Competition *CLOSED*: Win Time Bandits on Special Edition DVD! 71 480

time bandits dvd competition

This competition is now closed. Thanks to all those who entered it. The winners will be announced and contacted soon!

It’s competition time again here at Thoughts On Film and this time we’re giving you the chance to win Terry Gilliam’s classic 1981 time travel comedy Time Bandits which has now been restored for a new DVD and Blu-ray release.

Time Bandits is a delightfully children’s fantasy about young Kevin (Craig Warnock) who finds himself travelling through holes in the space-time continuum in the company of half a dozen of fractious dwarfs. Along the way he encounters Agamemnon (Sean Connery), Robin Hood (John Cleese), Napoleon (Ian Holm) and winds up as a passenger on the Titanic, although not necessarily in that order. But is this just random entertainment laid on for history fan Kevin’s benefit, or part of a wider struggle between the forces of good (Ralph Richardson) and evil (David Warner)?

The film is an absolute joy to watch from start to finish, showcasing Gilliam’s inimitable quirky style to great effect and the latest release, with all its special features, would be a great addition to anyone’s collection. Here are the special feature details as well as the cover artwork:

  • Brand new 2k-resolution restoration of the film from the original camera negative, approved by director and co-writer Terry Gilliam
  • Original uncompressed PCM Stereo 2.0 and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio options
  • Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Chasing Time Bandits: A new interview with Terry Gilliam
  • Writing the Film that Dares Not Speak its Name: A new interview in which Michael Palin discusses co-writing and acting in Time Bandits
  • The Effects of Time Bandits: A new interview in which Kent Houston, founder of the Peerless Camera Company, discusses Time Bandits’ optical effects
  • Playing Evil: A new featurette in which actor David Warner remembers producer George Harrison and playing Evil in Time Bandits
  • The Costumes of Time Bandits: A new interview with costume designer James Acheson
  • The Look of Time Bandits: A new interview with production designer Milly Burns
  • From Script to Screen – A new animated featurette in which Milly Burns takes us through her production notebooks, locations photographs and storyboards revealing how twentieth century Morocco was transformed into Ancient Greece
  • Original Trailer
  • Restoration Demonstration
  • Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic James Oliver

time bandits dvd competition1

Thanks to Arrow Video we have three copies of the DVD to give away. To be in with a chance of winning one of them all you have to do is comment on this post with an answer to the following: what is your favourite time travel movie and why? Winners will be chosen from our favourite comments (please give more than just a few word answers) and will be contacted by e-mail soon after the competition closes.

Now time for the the small print:

  • Competition open to UK residents only
  • Only one entry per person
  • Entrants must be 18 or over
  • Competition closes on Friday August 30th at 23:59pm GMT

Good luck! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.

Time Bandits is released on DVD, Blu-ray and limited edition steelbook in the UK on Monday August 26th.

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I’m a freelance film reviewer and blogger with over 10 years of experience writing for various different reputable online and print publications. In addition to my running, editing and writing for Thoughts On Film, I am also the film critic for The National, the newspaper that supports an independent Scotland, covering the weekly film releases, film festivals and film-related features.

I have a passion for all types of cinema, and have a particular love for foreign language film, especially South Korean and Japanese cinema. Favourite films include The Big Lebowski, Pulp Fiction and 2001: A Space Odyssey.


  1. As cool as Time Bandits might be (I havent seen it since the 80s) the ultimate time travel film just has to be Back To The Future. I rewatched the film last week and its still a perfect film. . So no offence to Time Bandits but hey being a fellow movie reviewer and fan. We just have to be honest dont we 🙂 )

  2. Back To The Future – because it’s a trilogy which makes for more time travel; because it has an awesome storyline and characters; because it has a dream car that people still salvage over, decades after its release, and because the film(s) are simply AWESOME!!

  3. It can only be Back To The Future I ! I love all the catchphrases that came out from it-hel-loooo?! McFlyyyy?!-and the crazy gadgets we all thought we’d be owning by now. Oh, and it’s the only timetravel movie I’ve ever watched!

  4. My vote would have to go to ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’. A gang of 40 something year old men travel back to the 1980’s and get a chance to relive their youth. Bonus points for Motley Crue et al soundtrack.

  5. Time Bandits: No argument; best script; best characters; best villains; best actors; funniest lines; it isn’t just THE best time travel film it’s one of the best films of all time.

  6. Sorry to echo everyone else, but the ‘Back To The Future’ trilogy is fantastic. The whole family loves it. Full of fun and crazy adventure.

  7. The Time Machine 1960 version, with Rod Taylor. It was the first time travelling movie I had seen, and had everything cheesy acting, good at the time, special effects, and scarey monsters, the morlocks, which again at the time terrified me. It has stood the test of time, as I have watched it with my daughters, who I have to say thought it was a comedy!

  8. My favorite time travelling film would have to be ‘The Time Machine’, the1960 film based on HG Wells’ novel. It is the first time travel film and when I first saw the film as a kid I enjoyed watching the fast-forward time-laspe sequences and the visions of the future. The Morlocks were ugly-scary too!

  9. Same as many other forty somethings I suspect but has to be Back to the Future. It was a perfect film at the time and is great family viewing.

  10. The Time Machine, the original Rod Taylor version. I love the part where he’s travelling in time and watching the shop change.

  11. The butterfly effect, Aston Kutcher is such a good actor in this film and the plot is one i could never see coming. even though many critics slated it it had a huge fan base, the film was not afraid to push boundaries showing molestation, animal cruelty, murder but all this no matter how bad added to the sheer momentum of the plot. It was a purely low budget move, i feel often did not get the respect it truly deserved.
    It truly brought home the aspect every action in life has consequences around us, Such a brilliant time travel film where many fall flat.

  12. Quite a recent film – LOOPERS. It was a great film and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Also I am a great Star Trek fan and they are always doing time travel episodes – absolutely love them as they really make you think how it all works. Another great one is TIME TRAVELLER’S WIFE.

  13. Looper. The whole idea of changing something now and seeing the impact on the future self, immediately. This film causes our house hours of discussions on what if :\

  14. Looper – it’s a film you really don’t want to see on your own cos there’s so much to talk about and try to understand. Gets better with every watch.

  15. It’s been said before but Looper is great – a few plot holes here and there but if you suspend belief it’s a great little “what if” story!

  16. It’s got to be Back To The Future. I grew up watching it (with my brother, over and over again!), so it feels like a part of my childhood. I still watch it lovingly now, though, so it’s definitely stood the test of time.
    The film has so many classic scenes – from skateboarding around cars to Johnny B Goode to George punching Biff. And Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd are perfect in their roles – I couldn’t imagine anyone else in them.
    There have been loftier films dealing with the subject of time travel, but – great Scott! – I don’t think any of them have been quite so much fun. 🙂

  17. Timecrimes is still my favourite time travel movie. I love it for various reasons. Firstly I love a film that will make me watch it multiple times to get a real grasp of everything that went on. Secondly it really falls in to my favourite genre of Horror as well, a real sense of dread flows through the movie and I loved every second.

  18. Has to be the first Back to the Future. The culture of both time periods is really nostalgic watching now, and I thought the film was really innovative at the time, when I was young and impressionable!

  19. Flight of the Navigator. This is a film that my late father took me to see as a birthday treat. I loved it then and I love it now. Plus a chance to watch a young Sarah Jessica Parker in action.

  20. Back to the future as it gives me very clear memories of watching it with my brother as he watched it over and over. I don’t get to see him much these days and I like to watch it every now and again to remind me of him once more!

  21. The Doctor Who film is my favourite. I am big fan of the Tardis and its wonderful capabilities! Great idea and if we could produce such a machine today, think of all the money we would save, going forward in time a bit – better than the January sales!

  22. My favourite is actually Time Bandits. It’s so cheesy and silly and yet has the innocence and good laughs missing in many modern films.

  23. my favourite is the time machine with Rod Taylor. i think he is such a good actor, and it was made in 1960 so it was really good for that time period, they didnt have all the special effects that we are lucky enough to have now

  24. 12 Monkeys – One of those films you can watch again and again and see something different. Engaging plot and characters.

  25. has to be hot tub time machine, for once a good storyline, good actors and good graphics all in one, all thats missing is a few mates and a tub of popcorn, all that and u have yourself a fantastic night in 🙂 x

  26. Definitely Time Bandits as it brings back so many memories. I remember seeing it at the cinema and I must have been very young as during the credits they showed God’s map and I thought it was very irresponsible as someone could take a photo of the screen and use it!

  27. Back to the Future, love the humour, romance, still one of my favourite, still trying to get my daughters to watch it, all the twists and turns in the film

  28. Not sure if this counts but I would say Red Dwarf. They travelled through time! I loved each of the characters especially Rimmer. Cannot be beaten.

  29. Brigadoon. I know it’s cheesy and the Scottish accents are almost as bad a Isla Fisher’s in Burke and Hare but I used to watch it when I was a child with my Nan. The songs are brilliant and Gene Kelly is still, to this day, one of my favourite actors.

    It’s a shame that it gets ridiculed (and most often forgotten about) because the story itself is really good and not that far removed from the plot of Stardust which was made just over 50 years later.

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Movie Review: Home Again 0 416

This review was previously published at The National.

Despite an obviously talented leading lady in Reese Witherspoon and a family pedigree behind the camera in making this sort of rom-com flutter sweetly off the screen, Home Again struggles to finds its way out of cloying cliché and narrative contrivance.

This is the directorial debut of Hallie Myers-Shyer, daughter of genre stalwart Nancy Meyers (The Holiday, What Women Want). It focuses on the life of Alice Kinney (Witherspoon), a single mum who has just turned 40 and tries her best to raise her two daughters Isabel (Lola Flanery) and Rosie (Eden Grace Redfield) in Los Angeles with her job as an interior decorator.

Freshly separated from her British music mogul husband Austen (Michael Sheen), she embarks on a drunken birthday night celebration that leads to her meeting a trio of 20-something lads – Harry (Pico Alexander), George (Jon Rudnitsky) and Teddy (Nat Wolff) – who are trying their best to break into the Hollywood movie business.

The young men improbably end up staying in Alice’s guest house while they work on finishing the script for their first film. Before long they become an integral part of her life, from Alice embarking on a romantic relationship with Harry to George helping out Isabel with her school play. To quote the title of the director’s mother’s 2009 film – it’s complicated.

Except the film mistakes the kind of enjoyably frothy complexity exemplified by the best of the genre for skin-clawing convolution that renders much of the romantic and comedically-tinged drama of Alice’s life lacking in authenticity. Not that it needs the ring of truth that comes with, say, a Ken Loach picture but you need to be able to invest and believe in these characters’ lives as presented.

The approach to gender and generational relationships is simplistic which, of course, is nothing new to a genre that, at least in its Hollywoodized state, so often throws up films meant to be taken as easy-going fluff. But it’s particularly frustrating here when it squanders the potential thrown up with the initial concept of a woman trying to find herself again once she’s out of a stale relationship by entering into one with a much younger man.

It strangely seems far more interested in the plight of the three young men working as three cogs of one creative machine – director/producer, writer and actor – to get ahead in the movie business.  But even then it smacks of implausibility, like a cheap rom-com version of the bromance found in Entourage but without any of the snarky wit or Hollywood satire. Despite decent chemistry between a likeable assembled cast, Home Again is a tough pill to swallow as it rings false through and through.

3.5 out of 10

Movie Review: Goodbye Christopher Robin 0 448

This review was previously published at The National.

The world of celebrated children’s author A. A. Milne and the creation of his beloved Winnie the Pooh stories are chronicled in this frightfully polite biopic from director Simon Curtis (My Week with Marilyn) that flirts with dipping its toes into darker waters but steadfastly clings to safe tropes and always with its top button firmly fastened.

We start off in 1941 where we find an ageing Milne (Domhnall Gleeson in questionable make-up and greyed hair) and his wife Daphne (Margot Robbie) living on their secluded East Sussex farm. They receive a telegram informing them that their son, C.R. Milne, is missing presumed dead after heading off to fight in World War Two.

We then jump back in time to Milne on the front lines of the First World War. He returns from the fighting a changed man; suffering from PTSD (popped balloons evoking sudden gunfire et al.), becoming increasingly sick of just making people laugh with his West End plays and the general hustle-bustle that comes with big city life.

He convinces his reluctant wife to move to the country for some peace and quiet and where his infant son, Christopher Robin (played by Will Tilston at the younger age, Alex Lawther as he gets older), can go on the childhood adventures he deserves with the support of loving nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald).

Settling into the kind of serene life he craves, he is inspired to create Winnie the Pooh and the rest of his soon-to-be-beloved friends inspired by the stuffed animals with which his young son has become so enamoured. Unfortunately for Christopher – referred to by everyone as “Billy Moon” – his father uses his real name in the stories, turning him into one of the most famous boys in the nation.

Despite the obvious attraction of it exploring the world famous Pooh stories, it’s a film much more interested in the effect it has on a fractured family clinging on to peacefulness, not least the unwanted attention thrust upon a young boy who simply isn’t equipped to handle it and how his parents carry on oblivious.

If anything it takes a curiously bleak outlook on what these stories mean to the world once they’ve been put out there, conveying a somewhat confusing message for a film that ultimately wants us to celebrate these stories as immortally cherished tales; that the Winnie the Pooh embraced immediately by the public and has now stood the test of time for almost a century is in some way missing the point of what it truly means to the author and a son who, inadvertently or not, was used as a tool of innocence to sell the idea of an idyllic childhood in Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood.

It’s bolstered by almost uniformly moving performances; Gleeson plays Milne with a kind of damaged empathy that makes you feel like you get to know the author beyond the public persona. Macdonald is oftentimes heart-breaking as Christopher’s devoted caregiver and Tilston walks away with the film as the adorably sweet-natured young Christopher. It’s only with Robbie that the film makes a misstep; she’s miscast as Milne’s wife and never stepping out of the shadow of cold motherly cliché.

In spite of its darker leanings, the film remains too buttoned up to properly wrestle with those themes in any sort of lasting way, far too polite to ever dive head first into the murky waters into which the drama intermittently peers.

Wrapped in Ben Smithard’s handsomely old-fashioned cinematography and soaked in Carter Burwell’s perpetually swelling score, it’s an aesthetically and emotionally appealing but nevertheless fairly vanilla period biopic best suited to being enjoyed on a rainy Sunday afternoon with tea and biscuits.

6.5 out of 10