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Sean Connery, as you really, really don't want to see him!

"The gun is good. The penis is evil."

It is the year 2293 AD. A post-apocalyptic Earth is inhabited mostly by the "Brutals", simple soil-tilling serf types, who are in turn overseen by Exterminators. These Exterminators worship the god Zardoz, a huge, flying, hollow stone head that dispenses weaponry and ammunition by the truckload.

Zardoz is neither a mindless sci-fi action movie nor a serious SF-as-ideas film a la Tarkovsky or Kubrick. It's... hard to describe, on account of the fact that it really doesn't make a lot of sense. Still, some sort of plot description might help. One day, an Exterminator named Zed gets swept up into the hollow stone head and finds himself under possession of the Eternals, an elite class who long ago discovered the secret to immortality and removed themselves from all that penis-having to the rarified heights.

Life has become so meaningless that Zed is hailed as manna from heaven. Some, however, see him as a dangerous threat to their status as higher beings As it turns out, a lot of the Eternal scientists are female. They argue all this for awhile. Then others start clamouring for Zed to kill them and end this awful tedium.

Fun fact: Boorman wanted to adapt The Lord of the Rings, but that fell through. It's that project which inspired Zardoz. It's a trippy dystopian fantasy full of psychotropics, philosophical something-or-another, and lots of gratuitous female nudity. It's definitely a Cult Classic, and frequently considered more 70's than That 70's Show.

Zardoz has examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: In his first appearance onscreen, Sean Connery aims his gun at the camera and shoots it.
  • Age Cut: The final shot takes it further than most, aging Zed and Consuella and their newborn son repeatedly until the adult son walks off and the parents remain until they're nothing but skeletons.
  • After the End: Apparently this takes place after a Nuclear War.
  • Babies Ever After: Both Zed and Consuella ended up having a son.
  • Blessed with Suck: The Eternals' immortality. At first that seemed a like a good idea until boredom set in and with no way to end it.
  • Body Horror: The immortals punish the criminal by speed-aging the offender. The more you resist, the closer you get to endless senility...
  • The Cameo: Boorman appears as one of the Brutals that gets shot in the head.
  • Cargo Cult
  • The Chessmaster: Arthur Frayn. Turns out he′s responsible for creating Zed as well as ensuring that he′d betray him and to enter the Vortex.
  • Crapsack World: The world outside the Vortex, especially for the Brutals who are being constantly hunted down by the Exterminators. However, even the Eternals are unhappy after living for centuries in the Vortex.
  • Cross Dresser: The Renagades need to get Zed away from rioting Eternals that want to kill they dress him up in a wedding dress.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: Subverted, in that the film presents this as a Dystopia, too.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The Tabernacle′s last words upon its destruction.

 You have destroyed us. You found the flaw in the crystal. We are gone. You are alone.


 Zardoz: The penis is evil! The penis shoots seeds, and makes new life to poison the Earth with a plague of men, as once it was.