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  • The Hittites: A Civilization That Changed the World [DVD] [2004] [US Import] [Region 1] [NTSC]
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The Hittites: A Civilization That Changed the World [DVD] [2004] [US Import] [Region 1] [NTSC]

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Product details

  • Actors: Cuneyt Turel
  • Directors: Tolga Örnek
  • Format: Colour, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: NR (Not Rated) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Cinema Epoch
  • DVD Release Date: 4 Mar. 2008
  • Run Time: 129 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001139ZI8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 202,913 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By F. Aetius on 25 July 2008
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The Hittites is an epic 2004 Turkish documentary by Ekip Films. Narrated by Jeremy Irons, and making use of full scale dramatic re-enactments and interviews from experts, it is the single greatest documentary about these much ignored people.

In many ways it is similar to the BBC's 'Rome: Rise and Fall of an Empire' and Channel 4's 'The Ancient Egyptians' in that it makes use of rather big budget reconstructions of Hittite life. Shot on location in Turkey, Syria and Egypt, the Hittites has a cast of hundreds, as well as working team of reconstructors who designed full scale replicas of chariots, palace rooms, clothing, weapons, pots and another 20,000 historically accurate props. These, combined with some computer generated and model FX, as well as having actors speak in the Hittite language (with subtitles and voiceovers) help bring the world of these ancient people back to life. A dramatic score by the Prague Symphony Orchestra helps add another layer of epic feel to the series.

Between these scenes of reconstructed Hittite life a few experts on the subject discuss different aspects of Hittite civilisation and culture. These cover such things as the Hittite pantheon of gods, the city of Hattusha, the Hittite language, the laws, and the daily lives of the people and the mighty Kings who ruled over them. Trevor Bryce, Harry Hoffner, Ali Dincol, and a dozen other scholars are selected for these fascinating interviews.

The entire documentary runs for over 120 minutes (2 hours) and it covers several subjects on Hittite culture, as well as reconstructions of the lives of famous kings such as Suppiluliuma, Telipinu, Mursili II and Muwattallis.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Helena on 4 Jun. 2011
I am probably what you would call a reasonably educated member of the general public, reasonably versed in basics of world history (I am Chinese by origin and have received a normal western-oriented education) and reasonably curious about great civilisations - both the ones that have vanished and others that are still with us today. That the Hittites were one of the many great civilisations that once occupied the central Anatolian plains, and that in their long history they once had some quarrel with Rameses II which somehow ended up in a draw on the battlefield in a place named Kadesh ... well - that sums up everything I knew about them! Approaching this film then, with all the right qualifications (or lack thereof), I had no idea what to expect so ended up not expecting anything in particular. I was also fully prepared to stop half-way and cut my losses if this turned out to be a waste of time.

I am very happy to report that it was far from a waste of time. A joint Turkish-Western production (top credit went to the Istanbul Stock Exchange, somewhat puzzlingly), it was very well put together with the usual fare of this genre: stunning location photography, comments by the experts, close-up shots of artifacts, dramatic recreations, a fittingly "epic-type" orchestral musical score ... the whole lot. I was glad to see the producers gave enough academic information to put the serious enquirer onto the right track, whilst also managing to give the narrative just enough dramatic flow to keep the casual viewer interested.
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"The Hittites" is an outstanding documentary about an ancient civilization, which was based in Anatolia (i.e. the centre of present-day Turkey) from ca. 1800 to ca. 1200 BC. It is written, produced and directed by the Turkish filmmaker Tolga Örnek, who is the director of several documentaries, including Mount Nemrud - The Throne of the Gods (2001) and Gallipoli - The Frontline Experience (2005). The photographer is Ferhen Akgün, who had the same role on "Mount Nemrud." Here is some additional information:

** Narrated in English by Jeremy Irons
** Music composed and orchestrated by Tamer Çiray
** Music performed by the Prague Symphony Orchestra
** Produced by Ekip Film 2003 and released by Cinema Epoch 2004
** Total running time: 129 minutes (including credits at the end)

"The Hittites" is divided into six chapters:

(1) (20 m) Rise
(2) (20 m) Culture
(3) (31 m) Hatusa
(4) (17 m) Plague
(5) (30 m) Kadesh
(6) (05 m) Fall

As you can see from this list, the film follows a chronological line from the rise of the empire around 1800 BC to the fall around 1200 BC. On the way several general topics are covered as well, for instance the Hittite language, culture, and religion. Chapter 3 deals with houses, temples, and the royal palace (known as the citadel). This chapter also covers water management, administration, archives, and the writing system: cuneiform script.

When the Hittite empire collapsed around 1200 BC, it was soon forgotten and remained unknown for centuries.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Please interpret these impossible Hittite names 26 Aug. 2008
By F. N. Mastrogiovanni - Published on
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The Hittites were a Bronze Age Empire from what is modern day Turkey. Much of what archeologists know about the Hittites comes from clay tablets found in their capital. The two-hour DVD tells the story of the Hittites in chronological order and was narrated by Jeremy Irons. The redramatizations were helpful in showing what clothes, armor, equipment and cities looked like. They also added a historical flavor to this story of this once lost ancient civilization. Jeremy Irons does a masterful job telling about the rise and fall of the Hittites and their 500-year reign over Anatolia. I especially liked where Jeremy Irons correctly pronounces the Hittite kings names like Muwatalish, Mursilis and Suppiluliumas. I thought the battle of Qadesh could have been better explained with more detail and a better explanation about the neighbors of the Hittites. But that would've meant a three or four hour DVD...too bad! Over all I gave this documentary four stars because this is the perfect historical story for beginners like me, who aren't classically educated and haven't spent half our lives digging up ancient cities. A must buy for history buffs like me.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Nice introduction to an ignored culture 3 May 2009
By Prof Wombat - Published on
The documentary is a melange of historian interviews, narrative voice-over and re-enactment. The re-enactment was a bit jarring because of the long hair on the men (I guess I expected closely cropped hair, I'm not sure why), and the sparse set dressing, but I'm just jaded from watching HBO's Rome too many times. I can't comment on the accuracy because I'm ignorant about the Hittites (that's why I watched the DVD), but I find the bronze age fascinating in general, and it seems in keeping with what I have read from The Cambridge Ancient History Volume 2, Part 2: The Middle East and the Aegean Region, c.1380-1000 BC,

I do admit I might only give it three stars without the melliflous narration of Jeremy Irons, gently pronouncing these jawcracker names. There seems to be some disagreement on how to pronounce the names, and the written form (from the Cambridge Ancient History) lists them as having -ash at the end. Hattushilli is Khattushilash, for example, so it make it confusing.

I quite enjoyed this DVD, and have watched it several times. It has surprising production values compare to many shows on the History Channel, and seems to have been promoted by the Turkish government - if so, good for them. Turkey is a deep well of history.

Bottom line, if you're a veteran watcher of History Channel type documentaries, you'll enjoy this.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Great Documentary 23 Feb. 2012
By Victor L. Pillow - Published on
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I watch a lot of documentaries on TV. Saw this on the Smithsonian Channel and decided to buy a copy so I could watch it without the commercials. I think it is a great video. I wish there were more like it. Jeremy Irons is a great narrator. The cinematography is reminiscent of the 1970's and looks astonishing. The dramatizations are fantastic.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Hittite and an Egyptian walk into a bar 9 Oct. 2014
By E. (Harry) Hernandez - Published on
THE HITTITES (A/K/A THE HITTITES: A CIVILIZATION THAT CHANGED THE WORLD, Narr. Jeremy Irons, 2008, 115 minutes) is a most excellent and awesome documentary that teaches us about the nearly forgotten Hittite empire. Mentioned a bit in the Hebrew Bible and Egyptian ancient historical records, this great empire--the first Indo-Europeans as far as we can tell--spread across the earth.

The excellent narrative, performed most beautifully by Irons, outlines all the major events in the formation and downfall of the Hittites. I learned so much from this documentary, which I only just saw. And I'm an Indo-Europeanologist! I have been all my life, but this documentary taught me things that blew me away repeatedly. It is excellent.

I and most of us can do without the stupid reenactments and silly wigs/costumes. This documentary has far too much of that--and may I add it has a lot of wasted time with stupid overblown close-ups of those awful reenactors scowling at the camera. Education does not need this! In spite of it, it is most instructive to anyone interested in any sort of history.

The documentary, mainly due to lack of evidence, skips over a few periods and relationships I should have liked to know better (i.e., did the Hittites father the Celts?). Smoothly avoiding what we don't really know, the documentary compensates by exposing Hittite practices in detail. We recently discovered the Hittites used Sumero-Babylonian cuneiform to record their language. That is one way cuneiform got all around the world.

The Hittites also embraced the religions of the people they conquered in their mad expansion--plus had a practice of establishing local viceroys to rule the outskirts. When the empire fell, the outskirts simply went back to life as usual or got absorbed by Egyptians and Greeks. Funnily enough, the documentary can't go into detail about who the Hittites were (well we KNOW who they were to a degree), to whom they were most closely related or whence they actually came.

I have often asked myself whether the original pre-imperial Hittites were Semites.

Get this wonderful work, despite the operatic and semi-comical reenactment element (which cost it one star). You will see the world in a whole new way, and realize our knowledge of the Hittites truly is one of the greatest discoveries of science. That alone makes this one of the best ancient history documentaries I have ever seen.
When I first saw this documentary on the 'Smithsonian Channel' ... 16 Aug. 2014
By Albuquerque - Published on
Verified Purchase
When I first saw this documentary on the 'Smithsonian Channel', it caught my eye. Once more 'AMAZON PRIME' had this documentary in its listing. I know this dvd is no longer in print. The price was steep $93.94 with shipping. However, the information in this dvd was very enlightening!! The audio and video in this dvd was 'FIRST CLASS'!! No complaints!! I appreciate being an 'AMAZON PRIME' member!!!
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