Kingdom of Heaven

Kingdom of Heaven , or the Kingdom of Heaven inQuebec, is amovie German-American-Britishdirected byRidley Scott, released in2005.

It takes place at the end of the xii th century, shortly before the Third Crusade , and narrates the rise of a blacksmith bastard of a nobleman who left for the Holy Land and eventually defend Jerusalem against Saladin , fictionalized story Balian d’Ibelin . The shooting of the film took place in Spain and Morocco . When it came out, it was a commercial failure in the United States but was well received in the rest of the world, especially in Europe .


At the end of the xii th century France, a band of crusaders just find a blacksmith named Balian whose wife, inconsolable since the death of their child at birth, recently committed suicide. Balian coldly welcomes the visit of the crossed chief, Baron Godefroy d ‘ Ibelin , who reveals to him his father and proposes to accompany him to Jerusalem, where he owns land. Balian refuses this offer. However, he must answer for the murder of a priest whom he killed because he had stolen the silver cross that his wife wore around his neck and ordered his beheading before his burial (motivated by the infamy of suicide in the eyes from the church). Fleeing, Balian joins his father, who is then wounded by the men of the bishop and the lord of the village launched in pursuit of Balian. Godefroy died some time later in Messina , the Italian port from which the ships depart for the Holy Land , not without having dubbed him knight and convinced to continue on his way.

Arrived in the Holy Land despite the sinking of his ship, Balian befriends Imad, a Saracen he thinks is a simple servant, and takes possession of the estates of his father. He has to face the intrigues of the court of the King of Jerusalem and especially the animosity of Guy de Lusignan and Renaud de Chatillon , who want the war against Saladin . He swears to protect leprous king Baudouin IV and the people and becomes very close to Sibylle , sister of the king and wife of Guy, with whom he has an idyll.

Balian is then captured in Kerak when Saladin, tired of the provocations of Renaud de Châtillon, attacks this castle . But he is released thanks to Imad, who turns out to be a close adviser to Saladin. Baldwin and Saladin negotiate peace, but this journey completes the ruin of Baudouin’s already failing health. When the dying king proposes the hand of Sibylle, already married to Guy de Lusignan, Balian, in spite of his feelings, refuses to go against his principles by making himself an accomplice in the execution of Guy. Guy de Lusignan becomes king and Sibyl queen, Guy enters shortly after war against Saladin and tries to assassinate Balian.

After the defeat of the troops of Guy de Lusignan and Renaud de Chatillon against the army of Saladin, Balian assures the defense of Jerusalem . Despite a heroic defense, he must capitulate to the power of the army of Saladin, but his bravery ensures life and a safe retreat for the entire Christian population of the city. Balian retires to his homeland with Sibylle, once again a simple woman of the people, and refuses the offer of Richard Lionheart to go on a crusade.

Technical sheet

  • Title: Kingdom of Heaven
  • Québec title: The Kingdom of Heaven
  • Director: Ridley Scott
  • Scenario: William Monahan
  • Music: Harry Gregson-Williams
  • Photography: John Mathieson
  • Editing: Dody Dorn
  • Sets: Arthur Max
  • Costumes: Janty Yates
  • Production: Ridley Scott
  • Production Companies: Scott Free Productions and 20th Century Fox
  • Distribution Company: 20th Century Fox
  • Budget: 130 million 1
  • Country of Origin: United States , United Kingdom , Germany
  • Language: English , Italian , Arabic , Latin
  • Formats: colors – 2.35: 1 – Dolby Digital – 35 mm
  • Genre: Adventure , Historic
  • Duration: 145 minutes / 187 minutes ( Director’s Cut )
  • Release dates:
    • Preview World:(in London )
    •  France , Belgium : 
    •  United States , United Kingdom : 


  • Orlando Bloom (VF: Anatole of Bodinat ) : Balian of Ibelin
  • Eva Green (VF: herself) : Sibylle
  • Liam Neeson (VF: Frederic van den Driessche ) : Godefroy of Ibelin
  • Jeremy Irons (VF: Feodor Atkine ) : Tiberias
  • David Thewlis (VF: Bernard Alane ) : the hospitable knight
  • Marton Csokas (VF: Alain Courivaud) : Guy de Lusignan
  • Brendan Gleeson : ( Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu ) : Renaud de Châtillon
  • Edward Norton (VF: Damien Boisseau ) : Baudouin IV, the leper king
  • Ghassan Massoud (VF: Georges Claisse ) : Saladin
  • Alexander Siddig (VF: Vincent Schmitt) : Imad
  • Jon Finch : The Patriarch of Jerusalem
  • Velibor Topic (VF: Eric Herson-Macarel ) : Almaric
  • Michael Sheen (VF: Laurent Lederer) : the priest of the village
  • Kevin McKidd : The English Sergeant Godefroy d’Ibelin
  • Khaled El Nabawy : the mullah
  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (VF: Jean-Michel Fête ) : the bailiff of the village
  • Eriq Ebouaney : Firuz
  • Jouko Ahola : Odo
  • Karim Saleh : the emissary of Saladin
  • Iain Glen : Richard Lionheart
Sources and legendFrench version (VF) on Voxofilm 2


William Monahan meets Ridley Scott to propose the scenario of Tripoli , a film project that would take place in 1805 with the historical context of the Tripoli war . Scott agrees and starts developing the project while he runs The Associates . The two men also speak about the Crusades , a subject that Monahan knows well and on which Scott has wanted to make a film for a long time. The project of Tripoli , after being close to materialize, is finally abandoned by the studios and Monahan, who wrote in the meantime the scenario of Kingdom of Heaven, offers it to Scott. He chose the time at which the film takes place because of the character of Baldwin IV of Jerusalem and the fragile truce that exists then between Christians and Muslims in his time more interesting than open warfare 3 . Orlando Bloom is proposed to play the main role of the film when he has just finished filming Troy and is not initially very enthusiastic about following up with another film in costumes but he changes his mind. notice when reading the script. The other actors are chosen later and Edward Norton suggests that his name does not.

Filming begins in January 2004 and lasts six months. It first takes place in Spain before moving to Morocco . The scenes taking place in Balian’s home village are shot in Loarre , in the Pyrenees , those of the Messina hospital and the Balian residence in Jerusalem in Palma del Río , those of King Baudouin’s palace in Seville (at the Alcazar and Casa de Pilatos ), the outsides of Messina on the ramparts of Essaouira , and the wide shots of Jerusalem in Ait-Ben-Haddou, with the architecture of the city in the background added with the process of matte painting 4 . The shooting of the siege of Jerusalem, near Ouarzazate and the studios of the Atlas where the interiors are filmed, takes almost two months and requires about 1,800 extras (including many soldiers of the Moroccan army made available by King Mohammed VI ) 5 . The only model made for the film is that used for the collapse of the wall of the Saint Christopher postern. The MASSIVE softwareis widely used for mass combat scenes or moving armies. The scene of the sinking of the ship is a combination of shots of Orlando Bloom filmed at other times and retouched to change his outfit, images from Scott’s background Blade , another film, and a digitally created ship 6 . The design of the film is inspired by the works of Orientalist painters , including Jean-Léon Gérôme , of Gustave Doré , and rooms of the Crusades of Versailles 7. It takes five months to build the sets as a framework the siege of Jerusalem, with walls five meters high and three siege towers somewhat larger still 4 .


The soundtrack was composed by Harry Gregson-Williams and performed by the London Philharmonic with few exceptions. At the death of King Baudouin, the music is that of the opera specially designed for the film Hannibal , by Ridley Scott , Vide Cor Meum (literally: “See my heart”) composed by Patrick Cassidy . In the same way, the music we hear before the battle, during the General Doodle and Balian’s speech is from the movie The 13th Warrior , and composed by Jerry Goldsmith . The music of the scene where Balian is attacked by the knights sent by Guy de Lusignanis from The Crow , The Crow Descends, composed by Graeme Revell . When Renaud de Chatillon is beheaded by Saladin , the music is that of the St. Matthew Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach .

Long version

Very heated discussions take place during the editing process between Ridley Scott and the production studios who fear that the film’s length is excessive and the story too complex if we add the secondary plot of the child of Sibylle. Scott finally bowed, but soon began to plan a director’s cut version , especially for the DVD market (which is on show at a Los Angeles movie theater for two weeks in December 2005) 8. This long version, which lasts about forty minutes more, insists especially on the story of Balian and his father (it shows that Balian is more than a simple blacksmith, it is also an engineer who already has the experience of war because he built siege machines in a feudal feudal conflict, and one also learns that the priest killed by Balian is actually his own brother). Sibylle’s role is also greatly accentuated because we unveil the whole story with her child that she must resolve to euthanize because he is, like his uncle, suffering from leprosy, a part that Scott sacrificed only ‘reluctantly because he found that it brought an extra dimension to the film 4 . Several critics,Which had not been convinced by the film version believe that the version director’s cut it is much higher than 9 .


Box office

The film had a fairly limited commercial success, earning $ 211,652,051 (less than twice its budget) at the global box office , of which only $ 47,398,413 in the United States and Canada 1 . He realized 1.27 million admissions in France , 346 521 in Belgium , 205 797 in Switzerland and 165,381 in Quebec 10 . It has been much more successful in Europe and the rest of the world than in the United States, bringing in more than three times more, which is quite rare for a big production.

Box office worldwide by country of the movie Kingdom of Heaven ( in descending order ) 11
Country Box Office Country Box Office Country Box Office
 United States 47,398,413  Russia 6,453,424  Poland $ 1,943,951
 Germany 16,415,805  Australia 6,262,849  Sweden 1,902,239 $
 Spain 15,038,725  Taiwan $ 3,160,826  Norway $ 1,870,407
 UK 14,535,907  Turkey $ 3,038,896  United Arab Emirates 1,644,362 $
 Japan 11,685,285  Netherlands $ 2,980,011  Argentina 1,591,109 $
 la France 9,533,590  Belgium $ 2,910,505  Portugal $ 1,308,343
 Italy 9,522,276  Swiss $ 2,575,570  Thailand $ 1,241,335
 South Korea 8,720,877  Austria $ 2,220,222  New Zealand $ 1,190,959
 Mexico 8,426,138  Greece $ 2,039,459  philippines $ 1,147,831
 Brazil 6,984,391  Denmark 1,972,247 $  Colombia $ 1,137,362

Home Review

The film was met with criticism by critics, receiving 39% of favorable reviews, with an average score of 5.5 / 10 and based on 185 reviews collected, on the site Rotten Tomatoes 12 . On the website Metacritic , it gets a score of 63 / 100 , based on 40 reviews collected 13 . Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times , giving it 3.5 stars out of 4 , the judging better than Gladiator , with less action but more thought and a deeper message 14 . Mick LaSalle, fromSan Francisco Chronicle , evokes a flamboyant film whereRidley Scotthas made all the right decisions 15 . Manohla Dargis of the New York Times , welcomes the achievement of Scott but considers that the film is served by some of its key players (Orlando BloomandEva Greenin the lead) despite the performance ofGhassan MassoudandJeremy Irons 16 . Ty Burr, of the Boston Globe , considers the film”heavy”and the message”naive”with a main actor who is not bad but does not have the stature for this role 17 . And for Peter Bradshaw, fromGuardian ,Marton Csokastoo much cabotine in the role of the villain and the film is well intentioned but seems both”casual and naive” 18 .

Several conservative Christian organizations deplored the way the representatives of the Roman Catholic Church were portrayed in the film while Muslims were presented in a positive light 19 . Conversely, the film received a favorable reception in Muslim countries, and the journalist Robert Fisk reports that, in the cinema of Beirut where he saw the film, the audience stood up to applaud and shout their approval at the scene where Saladin , after Jerusalem , straightens a Christian cross fell to the ground 20 .

In France , the critics were more positive, the film getting an average of 3.2 stars out of 5 for the critics of the press on the site Allociné 21 . Richard Gianorio, of France-Soir , evokes “an impeccable know-how” ; for Jean-Luc Douin, du Monde , the “staging confirms the mastery of one of the most skilful filmmakers in terms of great show” ; Christian Jauberty, of Première , believes that”While there was some doubt about a movie about the exploits of Western warriors in the Middle East, Scott and screenwriter William Monahan turned the problem to their advantage, adopting the party of those who suffer the wars. against those who trigger them ” ; for Gérard Lenne, of Télé 7 Jours , it is an “imposing, well-kept and well-conducted show, with edifying morality, historically correct” 21 ; and for Éric Libiot, of L’Express , after a first classic part, “the scenario is set on an unusual dramatic line for a feature film of this scale” 22 .

Among the more moderate criticisms, Jean-Pierre Rehm , Cahiers du cinéma , evokes a “story that escapes the vicissitudes of initiation and finds its source in a surprising sophistication” but is rather confusing; Patrice Blouin, of the Inrockuptibles , recognizes “to this spectacular mastodon a complexity greater than what could be feared and even some touches of delicacy” ; Mad Movies’ David Doukhan judges the “intelligent but somewhat dogmatic scenario in his religious questioning” and the “somewhat disembodied initiatory journey” ; for Christian Viviani, from Positifit is “a semi-failure or, if you prefer, a semi-success” despite the “excellent overall interpretation, with a special mention to Edward Norton” . The negative reviews come from Vincent Ostria, from L’Humanité , which evokes “a dusty jumble” where “Scott abuses the bluish and vaporous counter-days that are his hallmark” , and Bruno Bayon, of Liberation , for whom the film is a “pastime peplum over” 21 .



Year Ceremony or reward Price Winner (s)
Satellite Awards Best music 23 Harry Gregson-Williams
European Film Awards Audience Award for Best European Actor 24 Orlando Bloom
2006 VES Awards Best special side effects 25 Wesley Sewell, Victoria Alonso, Tom Wood and Gary Brozenich


Year Ceremony or reward Price Named (es)
Satellite Awards Best Actor in a Dramatic Supporting Role 23 Edward Norton
Best decorations 23 Arthur Max
Best costumes 23 Janty Yates
Best special effects 23 Tom Wood
Teen Choice Awards Best Action-Adventure Movie 26
Best Actor in an Action-Adventure Movie 26 Orlando Bloom
Goya Award Best costumes 26 Janty Yates
Golden Reel Awards Best sound editing in a foreign film 27 Per Hallberg, Alex Joseph, Colin Ritchie and Paul Conway
Best musical sound editing Marc Streitenfeld

Historical accuracy

“We do not expect a piece of art to teach us history. An artist uses the knowledge he possesses and places it in a work of art to demonstrate to mankind the vanity and stupidity of acts of violence. This is the case for Kingdom of Heaven . “

– Dr. Hamid Dabashi, professor at Columbia University 28

Most deviations from historical reality can be explained by dramatic or practical reasons. Thus, the character of Tiberias is based on Raymond III of Tripoli but was renamed because the producers were confusing between Raymond and Renaud (Reynald in English, name very close to the ear of Raymond for English speakers), reason of order practice, while the romantic relationship between Balian and Sibyl was created from scratch by the screenwriter William Monahan for the needs of the film, a dramatic reason. The characters of Balian and Sibylle in the film are the ones who are furthest away from the real characters from which they are inspired 4. The story of Balian as portrayed in the film is largely fictional apart from his defense of Jerusalem and his surrender to Saladin in exchange for saving lives for the city’s inhabitants (nonetheless, Balian actually threatened to execute the Muslim prisoners and Saladin demanded a ransom for each inhabitant). The religious tolerance displayed by several important characters is also exaggerated in order to convey a message to the public (this tolerance existed but essentially for practical and non-philosophical reasons). Guy de Lusignan is presented as the main villainthe film to serve as Balian opponent while he was primarily due indecisive and impressionable character 28 .

Among other inaccuracies of the film: Renaud de Châtillon was not part of the Knights Templar, but was nevertheless one of their allies; the patriarch of Jerusalem, Heraclius , was in fact an artisan, alongside Balian, of the defense of the city and an element of temperance, privileging negotiations with the enemy; most pieces of equipment of the armies of Saladin did exist, but spread over 300 to 400 years of history, so the nasal Turkish helmet, guards cheeks and neck protection is much later than the xiii th century; the scourge of arms did not exist yet; the shields of the knights were not worn in the back during the charge; we did not hangTemplars because they were noble and would have been decapitated and because the Order was sovereign and settled its problems internally; the fate of Saladin’s sister after his capture by Renaud de Châtillon remains unknown; it was not Godefroy d’Ibelin who discovered the leprosy of Baldwin IV , but the chronicler Guillaume de Tyr [ref. necessary] ; and the number of siege machines Saladin is exaggerated 29 .

Controversy has pitted historians against the events portrayed in Kingdom of Heaven . While the film was still in the making, the historian Jonathan Riley-Smith, in an article in the Daily Telegraph , described it as “a version of the Crusades seen by Osama bin Laden ” , while Conversely, Khaled Abu el-Fadl of UCLA , stated that he “incited hatred against Muslims” 28 . In contrast to these negative opinions, Professor Cathy Schultz, of the University of St. Francis in Illinois , evokes a “fair and honest representation of the Holy Land during the Crusades”and a film that is a message of peace and tolerance 30 , and r Nancy Caciola, professor at the University of California at San Diego believes that, although it contains some inaccuracies, the film “restores the wonder ‘look and feel of the Middle Ages’ 28 .

Notes and references

  1. ↑ a and b (in) Kingdom of Heaven ”  [ archive ] , Box Office Mojo (accessed May 12, 2011 )
  2. ↑ ” French dubbing sheet Kingdom of Heaven ”  [ archive ] , VoxoFilm (accessed May 12, 2011 )
  3. ↑ ” Kingdom of Heaven, Director’s Cut version – Documentary on the development of the project “, Pathé , 2006, DVD
  4. ↑ a , b , c , d and e ” Kingdom of Heaven, Director’s Cut Version – Audio Commentary by Ridley Scott, William Monahan and Orlando Bloom, ” Pathé , 2006, DVD
  5. ↑ ” Kingdom of Heaven Director’s Cut – Documentary production in Morocco ,” Pathé , 2006 DVD
  6. ↑ ” Kingdom of Heaven, Director’s Cut version – Documentary on special effects “, Pathé , 2006, DVD
  7. ↑ ” Kingdom of Heaven, Director’s Cut version – Pre-production documentary “, Pathé , 2006, DVD
  8. ↑ ” Kingdom of Heaven, Director’s Cut version – Documentary version director’s cut “, Pathé , 2006, DVD
  9. ↑ (in) James Berardinelli, ” Kingdom of Heaven : Director’s Cut ”  [ archive ] , on (accessed 12 May 2011 )
  10. ↑ ” Kingdom of Heaven ”  [ archive ] , Light Database (accessed May 12, 2011 )
  11. ↑ (in) Kingdom of Heaven Foreign ”  [ archive ] , Box Office Mojo (accessed 12 May 2011 )
  12. ↑ (in) Kingdom of Heaven ”  [ archive ] , on Rotten Tomatoes (accessed May 12, 2011 )
  13. ↑ (in) Kingdom of Heaven ”  [ archive ] , on Metacritic (accessed May 12, 2011 )
  14. ↑ (in) Roger Ebert, ” Kingdom of Heaven ”  [ archive ] , Chicago Sun-Times (accessed 12 May 2011 )
  15. ↑ (in) Mick LaSalle ” A” Kingdom “drenched in blood, sweat, fanaticism ”  [ archive ] , San Francisco Chronicle (accessed 12 May 2011 )
  16. ↑ (in) Manohla Dargis, ” An Epic Bloodletting Empowered by Faith ”  [ archive ] , The New York Times (accessed12 May 2011 )
  17. ↑ (in) Ty Burr, ” Far from ‘Heaven’ ”  [ archive ] , The Boston Globe (accessed 12 May 2011 )
  18. ↑ (in) Peter Bradshaw, ” Kingdom of Heaven ”  [ archive ] , The Guardian (accessed 12 May 2011 )
  19. ↑ (in) John Harlow, ” Christian right goes to war with Ridley’s crusaders ”  [ archive ] , The Times (accessed12 May 2011 )
  20. ↑ (in) Robert Fisk, ” Kingdom of Heaven ”  [ archive ] , on (accessed 12 May 2011 )
  21. ↑ a , b and c Kingdom of Heaven – Press Reviews ”  [ archive ] , AlloCiné (accessed 12 May 2011 )
  22. ↑ Eric Libiot, ” Taking Sides ”  [ archive ] , L’Express (accessed 12 May 2011 )
  23. ↑ a , b , c , d and e (en) 10th Annual SATELLITE ™ Awards ” [ archive of] , International Press Academy (accessed May 12, 2011 )
  24. ↑ (in) The People’s Choice Awards – Winners ”  [ archive ] , the European Film Academy (accessed 12 May 2011 )
  25. ↑ (in) 4th Annual VES Awards ”  [ archive ] , Visual Effects Society (accessed 12 May 2011 )
  26. ↑ a , b and c (in) Awards for Kingdom of Heaven ”  [ archive ] , Internet Movie Database (accessed May 12, 2011 )
  27. ↑ (in) 2006 Golden Reel Award ”  [ archive ] , Motion Picture Sound Editors (accessed 12 May 2011 )
  28. ↑ a , b , c and d ” Kingdom of Heaven, Director’s Cut Version – Documentary on Fiction and History “, Pathé , 2006, DVD
  29. ↑ René Lachaud Templars: Knights of the East and West , Saint-Jean-de-Braye, Editions Dangles,, 226 p. ( ISBN 2703304595 ) , p.  48
  30. ↑ (in) Cathy Schultz, ” History in the Movies ”  [ archive ] , on (accessed 12 May 2011 )

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