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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 6 August 2017
This is a great review of the 1981 ashes. Loved every minute of it. Facts and opinions from the key people involved and news stories from the day interspersed with the drama of the test series.
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From the Ashes is written and directed by James Erskine and narrated by Tom Hardy. It takes a look at the England v Australia Test Cricket Series in 1981.

"I think I'll bring the Gorilla on at the far end"

From the Ashes is essential viewing for cricket fans, whoever they support in the world. It showcases not just the considerable talents of England's greatest all rounder, Ian Botham, but also why the game of cricket is so loved by those who stand proud to be counted as fans. The documentary, however, is not just concerned with the sport of cricket, it's very aware of the impact that a country's sports stars can have on the nation.

Brearley was Botham's Spock to his Kirk.

The 1981 Ashes series was played to the backdrop of social discord as Thatcher's government oversaw strikes, riots and unemployment carnage. Britain was falling to its knees, and as the England cricket team, with their figurehead Botham misfiring and under fire in the press, fell behind to a cock-a-hoop Australia, apathy ruled and the crowds did dwindle. Leeds in mid July and England, the cricket team, were spiralling towards a certain defeat, but cometh the hour, cometh the men (Botham and Bob Willis), out of darkness comes light, the miracle of Headingly not only transformed a sporting series that England would amazingly win, it put the smile back on the faces of a working class Britain that had forgotten to do so.

Full of insightful input by the key Australians of that series (characters supreme they be as well), Erskine is not all about flag waving for Britannia, in fact a post script on the next Ashes series ensures we know about how Australian captain Kim Hughes (a beautiful and correct batsman himself) also came out of that cricket darkness. There's anecdotes, rivalries and revelations aplenty, while a soundtrack boasting the likes of The Clash, Ten Pole Tudour, The Specials, The Police, New Order and Squeeze sets the tone perfectly. The sound mix and editing is top draw as well (love those sound bites of a dramatic cricket incident played to a photographic still that says it all), and Hardy's narration proves he is heir apparent to Brian Blessed's crown!

Many other sports have participants these days that fail to realise just how their efforts can lift a nation, make them feel good in times of struggle, to play for what is on your chest and not what is in your wallet. From the Ashes at its core is about that, it's an ode to being all that you can be, to inspire, even if it happens to be only briefly. 9/10
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 November 2016
Whilst Ian Botham receives the glory, this story has other key men, key individuals who overcome adversity to shine when their lives are becoming deep, deep black.

I recall ‘the Botham Test’ but very little else, I loved watching Test cricket in the 1970s on TV but have no love of the game in general. One thing I learned in this documentary, for example, was that the follow-on is caused when a team has a lead of 200 in the first innings, this gives them the option of asking the other team to follow-on. The ignominy of the follow-on. England had to.

I watched this blu ray on the same day that I ordered the blu ray of Rush. I have had the dvd of Rush for ages and love the story of winners in full flow. Again I watched some Formula 1 in the 1970s but have no knowledge of the sport. What is crucial to the story in From The Ashes is that it is not one Test match or even one Series; it is part of a timeline of defeat. That’s what keeps the crowds away and losers thrive.

Until something happens. Facing almost certain defeat: “just have fun!” Ian Botham tells his batting partner, a non batsman. And from then on history is on their side. Bob Willis is key. Old and facing the axe. Not even a smile when he takes a key wicket. Mike Brearley in the team to be Captain but not much else. What a Captain. Even if you have no interest in cricket the importance of reading people, of the psychology of winning, the smallest detail; all this is shown and told in this documentary.

Playing Joy Division after a key victory was a nice touch, especially so since you need to have been around at the time to know the music. Good to see the Kerry Packer phenomena told. It lasted two years I did not know. When we see the scoreboard for one test match it states 500/1 the odds given by Bookmakers for an England victory! Two Australian players put a fiver on. Creepy.

In the background is the devil. Pulling this country apart, tearing away the bonds that keep us sane and happy. Communities of workers. Replaced by the greed of the individual. The 1979 Conservative government was the biggest spin on truth that has ever been unleashed on a populace. ‘Labour Isn’t Working’ they said. Four million unemployed rubbed it in by the Conservative Party. Controlling the agenda with lies. Violence on the streets. Brutal times.

It is a pity the Herculean effort of Ian Botham and his team is to be compared with the horror of the time. The Falklands, the Riots, the mass unemployment, revenge on the Miners. There are no heroes in such times. Sport, however, can be impervious to the world around it. Beautiful beyond the boundary.
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on 6 August 2011
Excellent film of the legendary '81 Ashes victory. Captures the dynamism of the game: a team effort, yet one that can be turned by the efforts of one or two key individuals. Highly recommended.
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on 3 October 2012
A trip down memory lane at a good price! I don't remember the weather being as good, but the cricket is even better than I recall.
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on 17 September 2013
one can never get enough of England beating Australia in the ashes, however having watched this live in the day there is an awful lot more footage available which could have made this great, instead it is just so so. Perhaps the BBC don't wish to release the footage which is a shame for young cricketers of today.
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on 29 December 2013
A thoroughly enjoyable DVD documentary capturing a moment when English Cricket raised itself from the depths of disaster to the heights thanks to the incomparable cricketing prowess of Ian Botham, a true master of his sport. Also shows how sport can galvanize and bring together a nation during dark times
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on 17 July 2012
Interesting documentary style DVD about the 1981 Ashes. If you're interested in cricket and the Ashes contest in particular, this would be a good addition to your DVD collection.

Concentrates mainly on Botham and the captaincy, though not too many interviews or direct comments from the man himself. Also a good amount on Brearley and how he stepped in, including some very interesting interviews with him. Many other players mentioned, with added interviews: Bob Willis, Dennis Lillee, Rod Marsh, Kim Hughes.

Good footage which adds to the usual 'stock' footage of Botham blasting the ball all around Headingley. Also provides useful background to that era of social unrest, political change and puts the cricket in context

I enjoyed this DVD!
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on 8 April 2013
A fantastic gift for the cricket lover....unless you're from Australia! It brings back great memories of the time and shows the low point of Beefy's career and then the high point....which was smacking Lillie and Alderman out of the ground!
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on 30 July 2012
From the Ashes is a sports documentary about the amazing turnaround in the battle for the Ashes in 1981. This is a film which explains how and why the tides turned and this is done using footage from the series, narration from Tom Hardy and reviews from players about what was happening thruoghout the series. It also exlains the social and political status of the country and how the turnaround affected that, this includes Margaret Thatcher closing the coal and steel mines, to Charles and Diana's royal wedding.

This film was a great way of reflecting on a great Summer of cricket in 1981. This was and still is the most amazing and unexpected turnaround in the history of Ashes cricket and Ian Bothan was the hero, along with Graham Dilley, his accomplice, and Bob Willis, his spell that people remember for him seeming to be in a trance in Australia's second innings at the Headingley test match. The voiceover/narration was a good way of overlooking the series and was good and informative. All of the players who played in the series talking about the series in the film told us what the mood was in the Australian and England camps and after watching the film I guarantee that all watchers will learn more about the series. You could be an unhappy Aussie wondering why and how they managed to mess the Ashes up, or a pom who wanted to know how England had a complete rethink, and how it payed off. The film is not just about the cricket and as I stated earlier, it does delve into the social life at the time, the film isn't just for cricket lovers, also for anyone intrested in history and how one game of sport can change an entire country's mood, as the film says, "How one ray of sunshine can change everything" A fantastic film for all.
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