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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charles II (DVD) (2003) Rufus Sewell
All four long episodes of this classic BBC series are presented on two discs with a very extensive special feature section. Along with commentaries by Kate Harwood, Joe Wright, and Adrian Hodges,the Writers and Directors. There is a Documentary on the making of Charles II, and a more accurate historical Documentary, 'The Boy Who Would Be King'.
Rufus Sewell plays...
Published on 20 Nov. 2011 by Derek Vernon-morris

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60 of 65 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Avoid this cut & censored U.S. version!
This is NOT the original 4-hour, 4-episode version of Joe Wright & Adrian Hodges's excellent Charles II: The Power and the Passion, but the 3-hour, 2-episode version shown on A&E in the U.S. The longer original is vastly preferable, and there is no reason for anyone who has the capacity to watch Region 2 DVDs not to get that version instead. On that 2-DVD set, you also...
Published on 20 Oct. 2009 by Nicholas A. Deutsch


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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charles II (DVD) (2003) Rufus Sewell, 20 Nov. 2011
By 
Derek Vernon-morris (Greater Manchester UK) - See all my reviews
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All four long episodes of this classic BBC series are presented on two discs with a very extensive special feature section. Along with commentaries by Kate Harwood, Joe Wright, and Adrian Hodges,the Writers and Directors. There is a Documentary on the making of Charles II, and a more accurate historical Documentary, 'The Boy Who Would Be King'.
Rufus Sewell plays Charles II, tenaciously, and Rupert Graves, plays his impulsive close friend George, The Duke of Buckinghamshire, with whom he shared his exile in Belgium and France before being recalled by Parliament after the death of Oliver Cromwell.
Weaving through the intrigues between Catholics and Protetsants, king and Parliament, Dutchess Barbara Villiers manipulated Charles, and Helen McCrory recreates this fascinating sultry role with great panache.
As a contrast, bright cockney Actress Nell Gwynn out lasted most other Royal Mistresses, and Emma Pierson, brings this role to life excellently. Charles is reputed to have had at least 16 mistresses.

Shirley Henderson portrays his official wife, with an amazing wig from the fashions of the period, whith whom he eventually fell in love, Catherine of Braganza, from Portugal. It was at first a political marriage. Unfortunately their son was still born, and to protect them, and thwart Parliament, Charles would not name any of his children as heirs, but named his younger brother James as heir.
Christian Coulson plays his eldest son the Duke of Monmouth, who led an unsuccessful rebellion after Charles's death, and throughout most of the action, his old friend and advisor Sir Edward Hyde is played by Ian McDiarmid.
Diana Rigg has a small but powerful role as the Queen Mother.
The power and the conficting passion makes powerful viewing. In the midst of trying to maintain a fair and balanced seat of power, Charles was faced with two disasters, the Great Plague, and the Fire of London.

The only disappointing thing for me is that the music is always ponderous and heavily romantic. There was much lively Restoration music and humourous songs which could have added even more to the authenticity of the recreation of this period.
This whole production as a sumptuous Costume Drama, as well as an interpretation of History.
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60 of 65 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Avoid this cut & censored U.S. version!, 20 Oct. 2009
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This is NOT the original 4-hour, 4-episode version of Joe Wright & Adrian Hodges's excellent Charles II: The Power and the Passion, but the 3-hour, 2-episode version shown on A&E in the U.S. The longer original is vastly preferable, and there is no reason for anyone who has the capacity to watch Region 2 DVDs not to get that version instead. On that 2-DVD set, you also get interesting commentaries on the episodes. Oh, and in the scene where Nell Gwynn (sp?) poses topless for a painter, you get a glimpse of her, er... oranges. (Too much for the tender sensibilities of American audiences, apparently.)
Seriously, this is an outstanding collaboration between writer, director, designers and cinematographer (with the Czech Republic standing in for England!), and with an exceptionally fine cast. It was director Joe Wright's "breakthrough" film - before Pride & Prejudice and Atonement - and conveys real passion for its subject on the part of its makers.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Restoration Drama, 2 Jan. 2007
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Having just watched this DVD again, I've been capitvated anew by how good it is. Everything, from the music to the costumes to the acting, is magnificent. Rufus Sewell skillfully portrays the character of Charles II - cynical, witty, essentially good natured but determined not to go on his 'travels' again. The supporting cast are wonderful too, especially Shirley Henderson as Catherine of Braganza, Helen McCrory as Lady Castlemaine and Rupert Graves as the Duke of Buckingham. The spirit of Restoration times - that is, self indulgent pleasure seeking interspersed with religious mania - is captured beautifully.

I have a few little complaints to make. I feel that James, Charles's brother and eventual successor, is treated rather unfairly. Yes, James was very stubborn and not too intelligent, but in the drama he is constantly defying Charles and is often borderline disrespectful to him. As a believer in the Divine Right of Kings, James wouldn't have acted like that. Also, it would have been nice to see James's daughters, Mary and Anne, featured, or even his second wife, but I understand that time constraints probably made this unfeasible.

Diana Rigg puts in a good performance as Henrietta Maria, despite her English accent. There are some slight chronological inaccuracies however - for example, Charles's brother Henry was dead long before Catherine arrived in England. These are all minor points however, and are the only reason I'm giving 4 rather than 5 stars. It's a wonderful, exciting drama and is for the most part true to history.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not such a "merry" monarch!, 19 Dec. 2009
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V. Ballinger "Remy booker" (France) - See all my reviews
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Being an enthusiast of the Tudor and Stuart periods and seeing this was a BBC production, I thought that I'd buy this DVD and see. It was good - really good. The production stuck mostly to factual historical evidence although Rufus Sewell's interprepation of the "Merry Monarch" didn't work for me. Charles 11 was known for his extreme conviviality - so much so that it was not appreciated by the senior Court associates surrounding the king. This wasn't evident at all and even his brother, James 11, was belittled in this production.

The acting of the mistresses was superb but I felt the interpretation of Catherine of Braganza, Charles's wife, was "over the top" portraying her as almost neurotic and lacking in personality. The painting of that period which I've seen of her shows a quite beautiful woman with a normal hair style! Perhaps she changed!

All in all, I found this real value for money. A good production based mostly on historical facts with an excellent "features" section on the DVD where we saw the construction of the sets in Prague and the most interesting was the interviews with the actors. Well worth buying!
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cheery Charles, 18 Jan. 2004
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The best production by the BBC since Pride & Prejudice!!! This is a lavish , wonderfully constructed drama full of the intrigue and indulgence of the Stuart Court. Rufus Sewell is delicious as the merry monach and is magnificently supported by the ensemble cast. This is a truly great drama, excellently written, portrayed and presented by all involved. A must see for every one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as bad as some make out, 5 Oct. 2010
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Having just watched the full 4 episodes on 2 discs, I can vouch this is the full version ermm tits an all. Am mentioning it coz one reviewer here must be talking about a different version. To the latest reviewer, fancy purchasing this full set and judging by its cover only to return to Amazon unseen, wow you must be desperate for the five quid refund.

It wasnt that bad, I enjoyed it. Theres always an element of poetic license. besides historians dont all agree as to Charles true demeanor. I love period drama and if you do to then you will enjoy it and hey cummon for the price and minutes of entertainment your getting its great value. DVD Quality was pretty good. Extras/Interviews were great and informative. Dont deny yourself for a couple of 'soft' reviews.

If you found my words helpful to you at all please vote on it. Thanks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well personalised history, 2 Jun. 2009
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Heiko Paabo (Tartu, Estonia) - See all my reviews
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This movie is well done and gives a good overview of the time period. It is not fully authentic to the historical events but even though it constructs nice understanding of the historical period. I think that the main value of this movie is the narration of a personal struggle that the people of that time had. It creates good understanding and at the same time it is also very touching story about key persons of English history. I recommend it!
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History comes alive, 22 Aug. 2006
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I very much enjoyed this four-episode drama about Charles II life. I think a perfect balance was found between the private and political sphere of the king: both was portrayed excitingly and vividly depicting his personality both as man and king with strengths and weaknesses as well. The Restoration Age, as its king, is shown in detail with its splendour and decadence.

A superb cast is empolyed including Rufus Sewell, Rupert Graves and the excellent Shirley Henderson among others. The music is beautiful. A documentary film about Charles' childhood and adolescence can be found on the dvd as an extra which is also worth watching.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historically inaccurate but still a good ride., 6 Mar. 2015
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IP - See all my reviews
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The perfect companion for all movie enthusiasts is: THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

If you are looking for historical accuracy then this is not for you. As a work of fantasy, however, this is an engrossing and handsomely produced piece. It has solid performances, although they are sometimes prone to the current tendency to substitute volume for emotion, and intriguing characters. Although not in the first rank of dramas, it is well worth a rental, and fans of the major stars should not be ashamed to add it to their film libraries--even though historians should be.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Merry Monarch, Unhappy Queen, 10 Jan. 2006
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I enormously enjoyed this production ! I've always liked king Charles, in spite of Catarina de Bragança's poor destiny. I agree that, by the standards of the time, he was as friendly a husband as possible. Congratulations to Shirley Henderson, who asks for a tea in perfect Portuguese ( was her voice dubbed or did she have to practise herself, I wonder ?:) By the way, Catarina was NOT that plain ...
A very nice group of supporting actors, specially Rupert Graves, the man whose face is not easy to forget ...
A very convincing recreation of the Restauration days !
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Charles II: The Power & the Passion [DVD] [2003]
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