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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.


John Boorman


John Boorman
3,373 ( 2)

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »




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)


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


I have seen the future and it doesn't work See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Ireland | USA


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

Release Date:

6 February 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Зардоз See more »


Box Office


$1,570,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


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


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


[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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Referenced in Freedom! Forever!: Making 'V for Vendetta' (2006) See more »


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

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User Reviews

Weird and wonderful cult classic
27 June 2002 | by Bogey ManSee all my reviews

Zardoz is written and directed by John Boorman, the director of Deliverance and Point Blank. There is no point in trying to describe the plot or story of Zardoz, which is very weird and strange piece of film. It stars Sean Connery as "brute" among "greater" and "wiser" people, who have also developed a way to live forever. The film is set in future and there are many things that are impossible to describe or write down. The less you know about the story and plot of Zardoz the better.

The film's main point is that humans are primitives and brutes that are only hiding under their "civilized" surface and society. Zed (Connery) is loathed because of his "animalism" but soon it turns out that the more they hate him, the more they become like him. The film is pretty philosophical and needs to be watched with brains, since there are many issues under its science fiction film oriented surface.

The film tells also something about immortality and asks is it after all as great thing as we may think. In the film, there are those who have lived many hundreds of years and gained all the possible knowledge about everything. They have become sad and bored, it is not so great to live forever especially once we see our "real face" what Connery's character in the film reflects. Some have said that the film is artificially philosophical, but that is not true; the subject matters the film tells (with great optimism, though!) are as topical and important as they were back then, when Boorman wrote this film.

The film could have been very cynical and pessimistic, but it is not. Boorman tells the story with great optimism and most importantly, with humor. Zardoz is very funny at times, but with clever way, and many will not understand the film and its satiric elements. For me, the film was fantastic and pleasant, with all its themes and merits. The film is also shot fantastically, and MUST be seen in widescreen or in the big screen. The cinematography is gorgeous and the gorgeous landscapes were shot in Ireland and near Boorman's house. The film is occasionally little slow moving and repeats itself, but there are no other negative points I can say about this satiric classic.

Zardoz has deserved its cult status and it is great to see James Bond in little different role. Zardoz is way too difficult for many viewers, and so the film is easy to hate and laugh at, for those who don't understand it. I give Zardoz 8/10 and really smiled after the viewing. This will not leave your mind too soon, if you just manage to understand the film and see into its core.

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