4]

One of the film’s songs “The Prayer” won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.


Sir Lionel is one of the knights of the Round Table. His daughter Kayley dreams of becoming a knight like her father. At Camelot, one of the knights, Lord Ruber - wanting to usurp King Arthur - attempts to kill him, but Lionel sacrifices himself to save him and is killed. Lord Ruber flees Camelot in exile after being rebounded by Arthur's sword Excalibur. During Lionel's funeral, Arthur tells Kayley and her mother, Juliana, that they will be welcomed should they come to Camelot.

A decade later, a griffin attacks Camelot, stealing Excalibur. Merlin's pet falcon Ayden attacks the griffin and the sword falls into the Forbidden Forest. Meanwhile, Ruber invades Kayley's home, holds everyone hostage and uses a potion he purchased from witches to create steel warriors from his human henchmen and a rooster, who becomes known as Bladebeak. He plans to use Juliana to gain entrance into Camelot.

After escaping and eavesdropping on Ruber and the griffin's conversation, Kayley enters the Forbidden Forest where she encounters Garrett; a blind hermit, and Ayden. Kayley convinces him to help her find Excalibur and learns that Garrett was once a stable boy in Camelot, and was blinded by one of the horses that he was rescuing from a stable fire. Lionel stood by Garrett, and taught him to adapt to his conditions.

They enter Dragon Country and meet a two-headed dragon named Devon and Cornwall who hate each other, cannot breathe fire or fly, and want to be two individual dragons. Devon and Cornwall decide to join to the group; Garrett reluctantly agrees after Kayley convinces him.

Later, they find the belt of Excalibur in a giant footprint. Kayley's insistence of distracting Garrett causes him to miss Ayden's signal, and he is injured by one of Ruber's men. Kayley uses the thorn bushed creatures to hold Ruber and his men captive, and escorts Garrett into a remote cave where the magic of the forest heals Garrett's wounds. Whilst in the cave, Kayley and Garrett begin to fall in love. The group goes into a giant cave where a rock-like ogre holds Excalibur, using it as a toothpick. Kayley succeeds in retrieving Excalibur and they escape before Ruber can get to it.

Exiting the forest with Excalibur, Garrett chooses to stay in the forest, feeling uncomfortable in Camelot. After he leaves, Ruber captures Kayley and takes Excalibur. Devon and Cornwall, who witness this, rush to Garrett and convince him to save Kayley. By working together for the first time, Devon and Cornwall are able to fly and breathe fire, and they hold off the griffin. Meanwhile, Kayley is captured in one of the wagons; Bladebeak frees Kayley from her ropes as Garrett comes to her aid and they enter the castle.

Inside, they find Ruber attempting to kill Arthur with Excalibur, now bonded to his arm with his magic potion. Kayley and Garrett intervene and trick Ruber into returning Excalibur to its stone, causing its magic to disintegrate Ruber and revert the mechanical men, including Bladebeak, back to normal. Later, with Camelot restored to its former glory, Kayley and Garrett marry and become knights of the round table.

Voice castEdit


In May 1995, The Quest for the Grail was Warner Bros. Feature Animation's first announced project. Bill Kroyer and Frederik Du Chau were announced as the directors, with Sue Kroyer serving as co-producer. The initial story centered around Susannah who embarks on a dangerous quest for the Holy Grail to save her sister from a ruthless and powerful knight.[5] The film was put into production before the story was finalized, but during the fall of 1995, animators were reassigned to finish Space Jam (1996). Meanwhile, in April 1996, Christopher Reeve was cast as King Arthur.[6] During the interim, several story changes were made that resulted in creative differences between the Kroyers and the studio management, in which the Kroyers were allegedly fired by Warner Bros. Feature Animation president Max Howard during the middle of 1996.[7] Following the departure of the Kroyers, two supervising animators along with several employees in the studio's art department subsequently left the project.[7][8] The film's initial producer, Frank Gladstone, left the project in February 1997 and was replaced with Dalisa Cohen.[7] Effects supervisor Michel Gagné recalled that "People were giving up. The head of layout was kicked out, the head of background, the executive producer, the producer, the director, the associate producer—all the heads rolled. It's kind of a hard environment to work in."[9]:218 Eventually, Du Chau was promoted to be the film's director.[7] Meanwhile, Reeve was replaced by Pierce Brosnan when he became unavailable to record new dialogue.[9]:217[10]

In an article in Animation Magazine, Chrystal Klabunde, the leading animator of Garrett, stated, "It was top heavy. All the executives were happily running around and playing executive, getting corner offices—but very few of them had any concept about animation at all, about doing an animated film. It never occurred to anybody at the top that they had to start from the bottom and build that up. The problems were really coming at the inexperience of everyone involved. Those were people from Disney that had the idea that you just said, 'Do it,' and it gets done. It never occurred to them that it got done because Disney had an infrastructure in place, working like clockwork. We didn't have that."[9]:218 Reportedly, "cost overruns and production nightmares" led the studio to "reconsider their commitment to feature animation."[11] Filmmaker Brad Bird (who helmed The Iron Giant, Warner Bros.' next animated film) thought that micromanaging, which he said had worked well for Disney but not for Warner Bros., had been part of the problem.[11]


The film was mainly animated at the main Warner Bros. Feature Animation facility located in Glendale, California and London, England.[6] In January 1996, the London animation studio was opened where more than 50 animators were expected to animate 20 minutes of animation, which would be sent back to Glendale to be inked-and-painted.[12] Additional studios that worked on the film included Yowza! Animation in Toronto, Ontario, where they assisted in clean-up animation,[13] Heart of Texas Productions in Austin, and A. Film A/S in Copenhagen where, along with London, about a quarter of the film was animated overseas.[9]:218[14] The supervising animators were Athanassios Vakalis for Kayley, Chrystal Klabunde for Garrett, Cynthia Overman for Juliana, Alexander Williams for Ruber, Dan Wagner for Devon and Cornwall, Stephen Franck for the Griffin and Bladebeak, and Mike Nguyen for Ayden.[15]

To create the rock-like ogre and other computer-generated effects, the production team used Silicon Graphics' Alias Research software. According to Katherine Percy, the head of CGI effects, the software was originally designed for special effects used in live-action films.[15][16]


Quest for Camelot: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedMay 5, 1998
LabelAtlantic Records
ProducerVarious Artists
Singles from Quest for Camelot: Music from the Motion Picture
  1. "Looking Through Your Eyes"
    Released: March 24, 1998
  2. "The Prayer"
    Released: 1 March 1999
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic     [17]

On January 31, 1996, Carole Bayer Sager and David Foster were attached to compose several songs for the film.[18] The album peaked at #117 on the Billboard 200, and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for "The Prayer", and was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, also for "The Prayer" (though it lost the latter to "When You Believe" from DreamWorks' The Prince of Egypt).

On the soundtrack, "The Prayer" was performed separately by Celine Dion in English, and by Andrea Bocelli in Italian. The now better-known Dion-Bocelli duet in both languages first appeared in October 1998 on Dion's Christmas album These Are Special Times; it was also released as a single in March 1999 and on Bocelli's album Sogno in April 1999.

1."Looking Through Your Eyes"LeAnn Rimes4:06
2."I Stand Alone"Steve Perry3:43
3."The Prayer"Celine Dion2:49
4."United We Stand"Steve Perry3:20
5."On My Father's Wings"Andrea Corr3:00
6."Looking Through Your Eyes"The Corrs and Bryan White3:36
7."Ruber"Gary Oldman3:56
8."I Stand Alone"Bryan White3:26
9."If I Didn't Have You"Eric Idle and Don Rickles2:55
10."Dragon Attack/Forbidden Forest"Patrick Doyle3:14
11."The Battle"Patrick Doyle2:49
12."Looking Through Your Eyes"David Foster3:57
13."The Prayer" (in Italian)Andrea Bocelli4:09
Total length:45:07


The film was originally slated for November 1997, but was pushed to May 1998 to give the production team more time to finish the film.[19]


The film was accompanied with a promotional campaign with promotional licensees including Wendy's and Kenner Products.[19][20] It also partnered with Scholastic to produce children's books based on the film.[21]

Home mediaEdit

Quest for Camelot was released on VHS and DVD by Warner Home Video on October 13, 1998. The VHS edition includes a teaser trailer for Warner Bros. and Morgan Creek Productions' The King and I (1999), while the DVD included several making-of documentaries with interviews of the filmmakers and cast and a music video of "I Stand Alone". To help promote the home video release of the film, Warner Bros. partnered with Act II, American Express, Best Western, CoinStar, Continental Airlines, Smucker's, and UNICEF, which advertised its trick-or-treat donation boxes before Halloween arrived.[22]


Critical responseEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 45% based on 29 reviews, with an average rating of 5.28/10. The websites critical consensus reads, "Diminished by uneven animation and treacly songs, Quest for Camelot is an adventure that ought to be tossed back to the Lady in the Lake."[23] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B+ on scale of A to F.[24]

Owen Gleiberman, reviewing for Entertainment Weekly, wrote, "The images are playful and serviceably lush, but the story and characters might have come out of a screenwriting software program, and the songs (sung by Celine Dion and Steve Perry, among others) are Vegas-pop wallpaper."[25] David Kronke of the Los Angeles Times described the film as "formulaic" and wrote that it was "a nearly perfect reflection of troubling trends in animated features". He called Kayley "a standard-issue spunky female heroine" and said that "Garrett's blindness is the one adventurous element to the film, but even it seems calculated; his lack of sight is hardly debilitating, yet still provides kids a lesson in acceptance."[26]

Critical of the story, animation, characters, and music, James Berardinelli of ReelViews wrote that the film was "dull, uninspired, and, worst of all, characterized by artwork that could charitably be called 'unimpressive.'"[27] Stephen Holden of the New York Times wrote, "Coming on the heels of 20th Century Fox's lush but silly Anastasia (a much better film than this one), Quest for Camelot suggests that Disney still owns the artistic franchise on animated features."[28] Kevin J. Harty, editor of a collection of essays called Cinema Arthuriana, says that the film is "slightly indebted to, rather than, as Warner publicity claims, actually based on" Chapman's novel.[29]

Peter Stack of the San Francisco Chronicle said that the film is "a spirited adventure with generous romantic and comic charms" that "aims to please a range of ages, with loopy gags, corny romance, an oversized villain and catchy tunes performed by Celine Dion and LeAnn Rimes, among others."[30] Joe Leydon of Variety considered the film as a "lightweight but likable fantasy that offers a playfully feminist twist to Arthurian legends" and noted that the "animation, though not quite up to Disney standards, is impressive enough on its own terms to dazzle the eye and serve the story."[31]

Box officeEdit

Quest for Camelot grossed $6 million on its opening weekend ranking third behind The Horse Whisperer and Deep Impact.[32] The film ultimately grossed $22.5 million during its theatrical run in North America.[33] Cumulatively, the film grossed $38.1 million worldwide.[3] The studio lost about $40 million on the film.[4]


The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:


Stage adaptationEdit

Prior to the release of the film, Warner Bros. had plans to make a stage adaptation of the film that would tour around to different renaissance fairs throughout the United States, as well as a nightly fireworks show for Six Flags Great Adventure. Both shows were designed by SLG Design & Creative Talent and Steve Gilliam.[35]

The touring aspect of the project was cancelled soon after the film's release due to poor box office performance and the tour's anticipated cost, but the nightly firework show did end up coming to fruition. Quest for Camelot Nights debuted at Six Flags Great Adventure in 1998, and ran through 2001.

The show told the story of the film, with much of the film's main characters appearing as live characters in the show. The film's musical numbers were acted out with scenes from the film displayed with projections onto the show's "water curtains".[36]


The Quest for Camelot Audio Action-Adventure was a follow along audiobook based on the film. Released April 7, 1998,[37] the interactive story features two new songs that weren't included in the movie, Camelot and To Be a Knight.[38] Initially announced in 1996, the audiobook was scheduled to be released October 1997,[39] but was delayed until April 1998. The story was narrated by Val Bettin.

Video gamesEdit

The first video game was titled Quest for Camelot and is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Titus Interactive with assistance from Nintendo for the Game Boy Color in 1998. A Nintendo 64 version of the game was planned,[40] but was scrapped due to the film's performance at the box office.[41] The second video game was titled Quest for Camelot: Dragon Games is a computer game developed by Knowledge Adventure, it gives the player the ability to explore Camelot after the events of the film. In addition to exploring the world, the player gets to raise a dragon egg and watch it grow.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Quest for Camelot". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 4, 2017.
  2. ^ "THE MAGIC SWORD - QUEST FOR CAMELOT (U)". Warner Bros. British Board of Film Classification. May 27, 1998. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "Quest for Camelot (1998)". The Numbers. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Bates, James; Eller, Claudia (June 24, 1999). "Animators' Days of Drawing Big Salaries Are Ending". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 4, 2010.
  5. ^ Berman, Art (May 26, 1995). "Movies: Warners Does a Disney". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Christopher Reeve signed to provide character voice for Warner Bros. Feature Animation's The Quest For Camelot" (Press release). Business Wire. April 1, 1996. Archived from the original on September 9, 2017. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d Wells, Jeffrey (February 27, 1998). "A Misguided 'Quest'?". The Record. Retrieved November 25, 2018 – via
  8. ^ Horn, John (June 1, 1997). "Can Anyone Dethrone Disney?". Los Angeles Times. p. 6. Archived from the original on June 10, 2010. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d Beck, Jerry (2005). The Animated Movie Guide. Chicago Review Press. p. 217. ISBN 978-1556525919. Quest for Camelot jerry beck.
  10. ^ Mallory, Michael (November 17, 1997). "Warner Bros. searches for boxoffice grail". Variety. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Miller, Bob (August 1, 1999). "Lean, Mean Fighting Machine: How Brad Bird Made The Iron Giant". Animation World Magazine. Animation World Network. Archived from the original on February 3, 2009. Retrieved December 9, 2008.
  12. ^ "Warner to open London animation studio" (Press release). Burbank, California. United Press International. January 5, 1996. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  13. ^ "Durham College and Yowza Digital Inc. announce research agreement to create new transmedia production process". Durham College. August 19, 2010. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  14. ^ Solomon, Charles (August 3, 1997). "Drawing on Talent Overseas". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  15. ^ a b "Quest for Camelot: About The Production". Film Scouts. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  16. ^ Quest for Camelot – Special Features: The Animation Process (text) (DVD). Warner Home Video. 1998.
  17. ^ Quest for Camelot at AllMusic
  18. ^ "Sager Gets Animated About 'Camelot' Production". Los Angeles Daily News. January 31, 1996. Archived from the original (Subscription required) on September 9, 2017. Retrieved September 8, 2017 – via HighBeam Research.
  19. ^ a b Johnson, Ted (January 28, 1997). "'Camelot' put off by WB to '98". Variety. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  20. ^ Szadkowski, Joseph (March 1, 1998). "Toy Fair: A Flood of Animated Toys". Animation World Network. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  21. ^ "Partnership Launches with Scholastic's Quest for Camelot Publishing Program" (Press release). Time Warner. Time Warner. January 21, 1998. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  22. ^ ""Quest for Camelot" -- Animated Feature Film From Warner Bros. Family Entertainment Arrives On Home Video Oct. 13; First-Ever Fully Animated Theatrical DVD Release" (Press release). Business Wire. October 13, 1998. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  23. ^ "Quest For Camelot (1998)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  24. ^ "QUEST FOR CAMELOT, THE (1998) B+". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  25. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (May 22, 1998). "Quest for Camelot". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  26. ^ Kronke, David (May 15, 1998). "Warner Bros.' Animated 'Camelot' Hits Formulaic Notes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  27. ^ Berardinelli, James. "The Quest for Camelot". ReelViews. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  28. ^ Holden, Stephen (May 15, 1998). "Quest for Camelot (1998) FILM REVIEW; Adventures of Some Square Pegs at the Round Table". The New York Times.
  29. ^ Harty, Kevin J. (2002). Kevin J. Harty (ed.). Cinema Arthuriana: Twenty Essays. McFarland & Company. p. 26. ISBN 0-7864-1344-1.
  30. ^ Stack, Peter (May 15, 1998). "A Charming `Quest' / Animated legend finds right mix of adventure, romance". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  31. ^ Leydon, Joe (May 11, 1998). "Quest for Camelot". Variety. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  32. ^ Welkos, Richard (May 19, 1998). "Audiences Still Flocking to 'Impact'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  33. ^ "Quest for Camelot (1998)". Box Office Mojo.
  34. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  35. ^ "QUEST FOR CAMELOT TOUR". Trinity College. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  36. ^ "Quest for Camelot". George F. Ledo Theatrical and Entertainment Design. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  37. ^ McCormick, Moria (May 23, 1998). "Atlantic Employs Tie-Ins Galore for 'Camelot' Set". Billboard. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  38. ^ "Quest for Camelot [Read-Along] - Audio Action Adventure Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  39. ^ McCormick, Moria (October 5, 1996). "Warner Consumer Products, Kid Rhino Team Up For Kids! WB Music Imprint". Billboard. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  40. ^ "Titus Makes Games 6DD Compatible". IGN. April 23, 1997. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  41. ^ "Titus Shelves Bots and Camelot". IGN. April 13, 1999. Retrieved June 21, 2019.

External linksEdit