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on 2 March 2017
I first saw this documentary on American television in the 1970s, and it left me spellbound. It is, understandably, more than a bit hagiographical, and obviously skips over Churchill's flaws and errors of (and lapses in) judgment -- but as a celebration of a life that, quite obviously, contributed more to the good of the British people and the world than almost any other of his era, it's a glorious account. The documentary itself was always very controversial in England, as it was derived from a much longer work by the same producer, Jack Le Vien, which had been done in conjunction with the BBC but violated many of that organization's protocols concerning re-created interviews and re-enacted events; but on the American side of the Atlantic it was accepted at face-value, and this just-under-two-hour version is still fascinating to watch, especially the latter-day (circa 1951) speech to his constituents where the man, clearly faltering physically, still possessed a great deal of the fire from his glory days. This edition of the movie is far superior to the American edition (which is poorly transferred and utilizes a badly edited film source), in image and sound -- it's not flawless, and one would love to know if there are better film sources buried in a vault somewhere, but it is handled with reasonable care, and is generously chapter-encoded. And I could listen to that Ron Grainer music for an entire day!
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on 15 December 2013
If you love history, the UK, our institutions, democracy, freedom and can contain your emotion, this is a film to delight, upset and inspire. It is sypathetically narrated by Orson Wells, tells the history as it is warts and all (except perhaps for Churchill's relationship with his father) - but it is living and visual history, taking the UK from its lowest to its highest throught the eyes, efforts and enthusiasm of a great man. Never under estimate the contribution this man made to winning the war - a great film and one that all modern teenagers should be instructed to watch and comment on.
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on 19 March 2016
I was hoping that it would have been the special " tinted colour" wide screen version but alas not. However a great record of the great man.
It does remind you of the times when the world was at war and everyone's energies were devoted to the war effort. A good lesson for the present generation and thought provoking . A good documentary film history.
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on 30 April 2016
Anything to do with Orson Welles and I usually like it
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on 23 February 2015
excellent
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on 9 February 2010
I already had the film on VHS, so knew what I was buying. The story of Churchill's life is an amazing one and The Finest Hours covers his wartime premiership superbly. In such a brilliant film, it is disappointing that the commentary includes the awful pronounciation of Marlborough, which should sound like Morlborough and not Marlebrugh, and the statement that Churchill went to The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He did not. He was at Sandhurst but, until 1947, it was The Royal Military College, which was formed in 1800 as the training establishment for cadets wanting to be commissioned into the cavalry, The Brigade of Guards and the infantry. Churchill was commissioned into the 4th Hussars from Sandhurst in 1895. The Royal Military Academy was at Woolwich and was founded in 1741 for those destined for the artillery and engineers. It was only on the amalgamation of the two establishments in 1947 that Sandhurst became The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. A pity that the production team did not check that part of its research. Fortunately, these two distractions are early in the film and are forgotten very quickly in the pace and power of the The Finest Hours. Thoroughly recommended.
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on 3 December 2011
Very interesting, if somewhat frustratingly limited documentary biography
of Winston Churchill. It's not really the film's fault. It's well made and intelligent.
It's just that Churchill lived such a full and fascinating life, that trying to jam
it all into an under 2 hour film means that much has to be ignored or sped through.

So in most areas we get the condensed version. Only the war years get a little
more detail. But we get almost nothing about Churchill the human being, the husband,
the father.

Huge changes in his political career are handled with a few sentences and a couple of images.

Yet I was never bored, and still ended up knowing much more about both Churchill and Britain
in the war years than when I started.

A worthwhile film that spurred me on to learn more.
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on 14 February 2015
more than excellent
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on 8 February 2016
Excellent.
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on 21 June 2017
I found this documentary very interesting if a little dated.
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