A Knight’s Tale

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A Knight’s Tale
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IMDb: 6.9
In 14th century Europe, jousting has become the most popular sport, enjoyed by nobles and peasants alike even if only knights can join. One day, squires William, Roland, and Wat find their liege Sir Ector dead after taking a few blows during a jousting tournament. This is obviously bad news since it leaves them jobless, but they also haven't eaten in three days, so they're desperate for some money. The organizers of the tournament still don't know about Ector's death, which gives William an idea: he'll pretend to be Ector and finish the competition. He's always wanted to be a jousting knight, and he's helped Ector train in the past so he knows how to fight. By keeping the helmet on at all times, nobody will be able to tell the difference. Roland isn't the biggest fan of the idea at first, but both he and Wat decide to help anyway and see what happens. During the tournament, William surprises everyone with a smooth victory, earning him an expensive gold feather as a prize. Later, the trio sells the feather and divides the money equally among them. However, William gets an idea and takes the money back, leaving his friends with only one coin each. He thinks they can keep up the farce and become champions, so the money should be invested in equipment to win even more. Roland and Wat don't like the idea and even fight William to get their money back, but William doesn't give up, and eventually convinces the good in their hearts to help him out. The trio buys new equipment and spends the time leading to the next tournament training hard until William doesn't miss a single hit. A month later, they're on the road, traveling to the nearest competition when they come across a naked man. It's famous writer Geoffrey Chaucer, who has recently been robbed. William introduces himself as Sir Ulrich, but Geoffrey can see through his lie and offers a deal: if they share some food and clothes with him, he'll forge a patent of nobility that William can use to enter the next tournament. The trio is hesitant to trust Geoffrey but they don't have much of a choice, so they accept the deal while Wat makes sure to threaten Geoffrey with extreme violence if he dares to betray them. Once they make it to town, they're relieved to find the fake patent of nobility is accepted by the organizers, and William decides to hire Geoffrey as his herald. While waiting for his turn, William sees Lady Jocelyn in the crowd and instantly falls in love with her. Wanting to talk to her, he follows her around town, but she refuses to tell him her name. William is eventually kicked out when Jocelyn enters the church and he tries to do the same while still on a horse. Afterward, William easily wins his first match, but he's starting to worry about the state of his armor. Suddenly, he's interrupted by the men in charge of the local gambling circuit, who tell him he needs to pay up for his employee. It turns out Geoffrey was never robbed, he actually has a gambling problem, and he'll be killed if his liege doesn't pay. Ignoring Wat's furious reaction, William tells the men to let Geoffrey go, promising to pay after winning the tournament. Afterward, William also joins the sword combats, winning there as well and giving Geoffrey the chance to hype him up for the public by using his creative way with words. William's skill proves to be true and he wins the sword competition, so now he can go back to the jousting matches. He's winning there as well, but his armor gets damaged, and none of the blacksmiths will accept a promise of payment to fix it. Not even blacksmith Kate will do it, but William has heard what the others think of a female blacksmith, thus he convinces her to fix his armor when he implies that the rest of the blacksmiths thought she couldn't because she's a girl. Among the people enjoying the jousting matches are Jocelyn and her lady-in-waiting Christiana, and they're approached by jousting champion Count Adhemar, who is also interested in Jocelyn. After boasting about his army currently fighting in France and the fact he's never been unhorsed, Adhemar explains the rules of jousting to Jocelyn, pointing out that different hits are given different amounts of points. Their conversation is interrupted by William, who comes to talk to Jocelyn to impress her with some poetry Geoffrey just taught him. Unfortunately, Adhemar humiliates him in front of everyone, so William has to leave in shame. Before the next match, Geoffrey announces William with lots of fanfare, making up stories about his great deeds. William fights excellently, but Adhemar tells Jocelyn that he has no style or technique though he admits not protecting his eyes properly makes him fearless. William's opponent is hurt and knows he's already lost, but he's never not finished a match before and would like to finish with his honor intact. Taking pity on him, William accepts this and their last run is a tie on purpose. The opponent withdraws, and William advances. Adhemar thinks not finishing his opponent makes William weak, but Jocelyn sees it as a great demonstration of mercy. Later in the evening, Adhemar sends Jocelyn a message saying he'll win this tournament for her, but she doesn't care because she knows he wins things for his own ego and that he prefers women to be silent. She's more impressed by the fact William is the only knight that hasn't promised to win for her, so maybe she might allow him to win her heart. The next day, Jocelyn sends her pashmina to William as a token of good luck, and even allows Christiana to finally tell him her name. William's final match is against Adhemar, and while he begins by winning the most points, Adhemar decides to finish him by taking advantage of William's lack of protecting his face and hits him on the head, knocking him out. While unconscious, William remembers the days when he was a little kid watching knights and wishing to become one. Most people thought it was impossible for a peasant, but his father John encouraged him to believe in his dreams. When he wakes up, William finds Adhemar picking up Jocelyn's pashmina and, before taking it to her, he challenges William to seek him in the future after he trains more. William still won the sword tournament, meaning he receives a good prize that allows him to pay the gamblers and Kate. Speaking of Kate, she points out that William has been wearing armor that wasn't made specifically for him and offers to make him a new one in exchange for them taking her to Paris. William turns her down, eager to leave, but Christiana shows up to confirm he'll attend the banquet because Jocelyn wants to dress matching his colors. This makes William quickly change his mind about leaving, and after saying he'll be wearing green, the group gets down to work: Roland will prepare William's clothes while Geoffrey teaches him how to dance. Sadly, the classes aren't going well, so when Kate finds them arguing, William apologizes to her and convinces her to teach them better. During the banquet, William gets to chat with Jocelyn and recite more poetry to her. Adhemar tries to humiliate him again by insinuating he can only dance like a countryside peasant, but William shows his moves and easily fits in the dance party, leaving Adhemar very frustrated. The next day, Kate has customized armor ready for William, and she's even marked it with her own logo. William is unsure because he thinks the armor is too light and small, but Kate explains she's found a new way to reheat metal - this helps the armor be lighter to wear but still as strong. The men don't believe her so they run a test, getting incredibly impressed when William is hit yet doesn't feel a thing. A week later, William joins another tournament. People laugh at his small thin armor, but he quickly proves wrong when he easily wins his first match. Jocelyn is there watching, and Adhemar has come to participate as well, but he withdraws when he learns that his opponent is Prince Edward in disguise. Geoffrey hears about this and advises William to withdraw as well to avoid getting in trouble with the king, but William notices how disappointed Edward is because nobody will fight him and decides to go against him anyway. In between runs, William tells Edward he knows who he is, and Edward is impressed that he still decided to ride against a prince. It's William who wins the tournament, yet he's in a bad mood because he didn't get to beat Adhemar. This causes him to snap at Jocelyn when she comes by to invite him to the banquet, so Jocelyn leaves upset, thinking he's a twat. Weeks pass as William continues participating and winning tournaments all over the place, but he still doesn't get to go against Adhemar because he was called away to the Battle of Poitiers. But even in the middle of war, Adhemar asks for news about the tournaments, growing increasingly angry when he sees William is winning them all. A month passes without seeing Jocelyn, causing William to write a letter to try to win her back. He isn't very good with words, so Geoffrey fills it with his own poetry and the feelings their friends share about their old loves. Wat's the one in charge of taking the letter to Jocelyn, who finds herself crying in awe at such sweet words. The next day, Wat returns to the group with a message from Jocelyn for William: she promises to come to Paris to see him joust, and sends him a light kiss on the lips for good luck. Later, Geoffrey decides that since Adhemar won't be participating in this tournament either, they could gamble on William's victory. In the meantime, William meets with Jocelyn at the local church. Unfortunately, Jocelyn quickly gets disappointed - she'd been expecting more poetry, but instead, William promises to win the tournament for her like all knights always like to do. Tired of this charade, Jocelyn gives him an ultimatum: if he wants to prove his love for her, William must lose in her name. Furious at such a request, William stomps out of the church, refusing to be a loser. However, when the tournament begins, William changes his mind and begins losing on purpose. This drives his friends mad, thinking he's insane for getting hurt over a woman and worrying about their bets, but William ignores them. Fortunately, his stubbornness pays off: Jocelyn finally believes his love is true, and between matches, she sends Christiana to tell William he should win the tournament for her. William does exactly that, earning Geoffrey a bag full of coins for his bets. In the evening, Jocelyn visits William in his tent after he missed the banquet because he's too wounded. She confesses she's learned his real name after Christiana overheard his friends talking, but Jocelyn also promises she doesn't care where he's from and the two of them end up spending the night together. A few days later, the group travels to London for the World Championship. Most of them haven't been home for a few months, perhaps a couple of years, but for William, it's been twelve long years since he's been here last. He remembers the last day clearly: he was only a child, and John brought him to Ector to be his squire, willing to part with his son so he could have a future. William was afraid he would forget how to return home, but John swore he only had to follow his feet. During the tournament opening, William marches with the other knights and enjoys people's admiration of him, even seeing himself in the kids that chant his name. Jocelyn has, of course, come to see him joust, and Adhemar has finally joined a tournament again. He promises to beat William with no mercy and to win Jocelyn over, claiming to have already initiated negotiations with her father to marry her. After winning all his first-day matches, William visits his old neighborhood. With the help of a young fan, he manages to find his dad, who has become blind. At first, William introduces himself as Ulrich, bringing a message for John from his son, but John quickly catches on and proudly beams with happiness when he realizes this is his dear William. After sharing a hug and many tears, father and son share stories over drinks, unaware that Adhemar has been following William and is now watching them from afar. The next morning, while William is getting ready for the tournament, Jocelyn and Geoffrey come with bad news: Adhemar has learned his true identity and is now waiting with a dozen of royal guards to arrest him in front of everyone. His friends want William to run away, and Jocelyn agrees, saying she wouldn't mind living in poverty as long as they're together. However, William refuses to let them take his pride from him, and decides to stay, marching with his head held high and his friends by his side into the arena. As expected, William immediately gets arrested and thrown in jail. Adhemar comes by to take advantage of the situation, repeatedly hitting William while insulting him and making fun of him. Later, William is put on the guillotine, and his friends surround him to try to defend him from an angry crowd that keeps throwing vegetables at them. This confrontation is suddenly interrupted by Prince Edward, who speaks of William as a true knight because of his mercy and his honor. After ordering the guards to release William, Edward explains his historians have found out the boy does descent from an old noble family and knights him on the spot, officially naming him Sir William. The tournament continues, now with the prince and princess watching, but there's no sight of Jocelyn. The final match will be William versus Adhemar, but it doesn't start well: Adhemar is a cheating jerk that uses an illegally sharpened lance to stab William on his shoulder. Now William is seriously injured and can barely hold the lance, allowing Adhemar to win many extra points. Adhemar also continues to taunt him, but William gains hope when he sees Jocelyn arrive with John. Desperate to win no matter what, William decides to ditch his armor in order to breathe more easily, and asks Wat to tie the lance to his arm. Before the final run, Geoffrey realizes he never did an introduction, so he offers one more speech to hype up the crowd by reminding them today, a commoner will defeat a noble. Because of the point difference, William can only do one thing to win this match: unhorse Adhemar. It's the most difficult jousting move, but William is determined, and he rides screaming his real name as he hits Adhemar with his lance. His technique proves to be true and Adhemar falls to the ground, winning William the world championship. As John cries happy tears and Jocelyn meets William in the middle of the arena to celebrate with a kiss, Geoffrey decides he'll write about William's rise to knighthood. This would become the first short story in The Canterbury Tales.
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