Kingdom of Heaven Trivias
It is true that Baldwin IV, King of Jerusalem from 1174-1185, was a leper, and that his sister Sibylla was married to Guy of Lusignan. Also, Baldwin IV had a falling out with Guy before his death, and so Guy did not succeed Baldwin IV immediately; instead, he was in reality succeeded by Sibylla's son from a previous marriage, the five-year-old Baldwin V. Sibylla fully supported Guy and was not sympathetic toward the faction that wanted peace with Saladin. After the death of the child Baldwin V, Guy garrisoned the city and Sibylla became queen. The crowning scene in the movie was, in real life, more of a shock: Sibylla had been forced to divorce Guy before becoming queen, with the assurance that she would be permitted to pick her own consort. She chose to re-marry Guy and he was crowned king-consort by Patriarch Heraclius (who is unnamed in the movie).
Tiberias, whose name in real history was Raymond III, Count of Tripoli, cousin of the king and the Kingdom's most important noble, as well as sometime regent, often conflicted with Guy and Reynald, both fortune-seekers having come from Europe, unfamiliar with the local situation. They had risen to their positions by marrying wealthy heiresses. Raymond preferred friendly relations with Muslims, as Tiberias does in the movie. Guy and Reynald, seeking rapid profits, harassed Saladin's caravans, and Reynald captured Saladin's sister during one of these raids. Saladin attacked the kingdom in revenge for this harassment. The kingdom was defeated at the Battle of Hattin, partly due to the conflict between Guy and Raymond/Tiberias. The aftermath of the battle is depicted in the movie: Guy and Reynald were captured, and according to al-Safadi in al-Wafi bi'l-wafayat, Reynald was executed after drinking from the goblet offered to Guy, as the sultan had once made a promise never to give anything to Reynald. Guy was imprisoned but later freed, and eventually became lord of Cyprus when others paid for him to receive it, apparently desiring to move him away from Palestine.
There was a Haute Cour, a "high court", a sort of medieval parliament, in which Jeremy Iron's character Tiberias is seen arguing with Guy for or against war, in front of Baldwin IV as the final judge.
The movie alludes to the Battle of Montgisard in 1177, in which 16-year-old Baldwin IV defeated Saladin, with Saladin narrowly escaping.
The Knights Hospitaller and Knights Templar were the most enthusiastic about fighting Saladin and the Muslims. They were monk-knights, committed to celibacy. Neither Guy nor Raynald was a Templar, as the movie indirectily implies (as they both wear Templar outfits).
Orlando Bloom's character Balian the Younger supported Raymond/Tiberias and favoured peace. However, Balian was at that time a mature gentleman and one of the most important nobles in the kingdom, not a blacksmith. His father, Balian the Elder (also known as Barisan), was the founder of the Ibelin family in the east. Balian and Sibylla were indeed united in the defense of Jerusalem; however, there is no known romantic relationship between the two. Balian was in fact married to Sibylla's step-mother Maria Comnena, Dowager Queen of Jerusalem and owner of the lordship of Nablus. The real Sibylla had, in her late teens, over ten years earlier, apparently been infatuated with the real Balian's elder brother Baldwin of Ibelin, who is not mentioned in the movie: Baldwin has partially been merged into the character of Balian. It is doubtful that Balian was quite as altruistic as the movie portrays him, several contemporary accounts also describe certain negative attributes. Ambrose the poet, who wrote a poetic account of the crusade, called Balian "more false than a goblin" and said he "should be hunted with dogs". The anonymous author of the Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi wrote that Balian was a member of a "council of consummate iniquity," described him as cruel, fickle, and faithless, and accused him of taking bribes from Conrad of Montferrat.
The events of the siege of Jerusalem are based on the chronicle of Ernoul, a favourable account written by one of Balian's officers, and other comtemporary documents. Saladin did besiege Jerusalem for almost a month, and was able to knock down a portion of the wall. In the film Balian knighted everyone who could carry a sword, but historical accounts say he only knighted some burgesses. The exact number varies in different accounts, but it is probably less than one hundred in a city which had tens of thousands of male inhabitants and refugees. Balian personally negotiated the surrender of the city with Saladin, after threatening to destroy every building and kill every Muslim who entered. The film, however, downgrades the roles of Sibylla and of Patriarch Heraclius in the siege, transforming Heraclius, particularly, into a cowardly stooge. Saladin allowed Balian and his family to leave in peace, along with everyone who could arrange a ransom, but many of the poorer inhabitants who could not pay were sold into slavery.
The "uneasy truce" referred to in the closing scene actually refers to the peace negotiated, with Balian's help, at the end of the Third Crusade. The Third Crusade is alluded to at the end of the movie, when Richard Lionheart visits Balian in France. Balian, of course, was not from France and did not return there with Sibylla; Sibylla and her two little daughters died of an epidemic in the military camp during Guy's two-year-long siege of Acre in 1190 when the despised Guy had been denied entry to the remaining stronghold of Tyre, Lebanon, and thus he attempted to take another castle for himself.
The young Balian of the movie thus did not exist in reality. His namesake, the historical Balian, had descendants by Maria Comnena. Thanks to their close relationship to Sibylla's half-sister and successor, Maria Comnena's daughter the Queen Isabella (not shown in the movie), the Ibelins became the most powerful noble family in the rump Kingdom of Jerusalem as well as in Cyprus in the 13th century. Most notably, Maria and Balian's son John, the Lord of Beirut, was to be a dominant force in the politics of Outremer for the first third of the 13th century.
The general criticism has been either clearly negative or clearly positive. Critics such as Roger Ebert found the film to be deeper and perhaps more emotionally engaging than Scott's previous Gladiator. The unanimously praised performance was that of Edward Norton who played the leper king of Jerusalem, Baldwin IV. Critics have described his acting as near "phenomenal", "eerie," and "so far removed from anything that he has ever done that we see the true complexities of his talent." (Jack Moore, Movie Insider). The Syrian actor Ghassan Massoud was also praised for his portrayal of Saladin, described by The New York Times as "cool as a tall glass of water." However lead actor Orlando Bloom's performance as Balian was widely criticized and he earned few praises, although some critics noted his acceptable performance in light of the far more difficult role that this film required over his previous famous, but light parts.
Academic criticism has focused on the supposed peaceful relationship between Christians and Muslims in Jerusalem and other cities depicted. Historians such as Jonathan Riley-Smith called the film "rubbish," "ridiculous," "complete fiction" and "dangerous to Arab relations." Fellow crusade historians Jonathan Phillips and Amin Maalouf also spoke against the film.
The movie was a huge box-office failure in the US and Canada, earning $47 million against a budget of around $130 million. Director Ridley Scott blamed this on bad advertising which, he said, presented the film as an adventure with a great love story rather than as an examination of religious conflict. However, it managed a profit with its overseas box office, earning $208 million worldwide.
The screenplay is 260 pages long, twice the usual length of a screenplay.
Approximately 14,000 costumes were made for the movie. Some were made in Thailand and Turkey. The chain mails were made in China.
Three siege towers were built, each weighing 17 tons. In addition to these, four trebuchets were also created, the arms of which could swing 56 feet.
There are approximately 800 special effects shot in the film.
Edward Norton filmed his part in two weeks
Hans Zimmer was originally attached as the film's composer but was replaced by Harry Gregson-Williams. A few weeks after this, the opposite occurred for another film: Zimmer replaced Gregson-Williams for the scoring duties of Madagascar (2005).
Orlando Bloom gained 20 pounds of muscle for this movie.
Orlando Bloom suffered from a month of flu during the movie and a couple of hand injuries from sword-fighting.
One of the first drafts of the script begins with two present-day reporters getting stuck in Godfrey's tomb while war rages on the outside. It was subsequently dropped.
During the climactic battle, when the Muslims cross the first white rocks and Christians fire for the first time.
In the movie Saladin's army is shown to have attacked the wall of Jerusalem from one side while in reality he attacked the north-western corner first then changed his position to attack the northern walls.
With the approval of King Mohammed VI of Morocco, the filmmakers hired 1500 Moroccan soldiers as extras.
When the Muslims are praying near Jerusalem they are praying towards the setting sun, west, not towards Mecca which is to the south south east.
During the battle for Jerusalem, the crescent moon and the star nearby, change positions during a short period of time. First, the crescent is horizontal, with the star a short distance above it. In the next scene, the crescent is on an angle, and the star is where the unlit part of the moon would obscure it.
After the Saracen messenger informs Guy of Saladin's demands, Guy, in response, stabs the messenger in the neck with a small knife which is held in his right hand. After the messenger falls to the ground, Guy is shown with a bloody sword in his right hand, rather than the small knife he used.
In some scenes involving horses, modern orange cones can be seen on the ground directing the riders on the path past the camera to follow.
During the iron-working scenes, the sound is reversed from the correct sound for cold iron, a ringing noise and hot iron, a deeper, thudding sound.