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49 Up (2006)

Bruce Balden , Jacqueline Bassett , Michael Apted  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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49 Up + 56 Up + The Complete Up Series
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Product Details

  • Actors: Bruce Balden, Jacqueline Bassett, Symon Basterfield, Andrew Brackfield, John Brisby
  • Directors: Michael Apted
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • DVD Release Date: November 14, 2006
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,024 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "49 Up" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Exclusive Bonus Interview: Roger Ebert talks with director Michael Apted
  • Director Biography
  • Photo Gallery

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Starting in 1964 with Seven Up, The UP Series has explored this Jesuit maxim. The original concept was to interview 14 children from diverse backgrounds from all over England, asking them about their lives and their dreams for the future. Every seven years, renowned director Michael Apted, a researcher for Seven Up, has been back to talk to them, examining the progression of their lives. From cab driver Tony to schoolmates Jackie, Lynn and Susan and the heart-breaking Neil, as they turn 49 more life-changing decisions and surprising developments are revealed. An extraordinary look at the structure of life in the 20th century, The UP Series is, according to critic Roger Ebert, "an inspired, almost noble use of the film medium. Apted penetrates to the central mystery of life."


Cinema's longest-running and most fascinating experiment. --The New York Times

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
60 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Skull Beneath the Skin December 9, 2006
The 7 Up project started in 1963 as a Granada Films documentary about seven year old British children. Director Michael Apted, himself only in his early twenties, set out to explore the British class system by interviewing youngsters from different economic backgrounds. The film's hook was the old Jesuit saying, "Show me the child until seven, and I will show you the man." Remarkably, Apted has gone back every seven years and updated his interviews with the dozen or so children he started with. 49 Up is the latest installment.

If you only watch 49 Up, you'll get enough back story to know who these people are, but the most satisfying approach is to go through the documentaries in the order they were shot. We are voyeurs in the lives of: Andrew, John and Suzie, upper-class kids who knew early on who they were and what they would do; Simon and Paul, abandoned by their mothers and raised in an orphanage; Jackie, Sue and Lynne, working class girls from London's East End; Nick and Neil, middle class kids with an intellectual bent; Tony, a lively, lovable Cockney; and Bruce, who moves up and down the class ladder. The films prove that you can see the man or woman who will emerge in the child of seven. Their personalities are set; all that's unknown are the circumstances under which their lives will play out.

These are ordinary people; the genius of the series is that they become particular enough to us over the course of the films to feel special. We care about them, and what happens to them. At 49, the group seems much happier than they were in the previous two films. Most of them have passed through the trauma of losing their parents, and they've made peace with career successes and setbacks.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful illustration of our common human experience November 18, 2006
By writeon
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Perhaps I am especially sentimental about this series because the participants are my age, but when "49 Up" came to a close with scenes from the original film, "Seven Up," I found myself in tears.

It has been suggested that the series was originally intended to illustrate that children born into various social classes were destined to follow a specific course in life. But time has revealed something very different: that money, class, and education are superficial differences, and that all of us are bound by our common human experience. Every one of the participants has dealt with some sort of adversity -- the death of parents, divorce, illness, depression, loss of a job -- but has persevered with the love and support of family and friends. We learn about their joys, too -- the arrival of grandchildren, a new love, a new career.

Another reviewer commented that time has not been kind to most of the participants from a physical standpoint. No doubt a young person wrote that! Yes, many folks our age (including me) have put on some extra pounds, lost hair or gone grayer, or developed a few wrinkles. But I find their faces kinder and wiser and more beautiful, even more so when those who are married reaffirm their love for one another and talk about how their spouses have helped them through the hard times.

One thing that impresses me is that all of the subjects are good people -- not perfect, not immune from taking a wrong turn once in a while, but trying hard to do the right thing in life. I am so proud of all of them and can hardly wait seven years to find out how they have fared since I saw them last.

There are challenges ahead for Michael Apted and his crew.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality TV years before the genre was given a name! October 5, 2006
I started watching Michael Apted's ongoing documentary series in 1971 when Apted's first film (the second in the series, but first directed by Apted) "14 UP" was shown in US theaters. I remember seeing "21 UP" as well but then missed the next series of films until this year when "49 UP" was released.

"Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man," goes a Jesuit proverb, which the 'Up' documentaries quote. At seven year intervals Director Apted revisited 14 children in his native country of Britain. This was early "reality TV" before the concept was given a name. While the children were from so-called "diverse" backgrounds, they were mostly economic diverse rather than ethnically diverse. All but one are Caucasian. What is amazing is that all 14 are still living at age 49 and, though one woman has said that she doesn't wish to continue to participate in the series, all 14 are covered in this most recent chapter of the series.

The most important thing to know is that this film stands on it's own and does not require watching the previous chapters. Director Apted uses enough footage from the prior films to, not only bring you up to date, but to show you immediate similarities to what the "kids" looked like as they grew older. Though I may go back to the films I missed, I didn't feel that it was necessary.

At over 2 hours in length, this is not a short film but it will hold your attention.

As a bonus the DVD adds a 30 minute interview with Director Apted and film critic Roger Ebert. This only adds to the enjoyment of the DVD. Strangely, what sounds like an air conditioner running in the background (or it could be just poor miking) runs through the interview that was recorded in June 2006.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Definitely makes you reconsider your own life.
Published 1 month ago by Ursula Schneider
4.0 out of 5 stars Good condition
This is really a great video, something that many students can benefit from to help them with their future. Came in good condition.
Published 6 months ago by J. Cooper
5.0 out of 5 stars the most moving documentary
give me a boy at 7 and i will show you the man.

Superb series which follows the lives of children from all backgrounds. Read more
Published 7 months ago by the lambanana
5.0 out of 5 stars U don't have to be 49 to learn insight from this documentary...
Every person under age of 50 should see this film. I am well over my 40s, but this is an excellent documentary. I wish I had seen it while in my 30s, 40s, or 50s. Well done! Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mar
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 Up DVD
If you are 50+ then this is the DVD for you. As stated in the documentary this is not about the people being interviewed every seven years. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Gregory
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique and amazing series of films
The 'Up Series' represents one of the most fascinating and unusual uses
of film in cinema history - a documentary life-long chronicle of the
lives of 14 people starting... Read more
Published on February 26, 2011 by K. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Infinitely rewatchable.
I stayed up much too late last night going through the whole series. I would advise anyone new to this to do the same as the longer looks at the characters does help. Read more
Published on July 24, 2010 by Compans
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I've followed Michael Apted's documentary series from the beginning so I was interested in seeing the latest installment, 49 Up. Read more
Published on May 16, 2010 by Suzinne Barrett
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 UP
A great look at the lives of young Londoners as they evolve into adults and move on to middle age. Your own life flashes before you as you watch this film as well and see a little... Read more
Published on April 15, 2009 by Albert Abdullah
5.0 out of 5 stars your life backwards
This a really good documentary. and I think Micheal has tried to stay fairly objective (although he does slip at times)
I found this film quite touching. Read more
Published on January 1, 2009 by icujock
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