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Time Bandits (The Criterion Collection)


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Product Details

  • Actors: John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm
  • Directors: Terry Gilliam
  • Format: Color, Letterboxed, Special Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: March 30, 1999
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (371 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305283699
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,155 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Time Bandits (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Time Bandits scrapbook

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In Terry Gilliam's fantastic voyage through time and space, a young boy named Kevin (Craig Warnock) escapes his gadget-obsessed parents to join a band of time-traveling dwarves. Armed with a map stolen from the Supreme Being (Ralph Richardson), they plunder treasure from Napoleon (Ian Holm) and Agamemnon (Sean Connery)-but the Evil Genius (David Warner) is watching their every move! Featuring a darkly playful script by Gilliam and costar Michael Palin, Time Bandits is all at once giddy fairy tale, revisionist history lesson, and satire on technology gone awry.

Additional Features

Though there are 1.33:1 versions available, this director approved Criterion DVD beautifully presents Time Bandits in the film's intended 1:85:1 theatrical ratio. Time Bandits was originally shot full screen (aspect ratio 1.33:1) with the intention of it being cropped to fit a widescreen format. Though non-anamorphic, Time Bandits looks very crisp with well-balanced colors and nice contrasts. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround audio sounds very acceptable with no obvious flaws. With regards to extras, there is a "hands-off" Time Bandits scrapbook that is fairly interesting. But what really sets this DVD apart is the stellar audio commentary by director Terry Gilliam, cowriter/actor Michael Palin, and actors John Cleese, David Warner, and Craig Warnock ("Kevin"). Gilliam and Warnock provide most of the commentary providing interesting anecdotes and amusing tales of behind-the-scenes shenanigans. These detailed tidbits of information are a "must have" for fans. --Rob Bracco

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
PLEASE NOTE: THIS REVIEW WAS WRITTEN FOR THE TWO DVD DISC EDITION OF "TIME BANDITS" PUT OUT BY ANCHOR BAY.

First, I have to note that most of these reviews are for the somewhat disappointing Criterion Edition released in 1999. The version I'll be reviewing is the much improved Divimax (high definition digital transfer)from Anchor Bay. The two DVD edition of Time Bandits from Anchor Bay has isn't perfect but it's a stark improvement on the previous no frills version they issued in 1999 and the Criterion Edition from the same time frame.

The high definition transfer and the fact that the film has been enhanced for 16x9 televisions are definite improvements on the previous edition. The picture is sharper although I did note some minor edge enhancement and digital compression issues. On the whole, though, the picture looks marvelous. The first disc features only the film and it doesn't have the great audio commentary compilation by Gilliam, Michael Palin, David Warner, John Cleese and Craig Warnock. That's a pity because that would have made this the ultimate edition of the film.

Now the major complaint from some folks regarding the image size. Gilliam shot Time Bandits to be shown theatrically in a 1.85:1 ratio. Time Bandits was probably shot full screen (like Kubrick's films so that they wouldn't be badly "cropped" when released). More than likely Gilliam matted the image AFTER the film was shot. The widescreen image IS the way Gilliam intended the film to be seen).

The worst looking DVD was the one put out by the highly regarded Criterion Company. It featured interlace problems, an unstable picture (perhaps due to a flaw during the telecine transfer)and sound that sound left much to be desired.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Tootie The Cat on August 26, 2004
Format: DVD
I have very fond memories of this film; it came out when I was about 12 years old. I grew up in a very small town in Kentucky, and we had one movie theater, which (for financial reasons I assume) would usually play one second-run film for several weeks at a time.

I loved this movie the first time I saw it. I rode my bicycle to the theater several times to watch this film (a child's matinee price was only $2.00). I must have seen it six times on the screen.

And as I got older, I began to see so much more about this film. Imagine.... a children's film that approaches such existential topics as the nature of God and the existence of evil. Really, really, magical.
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62 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Paul MacKinnon on October 26, 1999
Format: DVD
Like the Princess Bride (and perhaps as a precursor to the "Scream"/horror phenomenon), Time Bandits is an honest homage to its genre, while at the same time being very aware of itself. This film is LOADED with imagination, magic, special effects, and great character vignettes. And it's also a great history lesson.
Despite the fact that it's a Gilliam/Palin collaboration, it's not Monty Python (with the possible exception of the Robin Hood bit - worth the price of the film alone), but once you get past the expectation that it will be side-splittingly funny, you can easily get carried away with this tale.
If you get the Criterion DVD do what I did and devote an entire weekend to it: Watch the film, then listen to the commentary, which will make you want to watch the film again.
Take heed though of the quality warnings: I thought the picture was wonderful (as every other video version around seems to be in rough shape), but the sound is lacking in parts. Those downfalls and the overblown ending climax (I know it's an epic battle of good vs. evil, but it's still too long!) are what cost this film all 5 stars.
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63 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Robert Seulowitz on June 13, 2000
Format: DVD
As one would expect of a Criterion release, the DVD of "Time Bandits" is an absolute pleasure, from the clean film transfer to the many delightful added features.
The production scrapbook is a treasure, along with the commentary by Gilliam and Palin. These features truly enrich one's appreciation for the film; not only do they lavish praise on the actors playing the "dwarves" (who, in retrospect, did nothing less than a heroic job), but also reveal many of the clever tricks that allowed them to create such a sumptuously beautiful film for the cost of Speilberg's monthly catering bill. Compare this film to expensive clunkers like "Tron" (which came out a year later!) to appreciate the extent of Gilliam's craft. Cleese's description of his day's work is howlingly funny, and David Warner is generous and wryly amusing. The now-grown Craig Warnock is not particularly eloquent, however, and it's hard to tell if he's joking about the film scarring him psychologically!
The trailer is simply awful, after a promising start, but it's indicative of AVCO's cluelessness about how to market such a fresh and original film. They tried to pass it off as Python style comedy, safe for kiddies and fun for grow-ups. In fact, it's nothing of the kind - it's a dangerous and rigorous film that one may wish to keep out of the hands of small children.
Despite it's vague resemblance to "The Wizard of Oz" told upside down (or inside out?), "Time Bandits" is not a typical (modern) children's film. It has an old-fashioned Grimm-ness, with creatures dying nasty, sweaty deaths and even "good" characters behaving quite badly at times.
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Is This Version Closed Captioned?
No. It isn't. Not subtitled either.
Jun 21, 2011 by J. Beard |  See all 2 posts
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