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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 25 November 2012
The Hatfields and McCoys generated the saying, 'The real McCoy'. This is a hardened piece of genuine history. Two confederate soldiers in The Civil War; 'Devil' Anse Hatfield went AWOL leaving his friend Randall McCoy in a delicate situation with the Union army. The dispute carried on to land possession. The Hatfields settled in West Virginia and the McCoys nearby in Kentucky separated by the Tug River.

Hostilities grew rapidly between the families starting with the death of McCoys' brother Harmon at the hands of 'Uncle' Jim Vance, a vicious man brilliantly played by Tom Berenger, allied to disputes regarding land. This is the kick-start in much of the malignment between the families. The family leaders, Anse Hatfield (Kevin Kostner) and Randall McCoy (Bill Paxton), are expertly portrayed, decent men who become embroiled in an inflammatory family feud of hatred and revenge. Once the ball starts rolling, the clans recruit families, friends and neighbours into bloody confrontations. Shootings, reprisals, and revenge become paramount keeping upperhand position, largely borne by stubborness and vindictiveness from younger family acquaintances. What happened between two men exploded into the families. The death count climbs, needlessly, yet inevitable given the gung-ho attitude of the rival opponents who see the situation as a challenge between the families. Who is the bravest or best shot and how can we shoot the opposition under cover?

The women are strong. Sarah Parish as Levicy Hatfield and Mare Winningham as Sarah (Sally) McCoy are totally commited in support of their families, yet have to bear witness to their loved ones needlessly slaughterered. Their emotions are subdued yet eventually become apparent as the destruction of lives continues.
Johnse Hatfield (Matt Burr) is a loose cannon who thinks nothing in his often drunken state to inflame a potentially explosive situation with Roseanna McCoy, (Lindsay Pulsipher), with a pregnant outcome and later with her cousin Nancy (Jena Malone), a manipulative, devious woman who is not averse to provoking the rivalries for her own satisfaction.

As the death toll rises, the families end up forming posse-type clashes. Bounty hunters spring up including the brutal Frank Philips (Frank Howard) for the McCoys whilst Anse Hatfield retaliates with his own loyal group as they square up at the 'Battle of Grape Creek'. There is a feeling throughout this epic series that the main rivals are realising the futilty of a never-ending of conflict. Youth and loss of the real spleen-venting origins of the feud go by the by and are carried along as a run-of-the mill adventure until they are, or see their loved ones, killed. Putting a stop to it is another matter. Reconciliation of some form between the family heads is the only likely possibilty. Memories are long and carried beyond this mid-late 19th century confrontation. Policed by self-imposition, Anse's older brother Judge Hatfield (Powers Boothe) tries but is a sacrificial lamb.

This 2 DVD collection is split into 3 episodes ( originally five on channel 5 TV with dreaded adverts). Period, filmed in non-colour sepia tones ,(not black and white), reproduces the time. An authentic tobacco-spitting, shoot-up with pride and foolishness, some musical fiddling, lots of stubborness and stupidity by the men, borne on the shoulders and strengths of the matriarchs who really are the backbone of the others' frailties and they know it.

Extras are a featurette of 'The Making of the Hatfields and McCoys', and a music video featuring Kevin Costner and Modern West.
Loved every minute. Slow to start but the characters did need an introduction in view of the huge numbers in the families with the need to sort out who belongs to who on the two sides (beards, hats, horses and guns don't help). Given that, this is a wonderful working of real 'Cowboy Land' with acting and production values at the very top. Exremely entertaining and enjoyable.
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"Devil" Anse Hatfield played by Kevin Costner [also joint producer] and Randall McCoy played by Bill Paxton return by different routes and for different reasons from the bloody Civil War where they had been comrades in battle; looking out for each other. They desire peaceful lives to develop and expand their family businesses, but this is not to be. Like many monumental fall outs their feud starts with a misunderstanding and then an attempted crooked business deal prompted by McCoy's self seeking and loathsome lawyer ads fuel to the flames. Matters escalate with killings and retribution beatings on both sides until the war between the families is out of control. There is, as with any good story, a love interest: can a young Hatfield marry a McCoy? Apparently not.
This true life feud goes on for 30 plus years and has become part of American history. "Going at it like the Hatfields and McCoys" after over 100 years is still part of their lexicon to describe any bitter disagreement.
The acting of all concerned is beyond reproach and a special mention for Mr. Costner's best performance for many years. It is gritty, cruel and violent and to tell this tale it could be no other way. The effects are clever and the scenery stunning even although it was shot in Romania to give the appearance of wild, open space, authentic 19th.century eastern USA.
At just over four and a half hours it splits nicely into 3 parts or if you are as engrossed as I was, will be watched in one sitting. It is a quality realistic production of a standard way beyond the usual mini series genre.
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on 15 August 2014
thoroughly enjoyed this series. watched them all in one day as I was so engrossed. so nice to see so many English actors/actresses in this series. as usual kevin Costner produces a great character, in both acting and presence.
all the characters stood out in their own right. making you hate some of them and loving others.
me and my husband both chose different sides we liked hatfiald for him and McCoy for me.
so it is hard to choose which side you agreed with the most.
all I can say is, if you like dramas that are based on true stories then this is the one to watch.
enjoyful the whole way through. with some great shooting scenes and some sad ones that would bring a tear to your eyes.
fabulous programme/acting/scenes/costumes the whole lot. just great
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I love watching Kevin Costner westerns and, although I never saw this on series on TV, I was determined to get it immediately it came onto DVD. I was not disappointed.
The Hatfields and McCoys feud story is well documents and, although I know it in general terms, I do not know the detail so cannot comment on the accuracy of 'facts'.
To be honest, who cares. This is not advertised as the 'true story' nor is it an historical documentary (albeit that it was made for the History Channel). It's a terrific story, well produced, well acted and well directed. What more could the purchaser want.
100% recommended and a well deserved 5 stars all round
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It seems like every time I see one of these movies, Jim Vance (Tom Berenger) is always the bad guy. Clocking in at just under five hours, one must make time to watch this film which is not as much fun as LOTR or the "Star Wars" saga. I enjoy watching histories when they are not too long. Clearly this could have been condensed with some of the opening Civil War scenes edited except for the fact Civil War pictures are popular.

I almost turned it off when 'Devil' Anse Hatfield (Kevin Costner) said "brain pan." I also didn't like Bill Paxton's portrayal of Randall McCoy. I thought much of the supporting cast was excellent. This version appears to be one Charles Beard might have written as the origins of the feud is economic. As a history, this was far superior to the version with Christian Slater, but then what isn't better without Christian Slater in it? This is a History Channel presentation, where unfortunately history occasional gets sold out for ratings.

PARENTAL GUIDE: 2 f-bombs, Rear nudity. Couples in bed. Prostitution.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 October 2012
I am lucky enough to have seen the complete 'Hatfields & McCoys' miniseries in advance of its transmission on Channel 5 in the United Kingdom, and I must say it is a superb series.

The story is based on fact and concerns the infamous feud between the families of Hatfield and McCoy in the West Virginia-Kentucky area (for those interested it is specifically along the Tug Fork, just off of the Big Sandy River) and it takes place between 1863 to 1891.

The Hatfields of West Virginia were led by William Anderson "Devil Anse" Hatfield (portrayed here by the magnificent Kevin Costner), whilst the McCoys of Kentucky were under the leadership of Randolph "Ole Ran'l" McCoy (the always reliable Bill Paxton, who in my opinion delivers a career best performance).

Blood Feud: The Hatfields and the McCoys: The Epic Story of Murder and Vengeance

I must admit that I had not heard of the feud prior to watching the series, but having done a little research since I was surprised to discover just how well known it is in America, so much so that it still taught in schools and it has actually entered the American folklore lexicon as a metaphor for any bitterly feuding rival parties!

A quote I found states that "more than a century later, the story of the feud has become a modern symbol of the perils of family honour, justice, and vengeance".

The series consists of three episodes, each between 95 and 105 minutes approximately.

The cast is simply superb, many familiar faces from British screens are in quite prominent roles, and the seething anger and resentment between the two leads is so well played that it is quite believable that the situation would have escalated in the fashion that it did.

Of particular note for me on the American side are Tom Berenger (where has he been?!) portraying an incredibly ruthless and vengeful Jim Vance and Powers Booth as the local Justice of the Peace Judge Valentine "Wall" Hatfield (yes that's right, he is related to Costner's character!); from the United Kingdom we have the excellent and at times almost unrecognisable Sarah Parish ('Mistresses') as Levicy Hatfield, the wife of Kevin Costner's character, and Joe Absolom (Matthew Rose from 'Eastenders'!) as Selkirk McCoy, one of the sons of Randolph "Randall" McCoy (Bill Paxton).

In my research I discovered a couple of interesting details about the actual production (well I think they are!), firstly although the story is set in the Appalachians in West Virginia and Kentucky, it was actually shot in Transylvania, Romania, just outside of Brașov (with the Carpathians standing in for the Appalachians)!

Secondly, although the main score is composed by John Debney and Tony Morales some of the additional music is by Kevin Costner and his band 'Modern West'.

The soundtrack is available here:

Famous Killing Each Other: Hatfields & Mccoys -Ost

If anyone is interested Kevin Costner has produced a few albums with the aforementioned 'Modern West' now, they are pretty good actually and I have to say that he can actually sing! I am listening to their 'Best of...' via 'Spotify' as I write this review by the way!

Best Of

The story moves quite slowly initially but this is important to illustrate just how the hatred and anger built, and to me the way in which this is done is the brilliance of the series, you can genuinely understand just how things got so out of control.

The series is quite violent and brutal, although not to the extent of say 'Deadwood', and neither does it contain the expletive filled language!

On another side note I just have to recommend the aforementioned 'Deadwood', it is simply amazing and if anyone has an appreciation of all things 'wild west' they should check it out:

Deadwood Ultimate Collection Seasons 1-3 [DVD]

One of my favourite aspects of this series, and something that sets it apart from most others I have seen, is the aforementioned use of language; it contains a great deal of, what I imagine to be, words and phrases from the era and this adds so much authenticity. Adding to this authenticity is the 'look' of the characters, they are generally unkempt and dirty (not much make-up or many stylised haircuts here!) and they really look like they 'live' in the world they inhabit.

The thing that resonates most about the series for me is just how much damage and destruction a 'disagreement' between two men can cause; so much hurt, so much pain and so many lives ruined over supposed 'honour'.

The series rightly received a great many nominations and subsequent awards in America (including Emmy's) and sets the benchmark for the modern western mini-series as far as I am concerned, much like the brilliant 'Hell on Wheels' has done for the longer series.

Hell On Wheels - Season 1 [DVD]

I understand that the series was not only a critical success but it was also a commercial one, breaking some viewing figures in America; this is wonderful news for me because it almost certainly means more productions of its type are to follow.

If you like westerns, if you like Kevin Costner (or Bill Paxton!), or if you simply like a really good story with high production values and a message then this is the series for you.

As far as I am concerned it sits quite comfortably alongside the brilliant 'Open Range' Open Range [DVD] [2004] and even the legendary 'Dances with Wolves' Dances with Wolves (Three Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1991].

I would thoroughly recommend purchasing the DVD because I feel that the manner in which Channel 5 will broadcast it (lots of long commercial breaks and spread out over nearly a month) will definitely have a considerable impact on the viewing experience, and I honestly feel that this series deserves more.
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on 6 September 2013
Saw this on TV recently - great series but very violent!! True story of family friends who feud and due to their pride and testosterone spills over into generations. It is taught at school in the US as part of their history - where the saying ' The real McCoy 'comes from.
Every single actor/actress is amazing - people you may have heard or not are all extraordinary !
If you liked Lonesome Dove you will like this.
Very sad and moving and shocking in many parts but fascinating all the same! ! Harrowing - so be warned!
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on 15 August 2013
My husband & I enjoyed this. It was a western style film but with it being true we found it made it all the more shocking and interesting. It's frightening that starting with a relatively small disagreement between neighbours, one time friends and even comrades, things can get so easily out of hand, with so much hateful feeling, so many family and friends getting involved and so much evil being committed, all in the name of revenge.
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on 6 January 2013
This superb production tells the true story of long lasting feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families - of West Virginia and Kentucky respectively - on either side of the nineteenth and twentieth century. The story is a tragedy as the two leaders of the families - 'Devil' Anse Hatfield and Randall McCoy - are basically decent men who become caught up in escalating violence between the two families, which they cannot seem to control and which has many causes but is mainly due to the actions of the two men during the Civil War. In fact there are plenty of hard working decent people caught up in the story with, as ever in life, a sprinkling of ugly thugs. There are many tragic events but the fate of Anse's respectable elder bother, Uncle Wall, his feeble minded nephew, 'Cotton Top', Randall's wife, Sally, and his favourite daughter, Roseanne, are particularly so.
I often find feature films are too short so that characters don't have time to develop and the action seems somehow rushed; however this is a mini series in three parts so this doesn't occur and the acting, directing and the sets are so good that interest is never lost.
I don't normally waste my time watching 'extras' but in this case they are well worth seeing not just for the usual amusing outakes and Kevin Cosner's obvious joy in film making but a wonderful series of photographs of the actors in character along side those of the real Hatfields and MacCoys as well as short notes on their eventual real life fates.
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on 18 October 2013
Bought this on the strength of the other epic westerns that i have of Kevin Costner. I was not disappointed . In fact i was glued to the screen and ended up watching it in one sitting. Fantastic. Bill Paxton was excellent as so were all the supporting cast. And it stayed as true as it could to the true facts. Buy it. You wont be disappointed.
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