This collection includes eleven episodes on three DVDs that were painstakingly researched and assembled to include rare original material and long-lost footage that takes viewers from the carefree Europe of the turn of the... more » century to the uneasy peace that ended it. Narrated by Robert Ryan.« less
Creator:Robert Ryan Genres:Documentary Sub-Genres:World War I Studio:Timeless Media Group Format:DVD - Color DVD Release Date: 08/24/2005 Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2003 Release Year: 2005 Run Time: 10hr 45min Screens: Color Number of Discs: 3 SwapaDVD Credits: 3 Total Copies: 0 Members Wishing: 0 Edition: Box set MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated) Languages:English
"In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the onset of World War I in 1964, both the BBC in Britain and CBS in the United States produced epid documentary series on the history of the war (The Beeb's is called "The Great War"). Both are now available on DVD and I would have to say that someone who has a strong interest in the war and is interested in its visual images would find both series of interest. Besides the fact that naturally each tends to focus more on the war effort of the country that produced the series, there are other significant differences that make the two series complement each other. First of all, the CBS programs were made to fit into a half-hour time slot, so taking into consideration the commercials, each program is about 24 minutes long, whereas the BBC programs are over 40 minutes. In addition, the British series focuses almost exclusively on the military aspects of the war in addition to social and economic conditions in Britain. The BBC series added interviews with people who participated in the war, whereas the Americans relied only on archive films. The CBS series places less emphasis on the military course of the war but expands on the political and social forces that led up to the war and affected its conduct. Whereas "The Great War" simply mentions in passing the demoralization that occurred on the German home front that brought about Ludendorff's demands for an an armisitice, the CBS series devotes an entire program to what was happening inside Germany as the war progressed. A particularly interesting difference is that the CBS series devoted a significant amount of time to a detailed description of the Battle of Jutland in which the main battle fleets of Germany and Britain faced each other, whereas the BBC show just mentions it in passing (my theory is that since the battle was a tactical draw the British were not to interested in talking too much about it!) Finally, "The Great War" ends with the armisitice of 11 November 1918 showing deliriously happy crowds, whereas the American series devotes significant time showing how the indecisive end of the war and the subsequent Treaty of Versailles paved the way for the next, even more destructive war. One drawback of the CBS film is that little explanation is given to the conduct of operations on the Eastern Front which "The Great War" discusses at length, possibly because in the 1960's there was a tendency to dismiss Russian history due to Cold War tensions. I again strongly recommend both series to the viewer who really wants a comprehensive view of this war that radically altered the world in ways that are still being felt."
Like a fine wine, this documentary gets better with age....
Kenneth M. Pizzi | San Mateo, CA United States | 06/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Excellent documentary series produced by CBS News in the early sixties and superbly narrrated by the late Robert Ryan, still has an edge over the many others that were produced recently. Lots and lots of photographic and film footage, especially of the German invasion of neutral Belgium, the air and sea war, the sinking of the Lusitania, but sadly lacking in many other series. This series, some will call dated, yet remains remarkably comprehensive and engaging and well worth purchasing. If you like your history in large doses and complete like, for example, Will Durant's 11 volume comprehensive opus, The History of Civilization, then you will enjoy this three disc set. This set is available at Costco for about $19.95, where I purchased mine, rather than the $30.00 list price Amazon charges here."
World War I DVD
Satisfied Amazon customer | Clinton MD USA | 05/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD comes in a three-volume set. It is narrated by Robert Ryan whose voice sets the tone for this truly monumental telling of an event that is still being felt by the world amost 100 years later.
It is non-political, it does not take sides, what it does is show with clarity and feeling the effect war had on the entire world. The social, economic, and political realities of the day are explained. I have a minor in history and I was impressed with the research and scholarly approach taken by the film makers in this epic documentary.
There are over 70 episodes within the three volume set. Everyone who watches will gain an appreciation for how WWI changed the geo-political landscape forever. After watching this series, you will be able to understand in depth what Lawrence of Arbia meant to the Arabs.
This DVD is worth 2x the price."
Worth the money
A Reader in NH | Litchfield, NH United States | 07/31/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Not much to add to Rehovot's excellent review except for one nit pick: the series focuses too much on the USA. America's involvement in the Great War does not warrant 5 episodes out of 26. (Just as The World at War, the outstanding Thames series on the second world war, is weighted too heavily on Britain.) That said, this is a wonderful series. Certainly worth the time and money if you want to learn the basics of WWI. Watched it as a kid - enjoyed seeing it again."
S. M. Nofal | Madison, WI United States | 11/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I haven't seen other documentaries on World War I. Only this one. Still, I own several documentaries on World War II, and The Complete Story: World War I is superb. It's beautifully narrated, in a pithy, easy-to-understand narrative and the images are first class. This collection is designed to give the viewers a "big picture" of the so-called "War to End all Wars." While it shows all of the major battles, it is not intended for military buffs but to an audience that cares about the politics behind the major military decisions, the role of the ordinary people, their plight, and the spreading of the conflict even to Japan and China. Also, it takes into account the early surrender of Russia and the rise of Lenin's Soviet Union. To sum up, it offers a great panoramic view of the conflict. My only complain is that this great documentary does not have subtitles. There are some names (especially Turkish, German, and Russian generals and commanders) that are difficult to pronounce or to spell. Highly recommended!"