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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
3,076 ( 1,433)
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
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:

Aikavarkaat See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,507,356, 8 November 1981, Wide Release

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

It took three months to get permission to use the tower, of which the guys blowing the big horn are standing on top. See more »

Goofs

When Kevin is threatening to burn the map with the torch, it is rolled up so the back of the map is visible (blank, tan colored). Evil then turns one of the dwarfs into a pig and steals the map from Kevin as he is distracted. The next shot shows Evil holding the map but now it is rolled up so the face of the map is visible (space and the stars, etc can be seen). 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

At least one version shown on US television cut the sequence of the knight bursting out of Kevin's closet and much of what came after that (Kevin's Dad telling him to keep the noise down, breakfast the following morning, etc.) This truncated version goes right from Kevin getting into bed to the Time Bandits emerging from the closet, but retains the rattling closet doors that announced the knight's arrival. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Showbiz
(uncredited)
Music by Jill Answell
De Wolfe Music Ltd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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