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Started by Andrew, February 10, 1999, 08:55:57 PM

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Dave Moran

Strange  how  this  has  become  a  film  that  many  people  defend  energetically  these  days.  I'm  not  saying  they  shouldn't,  for  there  is  much  to  admire  about  the  film -  nevertheless  there  was  a  time  in  the  70s  and  80s  when  this  was  seen  as  a  total  mess  of  a  movie.
The  idea  of  an  idyllic  community  surrounded  by  marauding  savages  in  a  post-apocalyptic  world  is  a  standard  obssession  with  British  SF.  They  usually  inhabit  a  pleasant,  pastoral  land  of  milk  and  honey  and  limited  sex,  if  any  at  all.  They  are  also  boring  self  righteous  b*st*rds  who  deserve  all  that's  coming  to  them ( viz  John  Wyndham  and  John  Christophers  novels,  Terry  Nation's  ' Survivors '  on  TV ). As  such,  it  should  make  for  a  reasonably  intelligent  and  interesting  movie - perhaps  even  a  great  one.
'Zardoz'  is  undermined  from  the  start  by  the  unimpressive  image  of  Sean  Connery  running  around  in  a  big  red  nappy.  He's  a  bit  too  old  and  a  bit  too  flabby  to  be  doing  what  he's  doing -  galloping  through  the  spume  on  his  horse.  Charlotte  Rampling  suffers  from  Uma  Thurman's  problem -  she's  stunning  to look  at,  but  falls  to  pieces  when  she  opens  her  mouth.
Still,  I  bet  she's  seen  a  lot  of  spume  in  her  time,  eh?
I  watched  the  film  with  my  collegues  from  the  Edinburgh  SF  Society  many  years  ago.  Our  verdict ? Hilarious.  
It  still  is.


I watched this movie late one night about a year ago when I couldn't sleep. It was an almost out-of-body experience in that I kept thinking that I was really tired because the movie would seem to skip ahead two or three minutes at a time (editing for tv?) so nothing made any sense..just this big head floating around then sean in a thong (whatever). the next day I had this fuzzy recollection that the movie was odd but little else. Even now, after reading the recap and viewing the stills, I still can't decide if I actually watched the movie or just imagined that I did. the oddest thing that I remember is that sean slapped everybody He met at least once?

Jim Rumbaugh

I'm glad to find a place to talk about ZARDOZ.

I first saw it at a drive-in theater as the late show. After it was over I was amazed, stunned and puzzled.  I have owned the VHS tape for a few years and re-watched it a time or two. I can understand the criticisms I have read. I feel that the movie was over edited which made the flow of the story too confusing.
But here is the important part that I have learned from the movie that has shaped my view of life. The lesson of the story was that even with unlimited time, there is a limit to the abilities of man. The notion that we are worthy of eternal/immortal life is false impression we hold onto via our survival instinct.  Man as an animal will and must continue to evolve and grow.  As we are today is just a step in the overall plan of God.  The quote,"this vortex is an abomination to nature" is the sum of the film's message.
Our desire to cling to life forever is wrong. Our purpose is to be a stepping stone in the continual gradual change of mankind.  I will not begrudge the end of life when my fair time of life has passed, for I now realize I was a part of the evolving change of the human race.

OK, first of all, let's look at the Frank Herbert ripoffs. Selective breeding for a supreme human? Hm sounds a bit like DUNE to me, don't you think? And how about creating a hostile world to speed up evolution? Could it be... the FREMEN? Or even the Sardaukar on Salusa Secundus, which was more intentional than the Fremen on Arrakis. But I'm beside the point.
This movie was actually fairly decent, though it had some cheesy aspects. The most annoying thing to me is that the memory sequences ARE IN THIRD PERSON! I HATE THAT! But I don't suppose anything can be perfect, especially in the 70's. It had a lot of interesting concepts, though. My favorite is the scene where the working classes are crowded against the vortex shield, begging/shouting for entry or help, and the pampered ruling class folk just meander by, not noticing, admiring their decadent garden and ignoring the reality of human suffering.

Oh, yeah, and the costumes were too revealing. I didn't like that. And why did only half of Friend's face age? I was confused about that, too. And whatever happened to that depressed guy who was on trial? And the apathetics? Did the Executioners kill them during their giant orgy? We shall never know... I demand a sequel!!!


I was too young to go to the movies when Zardoz was released, but I remembered seeing a highly edited version on television as a kid. My brother rented it and made some comments about it, so when I happend to see it at the local store, I rented it too. Its a good thing I watched it after the kids were sleeping, its seems like it could of had an X rating for the time it was made.

The comments that were made here by others are quite insiteful. Yes it was a "bad" movie, but they were way ahead of their time and on a low budget. The idea of a jaded utopia that had stagnated to such a degree is a great story, but it could be improved upon and made more believeable.

Now-a-days, with everyone doing remakes from the past, Zardoz could be a great remake or the basis for a sequel (there were at least 4 vortexes which didn't seem to have contact with each other, what happend to the other 3?)

As long as the "lesson" of the movie is intact, a remake would get me into the theatre.

Thanks for the forum to discuss this film - Jorj

Lord Valentin

Zardoz is a Masterpiece, one of my favorite movies.
Zardoz is about Life, Death and imortality,
wich is the most important question for
the spiritually evolved ones.

It still the same interrogation,
"to die or not to die",
as well as "to be or not to be"...

It is absolutely normal that unevolved
basic neanderthal humans dont understand
the movies, as well as dont enjoy the great artistics


Friends breaking my arm to watch this movie when it came out, smoked a big reefer before going in the theater, and POW, the HEAD:  when movies start with large (autonomous)flying stone heads, just watch out... or leave!
I stayed - what a great memory of yonder years.

Ms Pepperpot

I watched this film on TV when I was about 10 when being babysat one evening - I'm still not sure why she chose to watch it.  However, it's had a lasting impact on both me and my sister.  Very weird, and at that point I didn't get any of it, except it probably broadened my mind about what films could be, just by how bizarre it was.  


Yes, it's a real 70's post acid flick. Sean Connery must have needed the money bad. But I have a copy because it is funny and strange. A modern version with the right director and screen writer could be interesting. When you see the flying head at the beginning think the the old Norelco shaver jingle "floating heads" (sang to the tune of jingle bells")

Miho Kimura

This film is one of my husbands favourite films. I have seen it with him. He usually laughs every five minutes and mumbles (to himself? me???) "This film is soooo stupid!!laughs occasionally... says "my God" very often. I have seen it and it seems interesting. As good as Japanese films.


I real thinker! A real masterpiece? Hell no...but not as bad in my opinion as most seem to think. You have to really pay attention to the idealisms floating around in this movie. Can perfection really be perfect? Can man play God and really get away with it? Does man lie in the realm of the divine? Or is he just one of the common animals? Is he somewhere in between? If there was only one guy in the flying head, how the hell was he chucking out all those Britsh Army Surplus weapons by the truckloads?...Such is the pondering nature of man. I love the idea of this film, and John Boorman is one of my favorite directors, and Sean Connery is one of the coolest personas to ever grace the screen...BUT! What happened? I think they swiped the flying head from a Monty Python Cartoon. And the guy in the head had to be a serious Michael Palin fan. The people in the bubble were just plain creepy...I know they were supposed to be a superior class which failed...but there is nothing about them that gives the appearence that they may have stood a chance of success at one time. Can we spell I-N-B-R-E-D? The beginning of the film with the exception of the flying head is good. The hunters chasing down the lesser populace, the violent religious furiour in which they unknowingly act out the vicious circle of mankinds existance since the beginning of time, over and over again. It shows us very bluntly how pointless our perceptions of what civilisation is really are. The people in the bubble show us that every time we come up with the notion that we can overcome those perceptions and move up to the next level, we fail, and become the very thing we are trying to rise above, and more often than not an even worse example of those we replaced. Even with the ridiculous flying head, the first part of the film is great, without the flying head the second part of the film's a boring anticlimax. I thought the reference to the Wizard of OZ was very clever, the ironey in this one little idea thread was awesome. Too bad there wasn't enough movie built up around it. If you like the idea of Sean Connery in a G-string blasting out brains with a very large caliber Britsh Army revolver at full gallop on horseback...this baby's for you. If you like Terry Gilliams's old animation techniques from his Python days you'll love the head. If you're turned on by emanciated inbred, skin bleeched, near zombified, past their prime, arrogant,'ll love this oddball little might even want to own a copy. Hard to belive this was made by the same guy who made Excaliber and Deliverence...look around the bubble people closely, you might see the Banjo Boy.


If this movie is so bad as the critics say then why does it have a worldwide cult following nearly 30 years after its release.
Beethoven's Symphony no.7 in A will never sound the same again.
Type in Zardoz on ebay and see how many listings come up.
The movie has style and vision as well as being over the top sometimes.
Its foreign and different, so get over it.


Yes, I selected this movie for a Bad Movie Night.

Yes, I won.

Yes, my roommate then bought it on DVD.

Remember kiddies. When you watch this, every scene Sean is thinking "Can I shoot it? Can I f**k it? Can I eat it? Then what good is it?"


I saw this movie when it came out in the mid 70's so I have a different perspective that most I have been reading in here.  Being a healthy young guy at that time, I was not the least bit annoyed about the display of breasts, the barring of chest hair, the floating head, or seeing my favorite male actor ...the real James Bond himself.. Sean Connery, running around with a ponytail and a gun.

I was quite astounded with the film, as were my brother and now wife who were with me at the theater that night.  It combined elements of theater ( where it is not a big problem to have a penciled beard ), classical musical references, doses of science, philosphy, religion, social commentary on equality...just emerging at that time of  emerging feminism.  It had clever references to our popular Wizard of Oz, and it was essentially a moral 'play' done in a lush film location in Ireland.  The end of the movie turns on the he 'vortex' society and the notion of the desirablity of immortal life on it's head.  There are many layers to this film, and one should not give it short shrift.  Looking at it today in the year 2003, with the effects and production capital we have today it may seem to lack the wham bang effects that current films display, but what it lacks there is well balanced with ingenuity, imagination, and some creative and cleaver writing.  One must think of where the series 'Star Trek' was at that time, and that is now nearly 30 years ago, to appreciate how far ahead the movie "Zardoz" was and how like  "Clockwork Orange", it even forshadowed the future in ways we could not imagine at that time.

I was amazed to get this movie in DVD form as a xmas gift this year, having considered that it was probably lost to the past forever.  
Take a look at the marque in your town this week and see if this film isn't a better use of your viewing time that most of what is playing this week in the beginning of 2003.



After catching this movie a few times on late-night cable, I was left feeling both very confused and very amused. The crazy Eternals were the best part, in my opinion. Besides, there's SEAN CONNERY IN A LOINCLOTH! What other reason do you need?