ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Film Review: Time Bandits

Updated on June 4, 2016
Film Frenzy profile image

Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.


In 1981, Terry Gilliam released Time Bandits as the first installment in his “Trilogy of Imagination.” Starring John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Michael Palin, Ralph Richardson, Peter Vaughn, David Warner, Craig Warnock, David Rappaport, Kenny Baker, Malcom Dixon, Mike Edmonds, Jack Purvis, Tiny Ross, Derek Deadman, Jerold Wells, David Daker, Sheila Fearn, Jim Broadbent, Tony Jay, Terence Bayler, Preston Lockwood, Derrick O’Connor, Neil McCarthy and Ian Muir, the film grossed $42.4 million at the box office. Winner of the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Horror Films, USA President’s Award, the film was nominated for the Saturn Award for Best International, Film, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, Best Writing, and Best Special Effects as well as the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.


While Kevin is an imaginative and inquisitive child with an interest in history, his parents are shallow and materialistic and don’t share his interests. However, one night, he is visited by a gang of time-travelling dwarves who kidnap and force him to accompany them on their adventures through time. They’ve stolen a map from the supreme being that reveal the gaps in creation which allow them to visit any place or historic personality and use the power to steal all the treasure they can find. Yet, they’re being watched by the Evil Genius who has his own plans for the map and the universe.


Though an odd and bizarre film, Time Bandits is still wildly fun and quite entertaining. Here, the audience is presented with a time travel plot that’s not the usual kind, with an imaginative young boy being taken by time travelers using their ability to do so to make themselves rich. They visit some pretty interesting destinations throughout time as well, including Napoleon’s conquests, Robin Hood’s forest, and the ancient world. Also notable about this is that the film doesn’t present time itself, or an embodiment of time, as the enemy, but presents a clash between good (The Supreme Being) and evil (the Evil Genius). The ending is also pretty good, with the film initially looking like Kevin’s travel through time was going to only be a dream, but showing that it most likely wasn’t as he still has the photos of his adventure and there’s the remaining piece of Evil in his parent’s microwave oven. At the same time, the ending maybe a dream within a dream if the song that plays over the end credits (“Dream Away” by George Harrison”) is any indication.

The film does present some good characters as well, especially the Evil Genius who wants to remake the world according to his own vision of rampant materialism perpetuated by endless productivity. He has no use for anything but logic and efficiency. That’s understandable since he’s also partly machine, considering he’s able to bend his fingertips back on hinges to expose nozzles that exude magic as well as turn into an evil mechanical merry-go-round. Further, in staying true to his namesake, he inflicts some disproportionate retribution onto his minions, such as killing them for asking simple questions.

On the other hand, there’s the Supreme Being, or Gilliam’s personification of God. The Supreme Being isn’t characterized as being all-powerful and all-knowing though. Instead, he spends most of the film grandstanding and looking spectacularly impressive, but being mostly ineffectual and the Evil Genius even says that he’s a lunatic because things like slugs are pointless creations. The Supreme Being does wind up resolving everything and stating that it’s according to his plan and that he’s not “entirely dim.” He also doesn’t put much effort into his explanations, such as stating that evil exists because he thinks it’s because of free will. It would appear that Gilliam’s worldview of a Supreme Being is one that doesn’t have all the answers and is pretty useless until the end when he can mop everything up and just say he meant for all of it to happen. It’s a pretty fascinating interpretation to say the very least.

As a whole though, the film has a notable message of not letting materialism get in the way of imagination, with Kevin’s parents being a good foil for Kevin. Where they’re focused on being the most efficient of consumers and getting the best consumer products, he’s enthralled with the beauty and wonder of what he can imagine as well as the historical locales to which the dwarves take him. In the end, it’s that love of imagination and embarking on that fantastical adventure which separates Kevin from his parents as he’s able to recognize that his parents’ pursuit of the best stuff is what wound up burning their house down and causing them to explode.

4 stars for Time Bandits


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • MehrineKhan profile image

      Mehrine Khan 

      3 years ago from Pakistan

      its nic


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)