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Fire in Babylon [Blu-ray]
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From the producers of the Academy award-winning The Last King of Scotland and One Day in September comes one of the most inspiring stories in sporting history… Fire In Babylon is the breathtaking tale of how the oppressed people of the West Indies fought back and triumphed over its colonial masters, through the remarkable achievements of one of sports most iconic teams. In a turbulent era of apartheid in South Africa; race riots in England and civil unrest in the Carribean, the West Indian cricketers, led by the enigmatic Viv Richards, struck a wonderfully defiant blow at the forces of white prejudice worldwide. Their undisputed skill, combined with a fearless spirit, allowed them to dominate the game at the highest level, replaying it on their own, terrifying, terms. This is their story.
The West Indies cricket team in the 1970s and 80s rightly continues to be regarded as one of the finest of all time. Names such as Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd, Malcolm Marshall and Gordon Greenidge played the kind of cricket that remains talked about to this day. But what the film Fire In Babylon does is dig a little deeper, examining the ramifications of what that team achieved off the pitch as well as on it.
Fire In Babylon examines the oppression and prejudice that the West Indies team was batting against, and how it came to gradually overcome them. It looks, too, at just what can be achieved by sporting success, with many of the key names of the time all contributing.
Running to a little shy of 90 minutes, Fire In Babylon blends match footage when it can, and breezes through its running time. Perhaps it doesn’t quite fully match its ambitions, but it does provide a thoughtful, engaging documentary, one whose appeal should extend far beyond followers of cricket. It’s an uplifting piece of work, and one that really deserves to be seen. --Jon Foster
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Top customer reviews
That's why this film interested me - I expected it to be a movie that just cricket fans would like and the rest of us would be left at the wayside thinking what on earth is a goggly... Definitely not the case with this movie.
Taking on the unification of the West Indies, the race riots, the importance of the sport to West Indian communities in the commonwealth, apartheid in South Africa and the amazing winning streak of the Windies, the movie is a fascinating look into 70s-80s history. Plus their lethal fast bowlers, who will have you wincing with pain at the jaw breaking speed, are amazing to watch!
What tips it into 5 stars is the reggae soundtrack! Brilliant. Brings a flair of the Caribbean to the whole film.
I haven't come back loving cricket (or sadly, knowing what a goggly is), but appreciating the sport a bit more and definitely understanding why the West Indies cricket team were spoken of as the best in the world.
At the very least, it has got to get an award nom at the BAFTAs!
The film mixes original footage with commentary from musicians, admirers and many of the players themselves, and music from many local bands and established singers. This is definitely one for a long summer evening in with friends and sets up a summer full of sport...and cricket. The blu-ray picture sparkles and is bright and the 5.1 soundtrack is suitably loud and energetic. This film has only just been released in the theatres over a fortnight ago and is, along with 'Senna' which is the other sports documentary of Summer 2011, one of the the highlights of the year. Don't miss out.
This documentary concentrates on the rise of this West Indian team, and the problems that they had to surmount. The way they were intimidated and humiliated by an Australian team containing Lillee and Thomson in 1974, which led to the fire fights fire response by captain Clive LLoyd. It was interesting to see how Michael Holding was reduced to tears by racist abuse in Australia during that era. But, boy did he bounce back! It was also informative to see how cricket brought together the many and diverse islands of the Caribbean under the banner of one great cricket team. Antigua, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and of course Jamaica to name the more prominent all provided great players. Perhaps the best bit was watching Tony Greig the England captain in 1976 telling the press how he would make the West Indians grovel. Not diplomacy at its best, and which he was made to famously regret with the West Indians uprooting his stumps with humiliating and monotous regularity in the following series where the English were duly annihilated. At that time great cricketers just seemed to appear out of a West Indian version of a Scotch mist in a production line that seemed endless. The film has contributions from many of the great men. It is a wonderful documentary that brings back great memories for those that lived through those times. My only gripes are that I would like to have seen even more cricket action. The documentary also gives much air time to Viv Richards and the bowlers Michael Holding, Andy Roberts and Colin Croft. There is only a brief mention about the magnificent Malcolm Marshall, and the earlier Keith Boyce. Perhaps because both are now dead. Marshall dying so tragically young and Boyce dying of chronic cirrhosis of the liver in his native Barbados. I would love to see an even more definitive documentary charting the history of West Indian cricket. Wishful thinking perhaps!
This is a documentary about one particular team that changed the face of cricket, that only touched upon its heritage of great players. One of the finest batsmen to have ever played the game, Rohan Kanhai does not even get a mention. The great all rounder Gary Sobers deserves a documentary all to himself. I once turned up to have a quick look at the Beausejour cricket ground in St Lucia, and ended up being given a guided tour by the chilled out groundsmen. I don't think I would get the same reception at Lords! I also had an animated chat with a security guard on that same island who was a treasure trove of information on cricket. But then most of these people are! This documentary gives you a genuine feel of the passion that these island races share for cricket. Oh that another great West Indian team would rise like a hurricane from the ashes. Until then we can cling to old memories and this cracking little documentary. Perhaps the greatest team from any sport? I watched the blu-ray version. Amongst the extras is an interesting interview showing a critics response to the aggressive West Indian bowling. Curious for a man from a nation that invented bodyline bowling way back in 1932-33 to nullify the threat of Don Bradman!