Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, a scholar who achieved legendary status as an explicator of myths, is reverently profiled in this documentary that encompasses his long life and career. During h... more »is childhood in New York City, Campbell was taken to see "Buffalo Bill" Cody's Wild West Show at Madison Square Garden. Young Campbell was fascinated by the Native Americans in Cody's performing troupe and eventually became obsessed with mythology. As he came to realize that myths worldwide had the same underpinnings, he also discovered his life's work. This documentary mentions Campbell's affinity for the writings of James Joyce and Carl Jung, and there is ample footage of Campbell, casual in flannel shirts, giving lectures salted with references to Buddhism, Christianity, classical mythology, St. Augustine, and the rituals of plains Indians. In later life, Campbell is seen being honored at a banquet at which George Lucas rises to give him credit for helping to inspire the writing of Star Wars. After Campbell's death in 1987, heated controversies arose about his work, but this documentary is an overwhelmingly positive look at his writings, lectures, and personality. --Robert J. McNamara« less
Kevin Wesley Bonofikle Craigenstein | Clarkesville, GA | 09/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The class screening of this video was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Campbell offers extraordinary insight into the human condition through meticulous analysis of mythology from all over the world. I found it very interesting that George Lucas's films were inspired by mythology. One can delve into all sorts of modern films and find situational, character, and symbolic archetypes that occurred in ancient mythology. Joseph Campbell possesses one of the most zealously inquisitive minds on this planet, and he proves it in this video. This does not deserve to be called a simple "video". It was an experience which will never be reproduced by another film company as long as man roams the earth.
Campbell has many interesting philosophies. One of these ideas which he portrayed in the video was that human beings should listen to the inner-voice. In this sense, we can all be dissenters (or mavericks). Joseph Campbell was a maverick of sorts until his tragic death in 1987. We could learn a lot about the art of being a maverick from this brave, intelligent man. He devoted his entire life to studying mythology, with little regard to what others thought of this practice. Campbell states in the video that every society can be evaluated to an enormous degree simply by examining what kind of stories and myths were created in said society. Also, one can see how similar all societies in the world are. Many of Campbell's statements relate to Carl Jung's theory of the collective unconscious. Frequent occurrences in mythology throughout the world show that all people might have similar basic thought processes.
The only aspect of the video that was not up to par was the interviewing style. I and a number of the other viewers felt that it was weak and not hard-hitting enough. However, the overall video was a masterpiece. I was thoroughly impressed by this pristine work of art. Joseph Campbell was a God among ants, and his contributions to society shall be remembered forever more."
Campbell: Mmmmm Mmmmm Good
John P. Morgan | Beautiful San Dimas, CA | 03/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a reflective person by nature, I believe that most people are, I just think that for the most part, a lot of us have gotten sidetracked. Instead of facing our issues and our challenges we face the television and we escape our pain by watching the pains that others are going through...Anna Nicole...Brittney Spears...and I've heard a lot of people comment on these two women...they're "nuts", "freaks", they "have everything but don't even know it..." but I see these women as symbols for where we are as a culture; lost, sad, empty...
This documentary reminds me in such a brilliant way that we really are on a journey. That each one of us has a role to play out and that is to learn how to be the "star" of our own production. Most of us have not learned how to do this. Most of us think that life just happens and we have to deal with what life gives us. But nothing can happen to us, until it happens "through" us...through our own perceptions, our own attitudes, our own beliefs about it. Most of us profess to believing in some kind of Higher Power and yet we are afraid to admit that this Higher Power is within us...that we are, in Truth, expressions of this Higher Power.
Joseph Campbell would be the first to admit that for the most part, most of us are not afraid of our darkness, our shadows, our fears...what we are most afraid of is our brilliance, our light, our beauty. There is no devil outside of us waiting to "snatch" our souls, we steal from ourselves every time we think we are "miserable sinners" rather than extensions of the Divine.
We are literally in the dark about who we truly are. Anna Nicole was. Brittney Spears is. Most of us are. We are not our bodies. We are not these personalities or these behaviors or any of these things that we typically identify with in the physical world. We will not change anything in our life through hate. In fact, hating certain things will only bring these things about more frequently. We must instead yield to the Light, surrender to Love, be willing to use our Lives in way that serve, bless, and heal the whole world. We must learn to trust our own heart, be guided by our own soul, be lead by our own Light. Don't let yourself become hypnotized or seduced by power "out there"...the true power, the only power...is right where you are...you are your own savior, you are your own hero. Your human life is symbolic for something greater. The only reason why there are shadows in your life is because you are standing in your own Light.
I highly recommend anything by Campbell. His wisdom and his gentle humor can cut through years of accumulated "junk". Campbell truly followed his own advice, he lived his "bliss". His passion, his dedication to Truth, his willingness to shine all shows up in this DVD. He truly was a "godsend" just as you are...just as I am...just as we all are...
Let your Light shine today.
Peace & Blessings."
Excellent Glimpse of the Man
Dr. Ginger J.E. Grant | 04/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you've read "The Heroes Journey," then you won't find any new information here. What you will get, however, is extensive interview footage of Campbell that, as far as I know, isn't available anywhere else. And if you haven't read the book, this is an excellent introduction into Campbell's primary insights (the religions/myths of the world aren't just false stories...they are incredibly meaningful expressions of Man's wonder before the mystery of Everything...among others), and how he managed to reach them. A nice quality production, intelligently written, with plentiful input from the man himself.One question though...Campbell claims that he saved up enough money playing saxophone in a jazz combo to go without a job for 5 years...simply living in a cottage and reading all day!!! Speaking as a semi-professional musician, how the heck did he manage THAT?!?!?!?"
Life of Campbell
Dr. Ginger J.E. Grant | Vancouver, BC Canada | 09/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This video gives the viewer an overview of the life of Joseph Campbell from his early beginnings as a student to his later years. Marvellous examples of synchronicity in action, this video is a must for any serious collector of mythology or comparative religion. Thoroughly entertaining!"
Never a Disappointment
cm** | Southeast | 10/19/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although this film covers some areas of Joseph Campbell's knowledge, it does not even begin to show his true genius. It very loosely covers all that Campbell worked so long and so hard to accomplish. But if one were looking for a very short overview of Campbell's work, this would be it.
In the film, Campbell goes deeply into only a few certain areas that he has covered. He talks about how the three major religions put emphasis on the hero's trials. He talks about Jesus Christ and His three temptations. He talks about Buddha and his might. He uses these as examples to prove his point, and it is well received.
If you are wishing to get a full understanding of Joseph Campbell just by watching this movie, you are going to be sorely disappointed. However, it is some amazing footage of one of the most ingenious men of our time. Campbell talks of things that would never occur to the normal human being unless brought to our attention. If you have been interested in myth before, but did not know where to start, this film is great for beginners. "