Time Bandits (1981, John Cleese, Sean Connery)

Terry Gilliam’s extraordinary fantasy Time Bandits begins calmly enough for young Craig Warnock, trapped in a dull suburban existence with his parents David Daker and Sheila Fearn. But his ennui is not to last for much longer.

The wardrobe in his bedroom begins to shake and a group of dwarves – Kenny Baker, Jack Purvis, Mike Edmonds, Malcolm Dixon, Tiny Ross and their leader, David Rappaport, tumble out, on the run from the Supreme Being (Ralph Richardson) whose “Time Hole Map of the Universe” they have stolen. The dwarves take Warnock with them and he is pitchforked into a series of bizarre adventures of spiralling lunacy as they travel through time and space.

The screenplay’s sustained, crazy invention takes the travellers to a mad meeting with Napoleon (Ian Holm), lovers Michael Palin and Shelley Duvall and a hilarious encounter with John Cleese’s Robin Hood and his unlikely band of merry men. Warnock finds himself in Ancient Greece and the sole spectator – and unlikely deus ex machina – in the duel to the death between Sean Connery’s Agamemnon and the Minotaur.

Time Bandits

He and the dwarves then end up on the deck of the SS “Titanic” but the intervention of Evil (David Warner) propels them into a confrontation with fierce but terminally hypochondriac ogre Peter Vaughan and his wife, Katherine Helmond. Finally, Warnock is witness to a climatic encounter between the Supreme Being and Evil before being returned safely to the bosom of his family… or is he?

Director: Terry Gilliam
Writers: Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam

Cast: John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, David Rappaport, Craig Warnock, David Daker, Sheila Fearn

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