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In Search of the Trojan War
In Search of the Trojan War
Actors: Michael Wood, Dr. John Chadwick, Peter Connolly, Colin Renfrew, Jerome Sperling
Director: Bill Lyons
Genres: Documentary
NR     2004     5hr 45min

The tale of the Trojan War has fascinated and intrigued people for thousands of years. But is there any truth in Homer's epic poem? Charismatic historian Michael Wood brings to life the heroes and the romance of the Bron...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Michael Wood, Dr. John Chadwick, Peter Connolly, Colin Renfrew, Jerome Sperling
Director: Bill Lyons
Creators: David Jackson, Richard Ganniclifft, Bill Lyons, Helen Mandt, Patrick Haggerty
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Documentary
Studio: BBC Warner
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 04/27/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 5hr 45min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Making heroes and their legends come alive.
M. E. Volmar | 03/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is, without a doubt, one of the best historical documentaries ever made. In Search of the Trojan War combines archaeological adventure, historical investigation and a charming presentation by historian Michael Wood to bring to life one of the best known Greek legends: the Trojan War. Sifting through vast sources of information, from the ancient to the contemporary, visiting fabled cities, and walking on the footsteps of the people of times past Michael Wood discards speculation to present an objective view on the history of the city of Troy.
Made in 1987 by PBS and the BBC, this six-part documentary is still the most complete and vivid depiction of Troy ever presented in television. Each one of the original episodes deals with a particular topic regarding Troy and the Trojan War as explained below:
*The Age of Heroes: presents the many legends and myths of the ancient Greeks, where they came from, the ways they influenced everyday life, and how life ordinarily went on in the Greek world during this historical period.
*The Legend Under Siege: presents the pioneering men, both believers and skeptics, who followed Greek myths into their historical past, discovering legendary cities, awe-inspiring treasures and important cultural facts, and, in the process, creating the science of archaeology.
*The Singer of Tales: presents as detailed a biography on Homer as the information about him permits - including a pleasant and entertaining look at the very old and almost unchanged art of the bard poets - and a detailed analysis of his epic: The Iliad.
*The Women of Troy: traces the evidence that places Trojan women on Greek mainland as the probable result of their abduction by victorious Greeks after the War, giving strong historical support to Homer's tale.
*The Empire of Hittites: presents the commercial and political connections between the Trojans and the Hittites as recorded in Hittite clay tablets and other historical records, validating further Homer's account of the Trojan War.
*The Fall of Troy: presents the conclusions drawn from the historical facts about the reality of the Trojan War, its legend and its heroes.
Not only does this documentary include every bit of information you could ever hope to find about the city of Troy itself and its many legends, it also includes information on Greek writing systems and alphabets, other important Greek myths and legends, and the birth of archaeology. If you are a history buff looking for an archaeological armchair adventure, the Indiana Jones type at heart or simply searching for an entertaining way to brush-up on your Trojan history, buy this documentary. I assure you that you will love it.
I would recommend reading the documentary's companion book "In Search of the Trojan War" by Michael Wood for an excellent bibliography to fuel further personal research. The book also includes an updated chapter that presents discoveries made on this topic since 1984 and not included in the documentary, which will not only complement what you'll explore in it, but will also make the conclusions presented on its last episode seem more likely to be correct. Enjoy!
--Reviewed by M. E. Volmar"
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Troy...
Ron N. Butler | Powder Springs, GA USA | 05/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'm laughing as I write this because... Well, it's a long, disjointed story.When my wife and I first got married, money was tight and mobility was low, and one of my favorite ways to while away a Sunday afternoon was to stick in the off-air tape I had made of PBS's first run of 'In Search of the Trojan War.' (The only way it was available back then.) Which used to drive my wife nuts because A) I probably did watch it a bit too frequently, and B) she'd much rather have watched a football game. Or a baseball game. Or golf. (Sports nut.)Seventeen years have gone by. Money's maybe a little less tight. The TV has grown to 51 inches, and the VCR has been supplanted by a DVD player. And somewhere I saw that 'ISotTW' was now available on DVD! Log onto Amazon... Search... "Hey, hon, did you know 'In Search of the Trojan War' is out on DVD?''Do you want it?' she asked.'Well, _yeah_!''Don't order it. You'll end up with two. Happy Father's Day.'It's good enough that I'm really looking forward to seeing it again, nearly twenty years after it came out, for the [mumble]-teenth time.It can't compare to my wife, though."
I have waited for years
Elizabeth Mitchell | Jacksonville, Fl | 07/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is one of the best presentations concerning the Trojan War. In a clear and erudite manner Michael Wood has made a documentary that touched on all aspects of the war itself and the late bronze age world.He makes history "come alive" and his use of experts and locales are fascinating. I especially loved the episode about Homer and the bardic traditions. The music is also stirring and adds to rather than detracts from the series. Whether you are a casual ancient history student or a Trojan War fanatic, this series will appeal to you. It makes all the films about the war (even the newest one, despite Brad Pitt) seem a waste of time. None of them catches the true story and spirit of the age as does Michael Wood in this wonderful program."
A Milestone! The best cinematic Trojan War reference!
M. Ramos | Funchal, Madeira Island Portugal | 06/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This one is a milestone in TV historical documentary making!After twenty years this documentary keeps all its freshness and still is easily the best cinematic account on the Trojan War. If not for the slight image discoloration, the East Berlin scenes, the cars and the clothing, this series could have been made today. All the facts, ideas and interpretations presented here are strikingly new and haven't been superseded yet.
Besides the recent find of the Treasure of Troy in the Putshkin Museum in Russia, the only missing info (included nevertheless in the included interview with Michael Wood) is that from the recent German-American excavations which changed the accepted scale of the city and its surroundings in Bronze Age times.
The documentary has a pace and an atmosphere of its own, succeeding in being both highly informative and highly entertaining: a golden association VERY difficult to achieve! This is one of the increasingly rare series which makes the viewer repeat the experience over and over!
Using common sense, solid documental sources and interviews with some of the foremost experts of the day, Michael Wood shows awesome communication skills in informing and carrying away the viewer, spreading his contagious enthusiasm for the theme but keeping always an unbiased scientific stance. This, together with excellent photography, superb editing and highly suggestive music creates a spell which makes the enduring of the six one-hour episodes surprisingly agreeable and additive. All this with very limited use of crude scale models and 80's glorious 2D low-res computer graphics!This should be a lesson to some "historical" documentary makers of today who make excessive use of fancy (but sometimes very unreliable) 3d graphic "reconstitutions" and of re-enactors with inaccurate outfits and ridiculous choreography to "improve" on mediocre presentations and bad scripts.1st DVD:
1- The Age of Heroes: The story of the Trojan War. The lost treasure of Troy. Account of Heinrich Schliemann's life and research on Troy.
2- The Legend under Siege: Wilhelm Dörpfeld research. Arthur Evans' discoveries and theories. Carl Blegen's findings, the Linear-B deciphering and the role of both in Trojan War credibility.
3- The Singer of Tales: The role and long time fidelity of oral traditions. Homer's reliability challenged.2nd DVD
4- The Women of Troy: Plundering in Bronze Age. The taking of women and children as slaves and their economic and political role. The recent African slavery parallel.
5- Empire of the Hittites: Decisive documental evidence from the Hittites. Recurrent conflicts with the Mycenaeans.
6- The Fall of Troy: The Trojan conflict and the Mediterranean late Bronze Age collapse.
- Interview with Michael Wood: A good epilog for the series!
- Michael Wood's Photo Journal of TroyThis two DVD set contains the complete series together with a 2004 interview with Michael Wood in the British Museum which makes a good updated epilog to the series.This is a MUST for every person, specially those interested in History (World-Military-Mediterranean-Aegean-Bronze Age), Greek Mythology, Oral traditions, Homeric epics, and Documentary Making."