A Knight's Tale is a 2001 action/adventure/romantic comedy directed, produced, and written by Brian Helgeland. The film stars Heath Ledger, Shannyn Sossamon, Mark Addy, Alan Tudyk, and Paul Bettany as Geoffrey Chaucer.
The time period can be further narrowed down to between 1369—when the Black Prince resumed his campaign in southern France—and 1371, when the campaign ended. However, the Battle Of Poitiers is shown as occurring during the course of the film, despite taking place in 1356. Additionally, Edward is depicted as a fairly young man, closer to the 26 suggested by Poitiers than the 39 to 41 suggested by his campaign in southern France.
Even though the approximate setting of the film can be easily deduced, the costuming (especially the armor) is much more in late 15th century style than 14th.
In the film's actor/director DVD commentary, Brian Helgeland, co-commentating with Paul Bettany, states that the film was intended to have occurred sometime in the 1370s during a six-month period that Chaucer had apparently gone missing and show what he might have done during this time, which Helgeland says later on in the commentary inspired Chaucer to write his Canterbury Tales (the first Canterbury tale being The Knight's Tale). Helgeland also jokes in the commentary that he chose 1970s music and hairstyles for the movie because "the seventies are always the same", regardless of century. More seriously, Helgeland justifies his use of music by speculating that even during the 1370s, persons in the main characters' age group would've enjoyed newer, more contemporary music than something that had been around since their great grandparents were young, and opted to use music that would affect the audience the same way late 1300s music would've affected the youth of the 1370s. Thus, Helgeland attempted to stylize the movie in such a way as to bring the Middle Ages to the audience, rather than force the audience into the Middle Ages.
The film includes a great deal of jousting footage. The initial scene of the two knights jousting is actually footage of Heath Ledger's stunt double in an accident. During filming of a later scene in the movie, the lance of the stunt double's opponent moved off target and hit him in the head. The double fell to the ground unconscious. In another incident, Heath Ledger knocked out one of director Brian Helgeland's front teeth with a broomstick when the two were demonstrating a jousting move. It was several months before Helgeland's mouth had healed enough to repair the damage.
Plenty of effort was expended creating lances that would splinter convincingly without injuring the stunt riders as well. The body of each lance was scored so it would break easily, and the tips were made of balsa wood. Each was also hollowed out, and the hole filled with balsa chips, uncooked linguini and sawdust to make convincing splinters.