Study Guide

Time Bandits Production Design

Production Design

35mm Film

Time Bandits was produced by HandMade Films, and that's an accurate name in more ways than one. It was made the old-fashioned way, on 35mm film, and when the time came to edit it, the film was assembled on traditional editing machines with not a computer in sight. Considering that the top-of-the-line computer at the time had less power than a single app on your phone, that's not surprising.

And yet, the effects in the movie are pretty brilliant and have held up over timeā€”despite the fact there's not a single CG image in the whole thing, and despite the fact that the budget was about $5 million. That's about $14 million in today's money. In contrast, the first Avengers movie cost about $220 million.

Gilliam and company used a lot of photographic tricks to make it all work: camera angles, for instance, can easily make a normal man look like a giant, while double exposure and some easy sound tweaking gave the Supreme Being that otherworldly look. The biggest asset here is Gilliam's imagination, which helped give the film a timeless look that no effects budget could possibly match.

Handmade films really can be better, provided you make them with a little style.

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