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Film / Kingdom of Heaven

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The Box Office le veult!note 

Balian: What is Jerusalem worth?
Saladin: Nothing. [beat] Everything.

Kingdom of Heaven 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, the 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 three versions: the original theatrical version, and the Director's Cut, and the Director's Cut Roadshow.


Kingdom of Heaven provides examples of:

  • 24-Hour Armor:
    • 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.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: When King Baldwin arrives at Kerak to punish Reynald de Chatillon for his raiding of Saracen caravans, Reynald immediately assumes a fawning, begging posture (though his face betrays a mocking, sarcastic expression). When Baldwin demands that Reynald give him "The Kiss of Peace" on his leprous, sore-ridden hand, Reynald grabs it without a moment's hesitation and gives it a sloppy kiss. Baldwin responds by smacking the crap out of Reynald with a riding crop before condemning him to be executed.
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  • Angel Unaware: The Hospitaller is implied to be this — he has a knack for disappearing into thin air, and at one point he appears out of nowhere to revive an apparently dying Balian with a touch. He apparently has a physical body, though — we 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 a crossbow quarrel through his neck, but dies shortly after.
    • Played more straight with this:
      Godfrey: I once fought two days with an arrow through my testicle.
  • 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. Plus he's her second husband note , and her first marriage was presumably also arranged.
  • Artistic License – History: Has its own page.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The jerkass priest at the beginning note  gets stabbed and subsequently set on fire by Balian when Balian finds out the priest has looted a golden crucifix from the body of Balian's dead wife.
    • The Saracen cavalier who attacks Balian over his horse when Balian was lost and exhausted, and didn't do anything to him. Although as it turns out, the "cavalier" was actually the servant of the landowner (they played it the other way around), who, despite his first interaction with Balian, turns out to be a very valuable ally later on.
    • Reynald as well. After spending the entire movie killing apparently for fun (although in one scene he shows signs of considering himself Necessarily Evil), it's a real pleasure to see him get his throat cut by Saladin.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: After Baldwin's death from leprosy (in the Director's Cut), Sybilla's son is crowned king of Jerusalem.
  • Ax-Crazy: Guy and Reynald have gleeful expressions while slaughtering defenseless caravans.
  • Badass Preacher: The Hospitaller, played by David Thewlis. The order of the Hospitaller Knights were all ordained priests, all trained as physicians, and all guys you did not want to fuck with.
  • Bald of Awesome: Almaric, Balian's right-hand warrior. One of the few characters to survive to the end of the film.
  • Beard of Evil: Reynald and Guy are the bad guys and both sport full beards.
  • Beauty = 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.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Balian manages to keep the people and men under his command from being annihilated by the Saracens, and moves to France with Sybilla, the former queen of Jerusalem, as his wife 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, epitomized by their leaders Guy de Lusignan and Reynald de Chatillon, are morally bankrupt, bloodthirsty, warmongering monsters whose cruelty and depravity have no limits.
  • Black-and-White Morality: An in-universe variation in that Balian thinks this way — things are either right or they're wrong, and he must do only what's right. It doesn't exactly work out very well.
  • Blunt "Yes": Before the Siege of Jerusalem, Balian quickly knights all the men-at-arms within the walls of the city, upsetting the Bishop.
    Bishop, Patriarch 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: Yes.
  • Body Horror: King Baldwin's leprosy is only shown in a few scenes with two that stand out quite well: Him forcing Reynald 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 Balian lives in in France, with a party of crusaders arriving and seeking him out. The first time, the crusaders are led by a lord, and Balian the blacksmith shows deference and avoids making eye contact. The second time, the crusaders are led by a king — and Balian, insisting that he is no more than a blacksmith, looks the king in the eye, as an equal.
  • 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 ).
  • Bullying a Dragon: Guy and Reynald constantly antagonize Saladin by slaughtering caravans, confident that their army cannot be beaten because it is a Christian army despite Saladin's overwhelming advantage in force. Their attacks and constant provoking eventually come to bite them in the ass.
    Guy: This caravan is armed, Reynald.
    Reynald: Good! No sport, otherwise.
  • Casting Gag: At one point, Sibylla describes one of her rings as being from France and says she's never been there. She's played by a French actress.
  • Chess Motifs: King Baldwin's introductory scene has him use chess as a metaphor to explain the complexities of human existence. "The whole world is in chess. Any move can be the death of you. Do anything except remain where you started... and you can't be sure of your end."
  • 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 army of Jerusalem against the Saracens. 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 stillborn child. By the end of the film, however, things look much brighter for him.
  • 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 natural 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.
  • Driven to Suicide: Balian's wife hung herself out of grief at their child being stillborn.
  • Drop the Hammer: The English Sergeant uses a warhammer as his main weapon.
  • Dual Wielding:
    • Godfrey's companion Odo uses a sword in one hand and an axe in the other.
    • The English Sergeant uses a warhammer in one hand and a short sword in the other.
    • Guy wields his sword in one hand and a dagger in the other in his duel with Balian.
  • Due to the Dead: Balian's wife is denied Christian burial as a suicide. She's buried at the crossroads and beheaded. Truth in Television for the time. However, the priest really shouldn't have rubbed this in his face.
  • Dull Surprise: Orlando Bloom as Balian. Even when murdering a priest (who also happens to be his own brother) 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.
  • Eastward Endeavor: Balian travels from France to Jerusalem with his father, Godfrey to get absolution from his sins. Although Godfrey dies before reaching Jerusalem, the time he spent with Balian on their journey gives him catharsis.
  • Easy Logistics:
    • Averted and deconstructed mercilessly by Saladin.
      Saladin: The outcomes of battles are determined by God. However, they are also determined by numbers, preparation, absence of disease, and availability of water. We cannot maintain a siege with an enemy behind us.
    • Guy believes in this trope, getting the Army of Jerusalem slaughtered to the last man.
  • Entitled Bastard: Reynald 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 Reynald himself had brutally raped and murdered.
  • Epic Movie: Cast of thousands, enormous siege, Crusader epic...and to top it all off, the Director's cut has an Overture and Intermission!
  • Evil Redhead: Reynald de Chatillon is the only redheaded character and a thoroughly despicable man who loves rape and slaughter.
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: After all the cruelty Reynald 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 Reynald's throat, before grabbing a scimitar and cutting his head off completely while his men hold Reynald down.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • 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.
    • Of all the people, this is how Reynald de Chatillon, arguably the most despicable characters of the movie, meets his end. When he is brought before Saladin, after having been taken prisoner during the disastrous battle of Hattin, he initially shows his usual arrogance and scorn, guzzling a cup of fresh water that Saladin has given to Guy. But when Saladin pointedly tells him that he never intended to give the cup to himnote , he says that he knows that with a quiet and almost sad expression on his face, implicitly acknowledging that Saladin intends to kill him and that he accepts his doom.
      Reynald: I drink water for what it is.
      Saladin: I did not give the cup to you.
      Reynald: No.
  • The Faceless: A good guy, King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem. His face is concealed in every scene until after his death, when his sister removes his mask — and then quickly replaces it, when she sees what lies beneath.
  • Fat Bastard: Reynald 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, good and bad, who are lean and mean.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Reynald 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 Jerkass and The Fundamentalist.
  • Feel No Pain: King Baldwin IV notes to Balian, in the former's introduction scene, that the fact that he demonstrated this as a child was the first sign that he had leprosy. This tragically happens with his nephew (Director's Cut only) as well, for the same reasons.
  • 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.
  • Friendly Enemy: Baldwin and Saladin are the most obvious, though Balian and Imad eventually grow into this.
  • 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.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Reynald bisects a Saracen when he attacks the caravan.
  • Heir-In-Law: In a variant, Guy, Baldwin's brother-in-law, succeeds him as King of Jerusalem.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Subverted with Balian, Godfrey and the Hospitaller who do wear helmets, but not ones that cover their faces. Inverted with Reynald and Guy; Reynald 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.
  • Heroic Bastard: Balian, in contrast with the real man being somewhat less heroic, plus legitimate and a nobleman.
  • Here We Go Again!: The end of the film sees Balian return to his quiet life as a blacksmith in France with Sibylla by his side. Several English soldiers, led by English King Richard I, pass through the village and try to recruit Balian for a new Crusade. He passes on the offer and the crusaders continue on their way. While Balian has found peace, the Holy Land Will continue to be a hotbed of conflict between Christians and Muslims.
  • 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 towering German, a Hospitaller Knight, an English soldier, and a Moor. All we ever hear of how he achieved this is that he almost killed Saladin in Damascus, and that he "once fought two days with an arrow through [his] testicle".
  • 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. Even in the film the Patriarch is scandalized and says it's blasphemy, though no-one else objects, quickly hushing him.
    • 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 boy 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. The 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.) There's also the fact that he had all of the Templars taken prisoner at Hattin beheaded in cold blood after the battle.
  • Historical Villain Downgrade: A minor version happens to Reynald. While he's still a pretty horrible human being, the film sets him up as one of Guy's henchmen, and Guy is ultimately behind most of the horrible things Reynald does. In real life, it was Reynald making the decisions and Guy just not having the confidence to stand firm against him (see Guy's entry under Historical Villain Upgrade).
  • Historical Villain Upgrade:
    • 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, whereas 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.
    • In the movie, Guy de Lusignan is 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.
    • Averted completely with Reynald, who really was as bad in Real Life as he is in the film. In fact, a decent part of Guy's Historical Villain Upgrade involves giving him some of the bad decisions that Reynald was actually the driving force behind.
  • 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, is the setting for much of the film, and the entire point of the plot is that different religions go to war with each other over it. The downer closing credits remind us that that was not only happening in the 1100's, but still today.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Deconstructed — characters that advocate a simple outlook on battle are criticized and easily defeated:
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • The Hospitaller's explanation for his going to battle. "You go to certain death!" - "All death is certain."
    • 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, Reynald, 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.
    • When Guy is whipping up the army to go fight Saladin, he starts to say a variation on this as well, only to finish in a very subdued and taken aback tone when he sees Balian, who he had tried to have assassinated, walking towards him.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: Tiberias puts it very eloquently towards the bloodthirsty Guy de Lusignan.
    Tiberias: That I would rather live with men than kill them is certainly why you are alive.
  • Ill Boy: King Baldwin, whose face is disfigured due to leprosy and has been since childhood. His nephew, as well.
  • Implausible Deniability: Reynald flatly denies his own warmongering, despite it being common knowledge that he is responsible.
    Reynald: Who says I raid!?
    Tiberias: That witness, all of Jerusalem, Holy God, and me.
    Reynald: That "witness", if you call him that, is a Saracen! He lies!
    Tiberias: There will come a time, Reynald when you will not be protected by your title!
    Reynald: Oh? When will that be? Alert me, Tiberias, when men are equal and the kingdom of heaven has arrived.
    Tiberias: Those Templars have been hung for a raid that I know you commanded!
    Reynald: Prove it. I will wait at Kerak until you do.
    Tiberias: The king will take your castle of Kerak, Reynald.
    Reynald: Try to take it, Tiberias. I'll be there.
  • Instant Expert: Balian is somehow a master of commanding troops in defense against siege warfare, despite never having any formal training in how to do so. It's actually explained in the Director's Version that Balian had served a nobleman in France during a war between him and another noble. During that war he picked up siege tactics, fighting, and other things. It's still not fully explained but it's way better than the original cut where he just seems to go from blacksmith to master of war.
  • I Owe You My Life: At their first hostile encounter in the desert, Balian kills Imad's servant and has Imad at his mercy but spares his life. Imad notes to Balian that this could justify Imad being Balian's servant, but Balian does not accept it. Imad later returns the favor.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • "God wills it!" Used by both Christians and Muslims to justify their actions.
    • In explaining why he won't go along with Baldwin's plan to get rid of Guy, Balian quotes Baldwin's own words back at him. Despite the situation, Baldwin can't help but be a little amused.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: When Guy de Lusignan sees Balian sitting at dinner with other noted officials like Sibylla and Tiberias, he refers to Balian as "this".
  • It's Up to You: There are only three knights left in the city, hence it falls to Balian to organize the defense of Jerusalem.
  • Jerkass:
    • The Priest at the beginning, who steals money meant for Balian, has his wife's corpse mutilated against the Bishop's orders, and then taunts Balian into killing him.
    • Aside from being a bloodthirsty fundamentalist who loves mass slaughter, Guy de Lusignan is an unpleasant man who refuses to be in the same room as those who disagree with him.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: In the extended cut, Sibylla kills her son after discovering that he suffers from leprosy..
  • Knighting: When the bishop complains that there are no knights in Jerusalem to defend the city, Balian knights every soldier in the city. This is loosely based on the fact that Balian speed-knighted select citizens of Jerusalem.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: Tiberias. A good guy, but rendered deeply cynical by years of politics and treachery, to the point that, when the final battle looms, he simply leaves.
  • Large Ham: Brendan Gleeson has quite a few hammy moments of his own as Reynald. Especially the scene of him marching around his prison cell screaming his name at the top of his lungs. Marton Csokas, who played Guy de Lusignan, also seems to revel in his character's evilness.
  • 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?
    Balian: Yes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mysterious Veil: Sybilla adopts the local custom of wearing a veil—sometimes translucent, sometimes opaque—on the first two occasions when she rides out to meet with Balian.
  • Necessarily Evil: Reynald seems to think of himself this way. "I am what I am. Someone has to be."
  • Neck Snap: Odo uses one of these on a soldier by catching the soldier’s neck between Odo’s axe and sword and twisting.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The movie fared well in Europe and elsewhere, but did badly in the US. It's been theorized that this is because in the US the advertising campaign portrayed the movie primarily as a love story, rather than one of political, religious and military intrigue.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Balian is a skilled blacksmith, siege engineer and silversmith, and also an experienced soldier.
  • Noble Demon: Though it's indicated that Saladin and company endlessly look for a justification to attack Jerusalem, still, he draws the line at drawing first blood—and always tries his best to spare civilians.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: King Baldwin IV gives one of these to Reynald. Due to his leprosy, it winds up overexerting him and he collapses.
  • No Name Given: The Hospitaller. The Patriarch of Jerusalem is also not named in the film.
  • 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!: Reynald gets decapitated by Saladin.
  • Offing the Offspring: A Mercy Kill variant: Sibylla poisons her son to spare him the pain of leprosy.
  • 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.
  • Pet the Dog: After Baldwin IV and Saladin come to terms, with the latter agreeing to withdraw his forces back across the Jordan and the former assuring him that Raynauld of Châtillon will be punished for his unauthorized raiding, Saladin promises to send Baldwin his physicians since he can tell making the journey with his army all the way out there to meet with him more than took it out of the guy.
  • Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The crusader armies during the truce.
    Hospitaller: These men are Templars... They killed Arabs.
    Balian: So they are being executed for what the Pope would have them do?
    Hospitaller: But not Christ, I think... Or this king.
  • 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.
  • Politically Correct History: Despite it being a normal and unremarkable practice at the time, there are no slaves in the movie. Their existence is only mentioned once, when Balian declines to make a slave of a captive Imad. Even in major battles captives are killed or ransomed rather than enslaved, and nobody mentions it as a possible fate for Jerusalem's civilians. The religious tolerance Balian invokes in his speech before the battle also is far beyond what occurred at the time (and the real Balian believed in).
  • Power Walk: Saladin, after the capture of Jerusalem. He strides victorious through the fallen city, servants strewing rose-petals in his path, until he reaches the Dome of the Rock... where he kneels in prayer.
  • 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.
  • Rage Breaking Point: It's not actually rage, but more sadness. Balian's wife committed suicide after the death of their child during his birth, much to Balian's dismay. After her funeral, Balian's brother, who is a priest, comes up to him, tells him that he took the golden cross necklace from her body, and says that she's burning in Hell for committing suicide. Balian's sadness immediately turns to rage, and he stabs him with the red-hot sword he was forging, then dumps him into the fire, after which he burns to death.
  • Rape Discretion Shot: When Reynald approaches Saladin's sister, she tells him who she is, and he replies, almost sadly, "I know", before ripping the veil from her face. Then the scene cuts away. Because we have seen crusaders rape a Muslim woman moments before, and we hear afterwards that Saladin's sister is dead, we are led to believe that Reynald murdered and possibly raped her.
  • 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, Reynald 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, who worked desperately to maintain the fragile peace. The Bishop in Balian's hometown seen in the Director's Cut would count as well — he insists that Balian and his wife are both blameless in her death, and checks to make sure that the priest did not have her body mutilated (he lies).
  • Refusal of the Call: Balian's initial response to Godfey's offer to go with him to Jerusalem.
  • The Resenter: Balian's brother and priest at the beginning of the film. He resents the fact that Balian is not only well-liked by the local Bishop, but is also noble and kind-hearted while the brother is a selfish simpering toadie. He steals money meant for Balian, condemns his late wife to hell and steals her crucifix, and tries to get Balian to leave the town to go on the crusade so that he can finally be rid of him, but is stabbed and burned to death for his cruelty instead.
  • Rousing Speech: Balian's speech at the mass-knighting bolsters the courage of the defenders of Jerusalem. Before the knighting, the defenders of the wall (who are mostly peasant levies, with only a handful of men-at-arms and only three actual knights) look 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. However Guy then passes the cup to Reynald, who guzzles it. Saladin pointedly says, "I did not give the cup to you," and after a pause kills him.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Godfrey and his band of crusaders. They nearly all die to his nephew's goons in order to establish that this an age in history where life is cheap and the world is ruled mostly by men who are corrupt and will gleefully kill their own brothers for power.
  • The Sociopath: Reynald slaughters innocent Muslim caravans with vigor, like it was part of his daily routine.
  • So Proud of You: Godfrey to his extramarital son Balian. In his last confession, he says he is sorry for all of his sins but one, looking at him.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: The Hospitaller pulls one off in the middle of the desert. After talking to Balian, he turns and starts walking into an open flat plain. Balian is distracted for a moment by a bush apparently spontaneously combusting, and when he turns back the Hospitaller has completely vanished. One of the hints that he's a Spirit Advisor.
  • Stock Scream: You can hear a Wilhelm scream 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, by virtue of being a Christian army. They don't even bother with "trivialities" like tactics or basic logistics.
    • In an earlier secene, those same Templars actually imply that Tiberias is a blasphemer simply for suggesting that they should avoid war because victory is not guaranteed. (Fortunately for everyone in the army, at this point Baldwin is still alive and he agrees with Tiberias.)
  • 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 fiery 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.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Before leaving for Cyprus after the battle of Hattin, Tiberias laments that the real reason the Christians came to the holy land was for land and wealth.
  • We Are Not Going Through That Again: When King Richard offers to recruit Balian for the next crusade, Balian politely turns him down with "I am the blacksmith." Richard accepts this.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Balian refuses King Baldwin's offer to marry Sybilla because it would mean killing Guy, which he feels is unethical and unacceptable even though he hates Guy. Sybilla calls him out for this, accusing him to be self-righteous. Guy, allowed to live on, later starts a war against the Muslims which kills thousands of people on both sides, so it could indeed be argued that by Balian's refusing to kill one man, much more were eventually killed.
  • The Wise Prince: King Baldwin IV.
    Baldwin: 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. Upon seeing Balian up on the Jerusalem wall, refusing to back down amid impossible odds, Saladin can't help but smile in admiration.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Sybilla has sex with Balian, though she's married to Guy. This falls under good adultery since he's an evil schemer who only appears to see her as a tool for more power.
  • Your Mom:
    Guy: 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.
  • You See, I'm Dying: King Baldwin has advanced leprosy at the beginning of the movie already. In the very scene he's introduced in, he explains to Balian (and by extension the viewer) that he's dying of the illness and won't live to be 30 years old. And he does indeed die of his illness halfway through the movie.


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