The legendary battle of Thermopylae is still acknowledged today for its brilliant military maneuvers and the well-trained and fearless soldiers who fought to the death. The History Channel® presents a detailed account of t... more »his legendary battle, examining the events leading up to the conflict, the tactical expertise that allowed the outnumbered Greeks to stall their mighty foes, and the bloody encounter itself. Find out how an army of a few hundred men overcame impossible odds and witness the conflict that altered the course of Western civilization.« less
James P. (pearldrummerjp) from RUCKERSVILLE, VA Reviewed on 3/6/2010...
Very good. Lots of info not in the movie!
0 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Excellent and Fantastic
Raffaele Vardavas | Los angeles, CA, USA | 03/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"They showed this documentary on the History channel to accompany the release of the movie 300.
In contrast to the movie 300 (which was ok -see my review) this documentary is excellent. It is really a movie-like documentary with a lot of action.
Graphically it resembles a little the movie 300 since it uses a lot of computer graphics and non-realistic red looking skies. However, here Persians really look like Persians.
The content is excellent. Although I have read about the battle of Thermopylae from many different sources, I learned about things I did not know before and gained a more detail knowledge. However, like in the movie 300 here again Leonidas seems to be much younger than he really was by 480BC.
What I particularly liked was that the documentary focused both on the land battle of the Spartans and sea battle of the Athenian fleet. This really showed how brilliant and well coordinated the Allied Greek strategy was. Most other sources just focus on the land battle and pay minor attention to what happened in the flanking sea. The mastermind Themistocles is well represented and a decent length of the documentary is dedicated to him.
The Spartans and their society are accurately represented. They were not fighting for a new era of freedom which was at the time being brought forward by Athenian democracy. They were fighting to preserve their own, non-free un-democratic system and were hostile to the spread of democracy to other Greek city states. However, their last stand was not solely to seek "a beautiful death" but instead to cover the retreat of their fellow allied soldiers. Maybe, also to give an example from which the allied Greeks would stay united against the Persians for the sake of their sacrifice.
The sound tracks that accompany the scenes are excellent. However, they could have used them more often and they could have raised the volume a little too.
I enjoyed watching this documentary even more than the other two excellent documentaries on the Spartans (one from the History channel and the other by PBS).
Highly - I repeat highly recommended - to people interested in ancient history and battle strategies and warfare. "
One of the Best Documentaries EVER by the History Channel
RJRo20 | California | 05/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The History Channel has presented a mixed of bad and good documentaries, but the "Last Stand of the 300" is definitely one of the best that they've ever produced! I wholeheartedly agree with previous reviewers that this is an excellent and well-researched documentary about the Battle of Thermopylae--one of history's most famous last stands of all-time.
The overall presentation of this epic battle is superb. Great visuals, music, dramatic reenactments, and knowledgeable scholars provide a very enlightening and fascinating account of the events preceding and following the 3-day battle at Thermopylae. The battle itself is examined and analyzed in meticulous detail--military tactics and strategies discussed from both sides of the war (land and sea).
As reviewer, Raffaele Vardavas mentioned, this documentary does resemble a little like the movie "300," which gives it a more appealing and cinematic look. The fighting sequences--especially during the last stand--are wonderfully depicted.
The performance of the 300 Spartans--and approximately 700 Thespian soldiers and unremembered 900 Helots (Spartan slaves)--has been hailed as an outstanding example of courage against insurmountable odds. Among the Greeks, the Spartan defenders were the 'bravest of the brave' and their enormous sacrifice helped saved the future of Greece and unknowningly "altered the course of Western civilization." As one of the world's greatest and most symbolic events in history, this DVD is a must-have for all!
(Note: I have the PBS DVD of The Spartans, and also think this one is NOT as exciting to watch. Instead, the PBS presentation feels like a tedious 3-hour lecture in a history class. "Last Stand...300" is way better!!! Don't hesitate to buy)."
Excellent DVD on ancient Greece.
Rhett D. Sorensen | Provo, Ut USA | 05/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Fantastic DVD on Thermopylae and Spartan history. Very well researched and presented. This is the ONLY DVD I have ever seen (using real people) that actually have them keep the phalanx formation. They mention the Spartan agoge and delve quit deeply into the agoge system and Spartan way of life. This is an excellent summarie of Spartan life style. It also covers the Persian side and tells us how the amazing Persian invasion came about, how the crossed the hellespont, how Xerxes was raised, etc. it also addresses all the other city states and battle tactics and takes you through to the conclusion of the battle and the ultimate conclusion of the Greek/Persian wars. (something that my Greek history teacher failed to do :() It also breifly goes over marathon which is nice. The DVD is fun and entertaining. Well worth the buy."
Good companion to 300
meadowreader | Sandia Park, NM USA | 08/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Frank Miller version made a very stylish movie, but this History Channel presentation is much more historically accurate and complete. It is also very well done visually, with plenty of diagrams, maps, and details of weaponry, armor, and tactics on both sides. This is a first-rate production.
Last Stand starts at the beginning by detailing how the Greeks and Persians came to be at odds: The Greeks had supported Persian-controlled Ionian cities in rebellion, then defeated an earlier Persian expedition at Marathon. We also see how the huge Persian army got to Greece without a long detour around the Black Sea: by constructing a bridge across the Hellespont made of surplus ships tied together. We even learn about how the cables were made that secured the ships.
The major omission in '300' was that it nowhere mentioned the naval battles that were critical in keeping the Persians at bay while the Spartans fought the land battle at Thermopylae. And the Greek naval success, in turn, depended on Themistocles' having successfully pressed for the expansion of the Athenian navy, and then launching a daring attack against the much larger Persian fleet. None of that finds mention in '300', but it's all here in Last Stand. We also see what followed the Persian victory at Thermopylae, namely Greek victories at Platea and Salamis that caused the Persians to pack up and head back home for good.
Some will be annoyed by the frequent recapitulations that follow what were commercial breaks when Last Stand was broadcast, but those brief reviews are probably helpful for most viewers.
This is a DVD well worth owning.
The Way it Really Was!
Dr. Glenn W. Briggs | KSC, Florida & Chengdu, China | 07/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When it comes to military films, I am very cautious about evaluations and very much a stickler for accuracy, especially as a History Professor, and having spent 25 years in the military. This is a superior coverage of the infamous Battle of Thermopylae, in that it is not encumbered with unrelated romances, political statements, or outright falsehoods.
This film reveals many aspects of Thermopylae, and adjacent battles, that those who are not students of war may not have been aware of. The film covers the backgrounds of both sets of combatants, the overall strategies, and the outcomes in understandable detail, and makes a valuable point of demonstrating the long-lived results of the battle itself, and on current governments and societies.
The History Channel has done a great service with this film, for those among us who do want to learn."