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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Made for 1989 television, 4:3 ratio is all you need
This is a wonderfully-realised television version of Roald Dahl's novel. It evokes a golden age of pastoral 1950s England as Dahl does in his book. The chemistry here between real-life father and son Jeremy and Samuel Irons rings true, and Robbie Coltrane's performance creates a suitably vulgar, nasty and stupid Victor Hazell for the viewer to hate.
I would...
Published on 13 Feb. 2006 by feverpitch96

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars watchable family film.
A nice family film with a good cast and well acted with some lovely countryside.It's watchable and nice if you havn't read the book by Roald Dahl,but i can't honestly say that it's totally faithfull to the original script,probably only halfway there,but covering the basic story.But then i'm quite pedantic about films keeping as close to the book as possible,which is why i...
Published on 7 Nov. 2010 by Adrian


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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Made for 1989 television, 4:3 ratio is all you need, 13 Feb. 2006
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This review is from: Danny - The Champion Of The World [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
This is a wonderfully-realised television version of Roald Dahl's novel. It evokes a golden age of pastoral 1950s England as Dahl does in his book. The chemistry here between real-life father and son Jeremy and Samuel Irons rings true, and Robbie Coltrane's performance creates a suitably vulgar, nasty and stupid Victor Hazell for the viewer to hate.
I would suggest that the admittedly upsetting bloodsport scenes at the film's opening are an essential part of underlining the stupidity and cruelty of men like Hazell and what they like to do for fun, which was surely one of Dahl's key points for comment in the original novel. These scenes are not enough to take away from the film's appropriateness or enjoyability for a family audience, which scores highly indeed.
Regarding Judy Lewis' comment on the aspect ratio of this transfer, the Internet Movie Database lists the original aspect ratio for this film as 1.33:1 (or 4:3). This was a made-for-television film in 1989, so 4:3 would have indeed been the original aspect ratio for this film, and no widescreen edition could therefore exist without severe cropping. This means you are missing nothing of the film with this transfer.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It only has five stars because I can't give it six!, 13 April 2009
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This review is from: Danny - The Champion Of The World [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
The heroes are thieves, the local policeman and doctor are both corrupt and the headmaster is a drunk. And these are the good guys! One could also argue that the bad guy is a victim of classicism.
Yes folks, it can only be a film adaptation of a Roald Dahl book, the biggest stalwart of the few remaining bastions that stand against that oncoming, sanitising tsunami that is political correctness and modern thinking.
Is it possible to administer a knighthood or peerage posthumously? If so, I'd like to recommend Dahl for one.
Samuel Johnson noted that the most truthful people in society are children, and thus it is no surprise when you find that a man who died nineteen years ago and set most of his books in societies of yesteryear, is still one of the most popular authors among kids the world over.
Kids know rubbish when they see and hear it, no matter how much inconvenience it causes adults. As a result, the sort of story that is totally free of PC claptrap and suitably dark in the right places, scores very highly with them.

This particular adaptation is one of those rare creatures that improves over the book in certain places. It's also a rare thing among Dahl stories, because the setting is a very normal, everyday one. There are no child-eating giants, lunatic-run chocolate factories, whizzpopping or the Queen of England anywhere in sight.
For those of you who don't know, the eponymous hero is a nine year old boy who lives an idyllic rural life in the mid-1950's, and who has a rather unusual and amazing father.
They run foul of a new, nouveaux-riche landlord who is trying to buy up all the local land for a nefarious scheme and is frustrated because their small plot lies smack in the middle of all his plans.
How father and son team up to foil the "Dirty Dog" (to use Dahl's own term) and foil his plan, is a charming, sometimes horrible and always hilarious story that will have you simultaneously laughing and crying (and quite often crying with laughter).
By English standards the cast is star studded, with Jeremy Irons bringing as much class and skill to this role as he does to any other; Robbie Coltrane (best known as Hagrid in the Harry Potter films) oozes comedic villainy like a twenty five stone Dick Dastardly, as the evil landlord, Victor Hazell; Cyril Cusack (the real-life father-in-law and grandfather of the two main heroes) playing a rather nice, if utterly daffy village doctor; Jimmy Nail as a rather brutish gamekeeper; Lionel Jeffries as a decent sort of headmaster with a penchant for gin (not as awful as it sounds, trust me) and Ronald Pickup, as the second, slightly minor Dirty Dog, Danny's form teacher Captain Lancaster (based on a real teacher of the same name that Roald Dahl knew when he was nine).
The film significantly develops a sub-plot of the book, which is Danny's time at school. Lancaster is a rather severe, ex-military chap with a track record of handing out rather draconian punishments to the children in his "care".
In the book, the last we see of him is when he rather viciously canes Danny and his best friend for a minor misdemeanour. The film however, makes a a rather nice job of tying that loose end up, with Danny dealing the evil teacher a knock-out blow just as well as he does to Victor Hazell in the final scene.

I should probably close by saying a few words about Sam Irons, who delivers totally as Danny in what I think was his only ever film role, despite sounding a bit like a pre-broken voiced Sean Connery. (We should probably be grateful he didn't have to say the word "sit" during the film.)
He specialises in dread-leaden facial expressions, which come especially in handy during his scenes in the school. The looks on his face following Ronald Pickup's lines, "Smith, here" and "Smith, I haven't finished yet", will have all the girls in the audience going "awwwwwwwwwwww", trust me. It certainly seemed to work for all the girls in the class anyway. (If he ever reads this review, twenty years on from when he did it, he's going to be cringing like hell, reading that. * snigger * )
One can only imagine why he didn't follow his father and grandfather into the Business, instead of pursuing a career in photography, as I don't imagine he'd have ever had a problem getting work.

So in closing (for real this time), this is a film for all the family where the kids will love the feeling of adventure and the parents and grandparents will love the nostalgia of a Britain gone into the past.
Every generation of the family will love this, quite possibly more than the book (a rare thing, in my opinion). There is no excuse not to get this film and experience a very real and utterly true, happy ending. If I could give it six stars out of five, I would.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars watchable family film., 7 Nov. 2010
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This review is from: Danny - The Champion Of The World [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
A nice family film with a good cast and well acted with some lovely countryside.It's watchable and nice if you havn't read the book by Roald Dahl,but i can't honestly say that it's totally faithfull to the original script,probably only halfway there,but covering the basic story.But then i'm quite pedantic about films keeping as close to the book as possible,which is why i havn't been keen on previous adaptations of Dahl's books.The home setting of the caravan and workshop were quite good though and the characters well cast.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Danny the Champion of the World, 23 July 2005
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Jude 48 (New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Danny - The Champion Of The World [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
I have been waiting for years for the release on DVD of this delightful and timeless film, based of course on Roald Dahl's book. Set in the 1950s, and featuring excellent performances from three generations of the one family (the great Jeremy Irons, his son Sam and Sam's grandfather Cyril Cusack), it is a charming and often amusing tale of poaching, bullying and revenge. The only disappointment - its aspect ratio is 4:3, something not mentioned in the technical specs.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming Adaptation Of The Roald Dahl Book!, 23 July 2005
This review is from: Danny - The Champion Of The World [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
I first read the book 'Danny, The Champion Of The World' by Roald Dahl a good few years ago now and did enjoy reading it, and so when i saw that there was a film version i decided to take a look. On the whole its a nice film, very enjoyable for both children and adults alike, and really does bring the book to life.
As you may know if you have read the book yourself or to your children, that Danny is a nine year old boy who lives with his father in a caravan next to a petrol station and garage that they own. One day, he finds out his fathers deepest, darkest secret - poaching. He doesn't like it at first however soon comes round to the idea and when his father falls into a hole dug by the nasty Victor Hazel to catch the poachers on his land, luckily Danny is on hand to help him out. Wanting revenge on Hazel, together they hatch a plan to steal all seven hundred birds from the woods just before Hazel brings up a shooting party.
The cast as a whole are also pretty good with Jeremy Irons as Danny's father and his real life son Samuel Irons as Danny, the hero of the film. The 'baddie' of the film Victor Hazell is played by Robbie Cultrane, who has since gone on to play Hagrid in the on-screen version of the Harry Potter series. Cyril Cusack plays the old Doc Spencer and Jean Marsh plays Miss Hunter.
Overall, 'Danny, The Champion Of The World' is quite a charming little film adapted of the enjoyable childrens book of the same name. I would recommend, especially for children, but parents and older children twelve onwards will probably enjoy it too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A quick note on the aspect ratio..., 19 Mar. 2011
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This review is from: Danny - The Champion Of The World [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
This is in reply to "feverpitch 96", who was responding to Judy Lewis (whoever that is--did he mean "Jude48?") concerning whether or not this film's correct aspect ratio is actually 1:33:1...

First off, yes, IMDb DOES state the aspect ratio for this film as full frame...however, that does not necessarily mean that data is correct. If you look under another tab for this film on there, there is a listing for its release dates and they state that this film had a THEATRICAL release on July 28th, 1989 in the UK, which would indicate that this film was indeed shot in widescreen (probably standard 1:85) and only later made to fit the square box frame for television showings and home videotape releases soon after.

I just watched the film tonight after getting the tape, and there are some two shots of actors talking to each other from opposite sides of the screen and they are barely in the shot, strong evidence that this was not framed for home TV screenings, but that's how it ended up (and I'm sure most people saw it that way).

The full-frame edition is not really a hinderance to enjoying this sweet, low-key film, but speaking as a purist when it comes to seeing films as they were originally intended to be seen, I'd like to see DVD producers do a better job of giving us, the paying customer, a more responsible effort when it comes to their product. But I'm just quibbling; I know this film has been M.I.A. on DVD for a very long time and I'm sure many people are just grateful it finally made it's way to DVD.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely marvellous! Gripping until the end!, 1 July 2009
This review is from: Danny - The Champion Of The World [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Danny is a 10 year old boy with a sparky father who has a deep dark secret. When Danny wakes up one night and finds his father not there things start happening... Danny's father has been poaching up in, the most evil, Mr Hazells wood when he goes again Danny wakes up in the middle of the night and finds his dad not there... So Danny illegally drives 6 and a half miles to the wood and finds his father seriously injured. Danny's father receives sleeping pills for his injury and Danny has a brilliant idea!
I'd recommend it for all those who like a good adventure!

Enjoyable for all the family!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Danny The Champion of the World, 6 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: Danny - The Champion Of The World [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
After reading the book to my grandson, we watched this uplifting and touching film with no fear on my part that there was going to be any gratuitous violence,sex or innapropriate languge. There was one mild swear word, but nothing that any exasperated parent has not uttered! Yes, a little dated, but so are lots of well-loved and still-viewed films..ref Sound of Music,Brief Encounter,E.T etc etc). Roald Dahl's books are beloved by children and throughout my teaching career I used this film in the classroom many times to encourage reluctant boy-readers towards the written word. Would that there were more films of this uncomplicated calibre, instead of the usual American computer-generated images with expensive special effects and innapropriate content, to which our young people are now subjected.OK.. that may be a generalisation but many parents will sympathise with that view. A list of great actors completed the experience. So glad to have found the DVD as I had lost my original video copy.Quality of the film wasn't too good... a little dark and indistinct in parts but the content more than made up for this.The 5 star review was given for the content.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good british entertainment for the whole family., 21 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Danny - The Champion Of The World [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Based on the beloved book by national treasure Roald Dahl, Danny the champion of the world follows the life of Danny and his Dad as they encounter problems in their idyllic country life. Set in the heart of the british countryside this film celebrates the beauty and calm of country life interrupted by modernisation in the form of Victor Hazell a mean man who wants to build a town over the land.But clever lad Danny comes up with the idea to steal a whole load of pheasents to drive mr hazell out of the countryside. Jeremy Irons and his real life lad Samuel take the role of father and son and adopt it very well on the screen, the acting from Robbie Coltrane as the baddie is good as is Lionel Jefferies alcoholic head teacher, but its Jeremy Irons as the Dad who makes the movie and will make and young viewers wishing he was their Dad.
Great scenery, adapted from a perfect story with some top notch acting and a heartwarming ending. One that is perfect for a son and father or a grandson and grandad to watch.
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3.0 out of 5 stars they're never as good as the book, and this isn't either, 28 Jun. 2014
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gille liath (US of K) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Danny - The Champion Of The World [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Jeremy Irons as a Working-Class Hero? The very words are ludicrous, and the choice of him for the lead here is madness (even if he did make it himself); the effete creepiness he brings willy-nilly to every role, slight but inescapable, taints the whole thing. His son Samuel as Danny, though wisely not asked to do too much, is frankly a bit gormless - I don't think he's been heard from again, and perhaps it's no surprise.

Apart from the casting, this is okay but it needed more pizazz - the touch of someone like Danny Boyle as director, or the glow with which Spielberg suffused War Horse. Though a real-world story, the book is full of the magic aura of childhood and the bond between father and son; this is a typical solid but low-key British TV movie, and completely fails to capture that energy. The characterisation of pheasant shooting as an occupation of 'rich idiots' desperate to kill something, and pheasants as hapless half-tame shotgun fodder, is spot-on - I live nextdoor to a 'shoot' and I know - but what's so much better about poaching them?

One serious technical fault is that the dialogue is very, very quiet; if you try to watch this with kids who may, perhaps, not sit in impeccable silence, you will not be able to hear what is being said - unless you want to be deafened by the shooting scenes. I had to laugh when the subtitles said '[Whispers...]'. Inaudible drama was not invented, it seems, with Jamaica Inn.

If you haven't already, get the book - preferably the original edition with Jill Bennett's illustrations (quick, before it is made illegal to buy books illustrated by anyone other than Quentin Blake).
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