The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

D: Terry Gilliam
Columbia/Allied/Prominent Features/Laura Film (Thomas Schühly)
USA/Germany 🇺🇸🇩🇪 1988 (released 1989)
126 mins


W: Charles McKeown & Terry Gilliam [based on the story by Rudolph Erich Raspe]
DP: Giuseppe Rotunno
Ed: Peter Hollywood
Mus: Michael Kamen
PD: Dante Ferretti
Cos: Gabriella Pescucci

John Neville (Baron Munchausen), Sarah Polley (Sally Salt), Eric Idle (Berthold / Desmond), Oliver Reed (Vulcan), Charles McKeown (Rupert / Adolphus), Winston Dennis (Bill / Albrecht), Jack Purvis (Jeremy / Gustavus), Valentina Cortese (Queen Ariadne / Violet), Jonathan Pryce (The Right Ordinary Horatio Jackson), Uma Thurman (Venus / Rose), Robin Williams (The King of the Moon)

The Bavarian adventures had been brought to the screen previously, but none of the prior versions were quite as grandiose as this.
An 18th century German soldier tells exaggerated stories of his escapades, including an on-going feud with The King of the Moon, and his conflict against the Ottoman Empire.
This movie was huge box-office flop, losing the studio $38m, and it's quite clear to see that ex-Python Terry Gilliam spared no expense bringing this to the screen.  The sad thing is, it's actually not that bad and the production design, costumes, makeup and visual effects are all top notch.  I can only assume that its place on the worst film of all time lists is purely down to the fact that it couldn't find an audience during its cinema run. Gilliam's imagination is vivid and colourful, while the story makes a decent fairytale for older children and young adults, with a sense of humour which should appease fans of Monty Python. Despite it lacking profitability, it was well received by critics in general, as well as the industry come awards season. Sometimes audiences just aren't as appreciative as the filmmaker's wished they were.

John Neville in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
John Neville in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Did You Know:
Forms an informal trilogy with director Terry Gilliam's previous films, Time Bandits (1981) and Brazil (1985). The three movies represent the three stages of Man (youth, middle age, and elderly) and the impact of imagination on each. Jack Purvis also appears in all three films.

Award Wins & Nominations:


Wins: 2 (Best Costume Design, Best Makeup Design)

Nominations: 2 (Best Production Design, Best Visual Effects)


Wins: none

Nominations: 4 (Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, Best Visual Effects)


Wins: 3 (Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, Best Production Design)

Nominations: Best Special Effects


Golden Ciak Awards (Best Costume Design, Best Production Design); Silver Ribbon (Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design); 20/20 Awards (Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, Best Production Design)