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Alexander Nevsky [DVD] [1938] [US Import]

Nikolai Cherkasov , Nikolai Okhlopkov , Dmitriy Vasilev , Sergei M. Eisenstein    Universal, suitable for all   DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
Price: 83.73
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Alexander Nevsky [DVD] [1938] [US Import] + Battleship Potemkin [1925] [DVD] + October 1917 - Ten Days That Shook The World [1927] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Nikolai Cherkasov, Nikolai Okhlopkov, Andrei Abrikosov, Dmitriy Orlov, Vasili Novikov
  • Directors: Dmitriy Vasilev, Sergei M. Eisenstein
  • Writers: Sergei M. Eisenstein, Pyotr Pavlenko
  • Format: Black & White, Classical, Colour, DVD-Video, Subtitled, PAL
  • Language: Russian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 21 Oct 1998
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 630513104X
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 181,344 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Alexander Nevsky, Sergei Eisenstein's landmark tale of Russia thwarting the German invasion of the 13th century, was wildly popular with home-grown audiences back in 1938, quite intentionally so, given the prevailing Nazi geopolitical advancement and destruction at the time. It can still be viewed as a masterful use of imagery and music, with the "Battle on the Ice" sequence as the obvious highlight. Unfortunately, the rest of the film pales in comparison. A great score by Prokofiev was effectively integrated by the Russian filmmaker, but stands on its own merit as well. --Bill Desowitz,

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Eisenstein's first sound film retells the battle of the ice of 1242, when the Russians under Alexander Nevsky defeated the Livonian knights, eager to bring Russia under Roman Catholicism. Made in 1938, Nevsky can be seen as a piece of propaganda: the Germanic knights, with their sinister (and somewhat goofy) helmets are obvious stand-ins for the Nazis. The butchery by the knights when they enter a Russian town seems a prophetic warning of the massacres of World War II. The film ends with a warning: those who came to Russia with the sword will die by the sword. Made in delicate black and white (somewhat reminiscent of a daguerreotype), it also marked Eisenstein's return to official favor. By the late 1920s, Stalin wanted Soviet filmmakers to stop experimentation and made movies that would be more populist and palatable to the Russian public. That stopped Eisenstein's career in Russia for a decade, and in Nevsky he came back with his more accessible film. Nevsky's strong point is in its second half, which features the battle itself, and it is justly seen as a milestone in movie history: never before (and probably never after) a battle would be so vivid in the screen. Another strong point is Prokofiev's beautiful, haunting soundtrack (using a composer to score a movie was completely unusual at the time). One of its weaker points: the comic relief (in the form of two simpleton Russian warriors trying to woo a beautiful Russian peasant) is really jarring.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Symphony of the White 17 April 2003
Format:VHS Tape
I think "Alexander Nevsky" is the best of Eisenstein's works. It's also probably one of the most extraordinary historical films ever times except "Intolerance", "The Seven Samurai", Olivier's "Henry V" (inspired by Eisenstein's vision) and "Ivan the Terrible" of course. Plot is very simple: Teutonic Knigts attack Russia but the russian people crush their in great battle on frozen Lake Pejpus. Scene of battle is truly great and fantastic. In my opinion it's more exciting than fights in "Breaveheart" and "Joan of Arc" (by Luc Besson). Teutonic Knight wear white costumes and they look terryfying; russian people are dressed in black. "Alexander Nevsky" has beautyfull photography by Eduard Tisse - he was operator of all Eisenstein's films. Not only knight's wears are white but ice of the lake, the snow, the water and the heaven are white also - it's really symphony of the white. After see this film, some critic called Eisenstein "the best russian painter of all times". Music has wrote by Sergei Prokofiev, cantata "Alexander Nevsky" is one of the most famous works by this composer. I recommend "Alexander Nevsky". Extraordinary visions, great scenes, beautyfull photography and music. This film is a masterpiece!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great Film - Atrocious transfer 17 Oct 2012
By Steve H
When I bought this shortly after its release it went into the DVD player and then straight back to the shop! This was the worst transfer of the film I had ever seen - the video I owned was so much better. Luckily Criterion have released this in the States as part of an Eisenstein box set - get this, the image quality is stunning. Eureka now do a great job with all their releases but in the early days their releases were often very poor with picture quality control low on the priority list. I'm amazed that no other reviewers have commented on this aspect of the DVD.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never forget. 13 Sep 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I had forgotten how great a film this is. You must, of course, put aside all our tedious modern gimmickry and realism ... which surprisingly often obscure the true sense and impact of films ... and accept Eisenstein's work on its own terms. You then have something which literally brings tears to the eyes: the force of nobility and sacrifice which can, on occasion, stand over and above any flaws of nationalism, politics or calculated interest. You also have a stunning musical score from Prokoviev: tears to the eyes, indeed. The re-mastering is a success, though naturally the age of the filmstock shows through. Similarly, the sound track is a bit muddy, but Prokoviev's score has the force and clarity to overcome that; the need to overcome the technical weakness almost, in itself, seems to underscore the concept of heroic nobility facing against the odds running through the whole film. The camera work is, of course, excellent if you allow yourself to accept the notion of declaratory symbolic representation of ideals. Do not forget the idealistic message of true socialism! 1938 ... and the film shows almost uncanny foreknowledge of the Nazi assault on Russia to come, with all its horrors and ultimate victory. A great and unforgettable film.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome old friend 2 April 2011
This is a classic film which I have seen many times and I am happy to have it on DVD. All the film-makers who came after this, saw it and learnt from it (I haven't asked everybody, but I read this reference in a number of interviews with some film-makers).
Two or three things to look out for:
1. This is shot with a static camera but there is a feeling of movement on the screen, through a lot of diagonally positioned shots, rapid switches from close-ups to middle distance and long distance shots, and by moving a lot of people / horses through the back of the static shot, while action or conversation is going on in close-up. It can be enjoyable just to observe what he is doing technically!
2.Prokofiev's score is quite brilliant and the destruction of Pskov still sends shivers down the spine.
3. The subtitles, unfortunately, were done by the Soviets long ago. I am a native Russian speaker, so I can say with authority that while the actors speak modern Russian, for reasons not altogether clear (unless they wanted to convey the ancient times when the action took place), on the subtitles everybody speaks exactly like Yoda, so much so that I began to wonder about influences... It can be annoying or a bit funny, but you will not lose the meaning of what is going on. I love it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Atrocious quality with ludicrous subtitles
Unwatchable rip-off. I'd return it if I hadn't bought it in plenty of time for my husband's birthday (it's one of his all time favourites) & so missed the 30 day window for... Read more
Published 3 months ago by J C Hinton
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular
Released in 1938 to enthusiastic Russian audiences, this film depicting the battle against the Germans invading Russia in 1242 was whisked straight off the cinema screen when... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mr. R. D. M. Kirby
5.0 out of 5 stars Anyone attacking Rus is treading on thin ice
The year is 1242. Looks like Rus is being invaded by Teutonic Knights. There can be only one Roman Empire and Rus will be part of it in spite of its self. Read more
Published 11 months ago by bernie
4.0 out of 5 stars Stirring, picturesque and nationalistic!
I liked this movie-it is as good as any Western made movies of the time and really captures the essence of both 13th century Russia when the people, under the leadership of a... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Gary Selikow
1.0 out of 5 stars alexander nevsky
typical soviet propoganda. poor through out no real substance to it the special effects were not there at all so save your money dont buy
Published 14 months ago by Mr. P. Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Stiff and Wooden but great scenes
Eisentstein's equivalent to 'our' Laurence Olivier's 'Henry V' and what it did for moral and propaganda at the start of the last war had a shaky start. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Tim Kidner
5.0 out of 5 stars SOVIET HISTORY
What an amazing piece of Soviet propaganda. Fascinating and frightening. Although the sound track is fairly abysmal, the music is very special. Read more
Published on 17 April 2012 by Ian
5.0 out of 5 stars timless clssic
a timeless classic happy with the picture quality considering when it was made
i never have a problem with amazon . an excellent company
Published on 29 Feb 2012 by Kevin Jones
2.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre and primitive
Alexander Nevsky hits all the right buttons for media studies academics and their students - foreign language, B&W, triumphantly socialist, obscure enough to make the viewer feel... Read more
Published on 26 Oct 2011 by Emilio Mestiga
5.0 out of 5 stars Anyone attacking Rus is treading on thin ice
The year is 1242. Looks like Rus is being invaded by Teutonic Knights. There can be only one Roman Empire and Rus will be part of it in spite of its self. Read more
Published on 12 Feb 2011 by bernie
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