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Time Bandits

By Jeff Shannon

From a script cowritten with his fellow Monty Python veteran Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam pulled out all the stops on his prodigious imagination for this comedy-fantasy from 1981. Film critic Pauline Kael was right when she wrote, "This may be one of those rare pictures that suffers from a surfeit of good ideas," because there's not enough plot to keep pace with the sheer inventiveness of Gilliam's filmmaking. That hasn't stopped Time Bandits from becoming a classic, of sorts, attracting a cult following as a semi-reunion of the Python gang (with Palin and John Cleese making splendid appearances) and a rousing adventure of near-epic proportions. It's about a kid named Kevin (Craig Warnock) who joins a band of mischievous dwarves on a jaunt through various eras and epochs. They've stolen a map to holes in the space-time continuum that belongs to the Supreme Being (suitably played by Sir Ralph Richardson), and as Kevin survives a variety of heroic adventures, including an encounter with King Agamemnon (Sean Connery), an Evil Genius (David Warner) pursues the coveted map using his nefarious magical powers. As a warm-up for Gilliam's later, even more ambitious fantasies, Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, this is a dazzling dose of cinematic whimsy, and Gilliam doesn't compromise the darkness of his tale with an artificially upbeat ending. There's as much menace in Time Bandits as there is an awesome sense of wonder, and that gives the movie an extra kick of timeless appeal.

 

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated PGNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Terry Gilliam

Stars: Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, John Cleese, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Michael Palin, Ralph Richardson, Peter Vaughan, David Warner, Kenny Baker, David Rappaport

Released: November 13, 1981

Availability: DVD VHS


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