- Kingdom of Heaven (film)
name = Kingdom of Heaven
Orlando Bloom Eva Green Jeremy Irons David Thewlis Edward Norton Marton Csokas Liam Neeson Ghassan Massoud
cinematography = John Mathieson
Dody Dorn Chisako Yokoyama(director's cut)
20th Century Fox Scott Free
May 6, 2005
runtime = 144 min.
194 min (director's cut).
189 min (
Blu-Rayrelease, omits Overture, Intermission& Entr'acte)
UK/ Spain/ USA/ Germany
language = English / Arabic
budget = $130 million
gross = $211,652,051
website = http://www.kingdomofheavenmovie.com/
amg_id = 1:294331
imdb_id = 0320661
"Kingdom of Heaven" is a 2005
epic film, directed by Ridley Scottand written by William Monahan. It stars Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Marton Csokas, Brendan Gleeson, Alexander Siddig, Ghassan Massoud, Edward Norton, Jon Finch, Michael Sheenand Liam Neeson.
The story is set during the
Crusadesof the 12th century. A French village blacksmith goes to aid the city of Jerusalemin its defense against the Muslimleader Saladin, who is battling to reclaim the city from the Christians. The film script is a heavily fictionalized portrayal of Balian of Ibelin. Hamid Dabashi, a professor who mainly specializes in Iranian studies at Columbia University, was the film's chief academic consultant regarding the Crusades.
Most filming took place in
Ouarzazatein Morocco, where Scott had filmed "Gladiator" and "Black Hawk Down". A replica of the ancient city of Jerusalem was constructed in the desert. Filming also took place in Spain, at the Loarre Castle, Segovia, Ávila, Palma del Ríoand Casa de Pilatosin Sevilla. [Cinemareview.com "Kingdom of Heaven- Production Notes" web: http://www.cinemareview.com/production.asp?prodid=2960]
Cast and characters
Many of the characters in the movie are fictionalized versions of historical figures:
Orlando Bloomas Balian of Ibelin
Eva Greenas Princess Sibylla
Jeremy Ironsas Count Tiberias
Marton Csokasas Guy of Lusignan
Brendan Gleesonas Raynald of Chatillon
Edward Nortonas King Baldwin of Jerusalem
David Thewlisas Hospitaller
Liam Neesonas Godfrey of Ibelin, Balian's father (the actual father of Balian of Ibelin was not named Godfrey but Barisan)
Ghassan Massoudas Saladin
Alexander Siddigas Nasir
Jon Finchas the Patriarch of Jerusalem
Iain Glenas King Richard of England
Jouko Aholaas Odo
Eriq Ebouaneyas Firuz
Velibor Topicas Almaric
, in the hope he will eventually take his place as Godfrey's heir. Balian quickly refuses, and, after resupplying and resting, the Crusaders ride on. Shortly afterwards, the corrupt town priest (Balian's half-brother) reveals that his wife's body was beheaded before burial (a customary practice in those times for people who committed suicide, to ensure the soul cannot enter heaven) and he has taken the crucifix she wore. Enraged at these insults, Balian slays the priest with the sword he is working on. Balian quickly decides to follow his father after all, in the hope of gaining redemption and forgiveness for both his wife and himself. Shortly after he catches up to his father, soldiers from the village arrive to arrest Balian. Godfrey refuses to hand him over and, though they win the ensuing fight, most of Godfrey's band are killed. Godfrey himself is wounded by an arrow and, though he is not killed outright, it becomes clear as their journey continues that he will soon die.
Messina, Godfrey, on the brink of death, knightsBalian and orders him to serve the King of Jerusalemand protect the helpless. He ultimately shares with him his vision of "a kingdom of conscience, morality, and righteousness in the Holy Land", where Muslims and Christians can peacefully coexist, before finally succumbing to his injuries. On Balian's subsequent journey to Jerusalem, his ship is hit by a storm, leaving Balian as the sole survivor of the wreck, though a horse also survives but runs away as Balian tries to mount it. Tracking the horse into the desert, Balian soon finds himself confronting a Muslim cavalier, and his servant, over possession of the horse. Balian slays the horseman in single combat, but spares the servant, asking him to guide him to Jerusalem. Upon their arrival in Jerusalem, Balian releases his prisoner who then tells him the name of his slain master, and Balian says that he will pray for his soul. As his prisoner departs, he says that, "Your qualities will be known among your enemies before ever you meet them". After being accepted as the new Lord of Ibelin, Balian soon becomes acquainted with the main players in Jerusalem's political arena: King Baldwin IV, stricken by leprosyyet nevertheless a wise and most sensible ruler, Princess Sibylla, King Baldwin IV's sister, and Guy de Lusignan, Sibylla's scheming, bloodthirsty, and intolerant husband. Despite the respect Baldwin engenders from the combined Christian and Muslim population of Jerusalem, Guy, who is determined to rule after Baldwin's inevitable early death, seeks to precipitate a war that will allow him to dispose of the Muslims and claim the Kingdom for Christians alone.
Guy and his co-conspirator
Raynald of Châtillonmassacre a Muslim trade caravan. Saladin, leader of the Muslim forces seeking to retake Jerusalem, attacks Kerak, Raynald's castle, to bring him to account for his crime. Balian decides to defend Kerak castle from Saladin's cavalry, in order to protect the innocent villagers surrounding the castle. Though outnumbered, he and his knights charge Saladin's cavalry, allowing the villagers time to flee to the castle; the quick battle ends as a stalemate with Balian's capture. In captivity, Balian encounters the 'servant' he freed, Imad ad-Din, learning he is actually one of Saladin's Generals, who then returns the favor, freeing Balian to Kerak. King Baldwin IV then arrives with his main army, successfully negotiates a Muslim retreat with Saladin and averts a potential bloodbath. At Saladin's camp, several of his Generals are angry that he made a truce, but Saladin dismisses these complaints as a foolhardy rush to war; he will only launch an attack against Jerusalem after ample preparation, when he feels he is strategically strong enough. Baldwin beats Raynald and orders his arrest, but the stress of the events causes him to collapse, and his physicians discover he will die shortly. Baldwin attempts to pair Balian to Sibylla, knowing that the pair have affection for each other, but Balian does not accept as he refuses to be associated with the necessary murder of Guy; such political intrigue being counter to Balian's morality. After Baldwin finally dies, Sibylla succeeds her brother and therefore names Guy as her King Consort of Jerusalem. Guy, now free to do as he pleases, releases Raynald, unsuccessfully tries to have Balian killed by several of the Knights Templar and has Raynald provoke Saladin to war by murdering Saladin's sister. When Saladin sends an emissary to demand the return of his sister's body, the heads of those responsible, and the surrender of Jerusalem. Guy answers by killing the emissary, nearly causing a fight between the Christian and Muslim bodyguards. As the emissary's body is towed away, Guy whispers arrogantly "I am Jerusalem." Subsequently, in their arrogance, they march to the desert without adequate food and water to fight Saladin, leaving Jerusalem unguarded except for Balian, his personal knights and the townspeople. Saladin's army ambushes Guy and Raynald (the Battle of Hattin) and the Crusader army is annihilated. Guy and Raynald themselves are captured; Saladin has Raynald executed, and then marches on Jerusalem. Balian prepares the defences, challenging the Patriarch's advice to flee, and then makes a symbolic gesture by knighting a number of men-at-arms to raise morale. Balian insists that their goal is to defend Jerusalem's population, not the city itself. Knowing full well they cannot defeat the Saracens, the defenders' only hope is to delay their enemies long enough for them to negotiate.
Saladin's siege of Jerusalem is three days of battle wherein Balian demonstrates tactical skill in knocking down
siege towers, before inspiring the defenders to hold the line when a section of city wall is opened. Having proven their resolve, Saladin offers terms: Balian surrenders Jerusalem to Saladin when Saladin offers the inhabitants' safe passage to Christian lands. Balian points out that when the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem a hundred years previously, they massacred the Muslim inhabitants, but Saladin assures him that he is a man of honor, and, keeping his word, allows Balian and his people to leave. In the marching column of citizens, he finds Sibylla, and convinces her to come with him.
Later, Balian is back in his French village. A column of crusader knights rides through, led by King
Richard I of England, who tells Balian that they are commencing a new Crusade to retake Jerusalem from Saladin. King Richard seeks Balian, the defender of Jerusalem, to join him, but Balian answers that he is only a blacksmith.
After visiting the grave of Balian's first wife, he and Sibylla ride into the sunset. An explanation is given that King Richard failed in his Crusade, negotiated a shaky truce with Saladin after three years of war, and that "nearly a thousand years later, peace in the Kingdom of Heaven remains elusive".
Baldwin IVof Jerusalem, who reigned from 1174 to 1185, was a leper, and his sister Sibylla did marry Guy of Lusignan. Also, Baldwin IV had a falling out with Guy before his death, and so Guy did not succeed Baldwin IV immediately. Baldwin crowned Sibylla's son from her previous marriage to William of Montferrat, five-year-old Baldwin Vco-king in his own lifetime, in 1183. [Depicted in the director's cut.] The little boy reigned as sole king for one year, dying in 1186 at nine years of age. After her son's death, Sibylla and Guy (to whom she was devoted) garrisoned the city, and she claimed the throne. The coronation scene in the movie was, in real life, more of a shock: Sibylla had been forced to promise to divorce Guy before becoming queen, with the assurance that she would be permitted to pick her own consort. After being crowned by Patriarch Heraclius of Jerusalem(who is unnamed in the movie), she chose to crown Guy as her consort. Raymond III of Tripoli, the film's Tiberias, was not present, but was in Nablus attempting a coup, with Balian of Ibelin, to raise her half-sister (Balian's stepdaughter), princess Isabella of Jerusalem, to the throne; however, Isabella's husband, Humphrey IV of Toron, betrayed them by swearing allegiance to Guy.
Raymond of Tripoli was a cousin of
Amalric I of Jerusalem, and one of the Kingdom's most powerful nobles, as well as sometime regent. He had a claim to the throne himself, but, being childless, instead tried to advance his allies the Ibelin family. He was often in conflict with Guy and Raynald, who had risen to their positions by marrying wealthy heiresses and through the king's favor. Guy and Raynald did harass Saladin's caravans, and the claim that Raynald captured Saladin's sister is based on the account given in the "Old French Continuation of William of Tyre". This claim is not supported by any other accounts, and is generally believed to be false. In actuality, after Raynald's attack on one caravan, Saladin made sure that the next one, in which his sister was traveling, was properly guarded: the lady came to no harm." [http://www.stfrancis.edu/historyinthemovies/kingdomofheaven.htm Making the Crusades Relevant in KINGDOM OF HEAVEN] " by Cathy Schultz]
The discord between the rival factions in the kingdom gave Saladin the opportunity to pursue his long-term goal of conquering it. The kingdom's army was defeated at the Battle of Hattin, partly due to the conflict between Guy and Raymond. As already stated, the battle itself is not shown in the movie, but its aftermath is depicted. The Muslims captured Guy and Raynald, and according to al-Safadi in "al-Wafi bi'l-wafayat", executed Raynald after he drank from the goblet offered to Guy, as the sultan had once made a promise never to give anything to Raynald. Guy was imprisoned, but later freed. He attempted to retain the kingship even after the deaths of Sibylla and their daughters during his siege of Acre in 1190, but lost in an election to
Conrad of Montferratin 1192. Richard I of England, his only supporter, sold him the lordship of Cyprus, where he died c. 1194.
There was a Haute Cour, a "high court", a sort of medieval parliament, in which Jeremy Irons' character Tiberias is seen arguing with Guy for or against war, in front of Baldwin IV as the final judge.
The movie alludes to the
Battle of Montgisardin 1177, in which 16-year-old Baldwin IV defeated Saladin, with Saladin narrowly escaping.
Knights Hospitallerand Knights Templarwere the most enthusiastic about fighting Saladin and the Muslims. They were monastic military orders, committed to celibacy. Neither Guy nor Raynald was a Templar, as the movie implies by costuming them both in Templar surcoats: they were secular nobles with wives and families.
During one scene in the movie, shortly before Hattin, three soldiers referred to as "Templars" attack Balian; however, they clearly wear the white surcoats with black crosses of
Teutonic Knights, rather than the white and red of the Knights Templar. The Teutonic Knights were not a military order until 1198. [" [http://www.the-orb.net/encyclop/religion/monastic/opsahl1.html Religion/The Military Orders: THE TEUTONIC ORDER] " by Eric Opsahl, "ORB Online Encyclopedia"]
The historical origin of Orlando Bloom's character, Balian of Ibelin, was a close ally of Raymond; however, he was a mature gentleman, just a year or two younger than Raymond, and one of the most important nobles in the kingdom, not a French blacksmith. His father Barisan (which was originally his own name, modified into French as 'Balian') founded the Ibelin family in the east, and probably came from Italy. Balian and Sibylla were indeed united in the defense of Jerusalem; however, no romantic relationship existed between the two. Balian married Sibylla's stepmother Maria Comnena, Dowager Queen of Jerusalem and Lady of Nablus. The "Old French Continuation" of
William of Tyre(the so-called Chronicle of Ernoul) claimed that Sibylla had been infatuated with Balian's older brother Baldwin of Ibelin, a widower over twice her age, but this is doubtful; instead, it seems that Raymond of Tripoli attempted a coup to marry her off to him to strengthen the position of his faction; however, this legend seems to have been behind the film's creation of a love-relationship between Sibylla and a member of the Ibelin family.
, a favorable account partly written by Ernoul, one of Balian's officers, and other contemporary documents. Saladin did besiege Jerusalem for almost a month, and was able to knock down a portion of the wall. In the film Balian knighted everyone who could carry a sword, but historical accounts say he only knighted some burgesses. The exact number varies in different accounts, but it is probably less than one hundred in a city which had tens of thousands of male inhabitants and refugees. Balian personally negotiated the surrender of the city with Saladin, after threatening to destroy every building and kill the 3000-5000 Muslim inhabitants of the city. Saladin allowed Balian and his family to leave in peace, along with everyone else who could arrange to pay a ransom. The rest were sold into slavery. Furthermore the members of military orders, such as the Templars, were all executed in brutal manner. Saladin had them all killed by Muslim Sufi mystics that had little experience in killing and therefore made the process more slow and painful.
The "uneasy truce" referred to in the closing scene actually refers to the
Treaty of Ramla, negotiated, with Balian's help, at the end of the Third Crusade. The Third Crusade is alluded to at the end of the movie, when Richard I of England visits Balian in France. Balian, of course, was not from France and did not return there with Sibylla; she and her two daughters died of fever in camp during the siege of Acre. Conrad of Montferrat had denied her and Guy entry to the remaining stronghold of Tyre, and thus Guy was attempting to take another city for himself.
Balian's relations with Richard were far from amicable, because he supported Conrad against Richard's vassal Guy. He and his wife Maria arranged her daughter Isabella's forcible divorce from Humphrey of Toron so she could marry Conrad. Ambroise, who wrote a poetic account of the crusade, called Balian "more false than a goblin" and said he "should be hunted with dogs". The anonymous author of the "Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi" wrote that Balian was a member of a "council of consummate iniquity", and described him as cruel, fickle, and faithless, and accused him of taking bribes from Conrad.
The young Balian of the movie thus did not exist in reality. The historical Balian had descendants by Maria Comnena. Thanks to their close relationship to Sibylla's half-sister and successor, Maria's daughter Queen Isabella (not shown in the movie), the Ibelins became the most powerful noble family in the rump Kingdom of Jerusalem as well as in Cyprus in the thirteenth century. Most notably, Maria and Balian's son John, the Lord of Beirut, was a dominant force in the politics of Outremer for the first third of the thirteenth century.
An episode of
The History Channel's series " History vs. Hollywood" analyzed the historical accuracy of the film. This program and a "Movie Real" (a series by A&E Network) episode about "Kingdom of Heaven" were both included on the DVD version of the movie.
The visual style of "Kingdom of Heaven" emphasizes set design and impressive cinematography in almost every scene. It is notable for its "visually stunning cinematography and haunting music". [ Richard J. Radcliff, "Movie Review: Kingdom of Heaven"
May 29, 2005, BlogCritics.org, web: [http://blogcritics.org/archives/2005/05/29/093635.php BlogCritics-KoH] : noted "visually and sonically beautiful; visually stunning cinematography and haunting music."]
Cinematographer John Mathieson created many large, sweeping landscapes, Stephanie Zacharek, "Kingdom of Heaven - Salon" (review),
May 6, 2005, Salon.com, web: [http://dir.salon.com/story/ent/movies/review/2005/05/06/kingdom/index.html Salon-KoH] : noted "Cinematographer John Mathieson gives us lots of great, sweeping landscapes."] where the cinematography, supporting performances, and battle sequences are meticulously mounted. [ Carrie Rickey, "Epic 'Kingdom' has a weak link" (review), "Philadelphia Inquirer", May 6, 2005, web: [http://ae.philly.com/entertainment/ui/philly/movie.html?id=306852 Philly-KoH] : noted "cinematography, supporting performances and battle sequences are so meticulously mounted."] The cinematography and scenes of set-pieces have been described as "ballets of light and color" (as in films by Akira Kurosawa). [ Uncut, Review of Kingdom of Heaven, "Uncut", 2005-07-01, page 129, web: [http://www.buy.com/prod/Kingdom_of_Heaven_Directors_Cut/q/loc/323/202308286.html BuyCom-Uncut] : noted "Where Scott scores is in the cinematography and set-pieces, with vast armies surging across sun-baked sand in almost Kurosawa-like ballets of light and color."] Director Ridley Scott's visual acumen was described as the main draw of "Kingdom of Heaven" with the stellar, stunning cinematography and "jaw-dropping combat sequences" based on the production design of Arthur Max. [ Nix, "Kingdom of Heaven (2005)" (review), BeyondHollywood.com, web: [http://www.beyondhollywood.com/reviews/kingdomofheaven.htm BeyondHwood-KoH] : noted "Scott's visual acumen is the main draw of "Kingdom of Heaven" and "stunning cinematography and jaw-dropping combat sequences" or "stellar cinematography."] [ Roger Ebert, "Kingdom of Heaven" (review), "Chicago Sun Times", SunTimes.com, May 5, 2005, webpage: [http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050505/REVIEWS/50426001 Ebert-KoH] : Ebert noted "What's more interesting is Ridley Scott's visual style, assisted by John Mathieson's cinematography and the production design of Arthur Max. A vast set of ancient Jerusalem was constructed to provide realistic foregrounds and locations, which were then enhanced by CGI backgrounds, additional horses and troops, and so on."]
The music to the movie is quite different in style and content to the soundtrack of Ridley Scott's earlier 2000 film "Gladiator" and many other subsequent films depicting historical events. A composition of classical listings, rousing chorales, juxtaposing Muslim sacred chants, and subtle implementation of contemporary rock/pop influences, the soundtrack is largely the result of British film-score composer
Harry Gregson-Williams. Gregson-Williams chose to move away from the "battle waltz" and the "wailing woman" that had been introduced by Hans Zimmerin "Gladiator" and would then find excessive use in more and more other movies, such as "Alexander" and "Troy". During the climactic final battle scene, a piece of Jerry Goldsmith's "Valhalla" theme from " The 13th Warrior" is used.
Upon its release, the film was met with mixed opinions. Critics such as
Roger Ebert, however, found the film's message to be deeper than Scott's previous "Gladiator". [Roger Ebert, "Kingdom of Heaven" reviews for the Chicago Sun Times]
Several actors/actresses were praised for their performances. The unanimously praised performance was that of actor
Edward Norton, who played the leper king of Jerusalem, Baldwin IV. Critics have described his acting as near "phenomenal", "eerie", and "so far removed from anything that he has ever done that we see the true complexities of his talent". [Jack Moore, [http://www.themovieinsider.com/reviews/rid/615/Kingdom_of_Heaven "Kingdom of Heaven: Director's Cut DVD Review"] ] The Syrian actor Ghassan Massoud was also praised for his portrayal of Saladin, described by " The New York Times" as "cool as a tall glass of water". [Manolha Dargis, "New York Times" review of "Kingdom of Heaven"] Also commended were Eva Green, who plays Princess Sibylla, "with a measure of cool that defies her surroundings", and Jeremy Irons. [James Berardinelli, http://www.reelviews.net/movies/k/kingdom_heaven.html]
However, lead actor
Orlando Bloom's performance generally elicited a lukewarm reception from American critics, with the " Boston Globe" stating Bloom was "not "actively" bad as Balian of Ibelin", but nevertheless "seems like a man holding the fort for a genuine star who never arrives". [Ty Burr, "Kingdom of Heaven Movie Review: Historically and heroically challenged 'Kingdom' fails to conquer"] Although the medieval character of Balian of Ibelin is not well known to U.S. culture, many critics had strong notions of how Balian should be acted, as an "epic hero" with a strong presence. One critic conceded that Balian was more of a "brave and principled thinker-warrior" rather than a large, strong commander, and Balian used brains-over-brawn to gain advantage in battle.
Orlando Bloom was not playing the young comedic role of the "" movies, but rather an older, mature, bearded man, who, in his late thirties, was in military combat for years, and questioned what was worth risking death. Some critics noted his "acceptable performance" in light of the far more difficult role that this film required over his previous famous, but light parts. Orlando Bloom had gained 20 pounds for the part, and the Extended Director's Cut (detailed below) of "Kingdom of Heaven" reveals even more complex facets of Orlando Bloom's role, involving connections with unknown relatives, which even further complicate Balian's view of life and death. Despite the criticism, Orlando Bloom won two awards for his performance.
Online, general criticism has been also divided, but leaning towards the positive. As of early 2006, the
Yahoo! Moviesrating for "Kingdom of Heaven" was a "B" from the critics (based on 15 Reviews). This rating equates to "good" according to Yahoo! Movie's rating system. On Rotten Tomatoes, only 39% of critics gave the film a positive review.
Academic criticism has focused on the supposed peaceful relationship between Christians and Muslims in Jerusalem and other cities depicted. Crusader historians such as
Jonathan Riley-Smith, quoted by "The Daily Telegraph", called the film "dangerous to Arab relations", claiming the movie was Osama bin Laden's version of the Crusades and would "fuel the Islamic fundamentalists". Riley-Smith further commented against the historical accuracy stating "nonsense like this will only reinforce existing myths," arguing that the film "relied on the romanticized view of the Crusades propagated by Sir Walter Scottin his book The Talisman, published in 1825 and now discredited by academics." [Charlotte Edwardes, " Ridley Scott's new Crusades film 'panders to Osama bin Laden'" "The Daily Telegraph" Jan. 17, 2004] [ [http://www.crusades-encyclopedia.com/truthisthefirstvictim.html Truth is the First Victim- Jonathan Riley-Smith ] ] [ [http://www.zombietime.com/kingdom_of_heaven/ Kingdom of Heaven info page ] ] . Fellow Crusade historian Jonathan Phillips also spoke against the film. Paul Halsalldefended Scott, claiming that "historians can't criticize filmmakers for having to make the decisions they have to make... [Scott is] not writing a history textbook". [CNN "Kingdom of Heaven" Transcript web: [http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0505/09/i_ins.01.html CNN.com] ]
Thomas F. Madden, a professor of medieval history at Saint Louis University, commented against the film's presentation of the Crusades,:
Given events in the modern world it is lamentable that there is so large a gulf between what professional historians know about the Crusades and what the general population believes. This movie only widens that gulf. The shame of it is that dozens of distinguished historians across the globe would have been only too happy to help Scott and Monahan get it right." [ [http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/madden200505270751.asp Thomas F. Madden on "Kingdom of Heaven" on National Review Online ] ]
Scott himself defended this depiction of the Muslim-Christian relationship in footage on the DVD version of the movie's extra features. Scott sees this portrayal as being a contemporary look at the history. He argued that peace and brutality are concepts relative to one's own experience, and since our society today is so far removed from the brutal times in which the movie takes place, he told the story in a way that he felt was true to the source material yet was more accessible to a modern audience. In other words, the "peace" that existed was exaggerated to fit our ideas of what such a peace would be. At the time, it was merely a lull in Muslim-Christian violence compared to the standards of the period. The recuring use of "Assalamu Alaikum" the traditional Arabic greating meaning: "Peace be with you" spoken both in Arabic and English is also repeated several times.
The "Director's Cut" of the film is a 4-disc set, two of which are dedicated to a feature-length documentary called "The Path to Redemption." This feature contains an additional featurette on historical accuracy called "Creative Accuracy: The Scholars Speak", where a number of academics support the film's contemporary relevance and historical accuracy. Among these historians is Dr. Nancy Caciola, who said that despite the various inaccuracies and fictionalized/dramatized details considered the film a "responsible depiction of the period."Fact|date=January 2008
William Monahan, who is a long-term enthusiast of the period, has said "If it isn't in, it doesn't mean we didn't know it... What you use, in drama, is what plays. Shakespeare did the same." [cite web |title=Hollywood on Crusade: With His Historical Epic, Ridley Scott Hurtles Into Vexing, Volatile Territory |author=Bob Thompson |date=2005-05-01 |publisher=Washington Post |url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/04/29/AR2005042900744.html |accessdate=2007-01-08]
Caciola agreed with the fictionalization of characters on the grounds that "crafting a character who is someone the audience can identify with" is necessary in a film. She said that "I, as a professional, have spent much time with medieval people, so to speak, in the texts that I read; and quite honestly there are very few of them that if I met in the flesh I feel that I would be very fond of." This appears to echo the sentiments of Scott himself. However, the DVD does not feature historians expressing more negative reactions.
The historical content and the religious and political messages present have received praise and condemnation, sentiments and perceptions. It is claimed that Christianity is portrayed in an unfavorable light and the value of Christian belief is diminished, especially in the portrayal of
Patriarch Heraclius of Jerusalem(Eraclius). [John Harlow, "Christian right goes to war with Ridley’s crusaders" web:http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article384742.ece] In several screenings in Beirut, Robert Fiskreported that Muslim audiences rose to their feet and applauded wildly during a scene in the film in which Saladinrespectfully places a fallen crucifixback on top of a table after it had fallen during the 3 day siege of the city. [Robert Fisk, "Kingdom of Heaven:Why Ridley Scott's Story Of The Crusades Struck Such A Chord In A Lebanese Cinema" web: [http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=8118 Zmag.org] ]
The movie was a box-office failure in the U.S. and Canada, earning $47 million against a budget of around $130 million, but was successful in Europe and the rest of the world, with the worldwide box office earnings totaling at $211,643,158. ["Kingdom of Heaven- Box Office Data, Movie News, Cast Information" web: [http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/2005/KINGH.php The-Numbers.com] ] It was also a big success in
Arabicspeaking countries, especially Egyptmainly because of the Egyptian actor Khaled El Nabawy who participated in the movie. Director Ridley Scott insinuated that the U.S. failure of the film was the result of bad advertising which presented the film as an adventure with a great love story rather than as an examination of religious conflict. [Hicelebs.com: "Kingdom of Heaven Trivia" web:http://www.hicelebs.com/movies/kingdom_of_heaven/trivia.html] It's also been noted that the film was altered from its original version to be shorter and follow a more simple plot line. This "less sophisticated" version is what hit theaters, although Scott and some of his crew felt it was watered down, explaining that by editing, "You've gone in there and taken little bits from everything". [Garth Franklin, "Interview: Ridley Scott's "Kingdom of Heaven" web: [http://www.darkhorizons.com/news05/kingdom2.php DarkHorizons.com] ]
As a final note, like some other Ridley Scott films, "Kingdom of Heaven" found success on DVD in the U.S., and the release of the Director's Cut has reinvigorated interest in the film. Nearly all reviews of the 2006 Director's Cut have been positiveFact|date=July 2007, including a four-star review in Britain's "Total Film" magazine (five star being the publication's highest rating).
Extended director's cut
An extended director's cut of the movie was released on
December 23, 2005, at the Laemmle Fairfax Theatre in Los Angeles, unsupported by advertising from 20th Century Fox. This version is what Ridley Scott originally wanted released to theaters, and is approximately 45 minutes longer than the original theatrical cut. The DVD of the extended Director's Cut was released on May 23, 2006. It is a four-disc box set with a runtime of 194 minutes, and is shown as a road show presentation with an overture, intermission and entr'acte. (The Blu Ray version omits the roadshow elements and runs for 189 minutes). Ridley Scott gave an interview [ [http://www.stv.tv/content/out/film/displayHotnow.html?id=opencms:/out/hotnow/films/ridley_scott_interview Ridley Scott interview] ] to STVon the occasion of the Director's Cut's UK release, when he discussed the motives and thinking behind the new version.
After the pitching of this film, studio marketing executives took it to be an action-adventure hybrid rather than what Ridley Scott and William Monahan intended it to be: a historical epic examining religious conflict. 20th Century Fox promoted the film as an action movie with heavy elements of romance, and in their advertising campaign, they made much of the "From the Director of Gladitor" slogan. When Scott presented the 194 minute version of the film to the studio, they balked at the length. Studio head Tom Rothman ordered the film to be trimmed down to only two hours, as he did not believe that a modern audience would go to see a three hour and fifteen minute movie. Ultimately, Rothman's decision backfired as the film gained mixed reviews (with many commenting that the film seemed "incomplete") and severely under-performed at the US box office.
The Director's Cut (DC) has received a distinctly more positive reception from film critics than the theatrical release, with many reviews suggesting that it offers a much greater insight into the motivations of individual characters. Scott and his crew have all stated that they consider the Director's Cut to be the true version of the film and the theatrical cut more of an action movie trailer for the real film. Reviewers have described it as the most substantial Director's Cut of all time [ [http://www.ugo.com/channels/dvd/features/tristanandisolde/kingdomdvdreview.asp UGO.com DVD - Kingdom of Heaven: 4-Disc Director's Cut DVD Review ] ] and a title to equal any of Scott's other works [cite web|author=Berardinelli, James|date=|url=http://reelviews.net/movies/k/kingdom_heaven_directors.html|title=Kingdom of Heaven Director's Cut Review|accessdate=]
It should be noted that
Alexander Siddigin particular agitated for the release of a new cut to show more of the original plot.
The new director's cut provides information that may change how some interpret several characters and the story arc:
*The village priest who taunts Balian and is killed by him is revealed to be his half-brother (his mother's son by her lawful husband). The animosity between them is shown as originating from the priest's coveting of the firstborn Balian's meager inheritance.
*Godfrey is not only the father of Balian but the younger brother of the village lord who believes that Godfrey is looking for his own son to be Godfrey's heir in Ibelin. It is this lord's son and heir who organizes the attack on Godfrey's party in the forest and is subsequently killed.
*Both subplots above hinge on the firstborn son's right to exclusive inheritance: this is what apparently drove Godfrey to the Holy Land and the priest to his scheming against Balian.
*Baldwin IV is shown refusing the last sacrament from Patriarch Heraclius.
*Another major change is the re-insertion of the character of Baldwin V (who was shown in some of the trailers), the son of Sibylla by her first husband (William of Montferrat, not named in the film). The boy is crowned King after Baldwin IV's death, but is then discovered to have
leprosy, like his uncle. His death is depicted as an act of euthanasiaby his mother, dropping poison in his ear. Only then is Sibylla crowned queen and has Guy crowned, as in the theatrical version.
*Balian fights a climactic duel with Guy near the end of the film, after Jerusalem is surrendered and Guy has been released by Saladin (an act intended to humiliate Guy in the eyes of his former subjects). Guy is humiliated furthermore by challenging Balian to a duel, being defeated, and then spared by Balian.
*More violence, blood and gore are re-inserted.
*A scene with Balian discussing his situation with the Hospitaller in the desert, which included the line "I go to pray" (featured in most trailers) is re-inserted.
*It is made clear that Guy de Lusignan knows that Sibylla is having an affair with Balian. However, he is interested in her only for political reasons.
*It is revealed that Balian has fought in several battles in the past, is skilled at strategic fighting and is well known for building siege engines.
*Saladin decapitates Raynald de Chatillon instead of only cutting his throat; this is generally believed to be more historically accurate.
*Sibylla is portrayed much more as a corrupt princess and unpredictable as she herself stated.
Behind the scenes
Wilhelm screamcan be heard as one of Saladin's siege weapons is struck by a trebuchet.
European Film Awards:
*Audience Award - Best Actor (Orlando Bloom)
*Outstanding Original Score (Harry Gregson-Williams)
*Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Motion Picture (Wes Sewell, Victoria Alonso, Tom Wood, Gary Brozenich)
*Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role, Drama (Edward Norton)
*Outstanding Art Direction & Production Design (Arthur Max)
*Outstanding Costume Design (Janty Yates)
*Outstanding Visual Effects (Tom Wood)
Teen Choice Awards:
*Choice Movie: Action/Adventure
*Choice Movie Actor: Action/Adventure/Thriller (Orlando Bloom)
*Choice Movie Liplock (Eva Green and Orlando Bloom)
*Choice Movie Love Scene (Eva Green and Orlando Bloom - Balian and Sibylla kiss)
*cite book| first=Ridley| last=Scott| authorlink=Ridley Scott| title=Kingdom of Heaven: The Making of the Ridley Scott Epic| year=2005| publisher=Newmarket Press| location=
New York| id=ISBN 1-55704-661-1
*cite book| first=Bernard| last=Hamilton| title=The Leper King and his Heirs: Baldwin IV and the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem| year=2005| publisher=Cambridge University Press| location=
Cambridge| url=http://www.cambridge.org/us/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=0521017475| accessdate=2006-07-08| id=ISBN 0-521-01747-5
*cite book| first=Steven| last=Runciman| authorlink=Steven Runciman| title=A History of the Crusades (Vol 2) The Kingdom of Jerusalem| year=1987| pages=pp403-469| publisher=Cambridge University Press| location=
Cambridge| url=http://www.cambridge.org/us/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=0521347718| accessdate=2006-07-08| id=ISBN 0-521-34771-8
* [http://www.kingdomofheavenmovie.com/ Official site]
* [http://www.kingdomofheavendvd.com/mainframe.htm Director's Cut Official Site]
*imdb title|id=0320661|title=Kingdom of Heaven
*rotten-tomatoes|id=kingdom_of_heaven|title=Kingdom of Heaven
*mojo title|id=kingdomofheaven|title=Kingdom of Heaven
* [http://movies.yahoo.com/shop?d=hv&cf=info&id=1808529407 "Kingdom of Heaven" (2005) at Yahoo! Movies]
* [http://www.Crusades-Encyclopedia.com/kingdomofheaven.html "Kingdom of Heaven" at Crusades-Enyclopedia]
* [http://www.christianitytoday.com/movies/interviews/KOHhistorians.html Interview with Historians at Christianity Today]
* [http://washingtontimes.com/world/20040117-112843-8485r.htm Daily Telegraph article (reprinted by the Washington Times)] , with criticism from Riley-Smith and others
Box Office Leaders USA
before = The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
date = May 8
year = 2005
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