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Time Bandits (1981)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy  |  6 November 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 43,447 users  
Reviews: 170 user | 137 critic

A young boy accidentally joins a band of dwarves as they jump from era to era looking for treasure to steal.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
King Agamemnon / Fireman


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 Zaphod <aaa@scs.leeds.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


...they didn't make history, they stole it! See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

6 November 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aikavarkaat  »

Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)


$42,365,600 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (original release)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Terry Gilliam:  [burst]  horse and rider from closet See more »


When Wally is finished cutting the sections of rope from the cage, you can see that the cut section is about two feet long. However, when the rope begins to break while they are swinging Strutter to the next cage, the cut section is only about 6 inches. See more »


[first lines]
Announcer: Yes, folks... Moderna Designs present the latest in kitchen luxury. The Moderna Wonder Major All Automatic Convenience Center-ette gives you all the time in the world to do the things you really want to do... An infrared freezer-oven complex that can make you a meal from packet to plate in 15 1/2 seconds.
Kevin's Mother: Morrisons have got one that can do that in eight seconds.
Kevin's Father: Oh?
Kevin's Mother: Block of ice to Beef Bourguignon in eight seconds. Lucky things.
Kevin: Dad, did you know that the ancient Greek warriors ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the credits the scene where the Bandits have their photo taken is replayed. See more »


Wine and Roses Waltz
Music by Paul Lewis
De Wolfe Music Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

History By Way of Gilliam
11 February 2000 | by (NC) – See all my reviews

For my money, Terry Gilliam is one of the more innovative, creative, and fantastical directors of the last two decades. His films easily bear his stamp of absurdist humour, witty dialogue, sheer fantasy, dream-like sequences, and always a generous dose of black comedy. Time Bandits is certainly no exception, but rather a stepping stone for greater works such as The Fisher King and the wonderful Brazil. The film tells the story of a group of dwarf-like "crooks" who leave their jobs with God(the Supreme Being) for a life of crime via a map they have "stolen" from their job place. This map holds all the secrets to time holes in the fabric of creation. Thus the bearers of the map can go forward and back in time as they please. They use the map to steal, at which they have little skill, and become rich, at which they miserably fail. Gilliam transports them and us through time to meet such interesting notables as Robin Hood, Napoleon, Agammenon, and the Evil Genius(devil-like entity). The film is grand in its scope and still wanting, for it is tackling a story of epic proportions. Still, Gilliam delivers a pretty good film both visually stunning in certain sequences and brimming with philosophical questions such as the necessity of evil and the election of choice in life. The film is also very funny in many parts, due in large part to a great cast. The protagonists are all quite good. John Cleese plays as likable a Robin Hood to be seen with his almost overly polite manner. The best performances go to Ian Holm, playing a drunken Napoleon obsessed with his size, David Warner, playing the malevolent Evil Genius with relish, and lastly to Sir Ralph Richardson, playing the Supreme Being like a bureaucrat concerned with balancing payroll and the like. Gilliam explores the bureaucratic mentality with even more scope in his Brazil. All in all, Time Bandits is a fun and entertaining picture.

23 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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