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The Endurance - Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
The Endurance - Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
Actors: Liam Neeson, Julian Ayer, John Blackborow, David Cale, John Henry Cox
Director: George Butler
Genres: Educational, Documentary
G     2003     1hr 37min



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Movie Details

Actors: Liam Neeson, Julian Ayer, John Blackborow, David Cale, John Henry Cox
Director: George Butler
Creators: George Butler, Bowe Ferrer, Caroline Alexander, Dr. John M. Levinson, Edward R. Pressman, Joseph Dorman
Genres: Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Educational, History
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/02/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 37min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 15
MPAA Rating: G (General Audience)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French

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Movie Reviews

A riveting documentary of heroic survival
Joseph Haschka | Glendale, CA USA | 11/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In August 1914, the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, comprised of 27 men under the leadership of Sir Ernest Shackleton, set sail from England in the wooden ship ENDURANCE. The plan was to land a team on the Antarctic Continent, and the men to dogsled across the frozen landmass to the other side via the South Pole. However, one day's sail from the Antarctic shore, the vessel became entrapped in the ice pack, and was subsequently crushed and sunk. Shackleton and his group were stranded on the drifting floes out of contact with and beyond the ken of the rest of the world. The expedition's grueling, heroic journey back to civilization, culminating in an 800-mile voyage across a stormy, frigid ocean by Shackleton and five companions in a small, open boat, is the subject of this documentary based on the book by Caroline Alexander. The spell-binding nature of this film is due to the masterful mix of material from several sources: archival 35mm footage, still photos and drawings from the expedition itself, narrated excerpts from diaries, radio interviews with survivors and filmed interviews with their descendents, and contemporary film footage shot along the route of the men's ordeal. One is amazed at the quality of the 35mm moving images shot by Frank Hurley, the team's photographer. What you see is not a re-enactment - it's real, and as crisp as if shot only last week instead of almost ninety years ago. Besides being the visual narrative of an extraordinary survival story, ENDURANCE is also a show-and-tell presentation on the essence of leadership. Two years after departing England, Shackleton successfully brought all his 27 men back from the brink of extinction. Not a single member of the venture was lost. (Ironically, they arrived back in a Europe entangled in the throes of World War One, in which some of the Expedition's survivors were subsequently killed.) For a fuller presentation of the subject in text, I would strongly recommend ENDURANCE: SHACKLETON'S INCREDIBLE VOYAGE by Alfred Lansing."
Triumph of the Human Spirit
Hansol Lee | 12/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is easily the best documentary I've seen since "Crumb" and "Hoop Dreams". The phrase "triumph of the human spirit" gets thrown around so often these days that it has lost its meaning, but I can't think of any other words to describe this incredible documentary. Even though the story is rather simple and we already know how it ends, I was at the edge of my seat the entire time. It's unfathomable what these men had to endure during the 2 years, and it's absolutely amazing that even one of them, let alone all, managed to survive. The breathtaking original footages and still photographs are extremely crisp and it's hard to believe that this was shot nearly 9 decades ago. And while the lack of original materials during the later stages of their ordeals is a little disappointing, we can hardly blame them for that. The narration by Liam Neeson is excellent as well."
Amazing and Harrowing
Robert I. Hedges | 03/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"'The Endurance' is a documentary originally aired as a 'Nova' special, and is one of the most amazing documentaries on any subject that I have ever seen. In the summer of 1914 Ernest Shackleton and his crew set sail on the 'Endurance' for Antarctica, with the goal of being the first expedition to cross the Antarctic continent. After becoming ensnared in ice their ship slowly disintegrated, and forced the survivors onto land, and eventually into their small wooden lifeboats in an attempt to make a perilous voyage back to civilization. The crew endured for 635 days and nights without real shelter or sufficient rations, frequently eating seal blubber and even their beloved dogs. As an animal lover, I came to realize the true depths of their situation when they had to shoot their cat and dogs, and ultimately eat some of their true canine friends.The story is one of tremendous hubris and heroism all wrapped up into one larger than life explorer. Shackleton's true gift was not in being a great explorer, but in being able to largely control the morale of the crew and provide leadership when it was most critical. Only thanks to that leadership did every man on the expedition survive. The documentary itself is a brilliant mix of the film shot by expedition photographer Frank Hurley (including a lot of motion picture film) and modern film of the sites in question, along with a bit of reenactment footage of recreated lifeboats identical to the originals. The work is seamless, deeply moving, and will give anyone a new appreciation for the powers of ice and the human spirit. In addition to the actual documentary the disc has several choice extras including a director's commentary track, interviews with children of survivors, and, best of all, a documentary on the making of the documentary, which I found absolutely fascinating. The most amazing thing that was revealed in the 'making of' documentary was the fate of the duplicate lifeboats, which under the control of the modern seamen ultimately sank in heavy seas, but seas far less than Shackleton encountered. This is in every way a spectacular production, and I would recommend it highly to anyone. You will never forget this film."
Good not great. But a great one does exist.
J. R. Tureman, Jr. | Alexandria,VA USA | 09/10/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This version is good, no question. It accurately portrays the story of the Endurance. But if you are a true fan of this wonderful adventure, you must see the original Nova version. David Ogden Stiers narration is magnificent. His intonation and phrasing perfectly reflect the mood of the adventure and places you amid the expedition. Interviews with descendants are plentiful and seem almost as effective as if they were the participants themselves. Expert interviewees add insight into the natural forces that were in constant combat with the expedition. Last and not least, the soundtrack is a subject lesson in matching mood and music. I'm lucky enough to have a poor VHS recording of the original Nova production. I would buy a DVD of it in a heartbeat if Amazon could find it."