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Time Bandits (1981)

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A young boy accidentally joins a band of time travelling dwarves, as they jump from era to era looking for treasure to steal.

Director:

Terry Gilliam
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Popularity
3,576 ( 236)
1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Cleese ... Robin Hood
Sean Connery ... King Agamemnon / Fireman
Shelley Duvall ... Dame Pansy / Pansy
Katherine Helmond ... Mrs. Ogre
Ian Holm ... Napoleon
Michael Palin ... Vincent
Ralph Richardson ... Supreme Being
Peter Vaughan ... Winston the Ogre
David Warner ... Evil Genius
David Rappaport ... Randall
Kenny Baker ... Fidgit
Malcolm Dixon ... Strutter
Mike Edmonds ... Og
Jack Purvis ... Wally
Tiny Ross ... Vermin
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Storyline

A young boy's wardrobe contains a time hole. Through this hole an assortment of short people (i.e. dwarfs) come while escaping from their master, the supreme being. They take Kevin with them on their adventures through time from Napoleonic times to the Middle Ages to the early 1900s, to the time of Legends and the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness where they confront Evil. Written by Zaphod <aaa@scs.leeds.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

...they didn't make history, they stole it! See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Handmade Films Website

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 November 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Time Bandits See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,507,356, 8 November 1981

Gross USA:

$42,365,581
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

HandMade Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1996, Terry Gilliam and Charles McKeown collaborated on a script for Time Bandits 2, bringing back most of the original cast, except David Rappaport and Tiny Ross, who had died a few years earlier. Jack Purvis had been paralyzed in a car accident, so his character was written to be in a similar state. When Purvis died, the project was shelved indefinitely. See more »

Goofs

During a storm in a forest towards the end of the Robin Hood sequence, just as Randall says "don't rush me!", a stagehand is visible to the right of the frame operating an off-screen smoke machine. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Announcer: Yes, folks... Moderna Designs present the latest in kitchen luxury. The Moderna Wonder Major All Automatic Convenience Center-ette gives you all the time in the world to do the things you really want to do... An infrared freezer-oven complex that can make you a meal from packet to plate in 15 1/2 seconds.
Kevin's Mother: Morrisons have got one that can do that in eight seconds.
Kevin's Father: Oh?
Kevin's Mother: Block of ice to Beef Bourguignon in eight seconds. Lucky things.
Kevin: Dad, did you know that the ancient Greek warriors ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the credits the scene where the Bandits have their photo taken is replayed. See more »

Alternate Versions

A 1988 syndicated TV version from Columbia Pictures Television (with their logo at the beginning) completely cuts the Titanic sequence. See more »


Soundtracks

Me And My Shadow
Arranged by John Du Prez
Composed by Billy Rose (as Rose), Al Jolson (as Jolson), and Dave Dreyer (as Dreyer)
Published by Francis Day & Hunter
Performed by David Rappaport, Kenny Baker, Malcolm Dixon, Mike Edmonds, Jack Purvis, and Tiny Ross
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

A typically messy and wonderful Gilliam fantasy
17 February 2007 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Young Kevin lives in suburbia with his parents. They focus on the telly and quiet while he gets excited about history and learning. His world changes totally when he wakes to find four men have come out of his wardrobe. They start pushing one of his walls away and, when a powerful force comes out after them, Kevin flees with them. He learns the time are time travellers who have stolen a map of the holes in the galaxy from their former employer, The Supreme Being.

Far from being a perfect film, Time Bandits is still a wonderfully fun fantasy for the family (although perhaps not younger children) which is also notable for not really having dated at all in its 25 years. The plot starts from nowhere and jumps around in various adventures in different times (real and fantasy) with a vague plot to hold it together. The narrative flows well in some regards but it is hard not to notice that at times it is very much like a collection of ideas and sketches rather than a strong plot. What keeps the flow though is the sense of fun and imagination that runs through it – things that I think owe a lot to Gilliam's roles as director and co-writer. He fills the film with a consistent sense of wonder which is well propped up by many great shots and atmospheric scenes. It does well to mix comedy with the more serious fantasy stuff and does provide something that children and adults will like (although both will occasionally feel the effects of the film being a bit piecemeal).

The principle cast are pretty enjoyable with the bandits themselves being a fun ragtag of Baker, Rappaport, Edmonds, Dixon, Purvis and Ross. Far from being a modern annoying brat actor, Warnock is actually really good and he holds the essential "English-ness" of the film throughout. Of course, given the fragmented nature of the film means that a lot rest on the cameos which include nice turns from Palin, a wonderfully polite Cleese and solid characters from Holm, Connery, Duvall, Warner, Broadbent and others all giving good performances in their respective roles.

Overall then an enjoyable family fantasy that has all the strengths and weaknesses that you should expect from Gilliam. Structure wise it is a bit all over the place and does occasionally feel like a collection of separate ideas and sketches it does have a great sense of fun and wonder about it.


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