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The First World War - Complete Series [DVD]

Marcus Kiggell , Simon Rockwell    Exempt   DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
Price: £15.14 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Directors: Marcus Kiggell, Simon Rockwell, Corinna Stümmer, Emma Wallace, Ben Steele
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Arrow Films
  • DVD Release Date: 1 July 2013
  • Run Time: 500 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 928 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

The First World War is the definitive documentary series about the global conflict which shaped the 20th century. Based on the book by Hew Strachan and narrated by Jonathan Lewis, the series covers all aspects of the war. The popular view of the First World War is dominated by cliché. Young British soldiers, many of them budding poets, were led to early and ghastly deaths in muddy wastes by incompetent generals for reasons that were seemingly futile. And although clichés are not necessarily lies, they are at best a selective view of the truth. This is a stunning account of the hostilities which offers new interpretations of and insights into one of the defining events of the twentieth century. And, for the first time, it offers a truly global vision of a conflict which is often misconceived as a prolonged skirmish on the Western Front. Accessible, compelling and utterly convincing, this is modern history revealed at its finest.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great DVDs on the First World War 22 April 2006
I have now seen these DVDs twice and they have been send twice also on Danish Televisions DR2 programme. I think that they are very good and worthwile buying.

They give a great introduction to the First World War and with only ten episodes you can't expect more. Another reader here compares it to BBCs Great War of the 1960s, and of course that series was more detailed because it was a seventeen and half hours epic!

The big advantage of the present series is that it has a modern touch showing the places as of today and very good maps, which are normally lacking in DVDs on the First and Second World Wars.

Strachans also brings home that the First World War was a true world war by describing and analysing the events outside of the Europe and the Western Front. I agree although with the other reviewers that he should have put a little more emphasis on the main events on the main theatres of war than he did.

But the only thing I really wonder about is when the two other volumes are coming in his three part book series on OUP. The account is very good although the maps are awful. They only show you the places, and not the fronts or the armies. That is hopefully gonna change in the upcoming volumes.
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110 of 113 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The First World War 8 Mar 2004
This is probably the best documentary on the subject since the 1960's series 'The Great War'. It attempts to explain and highlight the tactics and strategy's employed in the conflict and is both revisionist and traditional in its interpretation of events. Its clever use of letters and diaries of the time helps to produce a sense of the time for the viewer. Although unseen footage of the period is now hard to come by this series does manage to include some previously unseen pictures.
The series will be useful to anyone interested in British and/or military history. A very good aid for the pupil at school learning about the Great War just as for the graduate.
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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
The 1960's BBC series, "The Great War" is more definitive than this latest production. Examples where there is lack of completeness are the Verdun and Somme campaigns which are compressed into one episode. The Eastern Front which was cataclysmic from a Russian perspective is also sparsely covered. This is undoubtedly an unbalanced production in terms of the importance of the action versus the time spent on the aspect covered. If one requires a definitive documentary on this war, rather purchase the BBC version but this production being more than 40 years old, although excellent, is rather dated in style.

In contrast in this DVD little known actions are covered in a disproportional amount of detail. No other video covers aspects such as the campaign in the ex-German colonies such as German East Africa [now Tanzania] & German South West Africa [now known as Namibia]. The German attempts to incite the Islamic world into anti British & Russian actions are also covered quite comprehensively.

Even though the aforementioned aspects are treated at the expense of more important parts of the war, it does add a new dimension to a war which otherwise comprised an unremitting series of artillery bombardments, machine guns scything down lines of soldiers "going over the top" & battles which are similar to one another & which in the facetious words of Rowan Atkinson a la Black Adder merely resulted in General Haig's drink's table moving one yard nearer to Berlin.

The style is a balance between three presentation styles. The backbone are videos many of them new to this reviewer. These are interwoven with extracts of diaries from eye witnesses. This provides a sense of immediacy.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as BBC's "The Great War" 6 Jun 2012
The BBC's 1964 series "The Great War" is a much better introduction to the war. The main claims to fame of this production are that it contains original color footage ("The Great War" is all black and white), and that it focuses a lot on underrepresented aspects of the conflict, such as the war in Africa. However, this latter point is of little interest to a newcomer looking for a basic introduction, and it makes the overall flow of the story hard to follow. Another point in this series is to film the original locations as they are today - which ends up meaning a lot of guys with weird haircuts and designer jeans sipping lattes, and this is actually detrimental to setting the historic tone.

The maps are not very good and the coverage of major battles and sequences of battles is rushed and missing important facts.

I do give some stars for the color footage, which is fascinating.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good But Not Definitive 6 Oct 2004
By P. Ward
Great coverage of the causes of the war and the often overlooked actions in China, the Middle East, Italy and the Eastern Front. However quite disappointing that both Verdun and the Somme battles are compressed into just two thirds of one 50 minute episode and the 'Race for the Sea' and the first, second and third battles of Ypre are omitted altogether.
Overall a very good series but I would recommend that viewers supplement the content by reading Hew Strachan's books on which it is based.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New Perspectives on World War I 23 Feb 2012
This series is a fine introduction to the First World War. It is important, however, to be aware that this series emphasizes certain aspects of the war but does not give a clear overview of the military course of the war on the ground. Here, there is a lot of time given over to how individuals, leaders and common people perceived the war but the actual conduct of operations is glossed over.
The series is to be praised for bringing to light formerly obscure aspects of the war such as the Ottoman struggle against the Russians which is usually ignored because it was not really strategically significant as was the conflict between the Ottomans and the British in the south. The Armenian tragedy is discussed at some length showing that Turkish atrocities against Armenian civilians was a consequence of military operations in the war and not merely a mindless ethnic persecution. The untenable situation of the Jews in Eastern Europe who were caught between the three different empires which led to expulsion, impoverishment and pogroms is discussed at length showing that these roots in the First World War were merely the prelude to even worse to come.
The most significant novelty of this series is that they go to great lengths to show that the view that the war was not merely a "senseless slaughter" and that the Generals were NOT all a bunch of stupid, arrogant men indifferent to the welfare and fate of their men. The film points out that dozens of Generals on both sides were killed in the war sharing the fate of the men at the front line, so it is wrong to picture them all as aloof people who spent their time at a chateau behind the lines.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars good history
This set of discs offers some new and freshly presented material giving a very sound background to the conflict and in a relatively confined disc space the overview is excellent. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Furry Ferret
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay series, so far as it goes, but I have learnt conclusively the...
I have watched this set, which is now currently showing on BBC 4, though it came out originally on Channel 4. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Margaret Newton
3.0 out of 5 stars Good value,but
A five star Series very well made and sold at a very fair price,the problem is that on my own and two other sets I have viewed episodes 6 and 9 are out of focus.
Published 1 month ago by David McIntyre
3.0 out of 5 stars I wouldn't write a dissertation using only this source.
The other 3* reviewers, in my opinion, give an accurate summary of this modern version of The Great War. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Georges
3.0 out of 5 stars The First World War - Complete Series (DVD)
The DVD,The First World War Series,was not bad with some good information on a documentary style approach. With some old film footage from the Great War.
Published 2 months ago by Graeme T
5.0 out of 5 stars very interesting
It shows many aspects of that conflict that I was not aware of and which I found to be very interesting
Published 2 months ago by sciach
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good introduction to the Great War
This is a re-release of the 2003 series, originally distributed by Channel 4 and now timed to coincide with the anniversary of the First World War. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Stephen Bates
5.0 out of 5 stars The First World War
An unusual but very intelligent look at the First World War, taking in politics and geography. The programmes are done by 'theme' rather than the usual simple chronological... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Henrietta
1.0 out of 5 stars Ruined by terrible background music!
I was really looking forward to this but the sound mixing is SO bad, I gave up. The background music is performed with what sounds like a cheap keyboard, with incomprehensible... Read more
Published 8 months ago by JHarvey
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative.
As this particular set hasn't been released as yet I can't comment on it specifically however I have been following the series on TV and have found it to be very informative. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Ausborn
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