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The French Revolution (History Channel)
The French Revolution
History Channel
Actors: Edward Herrmann, George Ivascu, Rodica Lazar, Tomi Cristin, Phillip Levine
Director: Doug Shultz
Genres: Television, Educational, Documentary
NR     2005     1hr 40min

On July 14, 1789, a mob of angry Parisians stormed the Bastille and seized the King's military stores. A decade of idealism, war, murder, and carnage followed, bringing about the end of feudalism and the rise of equality a...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Edward Herrmann, George Ivascu, Rodica Lazar, Tomi Cristin, Phillip Levine
Director: Doug Shultz
Creators: Alexandru Sterian, Peter Schnall, Doug Shultz, Mako Kamitsuna, Mark Fason, Beth Dietrich, Hilary Sio, Sandya Viswanathan, Tina Ver, Whitney Johnson, Thomas Emil
Genres: Television, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Television, Educational, History, Civil War
Studio: A&E Home Video
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 03/29/2005
Original Release Date: 01/17/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/17/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Another Gem from The History Channel
C. Middleton | Australia | 04/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There is a vast amount of information on the French Revolution that can be found in scholarly texts, recreational articles, Internet sites, as well as a large selection of documentaries that have been produced over the years. A great number of these sources are well worth a look at for the serious student as well as the part time historian. Without hesitation, this documentary should be at the top of the list, because it is not only a perfect introduction, but also an extremely well produced and informative film.

The History Channel has produced many well-made and educational documentaries over the years. One would have to admit that their Biography Series is second to none. But they have really out done themselves with The French Revolution, as it covers the numerous causes of this important insurrection, focusing on major personages in the aristocracy, the enlightenment and the key political insurgents, painting excellent portraits of Maximus Robespierre and the mad journalist, Marat, leading to their ironic and bloody ends. The Reign of Terror is depicted particularly well with all its high drama, intrigue and endless flow of blood. Interestingly, these portraits of the major players in the revolution, Robespierre, Danton, Marie Antoinette and Louie the 16th, were all done with such pathos, that I came away from the film feeling real empathy for these people, especially Marie Antoinette. This is the way history, as a subject, should be taught, evoking feelings for the people and the times under study.

The documentary combines images, well-acted scenarios and informative interviews with academics including a compelling narration - it is also very well written, as it is tremendously difficult to cover such a complex event in a short time and do it any justice. If you have any interest in The French Revolution, an event that virtually changed the world, this documentary would be a suitable starting point. It would also be a worthwhile teaching resource for students in the middle years and above.

Lacks any real analysis
DeFoe | London, 1680 | 03/12/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)

"I watched this film yesterday at a library, and found its lack of depth and analysis to be dumbfounding.

During the first minute, they tell how the revolution began when high bread prices sparked a violent uprising. During the next 99 minutes they narrate the chronological events of increasing violence, using acted scenes, fake blood and sound bytes from "scholars", to give a "play-by-play" summary of the carnage and beheadings, leading up to a mention of Napoleon.

During the last thirty seconds, they surprisingly conclude by saying that the French Revolution was a very good thing, because it inspired China and Vietnam and because Louis was a tyrant. Prior to this little or no mention had been made of Louis' tyranny, although the film had dwelt on his bedroom difficulties in some detail and also mentioned his weight problem a few times.

After watching 90 minutes of bloody scenes, I found the films conclusion that the French Revolution was a good thing to be an incomprehensible non sequitur. I would have liked to have seen some historical analysis to support this conclusion."
"Let Them Eat Cake"
Matthew S. Schweitzer | Columbus, OH United States | 08/31/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"For those that know the famous,and most likely apocryphal, quote attributed to Marie Antoinette and little else about the French Revolution, the History Channel has finally produced an excellent documentary on this seminal event in world history. Enhanced with re-enactments and the usual historian/author commentary, this DVD brings the complex and bloody history of the French Revolution to life in a way that will entice the masses.

The French Revolution is without question one of the most important events of the 18th century if not world history in general. It's ultimately tragic end, culminating in the Reign of Terror and the execution of even it's own outspoken creators ,adds to the drama of what was to be the crowing achievement of the Age of Enlightenment. From Louis VIX and Marie Antoinette to Robespierre and Danton, this documentary covers it all, if not in fine detail, then just enough to motivate the interested viewer to research more on his or her own.

The French Revolution and its effects on the world stage have never been more accessible. This video was entertaining and educational and is recommended for teachers, students, and the amateur historian. Vive la France."
Interesting Introduction to the French Revolution
Mr. Roget Webster | Sunny Side Up, USA | 03/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I glossed over the French Revolution back in junior high, but was not able to recount much years later. Because I don't have the time to read up on French history, I decided to check out this DVD.

First off, I was very pleased with the information I received from this program. I could easily look up the info from the web in a matter of minutes, but I doubt I could have learned as much as I did from the DVD. Quite simply, the program is done like a story (with visual reenactments) and laced with interviews from scholars. The result is that you're entertained from start to finish, while understanding the conflict and events that are being described.

And what's nice is that although the program isn't too long, it doesn't rush anything: we learn about Louis XVI's rise to the throne, his relationship with Marie Antoinette, and what led to their deaths. Robespierre and Marat's background are also analyzed, as they were both major players in the revolution.

In all, a great DVD to own. I've been watching PBS and History Channel documentaries/programs for some time, and I was pleased that this production was done well. Although I wasn't too educated on the French Revolution before this DVD, I felt that the program was done with detail and accuracy. I definitely recommend it!"