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The Prisoner: Volumes 1-5 [DVD] [1967]

Patrick McGoohan    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)
Price: 47.00
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Frequently Bought Together

The Prisoner: Volumes 1-5 [DVD] [1967] + The Prisoner Handbook + Danger Man: The Complete 1964-1968 Series [DVD]
Price For All Three: 97.38

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Product details

  • Actors: Patrick McGoohan
  • Format: Box set, PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Carlton
  • DVD Release Date: 21 Aug 2000
  • Run Time: 985 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004U8MR
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,611 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Part action series, part psychedelic fantasy, part allegory, Patrick McGoohan's masterpiece, The Prisoner, was initially touted as a sequel to his earlier spy series, Danger Man. But when it was first broadcast in 1967 TV audiences were puzzled; when the show was cancelled 17 episodes later due to declining viewing figures, no one was any the wiser. Shot in the picturesque surroundings of Portmeirion in North Wales, whose architectural fantasies provided an ideal backdrop for the show's surrealism, The Prisoner has subsequently been recognised as one of the most innovative and thought-provoking series ever to be broadcast. Despite the primary-coloured flower-power look, the show's bold ideas haven't dated at all, proving that The Prisoner was simply years ahead of its time.

McGoohan is Number 6, a man whose resignation from the secret service (seen every week in a montage title sequence--itself an impressionistic TV landmark) triggers his abduction and imprisonment in "The Village", a sort of open prison for spies where everyone has a number not a name. It's a pretty comfortable place and the other inhabitants all seem passively to accept the situation, allowing the Village authorities to control and limit their actions without protest (escape attempts are thwarted by mysterious bubble-shaped guards called "Rovers"). Number 6, however, is an indomitable freedom fighter whose refusal to accept the status quo is a metaphor for the individual ego struggling against the forces of social conformity: "I am not a number I am a free man" is the series' most resonant catchphrase.

The Village's allegorical microcosm of society is presided over by Number 2, played by a different actor every week, with whom Number 6 clashes repeatedly in a battle of wills as he continually questions the authority that has imprisoned him ("Who is Number 1?"). In turn the Kafkaesque authorities try to discover the reason why he resigned. His trenchant refusal to provide any reason at all is itself a powerful assertion of individual freedom. The series culminates in perhaps the most bizarre and psychedelic TV episode ever made, "Fallout", in which Number 6's revelatory discovery of the real power that keeps him imprisoned raises more questions than it answers. --Mark Walker

Product Description

All 17 episodes of the Kafka-esque cult 1960s sci-fi telefantasy. In 'Arrival', a government agent henceforth known as the Prisoner (Patrick McGoohan) is rendered unconscious in his London apartment after handing in his resignation. He awakes in the Village, a self-contained, remote society run by Number Two and the never-seen Number One. Upon being told that he is now Number Six, and that he will remain in the Village until the authorities have ascertained the reasons for his resignation, the Prisoner determines to escape. 'The Chimes of Big Ben' sees Number Six hatching a plan for escape with his new neighbour, Nadia, which seems to go very smoothly. But is all as it seems? In 'A. B. and C.', Number Two (Colin Gordon) uses a wonder drug to try and tap into Number Six's dreams, in an attempt to find out why he resigned from the British government. 'Free for All' sees Number Six persuaded to stand in the election for a new Number Two, but finds himself subjected to 'the Test' after angering the current incumbent (Eric Portman). In 'The Schizoid Man', Number Six awakes to discover that he is now Number Twelve - a new man with a new identity and appearance - and that a doppelganger of his original self has been brought to the Village to try and break him once and for all. 'The General' sees the Village community ordered to attend the 'Speedlearn' classes of the Professor, which can help them attain a University degree in three minutes. In 'Many Happy Returns', Number Six makes his escape after waking up to find the Village deserted. He makes his way back to his London home, only to find it occupied by a Mrs Butterworth who has a surprise planned for Six's birthday... 'Dance of the Dead' sees Number Six attempting to send an SOS out of the Village using a corpse he discovers on the beach. However, Number Two (Mary Morris) has been informed of Six's movements by Dutton, a treacherous former colleague. In 'Checkmate', Number Six is invited to take part in a human game of chess. However, his attempts to elicit information from the Queen are initially unsuccessful. 'Hammer into Anvil' sees Number Six determined to gain revenge on the latest Number Two (Patrick Cargill) after the latter drives an innocent girl to her death. Six sets about driving Two insane by pretending that he is a spy sent to keep Two under surveillance. In 'It's Your Funeral', Number Six finds his reputation smeared in an attempt to prevent him foiling an assassination plot. 'A Change of Mind' sees Six forced to turn to the Village doctor after being declared 'unmutual'; in an attempt to avoid drug and soundwave treatment, Six attempts to turn the tables on the latest Number Two. In 'Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling', the Prisoner awakes in his London home to discover that his mind is now in the body of another man, and heads for Austria to find the only man who can reverse the process. 'Living in Harmony' is a western spoof which sees Number Six trapped in a town called 'Harmony'. The authorities want the Prisoner to become the new sheriff, but he is reluctant to accept the post due to the fact that he would be required to carry a gun. In 'The Girl Who Was Death', the Prisoner seems to be back in his old job as a secret agent, becoming involved with a mad scientist and his daughter, Death, in his attempt to track down the killer of Colonel Hawke-English. 'Once Upon a Time' sees Number Six subjected to 'Degree Absolute' interrogation by a returning Number Two (Leo McKern). In 'Fall Out', the Prisoner wins the right to his individuality after surviving 'Degree Absolute', and finally gets the chance to meet Number One. However, his escape from the Village is not what he expected. Also included are an alternative, American press review edition of 'The Chimes of Big Ben' and the American documentary 'The Prisoner Companion', which attempts to answer the many questions posed by the series.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best TV Series ever! 1 April 2005
If by chance you haven't ever heard of let alone seen the Prisoner, you should be told it is a 1960's ITC (Lew Grade) series running to 17 episodes, which follow a man known only as No. 6, who finds himself imprisoned in the mysterious and beautiful Village (Hotel Portmeirion in North Wales). We are never told exactly what No.6 did before - most likely some sort of secret agent, possibly even John Drake (of DangerMan), who was also played by Patrick McGoohan. The Prisoner's first objective is to escape, but his aims and objectives become more ambiguous as the series progresses. The 17 episodes - each a self contained story, except for the 2-part finale - range from more straightforward "will he escape" stories - "Chimes of Big Ben", Checkmate" - to social commentaries on subjects like education "The General"; and elections - "Free for All". It must be said, some episodes stand head and shoulders above others, and McGoohans original idea of a mini-series running to 7 stories was, by the end, becoming stretched in places. But some episodes justify the 5 stars on their own - "Arrival" (never has there been a more dramatic, well crafted pilot to any series- ever!); "Free for All"; Dance of the Dead" (with its beautiful encounter between "Mr Tuxedo" and "Peter Pan" on the Portmeirion sands); and a particular favourite of mine, "ABC". The final two episodes - Once Upon A Time and Fall Out - are complex, difficult to watch in places, but ultimately rewarding. Don't even think of jumping ahead and watching them first.
Criticisms? Sometimes the series shows its age - it was made in the 60's after all. Some of the technology and fashions look dated by todays standards. As time went on, so some of the scripts became a little weak (like "Its Your Funeral").
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88 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb DVD set with loads of extras 29 May 2010
By Siggy
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
For some reason, the reviews for both the DVD and blu ray releases have been linked together by Amazon.

So to avoid any confusion, this review is for the standard DVD set and NOT the blu ray collection.

(EDIT 28/01/13) The reviews are now linked together for at least four other box sets, so for further clarification, this review refers to the 7 disc standard DVD box set released by 'Network' in the UK (Amazon ASIN: B001AQVFDO).

'The Prisoner' episodes themselves are so well known and familiar to most people that there is little point describing or trying to explain them here.

So what's in the digitally restored DVD set from network? Well just about everything!

As well as the 17 episodes themselves (several with commentaries), there's original/alternate edits of 'Arrival' and 'The Chimes of Big Ben'. 'Arrival' is also presented as an original edit with the complete (and abandoned) Wilfred Josephs music score only (no dialogue). 'Arrival's' opening credits are also shown in side by side 'before and after' restored quality comparison. The alternate 'Chimes' appears to be the one previously released on the Carlton box set a few years ago.

There's a fine documentary about the making of 'The Prisoner' called 'Don't knock yourself out', featuring original cast and production team members.

A 'clean' opening and closing sequence, with no titles or credits superimposed is included, along with the original animated penny farthing 'advert bumpers' that were used for the commercial breaks on the ITV transmitions. There's also some shots of the filing cabinets from the opening credits with the 'resigned' label done in different languages for overseas sales.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where am I? In the Village. 23 Nov 2005
By BryBo
Just to add to phil1_atr and his excellent review, the prisoner was made 20 years before its time and we have only just cought up with it.
Made in 1966 and put on air in 1967, it is a basic story line (with many different theory versions depending on your point of view) of trying to break someones determination to be individual and on the other hand someones rebellion of the establishment.
Each episode is about trying to get No 6 to tell them why he resigned his position and our hero trying to escape his Idyllic prison. It covers topics like drugs and personality drug alterations, deception, manipulation, disillusionment and dishonesty, to name a few, in differant settings and experiences. You can't even have a full nights sleep with out some one seeing your dreams and trying to alter your perception.
17 excellent storylines and brilliant acting with the odd slow part with a twist at the end to keep you baffled. The music is either brilliant or boring but also moving and hypnotic. Most people who watch the Prisoner love it and watch it over and over again.
Excellent DVD and worth buying, you may even join 6 of 1.
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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Prisoner 23 Feb 2009
I was too young to watch this series when it was first shown back in the late 60's but as there has always been this 'cult viewing' description attached to it I wanted to see it for myself. Well, it certainly lives up to the decription! Whilst there is a story in each episode, it's essential that you see the first one to have any way of understanding those that follow and even then you'll have to open your mind a little.
Seemingly based on the 'you can resign but you'll never leave' belief held by many about government employees especially those from MI5, it teeters between reality and madness but in a truly colourful way.

The digital reproduction is excellent and it's hard to believe this was made in the 60's, the imagery, setting and acting is first class and looks more like something that could have been made last week rather than 40 years ago. Top Draw!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Took us back in time great
Published 10 days ago by EM Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Penned up with the amazing Leo McKern
A satire? A thriller? A psychological drama? A spy story? All these and more as various scriptwriters struggled to make sense of the man, No 6, who is kidnapped at the beginning... Read more
Published 11 days ago by NB
5.0 out of 5 stars Good set of blue rays
A very sharp picture and good soundtrack. If you want to watch in 16:9 you need to adjust TV picture settings.
Published 14 days ago by C Turner
5.0 out of 5 stars Of incalculable infuence
An influential TV series that is occasionally rough around the edges for budgetary reasons but holds together thanks to a hypnotic performance by McGoohan and the inspired use of... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Dourscot
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent quality
Published 18 days ago by Frederic Mailhot
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Best ever episodes, the performance of Patrick McGoohan is second to nothing.
Published 18 days ago by guzare sunar
5.0 out of 5 stars its amazing how much of the series that seemed far out ...
A true classic,its amazing how much of the series that seemed far out and far fetched, is now a normal part of daily life, a must see.
Published 26 days ago by brenda hanks
5.0 out of 5 stars ... inspiration/rebellion as I was all prepared to "resign" my crap...
Just ordered this in a fit of inspiration/rebellion as I was all prepared to "resign" my crap job of 39 years boredom and escape to pastures new. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Andrew Lewis
4.0 out of 5 stars For lovers of surrealism
Id have given this 5 stars!. The reason only 4 is the screen format size, should have been bigger. Iv grown up with this masterpiece of intrigue. Read more
Published 1 month ago by charles gemmell
2.0 out of 5 stars Not bad.
One episode on one of the discs can freeze on playing but too late now complaining lol. But a good thing to own...
Published 1 month ago by ML
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