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on 26 January 2007
My earliest memory, and maybe my happiest one, is of watching The Thorn Birds with my mother. I must have been only 3 or 4 years old at the time, but for years I carried this vague landmark of childhood with me. I couldn't remember the story clearly at all, I only remembered loving the theme music and loving the colourful settings and loving Richard Chamberlain. Twenty years later and I saw the series advertised here on Amazon, but I didn't buy it. I was just really reluctant to alter that sacred memory in any way. I finally caved in, though, and I watched the series this week.

I know this probably sounds a bit over the top, but it was just such a wonderful experience, seeing it again, seeing it properly for the first time really, but getting sudden little flashes of memory from the happiest time in my life while I watched it. It gave me a great feeling of warmth, poignant but very comforting. I can see now why the series made such a lasting impression on me as a very young child, even if the particulars of the story had been forgotten. The atmosphere and vivid richness of the settings, the excellence of the acting, the wonderfully lush colours, the haunting music, the sense of timeless high romance... they all stayed with me. I've grown into a confirmed romantic, and I'm pretty sure that The Thorn Birds must have been the formative keystone in that aspect.

The hauntingly lovely Rachel Ward gives an excellent performance as Meggie, and there is a sterling line-up of extremely high calibre actors in supporting roles (special mention has to go to Sydney Penny who plays Meggie as a child), but this series really belongs to Richard Chamberlain. I think he comes as close as anyone ever has to capturing the male romantic ideal. It's almost impossible to believe that he was nearly 50 years old when he starred here, he's so youthful. And Rachel Ward is simply his ideal screen counterpart - they make such a perfectly matched couple. Just from an aesthetic point of the view, the series is a joy to watch due to the brilliant casting of Meggie and Ralph.

I could gush for hours here, but let me just say that if you're contemplating buying this series, please don't hesitate. It's a magical way to spend a few hours. There are no extras on this release, though, which is a terrible shame, but there are subtitles, and the picture and sound quality are first rate. The series comes on 2 double-sided discs, which do require a little fevered wrestling to dislodge from their cases, but even the artwork and designs of the cover and the dvd menus are beautiful.

This really is televisual chocolate for anyone with even the tiniest streak of romance in their blood. You'll laugh, cry, grin like a moonstruck idiot, and thoroughly melt. Enjoy! :)
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on 27 February 2007
Perhaps someone will find it useful to know that this DVD has the following DVD Features:

Languages: English, French, Italian

Hearing Impaired: English, Italian

Subtitles: English, French, Italian, Dutch, German, Spanish, Arabic, Romanian, Bulgarian.

Run Time: 464 mins

And as mentioned before in one review, it really does consist of 2 DVDs, but they have sides A and B each, so there are actually 4 DVDs.
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I watched the series many years ago and it was good to revisit this on DVD with a more mature eye. It was a hit miniseries then and it is still riveting to watch. I have always considered this to be one of the saddest but poignant movies of our time largely because of the subject matter, forbidden love, ambition and manipulative cruelty. It follows the trials of the Cleary family between the years 1915 to 1969 in a fictional sheep station called Drogheda. Here we find a young priest Father Ralph De Bricassart (Richard Chamberlain) exiled to the Australian outback because he insulted a bishop, befriending the wealthy patriarch of the Cleary family Mary Carson hoping that a bequest from her will help him advance his career in Rome, while at the same time rejecting her desire for him. He in turn mentors Mary's young niece Meggie Cleary and as she bloosoms into womanhood everyone especially Mary could see they were falling in love. However the manipulative matriarch Mary devised a plan to separate the two by changing her will and bequeathing her estate to the Catholic church with Father Ralph as the executor. Will he do the decent thing and destroy the new will thus allowing the rightful heirs their inheritance or will his ambition to be a cardinal override his love for Meggie? Woven against a background of church politics, family secrets, social changes, wealth, poverty and of course forbidden desire, this is a compelling story and one that was beautifully translated onto to the screen by an all star cast of Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward, Barbara Stanwyck, Jean Simmons, Christopher Plummer, Bryan Brown, Mare Winningham, and Richard Kiely to mention a few. The Australian outback setting of the movie and the music with its evocative tones really conveys a feeling of melancholy that captures the essence of the movie.

This new release contains the original dvd The Thorn Birds and the dvd The Thorn birds the Missing years. The Missing years stars Amanda Donahue as Meggie Cleary and Richard Chamberlain reprises his role as father Ralph, but none of the other original cast members are seen here. It tells the story of the missing chapter during the war years.Good value for money.
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on 13 December 2007
This mini series spans three generations of the Cleary family from the 1920's to the 1960's. At the head of the family is Mary Carson,a widow and the owner of Drogheda the largest sheep station in New South Wales. She is also probably the richest woman in Australia. Despite her advancing age she falls in love with the new priest Father Ralph de Bricassart. He is young,handsome and charismatic,but above all,ambitious. Richard Chamberlain plays this part to perfection,and Barbara Stanwyck gives a scintillating performance as the increasingly malicious and vengeful aging spurned woman.

This malice knows no bounds when her brother and his family come to work for her. She sees that Father Ralph is drawn to her niece Meggie,only a child,and played by Sydney Penny with a touching innocence. They are attracted to each other,but when Meggie grows up into a beautiful woman, now played by Rachel Ward,Mary Carson puts into action her plan to destroy Ralph. She is very perceptive,and writes a second will in which she leaves all - £13 million - to the Catholic Church so long as it appreciates the worth and ability of Ralph de Bricassart. She opens the way for him to realize his ambitions,and hopefully forget Meggie.

Yes,Ralph does realize his ambition to rise within the Church,but he cannot forget Meggie. Time and again he has reason to return to Drogheda and each time they meet he has to tear himself away from her saying that he loves God more. It is heartbreaking to watch some of these scenes. Eventually Meggie realizes that she will never marry Ralph and so marries Luke O'Neill,a visiting sheep shearer. They are not really suited and after their daughter Justine is born she leaves him. But not before she and Ralph spend a wonderful stolen time together on an island. This is the last time they will see each other for nearly twenty years,and in the meantime Meggie gives birth to their son Dane. She does not tell Ralph. She is fulfilled now with Dane. But another black cloud looms on the horizon,and history is about to repeat itself. Dane wants to become a priest. Poor Meggie. She has already given up the man she loves to God and now she is being asked to sacrifice her son too. In the end she sends him to Ralph,now a Cardinal at the Vatican. He grows very close to Dane and ordains him. He is shattered when Dane drowns in Greece. He travels to Drogheda to conduct his funeral,even though he is in his seventies and in poor health. His death follows shortly afterwards,precipitated no doubt by Meggie finally telling him that Dane was their son.

This mini series is one of the best ever,if not the best. It has such a wonderful story with so many interesting relationships and twists and turns within them. The acting is superb. Jean Simmons as Fee, Meggie's mother is very convincing as the repressed and stoic wife and mother. And then there is Christopher Plummer as Cardinal Vittorio,Ralph's mentor. He plays his part with great understanding of Ralph's sadness and conflict of mind. But of course it is Richard Chamberlain's portrayal of Ralph that dominates. He plays the part so convincingly through the decades, from the young energetic Father Ralph of the Australian Outback to the gracefully aging Cardinal de Bricassart of the Vatican. Superb!!
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on 22 April 2009
I loved the Thorn Birds when it was on originally and was glad to get it on DVD.
The 3 stars are for this DVD presentation, not the actual series (which would get 5 stars).
It is really annoying when, before it starts, the preview is so detailed that you might as well not watch the rest! It is really irritating for someone who has already seen it, but it would completely spoil it for anyone who hasn't.
At the beginning and at the end of each side, there is a full 'trailer' - so full that you see all the major events of the story from beginning to end before it starts! You can't get round it, other than 'fast-forwarding' (with your eyes half shut) to the proper beginning, then quickly looking away and pressing stop at the end of each side.
Be Warned!
- But the series is fantastic :)
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on 20 November 2004
The Thornbirds is a brilliantly adapted miniseries from the popular book by Colleen McCullough. It tells the story of Irish immigrants (the Cleary family) setting up their new life in the outback of New South Wales, Australia in the early 1900's. The theme is set on the forbidden love of Maggie Cleary (the youngest daughter of the irish family, the Cleary's) and the priest (later cardinal) Ralph de bricasert. The story is well acted, especially by Rachael Ward and Richard Chamberlain and along with the epic minseries Roots is one of the best ever made. This DVD is brilliantly manufactured with lots of special features and extra footage, I highly recommend this DVD, Please Buy It.
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on 15 December 2010
This is advertised as The Thorn Birds Complete but each disc has great chunks missing off the end - the first disc ends after Mary Carsons funeral missing out the bush fire and Meggies meeting with Luke O'Neill and deciding to marry him. The second disc starts with Ralph in The Vatican and Meggies marriage to Luke and ends before Meggies son becomes a priest and completely misses out Ralphs discovery that he has a son and his death.

The missing parts are shown in preview at the start of each disc. I had this as a VHS Video and it was complete so I think someone needs to answer the question why is so much of this story missing?
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on 5 January 2006
This is superb. The story of a priest whos love for God conflicts with his love for Meggie Cleary. I have read the book, but prefer the mini series. Maybe I am biased because I saw the series first. One little annoyance is that there is a two minute preview of the entire series at the beginning of every episode. It is not skippable, so you have to fast forward it. Stands up to many repeat viewings. Brilliant casting and excellent performances. Certainly worth a place in the DVD collection.
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on 15 June 2007
I, like many other romantics, first watched this mini series on TV. I was not disappointed to see again this tale of forbidden love, on DVD. The magic and torment of Ralph and Meggie's love for each other I experienced watching the first time, all came flooding back, and I was there again sharing it with them! I fell in love with Richard Chamberlain when he stared in Dr Kildaire, but he was even more attractive as Father Ralph!

There are some great performances from many stars including; Barbara Stanwyck, Christopher Plummer, Jean Simmons, Bryan Brown, Sydney Penny, and of course, Rachel Ward and Richard Chamberlain.

There is some confusion as this DVD is described as Series 1 but in fact it does consist of the whole TV mini series. 'The Missing Years' is the follow up series, but sadly with many different characters playing the parts. On reading reviews of the Thorn Birds Videos Vol 1, 2&3, and 4, someone said they wished the complete series was on DVD - well THIS is it!

If like me you're a romantic, then you must purchase this double sided 2 disc DVD. My only gripe is why couldn't the discs have proper labels deplicting side 1,2,3 & 4. It isn't very easy to see which is which!

The best bits; Meggie appearing to Ralph in her rose pink dress - the eye to eye contact - Wow! Their finally making love on the beautiful island, and the hauntingly romantic music - Great entertainment!
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on 14 April 2011
the thornbirds is a favorite movie of mine from the first release all those years ago but I'm sorry to say they have spoilt the experience with having to sit through the extra footage at the beginning which is totally uneccessary, if you haven't seen it before they show the outline of the whole film at the beginning, which ruined the veiwing for me, basically they show excerpts of the whole film if I had known this I would never have bought it. I would recommend the movie but without the extra content at the beginning,it almost like watching it twice cause you know whats going to happen before you get to it.
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