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Regeneration [VHS] [1997]

Jonathan Pryce , James Wilby , Gillies MacKinnon    Suitable for 15 years and over   VHS Tape
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Jonathan Pryce, James Wilby, Jonny Lee Miller, Stuart Bunce, Tanya Allen
  • Directors: Gillies MacKinnon
  • Writers: Allan Scott, Pat Barker
  • Producers: Allan Scott, Eddie Dick, Eric Coulter, Kathy Avrich-Johnson, Mark Shivas
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • VHS Release Date: 1 Oct 1999
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CWAD
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 149,520 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

At Craiglockhart Hospital during World War One, officer and poet Siegfried Sassoon (James Wilby) writes a statement condemning the war. This leads him into conflict with military psychologist Dr William Rivers (Jonathan Pryce), who cannot accept Sassoon's pacifist stance. Sassoon strikes up a friendship with Wilfrid Owen (Stewart Bunce), who, inspired by him, begins writing his own poetry. Meanwhile, Rivers' attempts to help mute shell-shock victim Billy Prior (Johnny Lee Miller) are in vain until Billy embarks on a romance with Sarah, who works at a munitions factory.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A minor masterpiece 14 Nov 2004
Format:VHS Tape
I had not read Barker's trilogy before seeing the film. Indeed I tuned in to it by accident when it was on TV.

To say that I was gripped is understatement. I was also intensely moved, not merely by the plight of the mentally scarred men at Craiglockhart,(and NOT just Billy Prior), and by the poetry of both Sassoon and Owen; but above all by the astonishing portrayal by Jonathan Pryce of Major Rivers. Here is a man caught in the conundrum of healing the minds of soldiers, of clearing away the mental wall which they have thrown up to forget the horrors they have witnessed, but doing so knowing that they will be immediately returned to those horrors once he has cured them. And the depiction of Rivers' own declining mental state as he too comes to suffer the same symptoms as his patients almost by association was for me unforgettable.

It matters not that the film does not stick rigidly to the books. This is a film which stands out in its own right - moving, sensitive, superbly acted, and one which nobody who stands still for two minutes on Armistice Day at the eleventh hour should miss.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr Rivers and the War Versus Shell Shock 12 Oct 2002
By A Customer
The strength of this piece is that is based around a real incident and several character who really live--Owen, Sassoon, Rivers-In this film, they carry the rest along so you get time to know the more minor characters who have just as harrowing stories of their own in this world of shellshock. The drama is excellent, especially the spooky premonitions of Owen's death, the location is just right for the Gloomy Craiglockhart War Hospital (which really existed and si now part of Napier Uni in Edinburgh) and we get a good idea of what these patients, and the doctors who tried to help with their problem AND sheild them from the official line which calls them cowards. We are given a true sense of how awful shellshock was, without slimy sentimemtality spoiling the message. The actors, especially James Wilby and Stuart Bunce are well chosen for their roles (Sassoon and Owen respectively, and help to makethe whole thing convincing, but what really 'did it' for me was Pryce's potrail of compassionate Doctor William Rivers. I have studied this remarkable man for some time and Pryce's portrayal of him, including the stammer and chronic fatigue was just how i expected Rivers to have been--even down to the voice. Watch it if you have any interest in war, psychology, psychotherapy, or if you can't believe shellshock was real. Watch it if you are a fan of the Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker--inevitably some sections from the book are missing but her version of events is kept to as faithfully as hers were to what really happened in 1917
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and sensitive Film 18 Nov 2005
I have considered other reviews and in general agree with them. This is a powerful and moving picture which makes effort to display the horror, and arguably the futility, of the first world war. As a film alone it is precisely executed, with some fine british actors providing thoughtful and provoking performances. The first few seconds of this film sum up WW1 for me, with haunting music as the camera travels over a black mud field deep with the dead and dying - and then the delicate end where Owen tells of the loss of 'half of Europe's seed'. Do not miss this, it is a film that you wont forget.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good film that should have been a great one 28 Nov 2008
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Despite promising material - the relationship between World War One poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon and the pioneering work of psychiatrist Dr W.H.R. Rivers in dealing with shell-shocked soldiers at Craiglockhart Hospital in Scotland - and Pat Barker's fine source novel, Regeneration/Behind the Lines is something of a disappointment. It's not so much that it's bad, though it does have many problems, more that it's not great when it could and should have been.

Gillies MacKinnon's direction is a big part of the problem, a victim of too much good taste and restraint and not terribly cinematic either, rarely venturing much beyond medium shots. The material needs attack and passion, but instead it feels like a well-staged piece that's too nervous about offending its potential audience's sensibilities to really go for the throat. The casting is problematic too: Jonathan Pryce is fine as the psychiatrist gradually assuming his patients maladies himself as he faces the irony of curing men so they can be sent back to possibly die at the front but Jonny Lee Miller remains unconvincing as the resentful working class officer Billy Prior, cutting far too contemporary a figure to convince in a period piece. However, the scenes between James Wilby and Stuart Bunce as Sassoon and Owen really take hold, and it's here that the film all too rarely finds its heart and soul. It's a film that stands up a lot better on a second viewing partially because of lower expectations, but it's much too polite to do its subject matter full justice. That the Dutch DVD is a slightly cut version does not help matters.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" 16 Oct 2007
By L. Keys
I chose the title for this review from the famous poem by Wilfred Owen, because this film is poetry in itself. It's portrayal of the lives of the patients at Craig Lockhart hospital is excellent, and the characters are all strong. As Siegfried Sassoon assists Wilfred Owen in pursuing his natural talent for poetry to use it to write about the war, the audience follows the stories of Dr. Rivers, a psychiatrist doing his best to help the shell-shocked soldiers through traditional counselling methods whilst new, more animalistic treatments are developing in London, and Billy Prior, an officer attempting to overcome his optional muteness. As the lives of these different characters entwine with each other the audience can really share in the emotions of the men, and I believe this film does a brilliant job of bringing us closer to understanding what a significant impact this war had on people's lives and their mental stability.
It's beautifully shot and well acted with a haunting score.
It's a little known film, but it is very worth watching for its depiction of a different slant to the First World War, and is a strong tribute to the masterful work of Sassoon and Owen, as it gives us an understanding of how the events of the war influenced their pens in writing some of the best poetry ever written.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good service and price.
Published 3 days ago by C Palma
5.0 out of 5 stars An imperfect 5*
I've not read the book, but the film presents a rather jaundiced view of the time it portrays. Judging by other reviews here, it's true to the novel on which it is based, and since... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Mr M.R.Watkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Up there with Aces High, All Quiet etc. ...
Up there with Aces High, All Quiet etc. The story of Sassoon and Owen's meeting while recovering from shellshock. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Louise Young
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by bookworm
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
A faithful rendering to the book which I also liked very much. Gives a less glamorous view of war and the effect it had on individuals fighting in the first world war. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ms Orrech
4.0 out of 5 stars Regeneration
Good film, Pryce is superb in his role. The most haunting part of the film is where Owen stares into space on occasion, and the camera slowly enters a canal tunnel, and it's as... Read more
Published 7 months ago by futurebad
4.0 out of 5 stars Filmmakers and Narratives
No doubt there are always lovers of books who are disappointed with film versions of their favourite tomes and most of the criticism of Regeneration is at this level. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Niall
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story about the futility of war, a lesson we still haven't...
I first saw this on tv and bought it for my mother since she lives in Austria and hadn't seen it.

She enjoyed it hugely as well.
Published 11 months ago by Mrs. Suzanne R. O'shea
5.0 out of 5 stars World War I Poets and Doctor
This is the film based on Pat Barker's novel of the same name about the real life poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen and the real life Dr. Read more
Published on 20 April 2012 by Mr Raymond Towey
5.0 out of 5 stars Startling Insight into the Effects of War
I've watch this film many times over the last few years and it never loses its ability to disturb and move. Read more
Published on 21 Feb 2012 by MarcP1975
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