The Navigator: A... (1988)

# 14760 IMDb PG 

The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey (1988

taglineTime-Travel Adventure of the Year!

By Vincent Ward

Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller (1h 32min)

Australia Australia, New Zealand New Zealand

Rated 6.9 after 2,847 votes on 21-Aug-18.

21 wins & 4 nominations


A young boy in 14th century Cumbria (north of England) keeps getting visions he cannot explain. His village has so far been spared from the black death, but the villagers fear its imminent arrival. With the boy as their guide, a group set out to dig a hole to the other side of the world, so as to fulfil the visions and save the village. At the 'other side' is 20th century New Zealand !.. N.B. Flips from B+W to colour frequently.

Popular faces

Vincent Ward (director) Bruce Lyons Chris Haywood Marshall Napier Sarah Peirse Jay Laga'aia Norman Fairley Barron Christian

From the same director


Bruce Lyons (Connor), Chris Haywood (Arno), Hamish Gough (Griffin (as Hamish McFarlane)), Marshall Napier (Searle), Noel Appleby (Ulf), Paul Livingston (Martin), Sarah Peirse (Linnet), Mark Wheatley (Tog 1), Tony Herbert (Tog 2), Jessica Cardiff-Smith (Esme), Roy Wesney (Grandpa), Kathleen-Elizabeth Kelly (Grandma), Jay Saussey (Griffin's girlfriend), Charles Walker (Old Chrissie), Desmond Kelly (Smithy), Bill Le Marquand (Tom), Jay Laga'aia (Jay (as Jay Lavea Laga'aia)), Norman Fairley (Submarine captain), Alistair Babbage (Grigor), Barron Christian (American Submarine Captain (uncredited))


Geoff Chapple (screenplay), Kely Lyons (screenplay), Vincent Ward (from an original idea by), Vincent Ward (screenplay)

Produced by

Gary Hannam (co-producer / executive producer), John Maynard (producer)


IMDb Comment

I wish I could have a few minutes to hear Vincent Ward's take on the marketing of the movie, because I never have seen anything so mis-marketed. I could see some US film distributor scratching his head and saying, "gee? how are we going to make this dreary arty movie about the black plague appeal to the lowest common denominator of the US market?", "Ok, let's slap sci-fi and time travel on it..."

Navigator is a beautifully filmed, well acted, impressive movie that (hear this!) has nothing to do with time-travel, or "monks dodging 20th century stuff" is an allegory! (look that up). What Mr. Ward does is, rather than rely on expensive and silly special effects to spice up fantasy dream sequences, simply juxtaposes 20th century settings with the 14th century time frame of the film to give life to a boy's fantastic visions, and story told to give hope and entertain the desperate people of his village...his visions, done in color and film with the 20th century as it backdrop is as fantastic to the people of his village, as if someone from the 14th century actually did travel through time. With premonitions of the arrival of the plague to his village (which turn out to be heeded), the villagers of a winter bound poor community hover in fear and look for any omen good or bad to give them some sign of what is coming. With a fantastic narration of a quest (ala the holy grail) to mount a spire on a church in a faraway land, that if done before sunrise would save the village, a boy describes his fantasy which is shown to us, complete with sea monsters and dragons (all represented by 20th century contrivances).

For those seeking real time travel, stick to the true sci-fi, you will be disappointed...

For those interested in seeing a dark, moving tale of the desperation that must have been felt by the people who lived through the plague without understanding what it really was...a tale where the fantastic is really our wonderfully mundane world...check this out.


It was this movie that convinced the producers of Alien³ (1992) to hire Vincent Ward as writer/director (although Ward would eventually leave the set of Alien 3 after many creative differences with the studio).


21 wins & 4 nominations 
Australian Film Institute • Cannes Film Festival • Fantafestival • Fantasporto • New Zealand Film and TV Awards (I) • Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival

Other titles

The Navigator (; Denmark) • Navigator - Um Odisséia no Tempo (Brazil) • Navigator: Uma Odisséia No Tempo (Brazil) • Navigator, una odisea en el tiempo (Spain) • Aikasuunnistaja (Finland) • Navigaattori (Finland) • Le navigateur: une odyssée médiévale (France) • Navigator (France; Serbia; Uruguay (video box title)) • A navigátor (Hungary) • Navigator - un'odissea nel tempo (Italy) 



Australia:PG / Iceland:L / Portugal:M/12 / United Kingdom:PG / United Kingdom:12 / United States:PG / West Germany:16



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