5.8/10
17,233
209 user 133 critic

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
3,953 ( 1,481)

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ON DISC
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:

Into a world of eternal life, he brought the gift of death See more »

Genres:

Fantasy | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Ireland | USA

Language:

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

Release Date:

6 February 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Зардоз See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,570,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

John Boorman Productions See more »
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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

The Brutals live in the Outlands. Sean Connery later starred in Outland (1981), another science-fiction picture. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 24 mins) The tattoos on Sean Connery's arm are visible. 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 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

References The Wizard of Oz (1939) 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

 
Timeless
16 December 2005 | by wildman-21See all my reviews

A classic science fiction tale woven into a complex - and for some, complicated tapestry, it is not surprising for some to become irritated or confused at the movie.

And, given the context of the time of it's making - i.e., minimal special effects and low budget - it is not surprising that some would criticize Zardoz's 'chessiness'. After all, the notion of a floating head issuing commands to armed barbarians - ridiculous idea, isn't it? But consider thinking of troops battling overseas those whom are labeled as 'brutals' as they're issued commands by distant leaders safe miles away or speaking to them behind protective measures.

As to the content and story, that is timeless and perhaps that's where we should rest and consider the nature of power versus the masses; the necessity for the mystery of death; the power of love and lust as well as the folly of intelligence and of Mankind. And as one of the main characters later on states 'we've been Amused!'

And like life, if it looks and gets a little cheesy - you're going to tell all that sometimes Life isn't,...?


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