The Sci-Fi Adventure On Streaming That’s A Time Travel Classic

By April Ryder | Updated

Time Bandits

The sci-fi adventure film Time Bandits (streaming on Max) is one of Terry Gilliam’s best productions. If you’re looking for a fun, family-friendly movie to watch, Time Bandits will surely take you and your family on an exciting journey through history. 

Time Bandits, streaming on Max, is a wild time travel movie that has become a cult classic.

This British fantasy story was co-written, produced, and directed by Terry Gilliam, who also worked on Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Monty Python’s Life of Brian. The movie is filled with the sort of British humor you get from the Monty Python movies, and even the trailer for the movie will give you a laugh. 

Time Bandits stars legendary actors/actresses Sean Connery (King Agamemnon), John Cleese (Robin Hood), Shelley Duvall (Dame Pansy), Ralph Richardson (Supreme Being), Katherine Helmond (Mrs. Ogre), Ian Holm (Napoleon), Michael Palin (Vincent), and David Warner (Evil Genius). 

The movie was financed by George Harrison’s (The Beatles) filming company Handmade Films, and it was shot in England, Morocco, and Wales. Time Bandits was released in theaters in the UK in July 1981 and in the US in November 1981. 

Time Bandits

The movie was met with overall positive reviews and opened at number one in the US and Canada. Terry Gilliam’s production budget was around $5 million, and the movie grossed around $36 million in theaters, making for a decent return on the film. 

The plot of Time Bandits centers around a young 11-year-old boy named Kevin, who is fascinated by stories of the past. One night, while Kevin was trying to sleep, he was awoken by a fully armored knight riding a horse out from the doors of his wardrobe. 

When Kevin hides from the intrusive knight, he watches him as he rides off into a forest that was once Kevin’s bedroom wall. When Kevin musters up the courage to take a second look, the knight is gone, and his bedroom is back to normal. 

Time Bandits was a decent hit in theaters, earning $36 million, easily clearing the tiny $5 million production budget.

On the next night, Kevin prepares himself for another intrusion, filling a bag full of supplies and grabbing his Polaroid camera. This time, six dwarfs come through his wardrobe door, and Kevin is quickly made aware that the dwarfs have stolen a special map. 

The group seeks an exit from his room before they are discovered by the map’s owner, The Supreme Being. The dwarfs deduce that Kevin’s wall is a portal to another place in time, and they head towards their next adventure. 

Kevin is scared to join them until he sees The Supreme Being appear behind them, demanding that they give back the map they have stolen. He then follows the dwarfs, and Kevin’s journey through history begins. 

sean connery
Sean Connery in Time Bandits

Time Bandits takes Kevin and the dwarfs on an adventure that sees them meet several prominent historical figures. You’ll get a chance to see Napoleon, King Agamemnon, a minotaur, Robin Hood, and even the RMS Titanic as the dwarfs bounce through history looking to steal various valuable objects along the way and evade the detection of The Supreme Being. 

Sean Connery found himself to be a part of the movie after meeting up with one of the film’s producers on a golf course. The famed actor had been a longtime fan of the Monty Python movies and agreed to take part for a nominal fee as long as he was permitted a share in the profits. 

Terry Gilliam, the writer and director of Time Bandits, made his name as part of Monty Python.

John Cleese was cast in the role of Robin Hood on the preface that his name was seen as a money-making element of the film. He reportedly based his manifestation of the praised bandit on various meaningless conversations he witnessed between the Duke of Kent and several football players. 

Overall, the movie was a box office success and a hit for viewers and critics alike. Time Bandit holds a 91 percent positive rating with Rotten Tomatoes, and one review said that the film was a glorious mash-up of a fairy tale, science fiction, and comedy.

You can find Time Bandits streaming on Max with a subscription. The movie is rated “PG,” so it’s a good one to share with the whole family, and the film’s runtime is close to two hours. Try watching the fantasy flick before bed and see what strange and creative dreams you and your children’s brains can concoct while you sleep.