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Time Bandits

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

United Kingdom
·
1981

Rated PG · 1h 56m

Director Terry Gilliam
Starring Craig Warnock, David Rappaport, Kenny Baker, Mike Edmonds

Genre Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Science Fiction

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Young history buff Kevin can scarcely believe it when six dwarfs emerge from his closet one night. Former employees of the Supreme Being, they've purloined a map charting all of the holes in the fabric of time and are using it to steal treasures from different historical eras. Taking Kevin with them, they variously drop in on Napoleon, Robin Hood and King Agamemnon before the Supreme Being catches up with them.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

60

Los Angeles Times by

Time Bandits may be Gilliam’s most consistently entertaining movie, but it still displays his flaws as much as his strengths. It’s visually imaginative — on a smallish budget — filled with invention, but also rambling and all over the (literal) map.
63

Chicago Tribune by Gene Siskel

An uneven special effects extravaganza about a little boy who winds up traveling through world history along with five midgets. Together they meet and frustrate the great and the near-great. Including Napoleon, Robin Hood, and the devil. Unfortunately, there are just too many visits to famous people. The film was created by some of the people responsible for the Monty Python comedies. [25 Dec 1981, p.12]
100

Empire by Ian Nathan

For a kids film this is pleasingly dark with Gilliam delivering as much classical fairy tale as knockabout comedy.
75

Slant Magazine by Jake Cole

Good as the cameos are, however, the lasting draw of the film is its exceptional aesthetic. Gilliam keeps his camera low in a child’s perspective, and wide-angle lenses only exacerbate the magnified sense of scale that everything has.
100

ReelViews by James Berardinelli

The blend of quick-moving adventure, familiar faces, lowbrow slapstick, highbrow wit, and visual style offers more than one thing to just about everyone. And, with an ending that mocks the idea of happily ever after, Time Bandits concludes perfectly.
100

Time Out London by Nigel Floyd

An extraordinarily inventive fantasy in which schoolboy Warnock is rescued from a dull suburban existence by a band of renegade dwarfs, who emerge from his wardrobe and whisk him off on an incredible journey through time and space. Sometime Monty Python animator Gilliam fills the screen with bizarre images, and directs with a breathless ingenuity.
75

Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

First reactions while viewing Time Bandits: It's amazingly well-produced. The historic locations are jammed with character and detail. This is the only live-action movie I've seen that literally looks like pages out of Heavy Metal magazine, with kings and swordsmen and wide-eyed little boys and fearsome beasts.
70

The New York Times by Vincent Canby

Time Bandits is a cheerfully irreverent lark - part fairy tale, part science fiction and part comedy. It's a fantastic though wobbly flight through history and legend in the company of a small boy named Kevin and six dwarfs named Randall, Fidgit, Wally, Og, Stutter and Vermin.

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