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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your heart will never be the same again.
I'll keep it brief, sort of. It takes a lot to get me any way emotional over a film, but of all the countless numbers of films I've seen, the final scene of "Merry Christmas Mr.Lawrence" is the ONLY time I've ever cried watching a movie! It's so emotional and moving that it has to be the most powerful scene I've ever witnessed. Overall, a superb film with Conti...
Published on 24 July 2001 by Alan Hodder

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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A powerful movie spoiled by a poor quality DVD transfer
This emotionally powerful film has excellent performances from all the lead roles. I would give it five stars, if it weren't that the DVD transfer were so poor. The image has low contrast and the soundtrack has some noticable breaks and other noises. See this movie, but be warned about the "Second Sight" edition.
Published on 7 Feb 2001


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your heart will never be the same again., 24 July 2001
By 
Alan Hodder (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I'll keep it brief, sort of. It takes a lot to get me any way emotional over a film, but of all the countless numbers of films I've seen, the final scene of "Merry Christmas Mr.Lawrence" is the ONLY time I've ever cried watching a movie! It's so emotional and moving that it has to be the most powerful scene I've ever witnessed. Overall, a superb film with Conti taking the honours for his outstanding performance as Mr.Lawrence. Awesome.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A powerful movie spoiled by a poor quality DVD transfer, 7 Feb 2001
By A Customer
This emotionally powerful film has excellent performances from all the lead roles. I would give it five stars, if it weren't that the DVD transfer were so poor. The image has low contrast and the soundtrack has some noticable breaks and other noises. See this movie, but be warned about the "Second Sight" edition.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" on BLU RAY - Compatibility Issues - Which Version To Buy..., 27 Feb 2014
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
As you've probably gathered most of the reviews are for the 'DVD' version of David Bowie’s stunning turn in 1983’s “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence”. And the BLU RAY is available in both the States and other territories. But if you live in the UK – then which is the best issue to buy?

Unfortunately the desirable USA Criterion issue is REGION-A LOCKED.
So it WILL NOT PLAY on most UK BLU RAY players unless they're chipped to play 'all' regions (which the vast majority aren't).
Don’t confuse BLU RAY players that have multi-region capability on the 'DVD' front – that won’t help.

Luckily the Studio Canal version from 2011 is REGION B – so will play on UK machines.

So check before purchasing the pricey Criterion release if your BLU RAY player is able to play REGION A discs...otherwise plum for the UK version…
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic- Crime to miss it, 19 April 2005
This review is from: Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence is a film which covers many things, on many different levels- the simplest being that of a war film. However to dismiss it as such would be to do an injustice to this superb bit of film making.
The tangled tensions of this prisoner of war camp make for riveting viewing as two cultures clash between their views of honour. The sergeant (Takeshi Kitano) cannot reconcile his friendship with Lawrence (Tom Conte) with his view of Westerner's being weak and dishonourable. In one particulary memorable scene Kitano declares all Englishmen to be homosexual, and thus views his superior's deeper relationship with Bowie as suspect
The strange subliminal attraction between Celliers and Yonoi adds another depth to this already layered film, as Yonoi fights to understand what can give Cellier's such courage to face death without Yonoi's reassurance of Samurai ancestors.
Sakamoto gives a moving performance of a man displaced from time, longing for the simpler times of war and honour, caught in a limbo between his attraction to celliers and his need to do what was right.
The music was beautiful and the cinematography excellent. I highly recommend this film for anyone even if you are not interested in war films- I'm not myself
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST PURCHASE!, 31 July 2011
By 
I. Buchan "antiquarian" (SHROPSHIRE ENGLAND) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
This DVD/FILM is a must purchase for your dvd library. Wonderful Music Score which you never forget and a Prisoner of War story with a difference. There is no other film which can compare to this. The acting is first class from all with each nationality,including British,Australian and Japanese playing their individual part perfectly. I was astounded by this film and it hit straight into the very soul with each character as you would imagine , however, Bowie plays a completely different style of Officer to that which the Japanese Soldiers can understand - they are baffled and turn to Conti who plays his part brilliantly as the medical officer. The SENIOR Japanese Officer and sergeant in the camp are also special, this makes for an exciting and different slant to what one usually sees in this type of movie. The end is most dramatic and emotionally soul searching. it is a film you will never forget and never grow tired of watching = a MUST PURCHASE!!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars your introduction to life..., 11 Mar 2001
By A Customer
i was shown this fantastic movie by my mother at the tender age of 10, after a feud over what war meant (i thought it was all excitement and boys with toys), with the immortal words of the title above.
And it was indeed. Even at that age the phsycology and raw mental brutality of this film struck a chord in me that still hasn't been struck again. David Bowie is at his out-of-this world best, and Tom Conti was suddenly elevated very highly from 'that bloke off the car adverts'.
'Bridge over the river Kwai's' stubborness made me laugh, 'a town like Alice' made me cry, but this film made me grow up and lie awake in prepubescant thoughts of the nature of humanity...i don't even dare to watch it again in case those lessons are lost.
i'm not saying you should do the same as my mother did to your poor children :), but everyone should see this movie, especially if you like war movies, it ranks up there with 'Schindler's list' for changing your mind about them, and war itself...
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An English perspective directed by a Japanese, 21 Aug 2003
By 
Stephen Lodziak (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This movie is at once disturbing, enlightening, infuriating and moving. If you want to get an idea of the motivations behind a sadistic prison camp guard you won't get any closer than here.
Tom Conti's "One day they just went crazy" is a classic line that describes better than any textbook why such a peacful and friendly nation went down the path it did in the 1930's/40's.
A war film that surpasses all the others.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, Unique and Memorable, 28 Jan 2005
This review is from: Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
I can't remember what drew me to watch this film, but I'm so glad that I did. The film, without giving too much away, is basically about a group of mainly British soldiers who are being held in a POW camp in Japan, where they find it hard to understand the Japanese culture and ideas, such as death being seen as honour. The main character, Major Celliers (David Bowie) is sent to the camp where because of his stubborn and somewhat strange actions, his captors begin to think he is possesed by an evil spirit.
Although on the whole the film is sad, slightly shocking and memorable for it's uniqueness, there are funny parts in it despite the bitter subject. There is also some very memorable imagery such as David Bowie being burried in sand up to his neck...
David Bowie was amazing in it which I did not really expect due to only previously seeing him in Labyrinth (Though he was also good in that)
The music is both haunting and memorable, especially the tune right at the begining which is reverberated thoughout the film.
Although the film is not for every one, if you are searching for a film which has something different about it, I deffinatly recomend this.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly cult and decadent, 14 April 2007
By 
This review is from: Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
This film was kind of cult when it came out. Because of David Bowie of course, but also because of the side of the Second World War it showed. In this case, the Japanese refused to apply Geneva conventions and forced onto their prisoners the code of conduct of the Samourai. The result is of course a great level of suffering, total disregard of death and dying, treating a hara-kiri execution as an honor, an honorable spectacle that any soldier should consider as a privilege to be able to watch ... For these Japanese soldiers it is a sign of a total lack of courage to accept to be the prisoners of those who defeated you. The only honorable course of action should be dying, and killing themselves in the last run. When Jack Celliers is captured, tried and sentenced to come to this prisoners' camp, he is bound to explode the whole situation because the commander of the camp, Captain Yonoi, thinks he is different and might be of the Samourai vein. In fact Celliers is a typical British officer: never yields, never accepts the unlawful rule of the enemy, resists and disturbs as long as he is alive in their hands. Yonoi decides a two day fast for everyone, prisoners included, Celliers will provide the prisoners with flowers for food. He will thus lead Yonoi to absolute mental breakdown and the final straw that will break the camel's back will be the double brotherly kiss Celliers will give him in front of everyone when condemned to die or nearly. Celliers revealed thus Yonoi was attracted, fascinated, hence in love even if only as a soldier with Celliers. So Celliers will die buried neck deep in sand and Yonoi will come and get a lock of his hair before he is dead. This lock will be brought in a locket and deposited in a shrine in Japan by Mr Lawrence, the interface between Yonoi and the prisoners, after the war and after Yonoi was executed. The film reveals thus the head-on and headlong confrontation of two military civilizations: the Samourais were obviously condemned by history, but also by life and war. They could not survive this clash. David Bowie is superb in his role and Sakamoto is just as perfect. Cult it is, but also somewhere sickening. How could such an old civilization as Japan come to such an end? We will forgive the film for the obvious fakeness of all violent acts.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine & University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Merry Chirstmas, Certianly Mr Lawrence!, 18 Feb 2014
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At last!, me and my partner have been looking for this film everywhere that is on DVD or Blu-ray format piror to The David Bowie Exhibition (Fab Exhibition!), we found it on an internet website that had it on VHS format and was going for an extremely high price so I was delighted to find out that it is on Blu-ray format as now we have a blu-ray player and the film has had a remastered and retouched up plus the extras on the blu-ray have been great to watch (Did I say that my partner is a big David Bowie fan?) anyway this is a must for all David Bowie fans and those who like the classics!
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