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David Attenborough: The Trials Of Life [DVD]

David Attenborough , Michael Gunton    Exempt   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
Price: £17.47
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Frequently Bought Together

David Attenborough: The Trials Of Life [DVD] + The Living Planet (Repackaged) [DVD] + The Life of Mammals (Repackaged) [DVD]
Price For All Three: £34.77

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Product details

  • Actors: David Attenborough
  • Directors: Michael Gunton
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: BBC
  • DVD Release Date: 16 Sep 2002
  • Run Time: 360 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006G9VQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 128,182 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Following his previous two natural history series, 'Life on Earth' and 'The Living Planet', David Attenborough surveyed the entire animal kingdom again for this, the last series in his epic nature trilogy. Rather than focusing on evolution or geography, this twelve-part series looks at animal behaviour itself, examining why creatures behave as they do and how they overcome problems in order to survive and flourish. Episodes are: 'Arriving', 'Growing Up', 'Finding Food', 'Hunting and Escaping', 'Finding the Way', 'Homemaking', 'Living Together', 'Fighting', 'Friends and Rivals', 'Talking to Strangers', 'Courting' and 'Continuing the Line'. This is the edited version, with the original 50-minute episodes cut down to 30 minutes each.


The Trials of Life started as David Attenborough's most ambitious wildlife project, and ended as something really big. First came Life on Earth (1978), then The Living Planet (1984), but when The Trials of Life (1990) arrived the already epic individual series became "The Life Trilogy", collectively the most impressive documentary achievement in the history of television. Unfortunately the epic has shrunk here, as not only have the credits been removed, but each of the 12 original episodes having been cut from 49 minutes to 28 minutes (though the scene everyone remembers--a whale pursuing its prey right onto the beach--survives).

Rather than focus on evolution or geography, the emphasis is on animal behaviour, from courting and mating, to giving birth and raising the young, hunting, flight and fighting, finding shelter, and migration. This immediacy makes The Trials of Life the most accessible of "The Life Trilogy" for younger children, though the abridgement makes it play like a superior schools programme. This short-attention-span version of a television masterpiece simply makes one wish for a fully restored, extra packed special edition of the complete series. David Attenborough would go on to make The Private Life of Plants and The Life of Birds. --Gary S Dalkin

On the DVD: The Trials of Life has a good though slightly soft and grainy 4:3 picture that would benefit from remastering from the original elements. The stereo sound is a clear improvement over the originally broadcast mono, but a full 5.1 DTS remix would have brought out the best in the atmospheric natural location recording. The only extra is a 49-minute "making of" documentary, "Once More into the Termite House", originally shown as a companion to the series. Given a DVD all to itself, this programme offers a real insight into the challenges of making such a vast programme, while David Attenborough is as affable as ever. There are optional English and Greek subtitles on all three discs. --Gary S Dalkin

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars uncut - at last! 4 Oct 2004
this is the uncut version of david attenboroughs masterpiece. 12 aprox. 45 min. episodes (not only 30 min. as in the previous edition available).
picture quality is crystal sharp, sound is fully stereo.
a pleasure to watch, highly recommended for any "fan" of david attenborough and his way of writing and presenting documentaries about nature.
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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Check which version! 10 July 2005
By Bryan
Buyers, check which version your seller is offering.
The technical details above refer to the 4 disc 583min full version released in 2004, but many sellers will only have the 3 disc 358min cut version released in 2002.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great on BLU RAY 19 Nov 2012
Excellent remastering of a program that looks in all honest dreadful on the original 3 DVDs. This has been given a 1080i remaster at 50hz and a dts-hd soundtrack on 4 bluray 50gb discs. It is well worth the upgrade from the DVDS as the picture quality for a 30 year old series is great. Only real problem is the underwater shots which look sd.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Only half the trials 20 Oct 2003
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The Trials Of Life, the third and final part of David Attenborough's Life Trilogy, was a masterpiece of broadcasting that deserved 10 stars (out of 5).
Unfortunately, what you're getting here is a cut-down version. The 12 original episodes each ran for 50 minutes, here they run for 30. This means that over 4 hours has been omitted. The start and end credits have also been removed.
What's particularly galling is the packaging clearly states "The complete series". How is leaving a quarter of the material out "complete"? Trade descriptions act, anyone?
On a technical level, there's nothing wrong with this disc at all. Sure, it's 4:3 ratio, but it was made in 1990 - 8 years before widescreen broadcasts were even available. It was also one of the first programmes to be made with stereo sound, which had just become available.
Overall though this was a huge disappointment, and gross mis-advertising on the BBC's part. One can only hope that the BBC re-release this as a genuine "complete series" and offer a free replacement to anyone who's bought this.
However, this is the only part of the Life Trilogy that has been butchered in this way. The recent releases of "Life On Earth" and "The Living Planet" are, indeed, complete.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My patience rewarded 18 Oct 2004
At last the full, uncut version is available. What was the BBC thinking with the first release? Nevermind that though - this is one of David Attenborough's finest series. The wealth of information, the beautiful photography and the sheer reverance for the natural world which David Attenborough exudes makes this and his other BBC natural histories second to none. From the termite 'mansions' (my favourite) to the open ocean, we are given a perspective on the natural world which is awe-inspiring. David Attenborough gets attacked by birds, braves caves and clifftops and much more besides to bring us this unique portrait of our world. Unforgettable.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars something's missing 27 Feb 2004
By Axolotl
After watching Life on Earth, the Living Planet and the Private life of plants this DvD is truely awful. We have been gripped by all the other Attenborough offerings and are 3/4 of the way through Life of Birds (which is superb) with Life of mammals waiting in the wings.
I saw the reviews here and thought I could live with the cutting of this series but I can't. Each episode feels hurried and there is no pleasure for me in watching them. Sure the series itself is probably worth 5 stars but not in this horrid butchered state. Buy all the full 'Life of' DvDs 1st and get this last (if you really have to).
I would dearly love the full series to be released but I don't think I'll ever look at the edited version again. Avoid.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu ray worthwhile upgrade 23 Nov 2012
By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
It's very quick to feel reassured if you upgrade from dvd to blu ray. The first shots are of stunningly scarlet crabs on Christmas Island (good grief how comfortably the Attenborough sits amid the raging red pincers), On the DVD they are washed out little souls. My DVD version is from the all singing Life boxset and displays the picture in a full screen version on widescreen. I assume through pan and scan or full zoom. Blu ray plays in 4:3 as in the original showing.....However I can"t shake it out of this picture by zooming. Normally I"d be well irritated...but the intensity of the picture like a glossy birthday card overcomes my dislike of the lack of widescreen. There was a reason why we all went wow back in 1990 when this was first shown. Relive the experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trials of Life-Brilliant 14 Jun 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
When I bought this product I had only seen one episode. It is exactly what it says on the box, the natural history of behaviour but it is presented in a great way. There are hundreds of examples to keep you interested so it doesn't just focus on one animal. The facts are interesting and different. I actually used it as a revision aid for my Animal Behaviour module; it gave me more examples to talk about in my exam and helped me link together different aspects of the course.
I would recommend this DVD to anyone, the footage is amazing and David Attenborough is as always brilliant.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Xmas present that was well appreciated
Published 2 days ago by Hellywelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great value for money
Published 1 month ago by J L PHEASANT
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Slaine_james
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by MR ANDREW PEPPITT
5.0 out of 5 stars Dvd
These dvs are brilliant
Published 3 months ago by linda clinton
5.0 out of 5 stars classic
another David Attenborough classic very education and well filmed and presented well buy it and enjoy it I did again and again
Published 11 months ago by alan
5.0 out of 5 stars Once again the Sir never disappoints
Wonderful. I can see all the Hard work put behind producing this great documentary. Well narrated too. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I highly recommend it. Read more
Published 11 months ago by THE GREATEST BOSS
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad for an old documentary
One cannot expect that this re-mastered version to be the same standard as the latest Blu-ray. Overall the series provides ample and interest information never heard before and I... Read more
Published 14 months ago by KWOK CHOI NG
5.0 out of 5 stars essential update
It's a no-brainer, really. Like the repeats on BBC HD, it is well worth seeing the old wildlife documentaries cleaned up and as good as they can be got.
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Wanted this for a long time
I had the original vhs set from the tv offer. Wish they would release a region free set on blu.
Published 15 months ago by Les Carraway
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