Time Bandits is the best children's picture since The Black Stallion, but it is a satiric, inventive, fantastical vacation for the filmgoer of any age: imagine an intelligent Raiders of the Lost Ark with a deeply bitchy sense of humor. [06 Nov 1981]
Time Bandits is at once sophisticated and childlike in its magical but emotionally cool logic, and this tone is perfectly captured in young Warnock's appealingly sensible performance. Cleese, Warner, Richardson, Holm and Connery are in great form, and the bandits (David Rappaport, Kenny Baker, Jack Purvis, Mike Edmonds, Malcolm Dixon and Tiny Ross) are all gifted comic actors. Made on a modest budget, Time Bandits is a wonderful wild card in the fall movie season [09 Nov 1981, p.92]
First reactions while viewing Time Bandits: It's amazingly well-produced. The historic locations are jammed with character and detail. This is the only live-action movie I've seen that literally looks like pages out of Heavy Metal magazine, with kings and swordsmen and wide-eyed little boys and fearsome beasts.
An uneven special effects extravaganza about a little boy who winds up traveling through world history along with five midgets. Together they meet and frustrate the great and the near-great. Including Napoleon, Robin Hood, and the devil. Unfortunately, there are just too many visits to famous people. The film was created by some of the people responsible for the Monty Python comedies. [25 Dec 1981, p.12]
When you can count the laughs in a comedy on the fingers of one hand, it isn’t so funny. Time Bandits, is a kind of potted history of man, myth and the eternal clash between good and evil as told in the inimitable idiom of Monty Python. Not that the basic premise is bad, with an English youngster and a group of dwarfs passing through time holes on assignment by the Maker to patch up the shoddier parts of His creation. What results, unfortunately, is a hybrid neither sufficiently hair-raising or comical.