Time Bandits is a 1981 fantasy film, produced and directed by Terry Gilliam.
Gilliam wrote the screenplay with fellow Monty Python alumnus Michael Palin, who appears with Shelley Duvall in the small, recurring roles of Vincent and Pansy. The film is one of the most famous of more than 30 theatrical features produced by Handmade Films, the London-based independent company backed in part by former Beatle George Harrison.
Gilliam would work with many of this film’s cast again in 1985’s Brazil, including Jim Broadbent, Ian Holm, Peter Vaughan, Katherine Helmond, Michael Palin and Jack Purvis.
Kevin is an 11-year-old boy whose parents ignore him in favour of keeping up with the neighbours by purchasing all the latest gadgets. Without their attention, Kevin has become a history buff, particularly of the Ancient Greek period. One night, Kevin is awakened from his sleep by a knight on horseback bursting through his wardrobe and riding off into a forest that has appeared in place of his bedroom wall. When Kevin investigates, he finds nothing amiss in his room. The next night, he is again woken by sounds from the wardrobe, but this time six dwarves stumble out. The dwarves discover that the bedroom wall can be moved, and as they push it along down a long hallway, the Supreme Being shows up and chases them. Kevin escapes with the dwarves, and as the hallway ends, they fall into the blackness of space.
Kevin learns that the dwarves are employees of the Supreme Being whose regular job is creating small bushes and trees. They have stolen the map of space and time which they are using to travel through time and steal treasures from across history. They are also being watched by a malevolent character known simply as Evil who seeks the map for himself to recreate the universe to his liking. They all travel through several time periods, meeting Napoleon Bonaparte and Robin Hood. Kevin becomes separated from the group and ends up in Ancient Greece, where he meets Agamemnon, who treats Kevin like his son. However, the dwarves catch up with Kevin and drag him away through another time hole. Kevin becomes angry with them for ruining his happy respite.
The dwarves then make their way to Evil’s Fortress of Ultimate Darkness, believing an epic treasure, “The Most Fabulous Object in the World,” awaits inside. However, the treasure turns out to be a trap set by Evil, and the dwarves are forced to hand over the map. Trapped in a cage hanging over a bottomless void, the group is able to use a photograph of the map Kevin had taken earlier to identify holes they can use to recruit help and recover the map. The dwarves make an escape and put their plan into action, bringing soldiers and equipment from across time to face down Evil, but Evil is able to conquer them all. As Evil is about to unleash his ultimate power, he is suddenly turned to cinder by The Supreme Being, now appearing as an elderly gentleman. The dwarves apologize to the Supreme Being, who acknowledges that it was all part of his plan and thanks the dwarves for returning the map. He orders them to remove all of the “concentrated Evil” from the area. Kevin is left behind as the Supreme Being disappears with the dwarves. Kevin finds that a piece of Evil has been left, and his vision goes dim as the smoke emanating from the chunk of black rock overwhelms him.
Kevin wakes up in his own room which is filled with smoke as house on fire. A firefighter breaks in and rescues him. The firefighters find that a microwave was the source of the fire, and hand the unit over to Kevin’s parents. Kevin, upon seeing a fireman that resembles Agamemnon, discovers the photographs of his travels still in his satchel. When his parents open the microwave to reveal a piece of concentrated Evil, Kevin warn them not to touch it, but they do anyway and promptly explode, leaving Kevin alone.