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KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

About The Production
"Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Speak the truth, always, even if it leads to your death. Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong. That is your oath…”

Director Ridley Scott is the master of epic cinematic storytelling with a deeply personal core, as he has shown in films like Gladiator, Blade Runner, and Black Hawk Down. In KINGDOM OF HEAVEN he now turns to the Crusades—that world-shaping 200-year collision between Europe and the East—to frame the tale of a young Frenchman who discovers his destiny as a knight, then lives out what that glorious title really means.

Orlando Bloom stars as Balian, a blacksmith who has lost his family and nearly lost his faith. The religious wars raging in the far-off Holy Land seem remote to him, yet he is pulled into that immense drama. Amid the pageantry and intrigues of medieval Jerusalem he falls in love, grows into a leader, and ultimately uses all his courage and skill to defend the city against staggering odds.

Destiny comes seeking Balian in the form of a great knight, Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson), a Crusader briefly home to France from fighting in the East. Revealing himself as Balian's father, Godfrey shows him the true meaning of knighthood and takes him on a journey across continents to the fabled Holy City.

In Jerusalem at that moment—between the Second and Third Crusades—a fragile peace prevails, through the efforts of its enlightened Christian king, Baldwin IV, aided by his advisor Tiberias (Jeremy Irons), and the military restraint of the legendary Muslim leader Saladin (Ghassan Massoud). But Baldwin's days are numbered, and strains of fanaticism, greed, and jealousy among the Crusaders threaten to shatter the truce. King Baldwin's vision of peace—a "kingdom of heaven”—is shared by a handful of knights, including Godfrey of Ibelin, who swear to uphold it with their lives and honor. As Godfrey passes his sword to his son, he also passes on that sacred oath: to protect the helpless, safeguard the peace, and work toward harmony between religions and cultures, so that a kingdom of heaven can flourish on earth. Balian takes the sword and steps into history.

From Ridley Scott, the master of the modern epic, comes Kingdom of Heaven, which tells the sweeping saga of the Crusades through the eyes of one man caught up in an epic struggle for an ideal. Using historical events as a backdrop for an intimate human drama, Scott, who directed the Academy Award®-winning Gladiator, puts flesh on the age-old mystique of the knight errant and brings to vivid life the titanic struggle between Muslims and Christians over the Holy Land that took place a millennium ago, and echoes into the present.

Working with Scott, screenwriter William Monahan has dramatized a fascinating episode shortly before the Third Crusade, when Jerusalem and much of the Holy Land were ruled by European knights, drawn to crusading by religious fervor and the promise of land and riches in an exotic realm. Their story centers on one of those knights, Balian of Ibelin, who becomes a hero, standing firm against treachery in the Christian alliance, and leading the people of Jerusalem in a gallant defense against Saladin's vast Saracen army.

Kingdom of Heaven stars Orlando Bloom (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) as Balian, who undertakes the odyssey of his life for a just cause. Liam Neeson (Schindler's List, Gangs of New York) also stars as Godfrey, Balian's father, who passes on to him both his barony and his legacy of knightly honor. The accomplished ensemble cast includes Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune) as Tiberias, military advisor to King Baldwin; David Thewlis (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) as the Hospitaler, Godfrey's spiritual counselor and military aide; and Brendan Gleeson (Troy) as the bloodthirsty Reynald of Chatillon.

In Jerusalem, Balian falls in love with the princess Sibylla, K

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