Boardwalk Empire - Season 1 (HBO) [DVD] 
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When alcohol was outlawed, outlaws became kings. From Terence Winter, Emmy Award-winning writer of The Sopranos, and Academy Award Winning Director Martin Scorsese, Boardwalk Empire is set in Atlantic City at the dawn of Prohibition, when the sale of alcohol became illegal throughout the United States.
The Great War is over, Wall Street is about to boom and everything is for sale, even the World Series. It is a time of change when women are getting the vote, broadcast radio is introduced, and young people rule the world.
On the beach in southern New Jersey sits Atlantic City, a spectacular resort known as "The World's Playground," a place where rules don't apply. Massive hotels line its famous Boardwalk, along with nightclubs, amusement piers and entertainment to rival Broadway. For a few dollars, a working man can get away and live like a king--legally or illegally.
The undisputed ruler of Atlantic City is the town's Treasurer, Enoch "Nucky" Thompson, (Steve Buscemi) a political fixer and backroom dealer who is equal parts politician and gangster and equally comfortable in either role. Because of its strategic location on the seaboard, the town is a hub of activity for rum-runners, minutes from Philadelphia, hours from New York City and less than a day's drive from Chicago. And Nucky Thompson takes full advantage.
A. Audio Commentary (E1) w/ Terry Winter
B. Audio Commentary (E4) w/ Terry Winter, Steve Buscemi, Michael Williams
C. Audio Commentary (E6) w/ Tim VanPatten, Howard Korder
D. Audio Commentary (E8) w/ Terry Winter, Brian Kirk
E. Audio Commentary (E11) w/ Howard Korder, Allen Coulter, Michael Shannon
F. Audio Commentary (E12) w/ Terry Winter, Tim VanPatten
G. Making Boardwalk Empire (25:00 appx.)
H. Creating the Boardwalk (8:00 appx.)
I. Atlantic City: The Original Sin City (30:00 appx.)
J. Speakeasy Tour (25:00 appx.)
K. Character Dossier (available in English only from the English menu set)
In fine (and bloody) style, HBO's Boardwalk Empire returns to 1920 when the ban on booze led to a syndicate of bootleggers and smugglers. Created by Sopranos scribe Terence Winter and coproduced by director Martin Scorsese, the story centers on Atlantic City treasurer Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (Steve Buscemi), who schemes in private while preaching temperance in public (Mark Wahlberg and Tim Van Patten also serve as producers). Jimmy (Michael Pitt, Buscemi's Delirious costar), a war veteran, acts as his right-hand man, while zealous Agent Van Alden (Michael Shannon) and refined mobster Arnold Rothstein (A Serious Man's Michael Stuhlbarg) represent significant threats to his enterprise.
Nucky's other associates include his sheriff brother Eli (Shea Whigham), sexpot girlfriend Lucy (Paz de la Huerta), and distributor Chalky (The Wire's Michael K. Williams). If Nucky has little regard for law and order, his soft side emerges in his dealings with Irish immigrant Margaret (Kelly Macdonald, excellent), who segues from abused wife to kept woman. As Nucky puts it, "I try to be good. I really do." After he sends Jimmy away a spell, his sidekick joins forces with Al Capone (Stephen Graham, Public Enemies) and disfigured vet Richard Harrow (Jack Huston), abandoning his son, common-law wife Angela (Aleksa Palladino), and mother Gillian (Gretchen Mol), who has a fling with Lucky Luciano (Vincent Piazza).
Inspired by Nelson Johnson's book, Boardwalk Empire takes a Deadwood-like approach to history by combining characters both factual and fictional with blue language and ladies without brassieres. Winter, who won an Emmy for The Sopranos episode Pine Barrens, takes liberties with the historical record, but the series never claims to represent the truth and nothing but--which is only fitting when everyone's hiding secrets. If the entire ensemble deserves praise, Buscemi rules the show as thoroughly as Nucky rules the city. --Kathleen C. FennessySee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Well the wait was worth it as this is adult entertainment at its finest. What you have is a multilayered sprawling epic about prohibition era Atlantic City. At the centre of the story is Steve Buscemi's "Nucky" Thompson a corrupt politician (rather than gangster) who has his brother as the local sheriff and his fingers in all the city's pies.
Nothing is perfect so if there's one grumble the period detail is a little too perfect. Every room, even the run down ones, seem to be dressed to within an inch of their lives and I am not sure anywhere was quite that pristine outside of a lab.
This is a character piece so the emphasis is on characterisation rather than action but that's not to say that there aren't wonderful action set pieces too overall though it's the three dimensional characters that makes it breath. There's the ice cold boot legger Chalky White (Omar from the Wire) a terrifying prohibition officer Agent Nelson all fire, brimstone and a simmering self loathing of his own weaknesses.
There are also great female roles such Margaret Schroeder the Irish immigrant who discovers her own inner strengths at the same time the viewers do and Gillian the most complex grandmother you are likely to come across.
There is a veritable rogue's gallery in the show who are all more unusual than the usual ciphers you get in the average TV shows.
However, I did not feel the series deserved a 5 star rating for two reasons. Firstly some of the episodes are somewhat slow and lack the pace I would have expected from a series like this. The second and more influential reason is that the series lacks a single likeable character you can root for and consequently care what happens to them. The series definitely lacks a lovable rogue, a character you can hope turns out alright despite what they do.
Nevertheless Boardwalk Empire is a very good piece of TV and will definitely appeal to those with an interest in this period of American history.
The sets are fantastic and Scorsese does his magic to portray everything so well, like a brilliant artist creating a richly detailed work of art. This really isn't serialised, run of the mill, ham acting with 'pretty boy' heroes and an unbelievable plot. This is premium grade stuff.
This fantastic first season is filled with an excellent cast who play some fantastic characters in a deep and encapsulating story that deals with booze, money, politics, sex, lies, family histories and everything else in between! I recommend Boardwalk Empire Season 1 as it is a fantastic demonstration of what the Film/TV industry still has to offer! I also recommend buying Season 2 as it is equally as good as (if not better) Season 1 and definitely worth the money and time that will be spent watching this sublime television series!
There is much to be learnt here. We in the UK don't really here much about American involvement in World War One. Yet there are men shockingly disfigured and traumatised by their experience. Men that could never fit back into society, much like Vietnam vets. Some find a place in the underworld which blossomed with Prohibition.
Religion and race are examined and, of course, politics. It is a corrupt man's world with fat cats scratching each others backs.
So the breadth and depth of this series is what makes similar TV series more rewarding than a movie ever can be. With 12 hours you can build characters and plots to immersive and absorbing levels. I believe that we are seeing a phenomenon arising where people form such attachments to characters in movies that the sequel and part III are not enough. HBO recognizes this and is at the forefront of providing the remedy with 5 seasons of The Wire for example. Five seasons of The Wire AND IT WAS STILL NOT ENOUGH!
The most expensive TV ever does not actually guarantee quality, but, trust me - here it works. The Boardwalk of Atlantic City is resurrected with CGI and glorious sets and costumes. Steve Buscemi is delightful as a damaged but clever and generous man who sees life for what it is. Or is he a cold calculating murderer? You decide.
So, I would humbly suggest that you get on board this elevator at ground level and see where it takes you.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
After the first episode I rated Boardwalk Empire a 3; after the fourth episode I rated it a 4; but by the end of this first season I give it 5 stars. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jenny (South Africa)