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Time Bandits (1981, Michael Palin, Sean Connery)

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Terry Gilliam’s extraordinary fantasy Time Bandits begins calmly enough for young Craig Warnock, trapped in a dull suburban existence with his parents David Draker 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. 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?

production details
UK / Handmade / 116 minutes / 1981

Director: Terry Gilliam
Writers: Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin,

cast
Michael Palin as Vincent
Sean Connery as King Agamemnon / Fireman
Craig Warnock as Kevin
David Rappaport as Randall
Kenny Baker as Fidgit
Mike Edmonds as Og
Malcolm Dixon as Strutter
Tiny Ross as Vermin
Jack Purvis as Wally
Ian Holm as Napoleon
John Cleese as Robin Hood
Shelley Duvall as Dame Pansy / Pansy
Peter Vaughan as Winston the Ogre
Katherine Helmond as Mrs. Ogre
David Warner as Evil Genius
Ralph Richardson as Supreme Being
Tony Jay as Supreme Being (voice)
Sheila Fearn as Kevin’s Mother
Jim Broadbent as Compere
Peter Jonfield as Arm Wrestler
Jerold Wells as Benson
Myrtle Devenish as Beryl
Winston Dennis as Bull Headed Warrior
Roger Frost as Cartwright
Andrew MacLachlan as Fireman #2
Marcus Powell as Horseflesh
Terence Bayler as Lucien
Preston Lockwood as Neguy
David Leland as Puppeteer
Leon Lissek as Refugee #1
John Young as Reginald
Derrick O’Connor as Robber Leader
Neil McCarthy as Robber #2
Declan Mulholland as Robber #3
Derek Deadman as Robert
Charles McKeown as Theatre Manager
Mark Holmes as Troll Father
David Daker as Kevin’s Father

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