|Kingdom of Heaven|
20th Century Fox
Kingdom of Heaven is a 2005 epic film, directed and produced by Ridley Scott, and written by William Monahan. It stars Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Marton Csokas, Brendan Gleeson, Alexander Siddig, Ghassan Massoud, Edward Norton, Jon Finch, Michael Sheen and Liam Neeson.
The story deals with the Crusades of the 12th century, and involves an artificer (a military mechanic; French: artificier) and engineer (in this case, someone who makes siege engines), serving as a village blacksmith who goes on to aid the city of Jerusalem in its defense against the Muslim leader Saladin, who battles to reclaim the city from the Christians. The script is a heavily fictionalised portrayal of Balian of Ibelin. Hamid Dabashi, a professor who mainly specialises in Iranian studies at Columbia University, was the film's chief academic consultant regarding the Crusades.
Most filming took place in Ouarzazate in Morocco, where Scott had filmed Gladiator and Black Hawk Down. A replica of the ancient city of Jerusalem was constructed in the desert. Filming also took place in Spain, at the Loarre castle, Segovia, Valsaín, Ávila, Palma del Río and Casa de Pilatos in Seville.
It was reported that the Moroccan government sent hundreds of soldiers to protect the set and crew from Muslim extremists who threatened attacks; however, the Moroccan cavalry were actually on hand as extras in the epic battle scenes.
Cast and characters
Many of the characters in the movie are fictionalized versions of historical figures:
- Orlando Bloom as Balian of Ibelin
- Eva Green as Sibylla
- Liam Neeson as Godfrey of Ibelin, Balian's father (the actual historical father of Balian of Ibelin was not named Godfrey but Barisan)
- Jeremy Irons as Tiberias (the movie's name for the historical Raymond III of Tripoli, Lord of Tiberias)
- David Thewlis as Hospitaller
- Brendan Gleeson as Raynald of Chatillon
- Marton Csokas as Guy of Lusignan
- Ghassan Massoud as Saladin
- Edward Norton as King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem
- Alexander Siddig as Nasir (on screen)/Imad (script)
- Jon Finch as Patriarch of Jerusalem
- Michael Sheen as Priest
- Iain Glen as Richard I of England
- Velibor Topić as Almaric
- Jouko Ahola as Odo (German knight)
Kingdom of Heaven begins in a remote village in France, with a blacksmith, Balian (Orlando Bloom), haunted by his wife's recent suicide as the result of the death of their child. A group of Crusaders arrives at the small village and Balian discovers the existence of his out-of-wedlock father, Baron Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson), amongst the crusaders, and that the town priest (who is his brother) is wearing a pendant taken from his wife's body. In addition, the priest reveals that his wife's body was beheaded before burial, which was customary practice in those times for people who committed suicide. Enraged, he viciously murders the priest. Afterwards he decides to follow his father and his men to Jerusalem in the hope of gaining redemption and forgiveness for both his wife and himself.
As they leave the village, the local ruler's men confront the Crusaders under the premise of arresting Balian. The Crusaders refuse to surrender him and a brief but bloody skirmish erupts in which Godfrey's knights are victorious, but several of them are killed and Godfrey is gravely wounded by an arrow.
In Messina, Godfrey, on the brink of death, knights Balian, orders him to serve the King of Jerusalem and protect the helpless, and ultimately shares with him his vision of a 'kingdom of conscience', morality, and righteousness in the Holy Land. On the journey to Jerusalem, the convoy is hit by a storm, and Balian is the sole survivor of the shipwreck. Balian soon finds himself confronting a Muslim cavalier and his servant over possession of a horse. Balian slays the horseman in single combat, but spares the servant, asking him to take him to Jerusalem. Upon their arrival in Jerusalem, Balian releases his prisoner, and asks him for the name of his master whom he has slain, so that he can pray for his soul. His prisoner tells him, and departing says that, 'Your qualities will be known among your enemies before ever you meet them'. Balian soon becomes acquainted with the main players in Jerusalem's political arena: King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem (Edward Norton), stricken by leprosy yet nevertheless one of the film's wisest and most sensible rulers; Princess Sibylla (Eva Green), King Baldwin IV's sister and Balian's love interest; Guy de Lusignan, Sibylla's scheming, bloodthirsty, and intolerant husband.
Guy and Raynald of Châtillon massacre a Muslim trade caravan. Enraged, Saladin, leader of the muslim forces, attacks Kerak, Raynald's castle. Balian decides to defend Kerak castle from Saladin's cavalry. Though outnumbered, he and his knights charge Saladin's cavalry to give the Kerak villagers time to flee to the castle; the quick battle ends with Balian's capture. In captivity, he encounters the "servant" he freed, learning he is actually one of Saladin's generals, who returns the favour, freeing him to Kerak. Then, King Baldwin IV arrives with his main army, and successfully negotiates a Muslim retreat with Saladin, averting a bloodbath. At Saladin's camp, several of his generals are angry that he made a truce, but Saladin dismisses these complaints as a foolhardy rush to war; he will only launch an attack against Jerusalem after ample preparation, when he feels he is strategically strong enough.
King Baldwin dies and Sibylla succeeds him. She names her husband Guy the King Consort of Jerusalem, after the King's failed pairing of Balian to Sibylla. Balian refused it, as Guy's murder was a kingly condition; such political intriguing is counter to Balian's morality. Elsewhere, Guy, helped by Raynald, provokes Saladin's attack by murdering Saladin's sister, and marches to the desert, without adequate food and water, to fight Saladin. The Muslim army ambushes them in a great battle; the crusaders are annihilated. King Guy and Raynald are captured; Saladin slits Raynald's throat, and then marches on Jerusalem, defended only by Balian. Saladin's siege of Jerusalem is three days of battle wherein Balian demonstrates tactical skill in knocking down siege towers and holding the line when a section of city wall is opened. The next day, Balian surrenders Jerusalem to Saladin on condition of the inhabitants' safe passage to Christian Lands. Balian points out that when the Crusaders took Jerusalem a hundred years previously, they massacred the Muslim inhabitants, but Saladin assured him that he is a man of honor, and keeping his word allows Balian and his people to leave.
At story's end, Balian is back in his French village. A column of crusader knights rides through, led by King Richard I of England, who tells Balian they are enroute to new Crusade to re-take Jerusalem from Saladin. King Richard asks Balian, the defender of Jerusalem, to join him, but Balian answers that he is only a blacksmith, and declines.
After visiting the grave of Balian's first wife, he and Sibylla ride into the sunset. A title card concludes the story, explaining that Richard the Lionheart failed to conquer Jerusalem from the Muslims after years of war, that fighting over Jerusalem continues, and that "even today, peace in the Kingdom of Heaven remains elusive".
The visual style of Kingdom of Heaven emphasizes set design and impressive cinematography in almost every scene. It is especially notable for its visual majesty with "visually stunning cinematography and haunting music".
Cinematographer John Mathieson created many large, sweeping landscapes, where the cinematography, supporting performances, and battle sequences are meticulously mounted. The cinematography and scenes of set-pieces have been described as "ballets of light and colour" (as in films by Akira Kurosawa). Director Ridley Scott's visual acumen was described as the main draw of Kingdom of Heaven with the stellar, stunning cinematography and "jaw-dropping combat sequences" based on the production design of Arthur Max.
The music to the movie is quite different in style and content to the soundtrack of Ridley Scott's earlier 2000 film Gladiator and many other subsequent films depicting historical events. A composition of classical listings, rousing chorales, juxtaposing Muslim sacred chants, and subtle implementation of contemporary rock/pop influences, the soundtrack is largely the result of British film-score composer Harry Gregson-Williams. Gregson-Williams chose to move away from the "battle waltz" and the "wailing woman" that had been introduced by Hans Zimmer in Gladiator and would then find excessive use in more and more other movies, such as Alexander and Troy.
King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, who reigned from 1174 to 1185, was a leper, and his sister Sibylla did marry Guy of Lusignan. Also, Baldwin IV had a falling out with Guy before his death, and so Guy did not succeed Baldwin IV immediately. Baldwin crowned Sibylla's son from her previous marriage to William of Montferrat, five-year-old Baldwin V co-king in his own lifetime, in 1183. The little boy reigned as sole king for one year, dying in 1186 at nine years of age. After her son's death, Sibylla and Guy (to whom she was devoted) garrisoned the city, and she claimed the throne. The coronation scene in the movie was, in real life, more of a shock: Sibylla had been forced to promise to divorce Guy before becoming queen, with the assurance that she would be permitted to pick her own consort. After being crowned by Patriarch Heraclius of Jerusalem (who is unnamed in the movie), she chose to crown Guy as her consort. Raymond III of Tripoli, the film's Tiberias, was not present, but was in Nablus attempting a coup, with Balian of Ibelin, to raise her half-sister (Balian's stepdaughter), princess Isabella of Jerusalem, to the throne; however, Isabella's husband, Humphrey IV of Toron, betrayed them by swearing allegiance to Guy.
Raymond of Tripoli was a cousin of Amalric I of Jerusalem, and one of the Kingdom's most powerful nobles, as well as sometime regent. He had a claim to the throne himself, but, being childless, instead tried to advance his allies the Ibelin family. He was often in conflict with Guy and Raynald, who had risen to their positions by marrying wealthy heiresses and through the king's favour. Guy and Raynald did harass Saladin's caravans, and the claim that Raynald captured Saladin's sister is based on the account given in the Old French Continuation of William of Tyre. This claim is not supported by any other accounts, and is generally believed to be false. In actuality, after Raynald's attack on one caravan, Saladin made sure that the next one, in which his sister was traveling, was properly guarded: the lady came to no harm.
The discord between the rival factions in the kingdom gave Saladin the opportunity to pursue his long-term goal of conquering it. The kingdom's army was defeated at the Battle of Hattin, partly due to the conflict between Guy and Raymond. As already stated, the battle itself is not shown in the movie, but its aftermath is depicted. The Muslims captured Guy and Raynald, and according to al-Safadi in al-Wafi bi'l-wafayat, executed Raynald after he drank from the goblet offered to Guy, as the sultan had once made a promise never to give anything to Raynald. Guy was imprisoned, but later freed. He attempted to retain the kingship even after the deaths of Sibylla and their daughters during his siege of Acre in 1190, but lost in an election to Conrad of Montferrat in 1192. Richard I of England, his only supporter, sold him the lordship of Cyprus, where he died c. 1194.
There was a Haute Cour, a "high court", a sort of medieval parliament, in which Jeremy Irons's character Tiberias is seen arguing with Guy for or against war, in front of Baldwin IV as the final judge.
The movie alludes to the Battle of Montgisard in 1177, in which 16-year-old Baldwin IV defeated Saladin, with Saladin narrowly escaping.
The Knights Hospitaller and Knights Templar were the most enthusiastic about fighting Saladin and the Muslims. They were monastic military orders, committed to celibacy. Neither Guy nor Raynald was a Templar, as the movie implies by costuming them both in Templar surcoats: they were secular nobles with wives and families.
During one scene in the movie, shortly before Hattin, three soldiers referred to as "Templars" attack Balian; however, they clearly wear the white surcoats with black crosses of Teutonic Knights, rather than the white and red of the Knights Templar. The Teutonic Knights were not founded until 1190, three years after Hattin.
The historical origin of Orlando Bloom's character, Balian of Ibelin, was a close ally of Raymond; however, he was a mature gentleman, just a year or two younger than Raymond, and one of the most important nobles in the kingdom, not a French blacksmith. His father Barisan (which was originally his own name, modified into French as 'Balian') founded the Ibelin family in the east, and probably came from Italy. Balian and Sibylla were indeed united in the defence of Jerusalem; however, no romantic relationship existed between the two. Balian married Sibylla's step-mother Maria Comnena, Dowager Queen of Jerusalem and Lady of Nablus. The Old French Continuation of William of Tyre (the so-called Chronicle of Ernoul) claimed that Sibylla had been infatuated with Balian's older brother Baldwin of Ibelin, a widower over twice her age, but this is doubtful; instead, it seems that Raymond of Tripoli attempted a coup to marry her off to him to strengthen the position of his faction; however, this legend seems to have been behind the film's creation of a love-relationship between Sibylla and a member of the Ibelin family.
The events of the siege of Jerusalem are based on the Old French Continuation of William of Tyre, a favourable account partly written by Ernoul, one of Balian's officers, and other contemporary documents. Saladin did besiege Jerusalem for almost a month, and was able to knock down a portion of the wall. In the film Balian knighted everyone who could carry a sword, but historical accounts say he only knighted some burgesses. The exact number varies in different accounts, but it is probably less than one hundred in a city which had tens of thousands of male inhabitants and refugees. Balian personally negotiated the surrender of the city with Saladin, after threatening to destroy every building and kill the 3000-5000 Muslim inhabitants of the city. The film, however, downgrades the roles of Sibylla and of Patriarch Heraclius of Jerusalem in the siege, transforming Heraclius into a coward. Saladin allowed Balian and his family to leave in peace, along with everyone else who could arrange to pay a ransom, but sold thousands of poorer inhabitants who could not pay into slavery.
The "uneasy truce" referred to in the closing scene actually refers to the Treaty of Ramla, negotiated, with Balian's help, at the end of the Third Crusade. The Third Crusade is alluded to at the end of the movie, when Richard I of England visits Balian in France. Balian, of course, was not from France and did not return there with Sibylla; she and her two daughters died of fever in camp during the siege of Acre. Conrad of Montferrat had denied her and Guy entry to the remaining stronghold of Tyre, and thus Guy was attempting to take another city for himself.
Balian's relations with Richard were far from amicable, because he supported Conrad against Richard's vassal Guy. He and his wife Maria arranged her daughter Isabella's forcible divorce from Humphrey of Toron so she could marry Conrad. Ambroise, who wrote a poetic account of the crusade, called Balian "more false than a goblin" and said he "should be hunted with dogs". The anonymous author of the Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi wrote that Balian was a member of a "council of consummate iniquity", and described him as cruel, fickle, and faithless, and accused him of taking bribes from Conrad.
The young Balian of the movie thus did not exist in reality. The historical Balian had descendants by Maria Comnena. Thanks to their close relationship to Sibylla's half-sister and successor, Maria's daughter Queen Isabella (not shown in the movie), the Ibelins became the most powerful noble family in the rump Kingdom of Jerusalem as well as in Cyprus in the thirteenth century. Most notably, Maria and Balian's son John, the Lord of Beirut, was a dominant force in the politics of Outremer for the first third of the thirteenth century.
An episode of The History Channel's series History vs. Hollywood analysed the historical accuracy of the film. This program and a Movie Real (a series by A&E Network) episode about Kingdom of Heaven, were both included on the DVD version of the movie.
Several actors/actresses were praised for their performances. The unanimously praised performance was that of actor Edward Norton, who played the leper king of Jerusalem, Baldwin IV. Critics have described his acting as near "phenomenal", "eerie", and "so far removed from anything that he has ever done that we see the true complexities of his talent". The Syrian actor Ghassan Massoud was also praised for his portrayal of Saladin, described by The New York Times as "cool as a tall glass of water". Also commended were Eva Green, who plays Princess Sibylla, "with a measure of cool that defies her surroundings", and Jeremy Irons.
However, lead actor Orlando Bloom's performance generally elicited a lukewarm reception in United States, with one film critic from the Boston Globe stating Bloom was "not actively bad as Balian of Ibelin," but nevertheless "seems like a man holding the fort for a genuine star who never arrives". Although the medieval character of Balian of Ibelin is not well known to U.S. culture, many critics had strong notions of how Balian should be acted, as an "epic hero" with a strong presence. One critic conceded that Balian was more of a "brave and principled thinker-warrior" rather than a large, strong commander, and Balian used brains-over-brawn to gain advantage in battle.
Orlando Bloom was not playing the young comedic role of the "Pirates" movies, but rather an older, mature, bearded man, who, in his late thirties, was in military combat for years, and questioned what was worth risking death. Some critics noted his "acceptable performance" in light of the far more difficult role that this film required over his previous famous, but light parts. Orlando Bloom had gained 20 pounds for the part, and the Extended Director's Cut (detailed below) of Kingdom of Heaven reveals even more complex facets of Orlando Bloom's role, involving connections with unknown relatives, which even further complicate Balian's view of life and death. Despite the criticism, Orlando Bloom won two awards for his performance.
Online, general criticism has been also divided, but leaning towards the positive. As of early 2006, the Yahoo! Movies rating for Kingdom of Heaven was a "B" from the critics (based on 15 Reviews). This rating equates to "good" according to Yahoo! Movie's rating system. On Rotten Tomatoes, only 39% of critics gave the film a positive review.
Academic criticism has focused on the supposed peaceful relationship between Christians and Muslims in Jerusalem and other cities depicted. Crusader historians such as Jonathan Riley-Smith, quoted by The Daily Telegraph, called the film "dangerous to Arab relations", claiming the movie was Osama bin Laden's version of the Crusades and would "fuel the Islamic fundamentalists." Riley-Smith further commented against the historical accuracy stating "nonsense like this will only reinforce existing myths, arguing that the film "relied on the romanticised view of the Crusades propagated by Sir Walter Scott in his book The Talisman, published in 1825 and now discredited by academics.". Fellow Crusade historians Jonathan Phillips and Amin Maalouf also spoke against the film. Paul Halsall defended Scott, claiming that "historians can't criticize filmmakers for having to make the decisions they have to make... [Scott is] not writing a history textbook".
Thomas F. Madden, a professor of medieval history at Saint Louis University, commented against the film's presentation of the Crusades,: "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."
Scott himself defended this depiction of the Muslim-Christian relationship in footage on the DVD version of the movie's extra features. Scott sees this portrayal as being a contemporary look at the history. He argued that peace and brutality are concepts relative to one's own experience, and since our society today is so far removed from the brutal times in which the movie takes place, he told the story in a way that he felt was true to the source material yet was more accessible to a modern audience. In other words that the "peace" that existed was exaggerated to fit our ideas of what such a peace would be, because in the time it was a relative lull in Muslim-Christian violence during this period compared to the standards of the day.
The "Director's Cut" of the film is a 4-disc set, two of which are dedicated to a feature-length documentary called "The Path to Redemption." This feature contains an additional featurette on historical accuracy called "Creative Accuracy: The Scholars Speak", where a number of academics support the film's contemporary relevance and historical accuracy. Among these historians is Dr. Nancy Caciola, who said that despite the various inaccuracies and fictionalized/dramatised details considered the film a "responsible'depiction of the period."
Screenwriter William Monahan, who is a long-term enthusiast of the period, has said "If it isn't in, it doesn't mean we didn't know it... What you use, in drama, is what plays. Shakespeare did the same."
Caciola agreed with the fictionalization of characters on the grounds that "crafting a character who is someone the audience can identify with" is necessary in a film. She said that "I, as a professional, have spent much time with medieval people, so to speak, in the texts that I read; and quite honestly there are very few of them that if I met in the flesh I feel that I would be very fond of." This appears to echo the sentiments of Scott himself. However, the DVD does not feature historians expressing more negative reactions.
The historical content and the religious and political messages present have received both praise and condemnation, sentiments and perceptions. It is claimed that Christianity is portrayed in an unfavorable light and the value of Christian belief is diminished, especially in the portrayal of Patriarch Heraclius (Eraclius). In several screenings in Beirut, Robert Fisk reported that Muslim audiences rose to their feet and applauded wildly during a scene in the film in which Saladin respectfully places a fallen crucifix back on top of a table after it had fallen during the 3 day siege of the city.
The movie was a box-office failure in the U.S. and Canada, earning $47 million against a budget of around $130 million, but was successful in Europe and the rest of the world, with the worldwide box office earnings totaling at $211,643,158. It was also a big success in Arabic speaking countries, especially Egypt. Director Ridley Scott insinuated that the U.S. failure of the film was the result of bad advertising which presented the film as an adventure with a great love story rather than as an examination of religious conflict. It's also been noted that the film was altered from its original version to be shorter and follow a more simple plot line. This "less sophisticated" version is what hit theaters, although Scott and some of his crew felt it was watered down, explaining that by editing, "You've gone in there and taken little bits from everything".
As a final note, like some other Ridley Scott films, Kingdom of Heaven found success on DVD in the U.S., and the release of the Director's Cut has reinvigorated interest in the film. Nearly all reviews of the 2006 Director's Cut have been positive, including a four-star review in Britain's "Total Film" magazine (five star being the publication's highest rating).
Extended director's cut
An extended director's cut of the movie was released on December 23, 2005, at the Laemmle Fairfax Theatre in Los Angeles, unsupported by advertising from 20th Century Fox. This cut is approximately 45 minutes longer than the original theatrical cut. The DVD of the extended Director's Cut was released on May 23, 2006. It is a four-disc box set with a runtime of 194 minutes, adding 49 minutes back into the film, and is shown as a roadshow presentation with an overture, intermission and entr'acte. Ridley Scott gave an insightful interview to STV on the occasion of the Director's Cut's UK release, when he discussed the motives and thinking behind the new version.
According to Ridley Scott, the studio perceived Kingdom of Heaven as an action-adventure film when it really went much deeper than that. The film was marketed as such, resulting in negative reviews and poor box-office performance. After presenting the film to 20th Century Fox Scott was essentially forced by the studio to cut the film down for release in theaters. The result was a thinner plot and significantly less characterization and character development.
The Director's Cut (DC) has received a distinctly more positive reception from film critics than the theatrical release, with many reviews suggesting that it offers a much greater insight into the motivations of individual characters. Fans have likewise found it to be a vastly superior film, with some going so far as to call the DC Scott's best work. Scott and his crew have all stated that they consider the Directors Cut to be the true version of the film and the theatrical cut more of an action movie trailer for the real film.
It should be noted that Alexander Siddig in particular agitated for the release of a new cut to show more of the original plot.
The new director's cut provides information that may change how some interpret several characters and the story arc:
- The village priest who taunts Balian and is killed by him is revealed to be his half-brother (his mother's son by her lawful husband), although the brothers are not initially aware of this. The animosity between them is shown as originating from the priest's coveting of the firstborn Balian's meager inheritance.
- Godfrey is not only the father of Balian but the younger brother of the village lord who believes that Godfrey is looking for his own son to be Godfrey's heir in Ibelin. It is this lord's son and heir who organises the attack on Godfrey's party in the forest and is subsequently killed.
- Both subplots above hinge on the firstborn son's right to exclusive inheritance: this is what apparently drove Godfrey to the Holy Land and the priest to his scheming against Balian.
- Baldwin IV is shown refusing the last sacrament from Patriarch Heraclius.
- Another major change is the re-insertion of the character of Baldwin V (who was shown in some of the trailers), the son of Sibylla by her first husband (William of Montferrat, not named in the film). The boy is crowned King after Baldwin IV's death, but is then discovered to have leprosy, like his uncle. His death is depicted as an act of euthanasia by his mother, using poison. Only then is Sibylla crowned queen and has Guy crowned, as in the theatrical version.
- Balian also fights a climactic duel with Guy near the end of the film, after Jerusalem is surrendered and Guy has been released by Saladin (an act intended to humiliate Guy in the eyes of his former subjects). Guy is humiliated furthermore by challenging Balian to a duel, being defeated, and then spared by Balian.
- More violence, blood and gore is re-inserted.
- A scene with Balian discussing his situation with the Hospitaller, which included the line "I go to pray" (featured in most trailers) is re-inserted.
- It is made clear that Guy de Lusignan knows that Sibylla is having an affair with Balian. He is however interested in her only for political reasons.
- It is explained in detail how Balian is so good at strategic fighting and also building siege engines.
- Saladin decapitates Raynald de Chatillon instead of only cutting his throat; this is generally believed to be rather more accurate historically.
- Sibylla is portrayed much more as a corrupt princess and unpredictable as she stated herself.
- Audience Award - Best Actor (Orlando Bloom)
- Outstanding Original Score (Harry Gregson-Williams)
- Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Motion Picture (Wes Sewell, Victoria Alonso, Tom Wood, Gary Brozenich)
- Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role, Drama (Edward Norton)
- Outstanding Art Direction & Production Design (Arthur Max)
- Outstanding Costume Design (Janty Yates)
- Outstanding Visual Effects (Tom Wood)
- Choice Movie: Action/Adventure
- Choice Movie Actor: Action/Adventure/Thriller (Orlando Bloom)
- Choice Movie Liplock (Eva Green and Orlando Bloom)
- Choice Movie Love Scene (Eva Green and Orlando Bloom - Balian and Sibylla kiss)
- Cinemareview.com "Kingdom of Heaven- Production Notes" web: http://www.cinemareview.com/production.asp?prodid=2960
- Jim Slotek, "Medieval Times: Orlando Bloom joins the Crusades in Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven" web: Tribute Magazine:
- Joshua Rich, "Wild Kingdom" web:http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,1058239,00.html
- Richard J. Radcliffe, "Movie Review: Kingdom of Heaven" May 29, 2005, BlogCritics.org, web: BlogCritics-KoH: noted "visually and sonically beautiful; visually stunning cinematography and haunting music."
- Stephanie Zacharek, "Kingdom of Heaven - Salon" (review), May 6, 2005, Salon.com, web: Salon-KoH: noted "Cinematographer John Mathieson gives us lots of great, sweeping landscapes."
- Carrie Rickey, "Epic 'Kingdom' has a weak link" (review), Philadelphia Inquirer, May 6, 2005, web: Philly-KoH: noted "cinematography, supporting performances and battle sequences are so meticulously mounted."
- Uncut, Review of Kingdom of Heaven, Uncut, 2005-07-01, page 129, web: BuyCom-Uncut: noted "Where Scott scores is in the cinematography and set-pieces, with vast armies surging across sun-baked sand in almost Kurosawa-like ballets of light and colour."
- Nix, "Kingdom of Heaven (2005)" (review), BeyondHollywood.com, web: BeyondHwood-KoH: noted "Scott's visual acumen is the main draw of Kingdom of Heaven" and "stunning cinematography and jaw-dropping combat sequences" or "stellar cinematography."
- Roger Ebert, "Kingdom of Heaven" (review), Chicago Sun Times, SunTimes.com, May 5, 2005, webpage: Ebert-KoH: Ebert noted "What's more interesting is Ridley Scott's visual style, assisted by John Mathieson's cinematography and the production design of Arthur Max. A vast set of ancient Jerusalem was constructed to provide realistic foregrounds and locations, which were then enhanced by CGI backgrounds, additional horses and troops, and so on."
- depicted in the director's cut
- Roger Ebert, "Kingdom of Heaven" review for the Chicago Sun Times
- Jack Moore, Kingdom of Heaven: Director's Cut DVD Review
- Manolha Dargis, New York Times review of Kingdom of Heaven
- James Berardinelli, http://www.reelviews.net/movies/k/kingdom_heaven.html
- Ty Burr, "Kingdom of Heaven Movie Review: Historically and heroically challenged 'Kingdom' fails to conquer"
- Charlotte Edwardes, " Ridley Scott's new Crusades film 'panders to Osama bin Laden'" The Daily Telegraph Jan. 17, 2004
- CNN "Kingdom of Heaven" Transcript web: CNN.com
- John Harlow, "Christian right goes to war with Ridley’s crusaders" web:http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article384742.ece
- Robert Fisk, "Kingdom of Heaven:Why Ridley Scott's Story Of The Crusades Struck Such A Chord In A Lebanese Cinema" web: Zmag.org
- "Kingdom of Heaven- Box Office Data, Movie News, Cast Information" web: The-Numbers.com
- Hicelebs.com: "Kingdom of Heaven Trivias" web:http://www.hicelebs.com/movies/kingdom_of_heaven/trivia.html
- Garth Franklin, "Interview: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven" web: DarkHorizons.com
- Ridley Scott interview
- Official site
- Director's Cut Official Site
- Kingdom of Heaven (2005) at Yahoo! Movies
- Kingdom of Heaven at Crusades-Enyclopedia
- Interview with Historians at Christianity Today
- Daily Telegraph article (reprinted by the Washington Times), with criticism from Riley-Smith and others
- Swords used in Movies and TV series.