Study Guide

Time Bandits Time

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Time is almost a place in Time Bandits: it's a set of destinations on a map that the dwarves move to one by one. It's very much a kid's notion of what traveling through time would be like. You get to go to cool places and meet snazzy people living in very different worlds from yours.

At the same time, Gilliam makes some quiet points about how we use timeā€”and about how we often end up wasting the time we're given. Kevin gives Randall a lot of grief about wasting the map just to get a whole lot of money, for example, while Agamemnon has no idea what awaits him shortly after Kevin departs. Then there's that family of whatevers in the path of the giant, engaging in some kind of petty domestic spat with no idea how quickly their doom is approaching.

The map makes time infinite, but we still need to use it wisely. You never know when it's all going to end.

Questions About Time

  1. In what ways do the characters have much less time than they think they do, even those characters who possess the map?
  2. How does the ability to travel through time change Kevin?
  3. Why are the dwarves so basic about time travel? Could that explain why they just want to get rich with the map?
  4. How would you remake the world if you had time travel on your side? What would you do to make it a better place?

Chew on This

Time is still finite, even if you have the map.

The map makes time infinite. The characters just can't take full advantage of it.

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