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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 23 April 2007
This is a television film that has been in the BBC archives for nearly twenty years due to its rather unflattering portrayal of a war that we in Britain have always been led to believe was nothing other than a roaring success, one final crusade of a winding down British Empire.

Tumbledown not only charts the battle for Tumbledown mountain by the Scots Guards on the outskirts of the Flaklands capital Port Stanley, but also gives a fantastic and well scripted insight into the life, courage and boyhood soldier fantasies of a young officer, Robert Lawrence MC.

Revolving around memories expressed during a lunch in the country, it becomes clear very quickly that Lawrence is a stubborn and proud character that a young Colin Firth manages to carry off extremely well, almost unrecognisable from most of his more modern day movie roles. His memories are backed up and sometimes argued by one of his fellow officer chums also at the lunch.

Starting at the point of Lawrence sustaining his horrific head wounds, the film begins with the whole build up to the Task Force setting sail for the Falkland Islands and the eventual call up of Lawrence and his beloved Scots Guards to the war that many thought would never actually take place.

Over the next two hours you are taken deep into Firth's character Robert Lawrence as his boyhood fantasies of what war should be like are brought to a sudden and bloddy halt as he recieves a gun shot wound to the head on top of Tumbledown Mountain. His subsequent recovery is a slow and difficult process that a proud Lawrence finds irratable and hard to accept. His injuries produce an army officer who is bitter and unaccepting that he will most likely never lead his men again, and whilst his parents do everything in their power to aid him to a full recovery he loses his casual girlfriend and constantly feels guilt over not being back in the Falklands with his fellow soldiers.

It is clear that Lawrence was a charismatic officer who lead his platoon with distinction earning him the Military Cross, but his dogged determination to make a full recovery, constantly costs him socially as he rubs doctors and as mentioned his close friends and family up the wrong way.

The film concludes with you feeling sorry for Lawrence's prediciment but he is clear by the end that it wasn't worth it, just for the chance to live out some boyhood dream of fighting for Queen and Country. He has come to accept what has happened and has matured greatly from his experience.

This is a film that leaves you very aware that for every glorious military action there is a harsh reaction for those involved. All is not always great in love and war.

The battle scenes are realistic and transport you in a documentary style as if you were there during his flashbacks.

A great British war film that will now in its DVD format hopefully be recognised for the excellent bit of film making that it is.
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on 3 October 2011
This film made a deep impression on many people when first televised in 1988, and again in 1992. It was criticised in the media mainly by senior military personnel, partly on the grounds of inaccuracy but also and chiefly on the grounds of the film's implied critique of the way casualties were managed after the war. Unfortunately, at the time of its premiere it was not released for foreign distribution or VHS because of copyright difficulties which some critics at the time believed were related to the content and the public reaction to it. To have it on DVD at this time when so many British and Commonwealth soldiers are returning from fighting abroad is a wonderful opportunity to see a film which still stands as a classic.

Tumbledown is a biographically-based film about Robert Lawrence but it is also a drama about young soldiers in general, and it juxtaposes civilian life with the violence of battle, and disability with fear and discrimination. At the time it was made there were no contemporary films of comparable quality covering these themes, and the critique of the "fire-fighting" military actions of our day was in abeyance. After 23 years it has a dated feel (mostly down to the print quality and editing) but it comes across as strong as ever. Colin Firth's portrayal of Robert Lawrence is a lesson in a skilled actor's realisation of a character, not just an impersonation which is often the case, especially in war films. As a depiction of the denial and fear which can torment people recovering from trauma, it is outstanding and should be viewed by all professionals working with people with PTSD.
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on 11 April 2015
Not as good a film as I remembered. I really didn't warm to the main character of the film (played by Colin Firth) from the start to finish. I was a soldier during the same period and I all too often saw similar characters. The long & short of the film is that he survived after having half of his brain shot out, after standing on the top of Mount Tumbledown giving a blood curdling scream with a rifle in both hands while the battle raged around him. I'm not sure whether this is 'artistic licence' by the film makers, but if true, its no wonder that the grey-stuff was shot out. Anyway, the real story of bravery started after this. He was told that he would never walk...well, he does, but still remains a boorish, arrogant, rude ex-rupert. I truly hope that the 'real' subject of this film is nicer than that portrayed by Firth.
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on 19 July 2010
In the last year I saw an Argentine movie about that war and I was wondering, how the Brits think about Falklands. I didn't find hollywood-like action-war movie, so I decide to watch Tumbedown, because of Colin Firth (my wife like him, because of romantic movies... so I could explain this purchase... :) ).

The movie was good! Shocking war (or anti-war) movie with very limited actual fight, but with much social reactions. Sometimes I lost the emotions, but finally I enjoy the entire movie.

But the DVD edition is very poor: the quality of the picture is bellow then acceptable.
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on 9 March 2011
In spite of many people labelling Tumbledown as an anti-war film, this is not the case. It is an impartial look at one soldier's experience in battle, showing many facets of his deployment and dealing with his horrific injuries.

This film shows how a decorated officer led his Platoon in one of the hardest battles of the Falklands War: 2nd Battalion Scots Guards' assault on Tumbledown Mountain. It also shows the terrible side of war - injuries, lack of understanding from those who were not there, and the politicians' ashamedly poor handling of the War's wounded.

This film should be watched by anyone interested in land warfare in general or the Falklands in particular.
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I refused to watch this when this was originally screened by the BBC in 1988 as I knew it would enrage me. If you're looking for a Hollywood action movie, then this is definitely not for you. For a start it's based on the experiences of Robert Lawrence MC (played by Colin Firth), an officer of the Scots Guards during the Falklands War of 1982. While fighting at the Battle of Mount Tumbledown, Lawrence is shot in the head by an Argentine sniper, which shatters his skull and leaves him almost totally paralysed.
The story of his convalescence is told via a series of flashbacks as he fights government indifference and the prejudices of those around him. His fight to regain control of his body is remarkable and horrifying.
Many brought up on action movies will find this slow and irritating, others will see it as a searing indictment of an uncaring society. Whatever your viewpoint, this is one of those rare films that shows the effect that war has on those that return injured. It is neither an anti war movie nor does it glorify armed conflict, rather it's an impartial portrayal of suffering and resilience.
This film comes highly recommended as it reflects many of societies double standards and lack of understanding on topics many of us wish to avoid. Definitely 5 stars but not the 'I love it' tag. This is not a lovable film.
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on 11 December 2013
This film is based on the Falklands War and was made six years after the conflict. Colin Firth gives a great performance as Robert Lawrence a enthusiastic young officer in the Royal Scots Guards. however, he is wounded by a sniper and Robert has a large part of his brain has been blown away. which has left him paralysed down his left side. he is sent back home and spends quite a lot of time in various military hospitals. he is a physical and emotional wreck-soon discovers a nation honouring the Heroes of the war with memorial services and Victory parades. is less keen to face the living victims. the authorities want him hidden away even his girlfriend leaves him and even his best friend fails to understand him. raging with his treatment, visiting his old barracks, & reliving his experiences on the battlefield. Robert desperately attempts to come to terms with his disabilities and a perception of war that contradicts and ignores his own experience. this is a moving film Colin Firth should of been given a award for his acting. this film just shows what we, British can be like to our Soldiers who fight and die for this country and the soldiers who come back home with injuries or wounded we should give respect to these Men and not just think Ah!, well, there only soldiers what do you expect? this film YOU DO NEED TO SEE and judge for yourselves. This film is true We were at War with Argentina and yes there was a conflict regarding the Falkland Islands. and yes, our Soldiers did come back & some were wounded and scared with War. and yes, there were the ones that were left out in the background owing to there injuries that they received out on the battlefield to be forgotten. these were OUR Soldiers & we should be ashamed on how we have treated these Men with such appalling injuries Colin Firth shows us how it feels to be snubbed by a nation.
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on 19 January 2010
Any soldier being sent into combat should watch this film. Not to persuade them not to, but to show the reality of what can happen and what they can expect after. Colin Firth is excellent, and the production (especially the battle scenes) are fantastic. Even if you are not being packed off to some foreign land to fight for Queen and Country, watch it for Colin Firths acting. He was very young back then and he does it so well. The early 80s are captured nicely as well. A good TV film production to make you think and respect service men who have seen combat.
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on 1 January 2014
I thank God I was just too young to be involved in this conflict, but I worked in the supply field for this war and at the time felt deeply for the pain these heroes suffered but we could do nothing to help them. While it upset me, I'm so glad I bought it and will watch it each year to remind me how much mental pain and physical injury they endured. If you are 50 or over you will remember this time and the horrors, the film really gets under what the public were told at the time.
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on 1 November 2013
I have a very personnel reason for wanting this dvd as a member of my family was killed on tumbledown mountain, yes it was a great victory for Britain but as usual there will always be someone paying the price for it. what was so tragic was that the ceasefire came only a few hours later. we should be so proud of all our brave troops and give them all the support they need especially when they come home
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