Search - NOVA: Medieval Siege on DVD

NOVA: Medieval Siege
NOVA Medieval Siege
Actor: Stacy Keach
Director: Michael Barnes
Genres: Educational, Documentary
NR     2004     1hr 0min

The Scots inside Stirling Castle must have felt untouchable. Protected by a massive stone fortress, they prepared for a long drawn-out siege against the army of England?s Edward the First. Fifty carpenters worked day and n...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Stacy Keach
Director: Michael Barnes
Genres: Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Educational, History, Military & War, Science & Technology
Studio: WGBH Boston
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 09/07/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 12
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Medieval Siege
Steven Hellerstedt | 08/14/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This 2000 episode of the PBS's NOVA is narrated by actor Stacy Keach and, as the product description indicates, takes an in-depth look at the hot siege weapon of the Middle Ages, the trebuchet (trey-boo-shay.)

Come to think of it, after just re-reading the product description I think its `travel back to the Middle Ages' and `experience the chaos' is a little misleading. Basically the Middle Ages are set in the background, source material for the meat of the program. MEDIEVAL SIEGE is a low-tech version of a dear departed cable television show called `Junkyard Wars.' Here, two teams - one American, the other French - using ancient illustrations and descriptions, try to build a working, castle-busting trebuchet.

The teams aren't playing around, either. There are medieval weapons specialists (everything has a specialist, doesn't it?), a forty-plus man team of traditional artisans, a pipe puffing scientist and a pair of forty-foot tall Douglas firs used to build the main arm of the weapon. A trebuchet, by the way, is a large (in this case VERY large) `see-saw' with a heavy weight on one end. Stick a pea in the bowl of a spoon, pull the spoon back and let it fly and you've got the trebuchet concept down.

MEDIEVAL SIEGE was fascinating. Until time starts running down and the workers pull out the socket wrenches and acetylene torches the techniques used are all traditional - ever see someone try to shave down a five-ton tree using 13th century tools? The scale is daunting - one trebuchet requires ten tons of lead counter-weight rings, the other uses a swinging basket that holds fourteen tons. The target is a newly constructed castle wall. The drama is inherent in the situation. Can they figure out how to build a trebuchet without any surviving model to work from? Will the meager historical references to trebuchets provide enough information to build a working model? Will they be able to loft a 250-pound sandstone ball three-hundred yards, much less hit a relatively small target? This program answers all those questions and more in a fun filled sixty minutes.
Great for homeschooling medieval history
Quo Primum | USA | 01/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"My boys enjoy this movie and cheer with the craftsmen as they launch their trebuchets. Excellent for teaching material on life in medieval times. Watch this and then view Peter Jackson's depiction of the attack on Minas Tirith in LOTR with new appreciation, since he shows the orcs with catapults and the city with trebuchets. Then buy "The art of the Catapult" and make your own (providing you have a large backyard and a helmit, of couse) We made our model with popcycle sticks."
A great series
Thomas W. Blakey | Severn, MD | 09/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a great series, and all of them are good. As well as being informative, this DVD is FUN. Where else can you learn about olden days engineering and also watch someone throw a piano several hundred yards?"