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Spoils of War [1980] [DVD]

4.5 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Alan Hunter, Malcolm Tierney, James Bate, Ian Hastings, Madeleine Newton
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: 4 Feb. 2008
  • Run Time: 360 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000TGGJ6O
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,133 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Starring Alan Hunter (Dangerfield), James Bate (Auf Wiedersehen, Pet), Ian Hastings (Prime Suspect), Malcolm Tierney (Dalziel and Pascoe) and Madeleine Newton (When the Boat Comes In). It is 1948 and the war is slowly receding in people's memories but rationing still exists and there are many scars that will not heal. The Spoils of War follows the fortunes of two north country families, the Haywards and the Warringtons, in post war Britain Originally broadcast on ITV in 1980 Written by John Finch (A Family at War).

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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"The Spoils of War" (series one) is the story centred on the experiences of a working class family living on the Cumberland coast told through the eyes of its members at various times and places from 1945 to 1947. One of the sons is in the British Army and he falls in love with a German girl in whose house he is billeted on VE-Day in 1945. Unfortunately for her the house is in an area soon to be occupied by the Russians as part of the post-war carve up of Germany by the allies after the Yalta Conference. His brother thought to be dead in Burma returns from a Japanese prisoner of war camp traumatised by his brutal treatment to a wife and young son he has not seen for five years. What he does not know is that when his wife was told he was missing presumed dead she had an affair with a Ukranian POW who fought against the Russians who were allies of the British and Americans. This secret is eventually revealed despite the attempts of her family to keep it hidden. The family at home struggle to come to terms with conditions at the end of the war and there are tensions in the household as a result of their political differences and attitudes towards living in rapidly changing post war England.

The series although made thirty years old is not too dated and is very well made, intelligent, compelling and well acted. I don't remember the series when it was made in 1980 but when I saw the reviews of the first series it looked like a story well worth watching. I was not wrong and the subsequent series maintains the high standard of the first series.
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I'd never heard of this series before I accidentally came across it on Amazon. It's very well written and acted and is astonishingly intelligent. Very political - in the widest sense of the word - and is totally devoid of stereotypes and cliches; for example several members of the working class Haywards are Tories and 2 of the upper class Warringtons are Socialists ( the wife even ends up a Labour MP ). Summarising the plot would be a bit pointless, basically very high quality soap opera and the interweaving fortunes of 2 families in Cumberland over the immediate post war years ( though also encompassing war-ravaged Germany/Eastern Europe and the start of the Cold War, giving the series an almost epic quality, amazing considering its low budget ).
I would give this 5 stars if it weren't for a few minor flaws, a few historical inaccuracies and the first 2 episodes have a little too much political exposition, but this is basically a very good series that I would recommend anyone interested in the great ITV drama series of a generation ago ( ie Upstairs Downstairs, We'll Meet Again ) should watch.
I've also now seen the very good 2nd series - but apparently there were 3 series - roll on the release of this final series!
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I loved this show and watched each episode 3 times a week when it was first on! (the joys of an afternoon repeat on different days when you live on the cusp of two TV regions)

It was a thrill when it was released on video and I was not disappointed when I viewed it again. All I hope is that the rest of the series are released too.

The characters are really involving, it's about a fascinating period in history and it's well written. I miss this kind of drama.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this series about a family during post wartime in northern England. Times are still hard with some rationing and men returning from active service. One son who was presumed dead while in a japanese prisoner of war camp returns but has many severe mental problems with war neurosis. His wife thinking him dead has fallen in love with a european from the enemy side serving as a prisoner in England and working at a nearby farm. There are three other brothers and a sister. The older two brothers also served, one in the airforce, the other an army officer. One has strong union ties although his ambition it to write professionally, the other has become rather a capitalist and tends to do things which hurt many people. The younger son likes to spend time with his grandad who also lives in the family home. The sister falls in love with a young man who is the son of one of the local gentry, this young man was an ordinary soldier who new her brother when they were serving together in europe. He visits his ex officer one day and thereby meets the sister and their relationship starts.
This is short review of this series as I would not want to spoil the story for viewers but it will give everyone an idea of the storyline. If you enjoyed Family at War, then you will certainly enjoy this series too. The picture quality is not up to today,s standard as it is quite fuzzy but we have to consider this was made a long time ago and had to be digitised so a fairly good job has been done on it.
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I did not see this when it was first released but it sounded quite interesting. My grandmother was young in this era when classes mixed and the old order changed with the end of the war. I was interested to learn a little about what life would have been like for her in post-war England.
I quite enjoyed what I saw and learned a little bit but not enough to justify the time spent sitting there. It was very much in the soap mould with lots of different stories threading in among each other. The acting was only so-so and the script was not a lot better, none of the characters particularly caught my imagination and all in all I was quite glad to get to the end. I sent the dvd set straight to the charity shop. No repeat viewings for me and no particular desire to further serials. I guess ok for those that like soaps.
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