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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars humanity at best and worst
War brings out the best and worst in human relationships and this film brings out both in startling clarity. The actors are all superb as they portray people whose basic humanity is strained in the most terrible of conditions. Some rise above the horror of the prison camp, some fall and courage is shown not in how strong you can be but in how you respond when strength...
Published on 1 Mar. 2005

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Check DVD origin
Good film, good delivery. Three stars due to blurb on back being in a foriegn language, although you can change the language to english via the menu, some of the dialogue is still foriegn in the subtitles. My fault for not checking, so other buyers be aware.
Published 3 months ago by sussex girl


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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars humanity at best and worst, 1 Mar. 2005
By A Customer
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This review is from: To End All Wars [DVD] (DVD)
War brings out the best and worst in human relationships and this film brings out both in startling clarity. The actors are all superb as they portray people whose basic humanity is strained in the most terrible of conditions. Some rise above the horror of the prison camp, some fall and courage is shown not in how strong you can be but in how you respond when strength is not an option. This film is deeply moving in its own right but to know that it is a true story and that the people actually existed ensures that its power does not cross the line into emotional manipulation. Watch this film and weep!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Film of Breathtaking Performances and Beautiful Filmmaking, 21 Oct. 2004
This review is from: To End All Wars [DVD] (DVD)
Robert Carlyle (Trainstopping, The Beach), Kiefer Sutherland (24, The Lost Boys, Phone Booth), Cieran McManamin and Mark Strong shine through in Oscar worthy performances in this powerful true story of (as the tagline says) the will to survive and the courage to forgive.
Director David L. Cunningham's film, based on World War II veteran Ernest Gordon's book, is a thing of beauty. Never mind all those so-called 'American Classics' like American Beauty and The Cider House Rules. Don't get me wrong, those are excellent movies, but I just see To End All Wars as better filmmaking triumph. The film shows the true horrors that British and American soldier faced in a Japanese prison camp during WWII.
With McManamin and Strong being little-known actors, I thought that Carlyle and Sutherland would over-shadow them. But that is not the case as they act as supporting material to McManamin's breathtaking leading performance and Strong is equally as 'strong'.
But To End All Wars doesn't just have wonderful performances. Every last detail is done to perfection, especially Cunningham's direction. But, there is one thing that does puzzle me and that is if Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black and The Rock are both in IMBd's Top 250, then why isn't this?
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Though provoking., 8 Nov. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: To End All Wars [DVD] (DVD)
I brought this dvd with some misgivings if it was, as suggested, heavily slanted on christianity. I found nothing of the sort. I watched a film depicting the ability of the individual to find a spirituality in the deepest, darkest face of adversity. It's release should not have been delayed, in fact the lack of publicity for this film is nothing short of disgraceful, echoing a similar lack of recognition of the lives and deaths of the people involved. 'To End All Wars' serves as a timely reminder of man's ability to harm and heal.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What can I say?, 7 May 2004
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This review is from: To End All Wars [DVD] (DVD)
Watched this for the first time today. It's assured not to be the last time.
While watching, I was compelled; drawn in to the story - moreso than many films. The emotional impact it weaves, and thus has on the viewer is...something very special indeed. The brutality tears away at one's mind; keeping a constant reminder of how inhuman and cruel our race can be. But more than just the pain and suffering, there is the conflict of revenge and mercy. These physical & emotional battles bring the viewer closer to the feel of the actions, with more success than some war films.
The acting on everyone's part, is breathtaking - throughout. The whole -feel- of the film is extraordinary. A perfect cast, with a sad and harsh true story. There were moments where I had to cry. I saw these moments, and not only saw it from the POWs' POV, but, also, I reflected on -myself- and who I am. I compared the flaws and strengths and the characters with myself; as me, and as a human being. This is truly one of the better films in a war genre.
It is a real big shame that this film has not received the attention and recognition and acclaim it well deserves. I would very easily rank it up with the best war films made. The story of a small portion of our expansive history, yet containing just as meaningful, just as powerful, just as important a group of lives and series of events as any war as a whole.
A portion of our history; dwarfed in size, like it is said in the film, that of the single human being, who weighs but only a feather.
-Akira
a feather
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly beautiful., 9 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: To End All Wars (DVD)
What a dark horse this film was. I hadn't heard of it until recently, but as a huge fan of Australian TV's 'Changi,' I thought this might be worth watching. It was.

Based on the autobiography of Ernest Gordon (played with great warmth and spirit here by Ciarán McMenamin), the film deals with the experience of English, Scottish and Australian prisoners of war in a Japanese labour camp as they worked on the Burma Railway. It also examines Japanese military culture sensitively. At the heart of the film is its sense of spirituality; whether you're religious or not, these themes will resonate with you. Any film that is able to do all these things in synthesis without alienating its audience is worth the emotional investment.

The performances are universally astounding. All the actors are thin and sunburnt, and throw themselves into their roles with an authenticity that suggests a sense of real affection for their characters. I'd be interested to know what the process of filming was like for the actors, as there appears to be a tangible bond between them. It's impossible not to admire and pity these powerfully sympathetic characters. Robert Carlyle is a persuasive and emotional Major Ian Campbell, Kiefer Sutherland's Lieutenant Jim Reardon is alternately despicable and pitiable, and James Cosmo's performance is brief but predictably impressive. I can't not give an honourable mention to Australian Brendan Cowell, and watching Pip Torrens stoically cite Shakespeare while half-dressed and near-crippled with pain and starvation is terrifically inspiring.

Yugo Saso is instantly likeable as Japanese translator Takashi Nagase; a testament to his acting skills. Those of us who don't speak Japanese never understand a word Sakae Kimura says as Sargeant Ito, and yet his performance is unaccountably eloquent and readable for the audience. His feelings are so often written plainly across his face, and his internal struggles are palpable.

Mark Strong's Dusty Miller steals all his scenes, partly because his real-life counterpart was so admirable. It's rare and inspiring to find characters in film who are both interesting and morally good, but Dusty Miller is both. Mark Strong, without saying much, is simultaneously intense and serene. The scene in which he recounts the circumstances of his conversion is compelling stuff. In the interests of full disclosure, I'm a Christian, so his crucifixion is as moving as movies get. However, I suspect this scene will leave no one unmoved, religious or secular humanist.

Full marks go to Ciarán McMenamin who clearly lost a lot of weight for the role and looks somehow childlike and radiant, even on the brink of death. He looks exactly like someone in a place he isn't meant to be, initially baffled and traumatised by his experiences and later transformed by them. He is perfectly cast to play a character who experiences an epiphany at his lowest point, and finds direction for his life to come. More than anyone else, he is the character we're rooting for, and the ending is eminently fulfilling, as the real life Ernest Gordon makes an appearance.

This is a true ensemble cast, and I was glad it wasn't (as I had feared) simply a vehicle for Kiefer Sutherland. Even the minor actors excel in their roles, simmering with emotion. Some of the contemporaneous reviews I read online suggested that this film was too violent and naturalistic to be enjoyed, and others suggested it was mawkish, blaming a syrupy musical score, a preponderance of religious themes and a focus on what Australians call "mateship." Obviously it can't be both too realistic and too sentimental - I think it strikes a pretty good balance. Maybe I'm desensitised, or maybe the lovelier elements of this story simply surmounted the uglier, but I didn't find the violence and misery gratuitous or offensive; affecting, but not offensive.

In fact this film is surprisingly beautiful. The landscape is amazing, and shots of the little outdoor church built by Dusty Miller, the soldiers huddled around their "university" at night or playing "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring" in a makeshift orchestra are visually and emotionally enchanting. The score, with music by Máire Ní Bhraonáin (of 'Clannad' fame) is syrupy and emotional, but not inappropriately so. It doesn't intrude on the story. The ending is redemptive and memorable.

Ultimately this is a story about a random ensemble of mostly very young men suffering rather pointlessly in the wilderness during a conflict that, sadly, did not turn out to be the war to end all wars. "The triumph of the human spirit" might be an overused cinematic trope, but on the other hand it never gets old.

Watch this. Bring tissues.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars to end all wars, 23 Aug. 2005
By 
bernard plumb (Epping, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: To End All Wars [DVD] (DVD)
a brilliant depiction of life in a p.o.w camp in burma.amazing acting by all the cast, especially robert carlisle.for people, like me who have a passion for military history it is a must see film. the film focuses on the argule regiment, based on reel soldiers and there experience under capture and the horrific triles thay had to endure under the japanese.the film is very upseting at times, as it shows some cruel seens. very well filmed and quite accurate historicly.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, 9 Jun. 2004
This review is from: To End All Wars [VHS] (VHS Tape)
an amazing film tackling the reality of forgiveness and grace - brilliant performances from carlyle and sutherland, I would recommend this film to anyone who asks!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and challenging, 1 Mar. 2005
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quinny "quinny" (Bournemouth, Dorset United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
An excellent movie that depicts man's capacity for inhumanity and the Christian morals practiced by the POW's that both bewildered and shamed their Japanese captors. In spite of the film's ethical slant, it ranks alongside the best war films.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, very moving, 7 Feb. 2011
thought provoking, moving, emotional in parts and at times chilling. a fantasticly acted war drama which teaches the real meaning of forgiveness from both a soldiers perspective and a christians perspective. its even more harrowing to know its a true story. a must see for anyone wanting to be genuinely left speachless.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To End All Wars [DVD][2001], 31 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: To End All Wars [DVD][2001] (DVD)
It may be a low budget film, but it is brilliantly done.
The actors cannot be faulted in the roles they played in this film based on the truth.
It's a movie that hits where it hurts and leaves you shocked and stunned regarding the courage, and the suffering of these men whilst in the hands of the Japanese war machine.
Just amazing how the power of Gods Word can pull people together and give them a reason to keep going. And how the opposite side of the coin (Godlessness) can bring men to a down to a state of almost pure animal.
The crucifixion of one of the prisoners is a scene I will never forget.
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To End All Wars [DVD]
To End All Wars [DVD] by David L. Cunningham (DVD - 2003)
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