5.9/10
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210 user 138 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
4,119 ( 87)

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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:

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


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

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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 title is a reduced conflation of the phrase the "Wizard of Oz" by removing the first two "Wi" letters from the word "Wizard" and also the middle word "of" thereby forming the word "Zardoz". "The Wizard of Oz" is L. Frank Baum's famous character that appeared in his series of "Oz" books filmed in various movie and television productions. Its relevance is revealed later in this movie. See more »

Goofs

(at around 57 mins) When Zed finds the children's book hanging in mid-air, the thin lines holding it up can be seen. 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 The Cinema Snob: Power Pack (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

Brilliant
2 September 2003 | by craigdubyaSee all my reviews

There seem to be a lot of people who didn't like this film. I loved it. It is a film for people who aren't perturbed by a lack of surface glitz in science fiction, and can take on the underlying meanings about immortality or the fear of death that other films rarely raise. Some of it doesn't make sense, but only if you are not paying attention. In my view, it gets straight to the point without any polish, which some people are uncomfortable about in any artform. It is not made for Star Trek fans. It is a bleak and powerful story about a cabal of ineffectual immortals who play God to an inferior but more vigourous race, and who long for death yet cannot die. They stealthily invite one of these inferiors (Connery) into their midst to solve their problems. The final scenes are extremely striking, and are set to the 2nd movement of Beethoven's 7th symphony. **You just don't hear this symphony enough in the movies***. I recommend this film to anyone who likes science fiction with a small sf.


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