Time Bandits

1981

Time Bandits

Critics Consensus

Time Bandits is a remarkable time-travel fantasy from Terry Gilliam, who utilizes fantastic set design and homemade special effects to create a vivid, original universe.

89%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 45

77%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 49,616
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Movie Info

A young boy joins a group of renegade dwarves on an unpredictable journey through time in this humorous fantasy. Monty Python animator Terry Gilliam mostly achieves a tricky balancing act in his second feature as sole director, creating a dark, irreverent comedy disguised as a family adventure. Particularly amusing are the boy's encounters with various historical figures, including an entertainment-starved Napoleon (Ian Holm), a powerful Agamemnon (Sean Connery), and a surprisingly stuffy Robin Hood, embodied by Gilliam's Python cohort John Cleese. Episodic by nature, the film is less successful when dealing with the larger narrative, which concerns the pursuit of the dwarves and their time-traveling map by the Supreme Being. However, the combination of Gilliam's visual exuberance and the witty script (by Gilliam and Michael Palin) ensures an entertaining, if erratic, journey.

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Cast

John Cleese
as Robin Hood
Sean Connery
as King Agamemnon
Ian Holm
as Napoleon
Ralph Richardson
as Supreme Being/God
David Warner
as Evil Genius
Malcolm Dixon
as Strutter
Tiny Ross
as Vermin
David Daker
as Kevin's Father
Sheila Fearn
as Kevin's Mother
John Young
as Reginald
Leon Lissek
as Refugee
Charles McKeown
as Theater Manager
David Leland
as Puppeteer
John Hughman
as The Great Rumbozo
Derrick O'Connor
as Robber Leader
Peter Jonfield
as Arm Wrestler
Roger Frost
as Cartwright
Martin Carroll
as Baxi Brazilla III
Marcus Powell
as Horse Flesh
Winston Dennis
as Bull-headed Warrior
Del Baker
as Greek Fighting Warrior
Juliette James
as Greek Queen
Ian Muir
as Giant
Mark Holmes
as Troll Father
Edwin Finn
as Supreme Being's Face
Neil McCarthy
as 2nd Robber
Tony Jay
as Supreme Being
Frances De La Tour
as Salvation Army Major
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Critic Reviews for Time Bandits

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (7)

  • The film lacks what Garland, Lahr, Haley, Bolger, et al, had in abundance: humanity and charm.

    Oct 22, 2018 | Full Review…
  • When you can count the laughs in a comedy on the fingers of one hand, it isn't so funny.

    Jun 5, 2007 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • The film is resolutely, passionately antiadult, yet much of the humor has an adult sophistication and edge to it; this is one kids' movie that doesn't condescend.

    Jun 5, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Gilliam fills the screen with bizarre images, and directs with a breathless ingenuity.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Nigel Floyd

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Amazingly well-produced. The historic locations are jammed with character and detail. This is the only live-action movie I've seen that literally looks like pages out of Heavy Metal magazine.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • A cheerfully irreverent lark -- part fairy tale, part science fiction and part comedy.

    Aug 30, 2004 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Time Bandits

  • Apr 13, 2016
    The first in a trilogy of films referred to by director Terry Gilliam as the "trilogy of imagination." This film is seen through the eyes of a child who loves history and wants desperately to escape his life where his parents can't be bothered to be torn away from their new gadgets or game shows. One night in bed a knight on a horse bursts through his closet. He is scared, but his parents just tell him to go to bed. The next night he waits up with a flashlight expecting something similar to happen and he is met by six dwarves said to represent the Monty Python group. Along with the dwarves, the boy travels through history to steal valuable items with the help of a magic map. This map is also sought after by an evil sorcerer who wants to rule the world. Cameos in the movie include John Cleese, Sean Connery and Ian Holm. Very impressive film with great special effects on its modest budget.
    Joseph B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 04, 2015
    original fantasy film and typical Gilliam brand. He was in the peak of his filmmaking in the 80s and 90s and this another great film. Full of great cameos and interesting oddball characters, you can't dislike such a passion filled film. Sean Connery is very good in a limited role. I couldn't believe this film has gone past my collection for so long.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Aug 31, 2013
    One of my favorite movies from my childhood and it holds up remarkable well . . . probably because its hilarious (the recurring bits with Duvall and Palin are fantastic). I also like that Gilliam doesn't really change his political and personal beliefs to suit a younger audience.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • May 18, 2012
    Clearly a conservatives dream world. Not exactly my kind of thing. What I disliked the most of this film was the pacing and production values. It was way to fast for my taste. After all it is a boys fantasy film and I'm no longer a little boy. I did not like the production values because it looked like it had a modest budget. Wasn't to big of a fan towards the props used in this. The plot itself was badly build up. It held no interest or fun. The acting was horrible. The writing was decent. It felt as if it was written to get it over with. Some of the ideas in this are great but they are badly put together. I recommend you don't see this.
    Eduardo T Super Reviewer

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