Zardoz [VHS]
Zardoz [VHS]

 
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Product Description

A bewigged Sean Connery is Zed, a savage "exterminator" commanded by the mysterious god Zardoz to eliminate Brutals, survivors of an unspecified worldwide catastrophe. Zed stows away inside Zardoz's enormous idol (a flying stone head) and is taken to the pastoral land of the Eternals, a matriarchal, quasi-medieval society that has achieved psychic abilities as well as immortality. Zed finds as much hope as disgust with the Eternals; their advancements have also robbed them of physical passion, turning their existence into a living death. Zed becomes the Eternals' unlikely messiah, but in order to save them--and himself--he must confront the truth behind Zardoz and his own identity inside the Tabernacle, the Eternals' omnipresent master computer.

A box office failure, John Boorman's Zardoz has developed a cult following among science fiction fans whose tastes run toward more cerebral fare, such as The Andromeda Strain and Phase IV. An entrancing if overly ambitious (by Boorman's own admission) film, Zardoz offers pointed commentary on class structure and religion inside its complex plot and head-movie visuals; its healthy doses of sex and violence will involve viewers even if the story machinations escape them. Beautifully photographed near Boorman's home in Ireland's Wicklow Mountains by Geoffrey Unsworth (2001), its production design is courtesy of longtime Boorman associate Anthony Pratt, who creates a believable society within the film's million-dollar budget. The letterboxed DVD presentation includes engaging commentary by Boorman, who discusses the special effects (all created in-camera) as well as working with a post-Bond Connery. --Paul Gaita

Customer Reviews:

  • Dated but of interest
    This is definitely a dated, "mod" movie. Like most period, or sci-fi movies, it can't help but retain tons of giveaways to the contemporary time in which it was made. I guess that's a bit of the fun of this production. The story can be a bit, well, much. If you keep an open mind, like Sean Connery and like the 70's you'll have a goodtime with this one. If you don't like any of the above, please don't get it because you'll most likely be disappointed....more info
  • great in theater
    well if you get a chance to see a orig. print do it.
    i saw a 35mm print at a film festival in korea and it was great.
    this film is very good check it out!...more info
  • I had no idea....
    I am amazed at the number of reviews this movie has recieved. I had expected to find a much lower turn out on this film, but considering its 30 years old, perhaps it has built a fan base of sorts. If you've read other reviews, you'll get more of an in-depth synopsis of the plot then you will from me. However, I will help those who have only seen the highly confusing and strange trailer as I did before I went and saw this. (The trailer is really no help at all describing this movie, it only makes sense AFTER watching the film). To sum up, Earth has had some sort of cataclysm, its the future, there are 2 species of human (not unlike the H.G. Wells' "time machine") One is mortal, the other is eternal. The interaction between the two "races" via Sean Connery's character "zed" is the main plot thread. The movie attempts to bring in a huge array of ideas about life and death. The role time and nature play with, and against, humanity. It does try to take on these issues seriously, but there are some things that get in the way. The first is the crappy special effects and wardrobe (okay, most of the cast is topless, half naked, or close to it. Normally not a problem, but this is before silicon, tanning booths and other plastic surgery.... and these girls are homely lookin' brits...hoofa.) Also, its a sci-fi piece, and for the topics and ideas being tackled, the props supporting all this were really just awful. I had to watch sean connery run around a funhouse "hall of mirrors" for 5 minutes and got bored with him as he tried to escape the script. The overall idea behind this movie isn't bad, the execution had ALOT to be desired. I believe this is one of the few times a remake might actually make a movie better, given today's calibur of special effects. After all, if George Lucas had envisioned Star Wars in 1920, with its scratchy film quality, black and white film, and non existant fx, would it have made as good a story? Probably not. Zardoz is a good story waiting to be told with better special effects. 2 stars, good ideas, bad execution. Sean Connery does well, but it really plays like a giant goofy episode of Dr. Who. (I almost expected the Tardis to dematerialize in the Irish landscape the movie is set in)...more info
  • Surprisingly good
    This movie defintiely tries to do too much, and it has WAY too much cheesy stuff typical of '70s scifi(not enough clothing, meaningless mixtures of high and low technology, intrusive and mostly purposeless special effects), but the story is pretty ambitious, and the acting is not bad. There's also some weird messages outside the movie, and some pretty pretentious stuff, but the world that the movie creates is kind of fascinating, with a few ultra high tech people controlling a bunch of low-tech people, and stuff. Worth watching, for sure. ...more info
  • Extraordinary and extraordinarily confusing film
    The first time you see this film it may bore and confuse you. Some of the visual elements are very engaging. But John Boorman's story telling seems disjointed in this picture. Very worth watching, but you may have to several times, and at least once with diretor's commentary inorder to get it.

    A memorable film....more info

  • Zar-doze
    The opening scene is worthy of a rental.
    The rest of the film wallows in pseudo existentialist tripe.
    Director, John Boorman, wants us to think he is as smart as a futurist Ken Russell, Kubrick or Richard Lester film...Sorry to say, he falls way short of all three...
    Conclusion:
    If you're looking for a confused Sean Connery swathed in a diaper-- spouting Jean Paul Sartre' philosophical crap then, "Zardoz" is your film...
    Too bad-- The opening scene is genius...Nice try John Boorman...more info
  • Up, Up And Away...
    Zed (Sean Connery) hitches a ride inside of a giant, flying, stone head. Once aboard, he shoots it's occupant dead and flies off to "The Vortex", a place where the "Eternals" live. This is a land full of men and women who have no sense of what real living is all about. They just loll around, musing and pontificating about nothing. Zed spices things up for these immortal buffoons by being different and, oh yeah, by having a male organ that works! I kid you not! The rest is mainly Zed finding out that what he thought would be heaven is actually pretty dull. Unfortunately, so is this movie! John Boorman (Deliverance, Excalibur) wrote, produced, and directed this elephant tranquilizer. Although, it does get an extra star for that hilarious flying head......more info
  • Zardoz...Zardozn't
    After watching this movie from start to finish, all I can say is, that was the best 103 minutes of sleep I have ever gotten. Better than the Golf channel. Sean Connery didn't want to be type-cast as James Bond, so he did this film as a change of pace. Now he'll be type-cast as a brutal savage running around in go-go boots, with a paper-mache' helmet with the face of Zardoz on it, shooting everybody he sees. This film reminded me of an episode of the Prisoner, with Zed being taken into the "Village" and interrogated like a rogue agent that has gone awry. By the end of the movie, I felt like one of the Eternals, just praying for death. My girlfriend bought me this movie and agreed with me that it was worse than Wing Commander. Yes, she admits to seeing Wing Commander. Anyway, when the trailer is better than the movie itself, and the back of the DVD case is better than the trailer, this movie is best left on the shelf. And remember boys and girls, "The penis is evil, and the gun is good."...more info
  • Beyond 1984...Beyond 2001...Zardoz Awaits!
    John Boorman's outr film ZARDOZ (1974) is a somewhat campy but visually stunning science-fiction dystopian fantasy set in the distant future. Sporting a ponytail, a red diaper-like loincloth, bandoliers, and thigh-high gold-digger boots, actor Sean Connery plays an clever barbarian who, on the order of his "god" Zardoz, invades The Vortex, an enclave of cultured academics and aesthetes who have grown intellectually stagnant and morally depraved after their many years of isolation from the rest of the world.

    Writer/director Boorman is probably best known as the director of DELIVERANCE, James Dickey's screen adaptation of his literate and highly acclaimed novel. While DELIVERANCE is a fairly straightforward story of a clash between a group of northern city dwellers and a clan of depraved backwoodsy southerners, Boorman's ZARDOZ is a deep and complex film that requires viewers to peel back its many layers and ruminate over what they find. The lush cinematography, dazzling visuals, and quirky humor just make up the fa?ade. Underneath is an intricate and sometimes abstruse ontological parable that addresses the nature of reality, class struggle, and the individual's responsibility to society (and vice versa). Thrown into the mix are subtle satirical comments about religion, politics, science, and academics. ZARDOZ is not an audience-friendly movie; it requires the viewer to pay attention and think. In fact, it may take repeated viewings to catch all the symbolism and subtext and thereby understand the film's full meaning. So those who prefer to have their movie themes spoon-fed to them probably won't enjoy ZARDOZ, but those who like for films to stimulate the gray matter--most notably SF fans--should find the film quite entertaining and satisfying.

    The acting in the film is a mixed bag, but the principals, especially Connery and Charlotte Rampling, generally do an outstanding job. In a role that is a far cry from his sophisticated and charming James Bond, Connery is very convincing as an intelligent brute who has a difficult time wrapping his head around the philosophy of the denizens of The Vortex. (Some film historians have surmised that Connery's character is a personification of socio-political conservatism, whereas The Vortex folks are philosophically diametric and therefore represent liberalist ideals.) And Ms. Rampling provides sexual tension as a Vortex woman who is physically attracted to Connery but repulsed by what he represents.

    The DVD version of this cult classic, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, is nothing short of outstanding. The film is offered in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and the anamorphic widescreen digital transfer is simply beautiful, with few (if any) noticeable filmic or digital artifacts. Extras include the original theatrical trailer--which blatantly reflects the sensibilities of the post-60s hippie youth of the early 70s--and some radio spots narrated by Rod Serling of THE TWILIGHT ZONE fame. Also available is a feature commentary from writer/director Boorman. (The commentary is interesting, though Boorman's delivery is sometimes halting.)

    In short, ZARDOZ is a fascinating SF film that will appeal to the aesthete and the intellectual (i.e., the simple-minded should steer clear). And it's delightful that the DVD age can rescue this oft misunderstood cult film from obscurity and make it available to its fans in its original format. The ZARDOZ disc is well worth the retail price, and all serious SF fans will want it in their DVD collections....more info

  • Dated, plodding, but occasionally interesting
    I remembered seeing this in its theatrical release, and it carried a positive recollection that led me to buy the DVD. Now I can't imagine what I was thinking. Perhaps it was a good film for the era, and we should leave it at that.

    The story treads the well-worn path of The Forbin Project and numerous Twilight Zone episodes: can we establish a mechanically enforced Utopia that we'd really want to be stuck in forever? As usual, the answer comes back "No."

    This film adds immortality to the mix, so that the boredom isn't passed between generations, instead it's piled upon the same group of humans, called the "Immortals," century after century.

    One thing that was very successful about the film was the sensuality Boorman managed to convey through the cinematograpy. Moments of nudity were tastefully done, and actually reinforce the asexual overtones of Immortal society. You really got the impression that these people had lived together for so long doing the same old things that NOTHING, not even sex, seemed worth the bother. And there were the legions of "apathetics" who hardly bothered to move or feed their bodies any more.

    As usual, women in a perfect society all look like supermodels from that film's era (the 70s). Another interesting twist: punishment for transgressions consisted of aging the perpetrator. There was a group of elderly people (shunned of course), but most in the movie looked more or less like 20somethings.

    A lot of things devolved predictably from this mix: Connery, the "barbarian" outsider, is tasked with saving the soul, if not the body, of Immortal society by making them mortal again and mixing them with the rest of the world. Once this was set up, the only reason I kept watching was because I wanted to see how they worked it out, assuming that would tell me why I thought I liked the movie. This was a trial at times, since Boorman set the pace a touch too slow in places, perhaps to underscore the Immortals' boredom by giving a bit to the audience.

    Also, there were a couple of those "special effects sequences" of the sort that Hitchcock did in Vertigo and Kubrick overdid in 2001. Boorman, like Kubrick, ran the sequences far longer than necessary.

    I like thought provoking films, but there were too many red herrings in Zardoz, things that made no sense. Why was sameness prized and age a stigma, especially after the centuries had rendered physical appearances uninteresting?

    In any case, the red herrings can give you an entertaining time -- after all, why else would a 3 star movie be worth all these words?...more info

  • Mix of laughable and unforgettable
    In about three hundred years, after some catastrophe has virtually wiped out our civilization, two branches of humanity remain to sparsely populate a now pristine Earth. The "Brutals" are uncivilized apes - ruled by an army of gun-toting, loincloth-wearing "Exterminators" who kill with little compunction. The Brutals are themselves on a divine mission, ordained by the great god Zardoz to cleanse the world "of the plague of men". Taking the form of a huge, flying stone head, Zardoz lands amid gangs of Brutals, preaching genocide and spitting huge piles of guns and ammo at his gleeful followers. "Go forth, and kill", spake Zardoz, even as his gun-firing followers fill his head with crops harvested by Brutal slaves. Zed (Connery), one of the Brutals, stows away as the stone head floats away, thinking it will bring him to the after-life known as the vortex. Zed - as the story will show - has already been infected with some form of heresy that Zardoz is not what he seems to be.

    Thanks to a pre-credits monolog, we already know that Zardoz is a false god, an alter-ego of Arthur Frayn - himself a magician by inclination, and immortal by association. Frayn belongs to that other surviving branch of humanity, the undying and telepathic "Eternals". Ruled by a new age computer called the Tabernacle, Eternals use Zardoz to make pawns of the Brutals, who in turn harvest the world and feed them. Otherwise protected from the Brutals' world by an impenetrable field, the Eternals live an apparently idyllic yet emotionally and physiologically impotent existence within a reserve ironically known as "The Vortex". The Eternals would just as soon kill Zed, holding him little higher than an ape. However linked by the Tabernacle, dissension in the ranks over what to do with Zed allows him to learn the secret of the Eternals' existence and destroy it, while himself evolving beyond his murderously wanton origins. It turns out that the immortals have had enough of their lifeless survival, and now long for death (or at least mortality). But what force drives Zed, and what turned him against Zardoz?

    It's hard to answer those questions, because so much of this movie is incomprehensible (including how many of the plot's enigmas were intentional). The script is full of laughably arch dialog and self-aware or simply laughable imagery. (You may recall a movie starring Sean Connery running around in a red diaper, wondering what that movie was - "Zardoz" endeth the lesson!) All the costuming is laughable, consecutive scenes don't lead into each other, the society of the Eternals is never really explained (the Eternals are immortal, yet not quite indestructible; it's never clear just how the Eternals are trapped into immortality) and there's way too much interest in the male anatomy. Worse than that, the movie is incredibly slow, and it's often difficult to understand just what's going on.

    Yet, "Zardoz", for all of it's arch self-awareness is still a cut above Boorman's other losers. It still doesn't touch "Excalibur", though it does hint at Boorman's interest in Arthurian legend, with its rural and pre-modern looking settings, the Eternals at one point gathered at a round table; Zed's search inverts the legend of the Holy Grail - he seeks the cup that destroys immortality. Despite its flaws, the flick never loses its sense of enigma, and though it pains me to say, I found the overwhelming desire of the Eternals to die (and their ultimate denoument) gave the story an emotional coherence that nearly makes you forget everything laughably bad about the movie....more info
  • Somewhat overwhelming
    Considering a title like "Zardoz" and a cover featuring Sean Connery in what looks like a red diaper, this movie has a lot more seriousness and quality going for it. It is 70s science fiction: glitzy, ridiculous special effects providing a medium for real social commentary. The thing is, though, Boorman plays up the surreal and Carnivalesque in this movie, resulting in something closer to a fever dream than escapist fantasy. Re-introducing the social commentary results in a movie that is compelling and maddening all at once.

    If a viewer gets past the opening and the following introduction of Zardoz the giant gun-giving clay head without thinking that something is amiss, they probably aren't actually taking the movie seriously enough on its own terms, and from there it's pretty easy to get lost. What we have here is an abject reversal of the Adam and Eve/Fall from Eden story. A futuristic society that has achieved immortality through the Tree of Knowledge, and thus created their own god, now obsesses over reclaiming death before apathy or senility overtakes their entire culture. Thus they set Zardoz the false god into the barbarian lands to both control the population and genetically direct the birth of a Savior or Son to come and reteach them the means to eventual death. This One is Zed, played by Sean Connery. It's also a commentary on classism. There's some aspects of male sex wish fulfillment. And old people running around in Halloween costumes while aristocrats destroy works of art.

    Personally, I found it more overwhelming than campy, which is not exactly the way many people approach this movie. I do agree that in many ways it's very silly, but some of those arguments -- poor acting, dry delivery, random shoutouts of philosophy -- could easily be attributed to The Matrix if you think about it. Remember that this is the director that made Deliverance and Point Blank. These movies are genre thrillers with a special and idiosyncratic form of anxiety setting them over the edge from simple entertainment.

    --PolarisDiB ...more info
  • Zardoz does it!
    No matter how critical an attitude I bring to it, I simply cannot dislike this film! Its premises, performances, and images are a godsend to a lover of "thinking person's" science fiction. I have no idea what previous reviewers mean when they talk of a hippie sensibility pervading the film. I saw it twice during its initial release and have just seen it again after twenty some odd years; it still holds its special relevance and the satire still connects. Plus, it's a pleasure watching a science fiction film without a surfeit of gratuitous computer generated effects. Most of the story is told with the use of splendid cinematography, interesting sets, and a simple straightforward script with a few compelling twists. Some may argue that the actors' lines are trite; they are, but to wonderful biting effect. The masks worn by the Exterminators are marvelous, as is the floating head of Zardoz. The aerial photography and sound effects are also used to great effect near the beginning of the film to set the stage for the entrance into the Vortex and Zed's "big boy adventure" among the Immortals. Though Sean Connery's Zed chews most of the scenery, my favorite character was Friend played by John Alderton, especially after he received his sentence and was banished to the world of the aging Renegades. Hilarious!
    Even the time lapse ending was effective. Normally this device is used as a crutch for a filmmaker simply because he/she doesn't know how to develop a denouement. Not here; it works perfectly!
    This DVD release is crisp and vibrant with stunningly saturated colors and fine sound. I concur with a previous reviewer; this has to be the finest use of the Second Movement of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony ever in a film, heard in both it's original scoring and in a special choral arrangement--slow, stately and at a funeral march tempo, the way it should be despite the composer's score markings! I haven't heard the director's narrative track and am in no hurry to do so; the film speaks well for itself.
    In my opinion, this rightfully ranks as a "must have" for fans of lovingly-made, imaginative, and thought-provoking films. Bring an open mind and a sense of humor along with the popcorn; you're in for a treat!...more info
  • GAR - BAHJ
    Movie: *1/2 DVD Quality: ***1/2 DVD Extras: **

    The first five minutes of "Zardoz" promise a lot of campy fun as a giant stone head flies through the sky, then lands as a voice intones, "The penis is evil." Shortly thereafter, Sean Connery shows up sporting a huge Fu Manchu moustache and a waist-length ponytail, clothed in a bikini bottom and hip boots, and the audience knows it is in for a good time in the vein of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" or "Flesh Gordon". But as the movie drones on, it all too soon becomes apparent that this nonsense is supposed to be taken seriously as science fiction and even purports to have A Deeper Cosmic Meaning ... that no one is meant to laugh when Mr. Connery appears in drag as a bride, or fights his way out of a giant plastic Baggie. A very, v-e-r-y l-o-n-g 106 minutes passes before the end title flashes across the screen, leaving the audience to ponder the eternal question, "Huh?"

    The only aspect of the movie that comes off as intended are the art direction and cinematography. John Boorman films are typically a feast for the eyes, and "Zardoz" is no exception. The rest of the film is negligible. The script, the performances, the music, the editing, the direction ... everything is subpar. The Fox DVD offers an acceptable transfer of the film, with generally clear sound and crisp video. The DVD extras are so-so; director John Boorman's commentary is interesting and helpful in terms of trying to interpret what's happening in the narrative, but the Stills Gallery is small and uninteresting, and the Theatrical Trailer and Radio Spots are as silly as the film itself. Not particularly recommended, not even for those who tend to enjoy really bad movies for the comic value....more info
  • It lived up to its billing.
    My friends and I were having a discussion on the worst movies we've ever seen, and one of us swore this was the worst, bar none. I put up "Omega Force" as being the worst, and thought I had an easy victory, but no, Zardoz won the title of "Worst movie ever" hands down.

    You have to see it to believe it, and so you probably should, for that reason alone (as there are no others). From the opening scene where there's a guy's floating head (with a drawn-on mustache) talking to you, to the giant stone floating head that's really an airplane of sorts that spits out rifles, this movie is the worst of them all. Poor Sean Connery. He must have been starving to agree to make this. See the movie. Buy starvin' Sean a hamburger....more info
  • Some Weird Sh*t, Man
    Hmm, I was expecting some sort of goofy cross between "Barbarella" and "Logan's Run, but I was mistaken. "Zardoz" is a completely SERIOUS early 70's futuristic sci-fi flick.

    Sean Connery, nearing the end of his physical prime, stars as the "exterminator" Zed who wants to discover the truth about "Zardoz," a gigantic menacing head and supposed god of the planet. Zed stows away in Zardoz's mouth and sneaks into the "vortex" wherein live the ruling class of the planet, extremely bored by their immortality.

    This is a must for Sean Connery fans; he sports a cool long ponytail & mustache and prances around in a skimpy futuristic outfit throughout the film.

    As for me, I didn't buy the dvd for Connery, but rather for the super sharp Charlotte Rampling (catch her in the underrated "Orca -- the Killer Whale").

    The cinematography, locations, score, sets, costumes and special effects are all pretty much first rate for the time period (1974), just don't expect "Star Wars" class F/X. In fact, the flick's worth seeing for the Irish scenery alone.

    Is the movie any good? Well, it's either really deep or really pretentious, take your pick. The story isn't very compelling, but maybe I need to see it in the right frame of mind. I'm definitely interested in seeing it again in about a year or so, maybe then I'll "get it." Anyway, the Amazon reviewers are right -- "Zardoz" is either a 5-Star masterpiece or a 1-Star piece of sh*t.
    ...more info
  • What if you killed god ?
    I will start of a small confession, I have not seen the whole film and cannot comment on the ending or lack of one . I will say this , as a Connery Fan ( are we not all really Connery fans deep inside) I saw this as a must see and since it was butchered by the good people of the Sci-Fi channel , I only saw about half of it before switching to Marnie on HBO. Yet , the half I did veiw was rather smart and Mrs. Rampaling was breathtaking in her youth.Boorman has better films that have helped elevate him to the peak of post sixties British cinema .
    Overall on the half of the film I did view I would have to say that my dear Sean has nothing to be a shamed of. ( the visual of the floating head still haunts my dreams and my bouts with Opiuem )....more info
  • Beware of the Flying Head of Fake God!
    Director John Boorman has delivered some very good films such as "Deliverance" (1972), "Excalibur" (1981) and "The Emerald Forest" (1985).
    "Zardoz" (1974) occupies a very special place in his filmography. As Boorman also wrote the screenplay, we may assume it is a "film d'auter". He not only conveys a sci-fi story, he also gives the viewer a parable about power and immortality.

    The whole movie has the look and feel of mid `70s cosmovision. Daily life in the Vortex resembles a Hippie community; there are scenes with kaleidoscopic effects (Ken Russell will use very similar images in "Altered States" (1980)); scenes of mass killing are shown with minimal blood effusion and so on.

    The story is a classical sci-fi argument: in far future humankind is fractioned in two groups. One group lives in an edenic valley, profits from immortality and suffers no material needs. The other, by far the hugest group, dwells in a destitute Earth subject to the persecution of the Brutals.
    Brutals are servers of god Zardoz, an enormous flying and speaking stone head. Their religion promises eternal after-life at the Vortex. Zed, one of them, decides to creep into Zardoz's head and starts a "heroes' journey" of discovery, enlightenment and trial.
    From there on a complex plot, requiring viewer's attention is deployed.

    There are several high points in this film.
    Cinematography directed by multi-Oscar awarded Geoffrey Unsworth ("Cabaret" (1972) and "Tess" (1979)) is delicate, portraying slender and beautiful women bodies. He uses color and texture (especially cloth texture) masterfully. The film has received a BAFTA nomination to Best Cinematography.

    Playacting shows a young, beautiful and stylized Charlotte Rampling impersonating Consuella, a sensitive Eternals' leader opposing Zed. Sara Kestelman as May, in her first movie role, insinuates an attractive personality. Last but not least Sean Connery fleshes Zed gallantly; we must remember that, at that time, he was vigorously trying to detach himself from his alter ego: James Bond.
    It is a good sci-fi movie for sophisticated audience!
    Reviewed by Max Yofre. ...more info
  • One of my favourite films
    I love this film, as well as John Boorman's later work "Excalibur" - though they are two completely different films.

    Zardoz features some post-hippy post-apocalyptic visions of the future. I love the themes in this - a select few harbouring all that's good in society; art, poetry, science, and yet they are monsters.

    "He who fights a dragon long enough soon becomes one himself" - not the most typical Sean Connery line, but this is such a way-out film anyway.

    But then again, my brother-in-law watched this & he couldn't help snigger at the whole thing....more info

  • Most hilariously horrible film I've seen
    Although this is worth seeing for Sean Connery in a red diaper, the rest is just so, so bad.
    The incoherent and poorly developed plot as well as completely unlikable characters earns this movie a place in horrible movie heaven.
    There's everything for the fan of extra-crappy sci-fi including flying stone heads and gratuitous nudity.
    ...more info
  • zardoz
    great contemporary movie, more of a cult film. typical for the era, good movie to add to the sen Connery collection....more info
  • One of the most bizzare cult movies of all time
    Written, produced and directed by John Boorman, ZARDOZ was a commmercial failure which nevertheless deserves a special place in the hearts of fans of Boorman and Sean Connery. It's not often a talented and respected film maker and actor team up to make one of the strangest and most unintentionally hilarious movies of all time.
    The year is 2293. Connery plays Zed; an exterminator for Zardoz which is basically a huge flying stone head which is worshipped as a god. Those who dare to defy or question the 'Dozzman are cast into a "vortex" where they prematurely age and never die. Of course Zed has a rebellious streak in him and dares to revolt against Zardoz's view that "The gun is good, the penis is evil" and live his life on his own terms in order to retain his precious mortality; a rebellion which could destroy civilisation itself.
    While ZARDOZ's elaborate production design is funny today, the ladiesh will no doubt find Connery devashtatingly shexy with hish ponytail and nappiesh; which will aroushe even the mosht dormant of maternal instinctsh. For men there is no shortage of beautiful women in this movie; led by Charlotte Rampling, plus ample female nudity. On the other hand, if you're an intellectual or just have a penchant for the bizzare; then ZARDOZ ought to appeal to the big hard organ located between your ears. This movie was actually much more fun than I expected.
    DVD extras include a commentary by Boorman, the movie's trailer, and a stills gallery, plus subtitles in no fewer than a dozen languages!...more info
  • One of the best
    I read a few reviews about this movie. Many disparage the movie. So be it. Live and let live I always say.

    First of all, I bought the DVD version here at Amazon dot com.
    Amazon shipped quickly and accurately; thanx Amazon , you are the reason that I don't have to go to a myriad of book/video/DVD/CD stores to find in item that I am ISO.

    I guess I am one of those "sci fi" "cult movie" "fans".

    I'm very happy that a DVD version of this movie was made. I thank Amazon dot com for having it available for purchase.

    I gave it 5 stars; cuz, "they just don't make 'em like the used to". Nowadays, "B" sci-fi flicks are just so bogus. Buy this movie if only to see what making a film was like before the advent of C..artoon G...enerated I...mages, or...CGI. It is a gas.

    Sean Connery did several low budget sci-fi flicks and I hold that by doing so, he showed his "range" of acting skills. I personally view him as one damn fine "jouneyman" actor. Give the man a script, and he delivers no matter what. A must have for Sean Connery fans everywhere.

    Last word_________Fantabulous flick....more info
  • Fun Flick!!
    Some may find this movie a little weird and outdated, but I've loved it for years! Different strokes for different folks... Guess I tend to enjoy the 'offbeat' more than most, but as far as I'm concerned, this is a truly wonderful movie! In fact, being outdated, is one of the things that makes it so much fun to watch......more info
  • Ominous 'Zardoz' Mirrors Society
    Director John Boorman's 1973 sci-fi cult classic extrapolates upon continuing socio-political trends in our world, providing a deeply stirring vision of a future society gone wrong-- and the inevitable resolution of its discordance with the natural order. Bursting with mystical symbolism, it is definitely a film intended for an educated audience, the kind of brainy science fiction associated with a literary tradition, rather than with Hollywood-style fast-paced action-adventure.
    Though the scenery, cinematography and costumes are visually striking, the presentation now seems a bit dated, as the film precedes the special-effects revolution sparked by Star Wars in 1977. By and large, however, the mild 'camp' factor does not unduly detract from the film's essential message and relevant commentary on our world. The somewhat complex plot does warrant more than one viewing to fully extract the dense layers of meaning.
    'Zardoz' is philosophical and thought-provoking, and touches on central themes of life: the vast and cyclic nature of time; the inevitability of change; the interconnection of birth, youth, old age and death; the unification of pairs of opposites; and the coexistence of divergent world-views working out as the fundamental theme in all drama-- conflict and resolution.
    Supported by a lesser-known but talented British/Irish cast, Sean Connery gives a fine performance as the hero, Zed, an outsider who infiltrates an impenatrable sanctuary of powerfully psychic, immortal 'custodians of the past for an uncertain future... the rich, the powerful, the clever,' who shelter themselves in comfort and complacency from the sufferings of the wretched masses in the dying outside world. Thematically the film is a 'man vs. the system' story, and Zed is the archetype of the vengeful destroyer-hero who brings harmony through conflict and upheaval.
    Though not a benchmark of technical achievement (its clever camera effects had been seen elsewhere in cinema before), 'Zardoz' is a satisfying and thought-provoking story, well-suited for the moviegoer who enjoys an intellectually stimulating, philosophical workout, plus some beautiful scenery and perhaps the best cinematic use of Beethoven's 7th Symphony. A beautiful and moving film....more info
  • Burt Reynold Was Originally Cast as Zed
    One afternoon, 10 years after it was released, I saw Zardoz in a moviehouse in Georgetown and didn't get it - except that Sean Connery was still very sexy. Recently, the serendipity of watching The Swimmng Pool with Charlotte Rampling suggested giving this Boorman allegory another chance. I finally get it and had fun seeing it again. Three reasons to watch Zardoz are John Boorman's emerging vision and personal iconography, the power of Sean Connery's presence and acting (especially at the point in his career when he was trying to break from the Bond type-cast), and Geoffrey Unsworth's masterful photography.

    Boorman and his actors put their hearts and talent on the line. Connery pulls off wearing the red loincloth and wedding dress, pulling a rickshaw and effectively performing scenes like the lecture on libido with subtle irony. Charlotte Rampling, Sara Kestelman, and other actresses can survive wearing go-go boots or performing nude while portraying strong women in conflict reacting to Zed's mojo. The whole cast of immortals are such good actors that you can giggle about the horror of wearing macram tops and overly foofed hair, but they suspend your belief in the nightmare society these characters have created. Unsworth not only films this movie; he validates the vision with clear images that indulges Boorman's penchant for setting archetypes and going all Jungian on us. It is beautiful to watch and mostly poetic.

    Boorman stuffs the movie with cinematic references like Welles and Peckinpah, much like the immortals have stuffed their museum. In his commentary, he admits putting too much in the film and that he would do things differently with more money and experience. At the beginning, there are moments that almost feel like Monty Python's Holy Grail or Woody Allen's Sleeper, but the movie progresses past that. The set design was interesting, but I felt that the costuming was just a little too groovy. He also admits that some of this cult classic is laughable, but the actors and the camera take it seriously enough to trap us in the Vortex and follow Zed as he searches for the truth. I am a sucker for personal films, and everybody involved made this personal to their truth.

    Given what has been going on in Silicon Valley, Zardoz is still very pertinent. The irony is that celluloid projections on glass, superimposed images on film and light refracting from faceted crystals simulated computers, which were used to depict John Boorman's vision of 2293. In any remake, instead of green bread, Boorman's successor would have to direct the brutals in assembling green pizzas, and a notion of a religious mystery commanding the terminators would be named by the corruption of the phrase - Stock Option. Their god would be called Ckoption. Nyahhh! Just watch Zardoz....more info
  • WHERE'D ALL THE BLACK FOLKS GO....
    YO'... WHERE'D ALL THE BLACK FOLKS GO.... BACK TO THE PARALLEL PLANET P-FUNK ON THE MOTHERSHIP...
    DR. FUNKENSTEIN COULD HAVE SAVED ARTHUR FROM TO MUCH EURO CONCEPT AND BIO' NO NO (S)... THANK GOD FOR FOOTPRINTS...

    EXCELLENT FILM... ONE OF MY VERY FAVORITES......more info
  • At once the weirdest and deepest movie made.
    "Zardoz" is not a movie for everyone. I remember seeing it fairly often on weekend afternoon television in the '80s, probably because then as now it's main attraction was Sean Connery and it was dirt cheap. It's only been fairly recently, however, that I've seen it all in one setting.

    The movie is often unfathomable, since we're relying on visual imagery to convey much of it rather than explanation. I actually think Zardoz's main flaw is it tries too much to play like a science fiction novel. Ideas and scnarios that are plausible in print don't translate very well on screen.

    And as the movie was made on a low budget in the early seventies, tie dyed shrouds, clear sheet plastic, and lighted patterns on people's bodies pass for what would today be CGI effects. The appearance is certainly unique, and I used to liken it to the result of Hippies making science fiction.

    That said, what is the point to watching it? Simply, it has very deep ideas about immortality and the meaning or value of life, and may have to be viewed more than once to "get" it. In several scences it appears that even Connery and Charlotte Rampling are doing their best to perform the material, but not having a clue what they're supposed to be expressing.

    If Zardoz had been wrapped in a more conventional appearance and wasn't so impenetrable, it probably would be remembered as a major motion picture. Instead, it's the only film where you'll see Sean Connery running around in swashbuckler boots and a pink diaper. ...more info
  • Maybe in a dorm with lots of alcohol
    Zardoz just might be entertaining if watched by a group of jeering college students fueled by copious amounts of alcohol. A bonus in this situation is that any female students who are watching will become amenable to slipping off to another room. I can't recommend it in any other context. It's plain terrible, and not in one of those ways that it's so terrible that it becomes good. Too bad there's no "zero" star ranking. Or negative stars. And don't think Sean Connery saves the film somehow. You would think he would, but no. ...more info
  • "I have seen the future and it doesn't work"
    The original ad says it all -- I have seen the future and it doesn't work (perhaps it's unemployed). I have an original 1/2 sheet movie poster of Zardoz hanging in my study. Boorman's first film after the successful Deliverance is an odd mixture of satire and science fiction. While visually stunning, the muddled narrative can be a blessing in disguise; it allows you to look past the poorly thought out plot and appreciate it for what it is; the first and only Monty Python sci-fi film.

    The very elements that make this film at times absurd also make it a classic; the literary allusion to The Wizard of Oz; the great stone head of the god Zardoz floating around the Irish countryside; Zed's attempt to destroy the "heart" of the peaceful community he invades. There's a campy quality that runs throughout the film and, no doubt, that was intentional. Boorman's films both great (Deliverance) and bad (The Exorcist 2)are focused on the conflict between the outsider or individual and society or culture surrounding him. Zardoz is a bit more explicit and, yes, pretentious than some of his other work. Nevertheless, Boorman succeeds for the most part. '

    Zardoz isn't for everyone and that's no slam. It takes a certain sense of humor and appreciation for well groomed satires to like this film. I'd suggest rening Zardoz and discovering if its you're cup of tea (after all the image of guns spewing forth of the mouth of a "god" isn't something we see everyday). It's a savage satire of religion, social norms and the counterculture all nicely rolled into a compact, murky narrative.

    The transfer is very good although there are quite a few analog artifacts. The commentary from director John Boorman is quite enlightening and both illuminates as much as it frustrates. Boorman is articulate and informed. It's clear that even he wasn't quite clear what his ultimate message was. Although Zardoz isn't likely to be remembered as being as groundbreaking as 2001 or Star Wars, it is in the same league in many respects. Just as Kubrick used satire in Strangelove and 2001 (the visual narrative of the film is packed with his satrical spirit), so too Boorman packs his narrative with just as much satire and observation.

    It's not a perfect film but for some folks it's perfectly fine despite all it's imperfections....more info

  • Cult Classic
    Let's get it straight: this is a weird move. It's five stars, but not Silence of the Lambs five stars, or Alien five stars, or Monty Python and the Holy Grail five stars. This movie is like the love child of A Clockwork Orange and Planet of the Apes -- a strange, mutant movie with a compelling vision, a surprisingly good storyline, and unstintingly odd imagery. A distopia unlike any other captured on film is brought to a graceful yet lurching fulfillment in a film that is one part masterpiece, and two parts acid trip. Although it will always exist outside the horizon of mainstream taste, the movie is nevertheless cohesive and, in its way, brilliant, capturing your imagination even as you try to sort out what, exactly, is going on. There is an answer. And that answer is Zardoz....more info
  • Ahhhhhhh Ha Ha Ha Ha Haaaaa!!!!
    Are you kidding me!? This movie is beyond all redemption. Sean Conery is a disgrace to himself, running around in a red diaper with pirate boots on. WTF! What's with all the naked women in this thing? Why do they have to be naked? They're hideous looking in the face and body. My God, my eyes! If this is the product of the "love" generation and what they found to be entertaining and mindfully stimulating, no wonder our society is crazy. I just can't get over how profoundly corny and simple the plot and effects are, it's downright insulting to the human brain. Whoever wrote this and was crazy enough to finance it, should be killed and then studied so we don't have another idiot of this caliber spawned....more info
  • 'And you poor creatures... Who conjured you from the clay?'
    An ambitious sci-fiction satire by John Boorman (Excalibur; Deliverance; Emerald Forest.) This is definitely one of the most unique science fiction movies I have ever seen, even for something that was produced in 1974.

    This movie is more of a political and social satire than a science fiction movie. Sean Connery is Zed,an exterminator. He and his tribe are the followers of Zardoz, their god. Tired of blindly following the violent commands of his god, Zed seeks to find the truth at any cost. When Zed finds his god, he sees that he's more in search of himself and soon realizes that he doesn't like what he sees.

    The theme is timeless and the plot is excquisite. This movie has an interesting message about the endurance of civilization, its purpose, and its effect on human nature. If you like science fiction movies for state-of-the art special effects, you might be disappointed. If you like science fiction as a satirical medium such as Logan's Run or 1984, you'll probably like it. If you're a Boorman fan, you definitely need to see this one.

    ...more info
  • This is your brain on drugs...
    You know when someone asks you what's your favorite movie & you can't come up with one single answer? Same thing with who's the most beautiful actress in history, or what interesting historical figure would you want to meet if given the chance, or name your favorite novel, favorite food, place, etc.

    Well, now I'll never have that problem when I get asked what's the worst movie ever made.

    MAX! THIS IS IT!!

    I was around in the sixties & seventies & this film is an homage to the cheesiest, most self-consciously air-headed posturing that era ever produced.

    Oh if only Amazon offered minus points......more info
  • Must see -- at least to have an opinion...
    You can't call yourself a true film geek unless you've seen Zardoz. Hate it or love it or whatever, this is one of those ink blots that reveals. Me, I give it credit. At worst, I'd say it's a spectacularly, interesting failure. I feel for it, because it's the kind of movie I would have wanted to make if you'd given me a film camera and a million bucks at age 14. It's full of big ideas, grand scope, science fiction ambitions, action, and sex, and kind of the smarty pants ideas, but Zardoz has absolutely no maturity, taste, or sense of propotion whatsover. Most movies these days take no chances, and won't try anything that won't be perfect, whereas this thing is one of those films that's just all over the map, and has a lot of it flubs, but occasionally it gets a few things right. It's got a ton of that screwball 70's new-agey 'ooh we've just discovered LSD and we're sooo open-minded' kind of lunacy that's interesting from a historical perspective. The action and violence is a little clumsy, which considering Deliverance, doesn't make much sense. I assume it was rushed a little bit. The DVD is beautiful. Amazing print. Probably didn't look as good in the theater.

    If you're new to the 70's new-agey, big profound over-the-top ideas sci-fi, the film to start with is probably not Zardoz, but rather Logan's Run, which covers approximately similar territory, but which, to me at least, ends better, among other things....more info

  • What was John Boorman thinking?
    There has never been any other movie like this one. I still remember the first time I watched it.

    At first, I snickered at the disembodied head with the magic-marker mustache and goatee.

    Then I saw the giant stone head, zipping along in midair like some dream of Terry Gilliam's, and I started laughing uncontrollably. I mean _tears_ were streaming down my cheeks.

    And then the durned thing _spoke_. 'The gun is good. . . . The penis is evil. . . . ' And it started vomiting up rifles. By now I had my hanky out.

    And then Zed showed up in his red diaper and hip boots. And I thought: oh, boy, now I see why Sean Connery gave up the role of James Bond; it was so that he could be taken more seriously as an actor.

    The whole movie is like that. It's like an unusually preposterous episode of the original _Star Trek_, without any of the original cast. (And the Rod Serling-like 'surprise' -- a bit over an hour into the film -- won't be a surprise at all if you've already figured it out from the film's title.)

    But it's not just a 'bad' film. John Boorman (of _Deliverance_ fame) really did have a good idea here, and you might be able to extract it if you can see it through the cheese.

    In fact, once you grok that the thing is a big SF morality play (essentially posing the question whether it's better to be immortal or to be Sean Connery), you'll probably think it would have been even _more_ at home on the original _Star Trek_. (And you may like it for that reason alone -- if your favorite episodes were 'Let That Be Your Last Battlefield', 'The Apple', and 'The Gamesters of Triskelion'.)

    Connery and Charlotte Rampling save the day as far as the acting is concerned; Connery has an uncanny knack for being believable in whatever role he plays, and Rampling is a slow-burning fire.

    _Zardoz_ has a special place in the history of bad cinema. It's good in all the wrong ways. Don't die without having seen it....more info
  • Zardoz DVD
    Sean Connery is excellent in all of his movies. This vision of the future was well done, very imaginative....more info
  • An underrated oddity
    The real obstacle to enjoying Zardoz is getting used to watching Sean Connery in dayglow diapers and screw-in pony tail. Once over that hurdle, if one allows oneself to study the movie closely, it is nothing less than one of the great panthestic-psychedelic creation myths. (It's obvious, now, that the weird aging-ending was an attempt to take on Kubric's embryonic journey ending to 2001, but that shouldn't be held against Boorman: he very nearly pulls it off.) So, watch the film alone so that you're not forced to defend it to the dull, and enjoy the Irish mountains. Zardoz deserves to live....more info
  • A waste of 007s talent!
    Sean Connery was the reason I bought the CD and he is wasted in a rather slow and unimpressive movie. I had never heard of the movie before and now I can understand why. If you want to see Connery in a much better Sci-Fi effort buy Outland....more info
  • A 1970s kind of future
    Like H.G. Wells's The Time Machine, this posits a future in which the human species has divided itself into Eternal, immortal lotus eaters and Brutals, the under-class that has to work for a living. Zed (Connery) is one of the exterminators, killing Brutals under orders from a renegade Eternal. This renegade gives the first hint that the Eternals have a problem: there is dissent, an all-but-capital crime. There is also ennui, with no hope of ending their endless lives for release. Then Zed enters the Vortex ...

    The scantily clad twenty-somethings of the Vortex remind me of the self-concious physical freedom of the post-hippie 1970s. They also remind me that a slim bust is a lovely one, something easy to forget in our era of implants. The youth culture of the Eternals, like that of Logan's Run from about the same time, also celebrates the era before the boomers found themselves graying. And, by the standards of today's special effects, 1970s opticals and mirrored walls look more campy than special.

    Then there's Connery himself. In the 1960s, he defined the dashing, adventurous role of James Bond. At the end of the 1980s, he would mature into a senior statesman of cinema. Think of Zardoz's unfortunate time as Connery's mid-life crisis. Why he agreed to run around in that red panty, I'll never know.

    But, if you take it as an artifact of its era, it can still reward the viewer. Maybe we can't suspend disbelief the way it original audiences could, but maybe we can see it differently than they ever could, as a future that only the 1970s could have predicted.

    --wiredweird...more info
  • Cult Classic Sci-Fi --not to be missed
    John Boorman's Zardoz was not a box-office success by any means. And it is surprising how many people who love sci-fi haven't ever heard of this film. Well, if you love off-center science fiction, and you love Sean Connery (who doesn't?) then you may well want to add this to your classics-of-sci-fi library.

    Connery plays Zed, a sort of enforcer whose mandate is to eliminate Brutals, the usual bestial survivors of a post-apocalyptic society. Yes, this theme is well-trodden ground, (Mad Max,Planet of the Apes, and ten other films I can think of offhand.) At least Zed (Connery) is clad in a thrillingly brief red loin cloth while he discharges his duties. This should perk up any women watching the film.

    A large stone head, Zardoz the god, flies about, making sure that Zed and his like are doing diligence, thumping those Brutals. But Zed isn't just a muscle-bound pretty face, he's intelligent and curious. He climbs into the stone head while it makes a pit stop and Zed is carried into a surprising new world, the world of the Eternals. Typically, eternal life ends up robbing those who enjoy it of the zest and tang of a nasty, brutal and short life. Zed sets about to put this problem to rights.

    The film was made with a wonderfully low budget, on the order of a million bucks, so the scenery is quite creative; mostly weather balloons and tie-dyed parachutes. You don't notice this the first time you watch the film, because the cast, including the evilly beautiful Charlotte Rampling are captivating.

    If you like weird sci-fi and don't need state-of-the-art special effects or a plot that has deeper meaning, you will thoroughly enjoy Zardoz. It's a classic, so get out the popcorn and try something a little different....more info

  • GOOD MOVIE
    This is a good movie, dealing with many interesting themes: immortility, power, social structure, rules and control...
    The only "problem" with it is that is an old movie, and in some ways, it shows.
    Many people would find it a little "slow" for today standards on SF films, but if one tries to let this below and understand what the movie's trying to tell us, it still is an enjoyable ride....more info
  • Zardoz the Weirdo
    I love British film, and their quirky humor. Of course, like all SciFi, there's a message, which in this case was melodramatic. Do we really want to ... (don't want to give away the what we want). It's all silliness, and somehow Sean Connery fits the part perfectly. The cinematography could have improved, and it was obvious that it took place on English country side somewhere. If people are not brilliant, rich or the elite, are they really that stupid and ovine? I don't think so. If you like campy, this is a good one to watch with friends and make fun of,...more info
  • A Grand Apocalyptic Romp
    "Zardoz" is neither cutting social satire, brilliant vision, or pure sci-fi trash- opinions held by various reviewers. It is, however, a grand romp through a dyspeptic future which in other hands could be insufferably silly (think "Logan's Run") but when presented by Boorman, Connery and Rampling, a great fantasy adventure. Watch it, enjoy it, and don't take it too seriously....more info
  • What in tarnation?!?
    A complicated plot to say the least, flying stone head, hippy overtones, goofy special effects, freckle faced actors,and.... SEAN CONNERY? By George this is just about the kookiest movie there is! Having said that it is one of my favorites, perhaps because I saw it in the theater when it came out and it reminds me of those days. Very enjoyable movie but you may have to watch it a few times to figure the whole thing out.

    Not much in the way of special features but a fun movie at a great price!
    Recommended!...more info
  • Caution! You Are Approaching The Periphery Shield Of Vortex Four!
    Master of understatement John Boorman (better known for the execrable howler "Exorcist II: The Heretic") teams up with Sean Connery in a ponytail wig and diaper to beat the audience over the head with subtlety and nuance. OK, seriously though, this is a heavy-handed and over-acted attempt at cerebral science fiction that pontificates on subjects like religion, inequality, and human nature.

    Sean Connery is Zed, an exterminator charged by Zardoz (a faux-god residing in a giant, floating, gun-vomiting head) to eliminate the savage "brutals" in this nightmarish future world. The movie is steeped in pretentiousness from the annoying floating head introductory narration to the incredibly stilted dialogue, of which follow several random examples: "I am innocent of psychic violence!", "No! I will not go to the second level!", "Shall I seek vortex consent?", "We will touch-teach you and you will give us your seed.", and of course, "The gun shoots death and beautifies the earth...Zardoz has spoken!" The entire movie prattles along like that, and contains other unintentionally comic elements such as Zed being frightened by a Jack-in-the-Box (really), Zed discovering an inter-vortex exchange holograph (don't ask), Zed getting the stuffing beat out of him by a bunch of demented geezers at the senility home, Zed teaching the "eternal" women how to kiss, thereby reintroducing desire and emotion to the world, and of course, Zed battling refracted light in the funhouse challenge inside a giant computer-crystal (again, don't ask).

    I am not totally down on the film, I just think it fails as serious science fiction, and becomes a parody of the genre, despite Boorman's commentary track extolling its virtues. The special effects are very basic: the floating head is, for instance, simply suspended from a crane, while in one key scene Zed obtains a secret power enabling him to make the film run backwards.

    The film is enjoyable as a camp classic, but is lacking as a serious movie (it was also a commercial flop), despite pretensions to be enlightening. Especially onerous is the predictable ending which is even more lamely executed than expected. The film was made in Ireland (Boorman's home) and as such does have some lovely landscape and scenery to recommend it; further the cinematography is generally quite good. The film is let down by trying to do too many things at once, and consequently doing none of them well. The pacing is frequently plodding, the acting is middling at best, the costumes are more hilarious than anything in recent memory (again, Connery's costume is justification enough to buy the movie), the morality of the film is preachy and heavy-handed, while the script is way over the top and utterly laughable. The most pretentious scene in the film (and one of the most pretentious I have ever seen) is the discovery of the true identity of Zardoz by Zed when he is learning to read. (Hint: I don't think that Frank Baum would be especially pleased.)

    I recommend the film to science fiction completists and fans of camp everywhere: you will seldom if ever find a better example of unintentional humor in a desolate future world than in Zardoz....more info
  • Thank You, John Boorman
    The director's commentary track alone on this dvd has paid for itself. It gives credit to my view that "Yes, I *got* the movie, but I still find it amusing". ...more info
  • Sean Connory breaking out of the chains of Bond, a classic movie
    This movie is one of the Genre of the post apocalytic, overlycontrolled society, but a different twist than many of the others. Based as a world of outlanders and the society, Zardoz plays more on the class differences and higher society comming together to "set the standards" and control or crush everything else. Connery plays a "brutal" from outside the Vortex, which is a society set up by elite in which science and itellectuals combined to explore the human potential and eventually gain inmortality. These intellectuals prey on the outsiders to gain supplies by using "zardoz", a flying large head. Connery stoes away in this flying head and enters the Compound, where he is studied, but eventually he aids in the fall of this Utopia. Definitely something different than the "big brother is watching" films of sci-fi, this film was different,and that is what makes it a definite pick for anybody who like the sci-fi genre, must see, even better to own now that its on DVD....more info
  • Wabi Sabi
    I'm not sure if Boorman intended it, but he created a film that describes the eastern concept of Wabi Sabi. Wabi Sabi defines SHIBUI, the non-mechanistic and timeless beauty unrelated to style and so basic that neither time nor change in social values can affect it. It helps us to see through and beyond the dehumanizing climate of technological society and assists in achieving a state of mental equilibrium (a form of enlightenment) in the intensely technological, highly urbanized society of the our times. These concepts are eternal and universal as opposed to the endlessly accelerating change and complications confronting us today. We realize that we are being drained and deprived of something that is not replaceable. Wabi Sabi, therefore, is elegant because of its philosophy of understatement - less is better.
    Perhaps, this is what Boorman was attempting - or maybe he was just high....more info
  • Classic Film
    I discovered this movie around 10 years ago. It captured my interest because
    the storyline was great (very imaginative). As soon as I saw it I wanted to own it but the movie wasn't available on DVD. A couple of weeks ago I made a search and lo and behold there it was (ON DVD); I would like to see it restored and in bluray, but DVD definition will do just fine. Buy it, it is
    an interesting movie with interesting plot and ending. Kudos to Connery!...more info
  • Totally Useless - Waste of Money
    If I could give this embarrassing piece of garbage NEGATIVE stars, I would. I bought it because of Sean Connery, and because of the decent ratings. Are you people crazy? What a waste of money. I'm getting ready to sell it (I hope) on eBay. A stupidly useless film......more info
  • Quite a (flying, stone, stoner) head trip
    Zardoz is hands down the absolute most bizarre movie my senses have ever been subjected to. This movie makes "A Clockwork Orange" look like a tame child's movie in terms of head scratching moments (although "Orange" is light years ahead in terms of quality). Zardoz doesn't try to be weird either. This isn't Pink Floyd's "The Wall" where the movie is flamboyantly begging to be seen as trippy, however Zardoz tinkers with the brain like a Rubiks Cube more than any other movie ever.

    That said, Zardoz isn't a good movie either. The cheese factor is pimpled all over the ugly face of this feature, and a seemingly well-constructed plot is somehow executed poorly. I blame the directing on this. Zardoz is simply far too funky and esoteric in its delivery to be taken seriously. This may be quite the head trip (no doubt a hefty reason for it's cult following), but that in itself becomes the movie's biggest detriment, as a neat storyline is beaten back into a state of little relevance.

    The already mentioned cheese factor is due to the over-the-top absurdity which is portrayed in Zardoz. This surfaces right in the first 10 minutes of the movie. I simply couldn't accept the fact that I was watching a giant, flying, stone head giving a sermon on the evils of the penis before puking forth enough machine guns from its mouth to equip an army. And I'm not really sure I needed to see science specimen, Sean Connery being subjected to slightly pornographic videos in order to see what was required to give him an erection (I am not making this up. I told you this movie was bizarre).

    Despite hating this movie, I actually recommend renting it, should you ever come across it. Unless you're suffering from schizophrenia, it's definitely unlike anything you've ever experienced before (it makes even the most intense LSD trip seem like cheap reefer high). Who knows, maybe you'll end up joining the Zardoz cult as well. I sure as Hell know I didn't, but still I recommend renting it for at least one viewing.

    "THE GUN IS GOOD! THE PENIS IS EVIL! THE PENIS SHOOTS SEEDS TO PRODUCE THE HATED HUMANS! WHILE THE GUN SHOOTS DEATH TO CLEANSE THE EARTH!"...more info
  • Zardoz???
    The name says it all. From 007 to Savage. If you are a Scifi lover, you will really enjoy this one. Watch if for nothing else other than to figure out the name. Interesting storyline. ...more info
  • Really Out There: The Best & Campiest Anti-Utopian Film of All Time
    The premise behind this film is brilliant. It cleverly weds two disparate and apparently unrelated segments of 1960's-70's culture in an endlessly fascinating and endlessly provocative way: the hippie/new age counterculture & the world of new technologies. In the cultural moment when this film was made, these two segments of society were at odds. Most countercultural movements were anti-technology and prescribed a return to nature while the new technologies presented the possibility of an escape from nature into a wholly man-made, genetically engineered, and virtually governed, reality. In our own postmodern moment, this battle between nature and tecnology seems to have been won by technology, but the resurgent green movement gives this film renewed relevance.

    Granted, this film has some serious problems. In some ways the film appears to be a kind of reactionary backlash against the women's movement. It doesn't take a mastermind to see that John Boorman, the films writer & director, is arguing against what he perceives to be the feminizing trends in western civilization. And that the problem with the "utopia" presented in the film is that it is run by women and feminized men. Wow!!! Talk about a hairy-knuckled script, but thats why this ride is so bloody fun. However problematic politically, this resurgent primitivism is one of this films lasting appeals.

    Boorman's cure for this ailing utopia's ills: The woman-hitting Sean Connery, of course. Once he comes to town (vortex) to knock some sense into all of these feminine & feminized utopian subjects all will be returned to bloody, very bloody, male-dominated normalcy.

    Did Norman Mailer write this script?

    The political wrong-headedness is just one of this films many allures.

    But I'm getting ahead of myself.

    The story:

    Sometime in the past (judging from the outfits, probably sometime in 1969) some "great" (or "mad") scientists set out to create the perfect society. Lucky for the scientists, the world was falling apart just as they finished their ambitious biosphere and so humanity, or at least a select portion of it, was easily seduced into climbing aboard. The older scientists promise the youth culture eternal youth (and what could be more perfect than that for a narcissistic blonde neo-crypto fascist collective?). Once they enter the biosphere called the vortex, however, there are rules, serious new age rules, and so the vortex is really not so much a utopia after all, but a freaking cult! And members have to abide by the cult's strict no individual consciousness rule or they are penalized with aging ( any assertion of individual thought or feeling is seen as an act of rebellion against the new order and the penalty is, well, getting older ). The youth cult's titular leader is an impish Magritte-loving magician named, appropriately, after a children's fantasy book. But the real leader is the super-computer Tabernacle that preserves the past, but only as dead knowledge with no relevance for the new order of new beings, and whose real function is to regulate the new age present. Oh yes, and Tabernacle, somehow, communicates telepathically with cult members via crystals (evey cult member wears a crystal ring). Another bit of genius!!

    The leader Zardoz really has no powers per se, like most cult leaders he simply knows how to manipulate minds. He is basically the Dale Carnegie or Jim Jones or David Karesh of this utopia.

    But, as always, there is trouble in paradise. Both from rebellious elements within and without this new age compound.

    For in the outlands surrounding the hermetically sealed vortex, barbarian tribes, leftovers from the old world, still roam in masculine splendor, raping and pillaging all the peace-loving mortals. And all is sanctioned by Zardoz (to the barabrians Zardoz is a big stone godhead that hovers over them--but, of course, Zardoz is really just a fancy rock ship piloted by the impish magician), who the barabarians in their masculine egotism perceive as a God that loves them and cares for their souls. What they failt to see is that all that Zardoz really wants is an all-out genocide. Zardoz wants all trace of the barabrians to be erased, only then will Zardoz's takeover of reality be complete.

    The surprise: Sean Connery as Zed is not only a masculine thunderbolt with a gun, he's a reader. And once he figures out that Zardoz is just a trickster like David Blaine or Criss Angel or political figure of your choice and not a real god, he's determined to penetrate the secret lair of the faux god and unmask the hoax once and for all. Ok, he wants that and he wants to invade the oppressive exploitative vortex and kill everyone inside (all except, of course, the beautiful Charlotte Rampling with whom he wants to start a new race of his own --a righteous race of good old barbaric beings that will turn humanity back to its old recognizably natural, mortal self and horizons once again). And he succeeds brilliantly!

    As awesome as that plot is, the plot is not really the thing; its the ride that counts, and as cinematic amusement park rides go, this one is full of new age hilarity and more camp than you can shake a crystal at.

    Connery looking like someone's scary new age dad, or a Burning Man refugee, is unbeatable!

    But, honestly, the film keeps you thinking the whole time, and the visuals, riotous & campy as they are, are strangely stimulating & irresistable.

    No other utopian/dystopian film is this much fun. ...more info
  • epipheny
    When I was in college, we would watch Zardoz during beer-n-flicks. At the time, it was a cool movie with some naked chicks which we could watch while getting drunk. Then I saw it later in life....

    Zardoz was playing at a midnight show and we were the only two people in the theater. Sober this time, I actually watched and understood the film. It deals with life, the futility of immortality, man's creation of his own gods, how all things contain the seed of their own destruction, the inevitability of nature and evolution, how things could become their opposites... I was in awe!

    As we walked out, my thoughts were exploding with meaning. I had had an epipheny! I turned to my girlfriend who said: "that was sure a stupid flick". I new I had to find a new girlfriend.

    This is my favorite movie of all time! I was disappointed with the VHS version as some of the most meaningful scenes (what "Zardoz" means, the ending) require wide screen to make sense. After all, who cares what "ardo" means? Get the DVD....more info

  • Greatly rewatchable. Interesting for flaws and brilliance
    `Zardoz' was produced, written, and directed by John Boorman who, like Robert Altman (`M.A.S.H') and Ken Russell (`Women In Love') cash in their credit earned from directing very successful commercial films and spend it to direct very personal, very original, and very uncommercial films. `Zardoz' was made right after Boorman's immense critical and commercial success with `Deliverance' and his star in that movie, Burt Reynolds, was to play the lead role in `Zardoz' until Burt fell ill and was replaced with Sean Connery at a cost of 1/5 of the whole million dollar budget. As high as that relative figure may seem, apparently Connery was just finishing up his appearances as James Bond and no one would hire him for anything else, so he needed the money.

    While there is a great danger that no one will ever read this review, it is immense fun to write a review of this rich, quirky, and very flawed movie. For starters, I find it easy to see that people have a hard time understanding the movie. I have never held that fact alone against a movie, as it took me at least three viewings of `2001 A Space Odyssey' to feel I was anywhere near understanding it, and `2001' has taken its rightful place among the very best American movies. It has taken me at least that many viewings to understand some of Fredrico Fellini's movies and I still don't understand `8?'. But that doesn't mean this is not a great movie. But that doesn't mean this is a great movie. It only means it has potential the fact that it can still be found on the store shelves is a testament to the fact that this movie has a lot to offer, even if it ultimately does not fully realize the filmmaker's vision.

    There are few movies I have seen which are more in need of the director's commentary than this one. One of Boorman's most telling observations on this commentary is the statement that there may just be too much being attempted in this movie. And, I think this summarizes the problem in a nutshell.

    Like all true science fiction works, the heart of `Zardoz' is to set the stage by imagining `what would happen if this statement were true'? The central premise of the movie is the fact that some cataclysm destroyed the world as we know it and, not unlike H. G. Wells' `The Time Machine', humankind has split into two major subspecies, one of which is effectively immortal and the other barely survives on a subsistence level and who treat an artifact of the immortals as a god named `Zardoz'. In addition to being immortal, the higher level beings can communicate telepathically and can control lower level beings by the force of mind alone.

    Some of the implications the filmmaker draws from this central premise are truly inspired. By far the most brilliant is the inference that the immortals can suffer from debilitating boredom. To imagine how easy this can happen, just imagine a conventional image of heaven where the primary activities are singing and playing an archaic musical instrument.

    Another inspired implication is the fact that the immortals are punished by being aged a certain number of years, so that when they are treated to restore their youth, they never grow any younger than their penal age. These two implications lead to two subgroups. These are immortals who become totally immobilized by ennui and immortals who age to the point of debilitation. If the movie stopped there, it could probably have easily filled its two hours with a rich explication of all these suppositions.

    The problem is that to make the story interesting, the storyteller must bring a mortal into the immortals' world to shake things up. The problem I have with the device Boorman uses to bring Connery's mortal character into the immortals' world really doesn't seem to work very well. This element of the story all revolves around the premise that the mortals are being suppressed by a myth based on the story of the Wizard of Oz. This myth is so central to the story that the title of the movie and the name of the deity itself comes from a contraction of `wiZARD of OZ'. Connery's character, `Zed', with the help of his fellow mortal `brutals' manages to get aboard the great stone head which embodies Zardoz' after Zed discovers the fact that the great and mighty `Zardoz' is, like the fictional wizard, a sham. My biggest problem is that the analogy between this future earth and the Land of Oz is very, very thin. There is no explanation I can fathom for why the mortals are divided into two classes, one of which, the `brutals' like Zed spend all their time, catching, raping, and killing the other mortal class. This situation remits somewhat when we see the brutals acting as overseers while the other mortals spend time planting crops, but this subplot is simply not very well developed.

    The primary thread of the story is in the contention between two immortals over what to do with Zed. The `scientist' who wishes to study Zed wins a vote to keep him alive for 21 days. In the course of this period, Zed manages to stir up the world of the immortals and do a lot to bring some real interest to their life.

    As the movie was done very cheaply in the early 1970's, today's computer based effects simply did not exist and the `on camera' effects are a bit threadbare, not unlike the curtain behind which the Midwestern huckster manipulates the image of the Wizard of Oz. And yet this does not detract from the movie. The film mostly suffers from too much implausibility and, to paraphrase the Austrian Emperor's comments on Mozart's music in `Amadeus', there are `simply too many ideas'.

    An yet, this is a really worthwhile movie to see, enhanced by medieval music expert David Munro's score.
    ...more info
  • Cheese Wiz.
    Zardoz (John Boorman, 1974)

    Poor John Boorman. In 1974, he was on top of the world. He'd delivered (no pun intended) Deliverance two years previous, and it was not only a critical success, but a box-office success as well. And it got him nominated for Best Director and Best Picture. Yep, John Boorman was someone in Hollywood.

    Then came Zardoz.

    Zardoz is not a film so much as it is a bad erotic dream that happens after taking a good deal of LSD. The psyche of the dreamer seems to involve a good deal of leather fetishism, a fondness for orgies, some well-repressed rape fantasy, and, well, a thing for stone heads.

    Zed (Sean Connery) is an Exterminator for the god Zardoz, tasked with the job of hunting down and killing "brutals" (i.e., other humans). Zardoz' opening monologue explaining this to the viewer (for, obviously, the exterminators are already aware of this philosophy, else they wouldn't be exterminators) is absolutely hysterical, and must be heard to be believed. (Those without a strong stomach can hear it sampled, in its entirety, on Terror Organ's Buzzbomb CD.) We cut, and very badly mind you, to a shot of Zed emerging from a pile of something inside the stone head, which transports him (after certain minor adventures) to the Vortex, where Zardoz lives. Zed must explore the world of the Vortex, and adapt to life there, and the life in the Vortex must adapt to him.

    Comparisons are made to most of the usual suspects (all contemporary science fiction films, of course, most notably Rollerball), but what I was reminded of more often than not was John Frankenheimer's brilliant picture of a decade previous, Seconds. Except that Seconds made a good deal more sense, but didn't have anywhere near as much nudity.

    There are some decent performances at times, but no one here stays at a top level throughout. The closest actor to achieving that is John Alderton (recently seen in Calendar Girls), who plays his role with a kind of cynical amusement. The other two main characters are played by Charlotte Rampling (Swimming Pool, The Statement) and Sara Kestelman (Invasion: Earth) as a pair of women who can't agree on what should be done with Zed. Which is all well and good, until close to the climax, when Boorman (who also wrote the script) seems to get the two mixed up. From there, things break down rather rapidly from what was already a pretty precarious position.

    There are certainly worse movies out there. (If you want to see a real science fiction howler, check out the filmed version of Michael Moorcock's The Final Programme; I think everyone on that set, not just the director, had gotten some excellent LSD.) But there are also many thousands that are far better. Zardoz is a curiosity, a film that attempts to invest fevre dreams with great meaning. It's been done far better. **...more info
  • A few comments
    Zardoz became a cult classic after being a box office failure. Filmed in 1974, one year after the remake of Lost Horizon, and two years before Logan's Run, Zardoz was a low-budget B movie which, despite it's deficiencies, is still a better flick than the much tackier and predictable Logan's Run, although it never quite gets off the ground. I know some people who love the film, and there are even those who think it's a terrible movie, possibly even one of the worst ever, but for me it falls somewhere in-between--not terrible but not great, either--although with some notable problems.

    For example, despite some nice futuristic and surrealistic imagery, and Connery running around half-nude with a long ponytail, looking very convincing as the studly barbarian killer as he romps around with a bunch of attractive, small-breasted women, this isn't enough to save the film. But Charlotte Rampling was probably at the height of her fame when the movie was made, and she gives an appropriately exotic cast to the leading lady role, and I think Connery and Rampling played well with each other.

    So it does have its moments, and if you're a Connery or Rampling fan, it's probably a must see. But the futuristic society of Zardoz, which is divided between the murderous and barbaric Brutals and the privileged but bored and effete Immortals, just doesn't quite click. As someone else once said, "It's a movie that takes over two hours to inform you that immortal dilettantes would become suicidally bored." :-)

    So I give it three stars since it does have its moments, but despite some nice cinematography and imagery, and some stylish performances, that's unfortunately, as I said, not quite enough to get this film off the ground....more info
  • Advanced for its time and a "trick" finish
    This movie was made some time ago (1974) but it became an underground cult classic because of its themes and ideas as well as for some of the performances that were delivered. The movie presents us with Earth far into the future. The world is inhabited by two types of humans: very advanced folk who are immortal and have very powerful technology and world-control, and lesser mortals who are basically horse-riding savages. But one of the savages (Sean Connery) is not so stupid, and he is going to surprise the "gods". But not even he is prepared for the truth of his origins and capabilities. Very cool stuff even if the special effects are a bit hokey by today's standards....more info
  • Strange, uneven and often beautiful
    This is a very strange work, a large-scale but highly personal film with many beauties as well as some dubious elements. The opening fifteen minutes are among the most memorable: Boorman begins the movie with numerous striking compositions (greatly enhanced by this pristine DVD edition), and a dreamlike, largely silent progression which highlights his storytelling talent; Zed's 'learning sequence', later in the film, is also remarkably put together. The main character's quest for truth and knowledge is mostly compelling, but brought down a bit by Boorman's simplistic, rarely subtle views on sexuality and spirituality. On the other hand, his use of mythology, classical art and fairy tales is adept and intelligent, and the twist he gives to the Indo-European functional tripartition famously noted by Georges Dumezil (sovereign-religious / physical strength-war / fecundity) is quite provocative. 'Zardoz' is a cult movie par excellence: flawed but ambitious, its weaknesses are as definitive as its strengths in defining its special flavour. This unique film should be seen by adventurous viewers....more info
  • Trippy
    Zardoz is an extremely heavy-handed social satire. Like most head movies of the early 1970s, it is worth watching, if for no other reason, than as a relic of a period of time when directors really started experimenting with the medium of film (with quite varied results), e.g. using psychedellic images, etc. And, like many such films, while it often comes off as pretentious, it is never actually boring.

    The society in Zardoz is an analogy for our own and you get a general picture of its setup in the first 20 minutes (so I'm not giving away any surprises). Sean Connery is part of a gang which is provided with weapons by a flying figure-head (literally speaking). This gang's role is to go around killing people, raping and pillaging and, consequently, they help control the population and keep it weak. The rest of the population does things like grow food and give it as offerings to the flying head, partly because it offers some semblance of control over the brutal gangs it created (and maintains) in the first place.

    Sean Connery decides to jump on board the flying head for a ride and learns that it is not a god, but a machine built by an elite race of immortals who have all their needs provided for (via the flying head) by the rest of society while they live in leisure. The immortals also have (exclusive) access to all recorded art and knowledge, but seem incapable of producing any themselves. In other words, there are clear analogies to inner-city gangs, police states, law and order government, capitalism, media control, and their interdependence. The rest of the film is then concerned with Connery's interaction with the immortals, learning their weaknesses, etc., and the immortals' reactions to Connery when they realize that he is mentally and physically superior to them when freed from their continued interference and control of the rest of society. Like I said, rather heavy- handed satire, but definitely not unrealistic. People from the inner-cities will recognize its accuracy the most.

    There are many campy touches, however most (not all) I believe are intentional. And the film has Boorman's usual stunning cinematography. This film is a cult classic which is at least always interesting if not always good. And keep in mind that Boorman, that whiz (wink wink), is not being entirely serious....more info

  • Cerebral Science Fiction Indeed
    This movie is an interesting extrapolation of what might have happened a couple hundred of years in the future if a bizarre conjunction of events occurred.

    The vast majority of the world has been destroyed. How the world was destroyed was never explained, but we see that most of the world is barren and smoking. Most buildings are ruined. People run like cattle from a selected few called exterminators, whose sole mission is to kill anyone they find.

    All has not been lost, however. There are enclaves of people living in sanctuaries, each called a Vortex. These sanctuaries are protected from the outside world by force fields. Inside the sanctuary the people study and are well fed. They have developed mental abilities, including telepathy and some telekinesis. Most importantly, they are apparently immortal. There are only two downsides to this utopia. First, these people have lost all interest in physical love. Second, a number of these people are so apathetic that they have become like walking dead, devoid of energy and purpose, nearly comatose.

    Our story focuses on Zed, played by Sean Connery. Zed is an exterminator who manages to penetrate a Vortex by boarding the giant floating head known as Zardoz. Once Zed penetrates the Vortex, he finds that he was actually bred to be the savior of the residents of the Vortex (you'll have to watch and find out what he is supposed to do, and whether he does it). We learn the origin of the Vortex and follow Zed as he reaches his destiny, as well as that of the people of the Vortex.

    The Vortex itself is a socialistic, apparently matriarchal, society. The general appearance and behavior of the residents is as though they were transported from the 1960s into the future. The touching and feeling techniques, the psychedelic special effects, and the generally communal nature of the Vortex all bespeak of the utopia that the flower children of the 60s were hoping to achieve. However, as the advertisements for the movie state, I have seen the future and it does not work. Truer words were never spoken. The citizens of utopia have accomplished nothing, and in general appear to be regressing and petty rather than advancing. Thus, the movie satirizes the society that was held as the ideal of the 60s.

    In general the movie is somewhat dated by the now-crude special effects. However, as a vision of the future, the movie accomplishes much. While there are a few plot holes, most of them can be ignored as you follow Zed in his quest for knowledge. I've seen the term "cerebral science fiction" used for this movie, and find it appropriate. This movie falls into the narrow class of movie occupied by a few others such as "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Dark City," and "The Game." You are intended to look for the meanings and satire in this movie, of which there is much.

    This movie was one of the best movies I had seen prior to "Star Wars," and continues to be one of my favorites. I recommend this movie to those who like quirky, bizarre and unusual films. It's quite good if you can get into it, but incomprehensible and confused if you can not. Borrow it from a friend before you buy it....more info

  • Zardog is the Most Interesting Movie You've Never Heard Of
    Zardoz is the most important movie nobody (I know) has seen. Forget that there is a lot of nakedness and topless women; or, that you get to see a super-buff, 1974-era, Sean Connery running around for more than two hours in a pair of underwear; this is an important movie or utopia gone terribly distopian. Zardoz is written and played out like a broadway musical, with lithe dancer-actors, it is presented like a play. This is not a sophisticated movie but it will surely make you think. I would say that Zardoz is both brilliant and campy; insightful and kitchy, and brutal and actually very good at dealing with the concept of balance: in order to grow as men and as a society, one cannot -- must not -- merely separate physically from poverty, ignorance, sickness, and death; but, rather, integrate, integrate, integrate -- or perish. Bravo! See it....more info
  • Giant Stone Head? Or Giant STONER Head?
    Boorman and Connery together in the 70's is guaranteed to make you sit up and take notice. Connery spends a big chunk of the movie in diapers.When Boorman wrote it he must have siphoned off some of William S. Burroughs brain fluids, dried it, cut it with LSD, , blended it with tequila and embalming fluid and scarfed it down as a breakfast drink before his morning writing session. I've only seen it all the way thru once, but I'm told that if you watch it often enuff patterns do emerge and eventually the movie makes sense. Of course at that point you have gained knowledge Man Was Not Meant to Know and will go insane as surely as if you'd gazed on the full raw visage of Chuthulu Itself. Have something like "Josey and the Pussycats" on hand in case you need to come down. In other words, I think you'll like it. At the very least it's an interesting attempt at originality.
    ...more info
  • Felt awkward watching it!
    Wow. Nothing like being a 25-year old Gen X guy watching some 1960 New Age Sci-Fi pervert's concept of the future. Absolutely bonkers. As another reviewer has said, the first 5 minutes are hellaciously funny and watchable. The other 2 hours are like having your teeth pulled. If you're a masochist, and you love feeling awkward, then watch this flick. I can't help but laugh when I see how Sci-Fi nerds try to be taken seriously when they mix "high-minded" ideas with soft porn! Lots of moaning and breasts. Funny stuff. I only expect a thousandth of a percentage of the population to enjoy this. I barely did!...more info
  • Not one of Connery's best moments
    I really don't know what he was thinking when staring as Zed in this film. It was a box office failer. If you are a cult fan this is the movie for you. Otherwise, if you have nothing else better to watch, this film will help you sleep because it is boring....more info
  • Sean connery IS Orange Nappy Man
    It wasn't the worst Sci-Fri film. I've seen worse - that flying Pirahna film for example or any of the Star Trek movies (well Wrath of Khan was alright).

    It got into philosophical stuff and then lost steam with random sexual references and that room with the magnified plankton in the background (it was supposed to be dna...being a biologist...I couldn't stop giggling).There was enough transparent plastic in this movie to supply a small european country and enough filmy, lushly patterned fabric to supply the entire hippy population of thw world.

    I did watch it all the way through. I was moved by the desire of the immortals to die. As noted by one of the reviewers, the person who acted Friend did an amazing job.

    No review of Zardoz could be complete without noting the red underwear that Sean spent most of the movie either running, leaping or riding horse back in. Sean spent several segments riding hard and hacking down dead-eyed middle management types in suits that seemed to inhabit this world in astonishing numbers(though where they kept their suits pressed and cleaned is somewhat of a mystery considering that civilization is supposed to be on a downward slide). I digress. I guarantee you'll probably find it amusing and a bit titallating..but it's not a masterpeice....more info

  • "Is God in show business?"
    So asks Arthur Frayn, alias the god Zardoz, as his disembodied head floats before us and invites us to be entertained by Zardoz, a 1974 film directed by John Boorman, starring Sean Connery and Charlotte Rampling.

    Arthur Frayn loves magic tricks and says Merlin is his hero. (Did Frayn take the name of Merlin's heroic protege for himself?)

    We are, as a subtitle tells us, in the twenty-third century. Here the Eternals live inside Vortex 4, a perfect English village by a lake. In the Vortex there is no death, thanks to a device called the Tabernacle, which takes the memories of an Eternal and implants them into a new fetus should the Eternal be unlucky enough to die in an accident or bored enough to take his or her own life.

    That is, there is no death until Zed, one of the Brutals who live outside the Vortex, finds his way inside. Zed is strong, hypermasculine, and sexually active - - everything the Eternals no longer are.

    In science fiction movies the future often looks like the present with one or two strange elements thrown in. But in the Vortex the clothes, buildings, and even the scientific instruments are so unlike ours as to make us believe we are watching a far future with little connection to our own life. Even more strange than their accoutrements is the way the Eternals speak and move. Barely perceptible movements and gestures are part of their language.

    However details outside the Vortex bring this world closer to us. The clothes the Brutals wear are dirty and torn twentieth-century fashions. The Brutals live like barbarians huddled around fires in a town with an abandoned ruin that was once a municipal library.

    In the Vortex not everyone is content. There are renegades, those whose negative thoughts disrupt the Eternals' perfection. The renegades are allowed to age but not die. They are the oldest Eternals.

    Besides the renegades, there is another group, the apathetics. They barely move or respond. The Eternals are worried because this disease is spreading throughout the Vortex. So the equilibrium of the Vortex is deteriorating before Zed arrives.

    Friend, an Eternal, wants to know from Zed what happened to Arthur Frayn, with whom Friend has been conspiring. But Zed can block his thoughts from Friend and from May, the scientist who gets permission to study Zed for a time before killing him.

    By the time Friend and May learn what happened to Arthur Frayn and what Zed is it's too late to save Utopia. Finally, Zed learns what brought Utopia into being.

    The renegades are the scientists, politicians, and millionaires who built the Vortex to save themselves and their children from the chaos destroying the outside world. But they were too old to adapt to eternal life and after the centuries went mad. Their spoiled, effete children now rule in the Vortex and it is they who are succumbing to apathy from the lack of a need to struggle for their existence.

    The Vortex is not a distant, horrible future. It's the horrible present. The Eternals are literally us - - the generation that saw Zardoz in 1974, the children of the generation that first built the terrible weapons and created the rapacious society that caused the apocalypse. We are the children of the renegades.

    In 1974 Boorman was describing the generation he saw inheriting the world. The message isn't that original - - life thrives because of the reality of death. The living feed off the dead and it's the prospect of death that inspires creativity. Sex and violence, no matter how much we might prefer otherwise, are related.

    The elite who saw their (our) society crumbling around them, who felt the new Dark Ages coming, sealed themselves off the rest of the world and its lower classes. As in so-called advanced societies today a minority took most of the world's resources and left the majority of the world's people to fend for themselves. Then this elite justified their greed and lack of concern for how their behavior would affect the rest of the planet by claiming they had a duty to survive, in order to preserve and transmit the glories of human history.

    When the reborn Arthur Frayn returns to Friend, as they joyfully face the end of their world, they realize it's all been a joke, a story told by an idiot. They, like us, have been "confused . . . and abused . . . and amused."...more info

  • THE MOVIE THAT ASKS THE QUESTION, IS GOD IN SHOW BUSINESS TOO?
    The gun is good. The penis is evil. The penis shoots seeds and makes new life to poison the earth with a plague of men, as once it was. But the gun shoots death and purifies the earth of the filth of brutals. Go forth and kill! Zardoz has spoken....more info
  • Mental!!
    Great review from Polaris, if you want a "proper" treatise on this film, read that review. What I want to say is this. This film is mental! If you take elements of The Prisoner, Logans Run, A Boney-M album cover, the bit in the far future in the 60's version of The Time Machine where the Eloi live in pastel togas, some sex and mild nudity, and then add in Sean Connery in a tutu and a big massive flying head with guns coming out of it! Bloody Hell! You couldn't make it up. As other reviewers have pointed out, there is a serious story trying to get out, but you always have to come back to Sean Connery in a tutu, and a big massive flying head! I currently drive an Opel Zafira, but would consider trading it in for a big giant flying head. With guns coming out. Magic. ...more info
  • Director John Boorman's Classic
    ZARDOZ is director John Boorman's classic tale of future events. This came at a time when Sean Connery was giving up his James Bond image. ZARDOZ was one of the greatest "sleepers"of its time. This DVD combined with the film's shocking ending is very good....more info
  • a timeless message
    i first saw this movie nearly twenty years ago and saw it again, recently. if you are a lover of the political anti-utopian genre, then this is a must see for you. it definitely looks dated and the sight of zardoz floating through the air could make you giggle considering the achievements in special effects today. but the message is clear....more info
  • It's Different, I'll Give You That
    I'll be the first to admit this one takes an acquired taste and is not for everyone. It's not your standard science fiction. I wouldn't call it a thinking man's movie, but it is full of metaphor, irony and interesting observations on the human condition. Ladies and gentlemen: you have been warned.

    Zardoz has set in a post apocalyptic setting, but doesn't really get into that scavenger roaming the earth theme like Road Warrior or Waterworld. Instead you have one "primitive" surrounded by the evolved "eternals". In other words Mad Max type PA fans should look elsewhere. No spectacular special effects. Actually there are hardly any special effects at all. The futuristic sets aren't anything to write home about, though the on location landscape is pretty enough. Like I said... this isn't your average sci-fi.

    What Zardoz really puts on the table is content more of the mind-bending nature. The movie is about manipulation on several levels as well as the consequences of a conditioned society and how it reacts to change. There isn't a lot of action, and the action you get isn't enough to satisfy any adrenaline junkies out there. The events unfold more like a ballet, using symbolism as much as conventional actions.

    Bottom line this is a very different kind of Sci Fi. For those of you who like exploring new ideas then this movie is for you. I know this is probably the most vague review I have done, but I just can't describe what I got from the movie. It took me a while to figure out how to rate it. All in all I enjoyed watching Zardoz. It was a fascinating trip down a unique setting and society. I can guarantee not everyone will agree, but at least it successfully pulled off what it attempted in my eyes.
    ...more info
  • This is really weird movie
    Sean Connery made this movie after his Bond franchise died. This came out a few years after "Diamonds are Forever". Connery was in the '83 "Never say Never Again" but that's not considered a true Bond movie. But, I degress, we're talking about ZARDOZ.

    I give the movie five stars. It's one of those mid-1970s science fiction movies that has cheezy effects, cheezy dialog, and is fun to watch if you've had a few shots of whiskey on ice. Four years later "Star Wars" came out. That is how much movies changed in a short time.

    Connery is part of a group of killers turned farmers who must till the earth and put food in the mouth of ZARDOZ, a flying head that goes from place to place collecting grain to feed the immortal humans in the Vortex. Connery plays "Zed", a mutant (they don't really say what sort of mutant he is) who used to rape and murder to his hearts content until being forced to become a farmer. When ZARDOZ comes on a grain collection Zed is buried under grain and inside of the grain slips into the Vortex.

    The Vortex is the area where the immortals live. It's not easy to figure out. I've watched this movie three or four times and it shows the Vortex, a simple English village, is protected by a shield. How is the shield maintained? We don't know. You look around the Vortex compound and nothing there looks like technology that has advanced past 1820. There are some plastic things for growing plants. They look as out of place as a plastic bean bag chairs in the middle of a castle.

    Zed's job is easy. He must figure out a way to bring down the invisible walls of the Vortex so his band of marauders can take vengence on the inhabitants. The killers must have revenge for being forced to become farmers.

    In some ways I look at this movie as an analog of what is going on in modern Europe. The present inhabitants of Europe are bored with life. They believe in nothing. They do nothing. So, they invite in Muslims with the full knowledge the aim of that group is to transform Europe to something alien to a European.

    Zardoz is quite like that. Zed is brought in and most everybody knows he will be the death of them. This is something new to modern people; we invite in the very people who wish to wreck the society we helped build. Anyway, Zed destroys the Vortex mainframe computer. This part is done by having a crystal computer "suck" Zed into it. The acting and effects at this part of the movie seem like Velveta is all over the place; it's all just so cheezy. The producers of the movie enlarges a photo of a diamond and Connery just holds up his hands and "falls" into the crystal. Perhaps I should be less judgemental about modern computer graphics.

    Now, until the final conflict with the crystal computer there are lots of stupid things a person will see. You'll see raiders riding horses and shooting guns with an unlimited supply of ammo; the first job of the raiders was to reduce the population of humans before farming could start. You'll see thin nude British actresses throwing themselves at everybody and any thing. (Did Connery go through a divorce at this time? I can see why.) Note, the women are not "Bond" girls. So the nudity is not sexy. You'll see the flying head of ZARDOZ who collects food. How he forces the collection of food is not explained. How this head of rock flies is also not explained. Anti-gravity? We don't know and are not told.

    I give the movie five stars and I simply don't know why? It's entertaining. Also, the over six foot tall Connery looks like a near ape when standing to the 5'7" and thin-as-reeds British actors. I don't think any of the women weigh more than 110 pounds, 140 for the men. It's a great snap shot of how thin the British people used to be in the immediate post WWII era. John Lennon was a peer of this group. They were all so thin (or we are now all so fat).

    Oh heck get the movie. It's not bad on discount. You'll enjoy it. There isn't any politics to piss you off. There is a somewhat good story. It's mindless and fun entertainment. I enjoy it.

    Trust me. If you get this movie you'll watch it about once or twice a year. It's fun.

    And if you figure out the walls of the Vortex make sure to post the answer on this web site.

    5 Stars. It is good mindless fun. ...more info
  • A fantasy world where you may or may not want to live
    I like all of John Boorman's movies. He has a way of capturing the essence of a time and place; even when it's not one we are familiar with. And he has done that very well with ZARDOZ.

    The plot of ZARDOZ is fairly simple but has a few niches along the way. It goes like this:

    Man strives to create utopia for his privileged society. And he thinks he has succeeded. Alas, the best-laid plans of men, etc. Utopia does not turn out as expected and things are going awry for the privileged class. Of course there are Outsiders -- the "Brutals" -- which are not so privileged. It is through an outsider (Sean Connery/Zed) that a few of the privileged attempt to rectify their situation by allowing him inside the vortex (where the privileged live). That, of course, is a simplistic view of the plot.

    In a way, it is not unlike a super-power (the U.S.?) keeping the Brutals (the Terrorists?) at bay. But there are always those that are not satisfied with the status quo.

    There is more going on in this movie than meets the eye and it is difficult to keep track of some of the niches. One must put together the pieces in order to follow what is happening at any particular time as well as why it is happening. That is one of the things I liked about the movie: the sum of the parts were greater than the ending. You may have to watch the movie more than once to put the parts together.

    Some reviewers have criticized the cheesy special effects. Well, this is not Star Wars or The Matrix. It is not even that technically advanced of a world. Not the way we know it. It is a different type of technology and a different culture. That's another thing I liked about it. It was a new and different kind of world. And Zed brought distress and disturbance into this world. That's what made the movie exciting for me: Zed's insurgence into the vortex was an adventure of the mind as well as the body. He upset and changed the world of the privileged as he himself was changed by his interactions with them. So the end was expected, and yet, it was not.
    ...more info

 

 
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