Film Box Retrospective: ‘The Adventures of Baron Munchausen’ with Kathleen Ellison

What do you get when you combine invading Turks, moon people, Greek gods, sea monsters, and a man who defies the laws of nature? This 1988 movie is directed by Terry Gilliam and stars John Neville, Eric Idle, Sarah Polley, Uma Thurman and Robin Williams. This movie takes you on one wild ride to the moon and back.

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A Turkish army is invading a desperate European town during “The Age of Reason.” Their only hope is from the legendary Baron Munchausen (John Neville) and his band of magical misfits. The problem is the Baron is an old man now and his friends are all lost, scattered across the world! But nothing is impossible for the amazing Baron and so he embarks on a journey to find his henchmen and rescue the town with the help of Sally Salt (Sarah Polley), the daughter of a theatre owner.

“The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” is actually based on a real person, you could say. Hieronymus Carl Friedrich von Münchhausen was a German nobleman who was notorious for creating tall tales about his exploits. His reputation gave birth to the literary figure Baron Munchausen, known for his ridiculous storytelling, and gave the name Munchausen Syndrome to a medical disorder. All historical and medical facts aside, this is a great family movie for all ages. It is rife with adult humor, especially with the amorous Baron. Robin William’s scenes are so funny, but then again every scene is hilarious.

The plot of this movie is whimsical, imaginative and fast-paced, much like the visuals. Also imaginative is the lovable strange Baron, who is portrayed perfectly by Neville. It also has strong themes about the loss of storytelling and magic in a growing scientific world. You can really see the themes of life in the writing which runs seamlessly from scene to scene.

“The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” really demonstrates that nothing is impossible with some imagination. It has timeless themes of finding who you are and believing in life. I found the movie to be very applicable to today’s society and I really wish there were more movies like this: fast, fun, fanciful, endearing. Most of all I wish there were more people like Baron Munchausen.

Kathleen Ellison is a freshman majoring in communication and can be contacted at

Posted in: A&E

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