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Kingdom of Heaven

Kingdom of Heaven is a 2005 film directed by Ridley Scott.  It is set in the late-12th century Holy Land, when the Crusaders controlled Jerusalem while Egypt and Syria were under the rule of Saladin.  The film depicts the Battle of Hattin and the capture of Jerusalem, which occurred in 1187.

The film was released in May 2005, and earned over $211 million worldwide.  It starred Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, and Jeremy Irons.

Historians of the crusades have criticized the historical accuracy of the film, with Jonathan Riley-Smith stating “nonsense like this will only reinforce existing myths.”  Thomas F. Madden added, “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.”

The DVD version of the film include’s the Director’s Cut, which is longer and received more praise from critics than the original version.

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Official Synopsis: Kingdom Of Heaven is a monumental epic of tolerance, honour and humanity, starring Orlando Bloom and set against the turbulent, emotionally charged and world-shaping Crusades. From master filmmaker Ridley Scott, it traces the story of Balian, a common man of extraordinary conscience who rises to knighthood and embarks upon a life-changing journey to find peace and a better world.

The story opens as Balian (Orlando Bloom), a young French blacksmith, is mourning the loss of his wife and young son. It is then that Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson), a highly regarded baron to the king of Jerusalem deeply committed to keeping peace in theHoly Land, comes in search of the grieving Balian, his illegitimate son.

Balian relents against his sorrow and chooses to join Godfrey on his sacred mission. Upon his father’s untimely death, Balian inherits land and a title of his own in Jerusalem, a city in which Christians, Muslims and Jews have managed to achieve a peaceful coexistence during this brief interlude of truce between the second and third Crusades. The year is 1186.

Sworn to uphold a noble land, serving a doomed king and drawn to the king’s enigmatic sister, Princess Sibylla (Eva Green). It is in Jerusalem that he rises to become the most honorable and heroic of knights, and ultimately must protect its people from overwhelming forces.

Videos

Official Trailer

Scenes from the film

Articles

Whose Crusade? Media, Muslims and the “Kingdom of Heaven” – video of a panel discussion about the film

The Kingdom of Heaven: teaching the Crusades – article on how to use the film in high school classes  to get students to talk about the ways in which people today make use of the past to explain or critique contemporary events

Warrior Geopolitics: Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and the Kingdom of Heaven – examines how this and other Ridley Scott films explore the morality and identity of warriors

Utopia and the Middle Ages in Popular Culture: A Reading of Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven

Links

Official Website

Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

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