Arn, Knight of the Temple

Arn, knight of the Temple , (original title in Swedish: Arn, Tempelriddaren ) is a film directed by Peter Flinth in 2007 , taking again the medieval trilogy of Jan Guillou , a Swedish fiction written around the character of Arn Magnusson, spending time the crusades . The film was released in December 2007 and the sequel, Arn, the kingdom at the end of the road (Swedish original title: Arn, Riket vid vägens slut ), was released in August 2008.


Following an accident while still a young child, Arn is seriously injured. While he is recovering, his family, having prayed to God so much, feels it is their duty to entrust Arn to the monks. He will be raised in a deep faith, while a monk, Brother Guilbert, an old Templarteaches him honor and the handling of weapons. Soon young Arn develops unsuspected talents, becoming a man of great value, both moral and physical. As he reaches adulthood, the monks feel it is time for him to return to his family. On returning home, he finds himself in the middle of a territorial conflict. A neighboring lord claims membership of the lands on which his family has lived for centuries. While his father is preparing to save the honor of his clan by accepting a duel, Arn takes the place of his father and controls his rival with great ease.

He will meet the beautiful Cecilia, daughter of a clan leader, a friend of the family. Soon the two lovers will swear an undying love. In the meantime, Arn meets his childhood friend Knut, the very one who had witnessed his accident being younger. The latter returns to the lands of his father, then king of the province, cowardly assassinated by the man who took his place on the throne. Knut asks Arn to come with him in his quest for revenge. At first reluctant, he accepts, and the despotic king is killed by Knut. Arn will understand that the hearts of men are not made only of the honor they have been taught. His affair, out of wedlock, is now known to all, as well as Cecilia’s pregnancy, and rumor has it that he is the killer of the king. His friend Knut does not Having not yet taken power, Arn and Cecilia are judged severely … 20 years of penance in a convent for the beautiful Cecilia, and 20 years of penance in the monastery where Arn grew up. The Abbot of the monastery, knowing the greatness of soul of the young warrior, succeeded in commuting his penance … since Brother Guilbert taught him the art of holy war, Arn will be sent toJerusalem to defend the city against the Saracens and their leader Saladin .

Many years later, while fighting in the desert, he saves the lives of three men. One of them is Saladin. The two men, during a dinner, will learn to know and respect each other, despite their differences over the politics of Christians and Muslims. They will meet many times, Arn shining brilliantly in the field as a brave warrior and fine strategist, which earned him the confidence of the great master of the Knights Templar, and the jealousy of his second. But at the death of the grand master, his second turns out to be stupid and uncompromising, leading his men to an announced massacre. On the battlefield, Saladin retaliates for the tactical error of the commander. All the Templars are massacred. Arn will be the only survivor, saved and cared for by Saladin himself, who was indebted to him for saving his life at their very first meeting. Jerusalem falls, and all the crusaders are executed. Saladin, who has a deep respect for Arn, gives him an escort so that he can return home.

On his return, things have changed, and another fight awaits Arn … Although he finds his beloved Cecilia, and his son he had never seen, Knut, his friend became king, is sick and on the decline. History then repeats itself when the king’s son, murdered by Knut, returns to ask for his seat on the throne. The country is fragile, and not strong enough to fight this son who has with him the support of the Kingdom of Denmark. A pact is then concluded to avoid the bloodbath. The crown will be returned on the express condition that Erik, the son of Knut, be declared viceroy, thus finding his place at the death of the king. The pact is concluded, but many months later, when the king tries to assassinate Erik, the Magnusson family goes to war again. Arn will put his knowledge of the war into practice to train those of his people in a difficult battle. In sub-numbers and not enough trained, the Swedes will still fight until the victory which will lay the foundations of the unity of the Kingdom of Sweden .

Technical sheet

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Format 16 / 9th cinemascope 2.35: 1 / duration: 139 min


  • Joakim Nätterqvist : Arn Magnusson
  • Sofia Helin : Cecilia Algotsdotter
  • Stellan Skarsgård : Birger Brosa
  • Michael Nyqvist : Magnus Folkesson
  • Mirja Turestedt : Sigrid
  • Morgan Alling : Eskil Magnusson
  • Bibi Andersson : mother Rikissa
  • Fanny Risberg : Cecilia ‘Blanka’ Ulfsdotter
  • Simon Callow : Father Henry
  • Vincent Pérez : Brother Guilbert
  • Driss Roukh : Fakhir

Around the film

While most of the time the film is shot in Swedish and most of the production was made in Sweden , the film is a coproduction between Sweden, Denmark , Norway , Finland , Germany and the UK. United . For the sake of realism, some scenes include phrases in English, French, Latin and Arabic.

With a total budget of around $ 30 million for both films, it is the most expensive production of Swedish cinema.

Historicity and Anachronisms

The film presents a remarkable historical reality, although some anachronisms remain.

  • It will be noted as historically absurd detail, for example, that Arn is accused of speaking “the language of this scoundrel” (a man of Saladin ), whereas it was a common practice and often even essential for high dignitaries (the presence of Arn and his accuser on the council of the Templars before the battles whose battle of Hattin proves their importance, at least administrative, in the society of the time and the place) to speak the local language or languages, the peoples living at that time in Jerusalem being Arab, Christians of various horizons, Turkish, Aramaic, Hebrew, Persian, & c.
  • The armament of the knight is well reconstituted: we see chainmail steel as in bronze, something that was common for the sake of aesthetics but also because the bronze does not rust, so the armor requires much less interview. The swords, too, are characteristic of the period: the long blade with a long and wide gutter running through most, mounted on a rocket with one hand is very well represented, just like the sword of Arn’s opponent during his duel at the beginning of the film: although the whole of the sword agrees with the time, we will easily notice the aesthetic “remains” of the typical sword of the vikings, who are the ancestors of Arn and his enemy, who is Danish. This search for detail was undertaken with the participation of sword specialist John Peterson.
  • A notorious but hardly blameworthy anachronism is the usual vision of the Knights Templar as people who have taken a vow of poverty and possess only what they have on their backs. Indeed, those among the Knights Templar who had possessions donated to their entry into the order by vow of poverty and thus did not have, officially, nothing, but the truth is not so simple that that, one it is doubtful that a knight would not go to war without weapons or equipment: a Knight Templar had two armor, a sword of good quality, a spear, three horses, several sets of clothing and a house in addition to his three servants lay non-combatants and non-Templars, to which is added his “lance” (the “spear” of a knight is his ” they rode mules and did not even have a sword. The character of Arn who is forcibly engaged in the Templars and who leaves his home in his rags of monk with his only sword and a horse is an aberration, very poetic and symbolic, certainly, but testifying to a perfect anachronism. they rode mules and did not even have a sword. The character of Arn who is forcibly engaged in the Templars and who leaves his home in his rags of monk with his only sword and a horse is an aberration, very poetic and symbolic, certainly, but testifying to a perfect anachronism.
  • A small historical error concerning the Battle of Montgisard: contrary to what is stated in the film, the King of Jerusalem was indeed present during the battle, and it was Baudouin d’Ibelin who led the first charge against Saladin’s troops.
  • Note the important error that can be noted at the beginning of the film, when the superior mother of the convent receives confession . This can not be because confession is one of the seven sacraments , and it can only be given by a priest.
  • The most beautiful anachronism of the film is in its decorations. The action is supposed to take place in the xii th century since Arn part in the Battle of Hattin , gold, repeatedly, during scenes in the convent, the action takes place before a beautiful glass roof whose tracery flaming bellows are features the xv th century.
  • The other striking anachronism is the outfits used. The hackle (hood mesh) detached from the hauberk does not exist in the xii th century. It is constantly included in what forms the Lorica Integra. The shielded coat of arms is also too represented, it hardly existed in the 12th century as the helmet to face that we see in certain scenes. Finally, most of the fighters crossed the xii th century wore no armor mesh, very expensive object, but a gambeson, the most widespread protection to the Middle Ages, yet absent from the film. The civilian costumes are, for their part, completely extravagant.

Errors found among the Knights Templar

  • During the grand council, as well as under the tent of the Grand Master of the Order, we see Gerard (or Girard) Ridefort wear long hair while the Rule ordered the brothers to wear “hair shaved and beard shaggy “. Moreover, during the Battle of Hattin, the same Ridefort wears the white coat of knights while his title required him to wear a black and white coat showing that he commanded the destiny of all members of the Order, whether they are knights (with a white coat) or sergeants (with a black coat).
  • The red cross with a white cross at its center, which is flanked by the Templar “dignitaries” (including Arn), is actually the cross of the Order of Christ, created in Portugal in 1319 (7 years after the dissolution of the Order). by the Pope) to “replace” the Order of the Temple in this country.

At the level of the tents, they are current military tents disguised and tinted.

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