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3.9 out of 5 stars 342 customer reviews

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Product Description

An exterminator of Brutals lands in the Vortex and mates with an Eternal in the year 2293. Directed by John Boorman.


A bewigged Sean Connery is Zed, a savage "exterminator" commanded by the mysterious god Zardoz to eliminate Brutals, survivors of an unspecified worldwide catastrophe. Zed stows away inside Zardoz's enormous idol (a flying stone head) and is taken to the pastoral land of the Eternals, a matriarchal, quasi-medieval society that has achieved psychic abilities as well as immortality. Zed finds as much hope as disgust with the Eternals; their advancements have also robbed them of physical passion, turning their existence into a living death. Zed becomes the Eternals' unlikely messiah, but in order to save them--and himself--he must confront the truth behind Zardoz and his own identity inside the Tabernacle, the Eternals' omnipresent master computer.

A box office failure, John Boorman's Zardoz has developed a cult following among science fiction fans whose tastes run toward more cerebral fare, such as The Andromeda Strain and Phase IV. An entrancing if overly ambitious (by Boorman's own admission) film, Zardoz offers pointed commentary on class structure and religion inside its complex plot and head-movie visuals; its healthy doses of sex and violence will involve viewers even if the story machinations escape them. Beautifully photographed near Boorman's home in Ireland's Wicklow Mountains by Geoffrey Unsworth (2001), its production design is courtesy of longtime Boorman associate Anthony Pratt, who creates a believable society within the film's million-dollar budget. The letterboxed DVD presentation includes engaging commentary by Boorman, who discusses the special effects (all created in-camera) as well as working with a post-Bond Connery. --Paul Gaita

Special Features

  • Commentary by director John Boorman
  • Still photo gallery
  • Concept Art and Pressbook Galleries

Product Details

  • Actors: Sean Connery, Charlotte Rampling, Sara Kestelman, John Alderton, Sally Anne Newton
  • Directors: John Boorman
  • Writers: John Boorman
  • Producers: John Boorman, Charles Orme
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 3.0), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: March 27, 2001
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (342 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000059HAE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,782 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Zardoz" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 29, 2005
Format: DVD
`Zardoz' was produced, written, and directed by John Boorman who, like Robert Altman (`M.A.S.H') and Ken Russell (`Women In Love') cash in their credit earned from directing very successful commercial films and spend it to direct very personal, very original, and very uncommercial films. `Zardoz' was made right after Boorman's immense critical and commercial success with `Deliverance' and his star in that movie, Burt Reynolds, was to play the lead role in `Zardoz' until Burt fell ill and was replaced with Sean Connery at a cost of 1/5 of the whole million dollar budget. As high as that relative figure may seem, apparently Connery was just finishing up his appearances as James Bond and no one would hire him for anything else, so he needed the money.

While there is a great danger that no one will ever read this review, it is immense fun to write a review of this rich, quirky, and very flawed movie. For starters, I find it easy to see that people have a hard time understanding the movie. I have never held that fact alone against a movie, as it took me at least three viewings of `2001 A Space Odyssey' to feel I was anywhere near understanding it, and `2001' has taken its rightful place among the very best American movies. It has taken me at least that many viewings to understand some of Fredrico Fellini's movies and I still don't understand `8½'. But that doesn't mean this is not a great movie. But that doesn't mean this is a great movie. It only means it has potential the fact that it can still be found on the store shelves is a testament to the fact that this movie has a lot to offer, even if it ultimately does not fully realize the filmmaker's vision.

There are few movies I have seen which are more in need of the director's commentary than this one.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I first saw this film back in the late 70's (I think) on late night television. Twenty years later, I had forgotten the title, but I remembered a few things: it had naked women in it(I was 12 or so and the station ran it unedited--bless them); it had Sean Connery shooting just about everything and running around in an orange diaper and wearing a pigtail; and it was strange, strange, strange, and I liked that.
Twenty years later, I grabbed a movie guide and searched for Sean Connery films. "Zardoz" I found. That had to be it. I rented it and sat down and watched it all over. It was as wonderfully strange and goofy as I remembered. I loved the big floating head of the god Zardoz at the beginning. My wife hated it, and watched only 30 seconds of it. If you must have your movie spoon-fed to you, forget this one. If you're brave enough to be baffled at times, strong enough to see Sean Connery in a wedding dress, and tough enough for some laughable dialog, then you've come to the right movie.
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Format: DVD
Director John Boorman has delivered some very good films such as "Deliverance" (1972), "Excalibur" (1981) and "The Emerald Forest" (1985).

"Zardoz" (1974) occupies a very special place in his filmography. As Boorman also wrote the screenplay, we may assume it is a "film d'auter". He not only conveys a sci-fi story, he also gives the viewer a parable about power and immortality.

The whole movie has the look and feel of mid `70s cosmovision. Daily life in the Vortex resembles a Hippie community; there are scenes with kaleidoscopic effects (Ken Russell will use very similar images in "Altered States" (1980)); scenes of mass killing are shown with minimal blood effusion and so on.

The story is a classical sci-fi argument: in far future humankind is fractioned in two groups. One group lives in an edenic valley, profits from immortality and suffers no material needs. The other, by far the hugest group, dwells in a destitute Earth subject to the persecution of the Exterminators.

Exterminators are servers of god Zardoz, an enormous flying and speaking stone head. Their religion promises eternal after-life at the Vortex. Zed, one of them, decides to creep into Zardoz's head and starts a "heroes' journey" of discovery, enlightenment and trial.

From there on a complex plot, requiring viewer's attention is deployed.

There are several high points in this film.

Cinematography directed by multi-Oscar awarded Geoffrey Unsworth ("Cabaret" (1972) and "Tess" (1979)) is delicate, portraying slender and beautiful women bodies. He uses color and texture (especially cloth texture) masterfully. The film has received a BAFTA nomination to Best Cinematography.
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Format: DVD
I'm going to mostly keep my review limited to what they've done with the DVD since if you dig back far enough you'll find my thoughts on the film (somewhere...) Briefly though, Zardoz is really unlike no other film. Its wonderfully muddled by an overly-think plot, and enough symbolism to ensure you'll never really get to the bottom of it. I absolutely adore this film and have seen it at least a dozen times (I'm always showing it to someone.)
The DVD finally does justice to this film--justice not done by the VHS or laserdisc. There is a considerable amount of material that was cut off the full-screen edition and even the LD was cropped. Now we can finally see Sean Connery shoot John Boorman in the head, as well as the shot where Zed sticks his finger through a painting. Visually this is SOOOO much better--the hazy effect which looked like tape degradation is now clearly the result of cinematic techniques which look awesome here. The sound is good, but it was never really that bad, so no complaints there. The director's commentary is a hoot if not super-informative, and you can (as a bonus) watch the film in French. Ironically I think Zardoz may even work better in French (but its just THAT kind of film.) There are a few other goodies, but nothing really notable. What's more outstanding is just the quality job they've done in reproducing the original film on DVD. If you are at all a fan of the film, you really do owe it to yourself to own this addition since this is the first time we've had a chance to see it the way it appeared in the theatre since its original theatrical release.
Lastly, to those who don't care for this film, the beauty of Zardoz that you're missing is how really deep it goes.
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