It is the time of the Crusades during the Middle Ages - the world shaping 200-year collision between Europe and the East. A blacksmith named Balian has lost his family and nearly his faith. The religious wars raging in the far-off Holy Land seem remote to him, yet he is pulled into that immense drama. Amid the pageantry and intrigues of medieval Jerusalem he falls in love, grows into a leader, and ultimately uses all his courage and skill to defend the city against staggering odds. Destiny comes seeking Balian in the form of a great knight, Godfrey of Ibelin, a Crusader briefly home to France from fighting in the East. Revealing himself as Balian's father, Godfrey shows him the true meaning of knighthood and takes him on a journey across continents to the fabled Holy City. In Jerusalem at that moment--between the Second and Third Crusades--a fragile peace prevails, through the efforts of its enlightened Christian king, Baldwin IV, aided by his advisor Tiberias, and the military ... Written by
Sujit R. Varma
The French village at the start and end of the film was built near Huesca, a small city in northern Spain. The castle seen in these scenes is a real crusader castle built in 1076, Castillo de Loarre. As he would do in Morocco when building Ibelin, production designer Arthur Max decided to use traditional building techniques and local craftsmen. In Galicia, he found craftsmen who still did slate roofs, thatching and stone dry-walling, and these men were employed to build the village set. See more »
Contrary to what is stated (that there were no knights in the city), Jerusalem did have a modest number of knights and men at arms, but not enough for a proper defense. Sixty new knights were created from squires and freemen (not the huge number shown in the film, and not from random servants). These provided the main defense of the city. Although their help was requested, almost no people from the population of the city joined in the defense. See more »
I saw a press viewing this morning, this is a good film
First of all, what can beat Gladiator, with lines like "father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife", etc. and Russell Crowe chopping off heads. Kingdom of Heaven is a similar heroic fable yet the good and evil polarity is slightly more ambiguous. I would say it was vastly better than Alexander. Ridley Scott's style (cinematography and music) as seen in Black Hawk Down and Gladiator also lend a wonderful historical ambiance. Orlando Bloom does a fine job as the lead, and the French actress is fantastic (and beautiful), but my favorite lead was the Leper King and the wise nobility of his character. The battle scenes are excellent (including one in falling snow in which the snowflakes seem to hang in the air) and the armies look very historically realistic - this is a very good-looking epic. Formulaic perhaps, but well-executed. Kingdom of Heaven made me feel like leaving the "blacksmithy" that is our dull modern urban existence and finding a cause worth fighting for, but Crusades just aren't what they used to be =D
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