The Box Office le veult!
BalianKingdom of Heaven
: What is Jerusalem worth? Saladin:
is a 2005 film directed by Ridley Scott
and starring Orlando Bloom
, Eva Green
, Jeremy Irons
, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Ghassan Massoud, Liam Neeson
, and Edward Norton
Set in the Middle Ages
, our protagonist is a tormented blacksmith grieving after his wife's suicide. A baron from the holy lands rides by and asks him to go on a Crusade
. He says no. Then, after being antagonized by a local priest whilst in the depths of his misery, he lashes out in rage and kills him, leaving him with the options of staying to face charges, or joining the baron to live in relative freedom.
This film is loosely
based on the historical Balian of Ibelin during the Fall of Jerusalem
The movie has two versions: the theatrical version, and the substantially better received Director's Cut.
This work provides examples of:
- Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Many, especially one-on-one scenes between Balian and, variously, Godfrey, the Hospitaller, King Baldwin, Sybilla, and Imad.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: When King Baldwin arrives at Kerak to punish Reynauld de Chatillon for his raiding of Saracen caravans, he first demands that Reynauld give him "The Kiss of Peace" on his leprous, sore-ridden hand. Reynauld grabs it without a moment's hesitation and gives it a sloppy kiss because he thinks it will get him out of trouble. Baldwin responds by smacking the crap out of Reynauld with a riding crop before condemning him to be executed.
- Angel Unaware: The Hospitaller is implied, especially by Word of God, to be this, though we do see his severed head later on.
- Annoying Arrows:
- Subverted when Balian's father Godfrey is wounded by an arrow in the side. He shrugs off the wound, but later dies of blood poisoning. The same happens with one of Godfrey's warriors who is able to fight on competently with an arrow through his neck, but dies shortly after.
- Played more straight with this:
- Aristocrats Are Evil:
- Guy looks down on Balian for his blacksmith background a couple of times throughout the film.
- Averted with Godfrey and at least some of his allies, who see their position as a means to help others and more in line with the ideals of chivalry.
- Armor Is Useless: Subverted. Balian wears chainmail in the final battle and at one point a sword hits his arm. While he doesn't get through it completely unscathed, he doesn't lose the arm either, which is what would have happened if he hadn't worn the mail.
- Arranged Marriage: The reason Sibylla is married to Guy in the first place.
- Artistic License – History: The liberties the film takes with history are all done in service to the film's central message, which essentially boils down to "Can't we all just get along?"
- Asshole Victim:
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: After Baldwin's death from leprosy (in the Director's Cut), Sybilla's son is crowned king of Jerusalem. It doesn't last for long as he inherits his Uncle's disease. After she performs a Mercy Kill on him, Guy takes control of Jerusalem.
- When the Bishop of Jerusalem points out to Balian that he's trying to defend the city with a handful of actual soldiers, a bunch of untrained civilians, and just a handful of actual knights, Balian orders every man within the sound of his voice to kneel, and then knights them all. The jump in morale this creates in the men charged with the defense of the city keeps them fighting for a long while afterward.
Bishop of Jerusalem: "Who do you think you are? Will you alter the world? Does making a man a knight make him a better fighter?"
Balian of Ibelin: (pauses, turns to look at the men around him, all of whom are now standing taller and prouder) "Yes."
- Balian of course. But also...
- Godfrey of Ibelin:
"I once fought for three days with an arrow through my left testicle..."
- Badass Mustache: Balian.
- Bald of Awesome: Balian's right-hand knight. It helps that he has Undying Loyalty to Balian and survives the siege of Jerusalem.
- Beard of Evil: Reynauld and Guy both sport full beards.
- Bittersweet Ending: Balian returns to his old home with the former queen of Jerusalem as his wife, and managed to keep the people and men under his command from being annihilated by the Saracens, but Richard the Lionheart starts another crusade that is doomed to fail, and as the ending text reminds us, it goes From Bad to Worse.
- Big Damn Heroes: The Cavalry Battle outside Kerak, twice. Balian and his knights hold back the Saracen cavalry long enough for the remaining peasants to get inside the castle, then after they're defeated, Baldwin arrives with the Jerusalem army and persuades Saladin to withdraw, rescuing Balian and his men in the process.
- The Blacksmith: Balian at the beginning, and how he chooses to live after the crusade.
- Black and Grey Morality: Saladin and the Saracens are no more "evil" than Baldwin, Balian, Tiberias and the majority of Jerusalem's army. Most of them fight for much the same ideal, although it is not portrayed as morally or ethically right for either side. The Templars however, epitomised by their leaders Guy de Lusignan and Reynauld de Chatillon, are morally bankrupt, bloodthirsty, warmongering monsters whose cruelty and depravity have no limits.
- Body Horror: King Baldwin's leprosy. It's only shown in a few scenes with two that stand out quite well: Him forcing Reynauld to kiss his rotting hand and Sibylla taking off his mask during his funeral.
- Book Ends: The film begins and ends in the village that Balain lived in.
- Break the Haughty: King Guy de Lusignan, after he is defeated by Saladin and paraded naked on a donkey. The director's cut reveals that it actually didn't work; Guy still tried to kill Balian, and was again defeated in a duel by Balian (who spares his life ).
- Beauty Equals Goodness: Averted, as there are both beautiful and hideous people all along the morality spectrum. The hideous leper King Baldwin is a good guy and a competent ruler in spite of his disease-ravaged face, while Guy de Lusignan is properly evil but played by the quite handsome Martin Csokas. The good Balian (played by Orlando Bloom) and Sibylla (played by Eva Green) are beautiful, while the horrible Reynaud is overweight.
- Bullying a Dragon: The Templars do this constantly to the Saracens and are proud of it, confident that their army cannot be beaten because it is a Christian army.
- California Doubling: Huesca, Spain stands for France, Seville stands for Jerusalem, and Morocco stands for any exterior shot in the Holy Land.
- Cherubic Choir
- Chess Motifs: King Baldwin's introductory scene, with an echo by Balian later.
- Cool Helmet: Ubiquitous. Makes sense given the time and place.
- Cool Mask / Mask Power: King Baldwin's mask. Hey, if you have to hide your disease-ridden face, at least do it in style.
- Corrupt Church: Almost all members of the Catholic hierarchy are villains or jerks. The one major aversion is the Hospitaller. The director's cut also featured a scene with a fairly sympathetic bishop who stated that "Much is done in Christendom of which Christ would be incapable," and reveals that the actions of the priest in France were all against explicit orders.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: The battle of Hattin pitts the entire army of Jerusalem against the Saracen forces which number in the 200,000 range. The Christian troops are force-marched by Guy de Lusignan in the scorching desert away from water for several days to fight the Saracens. Saladin's army rolls right over them with barely any losses while on their way to retake Jerusalem.
- Despair Event Horizon:
- Balian is in this at the beginning, due to the death of his wife and still born child. By the end of the film, however, things look much brighter for him.
- In the Director's Cut, Sibylla crosses it when she is forced to kill her child to spare him from a life of Leprosy. Tiberius says it best:
Tiberius: She let her son go, and Jerusalem with it.
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Guy and Reynauld constantly do this to Saladin by slaughtering caravans. Their attacks and constant provoking eventually come to bite them in the ass.
- Doing In the Wizard: Balian demonstrates how easy it is to accidentally set off a Creosote Bush so that it burns for a long time without being consumed, thus giving a rational explanation for Moses' burning bush. Ironically, this is the same scene which heavily implies that the man he's speaking to is an Angel Unaware.
- Dramatic Unmask: When Sibylla takes off her brother's mask after he dies.
- Dull Surprise: Orlando Bloom as Balian. Even when murdering a priest in the heat of the moment, his facial expression is best described as "mild curiosity". It works, however, since Balian was so beaten down at that point that he just didn't give a damn anymore.
- Entitled Bastard: Reynauld de Chatillon genuinely thinks he is free from any consequences of his raiding and warmongering by virtue of his title alone. He even stands tall, looking smug and cheerful while at the complete mercy of Saladin, whose sister Reynauld had brutally raped and murdered.
- Epic Movie: Cast of thousands, enormous siege, Crusader epic...
- Eternal Sexual Freedom: Balian and Sibylla have no qualms about their adulterous relationship.
- Everyone Looks Sexier If French: Sybilla is played by the French-British Eva Green.
- Evil Is Petty: Guy has his moments, but one in particular that stands out is when after his army is defeated by Saladin: He's given a cup of water by Saladin but instead of taking it, he sneers and gives to Reynauld.
- Evil Redhead: Reynauld de Chatillon.
- Extreme Melee Revenge: After all the cruelty Reynauld inflicts upon the Saracens (including the rape and murder of Saladin's sister), he is finally captured after the battle of Hattin and stands smugly before the Saracen king with no sign of remorse or humility. Saladin whips out a dagger and slashes open Reynauld's throat, before grabbing a scimitar and cutting his head off completely while his men hold Reynauld down.
- Face Death with Dignity:
- Saladin's sister seems to do this.
- Balian and his men were fully prepared to do this during the initial Saracen attack on the civilians at Kerak, and later during the siege of Jerusalem.
- The Faceless: A good guy, King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem.
- Fat Bastard: Reynauld is an utter Jerkass and also happens to be one of the only overweight characters. Given the way he wolfs down a roast chicken offered by Guy after being starved in a prison cell, he is probably a Big Eater too, having lived in luxury at Kerak, compared with all the other knights who are lean and mean.
- Faux Affably Evil: Reynauld de Chatillion (the leader of the Templars) is always polite, even with a bloody sword in his hand, which doesn't keep him from being both a Jerk Ass and The Fundamentalist.
- Feel No Pain: King Baldwin IV, as well as his nephew. (Director's Cut only)
- Fisher King: Baldwin IV. The kingdom of Jerusalem did not outlast his death, although this is due to the ineptitude of his successor, Guy de Lusignan who provokes war with the Saracens and couldn't effectively direct Jerusalem's army if his life depended on it.
- Freakier Than Fiction: Reynauld de Chatillon's barbarism and exploits were actually toned down for the movie. See Reality Is Unrealistic, below.
- The Fundamentalist: The Templars and the Patriarch (until he loses his nerve) on the crusader side, the unnamed Mullah advising Saladin on the Muslim side.
- General Failure: Guy de Lusignan is a skilled swordsman, competent in battle and probably has some knowledge of tactics. But when he is given command of an entire army, his only strategy is to force march his troops for days away from water in the scorching desert in order to Attack! Attack! Attack! the Saracen forces. Predictably, his army is utterly wiped out in the first battle.
- God in Human Form: It's highly implied that The Hospitaller is this.
- Gorgeous Period Dress: As indicated by the box art.
- Grapes of Luxury: With pomegranate seeds.
- Handicapped Badass: Baldwin IV certainly qualifies. As a leper, he defeated Saladin in battle at 16. Later while much closer to death, he beats the snot out of Reynauld for defying him, using nothing more than a riding crop and his own leprous hand.
- Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Subverted with Balian, Godfrey and the Hospitaller who do wear helmets but not ones that cover their faces. Inverted with Reynauld and Guy; Reynauld wears a helmet that leaves his face exposed and Guy wears no helmet at all in battle. Played straight when Balian is attacked by knights late in the film who are sent by Guy to assassinate him and they have full face covering helmets.
- Hero of Another Story:
- Godfrey went from being a minor French Lord to a Baron in the Holy Land, gathering such a reputation that his son's mere existence merits an audience with kings. He also somehow gathers a party including a German, a Hospitaller, and a Moor. All we ever hear of how he achieved this is that he almost killed Saladin in Damascus.
- The King of England at the film's end is of course Richard The Lion Heart, who had his own war with Saladin in the holy land.
- Historical Hero Upgrade:
- Balian, as the movie's main character, was made to give the film's aesop right before the final battle, which was basically, "Jerusalem belongs to everyone! Why can't we all just get along?" Needless to say this was put on for modern audiences, and nobody, on either side, would've been caught dead saying anything like that during the actual crusades.
- Also, like most of the other characters, the historical Balian of Ibelin wasn't above political maneuvering for power (also, he wasn't a bastard whose father happened to be important, but rather a prominent nobleman of the time and part of one of the most important families in the Kingdom of Jerusalem). That said, Balian and the Ibelins were one of the more moderate factions in the Kingdom, and along with Saladin and Patriarch Heraclius used a sizable amount of his personal fortune to pay the ransom for many of the citizens of Jerusalem after surrendering it to Saladin. Balian would also go on to mediate the peace accord between Richard and Saladin to end the Third Crusade.
- The historical Sybilla was actually part of the extremist camp within the Haute Cour, while the film places her squarely on the moderate side. The moderates, such as the Ibelins, attempted to blunt the ambitions of Lusignan and his supporters by refusing to allow her to take the throne after the death of her son (Baldwin V) unless she first divorced him. As a concession they allowed her to marry any man of her choosing afterwards, but unfortunately neglected to add "Except Lusignan," who she then turned around and picked as her consort. Not because she was in desperate need of his military support as the film depicts, but entirely because of her devotion to him, and because she sided with him and the other extremists politically.
- Saladin himself is another example. Th film depicts him allowing all of Jerusalem's Christians to leave with their lives after Balian has threatened to destroy all of the holy places in Jerusalem. In reality, he only allowed the nobles to leave free of charge, forcing Balian to ransom the poor for 30,000 bezants. Those that Balian could not ransom were sold into slavery. To his credit however, Saladin freed all of the elderly, and his brother freed another 3000 people.
- Historical Villain Upgrade:
- Inverted, surprisingly. As mentioned above, Reynauld's atrocities were toned down in the film, or at the very least, censored.
- Played Straight with the Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem, who is based on Patriarch Heraclius of Jerusalem. According to historical texts, he had something of a bad reputation, but this must be taken with a grain of salt as this information comes from his rival for the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and so is almost definitely biased.For Details In the film, he is depicted as a bigoted, self-centered, and cowardly Smug Snake. Historically, while he may have been a tad bit corrupt (but then again, who wasn't in those days?), he was actually quite selfless. He stripped the silver and gold from the Church of The Holy Sepulchre to pay the city's defenders, knowing it would likely get him in big trouble. He was also active in the defense of Jerusalem where in the film, he tried to urge Balian to help him flee. And when Jerusalem finally fell, not only did he pay for the freedom of many of the common people out of his own pocket, but he was even the one to advise Balian to seek terms instead of fight to the death.
- And of course, there's Guy de Lusignon. In the film, he's an utter bastard who would do anything for power and who thought the idea of a War for Fun and Profit was a great idea. Historically, while he may have been ambitious, he was no more so than the next noble, and his decision to go to war was less a matter of Ax Craziness and more a matter of "Saladin's already attacking, we need to do something about it." While he was a bad king, it was not because he was nuts and evil, but because he was incompetent: He could listen to reason, and he even did so when Tiberius cautioned him to stay near a source of water and let Saladin come to him, but he allowed himself to be swayed by the over-zealous elements among the nobles and made the decision to march across the desert, exhausting his army and causing its downfall. He was also much better to his wife than in the film: historically, he treated her well enough that when she was given the chance to keep the throne and choose any husband for herself and make him King, she went right back to Guy.
- The Knights Templar were not any worse than any of the other soldiers that fought in the crusades, quite the opposite they were admired (and later, during their persecution in Europe, blamed) for being tolerant of Muslims and cultivating relationships with the Arab world, yet the film goes to a few lengths to demonize them.
- Hold the Line: Balian leads his cavalry against the Saracen vanguard at Kerak to allow the villagers time to get inside the castle walls.
- Holy City: The Holy City, Jerusalem.
- Hollywood Tactics: Deconstructed — characters that advocate a simple outlook on battle are criticized and easily defeated:
- Honor Before Reason:
- "You go to certain death!" - "All death is certain."
- Also Balian gave up a chance to marry his love interest, become leader of the army, and so in effect defeat the evil Guy de Lusignan and stop the war from occurring. However since the only way to bring this about would be a coup that's just "not honorable" according to Balian's limited world view, he doesn't take the offer and so the rest of the movie is constant warfare bringing about the suffering of everybody. Nice job.
- The expectation of nobles is that you go all out to brutally kill each other, dirty fighting and ambushing included, right until someone is captured, at which point they get hospitality and ransom. Godfrey of Ibelin and Saladin have their limits with this.
- What little bit of honor Guy possesses compels him to challenge Balian to a revenge duel instead of literally backstabbing him.
- I Am the Noun: Used by King Baldwin as a Pre Ass Kicking One Liner:
King Baldwin: I am Jerusalem. (removes gauntlet and extends his leprous hand) And you, Reynauld, will give me the kiss of peace.
- The same line is later used as an Ironic Echo by Guy after he becomes king. Though Baldwin was able to use it and make himself sound like a badass, with Guy it reflects his deteriorating mental state.
- I Banged Your Mom:
: "If I had fought you when you were still capable of making bastards..." Godfrey
: "I knew
your mother when she was making hers. Fortunately you're too old to be one of mine."
- If I Wanted You Dead...: Tiberias puts it very eloquently towards the bloodthirsty Guy de Lusignan.
Tiberias: I would rather live with men than kill them. That is certainly why you are alive.
- Ill Boy: King Baldwin, whose face is disfigured due to leprosy. His nephew, as well.
- Implausible Deniability: Reynauld flatly denies his own warmongering, despite it being common knowledge that he is responsible.
Tiberias: That witness, all of Jerusalem, Holy God, and me.
Reynauld: That "witness", if you call him that, is a Saracen! He lies!
Tiberias: There will come a time, Reynauld when you will not be protected by your title!
Tiberias: Those Templars have been hung for a raid that I know you commanded!
Reynauld: Prove it. I will wait at Kerak until you do.
Tiberias: The king will take your castle of Kerak, Reynauld.
- Improbable Age: Truth in Television, modern expectations aside. While the real Balain was much older, it's not at all implausible for someone in their mid-twenties to be highly experienced and competent in war in the the 12th Century. Baldwin IV did assume the throne at the age of 13 - and almost immediately went off to raid around Damascus and otherwise fight Saladin.
- I Owe You My Life: Imad to Balian. Balian doesn't accept it.
- Ironic Echo: "God wills it!"
- It's Up to You: There were only three knights left in the city, hence it fell to Balian to defend Jerusalem. This is true, although the mass knighting never happened this way.
- Jerkass: The Priest at the beginning and the Templars, especially Guy and Reynauld.
- Jerk Justifications: Reynauld de Chatilllon has the Type 3 mentality. Guy de Lusignan is Type 2.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Reynauld de Chatillon and Guy de Lusignon's first on-screen raid of a Saracen caravan is this; they breach the peace by brutally murdering innocent civilians using the flimsiest of excuses - that the caravan guards are armed (which was only in response to Reynauld's predation against Saracen caravans in the first place).
- Kick the Son of a Bitch:
- Saladin, when he slits Reynauld's throat and again when he has Guy paraded half-naked backwards on a donkey.
- Baldwin's forcing Reynauld to kiss his diseased hand and then slapping him around a few times.
- Also, Balian's brother, who thwarts the orders of his superiors out of spite to his brother, and has Balian's dead wife beheaded before burial, and he takes her necklace, wearing it brazenly around his brother. Also doubles as Jerk Ass Victim because he was harassing his brother about this, whilst his brother was forging a sword, which was presently pointy and red hot.
- Kill the Ones You Love: In the extended cut, Sibylla kills her son after discovering that leprosy runs in the family.
- Knighting: When the bishop complains that there are no knights in Jerusalem to defend the city, Balian knights every soldier in the walls. This is loosely based on the fact that Balian speed-knighted select citizens of Jerusalem.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Balian big time. Also his crew.
"These people are defenseless..." "We cannot attack that and live." "Are you with me?"
Tiberias: I pray that the world and Jerusalem can accomodate such a rarity as a perfect knight.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Tiberias, literally.
- Large Ham:
- Jeremy Irons is in it, so yeah.
- Brendan Gleeson has quite a few hammy moments of his own as Reynauld. Especially the scene of him marching around his prison cell screaming his name at the top of his lungs.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Reynauld's final insult and utter lack of humility towards Saladin (especially after raping and murdering his sister) earns him a vicious beheading at the hands of the Saracen king.
- Light Is Not Good / Dark Is Not Evil: The Jerk Ass Fundamentalist Templars wear white tabards with red crosses, whilst the more moderate and tolerant Hospitallers wear black tabards with grey crosses. Wholly dramatised for the film to give it clearly defined villains.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Godfrey reveals himself to be Balian's father.
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Magic Feather: The mass knighting. There is subtle screen evidence of this. Once Balian declares the men at arms to be knights, they all stand up a little straighter, raise their heads a little higher. It goes unsaid, but what Balian does is give them pride in themselves for the coming battle: They have something to fight for, other than fighting for someone else's reason.
Patriarch: Will you alter the world!? Does... making a man a knight... make him a better fighter?
- Man in White: King Baldwin.
- Meaningful Echo: Godfrey's knighting speech to Balian, and "Your quality will be known among your enemies, before ever you meet them." Also, Balian quotes back King Baldwin's chess speech.
- Mercy Kill: In the director's cut, Sybilla chooses to euthanize her son, as he has just been diagnosed with leprosy.
- Meaningful Name:
- Reynauld is old French name for "Fox" (via memetic mutation from a popular folklore character) (could be mere coincidence, as Reynauld of Chatillon was a real person).
- Godfrey of Ibelin might be named after Godfrey of Bouillon, a famous leader of the First Crusade who was also the complete opposite sort of character. A seemingly contradictory interpretation is that he was named Godfrey because that sounds like "God-free", tentatively hinting that he's an atheist.
- Mighty Whitey: The scene where Balian, fresh from Europe, has to teach a bunch of lifelong desert-dwellers how to dig a well. The scene could also be read as him upgrading an existing system with his engineering skills, the only dialog is that they need more water.
- Modest Royalty: Unlike his generals, Saladin usually wears fully black robes as his garb of choice with no finery whatsoever. He only dons his very impressive battle armor when battle actually commences.
- Mr. Fanservice: While there are a fair number of fairly attractive male examples from the mostly male cast who run the gambit of young to old, Balian who appears shirtless in at least one scene is a shoe-in as an example because after all he is Legolas and Will Turner.
- Necessarily Evil: Reynauld seems to think of himself this way. "I am what I am. Someone has to be."
- Never Trust a Trailer: It's been theorized that the movie did badly in the US because commercials and trailers presented it primarily as a love story, rather than one of political and religious intrigue.
- Nightmare Face: The King of Jerusalem, with his mask off.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Balian is a skilled blacksmith, siege engineer and silversmith, and also an experienced soldier.
- No Name Given: Hospitaller. The Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem is never named in the film, but historically his name is known to be Heraclius.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The Battle of Hattin is one of the most dramatic and often-studied battles of the Crusades (far more than the siege of Jerusalem), but all we see is the aftermath.
- Off with His Head!: Reynauld gets decapitated by Saladin.
- Oh, No... Not Again!: Implied when Godfrey says he once fought for three days with an arrow through his testicle. The Hospitaller rolls his eyes, indicating he has heard Godfrey tell that story before more than once.
- One-Woman Wail: Although the Cherubic Choir is more prominent.
- Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The crusader armies during the truce.
These men are Templars
... They killed Arabs.
Balian: So they are being executed for what the Pope would have them do?
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis: Salah-ad-Din's popularity was renewed through boomerang association from Western media and film, since Saladin was more famous in Europe for centuries than he was at home. Now, all sorts of people view him as an archetypal Muslim leader.
- Power Walk: Saladin.
- Pretext for War: Saladin reveals in his private moments that he has to find one soon or he might be deposed by the Saracen princes who gave him his authority. Imad, his second in command reassures him that the Christians will lose all restraint against raiding Muslim civilians once Baldwin is dead and will give them the pretext they need.
- The Proud Elite: Guy de Lusignan and Reynauld de Chatillon, with a dash of jerkass.
- Rape Discretion Shot: Reynauld's rape and murder of Saladin's sister is presented this way. To wit: he approaches her from a distance. She asks him if he knows who she is, and he replies 'yes' before ripping the veil from her face before the scene cuts away.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: While the real Balian, unsurprisingly, was not an upwardly-mobile blacksmith, this trope certainly applies by the sheer number of critics of the film who thought the whole tale was made up, and that the various characters did not exist! note In fact, others have criticized the movie for not telling the real life version of events on the grounds that it is more interesting, unusual and dramatic than the plot we see in the film. The movie makes no mention or use of, for example, Reynauld commanding a fleet of pirate ships that threatened to burn Mecca; or the prior relationship between Balian and Saladin when Balian was captured in the Battle of Hattin and then released on condition he would promise not to defend Jerusalem; but, upon seeing how how defenseless the city was, Balian sent a letter to Saladin and asked him to relieve him of his promise, to which Saladin complied.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Baldwin IV, Tiberias and Saladin. The Bishop in Balian's hometown seen in the Director's Cut would count as well.
- Re Cut: The Director's Cut is much longer and generally thought to raise the quality of the film greatly.
- Richard The Lion Heart: In a cameo scene at the ending.
- Rousing Speech: The mass-knighting certainly serves as one. Before the knighting, the defenders of the wall (who are mostly peasant leavies, with only a handful of men-at-arms and only three actual knights) look scared. Deeply scared.
The Patriarch of Jerusalem: (almost crying) "Who do you think you are? Will you alter the world? Does making a man a knight make him a better fighter?"
(Balian looks around into the eyes of the newly made knights, all of whom are blazing with new confidence)
Balian of Ibelin: "Yes."
- Sacred Hospitality: Saladin offers ice water to Guy as a gesture symbolizing that he is being placed under his protection and will not be killed. He very specifically does not offer the cup to Reynauld.
- Say My Name: REYNAULD DE CHATILLION!
- Save the Villain: Balian's attitude toward Guy. Also deconstructed in that it leads to pretty much every bad thing that happens in the last third of the movie
- Scenery Porn: Ridley Scott had an admitted fetish for fluttering flags in this film. Thousands of them.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Reynauld de Chatillon and Guy de Lusignan think they're utterly above accountability for their horrible acts because they're men of noble birth who possess wealth and power.
Tiberias: There will come a time, Reynauld when you will not be protected by your title!
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Tiberius and his knights after Guy's forces get annihilated.
- Second Love: Sibylla becomes this to Balian.
- Shields Are Useless: When the walls of Jerusalem are breached, Balian casts aside his shield and charges in.
- Shoot the Messenger: Or rather stab him, then behead him.
- The Siege: The climax of the movie, the siege of Jerusalem. Also a Last Stand for Balian and the other Christians.
- Silence, You Fool!: Tiberias, to a large crowd of Templars and his fellow Knights arguing.
- Smug Snake: Guy de Luisignan.
- The Sociopath: Reynauld slaughters innocent Muslim caravans with vigor, like it was part of his daily routine.
- So Proud of You: Godfrey to Balian. In his last confession, he says he is sorry for all of his sins but one, looking at him.
- Standardized Leader: Balian at least comes close to this.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: The Hospitaller pulls one off in the middle of the desert. One of the hints that he's a Spirit Advisor.
- Stock Scream: You can hear a Wilhelm during the siege when one of the attackers falls from a siege tower.
- Suicidal Over Confidence: Guy de Lusignan and the rest of the Templars are certain they will claim victory in a war with the Saracens.
- The Stoic: The nicer interpretation of Orlando Bloom's performance as Balian.
- Symbolic Blood: At one point during the climactic siege, shots of Balian hacking and slicing atop the walls are intercut with shots of oil being tossed onto the attackers.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- When Guy becomes king of Jerusalem, he rides out with the entire army to meet Saladin on a forced march away from water and the entire Christian army is on its last legs by the time they arrive to do battle, with historically accurate results.
- Also, Balian's brother who, perhaps, assumed he didn't have it in him, but chose to mock his grieving brother while Balian was hard at work on a sword, around a very firey forge.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Balian's wife and King Baldwin.
- Translation Convention: Most of the European characters should be speaking French, and the Muslims Arabic.
- 24-Hour Armor:
- Typical case. Knights variously treat their armor as normal streetwear, business suit, or evening attire. Tiberias even wears it during office hours.
- Averted with Balian and the Saracen generals Saladin and Imad, who are only seen wearing full armor when they're ready to do serious battle.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Guy de Lusignan becomes king of Jerusalemnote after Baldwin's deathnote . It doesn't last for long, due to Guy also being a General Failure.
- War for Fun and Profit: Tiberias laments this before leaving for Cyprus after the battle of Hattin; that the real reason the Christians came to the holy land was for money and power.
- Warrior Poet: Saladin.
- We Are Not Going Through That Again. "I am the blacksmith."
- What the Hell, Hero?: Tiberius and Sybilla both dress down Balian for letting tens of thousands die pointlessly to avoid the death of one personal enemy.
- The Wise Prince: King Baldwin IV.
When I was sixteen I won a great victory. I felt in that moment I would live to be a hundred. Now I know I shall not see thirty. None of us know our end really... A King may move a man... but remember that your soul
is in your keeping alone. Even though those who move you be kings or men of power... When you stand before God, you cannot say "but I was told by others
to do thus" or that "virtue was not convenient at the time." This will not suffice.
- The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Queen Sybilla.
Sybilla: A woman in my place has two faces, one for the world and one which she wears in private. With you I'll be only Sybilla. Tiberias thinks me unpredictable; I am unpredictable.
- Worthy Opponent:
- Saladin, and Imad ad-Din with him. Saladin and Baldwin share a great deal of mutual respect and speak to each other almost as if they were friends, if it were not for them being on opposing sides.
- Balian is this to the Saracens, after he defeats one of their great warriors in a dispute and releases Imad from bondage, not knowing he is a Saracen noble.
- You See, I'm Dying: King Baldwin, due to his bad case of leprosy.