Passchendaele 2008

Amazon Instant Video

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(162) IMDb 6.6/10

In this WW1 story of passion and courage, Michael is wounded and sent home to Calgary. He falls in love with a German-born nurse and befriends her asthmatic brother. When he signs up, Dunn follows him and they end up fighting in the battle of Passchendaele, where thousands of Canadians died.

Alex Arsenault,Meredith Bailey
1 hour, 49 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Product Details

Genres Military & War, Drama, Action & Adventure, Romance, Historical
Director Paul Gross
Starring Alex Arsenault, Meredith Bailey
Supporting actors Gil Bellows, Don Bland, David Brown, Tom Carey, Jason Cermak, Ryan Cowie, Ross Crockett, Caroline Dhavernas, Joe Dinicol, Jesse Frechette, Michael Greyeyes, Paul Gross, Adam Harrington, David Haysom
BBFC rating Suitable for 15 years and over
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. Witcombe on 2 July 2013
Format: DVD
'Passchendaele' is not as good a film as it clearly wants to be; it is, however, beautiful. The film radiates with authenticity, and the scenes that take place in war are suitably horrific. Every scene seems layered both with a striking starkness and a keen eye for detail. This is a visually stunning film.

...which would be fine, if that was remotely reflective of the film as a whole. Beset by a badly cast group of actors giving largely overwrought performances, this film also suffers from an invasive score that renders all would-be moments of pathos grossly sentimental.

There are also some scenes that border on black comedy: A teenager petulantly kicking over (stone) German tombstones manages to send one flying. The film's hero sees a nurse through morphine withdrawl with the power of hugs. A battlefield falls instantly silent for the entrance of said hero. And so on.

The director also seems keen for us to recognise the film's symbolism - so keen that references to crucifictions and kestrels occupy a good portion of the film's dialogue. It's not so much heavy-handed as cack-handed.


This is one of the most striking films to take the First World War as its subject matter. The war scenes are some of the most convincing yet put to film, and even the portion of the film set in Canada is beautifully shot. Don't go in expecting a masterpiece, and forget the largely schmaltzy plot. Just look, appreciate the scenery and try not to cringe too much at the dialogue.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Jack Jones on 25 Feb. 2010
Format: DVD
This is a Canadian film set during the WW1 battle at Passchendaele in 1917. Paul Gross from Due South, wrote, directed and starred in an accurate recreation of the battle scenes. For Gross it's a personal film, his grandfather fought there and the opening scenes describe what he did that haunted him for the rest of his life.

The plot is the Gross character is wounded and sent home to Canada with shell shock. He falls in love with a nurse, who initially can't reciprocate because she's trained not to care too much about the thousands of patients she has to treat. So Gross invalided of the army is sent home to recruit.

In Canada he meets a young man who wants to fight but because of asthma isn't allowed to join up. The veteran can't reason with him there is nothing noble or glorious in war and having befriended him is horrified when he tricks his way into the army and straight to the mud and slaughter of Passchendaele. Gross returns to the fray to protect the young soldier.

This film accurately shows the horror of fighting in the incessant rain and mud at Passchandaele. Most of the film is a slow build up to this climax. The first hour is boring, wallowing in melodrama. Gross isn't a Hollywood A-lister and it shows here as he can't carry the film. We have a token baddy who happens to be British (no surprise there).

The budget was limited and it shows. We are hard to shock today after seeing Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, both productions miles better. As for Passchendaele, don't waste your time.
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82 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 17 Mar. 2010
Format: DVD
The Third Battle of Ypres was fought in the most nightmarish conditions of any campaign on the Western Front, going from initial unexploited victory to muddy, bloody stalemate, yet despite the impossible conditions, the Canadian troops who fought there, like the Australians, distinguished themselves on a remarkably regular basis, inadvertently providing endless material for a truly great film. Unfortunately Passchendaele, Canada's most expensive film to date (but still mostly unreleased outside its borders), is not that film. Even more unfortunately, it has the feel of a vanity project, with Due South's Mountie Paul Gross writing, co-producing, directing, providing the end title song and giving himself a leading role with all the things actors love to do as a heroic/cynical/tragic/shellshocked Canadian soldier who falls in love with a nurse back home (Caroline Dhavernas, an appealing actress who delivers the film's most convincing performance) before being thrown back into the fray to keep an eye on her screwed up brother. Looking like Patrick Wayne and often sounding like the Duke - "Bring on the Hell!" - he's rendered as too much of a stock WW2 movie character despite being based on a real person, which keeps you from taking him or the movie seriously.

Nor do the opening heroics convince - like much of the film, too many of the attitudes ring false, from its far too modern hero to the designer cynicism. For all the sporadic faux-Saving Private Ryan combat sequences, these are always stock movie characters in stock movie situations saying stock movie dialogue like "You're looking for romance, kid, you're not going to find it in a trench.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alexander1746 on 4 Aug. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The first ten minutes and final scenes at Passchendaele are really shocking ones, almost as good as you can expect from any other film focus in a just a battle (like 'Saving private Ryan'). Unfortunately, that's all action you'll get. What is this film about after all?... Basically about romance, war as lived in the homefront and personal conflicts (the now so called 'Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder', but this film is far from its purpose on this point). Concerning the controversial 'crucifixion scene', it's simply the reconstruction of one fact told by a pal of main character (Michael Dunne, just see 29') which also is supposed to have been narrated to Paul Gross by his grandfather who fought in that battle. Of course, I concur, that's a too much long, overdone and disconcerting scene which adds absolutely nothing to the drama.
Overall, this film suffers of Paul Gross' obsession for exactly replicate out of Calgary city (Alberta) some photos and filmed scenes of the real battlefield he had came across, that are extremely well known for anyone interested in this conflict (simply look at the front cover of dvd/blue-ray editions, which is also a still from the actual film!). The only extras are 'Road to Passchendale', but sadly it's not a doc. just the making of (41') mixed with the trailer (a shame, just 12" of a 70's interview to Mr. André Breller, a former member of the Canadian 10th Battalion).
Resuming, as already have been said, it's a film full of 'good intentions' and extremely attention to detail (militaria and all that stuff) but the low budget is clearly shown, just watch the extra featurette and you'll understand. The b.s.o. is repetitive and irrelevant, like it had been made for any standard tv film.
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