Time Bandits: Dreams FactsEdited by Phil Stubbs
IntroductionTime Bandits is the story of an English boy who encounters six dwarf thieves, who use a special map to find their way around space and time. Kevin joins the bandits in their quest for riches and in their desire to escape God, who is not impressed that his map is being exploited.
The film is anarchic and funny, and enjoyed considerable success at the box office. For director Terry Gilliam, the success of Time Bandits helped his reputation, allowing such films as Brazil and Baron Munchausen to be made.
This site contains links, background information, plot info, and some notes on the film.
BackgroundDenis O'Brien of Handmade films liked Gilliam's idea of a movie of a child's fantasy of a boy who travels through time, to be disappointed by his great heroes. A script was written by Gilliam, along with Michael Palin. When the script was complete, O'Brien toured the US, looking for a deal there. Nobody in Hollywood wanted to make or distribute the film.
The film was made. O'Brien then wanted someone to pay $5m for the rights to distribute the film in the USA. The best he was able to do was a deal where Avco Embassy Pictures were paid to distribute the movie, and he had to provide an extra $5.5m for prints and advertising.
The movie proved to be a box-office winner, which led Gilliam to say, "You listed to these people and you just shake your head. They are so goddamned sure they know what they're talking about, and all they are doing is guessing. They invent their own research, then depend on it as if it were science. They have no respect for the intelligence of their audience. Then when they succeed, they break their ass telling you how brilliant they were in doing it." After Time Bandits, Gilliam had an excellent reputation - he had shown that he could make a very successful movie for a very low budget. He made a crossover film (ie it had appeal to all generations), and it was an expensive looking film that was made on the cheap by Hollywood standards. Therefore Gilliam received many offers, and helped allow him to get his next project, Brazil, off the ground.