Moments before taking his priestly vows, Prince Alfred of Wessex is summoned to a new calling: leading his Saxon people to drive out invading Danes in an England that in the 870s was a loose collection of kingdoms. After he ascends the throne and wages his own personal battle between following his peace-craving intellect or his all-too-human passion, he will suffer defeat in the face of pagan savagery and the surrender of his wife as a hostage, before celebrating victory as the reluctant yet brilliant warrior hallowed across time as the unifying ruler Alfred the Great. Epic in scope, intimate in feeling and modern in tone, this scenically splendid period tale stars a brooding, charismatic David Hemmings as Alfred, a wily and lusty Michael York as his Viking adversary Guthrum and Prunella Ransome as the woman they share. Shot in expansive Galway County locales by Alex Thomson (Excalibur, Hamlet), the film also stars Colin Blakely, Vivien Merchant and, in only his second film role, Ian McKellen, as a scruffy bandit ally of Alfred.
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