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History of Britain: Complete Collection [DVD] [2000] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Simon Schama , Michael Kitchen    DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 120.95
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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details). Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.



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Product details

  • Actors: Simon Schama, Michael Kitchen, Samuel West, Lindsay Duncan, David Threlfall
  • Format: Box set, Colour, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Nov 2002
  • Run Time: 200 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B00006RCKI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 93,929 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

From the dawn of the 20th century, this box-set, re-animates familiar tales & illuminates overlooked aspects of England's past. Written & hosted by Simon Schama, this monumental BBC production has been hailed by critics for its colourful --and controversial-- approach, which discards timelines & tiresome lineages for a lively look at the personalities & cultures that infuse British history. From India to Ireland and from the Norman Invasion to the American Revolution, Schama spotlights the epic themes & towering figures that transformed the island "at the edge of the world" into the greatest empire on earth, examining the impact of this extraordinary heritage on the modern nation. All 15 episodes of the landmark series are available on DVD for the first time in this comprehensive collector's set.


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, incisive, perfection! 22 Dec 2003
By Deborah MacGillivray HALL OF FAME VINE VOICE
Format:DVD
There are a lot of history specials out there, but none so brilliantly conceived and realised at this series. I love history, especially the history of Britain, and so it was never dry, stale facts to me. But few bring it into focus, make it so accessible, and cut through the fat, so to speak, to give you a clean, logical, common sense approach to History of England 101 Crash Course as Simon Schama does. Each episode is well-written, fast paced and thoughtfully crafted, with marvellous location work to support his tromp through the corridors of time. He discards dates as the primary input and goes to the movers and shakers, makes you see the Kings and King makers with eyes that are fresh and vital.
After you travel this amazing journey through time, you will be sadden that history is not present this way in the schools and we all did not have Schama as our teacher!
Nirvana for British History lovers
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  135 reviews
439 of 457 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Buy the original BBC edition, not this A&E version 11 April 2005
By dooby - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Schama's History of Britain is indeed a fine introduction to British History (or at least British History through English eyes). This documentary series is very well made and deserves all the 5 star ratings it get's at this site. However, no one seems to mention that this DVD set released by A&E/The History Channel is actually a cropped version, modified to fit a standard TV screen. This series was shot by the BBC in widescreen, as much to take advantage of the new widescreen medium as to project the panoramic grandeur of British history.

Both the Region 2 (UK & Europe) and Region 4 (Australia & New Zealand) versions are all in the original 1.85:1 widescreen (enhanced for widescreen TV). Only in America are we afforded the singular privilege of watching this show in a crappy Pan-&-Scan format courtesy of A&E/The History Channel.

The best buy right now would be to get the UK edition sold under the BBC's own label. Not only does it have 6 discs (1 disc of special features) compared to 5 in the American version, it is also much cheaper. You can get it through Amazon UK (at a 43% discount as of this date). Just make sure your system is able to play Region 2 discs and has native PAL capability. UK programs are recorded in PAL format rather than standard American NTSC.
73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So, What's Not to Like? 17 July 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I am neither a history scholar nor a serious history buff, but I suppose that I am an Anglophile (with an especial appreciation for Thomas More, Charles Dickens, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, and, at the moment, Tony Blair). I rushed out to buy this set after hearing Simon Schama give a talk at Brigham Young University earlier this year. Schama is a very charismatic speaker, and I'd be surprised if he didn't end up selling hundreds of BYU students and faculty on his videos that day.
When I think of this series, a few of the words that come to mind are "beauty", "authenticity", and "solemnity". Schama's narration is spell-binding, and the cinematography (if that's the right word) is gorgeous. These are documentaries that it looks like took a lot of money to make, not because of the scale of historical re-enactments involved (which is relatively modest) but because of the overall quality of the product.
Since Schama can neither be classified as a hagiographer nor an iconoclast, I'd almost include the word "balanced" in my description of his work, but that word might suggest mediocrity or at least moderation, and there's nothing lukewarm about the positions Schama takes. I suppose that there are people out there who might find Schama's dramatic and strongly-opinionated style off-putting. There might even be people who find the British countryside ugly and Britain's historical treasures boring. To the rest of you, I give this set a strong recommendation. As one caveat: there are maybe 2 or 3 spots in the 15 hours of this series in which parental discretion might be advised.
95 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant series that makes history alive! 22 Dec 2003
By Deborah MacGillivray - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
There are a lot of history specials out there, but none so brilliantly conceived and realised at this series. I love history, especially the history of Britain, and so it was never dry, stale facts to me. But few bring it into focus, make it so accessible, and cut through the fat, so to speak, to give you a clean, logical, common sense approach to History of England 101 Crash Course as Simon Schama does. Each episode is well-written, fast paced and thoughtfully crafted, with marvellous location work to support his tromp through the corridors of time. He discards dates as the primary input and goes to the movers and shakers, makes you see the Kings and King makers with eyes that are fresh and vital.
After you travel this amazing journey through time, you will be sadden that history is not present this way in the schools and we all did not have Schama as our teacher!
Nirvana for British History lovers!
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Britain, from a certain point of view... 14 Dec 2008
By D. S. Thurlow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This 2008 repackaging of 2001's "A History of Britain", featuring Simon Schama as author and presenter, is not the standard history of Great Britain. Schama is no slave to historical convention and his 15-episode retelling explores British history from a slightly different point of view.

Schama's famous BBC series traces British history from Roman Britain through the death of Winston Churchill in 1965. His focus is not timeline oriented; many prominent players in British history rate no more than passing mention. Even the iconic Churchill has to share the last episode with Eric Blair, better known by his literary name of George Orwell. Instead, Schama seeks to identify the slow, difficult steps by which Britain became a constitutional monarchy with individual freedoms and the rule of law. Those steps are found in Roman Britain, in the endless dynastic and religious wars that defined the powers of the monarchy and parliament, in the disaster of the Black Death, and in the long political and military struggles to build a united British nation and then a British empire.

The episodes feature important archeological sites, castles, ruined abbeys, and other locations where important events took place. We meet the prominent personalities of the narrative through pictures, paintings, sculptures, tomb representations, and, rarely, reenactment. Schama narrates in person, stalking through ruins, landscapes and museums while delivering his rather blunt colloquial commentary.

"A History of Britain" is not for everyone. The thematic presentation may be hard to follow for those not already familiar with British history. Those wedded to a romantic vision of a storied past may find Schama's blunt disection of power politics to be off-setting. Schama's twitchy physical presence may be distracting for some viewers.

On the other hand, this telling of British history is engaging, realistic, and thought-provoking in getting at the heart of what it means to be British. The story is as much Scottish, Irish, and Welsh as English in coverage. Prominent personalities are shown in their full rounded humanity. The presention itself is polished work. "A History of Britain" is therefore highly recommended to fans of British history looking for a fresh angle.
51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this American set 14 April 2008
By Sami - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
When I started watching I expected it to be up to the ususal BBC standards, after all BBC is the producer of the mind blowing "Planet Earth" series. And I could not be more right! "A History of Britian" is nothing less than an experience that must be lived to be believed. It takes you in a time machine ride to cover 3000 years of Britian's history using stunning visuals and excellent music. Of course nowhere near the detail of the 3 books by Simon with the same title, but he manages to include as much detail in 15 hours as anyone will ever be able to do. My only take is that the 20th century, including WW1, WW2 and the struggle with the IRA, are mentioned in just few words certainly not proportionate to how big those events were. So you better think of it as a comprehensive history of Britian up to the end of the 19th century.

That said, this American release is cropped (image cut on sides) to fit 4:3 TV screens. The original program was shot in wide screen by the BBC, thus this American release is a ture mess. I bought the R2 UK set which is in wide screen, and it also comes with a bonus sixth DVD with extra material.
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