Kingdom of Heaven by Ridley Scott
The Making of the Ridley Scott Epic (Newmarket Pictorial Moviebook)

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Synopsis

With films like Gladiator, Blade Runner, and Black Hawk Down, director Ridley Scott has shown his mastery of cinematic storytelling that is epic in dimension but with a deeply personal core. In Kingdom of Heaven, he turns to the Crusades—that world-shaping 200-year collision between Europe and the East—to frame the tale of a young Frenchman who defies all odds to become a knight, then lives out what that glorious title really means. "I'd always wanted to make a movie about knights and medieval times, the Crusades especially," says Scott. "Historically, the knight—like the cowboy or the policeman—has given us great opportunities to tell stories about a hero."

With the cry "God wills it!" Pope Urban II in 1095 urged Christian Europe into a frenzy to reclaim the holy city of Jerusalem, conquered by Muslim armies that swept through the Middle East in the 7th century. Thousands answered the call, from kings to peasants, and in the ensuing waves of war ancient cities fell to bloody sieges, Christian kingdoms were founded in the Holy Land, and unspeakable atrocities were committed on both sides. Between the Second and Third Crusades, however, two visionary leaders—King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem and the Saracen general Saladin—forged a short-lived peace amid the carnage. Drawn into this immense drama is the young blacksmith Balian (Orlando Bloom). Fleeing his village under a death sentence, and fleeing his own demons as well, Balian joins forces with a great knight, Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson), who swears him to serve King Baldwin and up-hold the truce—that fragile "kingdom of heaven." On reaching the Holy Land, Balian falls under the spell of the king's sister, Sibylla (Eva Green), and becomes embroiled in a struggle for the kingdom's soul, as the dying king is assailed by extremists bent on war. Ultimately, Balian must choose between his love and his sense of knightly honor. And when Jerusalem faces its greatest peril, he must use all his wits and courage to defend it against staggering odds.

Scott and his production team scale new heights in creating worlds on film: building vast sets on locations in Morocco and Spain, peopling them with international stars and thousands of extras, enhancing filmed action with state-of-the-art effects. Scenes of medieval warfare, breathtaking in scale and realism, feature weapons and machines that were carefully researched and built for real. This splendid companion book, illustrated with more than 200 photos, drawings, and Scott's own storyboards, documents this landmark production behind the scenes and before the cameras. But it also delves into the details of storycrafting that give Kingdom of Heaven its solid historical grounding, and includes a lively primer on the Crusades that will expand readers' appreciation of both the film and the history behind it. With more than 200 photographs and illustrations.

 

About Ridley Scott

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Ridley Scott is the director of G.I. Jane, White Squall, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, Thelma and Louise, Black Rain, Someone to Watch Over Me, Legend, Blade Runner, Alien, The Duellist, and the forthcoming Hannibal (2000). David H. Franzoni's previous films include Amistad and Jumpin' Jack Flash. John Logan was a screenwriter for RKO 281, Any Given Sunday, and Bats.
 
Published April 7, 2005 by Newmarket Press. 176 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Kingdom of Heaven

The New York Times

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ear the end of "Kingdom of Heaven," a plaintive period epic from Ridley Scott about the bloody orgies of piety known as the Crusades, the camera pulls back from the tumult of battle.

May 06 2005 | Read Full Review of Kingdom of Heaven: The Making...

Publishers Weekly

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As the book reveals, the idea for the film began shortly after the September 11th attacks, but Scott argues in his introduction that the film is not meant to ""moralize or propagandize."" Later in the volume, screenwriter William Monahan reveals his intent: ""The two civilizations, arguably, bein...

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BC Books

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Ridley Scott's latest epic on the Crusades, Kingdom of Heaven, cannot escape the historical climate of our time.

May 06 2005 | Read Full Review of Kingdom of Heaven: The Making...

BC Books

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(** out of *****) This is an impeccable transfer, so all of that dead dialogue time can be spent admiring the clarity.

Oct 06 2005 | Read Full Review of Kingdom of Heaven: The Making...

AV Club

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After killing a thieving priest in a fit of pique, Bloom takes up with Liam Neeson, a crusader who reveals himself as Bloom's father and recruits him for a quest to the Holy Land.

May 10 2005 | Read Full Review of Kingdom of Heaven: The Making...

Entertainment Weekly

In Kingdom of Heaven, Ridley Scott's handsome but curiously remote Crusades epic, the bloody holy war between Christians and Muslims surges forth with the boiling logistical fury we've come to expect from films that feature a cast of digital thousands.

May 04 2005 | Read Full Review of Kingdom of Heaven: The Making...

Common Sense Media

There isn't a ton of blood in this movie - but the violence is very extreme, can be graphic, and sometimes very disturbing, such as when a character gets stabbed and then pushed into a fire and you watch him burn.

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Common Sense Media

I say that this movie is not too violent if was the people that rate films i will rate it PG-13.

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Common Sense Media

However, this film, like just almost all of Ridley Scott's films is very violent, but for Ridley Scott's standards, this film isn't violent or gory at all compared to Black Hawk Down, where you see all sorts of gore.

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Common Sense Media

That is, Balian makes speeches about everyone getting along and no one having a singular claim to Jerusalem, even as he vows to fight to protect the people who live there against the Muslims who mean to win it back (the previous battle is reported to have left thousands dead).

Oct 09 2005 | Read Full Review of Kingdom of Heaven: The Making...

Monsters and Critics

Although some people may be initially surprised by the lack of a powerful main theme, there are some poignant moments as the score progresses and the listener builds up a familiarity with the themes.

Apr 29 2005 | Read Full Review of Kingdom of Heaven: The Making...

Time Out New York

With a tussle for control looming, it’s time for Orlando Bloom’s knight Balian to make his mark, as the former blacksmith arrives in the city to assume control of his Crusader knight father’s lands and find his spiritual purpose in the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’.

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The Trades

Put down your controller a while and dig into some of the beautiful work that fleshes out your favorite video game, Halo 4.

May 06 2005 | Read Full Review of Kingdom of Heaven: The Making...

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