Kingdom of heaven

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German title Kingdom of heaven
Original title Kingdom of Heaven
Kingdom of Heaven Filmlogo.png
Country of production USA , Spain , UK , Germany
original language English , Arabic
Publishing year 2005
length Theatrical version: 138 minutes
Director’s Cut: 189 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
JMK 12
Director Ridley Scott
script William Monahan
production Ridley Scott
music Harry Gregson-Williams
camera John Mathieson
cut Dody thorn

Kingdom of Heaven is a monumental film directed by Ridley Scott from 2005. It tells the story of the young blacksmith Balian and is freely based on the story of the historic Balian of Ibelin from 1184 to 1187.


In 12th century France, the young blacksmith Balian mourns his deceased child and his wife, who committed suicide as a result.

The crusader Godfrey von Ibelin arrives with his followers in Balian's village. He is the younger, childless brother of the sovereign. Before continuing his journey to Jerusalem, he visits Balian. Godfrey explains that Balian is his illegitimate son and wants to take him to the Holy Land . Balian refuses and lets the crusaders go.

The priest who buried Balian's wife appears in Balian's forge to get him to leave. Only there he could alleviate his wife's agony, since she ended up suicide in hell. When the priest reveals to him that his wife was beheaded at her funeral and that Balian sees his wife's chain on the priest's neck, he rams a glowing sword into his body and thrusts him into the forge fire. Balian takes the chain and the priest dies in the burning forge.

Balian escapes the village and joins Godfrey. While they are resting, a troop of soldiers catches up with them and demands the surrender of Balian. When Godfrey refuses, more soldiers attack from an ambush. Godfrey's entourage defeats the attackers, but they too suffer losses and Godfrey is wounded. They reach Messina , where Godfrey dies of a wound infection. Before that, he passed his title as Baron von Ibelin on to his son. In Messina, Balian meets the arrogant Knight Templar Guy de Lusignan for the first time , a candidate for the throne of Jerusalem, who deeply despises Balian because of his origins.

On the following voyage, Balian was shipwrecked , but was washed up on the coast of the Holy Land. In the desert he meets two Muslim noblemen who dispute his horse. Balian kills the attacking Syrian nobleman Mohammed al-Fayez, and spares the other Saracen , who calls himself the nobleman 's servant. The survivor, who in his own opinion is now a slave, leads Balian to Jerusalem. There Balian gives him freedom and also the horse. His companion is astonished, because according to customary custom, he was obliged to honor him, even as a slave, if Balian had wished it. He accepts the horse and promises that his name will be known among his enemies. The survivor, Imad ad-Din al-Isfahani, is later revealed to be a pupil of Saladin .

Balian spends one night on Mount Golgotha , the site of Jesus' crucifixion , in mourning for his wife. The next morning he buries her cross and descends into the streets of Jerusalem. In a bazaar he meets a group of crusaders, soldiers of Godfrey. The knight Almaric recognizes Godfrey's son in him and guides him to his palace. Here Sybilla , sister of the king and future wife of Guy de Lusignan, visits him for the first time .

The Hospitaller , who had already accompanied Godfrey to France, brings Balian to Tiberias, Jerusalem's governor and close friend of Godfrey. Tiberias is a loyal supporter of his king, but also admires Saladin and believes that he and Baldwin could create a better world together. Tiberias invites Balian to the king's table. There he meets Sybilla again, as well as Guy, who only has mockery and scorn for him. After the meal, Balian has an audience with King Baldwin IV . Although he suffers from leprosy , he proves to be a far-sighted and peaceful ruler. The two talk about Balian's father, who was a teacher of Baldwin and who was the first to recognize his leprosy, and about the conscience of a knight. At the end of the conversation, Balian swears allegiance to the king and accepts his mission to protect the pilgrims and the people of Jerusalem.

Balian then travels to Ibelin to inherit from his father. He takes on the barren lands where followers of different religions live peacefully side by side. As a first measure, he had irrigation systems built for the fields in order to improve the living conditions of his farmers. Here Balian gets a visit from Sybilla again and the two start an affair.

In the meantime, Baldwin is struggling to keep peace with his Muslim neighbors. There are constant internal political disputes with the Templar Order , who want to provoke a war. Again and again, the Knight Templar Rainald de Chatillon and his soldiers raid Arab caravans with secret approval and personal support from Guy de Lusignan. The young, leper king of Jerusalem tries to limit the damage and relies on diplomacy , since a war against the army of the Saracen ruler Salah ad-Din would be the end of the Kingdom of Jerusalem .

Meanwhile, Guy and Rainald ambush a Saracen caravan and get Saladin to march with his army in front of Rainald's Kerak fortress . This in turn forces Baldwin to advance with his army against Saladin, despite his serious illness. Before the army of Jerusalem reaches the fortress, Balian and his men arrive there and send a Saracen vanguard to fight to prevent these civilians from attacking. There Balian meets Imad ad-Din again. Before Saladin can order an attack, the news is brought to him that “Jerusalem”, incarnating Baldwin and the united army of the Crusader states, is arriving. The king succeeds in getting Salah ad-Din to leave without a fight by promising to punish Rainald. He then forces Rainald to kiss his hand, which has been marked by leprosy, for peace, hits him several times and has him thrown into dungeon .

The journey has greatly weakened the king and he will soon die. That is why he wants to marry Balian with Sybilla in order to crown him king. Guy de Lusignan would be executed for high treason as he would most certainly refuse to swear allegiance to Balian. However, Balian refuses because such an approach would contradict his ideals of a knight. The king accepts the answer with surprise, but accepts it, since Balian quotes Godfrey's words.

Baldwin dies a short time later. In the Director's Cut, Sybilla's young son becomes the new king, she his regent. After she notices that he too suffers from leprosy, she poisons him to spare him the ordeal. Soon after, Sybilla reluctantly crowns her husband Guy, who wanted to have Balian killed by crusaders without her knowledge, but this failed. Guy pardons Rainald so he can continue raiding Saracen caravans. During a raid, Rainald kills Saladin's sister and war breaks out. In the firm belief that an army under the cross of Christ, the most powerful Christian relic, cannot be defeated, Jerusalem's soldiers move into the desert to meet the Saracen army. Only Balian and Tiberias stay behind with their soldiers.

The army of Jerusalem, emaciated by the heat and lack of water, is completely wiped out in the battle of Hattin . Saladin's soldiers behead almost all of the prisoners. The execution of Rainald is carried out personally by Saladin. Guy was spared by Saladin as one king doesn't kill another. When Balian and Tiberias explore the battlefield, Tiberias decides to go to Cyprus with his entourage .

Balian stays behind to organize the defense of Jerusalem. His goal is to stop Saladin until he can put conditions on him. During the siege, the defenders of Jerusalem repulsed attack after attack, inflicting heavy losses on Saladin's army. He reproaches his pupil for saying that Balian should have killed better. When even the fall of the wall does not lead to the capture of Jerusalem, Saladin wants to negotiate. Balian gives up Jerusalem. In return, the population receives free retreat into Christian territory. When Balian Saladin asks what Jerusalem is worth, the latter first replies with “nothing…” goes a little and then adds “Everything!”.

Imad al-Din al-Isfahani gave Balian the horse that he had once given him in Jerusalem. Then Balian returns to France together with Sybilla.

Some time later, the English King Richard the Lionheart rides through Balian's village. He asks for Balian, defender of Jerusalem, whom he wants to win for the reconquest of Jerusalem. Without identifying himself by his real name, Balian insists that he is just a simple farrier, whereupon Richard's troop moves on. Finally, Balian and Sybilla ride out of the village towards the horizon.

Historical background

The beheading of Renaud de Châtillon. (Illustration from a 15th-century edition of the Historia of Wilhelm von Tire .)

The plot is based only very loosely on the biography of Balian the Younger (1140s – 1193) and takes place between the Second (1147–1149) and Third Crusade (1189–1192). Individual motifs, such as the scene in Saladin's tent after the Battle of the Horns of Hattin, are taken from contemporary reports. The death of Renaud de Châtillon goes back to the historical account of the eyewitness Imad ad-Din al-Asfahani; his account corresponds to that of Steven Runciman's story of the Crusades , whereby the importance of the serving of a drink by Salah ad-Din for the further fate of the Prisoners in the film is not explained in detail. The scene itself also corresponds to images from the Historia of Wilhelm of Tire .

At the same time, however, there are numerous historical inaccuracies. Historians like Jonathan Riley-Smith criticized the plot as wrong and nonsensical. Although the main characters existed, such as the leper monarch Baldwin IV , the heir to the throne Guy de Lusignan and his wife Sibylle or the troublemaker Renaud de Châtillon , the real facts differ from those shown in the film. For example, Saladin (1137 / 1138–1193) prevented a massacre after the surrender of Jerusalem, but demanded financial compensation for the free withdrawal of Christians. Whoever could not raise this, fell into slavery. The raids made by Guy de Lusignan on Bedouin caravans in the autumn of 1184 are historically documented, but according to historians such as Steven Runciman, the reasons for this were economic interests, since the Bedouins paid taxes to the king, but not to Guy. In the film, however, Guy commits the crimes to provoke Saladin into a war. The governor of Tiberias, on the other hand, is a fictional person, based on Raimund III. , Count of Tripoli.

The role of the Knights Templar (Pauperes commilitones Christi templique Salomonici Hierosalemitanis) is also misrepresented in the film, since neither the historical Renaud de Châtillon nor Guy de Lusignan belonged to the monastic order of the Knights Templar. Furthermore, the Knights Templar play a very secular, ruthless and vicious role in the film, which is not compatible with the actually very high ideals of the historical Knights Templar. The symbols and colors used by the Templars in the film also do not correspond to the historical ones. However, their grand master Gérard de Ridefort contributed to the loss of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1187 through his partisan and unconstructive behavior. Compared to other films, this one depicts everyday chivalrous life in medieval France and the Kingdom of Jerusalem much more realistically.


Special effects

Weta , who had already supplied the effects for the Lord of the Rings trilogy , I, Robot and The Chronicles of Narnia: The King of Narnia , is responsible for the special effects . Weta created a number of weapons and armor for the film and took care of the gigantic armies with the computer program Massive .


The film marked Ridley Scott's first collaboration with composer Harry Gregson-Williams . As in previous films, Ridley Scott left the provisional music track used for editing in some places . For example, for some particularly dramatic scenes, one hears passages from the music by Jerry Goldsmith for The 13th Warrior and the aria Vide Cor Meum , which Patrick Cassidy originally composed for the film Hannibal . In another film sequence, Scott uses the score that Graeme Revell wrote for The Crow . During the execution of Rainald de Chatillon, the chorale Befiehl du seinewege from Johann Sebastian Bach's St. Matthew Passion can be heard . In addition, Marco Beltrami's Family Feud from Blade II will be played during the handover of Jerusalem to Saladin . For the love scene between Balian and Sybilla, the song Saa Magni by the West African musician Oumou Sangaré was used .


The German version was obtained from Interopa Film GmbH Berlin. Simon Jäger wrote and directed the dialogue .


The film premiered on May 2, 2005 in London. In Germany it was released in cinemas on May 5, 2005.

There is a Director's Cut , which, with over 150 differences, is 46:08 minutes (including 50:31 intermissions ) longer than the theatrical version:

  • The funeral scene and the conversation between the priest and the monk has been extended by 40 seconds, another conversation with the treasurer from Godfrey's entourage is included.
  • A flashback from Balian shows his wife planting a tree, followed by two knights picking up Balian.
  • Godfrey and his entourage spend the night in his brother's castle. Here they talk about life in the "Holy Land" over dinner.
  • Many new aspects of Balian's past are mentioned: in his younger years he was a favorite of the bishop, later he fought for his sovereign in many battles and constructed some new war machines. He later settled down as a farrier so that he could lead a peaceful life with his family. These stories explain why an apparently simple blacksmith can read and write, master foreign languages, have extensive knowledge of history and religion, know how to behave appropriately in high society, can wield a sword masterfully and is also able to do it technically prepare extremely demanding defense of Jerusalem.
  • Some kinship relationships are completely new and are not mentioned in the theatrical version: The priest is Balian's (half) brother and the village sheriff is the son of the sovereign, thus Godfrey's nephew.
  • Overall, the priest is portrayed much more vicious and fanatical: for example, he refuses Balian's wife to attend a burial mass (for which Godfrey pays him, however), has her body mutilated against the clear order of the bishop, he lies both to his masters, the bishop also to his brother Balian in his own favor, denounces the latter in the village wherever he can, provokes and beats the grieving Balian at the grave of his wife and implores him to join Godfrey and to leave the village as soon as possible, whereby Balian's property passed to him.
  • In some places the synchronized versions differ, sometimes very clearly. For example, the sheriff Godfrey calls “Uncle” in the Director's Cut before the fight in the forest; in the theatrical version he calls him "nobleman" in the same place with otherwise identical wording.
  • The fight in the forest is much longer than in the theatrical version. After the fight you can also see the execution of a survivor.
  • The scene at the harbor is one minute longer.
  • The visit to Ibelin is longer.
  • The scene in Ibelin has been extended, here Balian says “Quod Sumus, Hoc Eritis. As we are, you will be ”before he moves on. Later he is lying on the bed with Sybilla, the conversation in front of it is longer.
  • The conversation between Balian and Sybilla was inserted, later Balian and the hospitaller talk to each other.
  • Sybilla's young son is shown for the first time in this version, he suffers from leprosy and , like his uncle Baldwin, is crowned as a child.
  • Rainald's prison scene is a little longer.
  • Rainald's beheading scene is also longer, but also bloodier.
  • The gravedigger, who buried Balian's wife at the beginning of the film, is one of the defenders of Jerusalem, is recognized by Balian and knighted with other common soldiers.
  • Balian's fight with Guy has been reinserted and the Muslim takeover of the church has been expanded.

The Director's Cut is approved by the FSK for ages 16 and up.

On November 10, 2005 the film was released on DVD in a standard and a special edition. With the Director's Cut comprising four DVDs, another edition was released on September 4, 2006, which contains more than 46 minutes of additional film material and other bonuses. The Director's Cut was also released on Blu-ray on January 15, 2007 . The film is 189 minutes long and divided into 62 chapters. The sound on this disc is available in German and English as DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 . The special equipment consists only of the cinema trailer from Kingdom of Heaven .


The film received mixed reviews. The lexicon of international film sees a “perfectly staged historical film” that addresses “values ​​such as tolerance and peaceful coexistence” and conveys “many thought-provoking nuances”.

The film mirror criticizes the fact that despite "the technical virtuosity of its director" the "somewhat dispassionate crusade segment between banal action film and a rarely noticeable, monumental epic" silted up. Katja Nicodemus von der Zeit thinks that the whole genre is not concerned with its originals. Scott also “got caught up in history” and there was no “view of an era, its historical texture and its figures”. Instead, “in the current battle cinema […] the locations, epochs and protagonists would become pure placeholders” for a “historical film that continually confuses epic storytelling with a kind of visual bodybuilding.”

Above all, critics praised the brilliant cast of the supporting roles. Jack Moore describes Edward Norton's leper king Baldwin as phenomenal. The portrayal is so far removed from his previous roles that the true complexity of his talent becomes clear. Ghassan Massoud and Jeremy Irons also received good reviews.

Over time, critics have also dealt with analyzes in the context of current international events and religious conflicts. Marcus Stiglegger writes, "The complex and highly political history of the Crusades has rarely been the background for a film historical spectacle". The plot arises from “current considerations” and “calls for understanding between the opposing religions precisely at the place of their common origin”.

At the box office in North America, the film was a failure, while in Europe it lived up to expectations financially. In Arab countries, however, especially Egypt, Kingdom of Heaven was a complete success. The Director's Cut on DVD received very positive reviews.


European Film Award 2005

  • Audience Award for Best Actor for Orlando Bloom

Satellite Awards 2005

  • Outstanding Original Score for Harry Gregson-Williams
  • Nomination in the category “Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role, Drama” for Edward Norton
  • Nomination in the category “Outstanding Art Direction & Production Design” for Arthur Max
  • Nomination in the category “Outstanding Costume Design” for Janty Yates
  • Nomination in the category “Outstanding Visual Effects” for Tom Wood

VES Awards 2005

  • Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Motion Picture - Wes Sewell, Victoria Alonso, Tom Wood, and Gary Brozenich

Teen Choice Awards 2005

  • Nomination in the "Choice Movie: Action" category
  • Nomination in the category "Choice Movie Actor: Action / Thriller" for Orlando Bloom
  • Nomination in the “Choice Movie: Liplock” category for Eva Green and Orlando Bloom
  • Nomination in the “Choice Movie: Love Scene” category for Eva Green and Orlando Bloom

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Certificate of Release to the Kingdom of Heaven . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , April 2005 (PDF; test number: 102 256 K).
  2. Age rating for Kingdom of Heaven . Youth Media Commission .
  3. Steven Runciman: History of the Crusades. Complete edition. CH Beck, Munich 1989, p. 759.
  4. Steven Runciman: History of the Crusades. Complete edition . CH Beck, Munich 1989, p. 742.
  5. ^ Jonas Uchtmann: Kingdom of Heaven. In: July 3, 2005, accessed November 21, 2016 .
  6. Kingdom of Heaven. In: German dubbing file , accessed on March 2, 2017 .
  7. Comparison of the cut versions from the theatrical version to the Director's Cut from Kingdom of Heaven at
  8. ↑ Certificate of Release to the Kingdom of Heaven . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry, July 2006 (PDF; Director's Cut).
  9. Kingdom of Heaven. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  10. Flemming Shock: Kingdom of Heaven. In: film mirror. Retrieved November 21, 2016 .
  11. Katja Nicodemus: The battle for Buxtehude . In: The time . No. May 19 , 2005 ( online [accessed November 21, 2016]).
  12. ^ Kingdom of Heaven Movie Review. In: Movie Insider. Retrieved November 21, 2016 .
  13. Manohla Dargis: An Epic Bloodletting Empowered by Faith . In: The New York Times . May 6, 2005 ( [accessed November 21, 2016]).
  14. ^ Matthew Richard Schlimm: The Necessity of Permanent Criticism: A Postcolonial Critique of Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven . In: Journal of Media and Religion . 9, No. 3, August 20, 2010, pp. 129-145. doi : 10.1080 / 15348423.2010.500967 .
  15. Marcus Stiglegger: History and costume film . Ed .: Fabienne Liptay (=  film genres ). 2013, ISBN 978-3-15-019064-7 , Kingdom of Heaven, pp. 406 .
  16. Kingdom of Heaven. In: The Numbers. Retrieved November 21, 2016 .
  17. ^ Double Dip Digest: Kingdom of Heaven. In: IGN. June 6, 2006, accessed November 21, 2016 .