Zardoz: A Cult Classic for the Sci-Fi Fan

26 April 2023

Zardoz is a film that stands out from the crowd with its bold and innovative ideas, striking visuals, and thought-provoking themes. Released in 1974, the film is set in a dystopian future where humanity has been divided into two classes: the immortal, powerful "Eternals" and the brutish, mortal "Brutals." The Eternals live in a utopian society, cut off from the rest of the world, while the Brutals live in a wasteland, struggling to survive. The society is ruled by a godlike figure named Zardoz, represented by a giant stone head that travels across the landscape, spouting prophecies and giving commands.

The film's director, John Boorman (Deliverance), is known for his unconventional approach to storytelling and visuals, and Zardoz is no exception. Boorman's vision of the future is a strange and surreal world that challenges viewers and makes them think. The film's script, written by Boorman himself, explores themes of power, mortality, and the meaning of existence, presenting a complex and thought-provoking story.

zardoz sean connery red bikini
Before there was the mankini, there was whatever this is...

One of the film's strengths is its cast, led by Sean Connery (James Bond, Outland, Highlander) as the lead character, Zed. Connery brings intensity and depth to the character, portraying him as a complex and conflicted figure struggling to find his place in the world. The other actors, including Charlotte Rampling, John Alderton, and Sara Kestelman, also deliver strong performances, adding to the film's overall impact.

The film's plot is a complex journey, filled with twists and turns that keep viewers engaged. Zed, a Brutal, discovers the truth behind the Eternals' existence and sets out to challenge their power. Along the way, he meets a group of rebels who share his desire for change. The film's exploration of themes such as mortality, power, and the nature of humanity make it a unique and compelling work of science fiction.

One of the key themes of the film is the struggle between mortality and immortality. The Eternals, who have achieved immortality, have lost touch with their humanity and become complacent, while the Brutals, who are mortal, embrace life with passion and intensity. The film also explores the corrupting nature of power, as well as the importance of individual freedom and choice.

zardoz charlotte rampling connery
Sean Connery and Charlotte Rampling in Zardoz

The film's visuals are a standout aspect of the film, with Boorman's creative team pushing boundaries and taking risks to create a unique and otherworldly atmosphere. The film's use of special effects and surreal imagery creates a dreamlike quality that adds to its overall impact. 

Additionally, Sean Connery's unique red attire, designed by the film's costume designer, adds to the film's surreal and otherworldly atmosphere, becoming an iconic image in pop culture.

Upon its initial release, Zardoz was not well-received by critics or audiences. However, over time, it has gained a cult following and is now recognized as a visionary work of science fiction. Its bold ideas and unique style continue to inspire and influence filmmakers today.

While some viewers may find the film's complex plot and themes confusing, its willingness to challenge viewers and push boundaries makes it a work of art worth experiencing. Zardoz is not for everyone, but for those who appreciate bold, unconventional filmmaking, it is a must-see. The film's innovative ideas, striking visuals, and thought-provoking themes make it a work of art that continues to inspire and influence filmmakers today.

Trivia about Zardoz

  • The name "Zardoz" comes from a combination of the words "wizard" and "oz," which was inspired by The Wizard of Oz. 
  • The movie was shot on a shoestring budget, but the impressive costumes and sets were made by a team of highly talented designers. 
  • Zardoz was shot on location in Ireland, and the rugged landscape serves as a beautiful backdrop for the story. 
  • The film was initially panned by critics, but over time has gained a cult following. 
  • The opening scene features a giant stone head that speaks and delivers the film's iconic line, "The gun is good. The penis is evil." 
  • The film's musical score was composed by David Munrow and features a mix of classical and electronic music. 
  • The opening credits feature a quote from Arthur Rimbaud: "The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me." 
  • The film's ending is ambiguous and leaves many questions unanswered. 
  • The production of Zardoz was reportedly difficult, and many of the actors were unhappy with the final product.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

At The Astromech, you can expect to find a variety of articles, reviews, and analysis related to science fiction, including books, movies, TV, and games.
From exploring the latest news and theories to discussing the classics, I aim to provide entertaining and informative content for all fans of the genre.

Whether you are a die-hard Star Trek fan or simply curious about the world of science fiction, The Astromech has something for everyone. So, sit back, relax, and join me on this journey through the stars!
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