Five bittersweet vignettes that span the entire human history about five different men, all called Hector and played by the same actor (Robin Williams), who find themselves at a critical juncture in their lives. In prehistoric times, Hector lives in peace with his wife and their little son and daughter in a cave on a quite uninhabited island somewhere in the north. His world is shattered when a group of foreign pagan raiders led by a young chieftain and a somewhat pacifistic priest arrive there. In Ancient Rome, Hector is a loyal well-treated slave of Lucinnius, a somewhat naive big trader with political connections. When his latest shipment fails to arrive and the local corrupt governor Cyprion refuses to lend him money for his further endeavors due to bad omen that a professional soothsayer saw while reading the future from a chicken liver, he is ruined. To make things worse, just as Hector plans to ask his master for freedom and elope with his master's female African slave Thalia, ...
Due to adverse reaction at preview screenings, Warner Bros instructed the director, Bill Forsyth, to trim the film by 40 minutes as well as adding narration and a happy ending. Forsyth subsequently disowned the film as a result. See more »
This is the story of a story. Once upon a time there was this story, and the story said to itself, how should I begin?
Try the usual way.
What, in the dark with a man and a woman, in a story that is still to tell itself?
Well, you've got to start somewhere. Say, long long ago... Or, far far away... Or, another time in a different distant country... Or just, once...
That's good. "Far away", so you know the place is close to your own heart. "Once" is nice, so we know that it always ...
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This is one of those comfortable Sunday-afternoon-while-it's-raining films. It is one of Robin Williams more serious characters.
A little moody in places, the film offers reflections on what it might have been like to live at other times, as a sort of social history (no being a king or queen or royalty). The main character plays his life issues out through time, from ancient Rome, a Viking raid, a 16th or 17th century continental vagrant, to the present. Love, life's tragedies, children, and home are all themes. There is a light-heartiness to the film, and it plays on the contemporary character's life as it unfolds. Robin Williams turns in a typically great performance.
The themes and emotions all play in their times. Settings are as varied as the emotions. Sweet and sentimental, the movie captures and makes a statement about the human condition.
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