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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Battleship Potemkin [1925] [DVD]
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on 19 June 2017
For historical interest and cinematic innovation rather than pure entertainment
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on 16 March 2015
One of the most influential movies in cinema history and along with Citizen Kane a strong contender for the greatest movie ever made .Containing the Odessa steps massacre Eisensteins movie has influenced directors like Woody Allen Francis Coppola and especially Brian de Palma who memorably paid homage in The Untouchables. Full of memorable scenes this is one silent movie you must see.
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on 2 June 2005
Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein was one of the finest craftsmen ever to direct motion pictures. His film "Battleship Potempkin," released in 1925, is a classic and was long considered by many to be the finest film ever made. A pioneer in the use of editing, Eisenstein believed that film editing was more than a method used to link scenes together in a movie. He worked with juxtaposing images, in rhythmic succession, to create powerful feelings in the viewers. Eisenstein felt that careful editing could actually be used to manipulate the emotions of the audience.
This, his second movie, portrays the sailors' mutiny on board the Battleship Potemkin. The ship is returning from war with Japan via the Black Sea. Sailors become disgruntled and restive with the terrible treatment they receive from commanding officers, and the horrendous living conditions onboard. Their complaints are ignored. The last straw comes when the hungry men are fed inedible meat, crawling with maggots. They rise up, and take command of the Potempkin. When they arrive at the port town of Odessa, the people sympathize with the sailors' plight, and subsequently pay a terrible price for their support. In one moving scene, the ship's captain becomes enraged when the men refuse to eat the spoiled food. He orders the rebels shot. Grigory Vakulinchuk, a leader of the insurrection appeals to his comrades, "Brothers! Who are you shooting at?" He convinces the armed soldiers to join in the uprising. Propaganda or no, it's an extraordinarily moving scene.
The film is structured around five episodes, seamed together almost effortlessly: (1) Men and Maggots; (2) Drama on the Quarterdeck; (3) An Appeal from the Dead; (4) The Odessa Steps; and, (5) Meeting the Squadron. Eisenstein used one of the real life participants in the actual mutiny as an actor and historical advisor on the project. "Battleship Potempkin" contains one of the most widely viewed scenes in film history - the massacre on the Odessa Steps. Tsarist soldiers march down an endless flight of stairs in a rhythmic, robotic fashion. They open fire on the innocent citizens of the harbor town and relentlessly shoot everyone in sight, without mercy, including a woman with a child in her arms. Another woman is hit and her baby rolls down the steps in a carriage. Extracts from Dmitry Shostakovich's symphonies heighten the drama.
The film was made to commemorate the failed 1905 uprising in Russia. Interestingly enough, censors in many countries banned the movie out of concern that their own citizens and navies might be inspired to revolt. Britain's ban on the film was not lifted until 1954. Voters at the World's Fair in 1958, held in Brussels, Belgium, voted "The Battleship Potemkin" the greatest film of all time. Today, at the beginning of the 21st century, the movie still holds its own.
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on 26 February 2006
"Revolution is war. Of all the wars known in history it is the only lawful, rightful, just, and truly great war... In Russia this war has been declared and begun". Lenin said that in 1905, and the quotation appears on the screen as soon as you begin watching this film. It gives you an excellent idea of what "Battleship Potemkin" is about, that is Soviet propaganda.
All the same, this film is a classic that should be watched, in order to understand why it is considered as such. In my opinion, the reasons are many:
a) To start with, the story of a naval mutiny sparked by rotten food is an interesting one, and it is told in a way that makes the spectator think that that event is happening right before him, even though the film is in black and white, and has no sound.
b) Secondly, the sequences regarding the Odessa massacre are impossible to forget, and some scenes are simply gems of great emotional impact and a profound shocking value.
c) Finally, and from a technical point of view, the ability of Sergei M. Eisenstein to produce such a film in 1925 is something noteworthy, as is his edition technic, and the way in which he uses symbols to impress upon the spectator what he wants to say.
All in all, I think that even though watching this film isn't likely to be something you will do often for fun, it is something you should do at least once. Recommended!
Belen Alcat
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on 19 November 2000
Eisenstein's masterpiece film chronicles (partly fictitiously) the Russian naval mutiny at Odessa during the 1905 revolution. The memorable and acclaimed scene of the bloodshed on the Odessa Steps remains powerful to this very day, and many subsequent movies of varied content have paid homage to it. It is therefore ironic that this is the one notable event included within the film that never actually occurred, but it is the sequence which most vividly exposes the babarity of the Czarist authorities and also best illustrates the montage technique of film editing pioneered by Eisentstein and so influential upon the film-makers of both Europe and Hollywood.
In deference to its origins (a commission from the Russian revolutionary leadership to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the 1905 Revolution), the film is unashamedly pure propaganda, but loses none of its cinematographic impact as a result. Indeed, the powerful imagery and effectiveness of its key sequences were so strong as to lead to its banning in many parts of the western world for many years (including Britain, the United States and France) and, indeed, in Russia, where there was a great fear that it may incite rebellion against Stalin's regime which history has come to show was every bit as inhumane and repressive as the imperial Czarist rule which the film condemns.
For a long time, the picture was regarded by the luminaries of the world film industry as the greatest film ever made, more latterly surpassed by Orson Welles' Citizen Kane whose own original masterpiece is nevertheless clearly inspired by the techniques pioneered by Eisenstein in Battleship Potemkin. Like Citizen Kane, its general popularity has suffered as a result of a perceived intellectualness arising out of the praise lauded upon it from high and intelligent sources. As with Citizen Kane, many modern film lovers have never viewed it, regarding its highbrow reputation as rendering it inaccessible to them - but thankfully, more and more people have taken the plunge with both pictures and found themselves to be pleasantly surprised by the stirring and, indeed, entertaining content to be discovered within them. Long may that trend continue and I, for one, will continue to point all comers the way of this magnificent movie.
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on 20 September 2000
Few people who have seen Battleship Potemkin remember that it is in black and white ("But I could see the blood on the steps") or silent ("The shouting crowd, the gunshots"). This is testament to the film's power. Made in 1925 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1905 revolution, this film is, on the face of it, a standard propaganda film. So motivating, it was used on a Soviet ship to motivate an anti-establishment mutiny in the dying days of the Soviet Union. However, like so much of Eisenstein's work it is multi-layered. Yes, the sailors are victorious, but the citizens of Odessa are massacred and we know that the revolution ultimately failed. There is an overwhelming feeling of sadness and futility as we watch the ship sail off victorious into the sunset - Stalin disapproved of it for this reason. Overall, a film everyone should see, not just because it's so much an icon of the Communist era in the Soviet Union, but because it's so well-done, so gripping, so expressive and so memorable in its own right.
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on 4 June 2011
Note that the music used on the blu-ray disc is the original Edmund Meisel score. Sergei Eisenstein worked closely with Meisel for the Berlin release of 1926. Several reviews refer to Shostakovich symphonies. Yes, excerpts of these formed the soundtrack of a Russian version (which in places stretched the film to fit the music). Here. we have a different problem: Meisel's score was for the German censored version, but it has been expertly tailored to fit the version on this blu-ray by Helmut Imig. It's a terrific score that was designed to fit the various scenes and to convey the moods Eisenstein wanted. The film and the Meisel score together offer an unparalleled emotional experience for film lovers!
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on 11 September 2010
"Potemkin" is one of the most famous films in cinema history. A Soviet propaganda film from the silent era, it tells the story of the failed Russian revolution of 1905 through the events that happened on the battleship Potemkin and in Odessa. Shot in 1925 by Sergei Eisenstein, "Potemkin" contains one of the most famous scenes (the Odessa Steps massacre) in film history. In addition, Eisenstein's editing techniques for this film were revolutionary, designed to cause maximum impact on the audience. It has influenced and inspired numerous film directors ever since.

Whilst still considered to be one of the greatest films of all times, I agree with one of the previous reviewers that the film has not aged well. I found the film dark, very slow and at times boring. This is partially caused by the fact that the "Potemkin" is made up of five long drawn-out scenes, in my opinion a result of the whole script being written on a single piece of paper. As such "Potemkin" is not a film to be watched for pure entertainment.

The DVD shows the completely restored film, but misses the extras that make for instance the Eureka! / Masters of Cinema - series so exciting. A pity, since there is considerable additional information to relay about the "Potemkin". All in all, "Potemkin" is an important film and should be part of any film historian's or early movies fan's collection.
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on 17 October 2013
Battleship Potemkin is an important step in the history of film. Ground-breaking techniques can be found in this movie. You can view the particular scenes that have changed cinema forever.
But that's about as far as you want to go. You don't want to watch the entire movie. It's very boring and you'll feel like you wasted a part of your life.
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on 30 October 2010
This film is one of the all time greats. While by todays standards not a slick film everything is there. It tells a very powerful story in beautifully composed shots in glorious black and white. Plus it was made 85 years ago, before CGI, before complex editing facilites and yet leaves an everlasting impression.
The pity is that many of the film makers of today have so little idea of the history and the language of the medium in which they work. It is all very well to break all the rules but first you have to know them!
This film is a masterpiece in film making.
Battleship Potemkin will always have a place in the history of the moving picture as well as world history. A film where the emphasis is on the story being told and not the "skills" of the film maker.
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