Navigator BD

The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey - 1988

Arenafilm - 91 min.

DVD EAN/UPC # 759731404525, 9317731062100, 9322225034181, 759731414920, 9344256018206(AU)

Blu-ray EAN/UPC # 5027035019499(UK), 760137141082 (US), 9344256018213(AU)

Cast: Bruce Lyons, Chris Haywood, Hamish McFarlane, Marshall Napier, Noel Appleby, Paul Livingstone.
Screenplay: Vincent Ward, Kely Lyons, Geoff Chapple; Photography: Geoffrey Simpson; Editor: John Scott; Music: Davood Tabrizi; Production Designer: Sally Campbell; Producers: Gary Hannam, John Maynard; Director: Vincent Ward.

An mining village in England's Cumbria - 1348 - the year of the Black Death, is the starting point for this medieval fantasy. A boy has a recurring dream about a city far away. If the villagers take copper and cast a cross to be on a cathedral spire of that city, the villagers will be saved from the advancing plague. One night the boy and five men set off to a shaft which leads them through space and time to the other side of the earth (New Zealand), but in the mid-1980's. Vincent Ward was given a five-minute standing ovation at the film's Cannes screening. Definitely Recommended.

Censor rating: PG - Review rating: B+

The Navigator
Official MP4 Trailer


R0 PAL DVDs sell for about $30au or $35nz. In addition to the usual, the R0 DVD includes photo stills, a poster gallery, plus various trailers of Vincent Ward movies. This is 1.85,16:9 enhanced, with 2.0 digital dolby sound and contains trailers for Vigil, What Deams May Come and Rain, plus three non-NZ trailers. The slick and other advertising states that the disc has English subtitles - it does not. If you need a pal version, this is the one to get.

If you reside in New Zealand, you can rent it from Aro Video, who will ship countrywide.

In early 2009 a new "double feature", dual-layer, dvd was released containing The Navigator and Vigil plus Ward's short film 'A State of Siege' plus the trailers for Vigil and The Navigator. This is an R0 PAL disc and usually sells for $25nz from various NZ sellers. Unfortunately it is presented 1.33:1 with 2.0 dolby digital audio and no subtitles.

The first R1 NTSC disc is 1.33:1 dolby mono with no extras nor subtitles.
Henstooth Video released a new R1 DVD starting 30 April 2013. It is presented 1.81:1, 16x9 enhanced, with dolby digital stereo and optional English subtitles plus the original trailer. It is selling for $15 - 20us from various North Amercian resellers. This latest release is the one to have, if you require or can play an ntsc version.

Starting 23 July 2018, a Region Free Blu-ray became available from Arrow Films. It sells for 18-25# and has the original spoken English in mono LPCM. It also has optional English subtitles. This same Region Free Blu-ray became available in the US and Canada starting 24 July 2018 and sells from $30-40. Extras include: A new "appreciation" by film critic Nick Roddick, an extract from a 1989 Kaleidoscope TV documentary on New Zealand cinema focusing on Vincent Ward, and the theatrical trailer. NOTE: With the first pressing only, an illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Kim Newman is included.

A blu-ray version has also been announced, coming from Umbrella Entertainment of Australia, starting 03 April, 2019, and selling for about $35au. Extras include: Audio Commentary with Actor Paul Livingston and Production designer Sally Campbell, Path of the Navigator: Vincent's Odyssey (40 minute interview featurette with Director, Vincent Ward), Original Trailer, Image Gallery, Optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.

Blu-ray pre-orders can be placed with Arrow Films (UK)

DealOZ Blu-ray of North American price comparisons

DealOZ Henstooth DVD Release of North American price comparisons for Blu-ray copies


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TubiTV Free, with ads, Streaming

Aro Video OnDemand

Academy Cinemas OnDemand of Auckland

WorldCat is the world's largest library catalog - Click to find the nearest Library that has this title.


Click for The Navigator CD Details

SOUNDTRACKS VAULT - Link to MP3 samples of all titles


Jeffrey Kauffman's Review of Arrow US Blu-ray

Gary Tooze DVD/Blu-ray Comparison Review

Jake Cole Blu-ray Review at Slant

Ben Pinsent Review at

Randy Miller III Review of Blu-ray Release

Cinema Aotearoa Reviews

Reviews at

Reviews at

Wellington Film Society Review

Dominic Corry Review at NZ Herald

Moria Review

'Wild Things' Review

New Zealand Film Archive Info and Reviews

DVDCompare - DVD versions

Michaeldvd Region 4 Reviews

Movie Review Query - 14 articles

Four Word Film Review

"Navigator is essentially about an act of faith - people believing they can change the course of their life. Some historians have likened the 14th century to the 20th century. They were both calamitous ages. The 14th century had plague, war and holocausts, and this century has seen wars on vast scale and the potential for further holocaust. I liked the parallel of the little, isolated village in Cumbria being a pocket skipped over by the plague, and of New Zealand , too, being a little pocket separate from the rest of the world" - (Vincent Ward in, The Navigator Press Book)

"It is here that one finds the value Ward is really intent on pushing, his assertion of the primacy of imagination; he is preaching the importance of the visionary, the storyteller, whose imaginative journey is an offering that can transcend and even replace the need for real experience. At its core The Navigator has nothing to do with plague or nuclear submarines. It simply represents a supreme act of faith, the kind of blind belief that God listens to. It's a film that echoes the spirit, if not the substance, of religious behaviour the world over" - (Costa Botes, "Ward sets test of faith in celestial navigation", from unknown source)


North & South Review by Brian McDonnell - March 1989 - For details or copies contact Kakapo Books


VIDEO VAULT - Links to trailers and clips for all titles.

NZ On Screen Videos & Comments

Vincent Ward on the 30th anniversary of The Navigator

Kaleidoscope - Vincent Ward & Friends discuss Navigator & Vigil

Three video clips at Australian Screen Archive

Information at the New Zealand Film Commission Website

New Zealand Film Archive Info

Information at IMDB

Internet Movie Poster Awards

Official Vincent Ward Website

Soundtrack Composer Information


1988 - Catalonian International Film Festival - Best Film
1988 - Fantafestival - Best Film
1988 - Australian Film Institute - Best Film, Best Director, Best Production Design, Best Editing, Best Costume Design, best cinematography.
1989 - Fantasporto - Best Cinematography and Audience Jury Award
1989 - New Zealand Film Awards - Best Film; Director; Actor: Hamish McFarlane; Supporting Actor: Noel Appleby; Supporting Actress: Sarah Peirse; Cinematopgraphy; Soundtrack; Editing; Film Score; Production Design; Original Screenplay.

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