Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5  
Time Bandits DVD (1981)

Young Kevin (Craig Warnock) ditches boring old sleep in favour of adventures with time-travelling dwarves in Terry Gilliam's gloriously inventive "Time Bandits". The film has stood the test of time and this handsome new DVD release is the perfect showcase.


Picture This transfer to DVD has been made from a print that bears the odd minor fleck of damage, but otherwise looks reasonably good, and certainly far better than it ever did on tape.

Sound A new 5.1 mix has been created for this disc, although you also have the choice to play the original track. The new effort features some enjoyable effects, but the rear speakers sometimes dominate a little too much in some scenes. Merely turning down the rears a bit solves that problem.


Audio Commentary Contributions from Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, John Cleese, David Warner, and Craig Warnock feature on this commentary track. Gilliam has the most to say, and reveals the original inspiration for the film was the idea of a horse coming out of a wardrobe in a child's bedroom. From there the movie mushroomed in his head, although some ideas couldn't be realised because of budgetary constraints. The Titanic scene proved to be very dangerous as it wasn't possible to stunt-double the dwarves. They had to do their own stunts, including a scene in a water tank where their looks of fear are quite genuine, as none of them could swim!

Interview with Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin Recorded exclusively for this UK DVD release and running at nearly half an hour, this amiable chat between the two doesn't disappoint. Gilliam discusses the original ambition behind making the movie, which was based on his frustration of trying to get "Brazil" off the ground, and deciding to make a family film to have something to do. Raising a budget was typically hard, but George Harrison's Handmade Films stepped into the breach. Despite this, the money was tight and Gilliam and Palin can both recall devices and scenes that had to be dropped. Once it was finished, no major US distributor wanted to pick it up, except for Avco Embassy, who released it in the November graveyard, only for it go to number one in the US box office.

Galleries There are four excellent image galleries, that cover behind the scenes shots with wonderfully silly captions, production design drawings, stills, and more.

Treatment Gilliam's original treatment (for Poo-Poo Pictures) can be read here. Additional Special Features Also on the disc is a hilarious storyboard gallery, a missing scene in storyboard form, and the original trailer. Special mention should also go to the animated menus, which set the mood of the disc perfectly.

Region: 2
Chapters: 24
Ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0
Technical Features: Scene selection and animated menus.

End Credits

Director: Terry Gilliam

Writer: Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin

Stars: John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Michael Palin, Ralph Richardson, Peter Vaughan

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy

Length: 113 minutes

Cinema: 1981

DVD: 30 September 2002

Country: UK