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Time Bandits [DVD] [1981]

Sean Connery , Shelley Duvall , Terry Gilliam    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, John Cleese, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm
  • Directors: Terry Gilliam
  • Writers: Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam
  • Producers: Terry Gilliam, Denis O'Brien, George Harrison, Neville C. Thompson
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: 30 Sep 2002
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006JY0C
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,058 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



With Time Bandits, only his second movie as director, Terry Gilliam's barbed humour and hyperactive visual imagination got themselves gloriously into full gear. Sketched out in a matter of weeks over Michael Palin's kitchen table while Gilliam struggled to get his dream project Brazil off the ground, this is a children's film made by a director who "hates kid films" and all the "mawkish sentimental crap" that goes with them. The 11-year-old hero, Kevin, finds himself lugged out of his suburban bedroom and off through a series of wormholes in time and space by a gang of rapacious, bickering midgets in search of loot, en route encountering (and casually despoiling) a gallery of eminent historical figures that include Agamemnon, Napoleon and Robin Hood, along with assorted ogres, giants and monsters. As co-screenwriters, Gilliam and Palin cheerfully filch ideas from everyone from Homer and Jonathan Swift to Lewis Carroll and Walt Disney, while the sets--as always with Gilliam--ingeniously work towering miracles on puny budgets.

"The whole point of fairy tales", according to Gilliam, "is to frighten the kids" and Time Bandits taps into some archetypal nightmare imagery. But the whole farrago is much too good-humoured to be seriously scary. Not least of the movie's pleasures are a series of ripe cameos from the likes of Ian Holm as an irascible Bonaparte, Sean Connery good-humouredly spoofing his own image as Agamemnon, John Cleese's version of Robin Hood as inanely condescending minor royalty ("So you're a robber too! Jolly good!"), David Warner hamming it up gleefully as the Evil Genius, and the great Ralph Richardson playing the Supreme Being as a tetchy public-school headmaster.

On the DVD: Time Bandits on disc comes with a generous wealth of extras. Along with the expected trailer--sent up Python-style by a disaffected voice-over--we get excerpts from Gilliam's storyboard and notated script, filmographies for Gilliam, Palin, Connery and David Rappaport (the leader of the vertically challenged gang), stills, production shots, a scrapbook with cast photos and drawings, notes on the film and plenty more background data, plus a cheerfully relaxed 27-minute interview with Gilliam and Palin. There's also an informative and appealingly unpretentious full-length commentary shared between Gilliam, Palin, Cleese, Warner and Craig Warnock, who played Kevin. The transfer, clean and crisp, is in the original full-width ratio, and there's a choice of Dolby Stereo or Dolby 5.1 sound. --Philip Kemp

Product Description

DVD Special Features:

Ltd Edition Map
Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound
Biographies: Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, David Rappaport and Sean = Connery
Film Notes
Dream Facts
Production Photo Gallery
Missing Story Board Scene
Story Board Extracts
Interview with Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin
Hidden Spiderwoman Story Board and Photo with Script
Original Treatments

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 25 not out 14 Aug 2006
By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
The story for time bandits is typical Terry Gilliam inspired lunacy, a boy who is totally ignored by his materialistic parents finds himself being dragged along by a gaggle of dwarves who have pinched the supreme beings,(a splendid Ralph Richardson), plans. they are then pursued both by him and the evil one,( a similarly excellent David Warner), through time portals that lead to a very pythonesque sherwood forest scene, the titanic, a beautifully realised fantasy land complete with giants and ogres and a land of mythology where a scene stealing Sean Connery plays Agamemnon.

As usual Gilliam coaxes the last drop of acting expertise from all involved, the humour is plentiful but very two edged and there is a subtext as deep as you care to delve.

The story rattles along for the most part but there are one or two scenes that could do with a gentle push in the right direction as the humour and pace slack. these though are rare and as anyone who remembers his python contributions or who has seen his films will know,Gilliam really knows how to visualize the incredible and so, even 25 years later, you are left with images of a knight on horseback charging from a childs wardrobe, 6 dwarves and a child dangling from a cage over infinite nothingness, a giant with a sailing ship on its head and so on and so on.

A quarter of a century has not dulled this films sharp edge nor left it without its ability to shock,tickle or astound. it can be enjoyed straight up as a grown up childs adventure story or you can happily chew over its subtext, either way there is much to enjoy.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless 28 Feb 2005
Time Bandits is a deeply satirical morality tale superficially packaged as a kid's adventure film. On the surface it seems simple enough; a young boy, Kevin, is spirited away by a gang of time travelling comedy dwarves for a series of adventures in different historical settings. But there's a lot more to it than that. Kevin's parents are a grotesque caricature of self-absorbed suburban materialism; incessantly arguing about kitchen appliances while watching brainless TV gameshows at full volume. It is Gilliam's attention to detail which really makes this film for me. Kevin's parents don't eat anything which hasn't come out of a microwave or blender and are too precious even to remove the plastic wrapping from their hideous three-piece suite. Kevin, meanwhile, is a romantic who, until the fateful night the Time Bandits arrive in his bedroom, can only live out his fantasies in history books.
But history turns out not to be all it's cracked up to be. Napoleon is crippled by an inferiority complex stemming from his small stature; Robin Hood is a patronising liar and his 'merry men' are a bunch of violent filthy animals. Only in mythical Greece does Kevin come close to realising his dreams.
The film retains a dark edge throughout. As Gilliam explains in his DVD commentary, by casting small people as the bandits, led by the delightfully arrogant David Rappaport, he hoodwinks the audience into swallowing their extreme cupidity. The innocent Kevin (played by a child actor deliberately selected for his shyness) finds himself swept into company even more mindlessly greedy than that of his parents'.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gilliam at his best 31 Dec 2010
Time Bandits follows the adventures of Kevin, a put-upon, largely ignored but particularly imaginitive young lad who is abducted by a gang of dwarves (led by David Rappaport) who have stolen a time map from the Supreme Being (Ralph Richardson as an absent-minded, slightly stern, favourite uncle-like God) and are using it to develop their new careers as international criminals. Cue encounters with Napoleon (the ever fantastic Ian Holm), the Titanic, Robin Hood (John Cleese) and an unspeakably Evil David Warner.

As one of Terry Gilliam's earliest post-Python films and apparrantly aimed at a youngish audience, you might be tempted to give this a miss, but all of Gilliam's trademark imagery, wit and style is here, full-on and in bucketloads. The balance of review markings so far suggest that even those who like his work are less than enthused about Time Bandits, but really you can't go wrong here: visually sumptuous, excellently acted, exquisitely casted, superlatively plotted and wittier than Stephen Fry and Rowan Atkinson's secret lovechild: if you've enjoyed anything by Giliam, you'll love this. Many of the themes seen in later works are evident here: children, dwarves, theatre, travel and the eternal struggle between good and evil (allegorized as a conflict between the power of a childish imagination and the leaden hand of bureaucracy). Indeed Time Bandits could easily be the first of a trilogy with The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (I've not seen The Brothers Grimm, but I suspect that it could make this a quadrilogy).

"We're in the middle ages! Five hundred years before the man we robbed is even born. Ha ha! Try that one in a court of law!"
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Time Bandits (re-issued 2013 Blu-ray version)
This 50GB region B locked disc is a re-issue of Terry Gilliam's "Time Bandits" which is a vast improvement on the 2009 version on Blu-ray and is like a different film comparing it... Read more
Published 13 hours ago by Milt Ingarfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great just as expected
Published 3 days ago by mark ashton
3.0 out of 5 stars OKay
A silly way to spend a couple hours.
Published 13 days ago by Yusuf Undre
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
I remembered this from being young a fantastic film. Hilarious and heartwarming. Some famous faces from when they were young and starting out.
Published 2 months ago by Bradfordiansteph
5.0 out of 5 stars Stinkin' good!
Some very slight spoilers, but hopefully nothing that should spoil your enjoyment:

This is Alice in Wonderland for boys. Read more
Published 2 months ago by H. Raine
5.0 out of 5 stars time bandits
Got this for my daughter as she had never seen it. Good quality but a bit pricey for the age of the film.
Published 2 months ago by Andy
5.0 out of 5 stars Time Bandits
Time Bandits is a very funny and action packed fantasy for all ages - ones of those films you can watch over and over
Published 3 months ago by T. Hedgecock
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
as funny as ever
Published 3 months ago by kerrie jones
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic choice
My husband remember seeing this when he was about 10 years old and wanted to show it to our 2 sons of 10 and 13 he was slightly worried that the special affects would not look very... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mrs
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as good as the first time
I was not expecting too much of this film, especially after the "Jabberwocky" video, but I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed it even more than I thought I would.
Published 5 months ago by Del Doune
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