Zardoz (1974) - Rotten Tomatoes


Zardoz (1974)



Critic Consensus: Zardoz is ambitious and epic in scope, but its philosophical musings are rendered ineffective by its supreme weirdness and rickety execution.

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Movie Info

A resident of 23rd-century Earth becomes involved in a revolution after discovering the hidden truth about society's rulers in director John Boorman's sci-fi drama. Sean Connery plays Zed, the central rebel, who begins the film as a member of the Exterminators, a band of skilled assassins who exact a reign of terror over the lesser Brutals. The Exterminators answer only to their god, a gigantic stone image known as Zardoz. Haunted by doubt about Zardoz's true divinity, Zed chooses to investigate. His disbelief is confirmed when the god proves to be a fraudulent tool of the Eternals, a secret society of brilliant immortals who pretend to divinity in order to exploit the masses. Knowing the truth, Zed sets out to reveal the hoax and destroy the Eternals' unjust rule. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

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Niall Buggy
as Arthur Frayn/Zardoz
Bosco Hogan
as George Saden
Jessica Swift
as Apathetic
Christopher Casson
as Old Scientist
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Critic Reviews for Zardoz

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (7)

[Zardoz] demonstrates how one can make a cheap sci-fi flick look like a cheap sci-fi flick by using mirrors and prisms as substitutes for imagination.

October 2, 2019 | Full Review…

Probably John Boorman's most underrated film-an impossibly ambitious and pretentious but also highly inventive, provocative, and visually striking SF adventure.

March 27, 2019 | Full Review…

Such a wildly ambitious misfire that you can't help but root for it, or at least feel some twisted sense of affection for it.

April 1, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Zardoz is a futuristic, metaphysical and anthropological drama testing John Boorman in three creative areas. The results: direction, good; script, a brilliant premise which unfortunately washes out in climactic sound and fury; and production, outstanding.

February 20, 2009 | Full Review…

The script gradually falls apart into a mess of philosophical pottage under the whimsically pretentious Tolkien influence. But visually the film remains a sparkling display of fireworks, brilliantly shot and directed.

February 9, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

As an exercise in futuristic abstractions, Zardoz... is science-fiction that rarely succeeds in fulfilling its ambitious promises.

May 9, 2005 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Zardoz


All sci-fi have the imprint of the times that made them and few as much as this one, a gloriously wild and futuristic party that ultimately goes nowhere. Society has found a way to cheat death, it appears, but that's about all. Nothing else seems worthwhile afterwards and so life becomes a bore, a party wherein everyone's heard all the jokes that there are. Connery's character, named Zed (get it?) is created then to kill the endless monotony, and everyone else. It's an ambitious work with a unique take on the future and interesting, particularly with it's partier's eye for entertainment (which matches succinctly with the view of most sci-fi devotees). Most worthy.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

An underrated futuristic social satire that is definitely self-indulgent but also more thought-provoking and smart than it appears to be, while its mind-blowing visuals and bizarre dialogue contribute to give shape to a surrealistic allegory that is both fascinating and original.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


An "outlander" mortal killer stows away inside a flying head to reach "the vortex," a land of bored immortals who view him as either a threat, a curiosity, or a savior. The crazy mix of high camp (Sean Connery running around in a red diaper), serious speculative sci-fi and budget psychedelic effects could only have been made in the 1970s; it's a highly entertaining cult movie time capsule.

Greg S
Greg S

Super Reviewer

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