5.9/10
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Zardoz (1974)

In the distant future, a savage trained only to kill finds a way into the community of bored immortals that alone preserves humanity's achievements.

Director:

John Boorman

Writer:

John Boorman
Reviews
Popularity
3,362 ( 443)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Sean Connery ... Zed
Charlotte Rampling ... Consuella
Sara Kestelman Sara Kestelman ... May
John Alderton ... Friend
Sally Anne Newton Sally Anne Newton ... Avalow
Niall Buggy Niall Buggy ... Arthur Frayn / Zardoz
Bosco Hogan ... George Saden
Jessica Swift Jessica Swift ... Apathetic
Bairbre Dowling Bairbre Dowling ... Star
Christopher Casson Christopher Casson ... Old Scientist
Reginald Jarman Reginald Jarman ... Death (voice)
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Storyline

2293. Zardoz, an unseen "God" who speaks through an idol, a large stone statue of a head, leads a barbaric race called the Brutals, who live a harsh existence in the Outlands. Zardoz tells the Brutals that once they die, they will be transported to the Vortex, where they will live happily as immortals. He has armed a small group, the Exterminators, with guns, as Zardoz's philosophy is that killing is good, and procreation is the root of all that is bad. In reality, Zardoz is Arthur Frayn, from a competing, more advanced race, called "the Eternals", who live in paradise in the Vortex. The Eternals truly are immortal as they do not age and their bodies undergo reconstruction if they "die". As such, they truly do not believe in procreation as their society has reached perfect equilibrium. Past human acts such as sex and sleep are obsolete in their advanced state. All major decisions are achieved through pure democracy. The Eternals, however, are not immune to non life threatening disease... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Beyond 1984, Beyond 2001, Beyond Love, Beyond Death See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Italian | Swedish | Latin | German | French | Irish

Release Date:

6 February 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Zardoz See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,570,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,320
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

DIRECTOR_CAMEO(John Boorman): The slave forced into farming, who Sir Sean Connery shoots. Boorman was shot with a blank, but wadding became embedded in his forehead, and took several days to come out. See more »

Goofs

When the exterminators on horseback are killing the Brutals, tire tracks can be seen on the wet beach sand. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Arthur Frayn: I am Arthur Frayn, and I am Zardoz. I have lived three hundred years, and I long to die. But death is no longer possible. I am immortal. I present now my story, full of mystery and intrigue - rich in irony, and most satirical. It is set deep in a possible future, so none of these events have yet occurred, but they *may.* Be warned, lest you end as I. In this tale, I am a fake god by occupation - and a magician, by inclination. Merlin is *my* hero! I am the puppet master. I ...
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Alternate Versions

The pre-credits sequence featuring Arthur Frayn's disembodied head was added by director John Boorman after the movie was released, as an attempt to explain the plot to audiences that found it hard to understand. Boorman would later declare that the scene didn't work as he wanted it to.
  • The Spanish (Spain) released version cut part of the "boner" scene (the breasts-rugging and mud wrestlers on-screen). Later prints and current DVD and video releases are uncut.
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Connections

Referenced in Blackcatloner: A Very #Puppymonkeybaby Super Bowl (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Rondo in A minor for Piano
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Camp '70s sci-fi with some decent ideas
11 March 2018 | by TweekumsSee all my reviews

In a distant future, after the end of society as we know it, humanity is divided. A small number, the Eternals who are now immortal, live within the Vortex while outside the Brutals live. Those in the Vortex still need food and the Brutals provide it; giving food to the floating stone head, which they believe is Zardoz, their god, which takes it to the Vortex. Zed is one such brutal but he learns the truth about Zardoz and sets about getting into the Vortex. Once there he learns that life for the Eternals is far from idyllic; they are bored and many yearn for death. Others see Zed as a threat to their existence and want him killed.

This is very much a film of the early seventies with its trippy visuals and general feel. The story itself is solid enough with its suggestion that eternal life would be more of a curse than a blessing. This depiction of immortality is well thought out with those who transgress being aged further but never dying and others being so apathetic that they barely move. Outside we see that the Brutals are far more 'alive' despite the violent way they are forced to live. I liked the way the invention of Zardoz is explained and how Zed learns the truth. On the downside the costumes are a bit of a distraction with Sean Connery's Zed wearing little more than a pair of red swimming trunks for most of the film and a distinctly hippyish look for the Eternals. The acting was okay although leads Sean Connery and Charlotte Rampling have both done better. Overall I wouldn't say this is a must see unless you are a Connery completist or are a fan of somewhat camp sci-fi.


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