Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Click Here Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
19
4.7 out of 5 stars


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 26 February 2006
What a cracking film! I bought the BBC title of the same name and this appeared as a recommendation - I can only assume it's one of those American made-for-TV mini series as it's around 3 hours long but it's a bargain and a superb drama-documentary of this period in history; accurate too if you cross reference with other material on the same subject. The other reviewer mentions picture quality especially when watching on a hi-res monitor but this is on purpose and it was the first thing that impressed me - the way real footage (which I recognise from the 'World at War' and '2nd World War in Colour' series) is blended into the new dramatised footage; dust and scratches have been added so as a viewer you're never quite sure what's original and what's new. This seemless blending carries on into other scenes that appear sepia, desaturated or monochrome - very impressinve film making. The pace is excellent as well and I sat enthralled from start to finish. The action is constantly switching from the hawks and doves in America to their counterparts in Japan; intercut with real footage, dramatised footage and short eye-witness interviews there is a sense of crescendo towards that historic moment when the bomb is actually used and it's a measure of how good a film this is that even though you know what the outcome will be, you find yourself caught up in the drama as to whether or not they're really going to go through with it! And what's more there are no soppy romantic sub-plots getting in the way! Ten out of ten - don't hesitate to buy this film.
0Comment| 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I found those Canadian-Japanese miniseries excellent, I spend a very good moment watching it and even if I was already a little bit familiar with the story, I still learned a lot. Some limited SPOILERS below.

"Hiroshima" tells the story of the circumstances in which president Truman decided to drop the first atomic bomb on a Japanese city. The story begins immediately after the death of president Franklin D. Roosevelt, when Truman is briefed about the existence of project "Manhattan" - indeed on Roosevelt's orders the secret surrounding this project was such, that even the vice-president of Unites States was left in the dark. The story progresses then to show the whole story of how the decision to use the new weapon was debated and ultimately taken - it also shows how Hiroshima ended being the first primary target (with the city of Kokura being the secondary or "replacement" target, if Hiroshima couldn't be reached).

Although the whole story happens mostly in the offices of White House or other similar places, it is as dramatic and tense as any war movie. Amongst the best moments (to my taste) were Truman's meeting with Stalin at Potsdam in July 1945, the debate following Japanese rejection of Potsdam declaration and Truman's voyage back from Europe to USA on board of heavy cruiser USS "Augusta". This last moment is maybe the most touching part of the film and helps to understand better than anything else why Truman stopped hesitating and ordered the attack on Hiroshima...

As it is not fully explained in the film, it is not exactly a SPOILER to say something about the scene in which, at Potsdam meeting, Truman tells Stalin about the existence of the atomic bomb - in fact Stalin already knew about project "Manhattan" BEFORE Truman, as Soviet spies (extremely active in USA during the WWII) managed not only to learn about this super-secret project already in 1944, but even to some degree infiltrate it!

All actors did a great job in "Hiroshima" but the greatest performance is that of Canadian actor Kenneth Walsh, who plays president Truman.

Those miniseries last 180 minutes, but frankly I didn't even notice the time passing. "Hiroshima" is an excellent quasi-document, very well made, very dramatic and worth every penny spend on it. I am so keeping this DVD for a future re-viewing and later for my children (when they are big enough to watch it). Warmly recommended.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 August 2009
If you want to know how the Hiroshima operation came to pass, this is one of three DVDs that you cannot afford to be without. The BBC docudrama, also called 'Hiroshima' is one. ABC/Peter Jennings 'Why we dropped the bomb' is the other.

This presentation is brilliantly researched and no less convincingly acted. In fact, it is one of that select group of DVDs that sets written history into context rather than the other way around.

In every way, this presentation is as authoritative as it is entertaining.

Highly recommended for both the casual viewer and the more serous minded -- and worth every penny.
0Comment| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 October 2004
The story is of course documented history, we all know that two bombs were dropped and the Japanese capitulated within days. The film begins at the appointment of Truman after the death of Roosevelt and documents the events leading up to the dropping of the bombs and the subsequent surrender. The film really gets under the skin of the politicians and scientists of the period, working its way through the differing opinions and morality issues that culminated in the use of the bomb.
The film makes extensive use of archive footage, some of it in colour, and blends it in with the story. The director has a habit of washing much of the colour saturation from the modern material which I thought was a little unnecessary once the film was underway. The director also splices in cameos from eyewitnesses, scientists and advisors of the period, very much in the style of Band of Brothers which came after it.
The acting is excellent and Timothy West plays a convincing if brief role as Churchill. The extensive Japanese roles are portrayed in Japanese with English subtitles and the film really does help you to understand the mentality and thought processes of a war weary and somewhat divided Japanese regime.
At 178 minutes it's a long film but sufficiently powerful and fluid to hold your attention. It doesn't seek to justify or place an unbalanced spin on events, the repercussions of which are still taxing the political world today. Instead it portrays history as accurately, comprehensively and truthfully as possible. The film may or may not change your opinions on this first use of nuclear weapons but it certainly does play out all the arguments very well. I would really recommend this film to anyone with an interest in this subject, especially schools wishing to cover the topic -though it is rather long to be shown in its entirety to fidgety pupils.
Why only 4 stars? 178 minutes on one disk has involved compressing the quality a touch. You'd probably never notice on a TV but on a quality computer monitor you do notice a slight grain in the picture, making the film look older than it really is. Perhaps that's partly the point? Don't let it put you off however, I'm a bit spoilt for equipment here. The DVD doesn't have any extras which is a shame as there's plenty of material that could accompany such a film.
Hiroshima is a film that languishes in the bargain bucket of DVDs, a place where it doesn't really belong. I can appreciate why it wasn't a commercial blockbuster, but if you're after an intelligent though provoking film then you wont be disappointed.
0Comment| 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 19 May 2017
Great mixture of original footage leading into artistic representations of the move towards the manufacture and use of the atomic weapons on Japan. Very informative all round.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 October 2014
Well done and most interesting, giving the reasons for the use of the bomb, though any attempt to justify the bomb on a city, for any reason, does little for me. Yes, I know it 'saved lives', though I'm sure the people of Hiroshima valued their lives too, but it could have been dropped in the countryside or on a military base, not a city full of innocent people. If Japan had done the same thing it would have been a 'war crime'. But the DVD is a fine account of the views of those involved, and is really well made, which is I suppose all that concerns us regarding it. As to history? Well, the people who win wars write the history. Enough said.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 November 2015
This is a well produced documentary type film. Although it is a long duration you feel it could have lasted hours longer to deliver all the facts leading up to and including this world changing event.

It illustrates the speed needed to end WW2 but also the attitudes and opinions of the politicians, military and scientists developing and prepared to use this 'new secret weapon'.

Overall an interesting and sobering account of the first atomic bomb detonation and how it changed the world we now live in forever.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 June 2014
An excellent portrayal of the true story. This film is a must, it covers both the Japanese and the American story of the build up to the dropping of the A bombs on Japan very well indeed including some original war footage. This film gives one an accurate picture of what really happend to Hiroshima and Nagasaki from both the American and Japanese perspective.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 February 2014
I was researching aspects of Japanese history for an article I am writing about the Pacific War when I realised that I had never seen a dramatized film on the subject of the dropping of the atom bomb – in fact I couldn’t even remember hearing of one. I went searching on the magic of Amazon’s database and came across “Hiroshima” and “The Shadow Makers”, so I ordered both DVDs. As “Shadow Makers” arrived first, I watched it first.
“Shadow Makers” dealt mainly with the story of General Groves and his relationship with the scientists, but the politics was treated as a background issue. This was OK but the portrayal was diminished a little by inserting a love story (to appeal to American audiences??) as well as straying a bit from some of the historical facts in order to ginger-up the drama. I thought that Paul Newman did a good job playing the part of General Groves.
I then watched “Hiroshima”, but to tell the truth I first noted from the DVD cover that the actors were unknown (to me) and although it had been awarded four awards, they too were not known (to me). One of the actors on the DVD cover looked a dead-ringer for Helmut Kohl, the Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998, and this was off-putting.
To be frank – given all the unknowns - I was expecting a crap movie. In fact it was only a brief perusal of one of the Amazon reviews that swayed me to order the thing - against my better judgement.
My superficial expectations were destined for quick demolition. Once I started to watch the movie I soon found myself entrapped in a vivid and engrossing story. It starts with the unexpected death of Roosevelt and the elevation of Truman to the US presidency. Truman was initially regarded as something of a small-town hick, but what quickly comes across is that this guy was no fool. Truman’s part is played by Canadian actor Kenneth Walsh and his performance is absolutely stunning, as was the performance of each of the other actors.
I understand that there were no US actors in the film – they were all either Canadian or Japanese. I don’t know if that was deliberate or had some political motivation behind it – it would be interesting to find out.
I agree with nearly all the comments made by other reviewers – this is a superb movie – and it sticks pretty well to the historical facts. Although it was almost 3 hours long, that time went in a flash (an atomic flash?).
The movie provides deep insight into the workings of both the US and Japanese cabinets and the psychology that drove the main participants. This aspect alone makes the film a treasure – you could read dozens of history books and still not achieve a better overall understanding of what was happening. The insight into the character of General Anami (the Japanese Minister of War) is enlightening and the performance of this part by actor Ken Maeda is superb.
The film skilfully shows how US Secretary for War, Henry Stimson, forcefully argued against the hawks’ proposal to use the bomb on Kyoto – Japan’s most sacred city. I was impelled to look up Stimson’s history as a result of the film and it is obvious that he was a brilliant and sensitive man – and anomalously - a Republican in a Democratic Party cabinet!
I can do no better than to re-quote some of the comments made by other reviewers:
“…brilliantly researched and no less convincingly acted – especially the Japanese scenes” - Absolutely!
“What a cracking film!” – Agreed!
The dramatically acted scenes are skilfully blended with historical film footage and interposed with cameo interviews with eyewitnesses or participants. As one reviewer puts it – “…you're never quite sure what's original and what's new” – Agreed!
“This seamless blending carries on into other scenes that appear sepia, desaturated or monochrome - very impressive film making” – Agreed!
“The pace is excellent and I sat enthralled from start to finish. The action is constantly switching from the hawks and doves in America to their counterparts in Japan; intercut with real footage, dramatised footage and short eye-witness interviews” – Agreed!
“…there is a sense of crescendo towards that historic moment when the bomb is actually used” – Agreed – one is sucked into the drama!
“…And what's more there are no soppy romantic sub-plots getting in the way! Ten out of ten - don't hesitate to buy this film” – Agreed – money well spent!
“The film really gets under the skin of the politicians and scientists of the period, working its way through the differing opinions and morality issues that culminated in the use of the bomb” – Yes, the issues are really teased out!
“The extensive Japanese roles are portrayed in Japanese with English subtitles and the film really does help you to understand the mentality and thought processes of a war weary and somewhat divided Japanese regime” – Agreed! I was so intrigued that I needed to find out more so I ended up searching for and buying a second-hand copy of “Japan’s Longest Day” – a little-known book originally published in Japanese in 1965 by the Japanese “Pacific War Research Society”. The book (written by Japanese historians) describes hour-by-hour the deliberations of the Japanese War Council (cabinet) from the dropping of the first bomb up to the time the emperor read his surrender announcement over the radio. (The book was last republished in English in 1984).
“At 178 minutes it's a long film but sufficiently powerful and fluid to hold your attention. It doesn't seek to justify or place an unbalanced spin on events, the repercussions of which are still taxing the political world today. Instead it portrays history as accurately, comprehensively and truthfully as possible” – Agreed!
“…it certainly does play out all the arguments very well. I would really recommend this film to anyone with an interest in this subject” – Yes, I would too!
“The DVD doesn't have any extras which is a shame” – I agree with that. A big plus these days is to get a DVD with additional info on how and why a movie was made. It is a pity that the “extras” are lacking.
“Hiroshima is a film that languishes in the bargain bucket of DVDs, a place where it doesn't really belong” – that’s absolutely correct. This film and its actors should have won a bunch of Academy Awards. Maybe there is some political reason why this was not so – or maybe it’s because Hollywood only recognises its own. There is a sad message buried here somewhere.
The Moral Issues – A Personal Comment:
It has become fashionable for historical revisionists equipped with 20/20 hindsight and no personal stake in the events to condemn the United States for using the atomic bomb. This film skilfully canvasses the many issues involved in making that decision – which, as becomes apparent, was not taken lightly.
After the Japanese thrust into SE Asia and the Pacific commenced in 1941, the allied defenders belatedly found out that they were up against a superb, but fanatically vicious and cruel war machine. By April 1942 my own fearful countrymen were expecting imminent invasion by this unstoppable force and had discovered that the Japanese were not normal foes who played by Queensberry Rules. When a few Australian escapees from Rabaul (in New Guinea) reached safety, they described how both Australian soldiers and nurses who had been taken prisoner were brutally bayoneted after surrender. At the time many Australians thought that this was just wartime propaganda and simply refused to believe it could be true. They should have known however because the Imperial Japanese Army’s treatment of the civilian population of China (and especially Nanking) was commonly reported in the press from 1937 onwards.
Killing other human beings is what happens in a war, and it can never be other than a shocking act. But how do you defeat an enemy that is intent on your own destruction and is bent on using its civilian population as a weapon to fight to national death rather than face “dishonour”? The film shows how General Anami tried to pursue this option in the cabinet, only to be overruled by Emperor Hirohito. One small failing of the film was the minimal reference to the last-minute attempt by junior officers to seize the Emperor and continue the war - many people are not aware of this event. I guess the producers of the film just ran out of time and money to deal with it in detail. I am amazed that the joint directors (Roger Spottiswoode and Korevoshi Kurahara) managed to cover the ground that they did in just 3 hours.
The reality is that if the war had continued unabated then hundreds of thousands more Japanese would have died in the non-stop bombing raids by the B29s than actually ended up being killed by the atomic bombs, not to mention the Japanese loss of life in the invasion itself.
Because of the certainty of another half million Allied causalities and more than a million additional Japanese lives that would have been sacrificed, the Americans faced a Faustian Choice. The decision to go ahead and drop the bomb to force surrender needs to be understood against this backdrop and the psychological frame of mind on both sides. If my sons were going to be sacrificed in an invasion of the Japanese mainland then there is no doubt what decision I would have made.
If anyone wants to complain about something more meaningful, they would be better off looking at the West’s treatment of Japan in the years immediately after WW1. It was this treatment that triggered the ascendancy of the Japanese militarist party that eventually concluded with the events at Hiroshima in August 1945.
I highly recommend this DVD.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 21 May 2015
excellent drama it shows you how even after hiroshima there were some japanese officers who wanted to fight on
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)