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Alexander Nevsky (1939)

Nikolai Cherkassov , Nikolai Okhlopkov , Sergei M. Eisenstein  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Nikolai Cherkassov, Nikolai Okhlopkov, Andrei Abrikosov, Dmitri Orlov
  • Directors: Sergei M. Eisenstein
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Classical, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Russian (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • DVD Release Date: October 21, 1998
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 630513104X
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,213 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Alexander Nevsky" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Director Sergei Eisenstein's epic ALEXANDER NEVSKY features some of the most beautiful imagery ever put on film, a majestic music score by Prokifiev and a dazzling, climactic battle on a frozen lake. In 1242, Russia in being invaded by two sides: from the orient by the Mongols and from Europe by the Germans Teutonic Knights of the Holy Roman Empire. The last free city in Russia, Novgorod, calls the Prince Aleksandr Nevsky, who had defeated the Swedish in a previous battle, to defend the city.

Sergei Eisenstein's landmark tale of Russia thwarting the German invasion of the 13th century was wildly popular and quite intentional, given the prevailing Nazi geopolitical advancement and destruction at the time. It can still be viewed as a masterful use of imagery and music, with the Battle on the Ice sequence as the obvious highlight. Unfortunately, the rest of the film pales in comparison. A great score by Prokofiev was effectively integrated by the Russian filmmaker, but stands on its own merit as well. --Bill Desowitz

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
213 of 229 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars remarkable November 1, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is certainly the most remarkable collection of films to come out in one DVD package. And I would really like to thank Criterion for overpricing their DVDs so much that I had very little overlap with my existing library, having passed on most of their editions of these films. Here are a few observations that might be of use to potential buyers:

1) the widescreen movies are anamorphic

2) Haxen is 104 min, substantially longer than the 77 min version that has shown on premium cable.

3) I compared the Janus versions of two films, Wages of Fear and Seven Samurai, with the Criterion versions I had. I expected them to be identical (figuring that Criterion probably did the work for Janus) but they were considerably different. In both cases, the Janus copies were amazingly superior: much better (and louder)sound, crisper images with fewer defects, much better definition in shadowy areas, and a much more stable image. I never realized how poor the Criterion prints were until I saw the comparison. It's amazing the psychological effect of all that. In both cases, I was strongly tempted to continue watching the whole film with Janus, and found the Criterion copy 'tiring'. The translations also differed, with Janus having fewer errors (e.g. Samurai's "the rice we're eating now" v.s. "the rice we're eating, how"). I cannot wait to watch the rest of these films.

3. I could detect no difference between Anchor Bay's and Janus's Kind Hearts and Coronets.

4. The print of Lady Vanishes is the clearest I've seen. The el cheapo Brentwood print, in their Hitchcock collection, is unwatchable.

5. The one really bad aspect of the collection is that the DVDs are wedged tightly into paper slots.
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79 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is put out by Criterion November 7, 2006
Re: The previous reviewer's points: The product info is somewhat vague on this, but this set is put out by Criterion. As the comment on that review says, any differences vs. earlier Criterion releases are attributable to upgrades made in later editions. Seven Samurai and M have been upgraded since their original Criterion release, and there may be other cases among the films collected here. On another point, it's true that individual Criterion releases are expensive, but they usually include many extras of interest to cinephiles. If price is your main consideration, this package is a great way to get Criterion quality at a lower price per disc (although without the extras). I will be ordering one at some point, even though I already have about a dozen of the films, just because it looks to be a gorgeous package. FYI, there is a review in the NY Times today (11/7/2006) that provides some historical background on Janus and Criterion.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Special Features and Scratches February 4, 2007
I would like to notify everyone who got scared about this set when they heard the dvds came in outrageoulsy tight slots that either this has been changed, it never was true, or i have an exeptionally awsome set because mine is not that way at all. In my set every page of the DVD book has 4 dvds that are in slots that are not too tight or loose. You do not have to induvidually unwrap the dvds or anything, just open up the book, and pull a dvd out. I have been pulling these discs out and putting back in and have seen absolutely no damage done. Not one of the movies has skipped yet. I have seen no "flecks of paper" and none of my DVDs "felt like they were glued to the page" like -a movie fan's-. I strongly suggest everyone with a film appretiation to buy this set, even if you already have a few from the set. It is definatally worth it. And about the special features, I would like to inform anyone turned off by the fact that there are none that there is a 200 page book that comes with the set. That book has rare posters, photographs, the history of revolutionary JANUS and a page description of every film - the context of time and place the film came out, a little about the director and actors, the impact the film had, the meaning behind the film, etc. If that is not enough for you, then...sorry. I personally dont mind, considering the internet exists for any other information about the film I want to know.
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88 of 102 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WRETCHED sound makes DVD worth one star January 14, 2000
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Although I truly love the film (and the video tranfer is great), this DVD has the horrible 1930's recording of the soundtrack. Prokofiev's great score sounds like it is playing from an AM radio placed undera mattress. Unless you are truly wedded to DVD format, get the BMG video which includes an excellent re-recording of the score in modern stereo (along with a great video). We can only hope that the BMG version gets to DVD soon.
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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, bad DVD June 5, 2002
By Phil J
I have watched Alexander Nevsky more times than I've watched any other movie. It is a great movie, deserving 5 stars. This particular DVD, however, is the worst transfer to DVD that I have seen. At first I intended to watch it on my computer. The image was so jumpy I could not watch it more than a few minutes.
There are at least two versions of this movie with English subtitles on VHS. Both are worth watching. Some are older and have the "mistaken" music track. A new version was released in 1995 with new subtitles and a newly recorded score. There are editing changes in the 1995 version as well.
I see that there is a version of Alexander Nevsky that is part of a 3-dvd set.
But at this date (May, 2002) there doesn't seem to be a single dvd of Alexander Nevsky that is worth watching.
There are Russian versions without subtitles and a few versions with English subtitles. I hope someone does a good tranfer of at least ONE of the versions to a single DVD soon.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece directed by Sergei Eisenstein with a thrilling score ...
A masterpiece directed by Sergei Eisenstein with a thrilling score by Prokofiev. Taking place in 1242, Prince Alexander Nevsky of Novgorod leads a ragtag army of peasants against... Read more
Published 4 days ago by moviemusicalfanatic21
2.0 out of 5 stars predictable plot with long boring sequences that don't seem to go...
Had to watch it for a Soviet film course. Definitely the least impressive of Eisenstein's works. Shallow, predictable plot with long boring sequences that don't seem to go... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Morgan Ellison
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Another great old movie. Knowing the period you could see the Soviet preoccupation with the Germans.
Published 1 month ago by Brad Golding
3.0 out of 5 stars The film suffers from a much deteriorated sound track which ...
The film suffers from a much deteriorated sound track which seriously limits appreciation of the Prokofiev music. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sentinel
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 2 months ago by John Lockinger
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Too limited in historical coverage.
Published 2 months ago by Gerald Hein
3.0 out of 5 stars Alexander Nevsky, who should watch it.
I consider this film an excellent material to study film art - editing, impatc of all visual and verbal components of film narrative. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dodona Kiziria
3.0 out of 5 stars Great film, but the DVD could be better
The movie "Alexander Nevsky" is rightfully called one of the classics of filmography. Unfortunately, this DVD could have been prepared a lot better. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Eric Norton
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic drama
I did not expect this to be as well made as it was. The special effects were very realistic for the time and the battle scenes were top notch. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Kerry Garrett
4.0 out of 5 stars came fast thanks
This is an old Russian film . It is entertaining . It does help if you understand the language. Thanks
Published 8 months ago by anthony
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