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
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Popularity
4,961 ( 623)
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 ... May
John Alderton ... Friend
Sally Anne Newton Sally Anne Newton ... Avalow
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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer, producer, and director John Boorman made this movie after his project to film J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" was cancelled. 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 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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Soundtracks

Symphony No. 7 in A, op. 92, 2nd movement
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven (as Beethoven)
Played by the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest (as Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra)
Conducted by Eugen Jochum
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User Reviews

 
Everything but the kitchen sink!
26 September 2004 | by Jonathan-MaySee all my reviews

This movie is truly awful, but at the same time it's got to be one of the BEST SCI-FI MOVIES I'VE EVER SEEN!

There are so many concepts to digest: Civilization's end, immortality, genetic manipulation, artificial intelligence, time control, psychic power, space travel, and on and on and on. If you're the least bit interested in science-fiction, there's more for you in this one movie than you'll find in a year's worth of Star Trek conventions!

Then why do I say it's awful? Well, within this movie's running time are some of the most cheesy moments ever captured on celluloid!

From the opening shots of the hairy-backed, leather-thonged, gun-toting Sean Connery (who at least manages to wear more than most of the rest of the cast), to the catch-cry of the Giant Hovering Stone Head ("The gun is good! The penis is bad!"), as it spews out a torrent of weapons and ammo from its mouth. What about the Eternal's predilection for studying erectile tissue function, by flashing up images of naked mud-wrestling? Or that crazy "wobbling-hands" thing that they do when in some sort of telepathic communion? Completely laughable!

Despite these moments of "cheesy-ness", Zardoz tells an utterly engaging and compelling story. The moment of revelation of the meaning of "Zardoz" took me completely by surprise, even though all the clues had been under my nose right from the beginning! (The Magritte painting "La chateau des Pyrenees", hanging in Frank's house, reminiscent of the hovering stone head, for example.)

If you like hard-core science fiction, and can put up with a few minor flaws, then I think you'll really enjoy Zardoz! It's weird, it's brilliant, it's unique! (Just make sure you watch it while you're wide awake, though, or you may drift off from time to time!)

9 out of 10!

jon :-)


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Details

Country:

UK | USA | Ireland

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
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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