on 23 May 2012
This is a well made and very well researched film. First rate photography and acting. Both sides of the Somme story are told and this makes the viewer think deeply about the impact of not only this battle but the war has a whole.
The scenery and make up are excellent and what one would expect from the BBC production team. Uniforms are well researched and contain correct rank and divisional markings.
This is a great educational tool and I highly recommend it. If they ask of us this is what you should say, we gave our tomorrow for your today. Watch, learn, think and remember. Richard Longstaff.
on 29 June 2010
I saw this programme when it was first broadcast on BBC and my immediate reaction was that it was the best produced documentary on The Somme that I have seen. It is a balanced and impartial account that reveals the limitations of the plan and tactics for the initial phase of the battle. However, it goes on to show how the Army adapted to the need for changes to those tactics and gives due recognition to the bravery and initiative of the fighting troops at regimental level. I have used the DVD as a scene setter for a low level battlefied tour and it brings home the reality of trench warfare most vividly.
on 31 December 2011
I've long had a minor interest in military history and recently decided to do some more reading up on the First World War. As I result I brought this DVD since the Amazon recommendations alluded that it was worth watching, glad to say I wasn't disappointed.
A well made and very informative documentary that covers the Battle of the Somme superbly. The cast acting, although not award winning, was certainly believable and added greatly to the feeling of drama. I'm not an historian so can't speak for the accuracy but assuming it is accurate it's certainly informative.
My only real complaints are that I felt it could have been longer, at 60 minutes it did feel a bit short and that they only covered a few units (British and German). It would have been nice to have a broader perspective of the whole battle.
All in all an excellent and beautifully made documentary and one worth purchasing if you're looking for information about the First World War.
on 15 September 2014
I first saw 'The Somme From Defeat to Victory' back in July of 2006 when it was first broadcast to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the first day of the battle. When I first viewed the film, it was very entertaining and quite informative. I had put off buying the DVD release for years until just recently.
I am very glad that I finally own this excellent documentary film. Basically, it covers the British army's experience during the Battle of the Somme campaign of the First World War. However, it sticks to one particular company of the British army - the Salford Pals Division. By doing this, the BBC used first hand accounts of the men who fought which allowed them to present the film as a documentary and a drama. Needless to say, it works out really well.
The film also presents first hand accounts of the Somme from the German side, too, meaning that no stone is left unturned, which makes this film all the more excellent.
By using first hand accounts of the men who fought, the viewer gets to see exactly why July 1, 1916 is considered the darkest day in the history of the British army; the viewer sees clearly the mistakes made by the commanders, mistakes that sent so many men to their death. Ultimately though, the first hand accounts allow the viewer to also witness the improvements made by the British, improvements which enabled them to defeat the Germans eventually.
Put simply, all of the above means that this film does exactly what it says on the tin, to use the expression. It aims to show how the British army went from defeat to victory, and it does so by using first hand accounts of the men who were there, on both sides, and combines these with documentary footage and the use of drama. Overall, it makes for a very entertaining and excellent watch. I highly recommend a purchase of this.
Finally, if I had any complaints to make, it would be that the film itself is a little short; it only lasts an hour and so, towards the end, it feels a little rushed. Overall though, it is not a big issue and should not put you off buying this at all.
Buy it. Money well spent.
Thank you for reading this. I hope it helps.
on 7 July 2006
This has to be the best BBC adaptation on the World War one, in a very long time.
Not too long and its got all the important factual history you need in it.
Reconmend this to any one with a passion to know all about the WW1.
Plus Im biased, my husband is in it too!!
A worthwhile DVD to have in your collection.
on 24 October 2014
My grandfather was there. He landed in Le Havre on 1st May 1915 with 51st Highland Brigade, and made it through WW1 intact, at least, physically. This new take on the Somme makes it seem more worthwhile, and whilst not justifying 20,000 dead commonwealth soldiers before lunch on 1st July 1916, the lessons learned had a significant impact on making the British army (with its imperial contingent) a winning combination by 1918. Definately worth watching, and I wish my Grandad could have seen it.
on 7 January 2010
The first half of the dvd is the familiar story of the first day.
There is though more context than most , that Verdun was raging , the factors causing a disastrous first day.
Then the remaining 4 months are briefly covered.
It's a very good short intro , exploring many of the themes that John Terraine covered in his work.