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Valkyrie [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Terence Stamp, Eddie Izzard
  • Directors: Bryan Singer
  • Format: PAL
  • Audio Description: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: MGM Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 8 Jun 2009
  • Run Time: 121 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001U8A55Q
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,226 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Tom Cruise and Kenneth Branagh star in this World War II suspense thriller. At the height of the war, a group of high-ranking German officers, including Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Cruise), Major-General Henning von Tresckow (Branagh) and General Friedrich Olbricht (Bill Nighy), hatched a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler (David Bamber) and seize power of the military command in order to end the war and make peace with Allied forces. The operation, codenamed 'Valkyrie', was modified by the conspirators to ensure its success, but for various reasons the plot failed when finally carried out on 20 July 1944, and the conspirators of the inner circle were summarily executed following a kangaroo trial.

Synopsis

Based on a the true story of a cadre of Nazi officers who grew to oppose Hitler's murderous pursuits and made several attempts to kill him in the late stages of WWII, VALKYRIE features a top-flight cast, with drama and suspense in equal measure. The film is a stylistic departure for director Bryan Singer (X-MEN, X2) and star Tom Cruise, with a screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie (THE USUAL SUSPECTS) and Nathan Alexander that is constructed like a heist film, with a team of like-minded men coming together for a common purpose and facing incredible odds. It is 1943, and though he has come to be disgusted by Hitler's campaign of evil, Count Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) has risen to the level of lieutenant colonel in the German army. Convinced that Hitler must die, Von Stauffenberg requests a transfer to Tunisia, where he loses his left eye and right hand during an Allied air raid. Falling in with a group of similarly disillusioned officers including Major General Henning von Tresckow (Kenneth Branagh), General Friedrich Olbricht (Bill Nighy), General Friedrich Fromm (Tom Wilkinson), and Colonel General Ludwig Beck (Terence Stamp), Stauffenberg is at the centre of several attempts on Der Fuhrer's life, culminating in a bombing that kills a handful of his officers and leaves Hitler only slightly injured.

Though advance photos of Cruise in Nazi uniform brought VALKYRIE negative publicity, his restrained performance is at the heart of this well-crafted, thinking person's action movie. He is bolstered by an incredible British cast including Branagh, Stamp, and Wilkinson, and by the film's dazzling art direction. Though it's a story to which viewers should already know the ending, Singer still creates ample suspense. The result is a taut and effective historical thriller.

Compare the cast from Valkyrie with their real life counterparts (click for larger image)


Tom Cruise and Claus von Stauffenberg


Carice van Houten and Nina von Stauffenberg

Terence Stamp and Ludwig Beck

Bill Nighy and Friedrich Olbricht

Eddie Izzard and Erich Fellgiebel

Kenneth Branagh and Henning von Tresckow

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Dan the man on 15 July 2010
Format: DVD
Given that this was made and released as a mainstream film with a big Hollywood name (Cruise) in the leading role, I had wrongly assumed that this would turn out to be another glitzy mis-recreation of an important historical event. How wrong I was! I was very pleasantly surprised with the treatment of the subject matter which was both sensitive and accurate: a rarity indeed!
Whoever has adapted this important historical event into a screenplay has done a tremendous job creating characters who are believably human (complete with flaws) whilst remaining faithful to the events. The cast is an excellent line-up of some of the best serious actors currently treading the boards and I was pleasantly surprised at just how much British talent is showcased here. It is obvious that a great deal of homework has been done and this could serve as a great lesson to other film-makers that you do not have to distort, invent or change the facts of history to make it entertaining (NB: U571, Pearl Harbour, Inglorious Basterds!).
I would recommend this film to anyone who has even a passing interest in WW2 or even viewers who simply enjoy a good tale well told.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Chris White on 9 July 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
When it comes to Tom Cruise movies, there are normally two certainties. Namely: the poster art will consist solely of his face and no matter what the situation, his character will have availed himself of impeccable dental care.

Cruise may be nominally the star but to surround himself by such capable talent on both sides of the camera lifts Valkyrie above his average vehicle. It's directed by Bryan Singer, who reunites with his Usual Suspects collaborators Christopher McQuarrie (co-writer) and John Ottman (composer and editor). The ensemble includes Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson and Terence Stamp.

The subject matter also represents a departure. The true-life story of an assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler means everyone knows up front that he won't be riding off into the sunset, having got the girl who 'completes' him. In fact, Cruise's physical resemblance to the person he portrays, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, is uncanny.

Von Stauffenberg was an outspoken opponent of the Hitler regime and the prime mover behind a daring plan to eradicate the dictator from the scene once and for all. The fact that Der Führer didn't meet his end after walking into an elaborate mousetrap makes witnessing what might have been all the more fascinating. Indeed, the tension is ramped up throughout and despite their being on a hiding to nothing you find yourself rooting for the conspirators.

The one potential sticking point is the use of the actors' natural speaking voices instead of German accents. It's obvious that some of the cast would be better at them than others so this is neatly transitioned right at the beginning. You soon accept that it's a theatrical convention and doesn't detract from your enjoyment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fortuna on 19 Dec 2014
Format: DVD
The perfect companion for all movie enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

Historical dramas usually have one thing going against them, history. How do you build a tension filled plot when everyone knows the outcome? That was Bryan Singer's biggest problem in the making of this brilliantly constructed thriller than focused on the unsuccessful attempt by a leading group of German officers to assassinate Adolf Hitler in the Summer of 1944. Bringing together an all star cast that would put most productions to shame, Singer made us invest our faith in these men who tried in vain to do the right thing.

Led by Tom Cruise as colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, a disillusioned officer who finally wakes up to the atrocities his country has committed under Hitler, he joins a secret committee with plans to replace The Fuhrer. This group of men harbor ambitions to seize control of the country and seek an alliance with the Western Allies in order to save Germany from the Russians. The plot is complex and full of hazards, but each conspirator holds his nerve as von Stauffenberg detonates a bomb inside Hitler's Wolf's Lair in Rastenburg. From then on in it's all or nothing as step by step their plans are set in motion.

With a cast that includes Cruise, alongside Brits Tom Wilkinson, Terrence Stamp, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, and Tom Hollander, as well as European class acts Thomas Kretschmann, Christian Berkel, and Carice van Houten, this film is a monumental achievement.

It looks glorious, frighteningly so.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Bill Calamita on 31 May 2009
Format: DVD
I was a little hesitant to see this movie since it's an historical story & also because of the mediocre reviews, I expected to be bored, but my husband wanted to see it & I thought that I would fall asleep watching, as usual, but I was wrong. The movie engaged me from the beginning & even though I knew the ending, the movie was quite captivating & kept me up waiting to see what will happen. A very nice surprise. Also Tom Cruise was great even though I don't care for him much lately he really gave this movie a soul. Well done.
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