Time Bandits


1h 50m 1981
Time Bandits

Brief Synopsis

A young boy embarks on an adventure through time with a group of runaway dwarfs.

Film Details

Also Known As
Bandits, Los Héroes del tiempo
Genre
Comedy
Action
Fantasy
Sci-Fi
Release Date
1981
Production Company
Peerless Camera Company
Distribution Company
Paramount Home Media

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 50m

Synopsis

A curious boy named Kevin is whisked away from his dreary English home by six mischievous dwarfs who have stolen/borrowed a map from the Supreme Being. The map reveals "time holes" that allow them to travel through history where they meet Robin Hood, King Agamemnon, and Napoleon and steal their treasures. However, the Supreme Being really wants his map back and continually interrupts Kevin and the time bandits as they rob their way through time.

Crew

James Acheson

Costumes

Peter Biziou

Director Of Photography

Geoff Rivers Bland

Sculptor

Brian Bowes

Stunt Knight

Peter Brayham

Stunt Coordinator

Linda Bruce

Production Assistant

John Bunker

Special Effects Supervisor

Millie Burns

Production Designer

Ray Caple

Matte Artist

Elaine Carew

Makeup

Paul Carr

Sound Rerecording

Patrick Cassavetti

Location Manager

Valerie Charlton

Models

Lewis Coleman

Special Effects Models

Marc Cooper

Assistant Director

Stephen Cooper

Other

Hazel Cote

Costumes

Dennis Degroot

Other

Carole Dejong

Model Assistant

Dino Di Campo

Sound Editor (Footsteps)

Julian Doyle

Model Photography

Julian Doyle

Editor

Julian Doyle

2nd Unit Director (2nd Unit)

D Dreyer

Song ("Me And My Shadow")

Stan Fiferman

Sound Editor

Graham Ford

Production Manager

David Garfath

Camera Operator

Norman Garwood

Art Direction

Terry Gilliam

Screenwriter

Terry Gilliam

Producer

George Harrison

Additional Musical Material

George Harrison

Song

George Harrison

Executive Producer

Alix Harwood

Models

Mike Hearst

Animal Supplier (Og The Pig)

Simon Hinkly

Assistant Director

Mike Hokins

Sound Editor (Dialogue)

Kent Houston

Other

Andre Jacquemin

Sound Effects

Tom Jobe

Choreography (Greek Dance)

Rose Jolson

Song ("Me And My Shadow")

Trevor Jones

Song Arranger ("Me And My Shadow")

Trevor Jones

Music (Greek Dance)

Ross King

Special Effects

Ken Lintott

Other

Ken Lintott

Wig Supplier

Kenneth Lintott

Wigs

Kenneth Lintott

Other

Garth Marshall

Sound Recording

Mike Moran

Original Music

Mike Moran

Music

Denis O'brien

Executive Producer

Tim Ollive

Optical Effects Assistant

Chris Ostwald

Special Effects Runner

Chrissie Overs

Special Effects Models

Michael Palin

Screenwriter

Brian Paxton

Sound Rerecording

Harry Rabinowitz

Music Director

Jean Ramsey

Models

Raymond Scott

Other

John Styles

Other

Andrew Thompson

Special Effects Consultant

Chris Thompson

Assistant Director

Neville C Thompson

Associate Producer

Behira Thraves

Models

Guy Travers

Assistant Director

Christopher Verner

Special Effects Consultant

Laurie Warburton

Sculptor

Maggie Weston

Makeup

Paul Whitbread

Other

Joan Woodgate

Animal Supplier (Benson The Dog)

Terry Yorke

Stunt Coordinator

Film Details

Also Known As
Bandits, Los Héroes del tiempo
Genre
Comedy
Action
Fantasy
Sci-Fi
Release Date
1981
Production Company
Peerless Camera Company
Distribution Company
Paramount Home Media

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 50m

Articles

Time Bandits


When Terry Gilliam, former member of Monty Python's Flying Circus co-wrote a script with his Python teammate Michael Palin called Time Bandits (1981), Hollywood studios should have been eager to produce it, but Gilliam found no takers. None of them could easily categorize the film; was it for adults? Was it for kids? Was it a fantasy or an adventure? In truth, the film was all of these and more.

Former Beatle (and Python fan) George Harrison and his partner, Denis O'Brien understood what Gilliam and Palin were trying to do, and agreed to executive produce the movie under their HandMade Films company, mortgaging their office building for the funds. Harrison would even contribute the song Dream Away for free. After the movie wrapped, it was screened for major distributors, who O'Brien later said walked out on the film. After a struggle to find a releasing company, Avco Embassy Pictures agreed to distribute it for a fee and for a $5.5 million to cover the cost of film prints and marketing. When Time Bandits was released in the United States on November 6, 1981, Gilliam and Avco Embassy had the last laugh.

The plot of Time Bandits is pure Gilliam, whose films could never be considered ordinary. Eleven-year-old Kevin (Craig Warnock), a neglected boy obsessed with Ancient Greece, wakes up in the middle of the night as a knight appears from his closet and rides off through a forest where his bedroom wall used to stand. Believing that what he saw was real and not a dream, Kevin is ready and packed the next evening for the knight's return. Instead of the knight, a group of little people, led by Randall (David Rappaport) show up, telling him that they have stolen an important map belonging to the Supreme Being (Ralph Richardson). The rest of the film consists of the group going into different time periods and meet famous people while in search of treasure, from Ancient Greece, where Kevin meets and is adopted by King Agamemnon (Sean Connery), to Medieval England and Robin Hood (John Cleese), and 1800's Italy and Napoleon (Ian Holm). They even meet Evil itself (played by the always deliciously villainous David Warner). Also in the cast were Gilliam's Monty Python teammate Michael Palin (with whom he co-wrote the screenplay), Shelly Duvall, Peter Vaughan, Jim Broadbent, and Katherine Helmond.

Gilliam told a reporter that the film was his attempt to make a stronger film for kids, instead of what he called the typical "mushy" fare. "People have been making these (expletive) little 'G' films that say nothing for so long. All the little kids in them are wimps. The boy in Time Bandits, Kevin, takes charge. He has control over his life. He can take care of himself. This is a kid's lib film." When asked if kids would be frightened by Time Bandits , the director replied that the film was "closer to being a fairy tale than anything else, and that's what fairy tales did, they terrified you. The function was to give you a horrendous experience and you came out the other side, and you're a bit stronger for the fact." Gilliam screened the film for hundreds of kids to see if anything bothered them that he might have to take out. Although hundreds of children saw the film, the only ones who had a problem with it were adults.

Made for a tiny $5 million, Time Bandits premiered at the Loew's Twin theater in New York City, and was so successful that it made back its cost on opening weekend, raking in $6,507,356, making it the number one film in 821 theaters and Avco Embassy's biggest opening to date. Eventually, it would gross over $42 million in the United States alone, but did only moderate business in the United Kingdom due to unfavorable comparisons to Monty Python . Part of the reason it did well in the U.S. was that the marketing for the film was aimed at various demographics, including families, kids, and adults, rather than focusing on just kids. Film critics were generally positive, with Marsha Fottler calling Time Bandits "the best bad dream of the year," and Skip Sheffield writing that the film made him "wish I were a kid again. Then I could identify even more with the film's hero, an 11-year-old British schoolboy named Kevin. [...] Time Bandits is irreverent, satirical, hilarious, philosophical and absurd, all the while being the most jam-packed fantasy-adventure I've seen in years."

By Lorraine LoBianco

SOURCES:
Boyer, Peter "'Time Bandits' Surprises Industry" Toledo Blade 20 Nov 81
Fottler, Marsha "Time Bandits - Year's Best Bad Dream" Sarasota Herald-Tribune 13 Nov 81
Loohais, Jackie "'Time Bandits' Director/Writer Says He's Trying to Put Guts in Kids' Movies" The Milwaukee Journal 22 Nov 81
Matthews, Jack, Gilliam, Terry, and Stoppard, Tom The Battle of Brazil
Sheffield, Skip "Adults Can Steal Childhood in 'Time Bandits'" Boca Raton News 8 Nov 81
Worley, Alex "Time Bandits" http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/471893/
http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=timebandits.htm
Time Bandits

Time Bandits

When Terry Gilliam, former member of Monty Python's Flying Circus co-wrote a script with his Python teammate Michael Palin called Time Bandits (1981), Hollywood studios should have been eager to produce it, but Gilliam found no takers. None of them could easily categorize the film; was it for adults? Was it for kids? Was it a fantasy or an adventure? In truth, the film was all of these and more. Former Beatle (and Python fan) George Harrison and his partner, Denis O'Brien understood what Gilliam and Palin were trying to do, and agreed to executive produce the movie under their HandMade Films company, mortgaging their office building for the funds. Harrison would even contribute the song Dream Away for free. After the movie wrapped, it was screened for major distributors, who O'Brien later said walked out on the film. After a struggle to find a releasing company, Avco Embassy Pictures agreed to distribute it for a fee and for a $5.5 million to cover the cost of film prints and marketing. When Time Bandits was released in the United States on November 6, 1981, Gilliam and Avco Embassy had the last laugh. The plot of Time Bandits is pure Gilliam, whose films could never be considered ordinary. Eleven-year-old Kevin (Craig Warnock), a neglected boy obsessed with Ancient Greece, wakes up in the middle of the night as a knight appears from his closet and rides off through a forest where his bedroom wall used to stand. Believing that what he saw was real and not a dream, Kevin is ready and packed the next evening for the knight's return. Instead of the knight, a group of little people, led by Randall (David Rappaport) show up, telling him that they have stolen an important map belonging to the Supreme Being (Ralph Richardson). The rest of the film consists of the group going into different time periods and meet famous people while in search of treasure, from Ancient Greece, where Kevin meets and is adopted by King Agamemnon (Sean Connery), to Medieval England and Robin Hood (John Cleese), and 1800's Italy and Napoleon (Ian Holm). They even meet Evil itself (played by the always deliciously villainous David Warner). Also in the cast were Gilliam's Monty Python teammate Michael Palin (with whom he co-wrote the screenplay), Shelly Duvall, Peter Vaughan, Jim Broadbent, and Katherine Helmond. Gilliam told a reporter that the film was his attempt to make a stronger film for kids, instead of what he called the typical "mushy" fare. "People have been making these (expletive) little 'G' films that say nothing for so long. All the little kids in them are wimps. The boy in Time Bandits, Kevin, takes charge. He has control over his life. He can take care of himself. This is a kid's lib film." When asked if kids would be frightened by Time Bandits , the director replied that the film was "closer to being a fairy tale than anything else, and that's what fairy tales did, they terrified you. The function was to give you a horrendous experience and you came out the other side, and you're a bit stronger for the fact." Gilliam screened the film for hundreds of kids to see if anything bothered them that he might have to take out. Although hundreds of children saw the film, the only ones who had a problem with it were adults. Made for a tiny $5 million, Time Bandits premiered at the Loew's Twin theater in New York City, and was so successful that it made back its cost on opening weekend, raking in $6,507,356, making it the number one film in 821 theaters and Avco Embassy's biggest opening to date. Eventually, it would gross over $42 million in the United States alone, but did only moderate business in the United Kingdom due to unfavorable comparisons to Monty Python . Part of the reason it did well in the U.S. was that the marketing for the film was aimed at various demographics, including families, kids, and adults, rather than focusing on just kids. Film critics were generally positive, with Marsha Fottler calling Time Bandits "the best bad dream of the year," and Skip Sheffield writing that the film made him "wish I were a kid again. Then I could identify even more with the film's hero, an 11-year-old British schoolboy named Kevin. [...] Time Bandits is irreverent, satirical, hilarious, philosophical and absurd, all the while being the most jam-packed fantasy-adventure I've seen in years." By Lorraine LoBianco SOURCES: Boyer, Peter "'Time Bandits' Surprises Industry" Toledo Blade 20 Nov 81 Fottler, Marsha "Time Bandits - Year's Best Bad Dream" Sarasota Herald-Tribune 13 Nov 81 Loohais, Jackie "'Time Bandits' Director/Writer Says He's Trying to Put Guts in Kids' Movies" The Milwaukee Journal 22 Nov 81 Matthews, Jack, Gilliam, Terry, and Stoppard, Tom The Battle of Brazil Sheffield, Skip "Adults Can Steal Childhood in 'Time Bandits'" Boca Raton News 8 Nov 81 Worley, Alex "Time Bandits" http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/471893/ http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=timebandits.htm

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall November 6, 1981

Released in United States January 1996

Released in United States July 1981

Re-released in United States on Video January 25, 1995

Released in United States January 1996 (Shown in New York City (American Museum of the Moving Image) as part of program "Fairy Tales For Adults: A Terry Gilliam Retrospective" January 6-21, 1996.)

Re-released in United States on Video January 25, 1995

Released in United States July 1981

Released in United States Fall November 6, 1981