For this assignment, you will choose one of the movies set in medieval Europe listed below and
write a brief reaction paper (1000-1200 words), sharing your interpretation and analysis of the
film’s historical accuracy. You will then consider points where the movie clearly diverges from
our historical evidence and think about the reasons that modern writers, directors, and
producers would make those decisions. Are there aspects of medieval European culture that
our modern sensibilities find unpalatable? Perhaps some changes are made to fit our modern
expectations of social or romantic interactions? Or are some changes made purely for
entertainment value? If so, what makes something more or less entertaining?
NB: In most cases, this paper will require additional research. You will need to have a closer
look at the medieval versions of stories or historical accounts of events to make the requisite
comparisons. If you need any help finding appropriate sources, please let me know.
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), d. Kevin Reynolds
Robin Hood (2010), d. Ridley Scott
Primary Texts: Robin Hood and the Monk (ca. 1450;
Robin Hood and the Potter (ca. 1500;
Modern Scholarly Rundown: Steven Knight and Thomas H. Ohlgren, eds. “General Introduction”
in Robin Hood and Other Outlaw Tales, 1997.
Braveheart (1995), d. Mel Gibson
Historical Evidence: https://www.britannica.com/biography/William-Wallace
Andrew Fisher, William Wallace, 2012
Primary Text Synopsis: Anne McKim, “Introduction” in The Wallace, 2003
Kingdom of Heaven (2005), d. Ridley Scott
“Reimagining the Crusades,” Archaeology Magazine Nov/Dec 2018
Balian of Ibelin:
King Arthur (2004), d. Antoine Fuqua
First Knight (1995), d. Jerry Zucker
Excalibur (1981), d. John Boorman
A Knight’s Tale (2001), d. Brian Heldgeland
A Good Rundown: https://www.ancient.eu/article/1068/the-historical-king-arthur/
Rubric: Your grade for this assignment will be based on the following categories.
Response to prompt (20%): To receive full credit for this section, you must directly address the
prompt above and stay on topic throughout the essay.
Use of and engagement with sources (30%): This essay should reflect your own interpretations
and analyses but, in order to make informed interpretations and comparisons you MUST do
external research on the plot of your movie. In some cases, this will involve reading the primary
literary source for the movie’s plot, in others you will need to research the historical event that
your movie is attempting to depict. In all cases you MUST CITE your sources (see below for
citation guides). You should also ONLY use academic sources (i.e. those published by
academic or well-reputed presses, academic journals, websites connected to academic
institutions, museums, etc. DO NOT use un-reviewed or collaborative sources such as
Analysis and interpretation (30%): This essay should go beyond restating the plot of the movie.
You should analyze and interpret your movie, drawing substantiated conclusions about both
medieval and modern cultures and societies that either produced your evidence or that your
evidence refers to. You should build a persuasive argument or analysis demonstrating careful
and critical thought. Avoid generalizations or assumptions (such as “All Egyptians believe…”).
First person emotive statements (“I feel…”, “I believe…”) should be minimized, in favor of
statements that draw upon specific evidence for your conclusions (“Evidence X shows us Y
Organization and clarity of writing (20%): Your essay should be free of grammatical and spelling
errors. It should also be easy to follow and understand your analyses and arguments. You
should include an introduction that clearly states the main topic and an overview of your paper.
Your conclusion should synthesize the evidence and arguments that you have presented and
suggest broader insights (rather than simply summarizing the essay).
Here is a rough suggested outline:
I. Introduction to your movie and the general themes that you will be discussing. You should
include a BRIEF (no more that a couple sentences) description of the movie’s plotline. DO NOT
spend too much time on this. Remember, I have seen the movie, too, so there is no need to go
into too much detail. Spend more time explaining the important themes and elements that you
will be analyzing in more detail in the rest of the paper.
II. Aspects of the movie that are historically accurate. Describe, in detail, places where you think
the movie accurately depicts either the primary literary sources or the historical evidence that
the movie is based on. CITE where you got this evidence. DO NOT merely rehash the material
presented in movie accuracy websites. I have read those too and am more interested in YOUR
III. Aspects of the movie that are not historically accurate. Again, citing your primary or
secondary sources, describe and discuss plot points, characters, and other elements of the
movie that are not derived from the source material we have. Then, provide your own
interpretation on why such deviations were made (see the prompt above for a few possible
questions you might consider).
IV. Conclusion. Briefly summarize what you have just discussed and perhaps add some
overarching conclusions, bringing together or expanding upon themes you have discussed in
sections II and III.
General Writing Tips:
· Be as concise as possible in your sentence structure. Avoid wasteful words and
phrases. You have a limited number of words to illustrate your claims so get to the point
quickly and efficiently.
· Make sure every paragraph has a topic sentence.
· Make sure there are smooth transitions between the end of one paragraph and the
beginning of the next.
· Your paper should be well-formatted, demonstrate a firm command of the English
language, and contain few, if any, spelling or grammar mistakes.
· Rewrite run-on sentences.
· Make sure every sentence has a subject.
· Avoid the use of personal pronouns such as “I” or “we,” when possible.
· Proofread your essay by reading it aloud. If a sentence does not make sense, change it.
· Reread these directions after the first time you have proofread your essay. And then
proofread it again.
Formatting and Citation Guidelines:
Your essay should be double-spaced, in 12-point font, and in a standard font (Times New
Roman, Arial, Helvetica, or something similar).
You must cite all sources of information and ideas that are not your own. I prefer Chicago Style,
Notes and Bibliography
(https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide/citation-guide-1.html). However, if
you prefer a different style (Chicago Author-Date, MLA, Turabian, etc), that is fine, just be
consistent throughout the paper, both in your in-text citations (parenthetical, footnotes, or
endnotes) and work cited/bibliography page.
Movie Review Assignment on Kingdom of Heaven (2005), d. Ridley Scott