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The Great War [2002] [DVD]

57 customer reviews

Price: £10.68
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Rent The Great War on DVD from LOVEFiLM By Post
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Frequently Bought Together

  • The Great War [2002] [DVD]
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  • The First World War - Complete Series [DVD]
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  • The World at War - The Ultimate Restored Edition [2010] [DVD] [1973]
Total price: £40.95
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Product details

  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: None
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: None
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Pegasus
  • DVD Release Date: 27 Jan. 2003
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007L3RN
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,309 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

On 20th June 1914 the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire at Sarajevo set the stage for the global conflict diplomats and dynasties alike had said would never happen. But the holocaust that followed was all too real. Within weeks of Archduke Ferdinand's death, Europe was mobilising to fight the war to end all wars - a war that would leave nine million dead and change the face of the globe. The tinder suspicion, smouldering for decades, was fanned into violent life by German ambition: the union of 35 states forged in the 1870 Franco-Prussian war was ready to test its strength, and three decades of covert construction saw them in a position to enter the superpower stage on more than equal terms. On August 1914, the German s rampaged through neutral Belgium, but lost their momentum: in the Flanders fields, Howitzers carved out a blighted wasteland strewn with the dead of both sides. The air was in its infancy, and cavalry gave way to tanks, but this was a war fought hand-to-hand in trenches: Verdun, the Somme and Passchendaele were names that passed into the language as symbolic of the massive waste of life. Verdun survived a ten-month German bombardment the longest ever in the history of warfare- but at the cost of 700,000 lives overall, while British losses at Somme were the greatest of any wartime army to date. As soldiers faced their third winter, they bitterly recalled the promise made in 1914 that they'd be 'home by Christmas'. They were not told which one... The slaughter on the battlefields of Europe still had far to go, as the entrenched armies of Germany and the Allies wiped out a whole generation of young men to control a few yards of mud. But the utter exhaustion of men and nations was relieved by the new theatre of conflict in the skies with air supremacy becoming a key factor in the war, and a symbol of a new era of glamorous warfare. Germany's all-out-U-Boat offensive, America's declaration of war and the subsequent battle of the At

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

362 of 366 people found the following review helpful By omnigadrum on 13 April 2005
Format: DVD
First released in 1964 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War, this epic piece of television has now reached a vintage which might suggest it has outlasted its shelf-life and should be consigned to a peaceful archive. This is precisely what happened to it for a while, but in recent years the BBC has chosen to give the series a fresh airing ... and, in many respects, it appears fresher and more dynamic than it did in 1964.
In 1964 there were still plenty of people around who had vivid memories of the Great War. I used to watch my uncle Chay shaving - his back, shoulders and right arm were covered in hundreds of little black marks, tiny shrapnel fragments and debris left over from the Western Front. I remember numbers of men with artificial legs - remember a couple of my friends whose grandfather's spare legs would be ostentatiously parked behind the couch. I remember the 1914 brass Princess Mary Christmas boxes on display in scores of households, remember captured German pickelhaubs and belt buckles, or the gold watch my grandfather liberated from a Turkish officer in the Dardenelles.
In 1964, the First World War was still alive in Scotland ... and the hundreds of war memorials testified to that, listing the names of local men who'd died fighting not just in Scottish or British units, but who'd enlisted in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, or the USA, and had died fighting under their colours.
In 1964, I watched the series with my uncle Chay. In 1964, it was living history and I could follow it in the presence of a veteran. In 2005, I can still watch it and feel its sense of immediacy. This had nothing to do with nostalgia. In 1964, the BBC broadcast a living oral history of the War.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Wilz VINE VOICE on 22 Mar. 2008
Format: DVD
I am not sure, when I read other reviews, quite what some people expect. This is the history, in film, of a terrible event almost 100 years ago. Understandably the film quality is sometimes poor, monochrome and in parts a little tedious. The whole war was one of stalemate so no one should expect the global movement and recognisable events seen in WW2. From a different time and perspective, this long programme is very informative, gives a clear understanding of what led up to and influenced the whole sorry mess, is extremely well narrated and astonishingly moving. It shows what my Grandfather experienced whilst still a lad of 19 or so and whilst I find it hard to empathise with my Fathers experiences in WW2, I just cannot begin to comprehend how these young men coped.
My generation could see the consequences of this conflict in their relatives (or the lack of them!) but my teenaged children don't even know that such a war took place. This film will stand for generations to come as a living history of how stupid man can be and why we must continue to question the actions of Leaders if we value our hard won freedom. As I said about that other masterpiece, The World at War, modern history should be compulsory in all secondary schools and this should be a part of the syllabus.
If you can afford it, buy it, watch it over the long winter nights and see if you too are not overcome by anger at those in charge, amazement at the stupidity of many at home and emotion at the waste and loss of life. It will at least help you understand why the French Army had so many morale problems in 1939/40. Just do the numbers!
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143 of 145 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. Pomeroy on 26 Jan. 2004
Format: DVD
It hasn't really dated. It's in black and white, because television was black and white in 1968, but it fits the era and the material; on the evidence presented here, the war did not lend itself to vivid colour. Sir Michael Redgrave's diction is classically-trained in a way that modern voiceover people are not (his pronounciation of 'Krupp' is impossible to forget), but again this fits the period. Although some episodes drag, the writing is punchy and gets to the point, whilst the interview subjects - mostly in their late sixties - get their point across too. The interviews are odd to watch, as the participants are slightly young than the WW2 veterans that appear in modern-day documentaries, albeit in stark monochrome.
When not interviewing WW1 veterans the series is almost entirely archive footage, with a few rostrumed photographs. The amount and depth of this footage is astonishing, especially as most subsequent documentaries on the war tend to overuse the same few pieces (a shot of a mine detonating on the eve of the Somme in particular). Inevitably, some of the footage was culled from pre-war training films or post-war reconstructions; it is illustration rather than documentary, just as Ralph Richardson 'acts' the part of Haig, there being no extant recordings of Haig's voice.
As mentioned elsewhere, writing duties were handled by a team headed by John Terraine, who died at the end of 2003. Terraine was famous at the time for bucking the prevailing post-WW1 viewpoint, that the Great War had been prolonged by stupid incompetents such as Field Marshal Haig; he instead argued that Haig was a victim of circumstance, and that he did well bearing the constraints under which he operated.
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