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Battlefield Britain
Battlefield Britain
Actors: Peter Snow, Dan Snow, Tony Dolan
Director: Mary Cranitch
Genres: Television, Documentary, Military & War
NR     2005     7hr 46min

Britain is a country that has been forged by centuries of warfare. Each episode charts one key battle which could have gone either way, and did much to shape the nation that Britain is today. Dynamic father-and-son team Pe...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Peter Snow, Dan Snow, Tony Dolan
Director: Mary Cranitch
Creators: Mary Cranitch, Zoe Heron
Genres: Television, Documentary, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Television, Documentary, Military & War
Studio: BBC Warner
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 08/23/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 7hr 46min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaDVD Credits: 3
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Meikjn F. from NEW BRIGHTON, MN
Reviewed on 7/9/2008...
this is a fun documentry with 3-d maps, reenactments, and experiments that show how each battle was carried out. it is a great set for anyone who likes history. it is well made and engagging

Movie Reviews

Good presentation of history
D. O. Becker | Austin, TX USA | 11/30/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Battlefield Britain presents 8 famous British battles in an exciting and engaging way. Each episode jumps quickly among several presentation styles:
1) Narration - father and son Peter and Dan Snow narrate while walking or flying over the battle field. Their writing is interesting and they speak in an engaging manner.
2) Computer battle simulation - Much like the "Decisive Battle" series which used the "Rome: Total War" computer game engine to simulate many fighters, "Battlefield Britain" uses computer simulation to recreate the battle formations, movements, and tactical decisions. The simulations are great at giving a general's eye view of the battle and the carnage.
3) Historical reenactment - Live reenactors provide the up close shots with good views of weapons, equipment, and the "you are there" perspectives.
4) Technical reenactment - Many scenes show the firing of real bows, guns, or cannons or sailing of real ships in an effort to show tactics or advantages of one side or the other.
5) Dramatic reenactment - Actors in period costumes and makeup say why their side won or lost.
6) Technical illustration - using computer maps or computer renderings of the leaders, the show provides these models for further historical explanations.

Of all these techniques, I enjoy the writing and speaking of Peter and Dan Snow the best. They make good professors and are passionate about their subject matter (although not quite as interesting and artistic as Simon Schama in "A History of Britain". Simon Schama has a theatric way of rendering history.) The computer battles are interesting to watch, and they really lay out the battles quite well. Peter's "magic map board" is a great technique for overlaying computer map scenes while he points and talks to various sections of the battle. Most of the other presentation styles serve as good interesting backdrops to these history lectures. Finally, the battle selection is great. I'm sure most people know Boudicca, Hastings, or the Spanish Armada, but the Llywelyn the Great and the Boyne are less well known battles, but every bit as interesting.

On the other hand, some of the computer generated sequences are used over-repetatively. And the dramatic reenactors seem to be saying the same things while adding little to the story: "Well we really crushed those losers," or "We were slaughtered. They just kept coming." The computer generated heads of the generals looks somewhat hokey - I'm sure they will look quite dated in 10 years.

So, despite some shortcomings, overall a very good program that bears repeated viewing."
Dan and Peter's Big Adventure
Sickly Child | Fort Thomas, KY USA | 01/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is an unapologetic rave review. Father and son Peter and Daniel Snow take the viewer on a high-tech and fast paced tour of UK battlefields, from Roman times to the Blitz. The battles covered are known to most casual historians and well known to military historians. They demonstrate what happened at pivotal moments of British history using reenactments, computer generated graphics of the battles and most entertaining, modern day reenactments of some of the hardships endured by the participants, such as carrying a pike (Naseby)or slogging through the heather at night with and without a compass, (Culloden). Live reenactments are interspersed with the graphics to give a feel of the flow of each battle. The slick 'battle board' technique of opening a folio to reveal the half-mile high view of the battlefield, zooming in to see details of movement of the tiny, accurately uniformed and equipped combatants, will give all wargamers an envy of the future. Least effective are the computer generated recreations of the faces of the commanders. Good portraits or even reenactors would have been better. The palpable excitement of the Snows for their subject should transmit enthusiasm to even a casual viewer. I find myself re-watching the battles and enjoying them as much each time. A great way to present history. We can hope for sequels from this team.
Keep the remote handy
Christopher Grant | Salem, UT USA | 08/14/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"My minor complaint is the inclusion of the faux computer screen titles. I can only guess that these are intended to appeal to young children who like video games. My major complaint is the ad-libbed interviews with actors representing warriors. For me, they are unbearable, and I can only stand to watch this if I make heavy use of the mute button. These actors have about as much insight into what the battles were really like as CSPAN callers have about how to run the country.

Strip away these two items and the show, while nowhere near as stunning as Simon Schama's _History of Britain_, would be worth watching.