The Sword in the Stone (1963)

sword in the stone poster 1963 movie walt disney
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

The squirrel romance

Average art, story, and acting

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Sword in the Stone

Studio:  Walt Disney Productions

Genre(s):  Animated/Musical/Family

Release Date(s):  December 25, 1963

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


Sure Merlin, I like movies about gladiators….why?

Little Wart (voiced by three actors Rickie Sorenson, Richard Reitherman, and Robert Reitherman) is accustom to being kicked about as the ward of Sir Ector (voiced by Sebastian Cabot) and his son Kay (Norman Alden).  When a chance trip into the woods leads Arthur (Wart’s true name) to meet Merlin (voiced by Karl Swenson) and his owl Archimedes (voiced by Junius Matthews), and Merlin sees potential in Arthur.  Merlin begins to train Arthur and teach him about the world through transformations into a fish, a squirrel, and a bird.  Will Arthur achieve this destiny?

The Sword in the Stone was directed by Wolfgang Reitherman and was the eighteenth film in the Walt Disney Animated Classic series following One-Hundred-and-One Dalmatians in 1961.  The movie was based on T. H. White’s 1938 novel that was later collected in The Once and Future King in 1958.  It was nominated for an Oscar for its score but lost to Irma La Douce.


Oh yeah….give me me some sugar, baby!

There is a lot of criticism of The Sword in the Stone in the fact there isn’t much story.  I have never really been a fan of the movie, and I think it is for that reason.  Wart just jump to adventure to adventure with Merlin and it gets a bit repetitive.  Wart’s relationship with the female squirrel does provide a nice little break, but it isn’t enough.  The big action scene involves Merlin’s battle with Mim, but even that didn’t create enough excitement to hold my interest as a kid.

The animation I find so-so.  I’m not a fan of that period of Disney art (starting with One-Hundred-and-One Dalmations and ending probably with The Great Mouse Detective).  Unlike a lot of Disney movies, it also doesn’t contain much of a soundtrack with no memorable songs to leave the movie with.


By the Power of Greyskull? What does that mean?

The Sword in the Stone always seems like a second tier Disney film.  It isn’t remembered fondly by many and never seems to get a big release like other films.  Since White wrote it as a tetralogy, it feels incomplete without Arthur’s future…it also feels too light and fluffy when considering Arthur’s fate.  I never have felt the story of King Arthur, and Camelot has ever been told very well and this film also fails it too.  Disney followed The Sword in the Stone with The Jungle Book in 1967.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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