Time Bandits (1981)

UK, 1981
110m (USA), 116m (UK)
35mm, Technicolor, 1.37:1 (negative ratio), 1.66:1 (intended ratio)
Dolby Stereo, English

A British fantasy film directed by Terry Gilliam.

Plot Summary

Young Kevin's life is turned upside down one night when a knight on horseback appears from his bedroom wardrobe, following by a gang of dwarf thieves on the run from the Supreme Being after stealing his map showing the flaws in His greatest creation. Using these “time holes”, the Time are able to plunder the treasures of history and soon Kevin is on a breathtaking chase through time and space.


Directed by: Terry Gilliam
© Handmade Film Partnership 1981
Handmade Films present
Executive Producers: George Harrison & Denis O'Brien
Produced by: Terry Gilliam
Written by: Michael Palin & Terry Gilliam
Director of Photography: Peter Biziou
Editor: Julian Doyle
Music Score Composed and Orchestrated by: Mike Moran
Sound Mixer: Garth Marshall
Costumes Designed by: Jim Acheson in association with Hazel Côté
Hairdressing & Make-Up by: Maggie Weston & Elaine Carew
Production Designer: Milly Burns

John Cleese ()
Sean Connery (King Agamemnon)
Shelley Duvall (Pansy)
Katherine Helmond (Mrs. Ogre)
Ian Holm (Napoleon)
Michael Palin (Vincent)
Ralph Richardson (Supreme Being)
Peter Vaughan (Winston the Ogre)
David Warner (Evil Genius)
David Rappaport as Randall
Kenny Baker as Fidgit
Malcolm Dixon as Strutter
Mike Edmonds as Og
Jack Purvis as Wally
Tiny Ross as Vermin
Craig Warnock as Kevin
David Daker (Kevin's Father)
Sheila Fearn (Kevin's Mother)
Jim Broadbent (Compere)
John Young (Reginald)


Starburst no.37 (1981) pp.18-21
Every once in a while a film comes along that knocks you fox six. I had no idea that Time Bandits would be anything more than a live action variant on Monty Pythonesque pseudo-animation and as such, I really wasn't looking forward to it. The opening moments almost compounded that preconceived opinion with its overstated lampooning of a slightly futuristic consumer society – but then, as the main ingenious story took hold – I realised I was watching fantasy film making of the highest order. Witty, highly imaginative, frightening – a totally original entertainment that doesn't fit into any category I can think of. […] Time Bandits literally does “burst with inventiveness” as the pressbook says. I couldn't have put it better myself, it sums up the film superbly. Director Terry Gilliam's flair for the fantastic has now been fully realised. I didn't particularly like his Monty Python films or Jabberwocky, the latter being all style and no substance. Well Time Bandits has style alright […] and a cornucopia of substance – from an illustrated review by Alan Jones

Film Review no.624 (November 2002) p.92
Gilliam's fantasy has lost none of its power to entertain, scare and amuse. A marvellous romp filled with astonishing, dream-like imagery. – from an illustrated DVD review by Gareth Wigmore



  • Correio da Manha, TV 21 August 1998 p.30 – review
  • Film Review no.624 (November 2002) p.92 – illustrated DVD review (by Gareth Wigmore)
  • New Musical Express 2 January 1982 p.14 – illustrated article (Silver screen selection)
  • Screen International no.249 (12-19 July 1980) p.14 – credits (In production)
  • Screen International no.250 (19-26 July 1980) p.14 – credits (In production)
  • Screen International no.251 (26 July-2 August 1980) p.10 – illustrated credits (In production)
  • Screen International no.252 (2-9 August 1980) p.14 – credits (In production)
  • Screen International no.253 (9-16 August 1980) p.16 – credits (In production)
  • Screen International no.254 (16-23 August 1980) p.10 – credits (In production)
  • Starburst no.37 (1981) pp.18-21 – illustrated review (by Alan Jones)


  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction by Phil Hardy (ed) pp.371-372
  • The Devil on Screen: Feature Films Worldwide, 1913 Through 2000 by Charles P. Mitchell pp.278-279
  • Film Review 1982-1983 by F. Maurice Speed (ed.) pp.165-166 – credits, review
  • The Films of the Eighties by Robert A. Nowlan and Gwendolyn Wright Nowlan p.584
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis p.399
  • Sci-Fi Now's 80s Sci-fi Almanac: Complete Movie Guide 1980-1989 pp.146-149 – illustrated article
  • The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Fantasy by David Pringle (general ed.) p.75 – illustrated credits, review
  • Variety Science-Fiction Movies by Julian Brown (ed.) p.114 – illustrated credits, review

Other Sources

  • BFI Southbank Guide August 2009 p.22 – illustrated listing