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Benedict Arnold - A Question of Honor

3.6 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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(Feb 11, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Aidan Quinn, Kelsey Grammer, Flora Montgomery. The gripping true story of one of America's first military heroes and the greed and ambition that led his name to be synonymous with traitor." 2002/color/100 min/NR.

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The most sullied figure of the American Revolution receives partial redemption in Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor. Produced for the A&E network, this factual drama reveals the lesser-known circumstances of Arnold's dishonor, beginning in 1777 and chronicling his fall from greatness. The conquering hero of Saratoga and other victories of the Revolution finds himself in an impossible predicament, his allegiance torn between his British loyalist wife (Jane Brennan) and his paternally devoted commander, George Washington (Kelsey Grammer), as his Colonial detractors cast him into a tragic no-win scenario. Authentically detailed and blessed by playwright William Mastrosimone's poetic period dialogue, Benedict Arnold successfully explores the personal and political facets of a great soldier's downfall. Aidan Quinn's expressive melancholy perfectly suits his title role, and Grammer transcends Frasier, lending appropriate gravitas--and some physical resemblance--to his portrayal of America's future president. Like A&E's earlier film The Crossing, this is compelling historical drama, entertaining, intelligent, and emotionally complex. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • Includes Benedict Arnold episode of A&E Biography
  • Behind-the-scenes featurette
  • Aidan Quinn and Kelsey Grammer biographies and filmographies

Product Details

  • Actors: Aidan Quinn, Kelsey Grammer, Flora Montgomery, John Light, John Kavanagh
  • Directors: Mikael Salomon
  • Writers: William Mastrosimone
  • Producers: David Craig, Delia Fine, Franz Landerer, Guido De Angelis, John G. Phelan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 11, 2003
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007CVRF
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,788 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Benedict Arnold - A Question of Honor" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
A@E normally produces pretty good stuff. For some reason they never really got it together on this one. The subject matter is certainly good, but the chronology of the story seems confused. For one, this should have been a longer story. At least another hour could have included and clarified many aspects of Arnold's complex career in the Revolution. As it stands here many important events are left out, including the battle of Freeman's Farm, as well as his clever deception of the Indians which fouled Berry St. Leger's drive down from Oswego. These were important aspects of Arnold's career, which should have been included. The excessive romance scenes with Peggy could have been cut down to make room. Jeff Daniels would have been better to have as Washington. He was so good in "The Crossing" which was a much better film. The relationship with Major Andre is grossly over-stated. Aidrian Quinn does an adequate job playing Arnold, but his work is not made easiler by an overall weak support cast, and poor editing. What is good about the DVD version is that you get the true story of Arnold's life from the A&E Biography thats included. An overall attractive production with unfortunate short-comings.
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American history buffs could probably find some faults with the film, but I found it to be an enjoyable, insightful look into one of the most conflicted men who had a hand in the creation of the United States of America. While quickly paced, often to the point of feeling rushed, Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor tells a fascinating story without self-indulgence or period-drama stuffiness. Personally, I would have liked to have seen more details about Arnold's life and past history, but overall the movie was entertaining. Thankfully, A&E's inclusion of the Benedict Arnold episode of Biography makes this package even more appealing: facts and details missing from the movie can be found in this companion piece. If your tastes in film include historical dramas, Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor is worth your time.
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'Benedict Arnold - A Question of Honor' is a honest attempt at the very fascinating story of Benedict Arnold but it comes up short. Benedict Arnold's story should be brought to life because it has to be one of the most interesting and tragic stories to come out of the American Revolution. But the A & E version of his story feels too rushed, just not enough detail, and has a lower budget. The battle scenes that depict Arnold's heroic actions for the Americans in the Revolution are rather short and do not have a cast of thousands. There is no real sense of the vastness of the American Revolution. Also valuable time is spent on romantic scenes of Arnold and his wife that would be better used in depicting the machinations of his treason.

The acting is good, but is short of great. Aidan Quinn makes a suitably moody Arnold but does not really bring out what made Arnold such an admired American commander before he became a turncoat. Kelsey Grammer is decent as Washington but falls short of the excellent cinematic performances of Washington done by Barry Bostwick, Jeff Daniels, and David Morse. The key figure besides Arnold in the treason John Andre is portrayed in a less than convincing fashion. I did not really like the actor's performance as Andre and he did not bring the figure alive. Many American officers believed that Andre should not hang and were taken by his unique character but none of this comes through in the film.

I also believe that the film should have been longer and made on a bigger budget because this is such a interesting tale with so many interesting historical characters involved.

The DVD contains a rather good hour-long A & E biography on Arnold that contains nice contributions by many excellent American Revolution historians.
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I have to say that my rating was graded on a curve. I'd say this movie is some where between a high 3 and a low 4. Basically the equivalent of a C+ or B-. My disappointments with the movie was that I felt that it could have been 30 minutes longer and better edited. The story line seemed to jump around a tad. As for Grammer & Quinn? I thought that they both did a great job portraying Washington & Arnold.

I would recommend this DVD for those curious about Arnold. This movie sparked my interest in Arnold when it was first televised and convinced me that Benedict Arnold's treason was more tragic then anything. The DVD also has the A&E Biography of Arnold and is well worth the money.
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Format: DVD
Unlike The Patriot which was purely made for propaganda purposes, Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor, follows a much more pragmatic, realistic, and in effect a more truthful account of events during the American War of Independence (1775-1783). The film brings to the screen two main stories, which are unfolding simultaneously: On the one hand, Continental General Benedict Arnold trying to survive the turmoil of a country at war with itself, and on the other, the War of Independence and its ripple effects on America in the background. The movie portrays superbly the hardships endured on the battlefield, and the war's effects on society; the corrupt politics, the different attitudes and mentality of English North American colonists during the war i.e. the Loyalists, the Continentals and the Neutrals.

It provides therefore, valuable insight into a very important period of American (and British) History. Specifically:

We get a taste (though a very light one) of what happened to those caught by the other side...

Moreover, we get to see or hear about, the double-crossing merchants, farmers, and politicians that supported whichever side the wind happened to be blowing in, always in search of profit and personal gain.

The clash between the Loyalist American English and the Continental American English, just like the one between the Continental American English and the British English is fascinating and very well presented throughout the film, but then so is the clash within the Continental side (the undermining, the personality clashes, favoritism, public relations, political connections), between Congress and the Army, as well as the farmers and most importantly the merchants profiteering at the expense of whoever/whichever side etc.
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