Holy Grail  

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A distant, near-impossible goal.


The Holy Grail later appeared in films; it debuted in a silent Parsifal. The Silver Chalice, a novel about the Grail by Thomas B. Costain, was made into a 1954 film. In The Light of Faith (1922), Lon Chaney attempted to steal the Grail. Lancelot du Lac (1974) was made by Robert Bresson. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) (adapted in 2004 as the stage production Spamalot) was a comedic adaptation. John Boorman, in his film Excalibur, attempted to restore a more traditional heroic representation of an Arthurian tale, in which the Grail is revealed as a mystical means to revitalise Arthur and the barren land to which his depressive sickness is connected. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Fisher King are more recent and successful adaptations.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

According to Christian mythology, the Holy Grail was the dish, plate, or cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper (also described as a stone), said to possess miraculous powers. The connection of Joseph of Arimathea with the Grail legend dates from Robert de Boron's Joseph d'Arimathie (late 12th century) in which Joseph receives the Grail from an apparition of Jesus and sends it with his followers to Great Britain; building upon this theme, later writers recounted how Joseph used the Grail to catch Christ's blood while interring him and that in Britain he founded a line of guardians to keep it safe. The quest for the Holy Grail makes up an important segment of the Arthurian cycle, appearing first in works by Chrétien de Troyes. The legend may combine Christian lore with a Celtic myth of a cauldron endowed with special powers.

The development of the Grail legend has been traced in detail by cultural historians: It is a legend which first came together in the form of written romances, deriving perhaps from some pre-Christian folklore hints, in the later 12th and early 13th centuries. The early Grail romances centered on Percival and were woven into the more general Arthurian fabric.

Some of the Grail legend is interwoven with legends of the Holy Chalice.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Holy Grail" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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