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The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey (1988)

Men seeking relief from the Black Death, guided by a boy's vision, dig a tunnel from 14th century England to 20th century New Zealand.


Vincent Ward


Geoff Chapple (screenplay), Kely Lyons (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
21 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bruce Lyons ... Connor
Chris Haywood ... Arno
Hamish Gough Hamish Gough ... Griffin (as Hamish McFarlane)
Marshall Napier ... Searle
Noel Appleby Noel Appleby ... Ulf
Paul Livingston ... Martin
Sarah Peirse ... Linnet
Mark Wheatley Mark Wheatley ... Tog 1
Tony Herbert Tony Herbert ... Tog 2
Jessica Cardiff-Smith Jessica Cardiff-Smith ... Esme
Roy Wesney Roy Wesney ... Grandpa
Kathleen-Elizabeth Kelly Kathleen-Elizabeth Kelly ... Grandma
Jay Saussey Jay Saussey ... Griffin's girlfriend
Charles Walker Charles Walker ... Old Chrissie
Desmond Kelly Desmond Kelly ... Smithy


A young boy in 14th century Cumbria (north of England) keeps getting visions he cannot explain. His village has so far been spared from the black death, but the villagers fear its imminent arrival. With the boy as their guide, a group set out to dig a hole to the other side of the world, so as to fulfil the visions and save the village. At the 'other side' is 20th century New Zealand !.. N.B. Flips from B+W to colour frequently. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Time-Travel Adventure of the Year!


PG | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

The Official site


Australia | New Zealand



Release Date:

15 December 1988 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

The Navigator: An Odyssey Across Time See more »

Filming Locations:

Auckland, New Zealand See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


It was this movie that convinced the producers of Alien³ (1992) to hire Vincent Ward as writer/director (although Ward would eventually leave the set of Alien 3 after many creative differences with the studio). See more »


(at around 51 mins), during the pouring of the spike in the foundry, Griffin breaks the "fourth wall" by briefly looking up at the camera and then quickly away again. See more »

Crazy Credits

Some releases of the film display the following message before the film starts:

"You are about to watch the Time-Travel Adventure Film THE NAVIGATOR. DO NOT ADJUST YOUR SET. The first minutes of THE NAVIGATOR are shown in the stark black and white of 14th Century England during the black plague.

At the moment when the Navigator's 14th Century travelers begin to reach the modern 20th century, the world of the Navigator bursts into color on your screen." See more »


Featured in Twister: A Musical Catastrophe (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

Fantastic movie set during the time of the first outbreak of bubonic plague when a group is transported in future
30 December 2013 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Very good film with interesting as well as weird plot , nice acting and exceptional , colorful cinematography shot on location and has the feel of a great medieval fable . As men guided by a boy's vision, dig a tunnel from 14th century England to 20th century New Zealand . This Time-Travel Adventure set in Middle Age begins with a real sense of wonder and intrigue with pest causing ravage and winds up with continuous feats climbing a cathedral and including a surprising finale . As a psychic boy called Connor (Bruce Lyons) lives in 14th century Cumbria (north of England) , a tiny medieval English village . Connor keeps getting visions he cannot explain , he attempts to protect villagers from the bubonic plague . His village has so far been spared from the pest , but the villagers fear its imminent arrival and seeking relief from the Black Death . With the illuminate young boy as their guide , a group (Chris Haywood as Arno , Hamish McFarlane as Griffin , Marshall Napier as Searle , Noel Appleby as Ulf) set out to dig a hole to the other side of the world . As in an age of darkness , circa 1348 , a motley group will face the ultimate battle against deadly plague . Then , Connor leads a tunneling expedition so as to fulfill the visions and save the village , but they emerge in a modern city from New Zealand , XX Century .

Gripping and evocative film about Middle Age and full of fantasy when a group of men from Dark Ages emerge in a modern city in 1988 . In Middle Age one young boy along with some reckless countrymen will take on an impressive fight against bubonic Death . It is a genuine as well as imaginative medieval tale written and directed with great sensibility , fairness and clarity . This one contains a Bergman style , as ¨Seventh Seal¨ comes to mind , as the first part results to be filmed in Bergmanian wake . It was not just the artistic vision or imagination, but above all , religion , God , devil and sacrifice . This engrossing picture contains powerful and haunting images , being divided in two parts : Middle Age and Modern Times . It's plenty of scenes that stay in the mind as when the group appears at the 'other side' that results to be 20th century New Zealand , as the appearance of Black Death and church bell conquest . This thought-provoking story deals with holy fate , religious awe , the passion , Catholic Church and several other 'Age of Darkness' issues . The interesting perspective is intimate and it lends a great deal of excitement to the movie experience . Beautiful scenery, tense , intriguing and a stirring climax lift this story . There's something for everyone here ; fans of history , fans of Sci-Fi/Fantasy , fans of medieval adventure should all find something to enjoy about this film .

Wonderfully directed is all strongest for being brilliantly photographed in an excellent black and white during Middle Age and colorful imagine for recent times , excellently shot by cameraman Geoffrey Simpson , filmed on location in Auckland, Mount Ruapehu, Tongariro National Park, Southern Alps, Waitomo Caves, Waikato, New Zealand . Emotive as well as atmospheric musical score plenty of religious sounds and chores by Tabrizi . The motion picture was stunningly written and directed by Vincent Ward , though on a short budget . It was this movie that convinced the producers of Alien 3 (1992) to hire Vincent Ward as writer/director , although Ward would eventually leave the set of Alien 3 after many creative differences with the studio . It's a masterpiece who made his major impact gaining international acclaim . The picture won several prizes in a lot of Festivals such as Australian Film Institute , Cannes Film Festival , Fantasporto and Sitges Catalonian Film Festival . The great filmmaker Vincent Ward has produced, executive produced and/or written and directed feature films including What Dreams May Come , The River Queen and The Last Samurai , developing the underlying material he chose the director, before acting as an executive producer on this film . Ward's films have earned critical acclaim and festival attention whilst achieving a wide, eclectic audience as Vigil (1984), and Map of the Human Heart (1993) and this The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey (1988) . Rating : Above average but is deemed by many to be the Vincent ward's best .

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