Born in 1901, she was supposedly the fourth and final daughter of the Russian czar. But the woman who claimed to be the princess for over 60 years was more likely the daughter of a Polish factory worker. Amongst the many ... more »mysteries surrounding the Romanovs is the story of Anastasia. Was she killed along with her family in 1918, or did she escape into New York high society? Leading historians discuss the young princess before the Russian Revolution and explore recent forensic findings that conclusively prove that the woman who lived as Anastasia was not the real princess. Rare home movie footage and extensive interviews with those who knew her capture the intrigue of this fascinating figure. ANASTASIA: HER TRUE STORY offers an illuminating investigation into the unique double-life and enduring enigma of the puckish young princess who symbolized the glory of Czarist Russia. DVD Features: Interactive Menus; Scene Selection« less
"I have been facsinated with the Romanov's for many years, so I have seen many documentaries, and I own this video. It is really good, but if you are more interested in the real Anastasia than Anna Anderson, than this is not for you. The profile of the Grand Duchess is about five minutes long, than the rest of the hour is more about Anna Anderson. This is a great film, but in my opinion is not that correct when saying that its the "Biography of Anastasia". Bottom Line: If you want to learn about Anna Anderson, buy this.
If you want to learn more about Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov, look at some other titles."
Interesting Archival Footage Grafted onto Bad History
H. M Pyles | Chicago, IL United States | 10/17/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This production is misleadingly named. Far from being a biography of Grand Duchess Anastasia, it is really the story of how the deaths of her family at the hands of Russian revolutionaries in 1918 spawned one of the 20th century's enduring mysteries -- a mystery which was given a unique lease on life when, among the myriad male and female claimants to be survivors of the imperial family, one woman began to pick up supporters in the 1920's among at least some people who had had contact with the original family.
I do not fault this production for failing to be a real biography. After all, how much of a biography can one write on a 17-year-old girl whose life was largely one of sheltered privilege? However, I do fault this production for being a badly-flawed recounting of history. And I am not talking about the interminable debate that still rages in the arcane world of Romanov history buffs about whether Anna Anderson was really Anastasia.
This work's take on the life of Anastasia paints a very tilted picture both of the world of the Romanovs, their support among their subjects, and their reputation among today's Russians.
First, life in the inner sanctum of Nicholas's family was not the halcyon existence this production claims. Certainly the family had great wealth and huge staff at its disposal. But neither Nicholas nor Alexandra were well-suited to their roles, and they lived under the strain of it. They were increasingly isolated from the extended Romanov clan, who shared the dawning awareness of the Russian people that the monarchy was in serious trouble. While these forces might not have touched Anastasia directly, she was certainly touched by her brother's hemophilia and her mother's response of sinking into frail health, chronic emotional distress, and a religious mysticism that almost bordered on hysteria at times.
Secondly, this film's portrayal of the counter-revolutionary White Army as determined to save their beloved tsar from captivity is just plain wrong. While the Whites wanted to unseat the Bolshevik revolution, there was virtually no support for a Romanov restoration among the leadership of the White Army. Nor are there any known attempts by the counter-revolutionary forces to rescue their former imperial family. In fact, one senior White military leader once remarked, "having seen the monarchy at close quarters, I have no desire to see its return."
And thirdly, while there is a gradual rehabilitation of the last Romanov's reputation underway in Russia today, the notion that the murdered Romanovs are saints is not nearly the widespread sentiment that this production claims. In fact, the great masses of modern Russians are far more interested in making their new democracy work than in figuring out how to get the sainted Romanovs back on a throne.
I do not know whether these flaws arise from some agenda to rehabilitate the Romanovs, whether they arise from sloppy research that relied too much on the fawning pseudo-history that plagues serious study of the Russian monarchy's fading years, or whether this production did not have access to newly-opened archives. But -- whatever the reason(s) -- it does a disservice to the study of history by claiming to be history when it is, in fact, closer to a grocery-store romance novel."
Did She Survive?
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 08/05/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The young female who was really Anastasia is dead one-third of the way into this documentary. What follows is how she inspired a film and a cartoon and how her controversy lives on. I also learned that her last name is pronounced ro-MAN-ov, not RO-man-ov. This film discusses similarities between the real and alleged Anastasia, but it never asserts where the two were the same or not. This leads me to believe that they want viewers to come to their own conclusions and that the jury may still be out. Still, the documentary suggests that "Anastasia's mystery lives on because her life seemed like such a fairy tale." Leave it to A&E's Biography to water down things. Maybe people want Anastasia to have lived because she may have fought Lenin and his progeny. Maybe people want her to be alive due to anti-Communist sentiments. This documentary, like many in the series, dances around or directly avoids leftist matters. This was the first time in the Biography series that a woman was covered yet no other women are interviewed about her. All the interviewees were male, for no explained reason."
Anastasia: Her True Story
Damian Jones | Ireland | 11/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I found this biography very interesting. One of the main reasons for this was that the story of Anna Anderson was put forward from an American, and not solely a Russian or European perspective. By this I mean that it wasn't troubled with the European slant, i.e. the hidden agenda of both parties on either side of the argument. However, I would urge any interested viewer not to stop their research with this biography alone. I found many interesting articles on the internet based on the arguments discussed in this biography. If there was one flaw, it was the attempt to close the case based on the DNA evidance alone. In my opinion, the mystery which they claimed to solve, seemed only to deepend on further examination. I felt the story leaned towards a definite conclusion, whereas further research myself showed that this is far from the case. All in all, it is an excellent production, the only flaw for me being that the production guided the viewer towards a particularly conclusion. Having said that, it's a great addition to any video library."
E. Duncan | Simi Valley, CA United States | 03/07/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"People are making commentaries that this is the ANIMATED MOVIE put out by 20th Century Fox. This is actually a biography on the youngest grand duchess, about her pretenders and her actual short life of barely 17 years."