The Disney Wiki

The Sword in the Stone

34,321pages on
this wiki
This article is about the movie "The Sword in the Stone". For the object of the same name, see Sword in the Stone (object).
The Sword in the Stone
Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman
Produced by Walt Disney
Written by Bill Peet
Starring Rickie Sorensen
Karl Swenson
Junius Matthews
Sebastian Cabot
Norman Alden
Martha Wentworth
Music by George Bruns
Sherman Brothers
Editing by
Production company(s) Walt Disney Productions
Distributor Buena Vista Distribution
Release date(s) December 25, 1963
Running time 79 minutes
Language English
Gross revenue $22.2 million
Preceded by One Hundred and One Dalmatians
Followed by The Jungle Book
External links
The Sword in the Stone is a 1963 American animated musical fantasy comedy film produced by Walt Disney and originally released to theaters on December 25, 1963 by Buena Vista Distribution. The 18th film in the Disney Animated Canon, the songs in the film were produced by The Sherman Brothers who wrote other Disney movies such as Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks and The Jungle Book. The film is based on the the novel of the same name, first published in 1938 as a single novel. It was published again in 1958 as the first book of T. H. White's tetralogy The Once and Future King. It is generally considered a modest success from a Disney company standpoint.


The film begins in England with the death of the king, Uther Pendragon. No heir is named, and so England is threatened to be torn apart by war. Miraculously, the mystical "Sword in the Stone" appears in London, with an inscription proclaiming that whomever pulls it out is the rightful King of England. Many try to remove the sword,but none succeed and the sword is soon forgotten.

Some years later, Arthur (a.k.a. Wart), a 12-year-old orphan training to be a squire, accompanies his older foster brother Kay on a hunting trip. Wart accidentally prevents Kay from shooting a deer, and goes to retrieve the arrow to make up for his mistake. In the woods, Wart falls into the cottage of Merlin, a powerful wizard. Merlin announces he will be Wart's tutor, packs up and the two return to Wart's home, a castle run by Sir Ector, one of Uther's knights and Wart's foster father. Ector does not believe in magic, and refuses to allow Merlin to tutor Wart. Merlin creates a blizzard and disappears, which persuades Ector to let Merlin stay, albeit in a decrepit old tower with countless leaks. Ector's friend and fellow knight, Sir Pellinore, arrives with news about the annual jousting tournament to be held on New Year's Day in London, only this time whose winner would be crowned King of England. Ector proposes that Kay be knighted and compete for the title, despite Kay's obvious ineptitude in both jousting and sword fighting.

Merlin begins his tutoring by transforming Wart and himself into fish and going into the castle's moat. Wart is chased and attacked by a pike, and is saved by Archimedes, Merlin's owl. Wart is sent to the kitchen as punishment after he tried to tell his lesson to a disbelieving Ector. Merlin arrives and magics the dishes to wash themselves. He then takes Wart for another lesson, wherein he transforms Wart and himself into squirrels. Merlin teaches Wart about gravity, and about male-female relationships (as two female squirrels become infatuated with them). When they return to human form, Wart's female squirrel cries sadly when she sees he is really a boy. When they return to the castle, Ector accuses Merlin of using black magic on the dishes. Wart defends Merlin, and Ector punishes Wart by first setting him with a mountain of chores, then essentially told Wart he cooked his goose for "popping off" and choosing another boy as Kay's squire. Wart is devastated, but Merlin convinces him to continue with his education.

For his 3rd lesson, Merlin transforms Wart into a sparrow. Wart then accompanies Archimedes on a flying lesson. Wart is attacked by a hawk and flies down the chimney of Madam Mim, a witch who is a rival to Merlin. Mim's magic uses trickery, as opposed to Merlin's scientific skill. Mim turns into a cat and chases Wart around her cottage. Merlin arrives, having been summoned by Archimedes, and begins to rebuke Mim. Madam Mim challenges Merlin to a Wizard's Duel, a battle of wits where the players try to destroy one another by transforming into different animals. Mim sets several ground rules, including the rules that only real animals may be used (no imaginary ones like pink dragons), and no disappearing. During the battle, both wizards transform themselves into a variety of creatures, such as: a turtle, a rabbit, a caterpillar, a walrus, a mouse, a crab, a goat, a crocodile, a fox, a hen, an elephant, a tiger, a snake and a rhino. Finally, Mim transforms into a purple dragon which is supposed to be against the rules (though Mim notes that she never explicitly outlawed purple dragons). Merlin is able to think quickly, and transforms himself into a germ and infects her. Mim is put to bed, ill, though it is said she would recover in a few weeks.

At Christmas, Kay is knighted, but his squire comes down with the mumps, and so Ector reinstates Arthur as Kay's squire. Wart excitedly tells Merlin and Archimedes the news. But Merlin is disappointed that Wart still prefers war games to academics. Wart tries to explain that he cannot become a knight as he is an orphan, so a squire is the best position he can attain. This aggravates Merlin, who transforms himself into a rocket bound for Bermuda.

Ector, Kay, Pellinore, Wart and Archimedes travel to London for the tournament. Moments before Kay's match, Wart realizes that he has forgotten Kay's sword at their inn, which is now closed because of the tournament. Archimedes notices a sword in a stone in a nearby churchyard, and points it out to Wart. Arthur pulls the sword from the stone, unwittingly fulfilling the Sword in the Stone’s prophecy.

When Arthur returns with the sword, Ector and Sir Bart recognize it as the Sword in the Stone, and the tournament is stopped. Demanding that Arthur prove he pulled it, Ector replaces the sword in its anvil. Kay attempts to remove it himself, but he and none of the other men succeed in removing it. Wart manages to pull it out a second time with ease. The knights all proclaim, "Hail!! King Arthur!!", as the crowd, Sir Ector, and Kay all kneel to Arthur.

The film cuts to Arthur, now crowned king, sitting in the throne room with Archimedes, feeling completely unprepared to take the responsibility of royalty. Overwhelmed by the cheering crowd outside, Arthur calls out to Merlin for help, who arrives (in 20th century attire) and is elated to find that Arthur is the King that he had seen in the future. Merlin tells the boy that he will rise and lead the Knights of the Round Table, accomplishing many amazing feats and becoming one of the most famous figures in literature and even in motion pictures (such as this film and the 2004 film).



Recycled animation

There are several scenes with animation recycled from other Disney films, as well as original animation that itself would be recycled in later productions. The deer Kay tries shooting at with his arrow was copied from Bambi's mother from Bambi. When Sir Ector and Kay are in the kitchen fighting against the enchanted dishware, Sir Ector swings his sword backwards and hits Kay on the head, with Kay groaning. Jasper and Horace in One Hundred and One Dalmatians were animated in the same way during the fight scene with Pongo and Perdita, and archive audio of J. Pat O'Malley (who voiced Jasper) was used for Kay's groan. Also, the footage where Wart is affectionately licked by the two castle dogs is reused in The Jungle Book four years later. The scene where Arthur is a squirrel jumping from one tree to the next was reused in The Fox and the Hound in 1981. When Wart goes into the forest to retrieve Kay's arrow, he pushes aside a branch and weaves in and out of a few small trees. This animation was reused in The Black Cauldron.




1983 Re-Release Poster.

Theatrical Releases

The film was originally released to theaters on December 25, 1963. In the United States, it was re-issued to theaters on December 22, 1972 and released jointly with Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore on March 25, 1983.

Home Media

Main article: The Sword in the Stone (video)

The film was first released in VHS format in the UK in 1983 and in the US on March 1986, as well as another VHS release in July 1991. Both of these were in the Walt Disney Classics line. The film was released on VHS again on October 28, 1994 as part of the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection. The film was released on VHS again, along with a DVD release, of the film in March 2001 as part of the Walt Disney Gold Classic Collection. A special DVD edition was released for the 45th Anniversary of the film in June 2008. The Deluxe Edition, which included lithographs, a book, a lenticular card, and a certificate of authenticity, was also released in June 2008. For its 50th Anniversary, the film was released on Blu-ray on August 6, 2013.


The film was a financial success at the box office and the sixth highest grossing film of 1963 in North America, earning estimated rentals of $4.75 million.[3][4] It was better received by British critics than American critics, who thought it had too much humor and a "thin narrative."[5] Rotten Tomatoes reports that 74% of critics gave positive reviews based on 23 reviews with an average score of 6.1/10. Its consensus states that "A decent take on the legend of King Arthur, The Sword in the Stone suffers from somewhat indifferent animation, but its characters are still memorable and appealing."[6] Nell Minow of Common Sense Media gave the film four out of five stars, writing, "Delightful classic brings Arthur legend to life".[7]

In his book The Best of Disney, Neil Sinyard states that, despite not being well known, the animation is excellent, a complex structure, and more philosophical than most other Disney features. Sinyard suggests that Walt Disney may have seen something of himself in Merlin, and that Mim, who "hates wholesome sunshine", may have represented critics.[5


The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Score—Adaptation or Treatment in 1963, but lost against Irma La Douce.

The American Film Institute nominated The Sword in the Stone for its Top 10 Animated Films list.[9]

Other media


Madam Mim was adapted into the Duck universe where she sometimes teams with Magica De Spell and/or the Beagle Boys. She also appeared in the Mickey Mouse universe where she teamed with Black Pete on occasion and with the Phantom Blot at one point. She was in love with Captain Hook in several stories; in others, with Phantom Blot. In many European Disney comics, she lost her truly evil streak, and appears morbid yet relatively polite.

Mim has appeared in numerous comics produced in the United States by Studio Program in the 1960s and 1970s, often as a sidekick of Magica. Most of the stories were published in Europe and South America. Among the artists are Jim Fletcher, Tony Strobl, Wolfgang Schäfer, and Katja Schäfer. Several new characters were introduced in these stories, including Samson Hex, an apprentice of Mim and Magica.

Disney Parks

The Sword itself appears in all of the Disneyland-style parks, located in front of their respective Carousels, with Disneyland's being King Arthur Carrousel. A sword pulling ceremony hosted by Merlin where a lucky child who pulled the sword would be declared the temporary ruler of Fantasyland was a common show until the ceremony ended several years ago.

Video games

Merlin is a recurring character in the Kingdom Hearts series, appearing in Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. He is voiced by Jeff Bennett .


The name of the movie is parodied in an episode of the Disney Junior series Jake and the Never Land Pirates - "The Sword and the Stone".


  • This is the last animated feature released when Walt Disney was alive.


This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The article or pieces of the original article was at The Sword in the Stone (film). The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Disney Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

v - e - d
The Sword in the Stone Logo

Films: The Sword in the Stone | Live action film
Television: House of Mouse | Once Upon a Time
Books: Big Golden Book | Classic Storybook | Disney's Wonderful World of Reading | Little Golden Book
Games: Kingdom Hearts

Disney Parks

Sword in the Stone | Disney's Believe | Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom


Merlin | Arthur | Archimedes | Madam Mim | Sir Ector | Sir Kay | Sir Pellinore | Scullery Maid | Sir Bart | Tiger & Talbot | Wolf | Girl Squirrel | Granny Squirrel | Pike | Merlin's sugar bowl | Hawk


The Sword in the Stone | Higitus Figitus | That's What Makes the World Go Round | Most Befuddling Thing | Mad Madame Mim | Blue Oak Tree | The Magic Key


Sword in the Stone

Disney theatrical animated features
Walt Disney Animation Studios
Disney Golden Age

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) · Pinocchio (1940) · Fantasia (1940) · Dumbo (1941) · Bambi (1942) · Saludos Amigos (1942) · The Three Caballeros (1944) · Make Mine Music (1946) · Fun and Fancy Free (1947) · Melody Time (1948) · The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) · Cinderella (1950) · Alice in Wonderland (1951) · Peter Pan (1953) · Lady and the Tramp (1955) · Sleeping Beauty (1959) · One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961) · The Sword in the Stone (1963) · The Jungle Book (1967)

Disney Dark Age

The Aristocats (1970) · Robin Hood (1973) · The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977) · The Rescuers (1977) · The Fox and the Hound (1981) · The Black Cauldron (1985) · The Great Mouse Detective (1986) · Oliver & Company (1988)

Disney Renaissance

The Little Mermaid (1989) · The Rescuers Down Under (1990) · Beauty and the Beast (1991) · Aladdin (1992) · The Lion King (1994) · Pocahontas (1995) · The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) · Hercules (1997) · Mulan (1998) · Tarzan (1999)


Fantasia 2000 (1999) · Dinosaur (2000) · The Emperor's New Groove (2000) · Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) · Lilo & Stitch (2002) · Treasure Planet (2002) · Brother Bear (2003) · Home on the Range (2004) · Chicken Little (2005) · Meet the Robinsons (2007) · Bolt (2008)

Disney Revival

The Princess and the Frog (2009) · Tangled (2010) · Winnie the Pooh (2011) · Wreck-It Ralph (2012) · Frozen (2013) · Big Hero 6 (2014)


Zootopia (2016) · Moana (2016) · Gigantic (2018) · Frozen 2 (TBA)

Pixar Animation Studios

Toy Story (1995) · A Bug's Life (1998) · Toy Story 2 (1999) · Monsters, Inc. (2001) · Finding Nemo (2003) · The Incredibles (2004) · Cars (2006) · Ratatouille (2007) · WALL-E (2008) · Up (2009) · Toy Story 3 (2010) · Cars 2 (2011) · Brave (2012) · Monsters University (2013) · Inside Out (2015) · The Good Dinosaur (2015)


Finding Dory (2016) · Cars 3 (2017) · Coco (2017) · Toy Story 4 (2018) · The Incredibles 2 (2019)

DisneyToon Studios

DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp (1990) · A Goofy Movie (1995) · Doug's 1st Movie (1999) · The Tigger Movie (2000) · Recess: School's Out (2001) · Return to Never Land (2002) · The Jungle Book 2 (2003) · Piglet's Big Movie (2003) · Teacher's Pet (2004) · Pooh's Heffalump Movie (2005) · Bambi II (2006) · Tinker Bell (2008) · Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure (2009) · Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue (2010) · Secret of the Wings (2012) · Planes (2013) · The Pirate Fairy (2014) · Planes: Fire & Rescue (2014) · Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast (2015)

Lucasfilm Animation Studios

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) · Strange Magic (2015)

Live-Action Films with Non-CG Animation

The Reluctant Dragon (1941) · Victory Through Air Power (1943) · Song of the South (1946) · So Dear to My Heart (1949) · Mary Poppins (1964) · Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) · Pete's Dragon (1977) · Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) · James and the Giant Peach (1996) · Enchanted (2007)

Animated Films Distributed by Disney

The Brave Little Toaster (1987) · The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) · Valiant (2005) · The Wild (2006) · A Christmas Carol (2009) · Mars Needs Moms (2011) · Frankenweenie (2012)

Studio Ghibli Films Distributed by Disney

Princess Mononoke (1997) · Spirited Away (2001) · Howl's Moving Castle (2004) · Tales from Earthsea (2006) · Ponyo (2008) · The Secret World of Arietty (2010) · The Wind Rises (2013)

v - e - dKingdom Hearts Series

Kingdom Hearts + Final Mix | Chain of Memories | Re:Chain of Memories | Kingdom Hearts II + Final Mix | 358/2 Days | Birth by Sleep + Final Mix | coded | Re:coded | Dream Drop Distance | HD I.5 ReMIX | χ [chi] | HD II.5 ReMIX | Unchained χ | HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue | Kingdom Hearts III

Incorporated Films and shorts

Alice in Wonderland | Aladdin/The Return of Jafar | Beauty and the Beast | Big Hero 6 | Cinderella | Fantasia | Hercules | The Hunchback of Notre Dame | Lilo & Stitch | The Lion King | The Little Mermaid | Mickey, Donald and Goofy: The Three Musketeers | Mulan | The Nightmare Before Christmas | Peter Pan | Pinocchio | Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl | Sleeping Beauty | Steamboat Willie | Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs | Tangled | Tarzan | Tron/Tron: Legacy | The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh


Main Characters: Sora | Riku | Kairi | King Mickey | Donald Duck | Goofy | Roxas | Terra | Ventus | Aqua
Villains: Master Xehanort | Ansem | Xemnas | Maleficent | Pete | Organization XIII | Vanitas | Xigbar/Braig | Xaldin | Vexen | Lexaeus | Zexion | Saïx/Isa | Demyx | Luxord | Marluxia | Larxene | Terra-Xehanort | Young Xehanort | Xehanort's Guardian
Other Characters: Jiminy Cricket | Naminé | Ansem the Wise/DiZ | Yen Sid | Xion | Axel/Lea | Master Eraqus | Dilan | Even | Aeleus | Ienzo | Lingering Will | Data Sora | Data Riku | Data Naminé | Data Roxas | Hayner | Pence | Olette | Riku-Ansem | Kairi's Grandma | Riku Replica | Anti-Saïx | Anti-Sora | Anti-Riku | Sora-Heartless | Jiminy's Journal
Original Monsters: Heartless | Nobodies | Unversed | Dream Eater
Disney Characters and Villains: Queen Minnie | Daisy Duck | Pluto | Tarzan | Winnie the Pooh | Aladdin | Genie | Tron | Magic Brooms | Peter Pan | Quasimodo | Judge Claude Frollo | Merlin | Tigger | Eeyore | Rabbit | Ariel | Mulan | Mushu | Jack Sparrow | Chernabog | Simba | Timon | Pumbaa | Nala | King Triton | Jafar | Alice | Cheshire Cat | Jack Skellington | Esmeralda | Phoebus | Beagle Boys | Scrooge McDuck | Huey, Dewey and Louie | Master Control Program | Sark | CLU | Rinzler | Beast | Stitch | Hercules | Tick-Tock the Crocodile | Snow White | Wendy | Ace "Chicken Little" Cluck | Rapunzel | Baymax (More coming soon)
Square Enix Characters: Leon | Cloud | Neku Sakuraba | Shiki | Others


Plot Elements: Universe of Kingdom Hearts | Kingdom Hearts | Heart | Keyblade War | Dark Seeker Saga | More
Game Elements: Gameplay in Kingdom Hearts | Magic


Sea-salt ice cream | Wayfinder | Door to Darkness | Keyblade | X-blade | Mickey's Letters | Thalassa Shell | Kingdom Hearts Encoder | Keychain | Gummi Blocks | Bug Blox | Black coat | Keyblade Armor


Land of Departure | Disney Castle | Disney Town | Timeless River | Datascape | Radiant Garden/Hollow Bastion | Keyblade Graveyard | Destiny Islands | Traverse Town | Dive to the Heart | End of the World | Realm of Darkness | Castle Oblivion | Twilight Town | The World That Never Was | Castle That Never Was | Halloween Town | Neverland | Wonderland | Kingdom of Corona | San Fransokyo


Organization XIII | Princesses of Heart | Disney Villains Council


Dearly Beloved | Simple and Clean | Sanctuary | Mickey Mouse Club March | Swim This Way | Part of Your World | Under the Sea | Ursula's Revenge | A New Day is Dawning | Destati | Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo | He's a Pirate | Beauty and the Beast | This is Halloween | It's a Small World | Night on Bald Mountain | Winnie the Pooh | The Sorcerer's Apprentice | The Pastoral Symphony


Kingdom Hearts Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts Final Mix - Additional Tracks | Kingdom Hearts II Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts Original Soundtrack Complete | Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep & 358/2 Days Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX Original Soundtrack

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki