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 time—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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