A young boy's wardrobe contains a time hole. Through this hole an assortment of short people (i.e. dwarfs) come while escaping from their master, the supreme being. They take Kevin with them on their adventures through time from Napoleonic times to the Middle Ages to the early 1900s, to the time of Legends and the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness where they confront Evil. Written by
According to the DVD commentary, Terry Gilliam shot the film in low camera angles throughout in order to give the audience the perspective of a dwarf or a child, the heroes of Time Bandits (1981). See more »
When Redgrave (Derrick O'Connor) arrives at Robin Hood's camp after meeting the time bandits, he crosses a bridge and swats a peasant with his coat. In the next scene he does exactly the same thing. See more »
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Dad, did you know that the ancient Greek warriors ...
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At the end of the credits the scene where the Bandits have their photo taken is replayed. See more »
Finding Terry Gilliam's "Time Bandits" in the bargain bin at the local movie store was too good a deal for me to pass up, and I'm so glad I didn't! This movie is probably one of the greatest modern-day fantasies I've seen, due primarily to the amazing vision of Gilliam. I was disappointed with it on my first viewing years ago, expecting a rehash of Monty Python material, but yesterday watching it I just couldn't stop grinning. This movie knows its sources, and sends them up right.
For starters, I love how Gilliam handled the boy 'hero' in "Bandits". He's not anyone spectacular, aside from an active imagination (over and above his banal parents), and he really doesn't contribute much to the story-it simply passes him by. Most of the other characters don't like him that much even. (the "stinking Kevin" line just makes me howl!) He's also not that cute, which is a rarity with child actors and which sinks most films with them. Plus, the danger of the story doesn't stop at him, as shown by the rather sobering finale. No 'It's all a dream' type cop-out here. Having studied the form of the fantasy as explained by Tolkien myself, Gilliam obviously understands how it works.
Of course, because it works, "Time Bandits" is just plain fun. The plot's out of nowhere-just kind of trips along through time and space and stranger things. Napoleon as a height-obsessed drunkard? Robin Hood as the aloof, unlikely leader of a band of violent, too-merry men? Agamemnon as the ideal father figure? It's all here, plus the technocratic, pyromaniac "Evil" vs. the Supreme Being. Ah, you always knew He was an staid Englishman in a pinstripe suit, didn't you? ("Dead? No excuse for laying off work.")
Perhaps it's not Gilliam's masterpiece, as "Brazil" could be argued for that...though one could also argue "Time Bandits" gives a bleaker perspective through the contrast of the fun and whimsy. If our reality is depressing now, and Kevin's was, is the fulfillment of our fantasies any better? Perhaps Randall said it best himself - "Heroes, bah! What do they know about an honest day's work?" :-)
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