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    $85.74 $79.95 list($119.99)
    1. Band of Brothers
    $97.49 $77.63 list($129.99)
    2. The Civil War - A Film by Ken
    $112.46 $88.78 list($149.95)
    3. The World at War (30th Anniversary
    $59.96 $39.99 list($79.95)
    4. Victory at Sea
    $18.99 $16.95 list($26.99)
    5. The Big Red One - The Reconstruction
    $134.99 $105.15 list($149.99)
    6. Shoah
    $71.96 $48.02 list($79.95)
    7. Vietnam - A Television History
    $14.97 $12.15 list($19.96)
    8. Gettysburg (Widescreen Edition)
    $14.98 $12.94 list($19.97)
    9. Battle of the Bulge
    $11.24 $9.39 list($14.98)
    10. Patton
    $35.96 $26.18 list($39.95)
    11. Crusades
    $11.24 $9.30 list($14.98)
    12. The Longest Day
    $28.04 $14.29 list($32.99)
    13. Malena
    $94.48 list($129.98)
    14. The Civil War - A Film by Ken
    $37.46 $35.84 list($49.95)
    15. The Battle of Algiers - Criterion
    $59.96 $54.26 list($79.95)
    16. Brideshead Revisited
    $29.99 $26.30 list($39.98)
    17. M*A*S*H - Season One (Collector's
    $11.24 $9.32 list($14.98)
    18. Twelve O'Clock High
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    19. The Enemy Below
    $27.96 $20.48 list($34.95)
    20. Triumph of the Will (Special Edition)

    1. Band of Brothers
    list price: $119.99
    our price: $85.74
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00006CXSS
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 27
    Average Customer Review: 4.85 out of 5 stars
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    Description

    Based on the bestseller by Stephen E. Ambrose, the epic 10-part miniseries Band of Brothers tells the story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army. Drawn from interviews with survivors of Easy Company, as well as soldiers' journals and letters, Band of Brothers chronicles the experiences of these men who knew extraordinary bravery and extraordinary fear. They were an elete rifle company parachuting into France early on D-Day morning, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and capturing Hitler's Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden. They were also a unit that suffered 150 percent casualties, and whose lives became legend. ... Read more

    Reviews (703)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Band of Brothers - The Complete 10 Chapter Miniseries
    This 10 chapter miniseries set is an exquisite mix of Saving Private Ryan with the documentary feel of an A&E type production and the drama, look and the inevitable touch of Spielberg/Hanks brilliance and genius.

    Incredibly real and gut wrenching, the miniseries begins at 101st Airborne Division training camp at Camp Toccoa, USA. Whereupon we learn about the tough reality of being in the Airborne Division and the severity of living under a military chain of command. Under the command of Lt. Sobel, Easy Company is trained and drilled every single day until they become on of the best companies in the Division, a fact that will prove to be woeful in battle.

    At long last (2 years in training) the Allies have concocted a plan to start the invasion/liberation of Nazi occupied France and Europe. D-day is gruesome but Easy Company is more terrible events are yet to come.

    As we follow along the story, we slowly get into knowing people like Lipton, Luz, Perconte, Winters, Buck, Bull, Skip Muck, Popeye, Guarnere and many memorable characters who we see triumph, survive and perish in the cruelty of war.
    We are taken into the very jaws of the enemy at battles like Foy, Carentan, Bastogne, the Eagle's nest, all these in the dreariest and bitter conditions of bad weather and lack of supplies. We are also shown the harsh confrontation and evil they were up against when Easy and other companies face the concentration camp in Landsberg.

    A miniseries all WWII fans and followers are sure to enjoy, hands down a top 5 stars and Thumbs Up.

    You will enjoy it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful testament to the human spirit
    BAND OF BROTHERS (USA/UK TV 2001): The trials and tribulations of Easy Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, from the D-Day landings in Normandy to their capture of Hitler's Eagle's Nest in Austria at the end of World War II.

    Co-produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, HBO's epic 10-part miniseries (based on a terrific bestselling book by the late Stephen E. Ambrose) was the most expensive TV undertaking of its day, costing a massive $120 million to produce. And, as the old saying goes, every penny is up there on the screen. Borne from the success of Spielberg's SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998) - with which it shares a similar dramatic and visual style - BAND OF BROTHERS' recreation of a glorious (and hard-won) chapter in American history assumed an even greater patriotic significance during its initial US broadcast, when it coincided with the horrific attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center in September 2001. Written with economy and grace, and directed with emotional intensity by a series of directors (including Phil Alden Robinson, Richard Loncraine and Hanks himself) whose combined efforts achieve a genuine aesthetic uniformity, the movie is a masterpiece of storytelling and historical documentation. Punctuated by horrific battle sequences, in which the camera is placed within mere inches of the death and destruction, the film manages to transcend its educational remit by its relentless focus on the human cost of war. Almost every episode opens with testimony from surviving members of Easy Company (none of whom are identified until the end of the series), which further strengthens the emphasis which BAND OF BROTHERS - book and film - places on the bonds which drew them together in times of conflict. And, because it's a true story, there's no telling from one episode to the next which of the 'characters' will live or die, which makes it all the more potent and visceral.

    The entire production represents quality writ large: Beautifully filmed on various European locations (including the UK and Austria), the movie is noble without being the least bit pompous or austere, and it manages to humanize a large cast of essential characters with small touches of humanity and humor, all of which serves to heighten the sense of terror as they descend into the maelstrom of conflict. The first - and longest - episode is deceptively staid, featuring David Schwimmer (a long way from TV's 'Friends') as the bullying, cowardly commanding officer Herbert Sobel, whose tyrannical methods nevertheless shaped Easy Company into a fighting force which eventually cut a swathe through the heart of occupied Europe. Brit actor Damian Lewis takes the spotlight thereafter as Easy Company's most respected platoon leader, Richard Winters, with Ron Livingston as his right hand man, Lewis Nixon. Other standout performances in a flawless cast include Matthew Settle as battle-hardened platoon leader Ronald Speirs whose wartime career was distinguished by numerous acts of bravery (fuelled by a unique - if morbid - personal philosophy), Shane Taylor as company medic Eugene Roe, Neal McDonough as 2nd lieutenant 'Buck' Compton (laid low by his horrific combat experiences), and Donnie Wahlberg as 1st sergeant C. Carwood Lipton, who maintained the morale of his fellow soldiers, even when the odds seemed stacked against them. Every episode has its merits, but stand-outs include David Leland's 'Bastogne' (ep. 6), which recounts the horrendous circumstances surrounding Easy Company's involvement in the Battle of the Bulge, and David Frankel's 'Why We Fight' (ep. 9), in which the full horror of the Nazi regime is uncovered in a German forest. Additionally, the closing moments of chapter 10 ('Points', directed by Mikael Salomon) are truly heartbreaking.

    Like the movie itself, HBO's region 1 DVD is magnificent. Housed in a beautifully embossed metal case, all ten episodes are spread across five discs (running a total of 624m 23s). The image is letterboxed at 1.78:1, anamorphically enhanced, and picture quality is stunning throughout, with faded colors (a deliberate artistic choice) and strong contrasts. The Dolby 5.1 soundtrack is spectacular and horrific, designed specifically to immerse the viewer in some of the most terrifying battle scenes ever captured on film. Closed captions are included, though there are no open subtitles. Crucially, each disc contains biographical information on the soldiers represented in every episode, which allows the viewer to keep track of an extensive array of characters, and there's a useful glossary, map and timeline of Easy Company's advance across Europe. Perhaps the number of chapters per episode could have been doubled (as it stands, there are six for each instalment), but that's a minor glitch in an otherwise exemplary presentation. The sixth disc in HBO's package contains a fascinating, feature length documentary on the real members of Easy Company (essential viewing), and a series of video diaries by actor Ron Livingston of the boot camp to which many of the cast were subjected in preparation for filming, during which the actors seem to have cultivated the same bonds of friendship experienced by real soldiers in combat situations.

    It's doubtful that a more fitting tribute to the men of Easy Company could have been devised than BAND OF BROTHERS, a truly remarkable experience, given the Rolls Royce treatment on DVD. By turns engrossing, provocative and deeply, profoundly moving, it stands as a testament to those who fought and died for our freedoms, almost a lifetime ago.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Who did save Europe?
    I have seen this mini-series and like every movie that will ever be made by any film maker (US, Ireland, China, Germany, etc…) it is not an accurate account of what really happen. If the US did not save Europe who did? Was it the Russians, the French, the German’s? I forgot the German’s where conquering Europe. Ireland, who did HELP save Europe? Any way, I am thankful and grateful for all who fought to free Europe and the rest of the countries in this world. I am a naturalized citizen and retired member of the Arm Forces of the USA, who with out their sacrifices I would have not been able to come to this great, wounderful, and giving nation I call my home. It also shows the stupidity of the leadership of all nations, but most of all it shows the prize that Americans paid for the freedom we have today. God bless all those who fight for freedom. This is what this movie is all about, FREEDOM!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Idiot's guide to WWII
    This tripe just reinforces the idiotic opinion held by so many Americans that "America saved Europe" from the Nazi's. Rubbish. Read a good book instead.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "It appears the Germans are bad, very bad."
    I was lucky enough to catch this excellent mini-series on a replaying on the history Channel because 1.) I don't have HBO and 2.) I don't have over $100 to spend on this box set. But I wish I did. This is probably the best war movie I have ever seen. It follows Easy Company, probably the most famous platoon of world war 2 from their training in boot camp, to the very end at hitler's "Eagle Nest." They were a platoon that suffered 150% casulties.

    With the exception of its length (over ten hours) this is right up their with a big bedget movie. It has great actors, awesome cinemetogrophy, and great war special effect. Don't let the fact that this tv miniseries is a wimpy piece of junk. It's not! Because it was on HBO, the makers made sure to keep it realistic with the violence (lots of blood, injures, lossed limbs, etc...), theirs bad language and even a little nudity. So don't let a little kid watch this. The late Michael Kamen provides the excellent score and really provides a ambient backdrop to the sorrow and loss and horrible side of war.

    If you are at all interesting in Worl War II or like war movies in general. You must do yourself a favour and check this masterpiece out. You will not be dissapointed. ... Read more


    2. The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns
    list price: $129.99
    our price: $97.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0002KPI2S
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 679
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    3. The World at War (30th Anniversary Edition)
    list price: $149.95
    our price: $112.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0002F6AH0
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 876
    Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (75)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Series
    When investing in any DVD, especially a boxed set, you might ponder the question, "How often will I watch this?" Let me say that your purchase of The World at War will offer you endless viewing opportunities! Besides the 26 original episodes, all of the extra features that were produced afterwards are included in the set. There is so much information generated in over 30 hours of material that you will discover something new with each repeated viewing. Each episode will hold your attention from first to last, and they are efficiently indexed so you can easily review a map or replay a speech. Along side the emotional impact of the pictorial images, you have Carl Davis' moving score, a judicious use of period music, personal accounts from all the major powers, and Sir Laurance's strong narration, making this the most comprehensive documentary on the subject. Now if we can only have World War I, narrated by Robert Ryan, available, we would have the documentary bookends to the two most devastating wars in the 20th century.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Finest WWII Documentary Ever Produced
    For History buffs and those who have a keen, deeply felt interest in World War II beyond just the military events, the World at War, produced by Thames Television (1981) and released earlier on VHS by Thorn/EMI, is a 26 episode documentary set apart from all other documentaries about WWII. No other, with the exception of Walter Cronkite's CBS series, comes close to an unbiased, analytical perspective of a War that cost perhaps 50 million lives and took an emotional and philosophical toll we are still trying to comprehend today.

    Narrated by Sir Laurence Olivier and covering all aspects of the war, this definitive series is used by many colleges and universities as a source for History and Documentary Film courses. There is an incredible depth of archive footage used; skilfully woven with interviews of major figures in the War from Britain, US, Canada, Europe and Japan. Many major eye-witness leaders and ordinary people who were still alive in 1981 contributed sometimes surprising, sometimes incredible, and sometimes haunting interviews. Yet, for all its skilful editing and historical sophistication, it is clearly presented and emotionally compelling. In my opinion, it is, along with Kenneth Clark's "Civilisation", the best ever produced British documentary.

    What makes this a stellar and overpowering account of the War is Olivier's narration. Never blustery, patriotic, or theatrical, Sir Laurence delivers pointed, thoughtful analysis with his incredible command of English and oration. Music for the series was composed by Carl Davis and even the opening credits set an unforgettable tone in a haunting image of a child in a photograph, dissolving in flames. This series is for those trying to make sense of a 6 year period when the world went mad. Five Stars PLUS.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Very good. Probably THE documentary set to own
    This kept me going for months (in one hour segments at a time). There is so much material presented here and I learned a lot.

    I wanted to give 4.5 stars and only knock a half off for the sometimes annoying menu (it could have been presented in a more orgnaized fashion, I thought), or other small problems, but half points aren't allowed on the system. Very close to perfect!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Buyer Beware
    This was a wonderful documentary as originally broadcast, but I'd avoid this product if I had it to do over again: the maker's quality control is awful. Disk 1 skipped badly. And I the same problem others have reported: two copies of one of the five disks (with me, disk 5), and one disk (disk 4) entirely missing.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Remember"
    This is an excellent, extensive, British-made documentary about events leading up to, and including, World War II. With 26 episodes, there is quite a bit of material covered. Excellent narration by Laurence Olivier, and a memorable score.

    If you are a war buff, particularly WW2, this is the set to have. Can't say enough good things about it. ... Read more


    4. Victory at Sea
    list price: $79.95
    our price: $59.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0000AQS3X
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 729
    Average Customer Review: 3.16 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    A 26-episode World War II documentary, Victory at Sea is one of the most important series in the history of television. Made in 1952, the show was a huge success, winning many major awards and even spawning albums featuring the orchestral score by Richard Rodgers, best known for his musicals with Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II. Produced with the full cooperation of the U.S. Navy, each 26-minute program consists of black-and-white wartime film set to a narration by Leonard Graves. The two years leading up to America's entry into the war are dismissed in episode one, while the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor gets a show of its own, the raid depicted in a brilliantly edited montage that almost certainly contains "docu-drama" footage. Each episode contains at least one powerful stand-alone sequence in the tradition of Serge Eisenstein (Battleship Potemkin), these action-suspense set-pieces giving the programs an urgent, surprisingly modern feel. Indeed, the emphasis is at least as much on entertainment as information, the factual content delivered in poetic narration, the score transforming the war into a more than usually serious Hollywood adventure. The documentaries are nothing if not wide-ranging, covering parts of the land war despite the title, and including everything from the Atlantic convoys and U-boat "Wolfpacks" to war in Alaska, the South Atlantic, and the Far East, the Pacific War, and the Fall of Japan. There is an attempt to include other nations--certainly the D-Day episode acknowledges the British far more than Saving Private Ryan--but inevitably the focus is on America's war.The very dated narration gives a fascinating insight into how America saw WWII in the early 1950s, while the dynamic cutting and often genuinely remarkable wartime footage make Victory at Sea still gripping today. Twenty years later, Granada's The World at War would become the definitive television WWII history, but this release offers a unique opportunity to see a series of great importance from the very early days of television. --Gary S. Dalkin ... Read more

    Reviews (31)

    2-0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for content but ZERO stars for TERRIBLE AUDIO MIX
    I loved the content. Other reviewers here have verbalized my feelings concerning the quality of the video. However, the sound mix is so poor that if you set the volume to an appropriate sound level for the very nice music you are completely unable to hear the voice of the narrator. Even if you have your finger on the volume control constantly you are unable to dynamically raise and lower the audio volume to try and hear the narrator without blasting your ear drums with the elevated music sound level. I would advise anyone buying this DVD set to consider it acceptable ONLY if you listen to it with a 5 channel speaker set up with a dedicated center channel (for speech, etc.) where you are able to individually raise and lower that channel of sound. Even then you may be astonished just how much boost the center channel is going to need compared with the other sound channels. Frankly, this DVD release needs to be redone as far as the audio is concerned! Other than that, the video is great....

    4-0 out of 5 stars Victory at Sea DVD Is Awesome
    I recently purchased this DVD and was very skeptical after reading all the comments about the sound track. However, I didn't find any issues with either the sound track or the narrative for all four volumes. I have a Panasonice DVD Player with the Dolby Digital,DTS Digital Surround and MPEG, and the music score by Richard Rogers is one of the reasons for buying this DVD. It is a " Must Have" for military history buffs. If you have a PC with a DVD/CD ROM Combination, you can use it to view this DVD and adjust the sound track to blend in with the narrative.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Sound issues and the original
    I have the original soundtrack on LP, with the NBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Richard Rogers himeself. It's my father's and needless to say, it does not get much play time for preservation sake. I also own both CDs "Victory at Sea" and "MORE Victory at Sea," (BMG Music 1992) both conducted by Robert Russel Bennett and contain slightly arraigned versions of the very familar complete soundtrack by the RCA Symphony Orchestra and is remixed in extremely good Dolby Surround. The original soundtrack is fairly clear and does sound a little tinny and was recorded in mono. (Unless it was a dual issue in both stereo and mono. I only have the mono.) While a properly mixed original soundtrack would sound great, IMHO, the Dolby version would sound even better. What I'm getting at is, it's not the soundtrack's fault this apparently sounds so bad. I really wanted to buy this, but I think I'll hold off and wait and see.

    1-0 out of 5 stars One star too many!
    What an unmitigated hustle this dvd collection turned out to be. Equal portions of venom and spite are hereby awarded to History Channel and NBC for this travesty. My 5.1 dts sound system did nothing to alleviate the worse than poor sound quality/balance issues. This legendary series and it's participants certainly deserve better than this quick and dirty rendition gives. Maybe the capital "H" seen in the lower right hand corner of the teevee screen actually stands for "hustle". I would gladly purchase a remastered and remixed set but for now am left with this doorstop.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good atmospheric and stirring stuff!
    I came across the soundtrack many years after first hearing snippets from it on the original T.V series of the same name.
    I was enthralled by the sheer vibrancy and 'now-ness' of this great piece of modern classical music. You can easily picture the great ships of both the American and Japanese fleets as they engage in the greatest sea battle of all time. The spinning, swooping aircraft as they play thier all important roles of hunter/killer.
    The evocation of individual men and women enjoying a rare respite from battle in some of the quieter passages, shore leave. All part of this amazingingly descriptive music. It will continue to be an important piece by sheer virtuosity of the skillful interplay of individual instruments producing an altogether sucessful blend of sombre, stirring and gentle, very easy to listen-to-again and again music. I cannot praise it enough! ... Read more


    5. The Big Red One - The Reconstruction (Two-Disc Special Edition)
    list price: $26.99
    our price: $18.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007TKNLA
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 139
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Sam Fuller's The Big Red One was already one of the best films of 1980, despite the fact that the version released to theaters ran barely half as long as the director's cut. Fuller had been America's ballsiest B-movie auteur, an ex-newspaper reporter of the hardnosed breed who made fiercely personal, radically stylized, and politically outspoken films between the early '50s (The Steel Helmet, Pickup on South Street) and the early '60s (Shock Corridor). The Big Red One was his long-dreamt-of account of World War II as experienced by his own squad of the 1st Infantry Division, USA, from the first shot fired (by a dead man, on the coast of North Africa) to the last (in a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia).

    Even in the studio-truncated version, there was no shortage of astonishing moments and sequences: the squad choking on dust in a bat-filled cave in North Africa as German tanks clatter past the entrance; Fuller's cold-blooded distillation of the D-Day slaughter on Omaha Beach, with a wrist watch on a dead arm in the surf marking time as the water slopping over it grows redder; the rifle squad delivering a Frenchwoman's baby in a German tank on a battlefield full of corpses; a commando-like raid on Nazi troops bivouacked in a Belgian insane asylum. A quarter-century later, film critic Richard Schickel and Warner Bros. executive Brian Jamieson succeeded in restoring 15 never-seen sequences and fleshing out 23 others to create The Big Red One: The Reconstruction, a "new" film nearly an hour longer.

    Above all, BR1: The Reconstruction has a rhythm the 1980 cut lacked. The arc of years, battles, and battlegrounds is so much more satisfying. Greater play is given to Fuller's feeling for children caught up in the sidewash of history and atrocity. And the 2004 cut puts sex back into the movie, not orgiastically but as a fact of life and a rarely forgotten driving force. We can see now that Fuller touched, bluntly and shockingly, on the phenomenon of infiltrators--English-speaking German warriors who donned GI khaki and moved among their enemies waiting for a chance to strike.

    It's also apparent, as it was not in 1980, that Lee Marvin as the eternal Sergeant leading the young squad is magnificent. This was Marvin's greatest role, rivaled only by his walking dead man in John Boorman's Point Blank. Just beneath the masterly implacability, we glimpse the tenderness, rage, dark humor, experience, and wisdom beyond guilt that have enabled him to survive, to preserve others and to soldier on. His performance, like Fuller's film, is a masterpiece. --Richard T. Jameson ... Read more

    Reviews (54)

    5-0 out of 5 stars THE BIG RED ONE - THE RECONSTRUCTION.
    Like other reviewers, I saw the film when it first appeared and liked it. But I also felt that it also lacked some missing features which the novel supplied. Fortunately, a reconstruction has now occurred with the "missing footage" making an accomplished film more like the masterpiece Sam Fuller intended. Thanks to DVD, one does not have to live in a major city to see films like this. The 2 disk reconstruction is amazing and the restored footage is really where it belongs. This is a major work of cinema which needs to be widely disseminated.

    On the whole Richard Schickel and the restorers have done a good job. On the audio-commentary, Schickel mentions that the reason Fuller's work is now relevant to today (rather than his more illustrious Academy Award winning contemporaries) is because it reflects the insecurity of life and rejects any false sense of complacency. The film contains one of Lee Marvin's best performances supported with sterling performances by those young actors who play the Four Horsemen to say nothing of those other great performances by Stephane Audran, Serge Marquand, Siegfried Rauch, and Christa Lang Fuller herself in a restored scene. I have one hesitation to record. Both Shickel and the restorers often refer to cinematic cohesion. However, Samuel Fuller would always bend or break the rules at times. That is what made his films so iconoclastic and revolutionary in the same way that his absurd dialogue such as "If you die, I'll kill you" had great emotional reverberation. It is a shame the voice-over was not removed entirely because it is really redundant. The excellent acting and relevant silences speak for themselves in the best manner of silent cinema. Somne "deleted" sequences such as the Vichy officer debate could have been restored.

    But, in the last analysis, these are really minor points and we should be really grateful for this restoration which really should stimulate a Samuel Fuller Collection on DVD containing not only his most well-known works but others such as CHINA GATE (in restored letterbox form), VERBOTEN, THE CRIMSON KIMONO, and WHITE DOG to show the real diversity of this man's talent and the valuable cinematic heritage he has lef for future generations to appreciate.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Truthful, brutal and magnificent
    This film commences with a hard hitting statement that is unmistakably Sam Fuller. "THIS IS FICTIONAL LIFE, ABOUT FACTUAL DEATH". From that moment, he grabs the audience by the scruff of the neck and takes them on a fascinating, ballsy, unsentimental ride through WWII as he saw it. The film is refreshing for it's determined 'survivor's' point of view. He does not judge with emotions in the simplistic way that so many war films do. Instead he puts you in the state of mind you need to actually survive a war, and given Fuller himself survived WWII, he might just be on to something. The art in this film is all in the contradictions of real life and the perverse pleasures that can arise in even the most horrific of settings. A scene in Italy where the rifle squadren liberate an asylum is magnificently chaotic and amoral in it's presentation. In the midst of this madness Griff (Mark Hamill) somehow enjoys a transformative sexual experience with a psychologically damaged woman. We are reminded time and again that these men are only human, with needs that make little sense in the context of war. Fuller shows the straightforward machine you need to become to survive a war. If you know someone in your platoon is going to die, don't bother getting to know them too well. Harsh, but that, according to Fuller, is how you make it through. Lee Marvin's performance, commented upon here by many reviewers is an engine house of repressed humanity. And it's not overdone - you wouldn't even know the humanity was there. Watch this performance then watch Liam Neeson in Schindler's List. With respect to Neeson, he is playing a character. Marvin is playing a man.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Surviving is part of the fight in reconstructed classic
    Surviving war is the most challenging part of it. Whether it be surviving the physical and psychological rigors of war or it's sometimes nasty aftermath "The Big Red One: The Reconstruction" is one of the finest movies made about World War II. Fuller ("Shock Corridor" among many other films)made a lot of exploitation films during his long varied career but it's clear that here Fuller had found his best story to tell.

    Lee Marvin gives a terrific performance (and one of the best of his career)as the leader of a group of young soldiers. Most of the cast does an exceptional job as well (particularly Robert Carradine essentially playing Fuller). The film has its minor flaws certainly (some of the performances are a bit stilted)but film critic Richard Schickel a long time admirer of Fuller and this film has done a marvelous job of restoring Fuller's masterpiece to its original projected length. Schickel used the original script, production notes and the memories of some of the production participants to help recreate the film Fuller intended to release in the first place.

    The new version runs two hours and forty two minutes with the first disc devoted to the film. The second disc has alternate scenes; "Anatomy of a Scene" looks at the film both before and after the restoration. I haven't had time to watch "The Real Glory:Reconstructing The Big Red One" or the War department reel "The Fighting First" yet but the qualtiy of the documentary on Sam Fuller and the rest of the material is quite good.

    4-0 out of 5 stars War Classic -HORRIBLE PACKAGING MATERIALS!
    Great film, DVD done right, package LOOKS good, but when I went to open it up it took ALMOST A HALF AN HOUR AND EVEN THEN THE LOW-GRADE SUPER-STICKY TAPE ON ALL EDGES OF THE CASE RUINED THE COVER! Whoever made choices contributing to this fiasco needs to be shot! Or at least fired and drummed out of the industry. Didn't help matters that on the fancy black slip cover Best Buy had slapped a big ugly price sticker that wouldn't come off all the way, even after I heated the glue up with a hair dryer. Hey, I hope you slobs responsible for these stupid choices are reading this because you are a bunch of incompetent unprofressionals. Still, buy this DVD, anyway.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty good aswar movies go
    As a kid I enjoyed this movie very much.It has some pretty good action sequences and in some parts, you can have true actual feelings for what soldiers go through when in battle.It has a very good ending and I feel it is definitely worth watching when you have the time.One of my favorite war movies. ... Read more


    6. Shoah
    list price: $149.99
    our price: $134.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005JM8V
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 9711
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (14)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Bearing Witness To History
    Watching the 9.5 hour documentary Shoah one goes through a plethora or emotions: sadness, anger and finally triumph. Shoah is living history one that we will no likely to be able to repeat as time goes on.

    Claude Lanzmann gives us a history of the Holocaust from the point of view of the participants. The survivors, the guards, the townspeople who witnessed the Final Solution firsthand. The thing that makes the film amazing is that we do not see the grisly images that were so prevalent in films like Renais Night and Fog. We simply hear voices and see faces.

    The interview technique is what makes this film so important. We are forced to look into these people's faces as they tell their stories. And they do have important stories to tell. Also we literally visit the places of destruction as they are now. We see green meadows that were once killing grounds like Sobibor or Chelmno. We see the village of Grabow now reduced of its Jewish population; we bear witness to the railside horrors of Treblinka, and the haunting desolation that was and is Auschwitz.

    The startling thing is that the people of the film have been able to rebuild their lives and go on. This is the triumph of the film. We hear horrible things to be sure but these people are true survivors.

    The DVD does not offer many extras, but then not many are needed. The end result is a sort of numb silence and this prevades the viewing. The transfer could have been a little clearer but I feel that this was more of a flaw in the source footage than a problem in the DVD creation. The only real problem with my set was on the fourth disc where there were numerous sound fall outs.

    All in all Shoah is not an easy film to watch. It takes patience and careful listening if one is to truly understand but it should be regarded as essential viewing for any would be student of history.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful, devastating testimony
    I saw Shoah on PBS around the mid-80's and have never forgotten the experience. The documentary was shown in weekly installments. At first, I was just curious, but then I was drawn by the powerful testimony I was witnessing. I remember that while watching the last installments, I was weeping over the depravity and evil that was discussed by the aged survivors. At that time I was a Staff Sergeant with 15 years military service. We are tempted to turn away from the horrendous images and ignore the Holocaust as an anomaly or as something best left in the past. We want to move on. But listening to the stories and watching the faces of the survivors I knew that I must listen very carefully. I must not miss one moment of their testimony. Neither can you. Listen, watch, and learn what evil men can do to fellow man. It's a long, long film but it must be seen in its entirety.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Documentary about the Holocaust
    This first aired on PBS sometime in the early to mid eighties. I was in my first couple of years of college at the time. As many of you can relate, I had lots of fun in school (especially after classes)and didn't watch much TV. For whatever reason I was at home when the first installment aired and I was hooked. Being in college, I wasn't too much of a history buff and knew little about the Holocaust. I would come home early from parties just to get to see the next installment. Since that time I have always wanted to see the documentary again and now can say I have bought it and will watch it (this time with my wife) soon.
    I had the opportunity to visit Munich some time back and didn't miss the chance to visit Dachau. Wow! What an experience... one that I shall never forget. I think watching the show this time will mean so much more than before. Make sure you get lots of Kleenex before you sit down to watch a segment.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing document !
    A very important, powerful, strong and
    not an easy watch Holocust documentary.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best made movie about the Holocaust
    It's been 17 years since I watched this movie in a hotel room in Munich on German television. Since that time Hollywood has made their own Holocaust movies, the latest being "The Pianist." By far , "Shoah" is the most meaningful movie that was made about the Holocaust. The shear hypocrisy of the Nazi's false promise to every death camp inmate of "Arbeit Macht Frei" is revealed through the words of the apathetic hypocrits who watched from the sidelines.

    It answers the question: Why could this global tragedy happen? It also answers the question: Who were these people who committed the atrocities and where were all the people who bore witness?

    The movie asks these questions of the real people who we want to know the answers from. Mr. Lanzman interviews the wife of a concentration camp commandant. Her attitude and her carefully chosen words speak volumes for what she doesn't say. She embodies evil to the nth degree. Her lack of empathy and gross disdain for the 10,000s of Jews that her husband murdered makes you sick to your stomach. And yet she is not guilty of anything more than being an accessory to mass murder and she has never spent a day of her life paying for the sins of her husband. She complains that her life after the war has been hard on her. She wants our pity.

    Mr. Lanzman interviews a peasant who lived along the rail line to Birkenau and Auschwitz. The jolly old peasant was proud of how he gesticulated to the hapless souls in the packed railcars how they would have their throats slit soon enough. The peasant made fun of how he convinced many a desparate Jew to throw him their jewelry in exchange for a cup of water - only to not give the Jew the promised water.

    There is no ray of hope. There is no triumph of good over evil. There is only the sheer will power and determination of the few survivors that now live in comfortable flats in Israel, the United States and other parts of the world. After the war, they picked themselves by their bootstraps and mentally blocked the horrors that befell upon them by the Nazis and they succeeded to live their lives.

    The conclusion I draw from this movie is to remain forever vigilant. Evil is banal. Evil can be overwhelming. Only a clear conscience, an open mind and a consistent collective voice against the darkness of evil will we keep men like Adolf Hitler from propagandizing his fellow countrymen and women into similar acts of atrocity. ... Read more


    7. Vietnam - A Television History
    list price: $79.95
    our price: $71.96
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    Asin: B0001WTWOC
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 6763
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (10)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Incredible Documentary
    Vietnam: A Television History is a phenomenal documentary on the before, during and after of the American War. 14 hours and worth the time! You can watch invididual segments one hour at a time.

    It's a remarkable piece for understanding this conflict. The video is rich with battle and geographic details...far reaching in its interviews of North and South Vietnamese as well as American voices...textured with information on virtually every angle (CIA involvement, the reaction in the U.S., Cambodia and Laos, etc.)...and told in a clear and gripping format. It explained a war I previously could not quite understand, and also provided a huge amount of information not found in most American shorthand retellings of the war. Hugely recommended for anyone interested in the war or interested in Southeast Asia.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is visual war history without precedent
    After seeing the series, one by one, and every which way, I can only come to the conclusion: unparalleled history. Only a doctrinere bigot and a mad-dog at that, would see how it tries to be balanced-- any rational being would see as America's greatest surrender and tragedy--so far--the Irag debacle is still underweigh. Of course, one is expected to read more, to not think this is the last word on the Vietnam War. How ridiculous! Previewed in 1983, no one should think there should be more evidence presented. Only in time, well-tested opinions and with all the evidence in, can a clear perspective be seen of the whole. I lived in that era, the Nixon era to be exact, when I understood what was happening. Before which, in my teens and brought up in rural Maine, I thought America could not be wrong, the government was right, Communionist were evil haters of our way of life. When I understood, I was against. But I was not all the way, my disagreement was fully conditional. It was Watergate and finally Reagan that made me see my intuition against the Vietnam War was right. It was not a good feeling. I did not want to think it was all in vein. I did not want to accept the inevitable. This documentary is the best balanced visual history of its kind on a post-WW2 (cold gone hot) war, from the first misunderstand to the last revisionist spin.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great reference tool!
    I had to rent this tape set for school as there was a college course on Vietnam, but decided to buy it instead! I am glad I did because I can pass this down to my daughter. It was an honest account of not only the war, but the history of the country as well, which I found interesting! Worth the money!

    4-0 out of 5 stars caution about reviewer's advice
    This is a good video as introduction to the War.
    It could be updated based on what we've learned since relations thawed somewhat with Vietnam.
    Caution about one reviewer's advice to watch the Accuracy-In-Media rejoinder to the program:
    See it. It is horrible; the video pieces don't show what they say they do; Charleton Heston narrates a sappy poem about boat people; and the head of AIM later, when confronted with the shows innacuracies said that they don't matter --- all that matters is its anti-communist point-of-view. Some "accuracy"!

    2-0 out of 5 stars So This is History?
    This series is not solid history. There are two essential facts you must get right to start with in order to interpret the Vietnam war. First you must understand who Ho Chi Minh was and second you must understand the nature of the Geneva Conference of 1954. Third, in order to understand why the U.S. lost one must be understand the critical importance of two decisions made during the administration of John Kennedy. First, the 1962 Geneva Accords which created the "facade of Geneva" and prevented the U.S. from selecting a winning strategy (i.e., cutting the Ho Chi Minh Trail). See Norman Hannah's book, "The Key to Failure: Laos the Vietnam War." Second, you must understand the unethical decision made by the Kennedy administration in backing the coup against Ngo Dinh Diem that resulted in his assasination and a deeper immersion of the U.S. into the military government we created without even knowing the makeup of the characters in it. Read "A Death in November: American in Vietnam, 1963" by Ellen Hammer. The point is the war is hugely complex and the video series is not. It is extremely biased, Ho Chi Minh, a dedicated international communist is the hero! and the U.S. is the villain. The
    It is only in video 13 that the producers discover that the communists are bad guys and it is a belated discovery! So they killed one third of the population in Cambodia, subjected Vietnam to hellish re-education/prison camps and produced millions of deaths, not to mention two million or so boat people who fled the country. This is the regime of a nationalist? But they constantly produce a dialog heavy in ideology, communist ideology. Perhaps that is a concidence, like their land reform program that killed off the landlord class or their police state. Just coincidences I am sure, after all, Uncle Ho was a nationalist wasn't he? The video series never takes the trouble to examine the Soviet Union or Communist China's role in the Vietnam war in any depth. It is as if all of history is understood by psychoanalysis of the what goes on in Washington. I use this series in the classroom to teach students how to detect bias in a badly flawed historical series and while there is some good history in it, there is far too much that is poorly done and now, outdated, given new information. Even communist histories belie some of the points made in the series. Hanoi now admits that planning for the war in the South began in 1956 and was well along in 1959, when the 15th Party Plenum ordered armed struggle in the South to begin. For example, Communist Party Politburo member Le Duan was responsible for the formation of 37 guerilla companies by October 1957. The respected Soviet diplomat, Andre Gromyko, said of Joseph Stalin in his Memoirs, "it seems to me that the nature had endowed him with the ability to hide the harsh side of his character, and very effectively so. He also seems to have had the capacity to appear at times even gentle and sensitive to others. The conversations he had with some foreign personalities, especially writers, confirm this." These words could have written about the man who called himself "Ho Chi Minh" or "He who enlightens." His frail and gentle manner belie the harsh, ruthless man beneath the veneer. In fact, having studied him for many years, I would have to say he was one of the greatest actors of the twentieth century and one of its most evil men. The key to understanding him lies in understanding what brought tears to his eyes. It was not the nation but rather Lenin's "thesis on national and colonial questions" which called for international communist liberation of oppressed peoples from colonialism. The trouble is so many fail to study this and therefore miss the import of Ho's ardor for the doctrine. Nationalism is the foe of internationalism and communism embraces only the latter. This is clear from Lenin's writings. Recommend you read Lenin! There is a video series that attempts to correct some of the errors (Television's Vietnam: The Real Story) in this one and although, it carries some biases of its own, it does help to bring out some of the worst features of this seris. It is put out by Accuracy in Media and is worth your effort to investigate if you are going to view this poorly done series. On the Tonkin Gulf incident, the Canadian series, the Ten Thousand Day War, is far superior. It seems American film makers are more enamored with Uncle Ho than his own people. Ask them if you don't believe me. ... Read more


    8. Gettysburg (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Ronald F. Maxwell
    list price: $19.96
    our price: $14.97
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    Asin: B00003CXA6
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 465
    Average Customer Review: 4.59 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (347)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good History, Good Film
    Movies based on history fall into one of two categories. They're either wonderful stories that are flawed on facts (Braveheart, JFK, for example), or they're faithful to the facts but lack drama (The Battle of Britain, produced by Harry Saltzman in the late '60s). This film, written and directed by Ronald F. Maxwell, manages to be fairly accurate storytelling and compelling drama at the same time. That Maxwell's movie embodies these two qualities in an almost four-hour picture is no small feat either.

    The movie recreates the pivotal battle of the Civil War, when General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia sought to destroy the Union forces under General George Meade at Gettysburg, a small town in Pennsylvania. Maxwell's towering achievement in this movie, besides the many well-staged battle scenes, is to highlight the personal, emotional anguish of the soldiers on both sides, some of whom had been quite close before the war began. Witness the scene in the tent of General James Longstreet (Tom Berenger) as General Lewis Armistead (Richard Jordan, in one of his last screen roles) speaks emotionally about his friend, General Hancock, who he knows is just over the ridge where they will attack the next day. Tears well up in Jordan's eyes as he recalls the deep affection that he developed for Hancock and his wife many years before.

    Gettysburg is not a great movie, but it is a very good one, and well worth viewing for any American who is interested in the war that tore this nation asunder and, in some ways, made it more unified afterwards.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely excellent film making from a historical novel.
    I am writing this review after my review of "Gods and General." I realized the measure of any subsequent movie would be "Gettysburg," and the problem is going to be that it is a hard act to follow. Gettysburg is everything a historical novel to movie should be. Start with a Pulitzer prize winning book, "Killer Angels." This is impeccable story telling. On the confederate side, Martin Sheen as Robert E. Lee and Tom Berenger contributed career best performances and compelling chemistry. On the Union side, Jeff Daniels as Colonel Chamberlain, C. Thomas Howell as his brother and Lieutenant, and Kevin Conroy as the tough old Mick Sargeant /veteran, provide the compelling chemistry. Sam Elliot fits the part of a veteran cavalry General perfectly. In fact, I can't think of anyone that fits the part of acting from the saddle better.

    If Stonewall Jackson had lived and had surrounded the federal troops at Chancellorsville, the war might have ended. If Lee had listened to Longstreet and withdrew from Gettysburg to high ground of his own choice, he might have won the battle and ended the war. This defensive style of fighting is why Lee earned the nickname "Gray Fox." Lee made the same mistake as Union General Burnside at Fredericksburg in advancing troops uphill against an entrenched enemy while taking canon fire on three sides. If General Meade had pursued Lee out of Gettysburg to where he was backed up against a storm swollen and impassable Potomac River, the war might have ended. Instead, war went on for more than two more years, and the death toll rose to over 615,000 Americans. This section of American history is critically important and what will be a set of three movies will serve a very commendable purpose.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Gettysburg-an exciting and dramatic review of the final days
    I absolutely LOVE this movie. Based on the bestselling novel 'The Killer Angels' by Michael Shaara, Gettysburg is an engaging and [MOSTLY accurate] retelling of the events surrounding what was probably the most major battle of the War of Northern Agression (no offense to anyone, I AM a southerner, but I harbor no serious prejudices toward anyone). Some minor details, such as Chamberlain's position during the battle are slightly off, but most of the historical action is dead on. Martin Sheen delivers an excellent performance as Gen. Robert E. Lee. Although this movie was released earlier, 'Gods and Generals' by Jeff Shaara (same name as the book, and Michael Shaara's son) precedes Gettysburg in historical order. Recommended to anyone interested in the American Civil War and history buffs alike.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Greatest Civil War Movie
    Gettysburg is by far the best movie on the ACW ever made. I saw it in the theater as a kid and I am still impressed with it. It is much better than Gods and Generals and I think its better than Glory for the simple fact that it shows BOTH sides displaying their own feelings, emotions, and desires. I dont think Sheen was bad as Lee but at the same time I dont think Duvall had enough on screen time to properly compare him to Sheen's performance. Richard Jordan was superb in his performance as Armistead and it is a lasting tribute that his last movie before his death to a brain tumor was so powerful and emotional; sometimes I wonder if Jordan was thinking on his own death while filming those magnificent scenes for the movie.

    And a little FYI to settle the harsh criticism of Maxwell picking Sheen as Lee: ROBERT DUVALL WAS MAXWELL'S FIRST CHOICE TO DO LEE IN GETTYSBURG BUT DUVALL WAS UNAVAILABLE AT THE TIME B/C HE WAS FILMING SOME OTHER MOVIE; SO MAXWELL WENT WITH A BACKUP CHOICE OF MARTIN SHEEN FOR LEE!!!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Gettysburg
    I liked this movie very much, but yet I do believe that if it were made at the same time Gods and Generals was, it would have been a much better film. I thought that Sheen did a fair job at playing the great General Robert E. Lee, but he is no match for the outstanding performance of Robert Duvall. I like Tom Berenger as General Longstreet, who was also from my native state, South Carolina. Jeff Danials did a spectacular job in this film as Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in Gettysburg as well in Gods and Generals. The effort these actors put in to this movie are so dramatic, it takes your breath away to see these men, in fact, you don't see Martin Sheen, Tom Berenger, or Jeff Danials, you see Robert E. Lee, Jamse Longstreet, and Joshua Chamberlain. But I must say, if you are going to watch Gettysburg, you mite want to watch Gods and Generals first. ... Read more


    9. Battle of the Bulge
    Director: Ken Annakin
    list price: $19.97
    our price: $14.98
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    Asin: B0007TKNGA
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 311
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Description

    Nazi Panzer forces stage a last-ditch Belgian front offensive that could turn the tide of WWII. Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw and Robert Ryan in the spectacular recreation of a crucial campaign. ... Read more

    Reviews (81)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A seemingly controversial film!
    Judging from all the previous opinions written on this movie, it is obvious few see it in the same light.This movie, while highly Hollywoodized (is there such a word?) is entertaining and only remotely connected to any historical reality. There is a star-studded cast with heavyweights (all gone now, I believe) like Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Robert Ryan, and Dana Andrews, among many others, and it is an interesting, and I found it to be, a very entertaining movie. I have owned this movie for many years on VHS and was disappointed for many of those years that it was unavailable on DVD.Why was it not available?Who cares now--it is finally out on DVD.If you don't like the movie, DVD won't change that, however.

    This movie, with whatever faults (and it has many) you wish to attribute to it, is a must in any collection of war genre movies simply because of the stars and the insight it gives to movies made in 1965 while another, but realtively unpopular, war was going on. Even if you're not into war movies per se, I think it is enjoyable to watch.

    If you are looking for a documentary on the history of The Battle Of the Bulge, this isn't it. As others more knowledgable than I have pointed out already, there are many inaccuracies, historically, with equipment, etc,etc.Most Hollywood movies are that way--Saving Private Ryan, Pearl Harbor, MacArthur, Patton--that's just a movie fact of life.I am sure only period films of actual combat would please some purests, so put that aside, it is worth a look soley as entertainment.In my opinion, a movie that generates this much controversy also generates curiosity as to why the controversy.See it, if you can, before buying and make up your own minds.

    3-0 out of 5 stars As comic book man would say..."Worst War Movie Ever!"
    Mildly entertaining, this movie lacks in so many areas I don't know where to begin. I like to watch war movies to relive my days in the Army (I was in a tanker unit for awhile), and this movie just loses all realism and historical accuracy to the point that it resembles a circus. I saw it as a kid and liked it of course, and viewers who aren't so discerning might actually like it also, but watching it as an adult who has already watched the greatest war movies ever, I now have to give a thumbs down to this flick.
    There are no unit patches on any of the soldiers whatsover. Obviously the studio must have had to cut costs somewhere. The German Tiger and Panther tanks suspiciously resemble American made tanks, the acting is so horrendous and hollywoodish, that I actually found myself rooting for the Nazis to kill them so I would no longer have to listen to their phony imitation of real soldiers over and over. Yes it was a big budget film and yes they did assemble a very all star cast, but did any of those actors ever spend 15 minutes trying to learn how actual soldiers act and talk? Actors are supposed to be believable in their roles, and this group just couldn't do it. They obviously didn't even know the right military expressions or jargon at all. Example: One of the generals making a call to HQ asks for "One hundred and fifty fives" (Howitzers), which to my knowledge has always been called one five fives (especially over a radio). Small error though it is, to me it's enough to remove any belivabilitythat the actor has ever spent a day in uniform.
    The special effects are laughable, but you do have to remember the era in which this movie was filmed.High explosive tank rounds only cause a puff of smoke on enemy tanks followed by gasoline being lit on the turret.Dont expect to see turrets flying off as would be the case, oh and, soldiers don't bleed when shot either.
    The end of the movie was so preposterous that I couldn't help but chuckling as Henry Fonda and Savalas rolled barrels of gasoline towards an entire column of German tanks and then tossed grenades at them and singlehandedly won the Battle of the Bulge.
    This movie just seems like a sorry excuse to put Charles Bronson and Telly Savalas in other movie together to attempt to entertain the public.I'll stick to "Band Of Brothers", "When Trumpets Fade", "The Thin Red Line" or even "The Big Red One", when I need my WWII fix.

    4-0 out of 5 stars WW II Action Drama of the 1944 Ardennes Counter-Offensive
    Warner Brother's 1965 epic war movie that portrays the German Ardennes Counter-Offensive in December of 1944 during WWII."Battle of the Bulge" depicts Adolf Hitler's gamble that committed three German armies to attack west to Antwerp, Belgium, and halt the Allies to force a negotiation for peace.Producer Milton Sperling and Director Ken Annakin created a movie of grand scale, but apparently chose big-screen action over historical precision to maximize box office revenue.Long relegated to infrequent television play and a chopped video tape edition, it returns on DVD restored for movie fans who like tanks and a screenplay that borders on camp by contemporary standards.

    The movie depicts this historic battle through several fictional characters that eventually meet in a climatic battle that seals the Germans' fate.Henry Fonda is Lieutenant Colonel Dan Kiley, an American intelligence officer whose warnings of the coming attack fall on deaf ears.Robert Shaw is Colonel Hessler, the charismatic German Panzer (tank) commander who leads the armor spearhead towards Belgium.Charles Bronson is Major Wolinski, a tough American commander fighting the German onslaught to the last man.Telly Savalas is Sergeant Guffy, a jaded American tanker who is in the thick of the battle facing superior German tanks that relegate his to a tin can.James MacArther is Lieutenant Weaver, a slack infantry leader who survives a massacre of Allied prisoners by German soldiers.Sperling and Annakin appear to have chosen this simpler screenplay to create a few heroes who fight to overcome a seemingly invincible villain-forgoing a complex storyline as used in 20th Century Fox's 1962 "Longest Day."It works OK, certainly not on the level of "Band of Brothers," and lends a somewhat campy appeal for this 1960's action flick.

    The movie does portray actual events with German paratroopers disguised as American soldiers who disrupt Allied operations, the Malmedy Massacre, and the siege of Bastogne.Their depictions contain a lot of artistic manipulation, and the relatively simple storyline faults the German defeat to depleted gasoline reserves-setting the stage for a climatic battle when Kiley, Guffy, and Weaver find themselves face-to-face with Hessler at a gasoline dump.Another gross oversight is a massive tank battle in the latter part of the movie that was apparently filmed during the spring-summer season in Spain-deplete of snow.

    As long as viewers don't mind these faults-this is an entertaining movie.The M24 Chafee and M47 Patton tanks rented from the Spanish Army serve well as facsimiles for American Sherman and German Tiger tanks, and the live sets look great on the wide screen.Robert Shaw is the most charismatic in this feature and the Panzerlied chorus near the beginning of the movie is rousing.

    I've always enjoyed this movie and I'm pleased with the DVD edition's restored imagery and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, particularly the restoration of footage that I've not seen in years.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A good transfer
    I will not review the movie but the DVD. It's in Widescreen. No scenes have been cut. Every minute of the movie is on this DVD. It has the overture, intermission & exit music.I saw no pops or lines in the picture. The sound & pitcure quality of this 60s movie is as good as any DVD I have. I like the movie & wish all old movies on DVD were as well done as this DVD.

    5-0 out of 5 stars dump your VHS version
    I'm not going to waste your time telling you about the movie, and how great it is.
    The only thing I have to say is someone did something right for a change. Whoever put this one together gave you the full version as it was first shown.
    My advice if you know and love this movie, this is the one to buy, and dump your VHS. ... Read more


    10. Patton
    Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
    list price: $14.98
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    Asin: B00005PJ8O
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 590
    Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (155)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Entertainment, but . . .
    George C. Scott's portrayal of General George S. Patton is outstanding in capturing the essense of the man; so much so that one thinks of Scott when considering the historic Patton! Scott's deep voice better fits the profane and volcanic nature of the General, who was "blessed" with a high and squeaky voice! A classic war film that provides great entertainment with each viewing. That said, I must take exception with a reviewer who lauded the film's accuracy. It is anything but historically accurate. The overall timeline is correct, but anyone who has read a book on Patton (especially the "Patton Papers") will spot the dramatic license taken by the Hollywood producers. Just to name a few: Patton knew that he would command Third Army before he left the Mediteranean for England. In the film, he wasn't told until after D-Day! Another: the entire exchange between Patton and Montgomery in Messina was fabricated; as was the competition between the two for Messina. This said, "Patton" remains one of my favorite movies, and I recommend it to anyone. Just have that book ready on the coffee table (also available from Amazon!)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not the best war movie, but great character study
    It may be treasonous to suggest that Patton is a flawed WW2 movie, although it is leaps and bounds the best character study ever developed inside a war movie. Not for nothing was this Nixon's favorite flick. George C. Scott justly deserved an Oscar for his portrayal of the hugely idiosyncratic Patton. I was 14 when I first saw it, and it was a real eye-opener for someone who (growing up in the military) thought all Army generals were bland smiley Eisenhower clones.

    Scott's Patton is sensational, and manipulates the audience into a genuine love-hate relationship with the man. He was a tyrant, but soft-skinned. He was a brilliant tactician who was respected above all others by the Germans. He was also a mean, petty, competitive SOB who could waste soldier's lives to feed his ego, and with primitive political sensibilities - kind of an American Arik Sharon.

    Flaws? Well... the movie certainly blitzes through WW2 history. Near the end of the film, the flim shows Patton's troopers rescuing the surrounded 101st Airborne at Bastogne (December 1944), and suddenly, it's May 1945. This skips over perhaps Patton's worst moment, when in 1945 he ordered a small task force to penetrate far behind German lines to attempt a rescue of his son-in law languishing in a POW camp (he was captured during the Kassarine Pass battles). The mission was a dramatic and costly failure.

    I did have problems with the other significant generals portrayed in the movie. Montgomery was pompous, but he did pull the British through in North Africa. In Patton, he has few redeeming features. Karl Maulden's Omar Bradley is just too nice for a four-star general - probably because the real Bradley served as a technical consultant for the movie, which must have stirred interesting emotions in the man. The real Bradley experienced a real love-hate relationship with the flashy, tempermental Patton.

    The biggest flaw in Patton is technical. Like the earlier film, "Battle of the Bulge", American tankers drive 1950's tanks (Chafees?), and the Germans get bigger American tanks. (In unlikely movies like Kelly's Heroes, they used real Shermans). This is way before "Private Ryan", so the battle scenes are dramatic enough but do not have the punch of recent movies.

    The real reason for "Patton" is the man, not the battles. In this, the movie surpasses "MacArthur" and similar biopics. And this definitely has the best music score of any war movie. So maybe it gets a "five" after all.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Decent Film/No Frills DVD
    It's to the much-deserved credit of the underrated George C. Scott--simply brilliant here--and director Franklin Schaffner that the celebrated general of "Patton's" title comes across more the tragic hero and less the right-wing nutjob, especially considering that the film debuted in 1970. "Patton" is worth a look for that bit of storytelling finesse alone, but the film offers much more, effectively examining both the highs and lows of the headstrong general's World War II days. Though it lacks the poetic grandeur of epics like "Lawrence of Arabia" or "How the West Was Won," "Patton" nonetheless operates on a big scale, and Scott's larger-than-life portrayal is never obscured by the production's legions of soldiers or frequent changes of scenery. The script, co-written by Francis Ford Coppola, stays focused on the professional aspects of Patton's life--his devotion to duty, command, and career--and wisely avoids bogging down with diversions into romance or family life. Some might find such an approach imbalanced, but most viewers will likely enjoy the "purity" of what is, for lack of a better term, a satisfying "guy's story." Look for Karl Malden in a great supporting role as Omar Bradley, and enjoy Jerry Goldsmith's bombastic score, rivaled only by John Williams' Indiana Jones overtures. Still, "Patton" is not without faults. Military buffs may bemoan some technical inaccuracies, such as using tanks that don't fit the historical period; at times, the characterizations devolve into caricature, especially that of British General Montgomery; and some of Patton's borderline psychotic behavior--his various rages and obsessions with dreams and reincarnation--seem too easily dismissed as colorful idiosyncracies. The DVD itself is rather bare for a film that received many Oscars, perhaps the biggest flaw of all.

    5-0 out of 5 stars GREATEST WAR FILM EVER MADE
    In 1970, two films juxtaposed each other. "Patton" was an unlikely winner of eight Oscars. The pacifist Scott for all practical purposes took his Buck Turgidson character and refined him into the real-life Patton. In interviews, Scott said he found his research of Patton revealed an unbalanced man, but on screen Scott nailed him as the vainglorious, brilliant, driven warmonger he was. Steiger was offered the role first but turned it down because it glorified war. Vietnam was absolutely at its apex. It was very surprising that Hollywood would make such a film at that time. But director Frankin Schaffner had served under Patton, and after making "The Planet of the Apes" had the clout to call his shots. The film did not get America behind the war, but it did cause Nixon to start bombing Cambodia because the Patton story convinced him to get tough. The screenwriter, oddly enough, was Francis Ford Coppola, who may have done himself a turn. Coppola was no war lover, and wrote "Patton" as a man obsessed with war ("God help me, I love it so"), deluded by visions of Napoleonic grandeur mixed with Episcopalian Christianity and karmic reincarnation. The intent may have been to show a psychotic military man, to de-mask his heroism, and this may have been what prompted Scott to play it. From page to screen there are virtually no changes, but if Coppola was trying to put down the military by showing Patton's human warts, the result was a brilliant work that now is one of, if not the most, conservative pictures ever made. Watching "Patton" stirs wonderful pride in two countries (Great Britain is prominent in the film) that were tough enough to stand up to the Nazis when the rest of the world cowered in victimhood. Karl Malden's Omar Bradley is Patton's perfect foil, as is the Bernard Law Montgomery character. The film saved Coppola, who was about to be fired as "The Godfather" director. When he won the Oscar for "Patton", it gave him too much clout to get the axe.

    (...)

    5-0 out of 5 stars WORTH SEEING JUST FOR THE OPENING SPEECH
    In this post-9/11 world everyone should see this film if only to see and hear the famous speech Patton gave to his troops, opening the film. He starts out by saying that no one ever won a war by dying for his country. One wins a war by getting the guy on the other side to die for HIS (other) country. The Islamic terrorist plaguing the world today all say they want to die. Patton would say that he is glad to oblige them.

    Just a warning, don't expect to learn anything about the conduct of the Second World War from this film. It is first and formost a character study of Patton, the man, and I can't praise George C. Scott enough for his stupendous performance. It is rare in history that an actor adapts so well to the role he is playing. ... Read more


    11. Crusades
    Director: Alan Ereira, David Wallace (II)
    list price: $39.95
    our price: $35.96
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    Asin: B00005U8F3
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 6445
    Average Customer Review: 3.65 out of 5 stars
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    Description

    This acclaimed productioned worldwide by mystery fans. A & E Home Video presents the second DVD collection, featuring five feature-film adaptations of Miss Marple's greatest mysteries on three discs. It's hour of great whodunits for all ages! ... Read more

    Reviews (34)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and accurate for the most part
    Being a scholar of history and Medieval Europe in particular, I found this documentary rather accurate on most points, despite what a few of the previous reviewers have said. Also, it was very entertaining. You can't beat that combination.

    The only real problemswith it, is that it is only 4 hours long, and therefore, takes some short-cuts, oversimplifies a few things and is not as in-depth as I would have liked it to have been.

    That said, it is still mostly true to the sense of the Crusades that is conveyed in many historical accounts, while at the same time cutting away the Pro-European bias that is present in many texts.

    Some of the "facts" that the previous reviewers have mentioned (such as: the Crusades being a response to the Muslim takeover of the Balkans, which in actuality did not occur until well in the 14th century. another is the statement that the Muslims who eventually took over the Balkans were motivated by Mohammed's original fervor, which is also not true as these Muslims were Turks who only recently converted to Islam), are not really facts, and are clearly motivated by unfounded Anti-Muslim sentiments. I suggest ignoring them.

    All in all, this is a very informative and enjoyable DVD set.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Propaganda? Make no mistake about it?
    Readers and viewers of this work should realize that history contains ugly realities to anyone's perspectives. Certainly, the Moorish hordes relegated Christians and Jews to Dimi status (mostly as a sort of tax strategy), looted, enslaved, and killed masses just like the crusaders, but THIS ISN'T A BOOK ABOUT THE ARABS!!!

    This same sort of 'prejuidcial history' is leveled against Noam Chomsky for his history of the Arab Israeli conflict and his focus on Israel and the U.S. As with critics of Chomsky, you should note that the author of the previous review makes no mention of the facts presented in the book. Why? Because he cannot refute them. Instead he accuses the authors of apologetic propaganda; exactly the exercise in which he is involved.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The humor of history triumphs in all the wrong places
    This set of two disks takes a very modern look at about two hundred years of history, but I am not going to remember which two hundred. It was so long ago that people no longer seem to be concerned about how everyone involved managed to absorb all of the financial costs involved. Warfare often upsets some apple carts, and this presentation of the Crusades is openly aware of aristocratic ambition that could be condemned as a desire for conquest while it remains mired in the inversion of spiritual values which prompted the institutional churches at that time to consider each pathetic episode a great thing for one reason or another.

    My intellectual bias in this area is that no college professor could have made a better version of a history for our times. Back in 1995, the nature of the Order of Assassins with its suicide squads high from hashish was hardly as important as it is in the world since September 11, 2001, but on the other side, the financial suicide involved in trying to change the nature of the Middle East by military invasion was as clear then as more recent expeditions threatening to last another two hundred years boggle the mind today. I might be taking a stand that is too political for 2004, which might be a year in which people in America try to impose their own interest in intelligence, competence, and living within the limits of our ability to absorb losses. This series of television shows puts a lot of emphasis on the extraordinary wealth of Constantinople and Egypt in those times, when military equipment also had a high price. What really gets your goat the first time through this series, though, is the treachery: cities plundered, caravans attacked, truces violated, and hostages held for ransom.

    People with pride might feel that this DVD set is trying to chip away at it by using ridicule as the ultimate weapon against everything that used to consider itself great, and well they might. They should, too. Why am I giving this stars? Why can't I give it ARFs?

    ARF, ARF, ARF, ARF, ARF!

    1-0 out of 5 stars As balanced as Humpty-Dumpty
    Call this history? Try Monty Python and the Holy Grail for deeper insight, historical content and accuracy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Giggle and Learn!
    Who better than Terry Jones (Say no more, say no more, nudge nudge wink wink) to host a fresh look at warfare - in the name of Religion mind you - during the Middles Ages?

    Rather conceited, in the name of reclaiming the Holy Lands (excuse for adventure and to loot!) - The Church not only encouraged the Crusades but sponsored them! It was a way a Knight could pay dispensation for sins of life and earn his way to heaven - by lopping of the heads of the Infidel (and stealing everything they had). For Centuries, involving the royal heads of France, Britain and Europe, the seemingly endless Crusades raged on and on. So who better to explain the unexplainable madness, but the head jester himself!

    Terry Jones wrote each episode and starred as the host, trying to muddle through the mounds of nonsense involved everything connected to the religious sponsored mayhem. With his brilliantly incisive humour that made Monty Python was it was, he dons chain mail and pointy toe armour and has it.

    It is great fun for the whole family and a painless way to have a good introduction to the Crusades. ... Read more


    12. The Longest Day
    Director: Darryl F. Zanuck, Ken Annakin, Bernhard Wicki, Andrew Marton
    list price: $14.98
    our price: $11.24
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    Asin: B00005PJ8S
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 787
    Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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    The Longest Day is Hollywood's definitive D-day movie.More modern accounts such as Saving Private Ryan are morevividly realistic, but producer Darryl F. Zanuck's epic 1962 account isthe only one to attempt the daunting task of covering that fateful dayfrom all perspectives. From the German high command and front-lineofficers to the French Resistance and all the key Allied participants,the screenplay by Cornelius Ryan, based on his own authoritative book, is as factuallyaccurate as possible. The endless parade of stars (John Wayne, HenryFonda, Robert Mitchum, Sean Connery, and Richard Burton, to name a few)makes for an uneasy mix of verisimilitude and Hollywood star-power,however, and the film falls a little flat for too much of its three-hour running time. But the set-piece battles are still spectacular, andif the landings on Omaha Beach lack the graphic gore of PrivateRyan they nonetheless show the sheer scale and audacity of theinvasion. --Mark Walker ... Read more

    Reviews (131)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Comparisons are inevitable; they're also unhelpful
    The comparisons are of course between THE LONGEST DAY and SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. The only similarities are: both movies depict the allied landings at Normandy on D-Day, they are tributes to the servicemen of WWII, and most importantly, both are good movies. That said, general comparisons are unhelpful because the realism that made Spielberg's movie so memorable is totally absent from THE LONGEST DAY; for two very good reasons: (1) technically, the capability was unavailable in 1962 and (2) morally, that level of graphic violence would have been unacceptable. Also, Mr Zanuck, as director, did not want to make bloody messes of his numerous stars.

    Realism aside, on its own merits THE LONGEST DAY is a tribute that has stood the test of time. The huge collection of stars (over 40) and the near 3 hour length qualifies it as epic. On an emotional level, it is a patriotic salute to the soldiers who went ashore. With a scope larger than Omaha beach, the focus is not exclusively American; the movie depicts the role of the British, and other allied troops, as well as the work of the French resistance. German dialogue is subtitled to add some realism. Perhaps the best aspect of the movie is that as an adaptation of Cornelius Ryan's book of the same name, it is based on a historically accurate account of the battle.

    For realism, patriotism, and a sentimental heroic story, only partially based on real events of D-Day, watch SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. For an old fashioned, "clean" war movie based on history with good acting (Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, John Wayne, Curt Jurgens) watch THE LONGEST DAY. Better yet, view both, just don't spoil the experience with a lot of comparisons.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Longest View
    Unlike Saving Private Ryan, The Longest Day was filmed to dramatize the true, unfolding story of the invasion of France beginning several days before the invasion, which was documented for all time by journalist Cornelius Ryan. Ryan did something few historians have successfully accomplished since the end of the war. He compiled thousands of interviews and wrote a realistic account of the invasion which reads like a suspense and action novel. The movie seeks to combine many characters taken from Ryan's book, and is therefore fiction as well as history, but it is masterfully done and is otherwise true to history. Stereotypes of incompetent German officers and troops, so common in film and television of the early 1960's was not a problem in this movie, nor is the graphic violence of Private Ryan observable. The true story is the focus of the movie, and it was made primarily for veterans who had seen the real violence and had fought tough, intellegent and brave Germans, and had no need to be reminded of those horrors. They did have a desire to see their sacrifices and trials acknowledged alongside the background of historical context. It is a gripping movie. A side note for those who might want to compare The Longest Day with Saving Private Ryan. These should compliment each other, not be compared with each other. The audience for The Longest Day was primarily the veterans, their peers and children. The audience or Saving Private Ryan is primarily the grandchildren of the veterans, young people who are in the main, quite ignorant of history. There is no doubt that Saving Private Ryan is more accurate a portayal of historical American and German weapons and villages, but this was not even attempted in the Longest Day. If you will read The Longest Day before watching Saving Private Ryan, you will see that the sites and sounds remembered by many of the interviewed veterans who were at Omaha and Utah beaches somehow happened at the same time and place in Saving Private Ryan. That makes Saving Private Ryan as inaccurate for what it shows, as is The Longest Day, for what it doesn't show. Both movies are excellent, and both are moving.

    2-0 out of 5 stars IT HAS NOT STOOD THE TEST OF TIME
    Director Darryl F. Zanuck tried his best with the technical resources at his dispostition at the time and using the narrative standar for epic movies of that time. But watching this movie today is a really act of courage. It drags and drags, the three hours seem to never end. Also, even if they tried to give a view of the global situation, they failed miserably.

    The movie is an endless sequence of shell and fire sounds, a really pain. I simply don't like the movie, although I understand what they tried to do.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Only a Partial View of D-Day and Operation Overlord
    Although this film is certainly worth watching, the viewer who has little idea of what Operation Overlord was about won't learn very much about it. Of course, we see many examples of heroism, but so much was left out that one can easily get a distorted view of things.
    (1) Contrary to the impression that the Hollywood movie industry gives, the Americans and British did not defeat Germany alone. Three-quarters of the strength of the German Wehrmacht was destroyed by the Soviet Union. I realize that this film was made a the height of the cold war, but still some mention should have been made of their contribution to victory.
    (2) The most impressive part of Overlord were the meticulous preparations made. Some mention of it was made, but more of it should have been shown, such as the various special weapons and ships that were made to ease the assault on the fortified beaches. Archive film could have been easily procured to show the various devices used to clear mine fields and barbed wire.
    Most crucial was the development of the "Mulberry" artificial ports.
    (3) This film used several Germans as advisors such as Blumentritt who were in the Wehrmacht High Command. They use this film as a vehicle for pushing the now largely discredited line that "if only Hitler had let the Generals run the war, they would have won it for him", and the also the myth that they opposed Hitler and held nothing but contempt for him (von Rundstedt calls Hitler "that Bohemian Corporal" in the film). In reality they were all very loyal to him and they really strongly supported him and his criminal policies when they were winning the war.
    (4) The importance of the deception campaign making the Germans think the assault will be at the Pas de Calais and not a Normandy was very important and continued even after the landing on D-Day to make the Germans think Normandy was just a diversion.
    This was not mentioned. A whole "virtual army" was created with fake radio traffic opposite Calais. This could have been shown as well.
    (5) Although I have nothing personal against the man, John Wayne is a very poor actor and I have no idea where he got his reputation as one of Hollywood's leading men!

    1-0 out of 5 stars The Longest Movie
    I watched on June 6th 2004 "The Longest Day" to learn about D-Day June 6th in 1944. In general it was a painfully boring movie. I accomplished my goal of learning about D-Day, but it was at a cost of wasting about three hours of my life. It is my belief that this story could have been told in one and a half hours instead of three. ... Read more


    13. Malena
    Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
    list price: $32.99
    our price: $28.04
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    Asin: B00003CXXY
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 5251
    Average Customer Review: 4.16 out of 5 stars
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    When 12-year-old Renato, riding through his small Italian town on his new bicycle, sees the voluptuous Malèna, little does he know he's launching on an infatuation that will carry him through the tumultuous days of World War II. Malèna begins as an enraptured depiction of Renato's adolescent mind--the way he stares, hypnotized, at Malèna's garters pressing through the material of her tight skirt, or his frustrated rebellion against the indignity of wearing short pants--but soon transforms into a portrait of small-town prejudice. Malèna's looks spark lust and envy in the townspeople; when her husband dies in combat, the gossip only intensifies, to the point that Malèna is dragged into court to defend herself against accusations of adultery. When the women of the town refuse to sell her edible food at the market, Malèna has little choice but to become what she's been unjustly accused of being. At the end, a twist of fate turns this tale of longing and jealousy into a heartbreaking love story. Monica Bellucci exudes the can't-help-it eroticism that makes Malèna such a lightning rod for everyone's desires; she's like a more zaftig Isabelle Adjani. The movie seems to wander at times, but the ending has a powerful emotional impact. From the director of Cinema Paradiso. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

    Reviews (79)

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best!
    Malena is truly a great film. It works on so many levels. I have a relative who doesn't usually like foreign films but had to admit this is a great one. Its funny, its sad and it has a message. The story of the beautiful Malena is one that is heart-breaking. Malena is a beautiful woman whose husband is fighting in World War II and is left alone in this town. She is subjected to constant rumours and harassment by the men and women in their village.

    Renato is the young boy obsessed with her. He is also the only person who knows the truth about her and knows she doesn't do the things people say she does. Malena wasn't dating everyone, she was sewing for people into the night, carrying her husband's picture and dancing to their favorite music. The sad thing is that Malena has to become what everyone had labeled her once word got back that her husband was killed. Women refused to sell her food and she had to sleep with men to survive. There is a scene towards the end that really upset me. This movie shows how rotten both the men and the women were to her. Malena shows how dangerous lies and assumptions are to a person's standing in their community and their own self-respect.

    Malena is a very funny movie at times. There are scenes with Renato that made me laugh out loud. However, its a film that goes deeper than many out there. I would have to say this has become one of my all-time favorites. A beautiful, thought-provoking film.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Film
    This lovely and heart-wrenching movie was made even more special by the fact that the two main characters barely speak (well, one of them IS the narrator). I had never heard of the beautiful actress Monica Belluci (Malena) but now look forward to seeing her perform again. She was exquisite and spoke volumes with just her facial expressions.

    Giuseppe Sulfaro played Renato, a young boy feeling the first stirring of his sexual awakening who falls in love/lust with the beautiful Malena. His acting was very touching, especially when he goes to the church and lights a candle every day to try to ensure that Malena will come to no harm.

    This coming of age film about love, jealousy, ostracism, and hate during four tumultuous years of World War II was filmed on the coast of Sicily - and what beautiful cinematography it was. The score was also magnificent, befitting the gorgeous setting.

    4-0 out of 5 stars ETMR - Malena
    1. Humanity: The boy Renato, we learn, is a free spirit. He expresses, out of all the characters in the film, the willingness to step outside his natural, cultural boundaries and grow past his traditional philosophy. This film is not only about the life of Malena, but also about Renato's growth into an adult. What events force Renato to grow into this new kind of thinking?

    2. Implications: The film shows the evolution of Europe, and the break from traditional values, not only through Renato but through the insanity of the war. In what ways does the movie show a critical eye to the old world?

    3. Evolution: In what ways is the movie distinctly European, and yet more in detail, distinctly Italian? Do you think the film is trying to make a general statement on the madness of war, or is it trying to make a visceral attack on the rigidity of Italian traditionalism?

    4. Realism: The story premise is interesting: imagine if you had a guardian angel in the form of a young boy, but you never knew he existed... do you think the set-up of the story was meant to describe an actual sequence of events with the boy, or is the movie playing a more important role with symbolism?

    5. Stageplay: The script provides for a seedier look at the foundations of Fascist Italy. Do you think what was included was sufficient, do you think it was lacking in raw material, or do you think it contained too much teenage sensuality?

    2-0 out of 5 stars Lopsided film that doesn't have much life
    This is a story of an Italian boy who grows a adolescent infatuation with a married woman who is so beautiful that she is horribly gossiped about. Here are the reasons this is a bad film. 1)The film often drifts into the fantasies of the main character(all of them are about Malena). At one point, this is so prevalent you wonder sometimes what's real and not. You also start to wonder why the filmaker did this and I have no real answer except that he couldn't come up with anything else. These dream sequences pull the film away from a grounding reality that the film fails to establish. 2)The title character is almost non-existant as a real character. We see her in real life and in fantasy, but she hardly says anything, or reveals anything about her inner character. This makes her a hollow basis for the film because she is in fact hollow and the character who is infatuated is vacuous as well. 3) The combination of these characteristics makes this film get to its conclusion heavyhandedly and it never feels real even if the results at the time were close to what we see. Dramatically, it's just dumb and vacuous. You wish it were more because you feel that Malena would have something interesting to say, but the filmaker chose not to. These things only approach my biggest gripes with the film. The gossip sequences, which are many, seem flippant and careless, and not the razor-sharped judgement that they would have to be in order to be a real factor in her life, which they are in the film. Sloppy, just sloppy storytelling. How the film ends is also very telling of just how bad this film truly is. He speaks about how he's loved many women, but the one he remembers best is Malena, the ideal that never came to grips with. An ending like this would be good if the film developed a relationship beyond what is in this film. This would be compelling if the protagonist was someone with more of a vocal perspective rather than a visual one. As is, it would have been far more effective to use yet another fantasy to illustrate her historic importance to him, but by then I'm sure that the film would seem incredibly redundant because of the rest of it. If this film had established the strong importance of the difference between fantasy and reality and how the protagonist felt about that it would be better. The film doesn't take this road, however, by putting in the scenes of harsh realism which aren't earned from the deadpan, flippant tone of the rest of the film.

    5-0 out of 5 stars La Bella Bellucci
    Titillating, tantalizing, and tragic are just a few adjectives that come to mind...It takes no genius to realize Monica Bellucci is one of the most drop dead gorgeous international beauties of the current cinema. She is the Italian version bonafide beauty of Catherine Zeta Jones ! If that isn't saying much...

    Belucci seems to play recurring roles of women in great distress and abuse.She does this so convincingly and makes it look so effortless that she is a rare actress who can say much with her facial expressions and actions without really saying much; It's all in the eyes, baby. Malena is the telling of a 27 year old widow left to fend for herself in a small Italian village after the downfall of her husband during WW2.No one will employ her and the women sell her rotten food;it's cruelty in severe doses for Malena. Her father has disowned her due to false allegations of being the town temptress. Men and boys alike fantasize and want her. The women hate her. In comes a young 12 year old boy named Renato Amoroso who develops an obsessive crush over Malena but guards her and holds vigil from afar. This "crush" is what propels Renato into becoming and maturing into a young man who begins to understand that there is much more to romance and life than just lustful sex. He watches and follows Malena secretly and witnesses the many transformations she goes through to survive in a town that has turned hostile against her simply because of her striking beauty ! All of this will culminate towards an unexpected ending which will leave a strong impression to stay with Renato for the rest of his life!

    Cinematography is...well, it's filmed in Italy, what more can I say except stunning panoramic views of the Italian coastline.Plenty of comedic and colorful characters in the beginning. The film starts off with much humor when the viewer is permitted to see into Renato's mind concerning fantasies of farce and romance. But things turn sinister as a town bent on hate begins to enclose on Malena... The film score by Ennio Morricone is extrememly effective, captures the time period and also is very likeable and memorable ! The best surround effects take place during a German air raid over the town. You can also hear great detail in the surrounds of the ocean waves crashing and wind rustling through trees;this transports the viewer to an Italian vacation. The only gripe is that this Miramax dvd version of Malena is missing about 12 to 17 minutes of scenes that were included in the Italian or European release.This was due to more nudity involving Belluci's character and some scenes that raised eyebrows between more explicit sexual fantasies of Renato's. ... Read more


    14. The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns
    list price: $129.98
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    Asin: B000068UY9
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 3378
    Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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    Description

    Hailed as a film masterpiece and landmark in historical storytelling, Ken Burns's epic documentary brings to life America's most destructive-- and defining--conflict. With digitally enhanced images and new stereo sound, here is the saga of celebrated generals and ordinary soldiers, a heroic and transcendent president and a country that had to divide itself in two in order to become one. ... Read more

    Reviews (144)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction
    Ken Burns' Civil War is an excellent introduction to the period, told well with style. It's a documentary, not a history book. It is, however, far more accurate and balanced than other Civil War documentaries (such as the History Channel's Civil War Journal).

    To hit on a couple of criticisms in other reviews, slavery as a cause of the Civil War is an argument bordering on the level of a holy war, itself. Recent magazine articles and essays have done a good job of discussing it. The result is that both Burns' view and the "Burns' is wrong, it was all about states rights" views are both simplistic. Burns' documentary does a good job of capturing the Southern view of slavery and abolition but he does over state the view of the north as abolitionist. While there were Southern abolitionists and Southern soldiers who didn't care one way or another, Burns shows quite well that without slavery there would have been no war. (The statement that the South only fought for "states rights" was actually championed in the 1880s. If states rights were the only reason for fighting the war, why did the Confederate Constitution prevent any Confederate state from passing a law against slavery, even if that state wanted to abolish it?)

    To the point of Grant being the first Lt. General since Washington, Burns is both right and wrong. Winfield Scott was made Lt. General, but it was a brevet (something a little more than honorary) rank. It was a brevet specifically so that Washington would be the only man to have officially held that rank. This changed when Grant was given the rank.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fine Film
    There's no denying that Ken Burns' sweeping documentary of the American Civil War is a success. Through photographs, modern footage of the places in question, period music, and voices reading primary source documents of the time, Burns conjures up the conflict in all its thrilling drama, bloody tragedy, dark humor, and stirring nobility. Personal and engaging, this film brought a new awareness of American history to millions of viewers. It should be noted that a huge topic such as the Civil War cannot be entirely crammed into one film, however long; this is necessarily an overview, though an excellent and detailed one. (At least the Civil War had a compact number of years to it; Burns subsequently took on huger topics still such as Baseball and Jazz, with less success. His finite films like this one and "Lewis and Clark" are easier to see as a whole.) I have one quibble with this show - I think it oversimplifies the causes of the war. To be specific, it sees only one cause - slavery - and pays no attention to states' rights or economic issues. This is no surprise; his other films have shown us that Burns sees race as the defining issue of our country. Whether you entirely agree with this idea or not, you are sure to enjoy and learn from this epic documentary.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns
    This one is superb........well worth the money..it can be purchased for much less at eBay though. Shelby Foote's comments thoughout the film are outstanding. He is truly a southerner and you will enjoy his thoughts relative to the film. I highly recommend the film and will be glad to answer any questions anyone might have regarding the film. You can email me at jimsuz@swbell.net with your questions!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Get the best version
    It should be recognised that there are three versions of the series in circulation. The original series itself was released in 3 versions: complete (with varying episode lengths), slighly shortened (to provide similar length shows) and short version (about 1 hour per episode. The slightly shortened version was the one initially distributed on Video and DVD. This is the one that has the wobbly transfer. The new DVD version (2003) is a digitally enhanced full release. Ken Burns returned to the original film to achieve a new hi-resolution transfer and then proceded to digitally clean it up. This is demonstrated in a mini-doco on the DVD. No one questions the quality of the series and with this release the reproduction quality matches it. Ken Burns turned me into a Civil War buff and collector. I still found the series highly moving even after several viewings.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Be Forewarned About This Shamefully Cheaply Packaged DVD
    Let me start off by saying the documentary itself is wonderful. Certainly, it may be slightly biased, and woefully short on info about the western campaign, but it is well intentioned and researched, as well as being both thought provoking and entertaining. The presence of Foote helps correct the obvious Northern bias, and I think the film was fairly clear about Lincoln starting out as a moderate on the slavery issue. And let us be fair; no project this ambitious is ever going to be perfect nor satisfy everyone, and this one is far better than most.

    But, the DVD packaging is just horrible. The literally paper thin disk container fell apart on the second day that I had it. I have a fairly large DVD collection with many, many box set collections and this is by far the cheapest presentation I have ever encountered. Now, had this been a budget box set designed to be low cost so as to make itself available to the greatest number of people possible, I would accept this. But as you must know, this set is actually quite expensive compared to most box sets. Therefore, the ridiculously flimsy packaging is inexcusable. This series deserves better. I STRONGLY urge you to wait until a higher quality presentation is put on offer. ... Read more


    15. The Battle of Algiers - Criterion Collection
    list price: $49.95
    our price: $37.46
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    Asin: B0002JP2OI
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 385
    Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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    Description

    One of the most influential films in the history of political cinema, Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers focuses on the harrowing events of 1957, a key year in Algeria’s struggle for independence from France. Shot in the streets of Algiers in documentary style, the film vividly recreates the tumultuous Algerian uprising against the occupying French in the 1950s. As violence escalates on both sides, the French torture prisoners for information and the Algerians resort to terrorism in their quest for independence. Children shoot soldiers at point-blank range, women plant bombs in cafés. The French win the battle, but ultimately lose the war as the Algerian people demonstrate that they will no longer be suppressed. The Criterion Collection is proud present Gillo Pontecorvo’s tour de force—a film with astonishing relevance today. ... Read more

    Reviews (40)

    4-0 out of 5 stars VERY POWERFUL CAUTIONARY TALE
    I finally got around to seeing this 1967 film, depicting the French occupation of colonial Algiers in the 1950s, which eventually led to the independence of this Muslim nation. It is well worth watching in order to learn lessons about the Iraq aftermath, although one should not make too many connections. The biggest difference is that the French wanted to stay and maintain the country as a colony, whereas the U.S. cannot wait to get the heck out of Iraq as soon as it is semi-secure. This film is black-and-white with sub-titles. It is very revealing in its descriptions of how terrorists (or freedom fighters) fight guerrilla war, and it is the last straw (after Diem bien Phu) for French militarism. Read Camus to get a perspective on their mindset at the time. The film ends with the French having destroyed the cell responsible for a series of bombings, but in its denoument shows that a few years later an uprising occurred, out of nowhere really, that finally left the French with the conclusion that they did not have the stomach for colonialization. This story should be studied in light of French failures in Syria, Lebanon, its Foreign Legion's wars (plus Belgium's failure in the Congo), and the determination of this study is that the French have contributed mightily to destabilization of the Middle East, a little known fact in today's discourse.

    STEVEN TRAVERS
    AUTHOR OF "BARRY BONDS: BASEBALL'S SUPERMAN"
    ...

    4-0 out of 5 stars Realisitc reenactment of a time and place steeped in blood
    This is the story of the Algerian struggle for independence from the French between 1954 and 1957. As the Algerians finally achieved independence in 1962, the government was quite willing to allow the Italian filmmakers to shoot the film in 1965 in the very areas of former battle, especially since it is sympathetic to the fight for freedom. Released in the U.S. in 1967, it has the look and feel of documentary, scenes shot with hand-held cameras, the black and white film purposefully scratchy. It looks so real that there is a disclaimer at the beginning asserting that it is not a documentary and there was absolutely no newsreel footage used.

    All the actors are unknowns, chosen for their authenticity. There are a lot of close-ups of faces, and the fact that these were real Algerians, with recent memories of the turmoil in their country, certainly comes through. This is not simply a patriotic paean to the freedom fighters however. There is terror and loss of life on both sides. There is one scene where three Algerian women, disguised as French, place bombs around the city. Innocent lives are lost and the tragedy is not lessened because the women are fighting for a cause. Wisely, the filmmakers are willing to look at the tragedy without sparing the horror on both sides of the equation.

    The characters were only developed in relation to the battle. I therefore identified with them as a general principle and did not get to experience them as individuals. This was the screenwriter's intent of course. But it didn't keep my mind glued to the story and I found myself fighting off the desire to doze off as I had to be engaged in reading the English subtitles for the French and Arabic dialogue. There was one incident after another of bombing, retaliation and torture. This was certainly not a fun film to watch, which I viewed at Lillian Vernon Center for International Studies in New York where the room was overheated and the hard metal chair uncomfortable. It lasted for 117 minutes, which seemed just a little too long to make its point.

    "The Battle of Algiers" is the story of the bloody beginnings of the birth of a nation. Unfortunately, though, the blood bath has continued. Algeria has been engaged in civil wars almost from its inception. And there is still no peace there today.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ground-breaking film is a must-see
    I'll review the actual film instead of rambling on about the politics. The Battle of Algiers is a ground-breaking, must-see film. If you have seen recent films like "Traffic" and "City of God (Cidade de Deus)", then you must see this film, for it pioneered the documentary-style utilized by those other films that puts the grit and gravel under your feet while you watch it. The film does not purport to be a documentary, but rather than the clean, sweeping, over-directed camera shots you may be used to, the camera is usually on the ground, following the characters from their point of view. The action is brutally realistic (for its time). And the film-maker is certainly sympathetic with the plight of the Algerians in their struggle against the French; you will be too, if you do not share the naive view that colonialism is somehow there to "protect" the colonized population. Nevertheless, the filmmaker shows some of the atrocities committed in the name of Algerian independence, such as cafe bombings that killed dozens of innocent people. He doesn't sugarcoat these scenes, and he leaves it up to the audience to decide whether this kind of action can ever be justified (I certainly don't think so).

    This film is even more relevent today, as another Arab nation undergoes colonization once again by the West. Watch this film, and you will understand a lot more about the contemporary situation in the Middle East.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent documentary-like...
    ...about a FEW Algerians making believe they were fighting for independence, since the state of slavery in which they reduced ALL Algerians: slavery being both religious and communist -not so many people did find it strange neither wondered why- that Moscow, although very much opposed to religions, was ALWAYS very sympathetic towards islamism, provided it didn't show itself in USSR). Most of the Algerian people were not really conscious they were victims of colonialism: lot of them got into fight during 1st & 2nd World War, and "Les Tirailleurs Algériens" (Algerian Shooters Corps) were some of the most famous Corps, sharing renown with Senegalese for their bravery and dedication. But, of course, as everyone (with open eyes) have seen during the second half of 20th century in the biggest part of Africa, and some places around the world, it so much better to be slaughtered, martyred (and, for the survivors, to be driven back to the dark ages) by people the same skin-color, than to be protected and educated by people with a fairer skin. As well, a little known fact was, that de Gaulle, who got elected in 1958 (part of the reason being he was pro-French Algeria), had to give up in 1962 (at this time, the few remaining members of FLN could only operate from Tunisia and Morocco). That was not so long after oil was discovered in Sahara: since US oil companies did consider any newly discovered oil wells should be their own to operate, de Gaulle got an ultimatum from US government: either to give up, either to see the US adding their support to the one by USSR, which was not effective enough. Which was the main reason why de Gaulle got rid of the SHAPE and US bases in France (those who were the most sorry were the French people getting work from that presence), and maybe that was one of the reasons why Giscard d'Estaing (10 years later) gave support to Ayatollah Khomeiny (although he was not very much thanked for this by the beneficiary) against the Shah of Iran, who was, until he got in hospital, the US favorite.
    I'd like very much to see a sequel to this movie, prefaced by Pontecorvo presenting his apologies for the somewhat biased making of this one (all the way more dangerous, since a very well-made one and apparently sincere: but when you know that apparent sincerity was -and still is- one of the communists' weapon of choice.....). Maybe at the time of this film release, it was fashionable to present the fight initiated by a few thugs making believe it was the legitimate fight by a nation for it's freedom, but, after half a century, when you look at what happened (and is still happening) in this country, there is only one thing anyone can be sure of : Gillio Pontecorvo's moral integrity and intellectual honesty is very much to be doubted; if not, he would have to be one of the most gullible and dumb fools to be put in the Guiness' Book of Records (which I don't think he is).

    5-0 out of 5 stars Emotionally revolutionizing
    This documentary style film captures the strife and struggle that took place during this heartbreaking war. The film profoundly displays the malicious persecution and torture they succumbed to. The Algerians want independance and the french supremacists want to control. This documentary follows the uprising of the F.L.P. showing hard truths about war and terrorism. I applaud the making of this movie (Gillo Pontecorvo), standing up for freedom and liberation during such a dangerous and destructive era. Watching this movie made me cherish my freedom and reminds me to feel passionate about the things I care about the most. ... Read more


    16. Brideshead Revisited
    list price: $79.95
    our price: $59.96
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    Asin: B00005JLG2
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 2207
    Average Customer Review: 4.68 out of 5 stars
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    Fill a bowl with alpine strawberries, break out the Château Lafite (1899, of course), and bask in this benchmark 1981 British miniseries based on Evelyn Waugh's classic novel. Adapted for the screen by John Mortimer (Rumpole of the Bailey), this impeccable, nearly 11-hour production mesmerized American viewers during the course of its PBS run in 1982. In his breakthrough role, Jeremy Irons stars as Charles Ryder, a disillusioned Army captain who is moved to reflect on his "languid days" in the "enchanted castle" that was Brideshead, home of the aristocratic Marchmain family, whose acquaintance Charles made in the company of an Oxford classmate, the charming wild child Sebastian. Anthony Andrews costars as the doomed Sebastian, whose beauty is "arresting" and "whose eccentricities and behavior seemed to know no bounds." The "entitled and enchanted" Sebastian takes Charles under his wing ("Charles, what a lot you have to learn"), but vows early on that he is "not going to let [Charles] get mixed up with [his] family." But mixed up Charles gets. He becomes a friend and confidante, not to mention a lover, to Sebastian's sister Julia (Diana Quick). Meanwhile, the self-destructive Sebastian's life spirals out of control. Brideshead Revisited boasts a distinguished ensemble, including Laurence Olivier in his Emmy Award-winning role as the exiled Lord Marchmain, Claire Bloom as Lady Marchmain, and the magnificent John Gielgud as Charles's estranged father. Grand locations and a haunting musical score make this a memorable revisit of an irretrievable bygone era. For those who scheduled their weeks around the original Monday-night broadcasts or those visiting Brideshead for the first time, this boxed set release will be, as Charles rhapsodizes at one point while strolling the castle grounds, "very near to heaven." --Donald Liebenson ... Read more

    Reviews (41)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great TV drama
    This is a beautiful television production. Nothing I have seen captures so well the manners, dress, language and attitudes of upper and upper-middle class Britain in the twenties and thirties.

    The acting is superb, the script even better. Based on the novel by Evelyn Waugh, John Mortimer's dialogue wastes not a word and uses pauses and silences to extraordinary effect.

    As a portrayal of a family and its entourage this 11-part series bears comparison with the very best, even perhaps the Godfathers I and II, and with top notch photography to portray the stunning sets - on an art deco-drenched QEII, at Oxford, Castle Howard and at a Venice Palazzo - this could be the ultimate TV production of all time.

    But perfect as it is technically, Brideshead has, for me at least, a couple of problems. The first is, the sheer improbability of the main plot. Essentially, the central figure and narrator, initially rather boring Charles, makes friends with dashing Lord Sebastien Flyte at Oxford (after the latter vomits through Charles' window), and finds himself immediately taken into the bosum of Flyte's highly aristocratic family; ultimately Sebastien's ravishing sister Julia falls in love with him and he comes very near to inheriting the family estate. The Flyte/Marchmain family is portrayed as charming, but also deeply and somewhat offensively dismissive of anyone they consider beneath them: Julia becomes quite vicious about her husband Rex, once she has tired of him. Lord Marchmain, a rather feckless former alcoholic and wife-hater, at one point muses on Neville Chamberlain who at that moment was doing his best to avoid world war "knew him. Mediocre fellow". I just can't believe that this family would have given tuppence for Charles, a mere middle-class architectural painter, far less virtually adopted him.

    The second problem is that Charles is not even very likeable. He drifts through the film looking bored or worried and acting self-righteously. He cheats on his wife and generally bad mouths her, prefers to consort with his lover than go see his two year-old child who he's never actually seen due to a long trip abroad, and does little to actually help his dear friend Sebastien (who has descended into alcoholism) except frequently tell us morosely and self-indulgently how much he loved him and what a sacred love it was.

    The cause of these problems surely goes back to Waugh himself and the original novel, which was part autobiography, part wish-fulfilment. Waugh was partly Charles, and like Charles, Waugh wasn't always lovable. The upper classes were Waugh's favorite subject, his bread and butter, and his vice. He was irresistibly drawn to them and wanted them to love him and confide in him too. Sometimes they did, because he was a brilliant society novelist, not just a good architectural painter. But not quite as much as everybody, from servants to Lord and Lady Marchmain, appears to love Charles.

    However, I think this only makes the whole production more interesting. And such is the charm of the brilliant cast, which includes Jeremy Irons in the lead along with Olivier and Gielgud in majestic supporting roles, I suspect many people will consider my low opinion of the characters quite misplaced.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Well, it's about time!
    Well, it's about time. One of the best (in my opinion, the best) of the British mini-series has finally made it to DVD. Although not perfect, the transfer is very good indeed, and a vast improvement over my ancient tapes.

    My only (minor) complaints involve the sound, which is occasionally a little muddy; and now and again the dialogue seems ever so slightly out of sync with the actors. Also, there is no close captioning or English subtitles.

    But forget that and think of what we're getting: an excellent adaptation of Waugh's fine novel; first-rate performances (keep a special eye out for John Gielgud, who gives what must be one of the funniest performances ever put on screen); glorious location sets and period costumes which can be appreciated fully now that their colors can be seen.

    There are a few extras on the disc, and a small booklet with some interesting information. But it's the show that's the thing here, and it gets the treatment it deserves. Highly recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars British drama at its best
    This must be one of the alltime classics of British drama. Saw it on TV when it was aired, bought the VHS and when released on DVD, bought it on DVD. Well, that must be saying something. It is one of my favourites. I think this must be one of those productions where you can say in hindsight that you would have done it in exactly the same way. I do not have higher praise to give. Shame the DVD release does not give extras and is really badly done. One would have thought that a high profile production like this deserved a better fate.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Et In Arcadia Ego
    Brideshead revisited, Evelyn Waugh's portrait of a world trying to come to terms with the obliteration of what for its inhabitants were absolute certainties, by war and its aftermath represents a mountain of almost Himalayan proportions for any would-be adaptor, so much so that it's surprising that anyone was ever mad enough to try. Luckily for us though John Mortimer (more widely celebrated for "Rumpole of the Bailey") was indeed mad enough to give it a go. What he came up with has over the intervening years come to be seen as one of the finest adapted screen plays ever set before the viewing public.

    Remaining remarkably faithful to the spirit of the book, Brideshead Revisited is told from the prospective of the painter Charles Ryder (Jeremy Irons). From a decidedly upper middle class background, when we first meet our narrator, Charles is an officer in the British army at the outbreak of World War 2 whose general disillusionment is exceeded only by his distaste for army life. From this present we are taken back twenty years by Charles' reminisces to his first term at Oxford University at the beginning of the 1920's and to his developing relationship with the aristocratic and charmingly dissolute Sebastian Flyte (Anthony Andrews). Supported by a truly superb cast of characters including, Jane Asher, Diana Quick, Clair Bloom, Nikolas Grace, Sir John Gielgud and in what was to be his final performance Sir Laurence Olivier. The acting is just what you would expect from such an accomplished bunch, as close to perfection as can ever be obtained.

    As absorbing as the story is, it is almost overshadowed by other aspects of this production. Shot on location at Castle Howard, Yorkshire (the home of the then chairman of the BBC George Howard, even though this production was made by the BBC's rival Granada Television), Oxford, Venice and aboard the cruise ship the Queen Elizabeth II. The location filming has a beauty that at times can be truly breathtaking, with a lushness and sensuality that is a perfect foil for the decadence of the Sebastian and his circle.

    Just as in Waugh's original text, the whole atmosphere of the piece is redolent with nostalgia. This takes two forms, the most prominent from the beginning is Charles' nostalgia for his youth and idealism, his feeling that his life could be what he wanted it to be, the friends he knew, his time with the Flyte family and his love for Lady Julia. Secondly and perhaps most importantly is nostalgia for the world of the Victorian and Edwardian upper classes with its certainties and its view of Britain as the centre of the greatest Empire that the world had ever known. Post World War 1, it was rare to find an aristocratic British family who had not suffered the loss of a Father, Son or Brother in the trenches and this longing for a world which was as "irrecoverable as Lyonnesse" was all too real for many people of all classes and backgrounds.

    In this story of the rise and to a certain extent destruction of a single man, Waugh has given us a metaphor not only for the British aristocracy, but for the wealthy and socially mobile wherever and whenever they may be. I remember once discussing the novel with my Father and he expressed the opinion that while Waugh may not have loved the aristocracy as such, he certainly loved the life of an aristocrat. In many way's Brideshead Revisited reminds me of Edward Elgars' Cello Concerto, possessing the same kind of painful beauty combined with the most agonising sense of grief and heartache, but in the final analysis it is this love that colours both the book and this adaptation, rendering it as sublime as the memory of a summers afternoon and just as unattainable.

    3-0 out of 5 stars An intriguing mini-series
    I came across this mini-series completely by accident. The episode descriptions sounded interesting, and I am a fan of British period drama, so I decided to give it a try. I was really suprised at how much effort went into it--after taking a peek at a few chapters of the novel, I found that it's an almost word for word adaptation. The characters are all well developed and fascinating, but none is more intriguing than the tragic Sebastian. In addition to the story, the scenery and the performances given by all involved make this mini-series one to remember. ... Read more


    17. M*A*S*H - Season One (Collector's Edition)
    list price: $39.98
    our price: $29.99
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    Asin: B00005QVVC
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 362
    Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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    Like the TV incarnation of The Odd Couple, the M*A*S*H series has supplanted the original film in the public's consciousness. Legendary comedy writer Larry Gelbart (Your Show of Shows) deserves a medal for developing Robert Altman's bloody, funny 1970 classic for television with much of its anti-establishment spirit intact. These 24 first-season episodes--bracingly less politically correct than the shows in the final seasons--chart the program's sometimes bumpy evolution as it tried to remain true to the film's anarchic spirit while finding its own voice. The most memorable episodes include "The Pilot," which establishes the characters in broad strokes; "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet," in which a friend of Hawkeye's (Alan Alda) dies on the operating table (look for "Ronny" Howard as an underage soldier); "Cowboy," in which someone is trying to kill clueless commander Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson); and the pivotal "Dear Dad," the first of what would be a series of multistory episodes in which Hawkeye writes to his father about life at the 4077th. It is interesting to note film characters who made early exits from the series, including Timothy Brown's Spearchucker and Karen Philipp's Lt. Dish (George Morgan, who plays Father Mulcahy in the pilot, we hardly knew ye). Klinger (Jamie Farr), bucking for his Section 8 discharge, doesn't appear until the fifth episode, "Chief Surgeon Who?" And Gary Burghoff's Radar is a much more wily and savvy partner in crime to "Yankee Doodle Doctors" Hawkeye and Trapper John (Wayne Rogers) than in later seasons. In its 11-year run, M*A*S*H earned 14 Emmy Awards, and it remains one of TV's most beloved series. Though it is a staple of syndication, the episodes are presented here uncut, probably for the first time since their original broadcast. For M*A*S*H devotees, this three-disc set is just what the doctor ordered. --Donald Liebenson ... Read more

    Reviews (159)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The First Season of a Great and Timeless Series
    M*A*S*H the series: Hawkeye Pierce (Alan Alda), Trapper John (Wayne Rogers), Radar (Gary Burghoff), Klinger (Jamie Farr), Colonel Blake (McLean Stevenson), Hot Lips Houlihan (Loretta Swit), Father Mulcahy (William Christopher), and Frank Burns (Larry Linville) are the core of a great cast telling the story of a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, just a few miles from the front in the Korean War, trying to stay sane in an insane situation. Great irreverent comedy, with the early cast.

    This VHS set: This is a three-tape set giving you the 24 episodes of the entire first season. I've been watching the reruns on late-night TV for years, and did not realize how much had been edited out of those (to squeeze in more commercials). Now, these tapes bring us the episodes uncut. It's fun watching them and going, "Hey, I don't remember that!" A good buy; a good set of tapes to have on the shelf for rainy (or snowy) days.

    5-0 out of 5 stars It's About Time
    It's about time that Fox put out M*A*S*H for the public (and without those stupid subscription/shyster video clubs). Thank heaven for DVD!

    M*A*S*H is a brilliant show. Funny, yet touching. I have seen every episode at least 50 times but only in reruns, since I was only four when the series debuted. It was fantastic seeing these episodes uncut. Syndication takes it toll on the series and they cut many of the really funny parts for commericals. Epsiodes like "Chief Surgeon Who?" and "Pilot" show how much talent was in the writing, directing and acting of this excellent show. My favorite is "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet" with a very young Ron Howard.

    I plan on collecting every season, just to have a complete library. M*A*S*H is one show I never get tired of. Now, if they would just do the same thing with "I Love Lucy"!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Truly a classic TV show
    "M*A*S*H" is definitely one of the greatest shows to ever grace the small screen-I recently purchased the first season episodes on home video-These episodes introduced us to a memorable cast of characters:Captain Benjamin Franklin Pierce aka "Hawkeye",Captain John Mc Intyre aka "Trapper",clueless Colonel Henry Blake,pompous Major Frank Burns,no nonsense head nurse Margaret Houlihan,alias "Hot Lips",myopic company clerk Cpl Walter "Radar" O'Reilly,& the cross dressing Cpl Max Klinger-Ironically,"M*A*S*H" didn't become a top 10 Neilsen favorite until the following season-I didn't realize that the reruns seen in syndication had been trimmed to allow for the airing of more commercials-That was clearly evident when I watched the first batch of episodes-Someone asked if the show was still on somewhere-It's presently seen on cable's Hallmark Channel-Unfortunately,I don't happen to receive that particular station-Thank God I can watch these classic episodes in this format.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best of M.A.S.H.
    The first series is my favourite, so I'm delighted to have it on DVD at last. It contains my two favourite episodes. 'To Market, To Market' is the one where Hawkeye and Trapper steal Henry's new oak desk to swop for medical supplies with a Korean black marketeer ("You know how it is, Colonel, we all look alike"). Even better, my all-time favourite episode " Tuttle" where Hawkeye and Trapper convince everyone that the imaginary Captain Tuttle is a real person. Every episode has a cracking script, and the cast are all wonderful, especially Alan Alda as Hawkeye and gorgeous Wayne Rogers as Trapper (how I adored him, it broke my heart when he left the series). And Maclean Stevenson is wonderful as daffy Colonel Blake, and Loretta Swit is brilliant as belligerent Margaret Houlihan, before they made the terrible mistake of softening her character and turning her into a nice, cuddly person (yuk). I've lost track of how many times I've watched this wonderful series over the years, and now I have it on DVD I can watch it even more.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Where this classic series got started
    What can be said about M.A.S.H. that hasn't been said already? Among the longest running and best sitcoms ever made, it stands the test of time despite its very specific setting. The gags still work, the characters are still wonderful, and the show still enjoyable.

    The first season is less serious than later seasons, which were not shy about dropping the gags in order to throw serious topics into the mix. The actors, too, were still finding their tone and pacing during this first season. But still, few shows can match these "baby steps." Hilarious from start to finish.

    This DVD set is bare bones, though not poorly produced. We get the episodes spread out over three discs (all in a sturdy triple-case) and a small booklet with info on each episode. And that's it. No extras, no commentaries. Just the episodes.

    Which is just fine, because the episodes are great. Good, crisp picture far better than reruns, and good sound.

    And the bare bones format pays off. With TV-on-DVD sets routinely breaking the $50 to $70 range, $35 sounds pretty darn good. A no-brainer buy for M.A.S.H. fans. ... Read more


    18. Twelve O'Clock High
    Director: Henry King
    list price: $14.98
    our price: $11.24
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    Asin: B00005PJ8V
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1655
    Average Customer Review: 4.73 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (66)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Bless them all...bless them all....
    I am unable to recall another film whose opening and closing scenes are more effective than those in this brilliant portrayal of the 918th Bombardment group based in England which flew almost daily missions to Germany during World War II. The character of General Frank Savage (Gregory Peck) is reputedly based on Brigadier General Frank A. Armstrong, Jr. Sy Bartlett wrote the book and then the screenplay. Brilliantly directed by Henry King, we are introduced to a combination of combat fatigue and self-pity which results in the replacement of Colonel Keith Davenport by his friend Savage who is told by his commanding officer, General Pritchard (Millard Mitchell), to shape up the 918th while avoiding Davenport's problem: Becoming overly involved emotionally in decisions to send B-17 crews on exceptionally dangerous missions, day after day after day. Savage immediately establishes his authority and almost immediately loses whatever goodwill he may have had. He applies and then maintains constant pressure on the crews to improve their performance in all areas of flight operations. Underachievers are reassigned to one B-17 renamed "The Leper Colony." Morale deteriorates to such a point that those at headquarters become concerned. A formal investigation of the situation is conducted. This is a critical moment for Savage. If he has "lost" his men, he cannot continue. In fact, he expects to be relieved and begins to pack his personal items. However, for reasons revealed in the film, Savage remains in command. And then....

    It would be a disservice to those who have not as yet seen this film to say any more about the plot. Suffice to say that brilliant direction, great acting by everyone involved (notably by Dean Jagger who received an Academy Award for best actor in a supporting role), superb cinematography (Leon Shamroy), and haunting music (Alfred Newman) are seamlessly integrated in this analysis of effective leadership (especially decision-making) under wartime conditions. The film begins when Harry Stovall (Jagger) makes an especially significant purchase in an antique store and then proceeds to what has by then become an abandoned air base. As we begin to hear the bombers' propellers whine as the engines roar to life, we are transported back in time. Later, as the film ends, civilian Stovall climbs back on his rented bike and departs what is again an abandoned air base. Stunning images throughout both sequences.

    Peck included this among his favorite films, while adding that he was especially proud of his performance as Frank Savage. When first released more than 50 years ago, it did not receive the recognition (much less the appreciation) it so obviously deserves. Whenever CEOs and other senior-level executives ask me to suggest war films which offer important lessons about leadership and management, Twelve O'Clock High is first on the list, joined by (in alphabetical order) Command Decision, The Dirty Dozen, The Enemy Below, Fort Apache, The Hunt for Red October, Paths of Glory, Pork Chop Hill, The Red Badge of Courage, They Were Expendable, and Zulu.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best war movie I've ever seen. Magnificent!
    Twelve "O'Clock High is a powerful and true-to-life film dealing with the early days of the 8th US Air Force in Great Britain. Its mission: to bomb Germany not by night in saturation bombings as the British were doing, but instead to boldly engage in "precision daylight bombing." No one knew if the concept was viable because no one had ever dared try it before on a large scale. Gregory Peck plays the role of a leader suddenly thrust into command of a deeply troubled, demoralized, and shot-up bomber squadron. How he motivates the men and overcomes the fact that the men well know that their chances of survival were poor (the worst survival odds of any American combat assignment in the war) is a deeply moving, powerful, indeed unforgettable story. This is a great movie.

    The cinematography of this movie is wonderful, featuring actual combat footage of B-17s engaging German Focke-Wulf fighters in deadly combat. The sense of authenticity that this movie brings to the screen is total. One feels transposed back into England in 1942, engaged in a life-and-death struggle in the air against the Germans. The uniforms, dialogue, everything, about this movie reeks of authenticity. The storyline moves along at a breakneck pace--no dull interludes. And yet this is not just a "shoot-em-up" war flick. It is a stirring story of leadership, personality clashes, honest fear and human imperfections that reminds us what an incredible debt we all owe to the men who fought and won the air war over Nazi Germany.

    This is a DVD movie to keep and watch repeatedly over the years. It is not only a great movie, it is wonderfully entertaining. This is truly one of the all-time great war movies.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best review from someone who lived it.
    My father, a b-17 bomber pilot, flew 52 missions out of England (Bassingbourn) during WWII. He spoke very little about his war-time experiences, but he said that this was the closest that Hollywood ever came to capturing what it was like for the B-17 bomber squadrons during WWII. It is a great film about human beings under extraordinary stress, making extremely difficult choices and living with their consequences - but most especially it is a moving portrayal of the complexities of leadership and friendship, and the trust needed to get others to do difficult, if not impossible things.

    5-0 out of 5 stars the meaning of "Maximum Effort"
    This is a magnificent World War II film about U.S. airmen stationed in Britain in the fall of 1942, and so much more; it's about the psychology that goes into situations of extreme stress, and what makes a man a winner or loser when put to the test. As General Savage (Peck) says in his pep talk, "fear is normal, but stop worrying about it". Savage has no time for self pity, for himself or anyone else, and his toughness and high principles bring out the best in his men, and it also points up the dangers of emotional attachment in the wrong situations.
    The script by Sy Bartlett and Beirne Lay Jr., from their book which is loosely based on a true story, is intelligent and insightful, and the direction by Henry King meticulous. The cinematography by Leon Shamroy is crisp and marvelous, and also includes riveting portions of actual WWII battle footage interspersed in the aerial shots.
    The Alfred Newman score also adds much to the film.

    Gregory Peck is perfect as General Savage, fabulously handsome, with one of the greatest voices of the 20th century, one cannot imagine a better actor for the part. Dean Jagger is also splendid as Major Harvey Stovall; wise and often witty, it is through his eyes that we see the story, told in flashback as he wanders the deserted airfield in 1949.
    Other excellent performances come from Gary Merrill and Hugh Marlowe, but every cast member is good, with strong turns from all.

    Nominated for a Best Actor and Best Picture Oscar (losing out to "All the King's Men" on both counts), "Twelve O'Clock High" spawned a much better than average TV series (1964-67) that I enjoyed watching, especially in its first season when it starred Robert Lansing.
    This is a film that is actually used in "leadership seminars" for business executives, and by the U.S. Airforce as a teaching tool. It has lessons for the average person too, but most of all, it's a superb film, with memorable performances. Total running time is 132 minutes.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie for Leadership
    This movie is a classic tool used by the USAF Squadron Officer School. It is a great way to see the different styles of leadership. When we viewed it in an educational fashion the movie carried a much greater sense of meaning for us. For all military buffs this movie has to be in your collection. Tobey Jugs, leather caps, B-17s...Bless them all, bless them all... ... Read more


    19. The Enemy Below
    Director: Dick Powell
    list price: $14.98
    our price: $11.24
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0001NBMH6
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1440
    Average Customer Review: 4.66 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (44)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Cat and Mouse Submarine Movie
    This is one of the best duel-of-wits on the high seas between submarine and destroyer ever filmed. Robert Mitchum as the captain of an American destroyer and Curt Jurgens as the captain of a German submarine try to out maneuver each other in a battle of nerves, instincts, intelligence, seamanship and raw courage. The multi-talented Dick Powell directed this taught drama, which remains one of the most memorable and benchmark films of this genre. The interior of the German submarine does not have the realistic or claustrophobic look as seen in DAS BOOT but that's not the point. Powell's focus is on the two captains and how they act and react. This film does not lose sight of the mentality of that era and the psychological makeup of the men at sea above and below. This is classic filmmaking and should not be overshadowed by the recent resurgence of certain World War II films that seem to have lost sight of the reason men fought and died. This film also has an impressive cast featuring David Hedison, Theodore Bikel, Kurt Kreuger and Doug McClure. Robert Mitchum and Curt Jurgens portrayed true men of honor each dedicated to their duty that they were called upon.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Dive into this good submarine drama
    There is a fairly extensive sub-category of war movies - submarine battles - within which movies made in the 1950's are highly regarded. THE ENEMY BELOW is not up to the standards of RUN SILENT, RUN DEEP but is better than TORPEDO RUN. It is also different that both those movies. Where they use a dramatic human interest story as the main plot line, this movie has a narrow focus on what you would expect from a film about a sub battle. The emphasis is on the chase, the strategy, the cunning and wiles of both commanders - US destroyer Captain Murrell (Robert Mitchum) and veteran German U-Boat commander Von Stolberg (Curt Jurgens). The drama is in changing fortunes - now who is the hunter and the hunted? Both of the main characters are well developed, and while there are differences in behavior, motivation, and naturally, stategy, the movie also shows clearly that as professional sailors they recognize and appreciate the good qualities in their opposites. As such this movie is memorable for the fact that Germans are not demonized or simply stereotyped as Nazis.

    It's a well directed movie, with excellent moments of suspense, good acting in some key supporting roles - Lt Ware (David Hedison). The only let down is with some very obvious models in some of the battle scenes.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Cat and Mouse Submarine Movie
    This is one of the best duel-of-wits on the high seas between submarine and destroyer ever filmed. Robert Mitchum as the captain of an American destroyer and Curt Jurgens as the captain of a German submarine try to out maneuver each other in a battle of nerves, instincts, intelligence, seamanship and raw courage. The multi-talented Dick Powell directed this taught drama, which remains one of the most memorable and benchmark films of this genre. The interior of the German submarine does not have the realistic or claustrophobic look as seen in DAS BOOT but that's not the point. Powell's focus is on the two captains and how they act and react. This film does not lose sight of the mentality of that era and the psychological makeup of the men at sea above and below. This is classic filmmaking and should not be overshadowed by the recent resurgence of certain World War II films that seem to have lost sight of the reason men fought and died. This film also has an impressive cast featuring David Hedison, Theodore Bikel, Kurt Kreuger and Doug McClure. Robert Mitchum and Curt Jurgens portrayed true men of honor each dedicated to their duty that they were called upon.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Enemy Below
    Dick Powell had to have had one of the most interesting careers in Hollywood history. He started out as a golden-throated pretty boy actor, made a successful mid-career shift to hard boiled roles like Philip Marlowe and then, for good measure, directed a handful of movies, including the submarine action picture THE ENEMY BELOW.
    THE ENEMY BELOW is a 100% action movie, without any distracting romantic sub-plot or comic relief crew members. Robert Mitchum and Curt Jurgens are excellent as the American destroyer commander and U-boat commander who cross paths in the Atlantic Ocean and engage in a deadly hunt. With a few exceptions the models are realistically rendered and convincing. This is one of the best war movies out there, and maybe the best navy movie available. I strongly recommend it to action fans.

    5-0 out of 5 stars great cat and mouse game by two great actors!
    This is not the average sub-film that centers on the crews of the sub and the sub-chaser. This is a two-man cat and mouse film, marvelously done with style and incisive insight.

    Robert Mitchum is the man who rises to do what is needed. Not a superhero, but a very human man who goes into war and does what is required. He is the Captain of a U.S. destroyer sent out to track U-boats. Curt Jurgens is his mirror reflection - below - a Captain of the U-Boat that becomes the target of Mitchum's search. He is not a product of the Nazi war-machine, but again, a very likable man just defending his country. This is demonstrated with deft humor when Jurgens very deliberately hangs his jacket over the plaque of Hitler's propaganda.

    The script eschews the stereotypical "Nazi monsters", and portrays a German crew with very real - and universal - emotions. They, too, were just men doing their job and what is required. Instead of having us root for the Americans to blow up the evil Germans, you are put in the position of caring equally for both sides. You comprehend that they are men, offering their lives for their command, not in a political way, but in a time-honoured fashion of a man going to war. You understand both sides REALLY do not want to be here, to kill or be killed; they would rather home. No rousing stereotypical propaganda. In the end, they will kill each other if they must, but given the choice, they would rather not. Very different for that period of war films.

    A little dated appearance on the boat scenes by today's standards. It's obvious toy models when the boats crash, but easily overlooked and dismissed when balanced with the very impressive lack of finger-pointing and flag-waving for either nationality. Both Mitchum and Jurgens are dead-bang on target in their lead roles, with David Hedison, Theodore Bickel and Doug McClure round out a super cast ... Read more


    20. Triumph of the Will (Special Edition)
    Director: Leni Riefenstahl
    list price: $34.95
    our price: $27.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00004WLXZ
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1973
    Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (89)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Historical Film
    ...He is correct in saying the film is great for history buffs and that is what I am (BA-Hist). This film depicts history. It is an inside look at Nazi Germany. Turn off the lights when you watch it and you will think you have a front row seat at a Nuremburg rally. It may have been produced as propaganda but what it is now is nothing short of historical documentation, regardless of how the images were woven together.

    It has great footage and shows all of the regular Nazi Nuts and ones you have never seen or heard before. I loved being able to listen to them in German with subtitles instead of having a narrator. You can have that too. I bought the Special Edition DVD. The quality of this black and white film is the best I have ever seen. Special features include English subtitles and voice-over narration (all optional).

    Leni did not hire Industrial Light and Magic to insert millions of regimented Nazi followers. They are the real thing. The Nazi movement clearly stirred nationalistic fervor. You cannot deny the images. They speak for themselves. The German people were caught up in a movement of incredible proportions and this movie shows you what it was like in the early years of the Third Reich. Germans killed millions and millions of Germans died in WW II. This movie will give you a very good idea of what the Allied forces were fighting against.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A most valuable historical record
    It's easy to see how this now famous (or infamous) 1934 film by Leni Riefenstal could have helped reinforce Hitler's already dizzying domination of the German psyche. For our own time, it helps reveal the human complexity of the Nazi phenomenon - so much more than just a march of crazed fanatics, as it's often stereotyped today. Triumph of the Will is particularly relevant to current politics - the Austrian controversy, as well as the continued importance of various dictators who still garner so much of the media spotlight.

    Sadly, the near-sightedness of the Nazi mentality and its contradictory nature were already glaringly apparent at the time the movie was shot. Hitler's frenzied admonitions to value "peace" but at the same time to cultivate "courage", bristle with contradiction and hypocrisy. Brief allusions to racial purity and clear-cut moral rectitude are darkly ominous, as are the reiterated pledges of allegiance to Hitler , the man. It's instructive to compare Nazi rhetoric with much of today's political hype. Though, as many others have pointed out, nobody else has done it with quite the same elan. Sad to think that had they watched their own film with a more discerning eye, they might have seen what we see.

    From an artistic standpoint, I can appreciate why it's cited as one of the most accomplished of all propagandist vehicles. Nazi shortcomings notwithstanding, the film is stunning. Riefenstahl's contribution is self-evident - even if she didn't direct the action herself, she captured and organized it admirably. But for all that, it is still the action which is most spellbinding. The gripping facial expressions, the charismatic speeches, the thundering shouts of allegiance, the enormous scale and choreography - all of this actually took place! Combine that with historical perspective - knowing what all of it would lead to - and the movie acquires a distincively haunting quality.

    I not only recommend this film to others, I strongly advise it. It captures the very essence of social fanaticism. Many will instinctively feel its primitive appeal, and then, after putting it into perspective, recognize its inherent madness. Watching this movie, appreciating the feelings it evokes and reflecting on what it all means, will make the viewer a better person.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This Special Edition is good as it gets.
    The Synapse DVD Special Edition surpassed all expectations. I had Triumph of the Will on video prior to obtaining this DVD and the video's visual and audio quality was poor. By contrast, this DVD is visually very crisp and sharp and the audio quality is fine The DVD appears to be produced from an excellent original film print. I've seen another DVD of TOTW produced by different company, and its quality was the same as the video version :substandard. Make sure you get the Synapse version. This Special Edition is good as it gets.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A GREAT LOOK AT WHAT MODERN USA HAS BECOME
    THIS FILM GIVES A GREAT INSIDE LOOK AT HOW THE NOW MODERN USA OPERATES IN ITS POLITICS UNDER GEORGE W BUSH. WHO IS ALOMOST A CLONE OF HITLER. I RECCOMEND THIS FILM TO ANY BUSH SUPPORTER JUST FOR THEM TO SEE HOW ALIKE BUSH AND HITLER REALLY ARE.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Influential Masterpiece of Cinematic Propaganda
    Riefenstahl's documentary made for Adolf Hitler and the NAZI party in the early 1930's. The documentary primarily covers the Nuremburg rallies and the activities that surrounded these events. Again, this is a propaganda film and was designed to stir popular sentiment and political empathy for the infamous political party.

    If one understands the socio-political climate of Germany in the late 1920s and early 1930s, one can clearly see what sentiments the film seeks to evoke and hence recognize its significance and brilliant execution. For example, Germany was in a state of shambles because of the global economic depression and many Germans feared an inevitable collapse to anarchy or Bolshevism. The opening scene starts with a Wagnerian piece and shows Hitler in a plane peering down from high above the clouds as he arrives for the rally. The scene sought to reassure a worried public that The Fuhrer was omnipotent, omniscient, and was coming down from the heavens to save a troubled nation in a godlike fashion. When he arrives at the stadium, Hitler is shown walking with his SA escort out of the crowd and towards the podium instead from behind the podium to look down at the crowd; this was to instill the notion that Hitler wasn't just another Berlin bureaucrat from the old failed Weimar Republic coming to talk down to a broken people; it was done to evoke the sense that he was a man of the people for the peole: selflessly arising out of a worried crowd of fellow Germans to lead them to a better and safer future. This particular scene was so influential in film that George Lucas adapted it (and many other scenes) for the closing scene to the original Star Wars when Luke, Han, and Chewy are decorated by Lea. Other scenes of happy German blonde and blue-eyed youths or common laborers performing paramilitary/social tasks were intended to evoke a proud sense of unity, purpose, and safety amongst all true German "volk" in these troubled times. In the background, the narrative voice recites how all German women should should bear many children for the Fatherland; how men should unite for the Fatherland and not Godless Bolshevism; how youths should work to better their nation; etc., etc.

    The mass communication techniques of Riefenstahl and Goebbels are still used today by virtually every modern government and media firm. This film is important not only as a histiorical tool in understanding the rise of Nazism and the dynamics of facism, it is a very important landmark in the development of film, mass entertainment and mass communication in general. I strongly believe that every person who seeks to better understand their world and media see this film at least once and study it. ... Read more


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