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Time Bandits

Rating: 4 out of 5.

(spoiler-free movie review)


A whimsical exploration of time and space with a satirical edge. Director Terry Gillian kicks off his “Imagination Trilogy” with the 1981 genre-bending Time Bandits. The film follows the adventures of Kevin (Craig Warnock), as he travels through time with a group of treasure stealing bandits.

– The group of time traveling thieves in Time Bandits.

Joining Kevin on his journey is an eclectic bunch of characters from Napolean (Ian Holm) to Robin Hood (John Cleese) and even King Agamemnon, played by Sean Connery. The events of the film play out like a group of vignettes within a larger narrative. Of course, Gillian’s wit and Python-esque humor is on full display. I found myself laughing out loud many times during the movie and became totally engrossed in this farcical fantasy world.

The set design, detailed miniatures, elaborate matte paintings and use of stop motion photography all combine to create a quirky and unique aesthetic that is an absolute joy to behold. I even spotted some creative use of Legos in the lair of the Evil Genius (David Warner). An inspired choice!

“…totally engrossed in this farcical fantasy world.”

Time Bandits is not without its flaws, the protagonists would’ve all benefited from more backstory and better flushed-out defining characteristics. In particular, the group of titular Time Bandits needed more dialogue to cement the audience’s emotional investment in their journey. I found myself much more interested in the supporting cast (and their comedic shenanigans) than the main players.

– The Evil Genius (David Warner) in Time Bandits.

Gillian interjects some social commentary into the film but doesn’t beat you over the head with it (unlike Robin Hood’s henchman). The movie is a true adventure film and a love letter to the movie making process.

“…a love letter to the movie making process.”

Time Bandits is certainly a product of its time but in the best way possible. It’s a full of creative whimsy that’s seldom (if ever) seen in today’s Hollywood offerings.

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

coe33 (social links below)


  • Media Format: Criterion Blu-ray
  • Setup: Vizio 70″ 4K V-Series(V705-H) Television, JBL 9.1 Doby Atmos Soundbar with Subwoofer, Sony UPB-X700 UHD Blu-ray Player
  • Question: Which movie from the “Imagination Trilogy” is your favorite? Cast your vote on the poll below!

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