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Masada [DVD]

Peter O'Toole , Peter Strauss , Boris Sagal    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
Price: 6.89 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Masada [DVD] + Exodus [DVD] + Cast A Giant Shadow [DVD] [1966]
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Product details

  • Actors: Peter O'Toole, Peter Strauss, Barbara Carrera, Anthony Quayle, David Warner
  • Directors: Boris Sagal
  • Producers: Richard Irving
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: None
  • Dubbed: None
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: None
  • Audio Description: None
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 19 Jan 2009
  • Run Time: 367 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,045 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Epic historical TV mini-series in which Jewish zealots hold out against the superior numbers of the Roman army. 70 years after the crucifixion, Jerusalem finally falls to Roman rule, with the remaining rebels withdrawing to the heavily fortified mountain stronghold of Masada, south of the city. Safe in their new surroundings, the rebels, led by Eleazar ben Jair (Peter Strauss), make life difficult for the occupying forces, conducting sporadic raids, spoiling supply stores, and generally causing as much grief as possible. The Roman general in charge, Cornelius Flavius Silva (Peter O'Toole), eager to end the stalemate, calls on siege expert Rubrius Gallus (Anthony Quayle) to find a way to breach the fortress. Gallus settles on constructing a giant ramp to finally end the rebellion, the construction of which proves to be long and deadly, as the rebels pour down arrows on the helpless workers. Finally the stage is set for the final onslaught when a huge battering ram is dragged into place.

Product Description

In the first century A. D., Flavius Silva (Peter O'Toole), commander of the Roman Tenth Legion in Palestine, leads his forces in combat against the remaining Jewish Zealots who have taken refuge in the seemingly impregnable fortress of Masada. There the engineering and military might of Rome faces the passion and ingenuity of Eleazar ben Yair (Peter Strauss) and his people.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
101 of 103 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Masada- History still makes the best stories 4 Dec 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Proof, if more were needed, that history provides the basis for the best stories. Masada tells the tale of a small band of hardened Jewish rebels who are the last remaining resistance to the Roman domination of their land. Told largely from the point of view of the two leaders involved it culminates in the siege of the 'impregnable' fortress of Masada, on the shores of the Dead Sea, by the Tenth Legion. Often tense, gripping and dramatic it is lifted by big performances from big character actors - Peter O'Toole, Anthony Quayle, Denis Quilley, David Warner, Timothy West and Peter Strauss amongst others. Another real bonus is the top notch score by Hollywood legend, Jerry Goldsmith.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This mini series in four parts is broadly based on true events about a Roman general who is trying to stop a Jewish rebellion.
This is a really good series that plays out like a long feature film. I remember this show on TV in 1983 but it is better to see it on DVD. There are four parts and each part is feature length but it is better to watch the whole set close together. The whole project is very good since the mini series offers a good slice of time to develop the characters and the feel of the long siege that takes place in the plot. This would not have the same effect in a single feature film.
In the year 70 AD, the Romans launch an attack on Jerusalem. And although this is mostly successful some resistance fighters, led by Eleazar Ben Yair, take refuge in the hills. They defend a seemingly impregnable rock fortress at the summit of Mount Masada and hold out long enough to humiliate the forces of the Roman general Flavius Silva who is later sent to disperse the rebellion.
Silva is on the brink of retirement and needs a speedy resolution to this problem. But it is not an easy task to get into the fortress. Silva is further hindered by the arrival of a young and brutal new officer called Falco who has been sent from Rome.

According to Roman historians, Herod the Great fortified Masada at the beginning of the first Jewish/Roman war against the Roman Empire. A group of Jewish rebels called the Sicarii overcame the Roman garrison of Masada and used the mountaintop as a base for harassing the Romans.
The Romans led by Silva, surrounded Masada and built a wall and then siege embankment in a massive feat of engineering. The Jews had a steady supply of water and food supplies that enabled them to hold out for a few months.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Back in 1981 this epic mini-series about the ill-fated Jewish rebellion against Roman rule pulled in what was then the biggest TV audience of all time, yet it's languished on the shelf forgotten for the past couple of decades. This DVD does include the uncut six-hour-plus series, but not the abridged feature film version released outside the US as The Antagonists, which apparently featured some different scenes (despite being intended as a Sidney Pollack-directed film in the early 70s until the Yom Kippur war made filming on location impossible, the abridged version was not a success: in the UK it had the dubious honor of being the lowest-grossing film of it's year).

As with most siege epics, the action is limited to the beginning and the end, with much of the interim filled in with intrigue and character development while we wait for the big battle that in this case, famously, never actually happens. Not altogether surprisingly it spends more screen time with the Romans than with the Zealots - even if the Zealots' strategy was more than simply watching and waiting while sporadically taunting their would-be conquerors, with their penchant for spectacle and infighting, the Romans are always better dramatic value in these sorts of epics. Certainly Peter O'Toole effortlessly dominates the series as the humane Roman commander forced by the political situation back in Rome to fight the rebels rather than negotiate with them only to find himself facing mutiny, senatorial spies and other political animals as well as heat, windstorms and not enough water before his legions can even start to virtually move mountains to reach the clifftop fortress of Masada.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than "Rome" 18 May 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"We have won a rock in the middle of a wasteland on the shore of a poison sea."

Like Tora Tora Tora, this is a brilliant and authentically detailed drama about a very important event. As with TTT you would think that you knew whose side you would be on, but as you watch you realise that command decisions and human error mean that neither side is wholly right or wrong. The deliberately drawn modern parallels at the beginning and end, as my husband points out, also give one pause for thought, given the continuing situation in the middle east.

And, on a lighter note, it's hard to decide which is more beautiful - the way Peter O'Toole says "Rome" or the way Peter Strauss says "Israel". This is not just for those who have reached Cambridge Latin Course Book IV (but if you did it helps!).

Get this if you are interested in accurate portrayal of the ancient Romans, or if you would like to see some good acting from 1980. Get it if you liked Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia. It's 6 hours of good historical entertainment, with no explicit sex, and not much violence.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great historical DVD
Published 26 days ago by ANITA GAUTIER
4.0 out of 5 stars Masada very fine acting
Masada a wonderful TV film from the Great 80`is
Published 1 month ago by Uffe
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
my husband is loving watching the series again, very good
Published 1 month ago by patricia thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Film
Classic film, great acting, having been to Masada made even more enjoyable. to actually see the ramp breathtaking
Published 1 month ago by Gerry
4.0 out of 5 stars Reminder
Having just come back from Masada I sent for this film to get the full story on it. I wasn't disappointed as the film sticks quite close to the facts. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Terence Gregory
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous!
A great series; well made, cast and acted (apart from the Jews with American accents) and with fantastic production values. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dodwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Now I want to see it for real.
This mini-series has inspired me to do so much. I want to learn Ancient Hebrew. I want to read Josephus. I want to see the ramp. Read more
Published 3 months ago by R. Chrichlow
5.0 out of 5 stars Masada DVD
Brilliant film and Actors, loved it and can recommend it as an biblical and historic story. Peter O'Toole was brilliant!
Published 3 months ago by cliff walker
4.0 out of 5 stars Little known fascinating chapter in the history of the Jews in Judea...
It is a somewhat dated series of a very little known amazing true event in the Jewish people's struggle for independence, freedom of worship and dignity. Read more
Published 4 months ago by R. Fried
5.0 out of 5 stars saw it on the telly
Remember this when it was first shown on Aunty Beeb and enjoyed it.

Funny how all the nasty Romans were played by British actors and the nice Jewish parts by Americans -... Read more
Published 5 months ago by R. Nicklin
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