Although Scott's epic drama about the Crusades was wanly appreciated on its initial release and grossed only $47 million (with a $130 million budget), the positive critical reassessment was surprisingly swift. Much of that had to do with the release of a director's cut in 2006 (a full 45 minutes longer than the theatrical cut), which allowed screenplay William Monahan's considered, intricate take on Christian-Muslim relations to breathe at a full 190 minutes (as opposed to the 145-minute theatrical cut).
What Variety said:
Genuinely spectacular and historically quite respectable, Ridley Scott's latest epic is at its strongest in conveying the savagery spawned by fanaticism, as well as in creating a convincing view of a late 12th century when East and West co-existed, then came to blows for neither the first nor last time. Dramatically, however, there is a vaguely programmatic feel to the drastic upward mobility of a simple French blacksmith to the ruling echelon of the Latin Kingdom. Domestic B.O. prospects look robust if not gladiatorial, while the international campaign will, in line with the new wave of ancient spectacles, net significantly more spoils.