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Balian of Ibelin is a blacksmith living in 12th century France during the Third Crusade. Disheartened after the death of his son, with his wife's suicide following shortly afterwards, he loses all faith in God. After many years of fighting in the Crusade and protecting the people that live on his land, Balian's father, Godfrey the Baron of Ibelin, comes to find Balian. Godfrey asks Balian to join him in the Crusade. Balian is his only heir and he wants to pass along the knowledge that he has learned. Balian refuses. Later that night, the priest, who is also Balian's brother, comes to him to say that the village no longer wants him. He also tells Balian that his wife is in hell and has had her head cut off before burial. Balian murders him in the spur of the moment out of anger. He runs away from the village to find his father on the road to Jerusalem. Balian asks his father if it's true that in Jerusalem he can erase his sins as well as those of his wife. His father tells him that they can find out together.

As the father is teaching his son swordplay, they are attacked. In this raid, Godfrey suffers from an injury that he later dies from. Before his death, however, Godfrey tells Balian of a new world that lies at the end of the Crusade Wars. He begs Balian to go in his place to the Holy Land to serve the king. Balian begins his journey to Jerusalem to find redemption from his sins, and in hopes of freeing his wife's soul. The journey to Jerusalem is perilous; he is the only survivor of a shipwreck. In the desert, he meets a Muslim ally who takes him to the Holy City.

Once in Jerusalem, Balian finds an exotic city where he is known everywhere as the new Baron of Ibelin, being the great Godfrey's son. For his name alone, he is very much respected. As a knight, he ultimately finds his role of serving King Baldwin, the king of Jerusalem. He finds love with Sybilla, the king's sister. King Baldwin wants to keep peace within the Holy Land amongst the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish religions. Bu in the Holy Land, there are corrupted individuals fighting for wealth and power. Sybilla's husband, Guy de Lusignan, is one of them, as well as Reynald de Chatillion, who is jailed for going against the king's will and slaughtering Muslims. Even though he has been jailed, the damage has already been done. The slaughter has sparked the Muslim army to march towards Jerusalem to reclaim the city. After the king dies, Guy de Lusignan is next inline to become king. Balian is offered the throne, but at the cost of the murder of Guy de Lusignan. Despite Balian's blossoming romance with Sybilla, he refuses to marry her, for he believes in "a kingdom of conscience," more than anything. He cannot justify getting the throne through the murder of someone else. Many years of unrest have made Jerusalem corrupted. Balian is the only one left to defend the city from Saladin, the leader of the Muslim armies.

The Christian forces fought hard and did what they could to defend Jerusalem, but to no avail. The Muslims outnumbered them and finally broke down the city walls. In the end, Balian makes the decision to surrender the city and uphold peace between the warring nations once more. The people of Jerusalem are allowed to leave the city peacefully. Sybilla relinquishes her role as queen and follows Balian back to France. Just as Balian has returned to his old blacksmith shop, The King of England shows up looking for the great defender of Jerusalem, Balian of Ibelin. They are looking to reclaim the city once again. Balian simply smiles and says that he is not the man they are looking for, he is simply a blacksmith.

All in all, this is a coming of age story, an odyssey of one common man who rose to knighthood during a time of war. It is in Jerusalem that he found himself again, his place in this world. This is a story of one man's courage, honor, spiritual discovery, and virtue that helped encourage peace. Having inherited the land of Ibelin from his father, he does what is best for the people. Balian becomes the inevitable reluctant hero. In this truly remarkable epic, Ridley Scott explores the true oath of the knight and the conflict between the Christian and Muslim nations. "Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth, even if it leads to your death. Safeguard the helpless. That is your oath." 

Bio by Rami and Sarah

Quotes about Balian

"He's lost his wife, he's lost his child, he's lost his faith because of that. He then meets his father who... gives him the opportunity for a new life. This is about a man who is on a journey of spiritual and self discovery. It becomes a journey of political discovery, of social and militarial discovery, to understand what all those things mean but ultimately, first and foremost, he is the blacksmith. And he says that at the end of the movie and he says no at the beginning of the movie." - Orlando

"Balian is more like a hero you'd see in a SERGIO LEONE movie. You know, one of those spaghetti westerns, those kind of dudes [who's] got an inner turmoil, an inner conflict that he's battling with. He's lost his wife and his child. He goes on a journey of spiritual discovery ultimately, and it's a coming-of-age story. That was all quite close to who I am and where I'm at in my life." - Orlando

"My character, Balian, comes from being a broken man to becoming the defender of Jerusalem. He looks at things very honestly and always tries to understand how they could be used to the best." - Orlando

"We took a fictitious hero and grated him into history. The name is taken from the person who actually surrendered Jerusalem to Saladin, but no one knows too much about him." - Ridley Scott

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