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Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
Actors: Richard Burton, Fredric March, Claire Bloom, Danielle Darrieux, Barry Jones
Director: Robert Rossen
Genres: Drama
NR     2004     2hr 21min

Fierce military commander, magnificent warrior, world conqueror. Legendary Macedonian hero Alexander the Great is celebrated in this definitive film about his tumultuous life. Richard Burton, FredricMarch and Claire Bloom ...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Richard Burton, Fredric March, Claire Bloom, Danielle Darrieux, Barry Jones
Director: Robert Rossen
Creators: Robert Krasker, Robert Rossen, Ralph Kemplen, Gordon Griffith
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Classics
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 10/19/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1956
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 2hr 21min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 2
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Member Movie Reviews

Michael M. from TURLOCK, CA
Reviewed on 9/18/2012...
Good, but dated. Like watching a stage play--wooden performances.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Highly Recommended On All Levels
Dean M. Motoyama | 02/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Great entertainment and historically correct, for the most part. Richard Burton plays a convincing Alexander. From the start, with the background on Alexander's youth and his relationship with his father Philip and mother Olympias, the movie awesomely captures history. The battle scenes are recreated very well. I especially liked the post-battle scene at Chaeronea with the drunken Philip's singing echoing through the valley. Only minor errors, such as Darius's daughter being called Roxanne (a Bactrian princess) instead of Statira, can easily be overlooked. Alexander in fact, married both women anyway. The Persians are also shown historically correct for the most part, especially Darius' murder and the scene at Persepolis. For an under two-hour movie, what you get is quite spectacular. Of course, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to reduce to film everything in Alexander's life."
Ponderous Classic
Roger Kennedy | 12/01/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"With the recent Oliver Stone movie on Alexander just out, its always interesting to dive back and look at earlier versions of this subject. One thing for sure, Colin Farrell cannot compare to Richard Burton! Burton looks and acts the part, and is not all dolled up with dyed hair! He has a commanding presence about him. This film has a docu-drama quality to it, which may bore the average movie-goer, but at least there is a good effort to re-create the history of the time.

Here we get a stronger portrait of the tortured relationship between Alexander and his father, Philip II. Frederic March is terrific in the role, and again, Val Kilmer loses out badly! The qaulity of acting in this earlier movie far surpases the current epic on many levels. Some may find this film a bit stiff, but at least it keeps close to its subject matter and never loses sight of it. The same cannot be said of the recent Oliver Stone epic.

The production value for 1960 is pretty good, although perhaps not as impressive as the current version. The battle scenes are brief, and not large scale. Both movies fail to show the true origin of the Macedonian Phalanx system and how it would defeat the Persians. Here we see a brief version of the Battle of Cheronea in 336 BC which saw Philip and Alex defeat the last Greek resistence of Macedonia in the form of Athens and Thebes. We get a small Granicus here, and no Issus. Both Movies show Gaugamala (Arbela)and I would have to give the Oliver Stone movie more credit for showing this epic battle more impressively.

This older movie presents a striaght-forward portrait of Alexander. There are no homo-erotic overtones which are popular today, and little deviation from the image we know of him. The style of production is more standard and traditional. Perhaps a little statuesque, some may find this film too stiff and boring, but it is a worthy companion to the current epic which seeks to wow its audience with special effects and visually imagery. None of that here! Burton gives a moody and convinving look at the great Macedonian, without having to show a lurid image. Of course there are many views of Alexander to chose from, and one must decide which one suits their interests best. If the more traditional view is sought then this movie should fit the bill nicely."
A less than stellar 1956 epic film about Alexander the Great
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 05/18/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

"With films about Alexander the Great directed by Oliver Stone and Baz Luhrmann supposedly being released in 2004 and 2005 respectively, the 1956 film "Alexander the Great" from director Robert Rossen with Richard Burton in the title role is probably going to see renewed interest. However, despite providing a realistic portrayal of a historical legend and being one of the most historically faithful films about the ancient world ever to be made, there is something missing from this would be epic."Alexander the Great" was written, produced and directed by Rossen, who had won the Academy Award for "All the King's Men" (1949) and would be nominated gain for "The Hustler" (1961). All three films have in common the realistic portrait of a complex psychological figure. Burton plays Alexander as being both energetic and a visionary, with quicksilver changes in mood. Alexander is both idealistic and practical, intelligent but hot-tempered, courageous but shrewd. Although he conquers the Persian Empire while still basically a boy, this is a conqueror who suffers defeats and almost falls prey to becoming an Oriental potentate just like Darius (Harry Andrews), the Persian king he just conquered. This is a man who can kill a friend in a moment of anger while drunk and weep over the body. The more you know about the historical Alexander the more impressed you are by the film's fidelity to what appears in Plutarch. Here is the Alexander who worshiped Achilles and loved Homer's "Iliad," who was taught by Aristotle, cut the Gordian knot, destroyed Persepolis, and died a young man at Babylon. The battles sequences, such as the battle at the river Granicus, run rather short, but are not all that bad. The problem is that for all the complexity of Alexander's character and the intensity of Burton's performance, there is no real sense of mission or accomplishment to his conquering the known world. We see what happened, but are curiously unaffected by the film's implicitly explanation for why he did it.The rationale suggested by the film is found in Alexander's father, King Philip of Macedonia. Played by Fredric March, Philip has a memorable scene after the battle of Chaeronea against the united city-states of Greece when he gets drunk and mocks the Athenian orator Demosthenes for having called him a barbarian. When Philip is assassinated Alexander chases after the assassin and kills him, and even the most basic understanding of Freudian psychology tells us that the son will spend the rest of his life trying to impress his dead father. In the end the explanation for conquering the world becomes the same as Sir Edmund Hillary's famous quote for why he climbed Mt. Everest. To wit, "Because it was there." When you are on top of the world, there is a certain logic to such a quip. But when the subject is conquering the known world starting with a relatively small kingdom north of Greece, the same idea seems rather hollow. Hopefully Stone and/or Luhrmann can come up with not only better explanations, but much better films."