The story begins in the year 1184 during the time of the Crusades for the city of Jerusalem. Balian (Orlando Bloom), a peasant blacksmith in France is visited by Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson). Godfrey reveals to Balian that he is his father, and he asks Balian to come with him and fight in the Crusades. Balian tells his father that he is mourning his wife, who has just committed suicide after the death of their newborn.
The village priest callously informs Balian that his late wife burns in hell for her actions, and enrages the grieving blacksmith to the point where he attacks and murders the holy man. Fleeing his native village, he joins up with Godfrey and heads off to the Crusades. Before dying, Godfrey knights his bastard Son, and makes him Baron of Ibelin, a territory in the Holy Land. Balian hopes that he can reach Jerusalem and beg forgiveness for himself and his late wife.
After being shipwrecked on the Levant coast, Balian is forced to fight for survival. He defeats an Arab “champion” and gains the respect of his Muslim opponents. He eventually presents himself to King Baldwin of Jerusalem (Edward Norton) and is confirmed as Baron of Ibelin. Balian finds Ibelin to be a remote desert oasis, but does his best to manage his new lands well.
The various Christian knights and lords are constantly bickering, with some pleased with the status quo, while others seek wealth and glory by attacking Muslim caravans and trying to expand the Christian-controlled territories. Guy de Lusignan, a member of the Knight’s Templar, is especially aggressive, and causes a rupture with the Muslims by attacking them ceaselessly. When King Baldwin dies, the truce with the Muslims is broken, and the Christians ride out to assault Saladin’s (Ghassan Massoud) mighty army. They are quickly dispatched in the desert, and Saladin besieges Jerusalem.
Balian and the people of Jerusalem fight for their lives as Saladin assault the city. They are badly outnumbered, however, and eventually have to capitulate. Saladin graciously allows them to leave the city, provided they leave all precious objects and gold behind. Balian returns to France, and is seen working as a smith again at the end of the film. He is approached by King Richard (of England) asking if he is Balian of Ibelin. Balian replies that he is a blacksmith, nothing more. —IMDb
One of the most promising directors of the late ‘70s, Ridley Scott displayed stylistic flair and remarkable storytelling abilities in such films as The Duellists (1977) and his landmark Alien (1979). Born in 1937, in Northumberland, England, Scott was educated at the West Hartlepool College of Art and London’s Royal College of Art. After completing his education, he became a set designer for the British Broadcasting Company in the early ’60s, eventually getting promoted to director of such popular BBC series as the long-running police adventure Z Cars. With the establishment of his own firm, Ridley Scott Associates, Scott was in on the ground floor of some of the most inventive European TV commercials of the 1970s.
The director’s transition to the big screen came with his direction of 1977’s The Duellists, a visually striking Napoleonic war film that won the Jury Prize for Best First Feature at the Cannes Film Festival. Further success followed with 1979’s Alien, which established… read more
It's amazing how butchered of a cut got sent to theatres. Seen in its full directors cut, it easily stands among Scott's works as one of his most successful and moving modern films.
As proven before, Scott is one of our most gifted filmmakers. His films are often beautifully exaggerated and highly dramatic portraits of very real ideas, eras, and events. Other than the fantastic cinematography and impeccable design, this film (although too fictionalized) carries with it some very important notions about, for example, the continuing battles in the Holy Lands and the genesis of Eurabia.
Several of Ridley Scott’s films stand among the greatest of all time. Blade Runner is the prime example of a sci-fi masterpiece, Alien is one of the most atmospheric and terrifying movies of all-time and Gladiator is the ultimate action epic. I love all of those films, but his second venture into action epics 5 years after the gladiatorial epic that is Kingdom of Heaven deserves a place among the elite of the genre, especially beside Gladiator. Gladiator is no doubt a superior film, it’s without any debate that it’s Ridley Scott’s most masculine, powerful and exciting film, but the Orlando Bloom led Kingdom of Heaven isn’t exactly an inadequate return to the genre that reminded the world again of Ridley Scott’s true craftsmanship across the board. As special and pivotal to the action epic genre as Gladiator is, Kingdom of Heaven feels much more visually pleasing. Its gritty and extreme violence can be overwhelming at times, but the shining steel among everything else on steel really make it the most exciting release of 2005. Also, how incredible is the ensemble? Orlando Bloom, Liam Neeson, David Thewlis, Eva Green, Edward Norton, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson and Martin Sheen. Even with the mammoth 190 minute running time of the director’s cut, there’s not a single dull moment. So underrated.
The director's cut of this film is a true masterpiece that stands alongside Alien and Blade Runner in the canon of Scott's work. The most damaged, I think, a theatrical cut of a film has ever been due to studio-demanded cuts. Scott's true vision of "Kingdom of Heaven" is a film that is in equal measures exciting, gravely beautiful and beautifully acted. The characters are rich, and the political, social and religious subtexts are invaluable.