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on 22 November 2017
Oh My Goodness Me........!!

Firstly I have not read the book, which by all accounts is very good.
I was greatly anticipating viewing this, but realised within minutes that this was not going to be an easy watch. In fact I managed to get a third of the way through the second episode before I could bear no more.
Such a shame as the sets were very good, and the production design of a high standard. The dialogue and acting however were dreadful, the music was terrible and incredibly intrusive.
A wasted opportunity to be sure. I feel most guilty to be selling this on to some poor unsuspecting soul.
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on 18 January 2018
Having read and enjoyed Ken Follet's book I was intrigued to see how it could possibly be portrayed in film. The book is long and detailed so this must have been a huge undertaking.
Firstly it is extremely well acted by the three main characters, Eddie Redmayne, Rufus Sewell and surprisingly Ian McShane who you would not usually expect to find in a period drama of this type.
Secondly the whole setting about the building of a 12th century cathedral alongside a monastry is well done with convincing film sets throughout.
Lastly the main themes of the book are covered accurately until close to the end. Unfortunately it deviates greatly from the book here in concentrating on the demise of the villain of the piece rather than what could have been the historically accurate killing of Thomas Beckett in Canterbury Cathedral. Why the film makers chose to skip the book's ending and invent their own was my only disappointment.
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VINE VOICEon 15 March 2013
that is not to say the series wasn't good. Ian McShane as the odious and ambitious Waleran Bigod looked suitably menacing and evil. (Probably the best thing I've ever seen him act in).

The story is set around a civil war between 'Queen Maud and King Stephen' and the building of a Cathedral in Kingsbridge. The main players are the Earl of Shiring (Donald Sutherland) his daughter Aliena and his son Richard. Aliena vows to her Father that one day she will regain the Earldom for her Brother. Also important are Prior Phillip and Brother Remigius. An embittered man with a dark secret.

The other characters are Tom the Builder played superbly by Rufus Sewell and his son Albert and daughter Martha. His wife died in childbirth leaving a baby......being so poor Tom makes a heartbreaking decision to leave the baby to die. However, he changes his mind and rushes back to find the baby has gone. In fact the child has been taken by one of the monks at Kingsbridge Monastery. Then there is the mysterious woman who appears out of the woods with her son. Waleran Bigod is terrified of her as she knows of something he did in his past. Naturally he denounces her as a Witch but she escapes. This womans name is Ellen and her son is Jack who will eventually go on to finish and finesse the Cathedral in Kingsbridge..

I think everyone else has said just about all there is to say about this amazing book/DVD so I shall leave my review here.

Brilliant and highly watchable just for Ian McShanes acting and also for the stunning and bloody battle scenes.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 August 2015
This 2010 made for TV miniseries diverges widely from the book, which may upset many fans and carries a 15 age rating. The story revolves around Tom Builder [Rufus Sewell] a master stone mason who is trying to simply feed his growing family and wants to build his dream cathedral, all set against the actual historical period known as ‘The Anarchy’ [1135-1154, when England and Normandy were engulfed in a bloody Civil War of secession between Stephen and Matilda].
The box set contains all 8 episodes on 3 discs. Features are sparse, containing play, English language and English subtitles for the hard of hearing and scene selection on each disc but with one special feature apiece, these being disc 1 a making of, disc 2 special effects and the final disc a titles progression feature. While the main feature runs for 7 hours and 8 minutes.
This well produced series has a fine cast of actors who play the characters well but everyone seems to have ‘dark’ secrets and their own agendas as we meet self serving clergy, power crazed aristocrats, double dealing knights and everyday villains. There is something for everyone, convincing battles, numerous stand-offs, rape, incest, witch burnings, ‘sinful’ lust, unrequited love, found love, betrayals, inadvertent betrayals and duplicity of all kinds, but is anyone above it all?
At the end of the day this is a fictional drama built around a real period in history so just suspend belief and allow this entertaining story to carry you along as it does tend to capture everyday life in a grubby manner, being almost an ‘Upstairs and Downstairs’ view on the period giving a decent indication of what ‘life’ may have been like at the time.
If you enjoy historical costume dramas like ‘Rome’, ‘The Tudors’ and ‘The Borgias’ then this will probably please you, but bear in mind if you’re looking for a copy of the book in film form, you’ll probably be bitterly disappointed.
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on 16 January 2017
I read the over 1000 page book and loved it so I was very keen to watch this adaption and it is brilliant. The cast is made up of a range of Hollywood Stars from Hayley Atwell and Eddie Redmayne to Rufus Sewell and Sam Claflin. A great series!
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VINE VOICETOP 100 REVIEWERon 31 January 2013
Addictive, hugely entertaining and never meant to be taken too seriously - brilliant - and what a cast; Rufus Sewell, Donald Sutherland, Ian McShane, Mathew MacFayden and Hayley Atwell to name but a few.

Trying to summarise the whole plot would take far too long for a review so I'll give a very basic outline:-

England is just out of the Dark Ages as Tom Builder (Sewell) sets out on the road to find work and shelter for himself and his family. Events take a dark turn for Tom. Eventually he finds himself in a place where his dream of building a Cathedral comes true. Unfortunately, both the town and church around Tom are riddled with deep, dark secrets and his plans for the Cathedral bring corruption and mystery out into the open. Add a wonderful background of Monarchy (Queen Maud and King Stephen), double dealing Knights of the Realm, evil Bishops, corrupt churches/monasteries, poisoning, battles, escapes to France plus political intrique and you're not even half way into the plot.

The Pillars of the Earth is a piece of fantasy loosely based on the plot of a Ken Follet novel. There's more than enough (moderate-strong) sex, violence and strong language to reduce the whole series to little more than an historical romp at times. The market for this DVD is definitely aimed at those of us who enjoy TV drama such as The Tudors or The Borgias. I'm only adding those comments because I've read through some of the earlier reviews and seen how disappointed people were with the TV mini-series. For that reason I'll add a couple of words of advise: if you're expecting The Pillars of the Earth to be a true depiction of the novel you'll be disappointed. It's not. Neither is it historically accurate or particularly believable. You have to be prepared to suspend belief and allow this entertaining, gripping, darkly comic story to carry you along.

Age Restriction 15 (contains strong language, once very strong, sex and bloody violence).
Running time:- 7 hours 01 minute.
English language and English subtitles for the hard of hearing.
Special Feature - behind the scenes.

No problems with running the DVD and the picture/audio qualities are good throughout.
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on 17 June 2014
I won't go on about the storyline.
I watched this after reading 'World without End', and was keen to see how 'Medieval England' transferred to screen. Why is so much spent on lavish costumes and production only to be let down by simple things like A TOTAL LACK OF REALISM?
The actors flash Hollywood smiles (they could have dirtied them up a bit! ). Regan is supposed to be hideous with a face full of boils. What do we get? A really gorgeous looking woman with a silly birthmark drawn on her face like a modern tattoo.
The streets should have been depicted as muddy. There was little or no sanitation ion those days.The clothes all look bright and straight from the dry-cleaners. The ladies make-up was straight from a 1990 Revlon counter.
The worst scene was the falling down of the cathedral. Haha. One would expect to see dust. Just a load of clean polystyrene blocks.
Ian McShane is really good though as the baddie and Matthew Mac? is great as Prior Phillip.
Having said all that, it was quite fun. Lots of exciting twists and turns. Just lacked authenticity for me.
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on 25 October 2017
I bought this because I’d read the book and really enjoyed it.Saw this set advertised and thought it had a great cast and that it would extend my enjoyment. However I had to forget the book to enjoy the film, but I did enjoy it.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 30 January 2013
I bought this miniseries on a set of 3 discs but I still don't know the difference between this set and the other set of 3 discs costing over £10. more also available on Amazon. Please leave a comment on this review if you know the difference.

Now the Review.....

What can you say about perfection.

I am just glad it was not overidden with stars, you can sometimes forget the character when it is played by a big star but in the case of Ian McShane and Donald Sutherland this does not happen.

I loved every minute.

I have to warn other buyers that the different chapters on a disc all have cast lists on a black background following on and the first time I watched the first disc I took the disc out of my dvd player when the tv screen showed the cast list not realising there was another chapter following on on the same disc.

I have not enjoyed a miniseries so much in ages.
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on 3 January 2018
Had i not read the book i would have thought this ok but there were bits thrown in that were not in the book things changed and whole lumps missing and the actors looked just the same start to finish dispite it beang over about 20 years this is watchable but not good such a pity the book is brilliant this is far from it
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