The time is the late 12th century, between the second and third Crusades, and the place is Jerusalem, where an uneasy truce has been struck between the leper King Baldwin IV (Edward Norton, his face concealed beneath a smooth, silvery mask) and the fearsome Muslim leader Saladin (Syrian actor Ghassan Masoud). But under pressure from extremists on both sides—chief among them, Baldwin’s warmongering would-be successor, Guy de Lusignan (Martin Csokas)—the détente proves short. Enter a modest village blacksmith (Orlando Bloom) with the heart of a warrior and prepare yourself for one of the most spectacular epics to come from Hollywood in the 50 years since Lawrence of Arabia. Shorn of nearly an hour for its original release, Kingdom of Heaven is presented here in Scott’s rarely screened original director’s cut, featuring overture, intermission, and a moral weight to match the astonishing visual grandeur.
“Better than Gladiator—deeper, more thoughtful, more about human motivation and less about action.”
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times