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4.3 out of 5 stars
1900 [DVD]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 July 2012
So flawed that I almost feel weird giving it this high a rating. But
two viewings of this somewhat bloated 5 hour plus film left me feeling
the same way; The film is over-simplistic in its characters and
politics, badly dubbed (with actors from all over speaking their own
language, so whatever soundtrack you pick there are important
characters who sound like something out of 'What's Up Tiger Lily'), and
even the English spoken by DeNiro seems post- recorded, making for an
oddly stiff sounding performance.

Yet for all these complaints it is somehow a near-great film. There are
so many moments; images, incidents that are indelible, and in the end
there's such a real emotional punch to this overview of the history of
Italy from 1900 to 1945 as seem through the lives of a few people in a
small town that it overcomes many of the flaws.

I couldn't defend the film from anyone who wanted to tear it down -
e.g. the simple-minded jingoistic endless competition between fascism
and communism as if those were the only two options in the world, with
both sides reduced to cartoon like figures of evil and good.

But it's strengths are strong enough that I'd urge people to judge for
themselves. You may find, like me, that all the flaws don't matter to
you when a film has so many unforgettable moments.
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55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on 1 May 2007
20th Century Fox originally released this DVD on April 30th, 2007 but they accidentally missed off the crucial, opening credit sequence lasting about three minutes. They re-released it on July 28th 2008 corrected, with the opening credit sequence in English rather than Italian, but about a minute shorter than usual. This classic is in a nice steelbook cover, and the second disc includes fascinating interviews with director Bernardo Bertolucci on the casting of and making the film. This is the first major picture in which Robert De Niro played the lead. A great edition from Fox; don't miss it.
PLEASE BE WARNED: SOME COPIES BEING SOLD BY SELLERS UNDER 'USED AND NEW' ARE FAULTY STOCK WITH THE OPENING CREDITS MISSING! Buy only from amazon or any official retailer selling brand new stock!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2010
One of my favourite films ever, a four-hour operatically constructed review of the Italy of the early twentieth century. The roles are all brilliantly played and Bertolucci cleverly pastiches social realism in some amazingly choreographed scenes. The farm is itself a symbol for Italy as the main characters play their roles to the leitmotifs of this period in Italian political, economic and cultural history. The photography is also superb.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1900 is a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly of Italian cinema. Bertolucci's defiantly left wing political epic at times plays like a Sidney Sheldon doorstop novel as written by a disciple of Karl Marx, has a laughable first hour and some performances that are so far over the top they've circumnavigate the globe and come back again. Yet it also has moments of genuine power, a sweeping ambition to it and is one of the most beautifully photographed films ever made due to Vittorio Storaro's wondrous combination of natural light, backlighting and the `magic hour' as the situation demands. Ennio Morricone's score is consistently one of his best as well, ensuring that the film sounds as good as it looks.

Chief debit is Burt Lancaster's senile padrone, hanging himself because he can't even get the erection he needs to rape the child of one of his employees: no gattapardo he. Donald Sutherland's socially mobile foreman-turned-fascist thug veers between plus and minus - it's a broad performance, as you'd expect from a character whose idea of political debate is to headbutt a kitten to death (it's an extremely tough film on animals: the kitten's death may be faked but none of the other animal killings are), although there are moments that ring true in the latter section.

Ultimately it doesn't amount to much - the basic thesis can be reduced to "Fascism, socialism - huh. Both as bad as each other," with paradise postponed once again at the very moment of liberation and the status quo more or less restored for the rest of the century. But there's a side of me that can't help thinking that for the most part it's a movie about peasants' rights made by a group of people who are now multi-millionaires who'll make almost anything if you write them a big enough cheque...

Both Fox's Region 2 PAL DVD and Paramount's US Region 1 DVD offer the original 315-minute version spread over two discs (the film was released in two parts in the cinema) and comes with an interesting new two-part documentary featuring Bertolucci.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 5 November 2009
I originally saw this film in a 4 hour version over 30 years ago and always remembered if fondly. However viewing it now in its full 5 hours and one minute directors cut I find it a mixed bag. There is no doubt there is a sweeping good tale with great characters within this epic but there is also a lot of pretentiousness. The dubbing of some actors (Cast is part Italian, part American) is an unusual and sometimes annoying feature. The acting varies from over the top - Burt Lancaster/Donald Sutherland to the quite moving. One truly wonderful feature however is the magnificent cinematography. If you've not seen it before and and wish to fill a long wet evening you could do worse but ultimately its just too damn long.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1900 sets out to render the ideological difference between left and right, as good and evil, succeeds and overlays romance and the dilemmas associated with growing up in a world of conflict. Sutherland is suitably unpleasant and as we find out in the opening reel gets forked for his ways. De Niro amusingly looking nothing like his real old age version, Depardieu does what Gerard does best. A long ramble that is wonderful to look at if a bit stagey at times, there's overacting and underacting in equal measure due to the language (&star versus ordinary villagers as actors) mismatch, is there an Italian with english subtitles version?, if so I would prefer it. the frank and shock tactics still work, strangely, despite the passage of time since its release.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2013
This is currently at number 4 on my top 100 films of all time, it is that good. A stunning epic of magnificent proportions by the great Bernardo Bertolucci. The cinematography and direction of this film have almost never been bettered, it is a stunning achievement visually. The acting is exemplary and, although dubbed, still memorable performances from my favourite actor Robert De Niro, who is not dubbed, and Gerard Depardieu (when I think of Depardieu I certainly think of this role). Burt Lancaster and Sterling Hayden give great little performances as well, I really enjoyed that. Donald Sutherland plays the detestable Attila, and it is another stunning performance, probably Sutherland's finest. Ennio Morricone's score is in my opinion his second finest, after his score for my all time favourite film, Once Upon a Time in America. This film chronicles Italy in these forty five years excellently, it is a real history lesson in politics, and I really learnt a lot from it, especially that Bertolucci is a strong communist (haha). This film is a real achievement, especially is you can actually appreciate it, I know of a lot of people who just cast aside this film as boring but that is a meaningless comment, as anyone who appreciates films should know. This is one of the finest films of all time, a remarkable achievement, but it does run five hours long and as I mentioned before it may play on most viewers nerves. The second disc also has two little featurettes which are very interesting. But be warned! This film contains some scenes that are VERY shocking, you may want to check the IMDb parents guide to check because there are some moments in this film that have really disturbed people (although it is CERTAINLY NOT a gore fest porn show).
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 30 August 2010
When I got this DVD, I was expecting a steel book cover with 30th anniversary edition .I ended up getting the standard edition . After some research,I found out that the version that was sent to me was the complete version as on the back it says it runs for 301 minutes and reviews say the complete version is 315 minutes but the UK Version when put on DVD does show the whole film at a slightly faster rate (undetectable with the human eye).
The film follows two boys friendship from their childhood to old age in Italy .Things change with war ,love and politics which tests their friendship. Three established actors: De Niro, Depardieu and Donald Sutherland give unforgetable performances. If you liked Once Upon a Time in America then you will like this . For Robert De Niro fans, this is a MUST SEE performance .I paid [...]for a five hour masterpiece. Great value for money !!!!!
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This is a review of the double disc edition, with the film lasting five hours.

Bernardo Bertolucci’s ‘1900’, released in 1976 was his first since ‘Last Tango in Paris’. ‘1900’ opens with a shot of Giuseppe Pelizza da Volpedo’s evocative 1901 painting ‘Il Quarto Stato’, a depiction of a group of agricultural workers marching towards the viewer. And this, in essence, is the theme of the Bertolucci’s epic movie.

In a sense, ‘1900’ can be viewed as an Italian version of Edgar Reitz’s ‘Heimat’ as he follows the life of a small agricultural estate in the Po valley from the beginning of the century to beyond the Second World War. But here the emphasis is on two individuals, for in 1900 two babies are born on the same day: one is the first grandson of the lord of the manor, the other is the grandson of one of the lord’s peasants – Alfredo and Olmo. We follow their intertwining lives as the twentieth century progresses.

After chronicling the two boys’ lives as children, it’s not until we are about ninety minutes into the movie that we see Robert de Niro and Guillaume Depardieu play the roles of Alfredo and Olmo, following a very fine edit on a railway journey, which also sees a transition in the colour of the photography from the golden sheen of pre-war childhood to the cold blue of the postwar world of the 1920s and the rise of fascism.

At the time of shooting de Niro was thirty-three, Depardieu twenty-eight, and the successfully convey the lives of their characters from young men to old age. De Niro here looks like a cross between Daniel Radcliffe and Keanu Reeves.

It’s all well and good, but just over a third of the way into the movie, when the easy patronage of the lord (played by Burt Lancaster whose character here is no ‘Leopard’) is replaced by the more capitalistic outlook of his son, we enter a more Manichaean territory: landowners are now intrinsically evil and the workers intrinsically good. Thus the movie unfortunately becomes occasionally more a propaganda piece than a saga of two men growing together and apart.

That is not to say that the story of the attacks on the lives of agricultural workers in northern Italy at this time should not be told, but it would have been more successful if the message was more subtle. Instead, we see fascists killing children whilst the peasants (bless ‘em) sing songs. But Italy in the 1970s was quite a politically polarised society and I presume it was Bertolucci’s decision to make a film about the early struggles of the Italian communist party. But the last thirty minutes of the film are sometimes akin to a crude Soviet Realist celebration with its lectures on socialism (and I write as a socialist myself).

Yet the film also has much beauty. The rendering of agricultural life is handsomely shot, and the transition from manual labour to mechanisation is dutifully demonstrated. However, it is with regret that it cannot be claimed that animals were not hurt during filming. And despite being in (American-)English, as usual with Italian films the ADR synchronisation is often very bad, but at least Bertolucci saves us from that other occasional bugbear of Italian films, namely melodrama.

My DVD comes with two fifteen-minute features from 2006. In the first Bertolucci says he was tempted to extend the tale of the film to the end of the twentieth century, but that Italian politics (and presumably his own) had moved on. He says that the original idea was for two boys to grow up together, be divided politically yet still remember their earlier friendship. In the second, Bertolucci and his DOP Vittorio Storaro explain that they wanted the childhood set in summer, the First World War in autumn, the rise of fascism in winter, and the liberation after the Second World War in spring. Bertolucci reveals he grew up in the countryside as the grandson of a minor landowner but who as a child spent more time in the house of one of the tenant farmers.

In conclusion, despite the negative issues raised in this review about Bertolucci’s epic, it is still a film worth watching. The actors’ performances are sound, the scenes are well-shot, and the narrative idea is worthy. It does not feel five hours in length, so immersed can one become in particular scenes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 February 2014
The so called «tips» don't help much. Good to see again with different eyes after all those years although the big screen makes a difference.
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