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4.4 out of 5 stars108
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 2 December 2007
I have watched this so many times that my original VHS-format is falling to pieces! One of Hardy's most accessible novels, this story quite daringly (for its time) deals with such issues as love, patience and the -- often devastating -- effects of human sexuality. It is all done, though, with great humanity and even the villain has some redeeming features. There's little black-and-white in Hardy's portraits of the three men all humming around Bathsheba like bees. Nor is she herself a simplistic character.

As with the best of British television costume dramas, this 1998 version features some very well-known and -loved actors, although I believe that Paloma Baeza may not have been so well-known when she was cast as the female lead. Nathaniel Parker is simply stunning -- and irresistible -- as the superb Gabriel Oak (a more appropriate name for his character could not have been devised), and Jonathan Firth is very fine indeed as Sergeant Troy -- this may be his best role yet on the small screen.

The music is charming; the settings and costumes are perfect... Sit back for a few hours, and simply bask in the the warmth of this production. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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on 25 August 2005
I thoroughly enjoyed this production - it is closer to Hardy's novel than the earlier version starring Julie Christie. Baeza's reading of Bathsheba Everdine is excellent, totally in character. She skillfully combines Bathsheba's independent spirit with both her youth and naivety. She is at all times consistent and convincing. In the Julie Christie version, Christie overplayed the role, moving away from Hardy's intention, and came close at times to trivialising the character. Also, she did not consistently capture the youthfulness and innocence of Bathsheba. The Everdine/Troy sword scene was also overplayed in the Christie version, including sequences that were not in the novel and which, quite honestly, reduced the emotional impact of this (very important) scene. In the Baeza version, this better captures the emotion of the meeting and adds to the superiority of this version.
The supporting cast (particularly the other key roles) and production is excellent, as it was in the Christie version, although the Christie version veered away from the novel in some points that seemed unnecessary and a bit confusing.
For me, however, Baeza's grasp of Bathsheba was perfect, showing her for the talented young actress she is, and it is this that rates this version, for me, well above the Christie version.
I would recommend this version to any one.
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on 4 March 2008
This is really a great adaptation of the novel - true to not only the plot but as often as possible to Hardy's very conversations. The actors are uniformly excellent, assisted by the subtle, well-paced script, gorgeous scenery and involving plot. I don't think a better version of FFTMC will ever be made and absolutely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Hardy - or of just sitting in front of an absorbing, fascinating, passionate and sexy costume drama for a few hours!
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on 8 December 2013
I have put much effort into getting a recording of the original film version of Far from the Madding Crowd having long held the belief that the 1967 John Schlesinger production with the stellar cast of Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Terence Stamp and Peter Finch could never be equalled. Thanks to a US import I tracked down (whatever you do don't do as I originally did get the Studio Canal issue - total waste of time!) I have a copy which captures fully the magic of this never to be forgotten production.
However I was intrigued to discover that there was a rival version originally produced for ITV around 1997 selling on the Amazon website for the extremely modest price of £4.46. So more out of curiosity than expectation I ordered it. Never having heard of I'm afraid any of the actors my expectations were low - so much in fact that when the DVD arrived I put it on my shelves without giving it a second glance. It was two months before I ventured to give it a try - WOW!!
The whole production is spellbinding, glorious beyond belief, and recreates superbly the much loved Hardy characters in a way I could never imagine.There is nothing here that is anything but total perfection and, for me, transcends the 1967 film interpretation in a way I never thought possible.
For a start this interpretation, directed by Nicholas Renton and produced by Hilary Bevan Jones, is a good hour longer - almost four hours but not a minute too long - to great advantage. It gives the film to explore in greater detail the detailed character of the principal performers. Paloma Baeza creates a Bathsheba who is totally credible; here is a complex character whose actions can now be more fully understood, a performance which in one moment makes us smile, but in the next brings tears to our eyes. This young and beautiful actor isn't playing a role - she has got right to the core of the enigmatic Bathsheba - and in spite of other captivating performances from her fellow actors, you cannot take your eyes off her. Far from.. is a bit like peeling an onion - as one layer is taken away, there is another layer beneath, and beneath that, yet another.
Her co actors, Gabriel Oak- her rock - is played by Nathaniel Parker and perfectly compliments Paloma with his ability to never overact and ability to play second fiddle to the proud and independent Bathsheba. Nigel Terry and Jonathan Firth are not only the equal of the Schlessinger production but in my view are even finer. Whilst the music may not be quite the standard of Richard Rodney Bennet's it is certainly far and away above your average movie standard. The 1967 version was largely shot on location in Dorset not far from where I live and it fully captured the glorious and ever changing mood of this region. It wasn't clear to me where this later film was shot but it is fully in harmony with Hardy's vision and the locations chosen for the farms and surroundings are totally as authentic and just as believable as they were in the film 20 years earlier.
So, having cherished the Christie/Bates film for most of my life, having now seen the ITV production, I have a new production to get to know in greater detail which will last me the rest of my life. A huge thank you to all those who were involved in the film's production - all who played a part in its making have created a masterpiece which for me can never be surpassed! If anyone is undecided whether or not to purchase this version don't waver - I would buy this performance even if it cost me ten or twenty times the price. Believe me, you will not be disappointed and for less than a fiver it will be one of the best buys you will ever make!
David Riley, Poole, Dorset
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on 11 September 2008
One of Thomas Hardy's best-loved novels is sensitively and accurately dramatised in this 1998 classic.

Upon inheriting her uncle's farm, the beautiful and assertive Bathsheba Everdene (Paloma Baeza) is the most sought after maiden in the whole of Weatherbury. She's forced to choose between the affections of three very different men; local shepherd Gabriel Oak, gentleman farmer Mr. Boldwood and the womanising Sargeant Frank Troy. Here, Hardy's classic tale of love, betrayal and tragedy is faithfully dramatised. The 1967 Julie Christie version is good, but this is even better!
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on 11 July 2009
I absolutely loved this TV adaptation of Thomas Hardy's classic. I studied the novel for my English Language and Literature degree and thoroughly enjoyed it and was concerned that I might not enjoy the TV version quite as much. However, I needn't have worried as this is a fantastic adaptation and as a fan of the text I was pleasantly surprised how faithful this adaptation was to the novel, even using some of Hardy's original dialogue. At times I found myself laughing out loud and at other times I was completely choked up. The cast are all excellent particularly Nathaniel Parker as the loyal and selfless Gabriel Oak and Nigel Terry as the obsessive and desperate William Boldwood. I enjoyed this version much more than the 1967 Julie Christie version and I would thoroughly recommend this dvd whether you're studying English Literature or not.
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on 10 September 2013
I was hooked from the first moments. This is a beautiful story of faithful and selfless love as well as of love that needs time to develop, grow, strengthen and know its own mind. How seldom does the former last long enough for the latter to mature..

The cast of the production is excellent: marvellous Paloma Baeza, who is beautiful and enchanting, and who changes with time, circumstances, people around her; superb Nathaniel Parker, who is absolutely irresistible as the honourable and steadfast Oak, but also Jonathan Firth, Nigel Terry, Linda Bassett..

The music is haunting, the dialogue true to Hardy's novel, it is beatifully shot. I wish the dvd would include some extras (it does not) like interviews with the cast or some material about Hardy, that would make it perfect!
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on 10 November 2003
Far from the Madding crowd is a brilliant film and follows closely to the plot of the original novel. Thomas Hardy creates a world of lust, love and devotion ending with dramatic consequences. Nathaniel Parker is the perfect Gabriel Oak even down to his impecable accent. Farmer Boldwood is a brilliant portrayal as well, you truly feel his pain of unrequiented love. The only downside to this film is the character who plays Bathsheba Everdean, though quite close to the original character there is something about her that doesn't quite fit. However, if like me you are a fan of Hardy's novels and like films which are true to the novel then this is for you, it will have you glued to your seat waiting to find out who Bathsheba finally chooses and the consequences of these actions. An Excellant film all round.
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on 12 July 2013
What can I say but SEE IT! A more modern film version of Hardy's book, but respecting the full impact of this period in England: clothes, society, language/accents - hats off to the wardrobe designer! The scenery is gorgeous, and "takes you there". This is to see again and again! I rate it 20/20!
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on 2 June 2013
Great interpretation of Thomas Hardy novel based in Dorset.
Ideal if interested in great works, studying for literature exam or a quiet night on.
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