Ridley Scott’s Crusader period piece, Kingdom of Heaven, has more to offer than the action packed version that was shown in theaters. The Director’s Cut gives 45 minutes more of the fictional adaptation of the story of Balian de Ibelin and his defense of Jerusalem.
Although the Kingdom of Heaven used actual characters during that period, after Hollywood did its usual magic, the entire accuracy of the movie could be summarized down to the fact that Balian of Ibelin did defend Jerusalem from Saladin and eventually surrendered it.
Notable additions to the movie that thickens the plot are: Sybilla having a son from his first husband who is the heir to the throne of Jerusalem after his Uncle. And the duel between Guy de Lusignan and Balian in the end of the movie.
Setting that aside the movie in fact has a deeper theme to it. And that message can be found in the Knight’s Oath that Balian was sworn to:
Be without fear in the face of your enemies.
Be Brave and Upright that God may Love Thee.
Speak the Truth, Always, Even if it Leads to your Death.
Safeguard the Helpless and Do no Wrong
If you notice, the movie revolves around this Oath and Balian trying to live by it, even if adhering to it means dire consequences to befall the majority.
I’m curious as to what could have happened had Balian made true his promise to burn everything in Jerusalem sacred to Muslims, Jews, and Christians if Saladin did not offer terms:
Every last thing in Jerusalem that drives men mad.
Would it have made the world a safer place to live in?
What man is a man who does not make the world better?
~Inscription on the beam at Balian’s foundry