Terry Gilliam is a singular filmmaker, and like many singular filmmakers, some of his films are better than others. But not even the harshest critics would deny Time Bandits a spot on his Greatest Hits list. The story concerns a lonely young boy (Craig Warnock) who follows a six-pack of dwarves through a hole in space-time, sending them careening through the ages with a very irate Supreme Being on their heels. The fairy-tale aspects give Gilliam’s boundless imagination plenty of meaty concepts to develop, and the story’s episodic nature caters to his Python sketch proclivities (aided and abetted by fellow Pythons Michael Palin and John Cleese) without losing a strong central story (something his later films lack sometimes). And with the likes of Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall and David Warner adding to the fun, it serves as the perfect bridge between Gilliam’s Python years and his solo directing career.
Time Bandits opened today in 1981.