It is a ridiculously entertaining movie with stand-out performances by a great ensemble cast, but A Knight’s Tale stood out when it first appeared on the big screen because of the daring juxtaposition of “period piece” with contemporary music. At the time it was released (2001) it was a strange mix, that is, applying soundtrack music from one era to a movie set in a different era. The makers of A Knight’s Tale were looking to give their story a modern look and feel and they accomplished that in so many ways. But the choice of using 70’s classic rock, funk and soul hits to form a backdrop for the action was simply brilliant.
As I conclude my week of “High Fidelity” inspired Top Five Lists, I share this last one from a movie near and dear to my heart: My Top Five Knight’s Tale Musical Moments…
5. We Will Rock You by Queen – Intro to the movie
Following a typical on screen description of jousting and the Middle Ages, with expected soaring orchestral music in the background, the director, Brian Helgeland, let’s us know just what we’ll be in for on this fun ride called A Knight’s Tale. I remember a huge smile on my face from the very start. I knew I was going to love this film when that opening hand-clap, foot-stomp to this Queen classic started up.
4. Get Ready by Rare Earth – Losing for Jocelyn
Play that funky music, white boys! As he purposely loses for Jocelyn, Rare Earth’s groovy anthem is perfectly in sync with William’s declaration of love.
3. Taking Care of Business by Bachman Turner Overdrive – Sword tournament
Our introduction to the fighting spirit of our hero, William, and his mastery of the sword. Fittingly, as he views it as beneath his goal of winning in the joust, BTO’s ode to “all in a day’s work” of a Rock star chugs along with him. Paul Bettany’s Chaucer shouting “Do you want to touch him?! Do you want to touch him?!” at the end is icing on the cake.
2. Golden Years by David Bowie – Dancing at the banquet
This is one of the more ingenious and delightful musical moments of the movie, as David Bowie’s exceptionally funky song creeps its way into the Medieval dance moves.
1. Low Rider by War – Training sequence
By far my favorite combination of music with movie scene comes when William, with the help of Roland and Wat, trains for jousting. Hilarious even after watching it again and again, it is the perfect blend of iconic track with an unforgettable scene.