Time Bandits

Time Bandits

Synopsis of Movie

"Heroes, bah! What do they know about an honest day's work?"

Or so queries Randall, leader of the little people troupe that has been assigned by their proper English boss, the Supreme Being, to patch up a few nagging holes in the fabric of the universe. These were among the bizarre concoctions offered up in director (and former Monty Python animator) Terry Gilliam's surreal fantasy, Time Bandits, a surprise 1981 hit.

In the course of plugging time holes, the diminutive group—Randall, Fidgit, Strutter, Og, Wally and Vermin—gets a little greedy. Why work when they can steal the Supreme Being’s map, do a little pillaging through the ages, and get rich? On their first stop, the troupe lands accidentally right smack in the middle of 1980’s consumer-obsessed Britain, tumbling out of schoolboy Kevin’s wardrobe. And after they get a load of the boy’s awful game-show-watching, gadget-happy parents, the bandit gang insists he come along for the ride.

Together, Kevin and the little people bump through time, encountering the likes of “heroes” Napoleon (from whom Randall and his crew steal), Robin Hood (who steals their loot right back…Randall and his crew were never the most savvy of thieves), and King Agamemnon, who is just the sort of stalwart father figure Kevin has always yearned for. They’re pursued throughout by the disembodied Supreme Being and by the persnickety Evil (David Warner, later of Tron nefariousness), who wants to reshape the world in the image of technology.

Kevin and his companions spend time on the Titanic right before it goes down, and in the Time of Legends, where an Ogre couple prepares them for a fondue. One robber is turned into a pig, and the lot of them find themselves suspended over a timeless limbo void in a metal cage. But worst of all, the gang finds itself at Evil’s very own Fortress of Ultimate Darkness, where only a little help from the Supreme Being himself can turn the tide.

Much of Time Bandits was shot with the camera a couple of feet off the ground or looking up from holes, so as to create the perspective of a child. Gilliam has explained that thematically, Time Bandits teases the notion of hero worship, and what happens when your beloved idols don’t quite live up to your expectations. The film's unexpected and open ending certainly left viewers with something to think (or wonder) about on the drive back from the theater.

Ponderous themes aside, Time Bandits was the kind of rollicking, quirky fun one would expect from a former Pythonian. With music and a closing song by former ex-Beatle George Harrison, the movie had enough crowd-pleasing adventure to turn a tidy profit at the box office. It remains an offbeat favorite of those who like a good potpourri of fantasy, sci-fi and comedy in their time-travel adventure movies.

Movie Release History

1981 - Time Bandits

Movie Sub Categories


Movie Studio

AVCO Embassy


Robin Hood  John Cleese
King Agamemnon  Sean Connery
Pansy   Shelley Duvall
Mrs. Ogre  Katherine Helmond
Napoleon  Ian Holm
Vincent  Michael Palin
Supreme Being  Ralph Richardson
Ogre  Peter Vaughan
Evil Genius  David Warner
Randall  David Rappaport
Fidgit Kenny Baker
Strutter  Malcolm Dixon
Og  Mike Edmonds
Wally  Jack Purvis
Vermin Tiny Ross
Kevin  Craig Warnock
Kevin's Father   David Daker
Kevin's Mother   Sheila Fearn
Compere  Jim Broadbent
Reginald John Young
Beryl  Myrtle Devenish
Stunt Knight/Hussar  Brian Bowes
1st Refugee  Leon Lissek
Lucien  Terence Bayler
Neguy  Preston Lockwood
Theatre Manager  Charles McKeown
Puppeteer  David Leland
The Great Rumbozo   John Hughman
Robber Leader  Derrick O'Connor
2nd Robber  Neil McCarthy
3rd Robber  Declan Mulholland
Arm Wrestler   Peter Jonfield
Robert  Derek Deadman
Benson  Jerold Wells
Cartwright  Roger Frost
Baxi Brazilia III  Martin Carroll
Horseflesh  Marcus Powell
Bull-headed Warrior   Winston Dennis
Greek Fighting Warrior  Del Baker
Clytemnestra (Greek Queen)  Juliette James
Giant  Ian Muir
Troll Father  Mark Holmes
Fireman  Andrew MacLachlan
TV announcer (voice)  Chris Grant
Voice of supreme being (voice)  Tony Jay
Supreme Being's Face   Edwin Finn

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