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 »nd a new world order. The French Revolution is a definitive feature-length documentary that encapsulates this heady (and often headless) period in Western civilization. With dramatic reenactments, illustrations, and paintings from the era, plus revealing accounts from journals and expert commentary from historians, The French Revolution vividly unfurls in a maelstrom of violence, discontent, and fundamental change. King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Maximilien Robespierre, and Napoleon Bonaparte lead a cast of thousands in this essential program from THE HISTORY CHANNEL®. Narrated by Edward Herrmann (The Aviator, Gilmore Girls), The French Revolution explores the legacy that--now more than ever--stands as both a warning and a guidepost to a new millennium« less
"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!"
Enjoyed By a 9th Grader
Guirky | 12/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, I am a freshman this year in highschool. We are learning about the French Revolution and our book did a very poor job explaining some parts of it specifically what Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI did through out all of this rage going on through out the country. We then watched this video during class. It was very informative and it kept my attention. Amazingly for once I enjoyed a movie we watched it school.
The mix of both commentary, pictures, and re-enactments kept me watching. I am actually on here right now trying to find technical information about this movie because I want to use it as one of my resources for one of our projects.
All-in-All, it was a great movie and if it kept the attention of a highschool freshman, I think anyone will like it!"