It does play around a little bit with history. The main character, Balian, was in reality a nobleman from birth and active in the politics of the Christian kingdoms near Jerusalem, never a blacksmith. However, upon reading about the actual history, the movie gives a startlingly accurate depiction, for Hollywood. I was impressed.
Jeremy Irons is great! I thought Orlando Bloom did a fine job. I could have wished for him to have a greater number of speaking lines, but sometimes, less is more. The character of Baldwin IV was stunning. To think that a man in that day and age could have leprosy, yet still command and get the respect of his people is quite a feat.
Alexander Siddig (Siddig El Fadil) is in this movie! :D Yea! It's good to see him in a decent film, after that crappy dragon movie. Erica Green as Sybilla was pretty neat, in the same sort of way as Commodus' sister in Gladiator was. She was a woman caught in a bad situation all around.
It was interesting to see how religious fanaticism in both the Muslim and Christian sides fomented hostilities to the point where cooler heads were to a great degree manipulated by them.
Go see this movie!