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Cadfael: The Complete Collection

848 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

"Enchanting" --The Washington Post

Once a Crusader, now a man of the cloth, the worldly but humble Brother Cadfael uses his keen intuition to protect the innocent and bring the guilty to account in war-torn medieval England. Sir Derek Jacobi (I, Claudius; Gladiator) gives a captivating performance as the crime-solving monk in this award-winning series. Seen on PBS’s Mystery! and based on the bestselling books by Ellis Peters, these 13 dramas offer a riveting glimpse into the past.

Also starring Julian Firth and Michael Culver, with guest stars including Julian Glover (By the Sword Divided), Sean Pertwee (Cold Feet), Hugh Bonneville (Lost in Austen), Tara Fitzgerald (Brassed Off), Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting), Toby Jones (Infamous), Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies), and Stephen Moyer (True Blood).

One Corpse Too Many
The Sanctuary Sparrow
The Leper of St. Giles
Monk’s Hood
The Virgin in the Ice
The Devil’s Novice
St. Peter’s Fair
A Morbid Taste for Bones
The Raven in the Foregate
The Rose Rent
The Pilgrim of Hate
The Potter’s Field
The Holy Thief

Special Features

Exclusive audio comments by Derek Jacobi
Derek Jacobi essay
Ellis Peters materials, production scrapbooks, and historical background notes

Product Details

  • Actors: Derek Jacobi, Terrence Hardiman, Michael Culver, Julian Firth, Julian Glover
  • Directors: Graham Theakston, Herbert Wise, Ken Grieve, Malcolm Mowbray, Mary McMurray
  • Writers: Ben Rostul
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 13
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: November 2, 2010
  • Run Time: 975 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (848 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003YCI1UC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,591 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Cadfael: The Complete Collection" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

188 of 194 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 5, 2010
Format: DVD
Brother Cadfael is not the sort of person you would immediately peg as a brilliant detective -- a crusader-turned-monk who specializes in herbology and medicine.

But he is a brilliant detective. And "Cadfael: Complete Collection" brings together all of the BBC's adaptation of Ellis Peters' classic mysteries, which intertwine murder mysteries and medieval history. These stories are well-written, clever and full of unexpected twists -- and they're filmed with a gritty, grimy realistic flavor.

Cadfael (Derek Jacobi) is a monk at the abbey of Shrewsbury in the first half of the twelfth century. At this time, England was being ripped in half by a civil war (now called The Anarchy) between King Stephen and Empress Maud, which was dividing the populace and turning the English people against each other.

And as the war rages on, Cadfael is confronted by many different murders -- murdered nobles, framed acrobats, a corpse is hidden amongst executed "traitors," a raped nun frozen in the river, a saint's bones that inspire murder and greed, a body found in a potter's field, a vast Shrewsbury Fair leads to a string of cruel murders, a cruel priest is found dead after he drives a pregnant girl to suicide, and political conflicts lead to brutal deaths.

"Cadfael: The Complete Collection" is the sort of authentic historical series that the BBC has sadly stopped making -- it has all the blood, grime and sweat of the 12th century, and accurately depicts the strong presence of religion and politicial strife in medieval life.

For the most part, the writers accurately adapt Peters' novels -- every mystery has lots of suspects, moral dilemmas, religious strife, civil war, a murder that only Cadfael can solve, and a bit of cute romance as well.
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107 of 111 people found the following review helpful By TCM on April 10, 2011
Brother Cadfael (1080-_?_) is the central character in this series of historical murder mysteries adapted from the novels written by Ellis Peters; aka Edith Pargenter, (1913-1995) a self-educated scholar and award-winning author of non-fiction and historical fiction.

The novels are set at Shrewsbury Abbey in Shrewsbury, the county town of the English county of Shropshire during a period referred to in the novels as The English Civil War (The Anarchy 1135-1145/50, sources differ,) where King Stephen and Empress Maud are in a bloody contest vying for the crown. Against the backdrop of this dangerous chaos, Brother Cadfael practices his Arts of herbology, healing, and deduction.

Brother Cadfael's background is constantly in the foreground as he goes about counseling his brothers, his patients and the Under-Sheriff, Hugh Beringar, whom he often serves not only as friend and counselor but also as medical examiner, forensics department, mentor and fellow detective. Cadfael, a Welshman, began his education young as an adventurer, crusade soldier and sailor. He spent much time in the mid-east both as soldier and sailor, which is where he picked up his Arts.

Retiring to the life of a Benedictine Brother rather late in life, he occasionally chafes at the strictures of The Rule as imposed upon him mostly by the Brother Prior of the abbey even as he obviously resigns himself to his chosen Vocation. He is held in more respect by the Abbot and also by the Sheriff both of whom he often serves to uncover the truth and thereby keep the peace. He is served in turn by penetrating observational skills, a finely honed intuition and intellect, as well as unerring internal moral compass pointing towards compassion informed by his long life's education in the secular world.
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71 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Harold Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWER on October 5, 2010
Format: DVD
Truly a wonderful series. A Medieval England warrior converted to a monk. But in the waring times of England, there were dastardly crimes that needed solving and Brother Cadfael (masterfully played by Sir Derek Jacobi; "I, Claudius") is the man to solve the mysteries. The mystery, crime-solving, drama is as good as modern settings like Midsomer Murder. The sets are to-die-for if you are a historical story fan, and I am. These are complex cases and the period costuming and props as well as the filming settings are just whipped topping to delicious suspense and mystery.

There are plenty of guest stars including "Julian Glover, Sean Pertwee, Tara Fitzgerald, Toby Jones, Stephen Moyer, Anna Friel, Hugh Boneville, to name a few. There is also Bonus stuff: audio comments by Jacobi, an essay, Ellis Peters info, production scrapbooks, background notes, and more. The stories originated from "PBS Mystery" and were based on best-selling books by Ellis Peters.

YES, there are SUBTITLES. Each of the 13 episodes are 75 minutes, almost a feature-length story, and every bit as good as theater films. When films typically go for a higher single price, this collection is VERY AFFORDABLE, a value, for all that you get. Each episode is on it's own disc.

16 1/2 hours of delightful mystery to spend watching, but you will likely want to watch them one right after another. They are addictive. The only negative aspect of this collection is the fact that only 13 episodes were produced.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By M. Holst on February 18, 2008
Format: DVD
I never caught this series when it was broadcast on my local PBS station but was aware of it. I've just completed watching all 13 episodes and must say that it is extremely entertaining. If you have any interest at all in mysteries set in an historical backdrop then this series is for you.

It features the character of Brother Cadfael, the Benedictine monk penned by novelist Edith Pargeter and played by the incomparable Sir Derek Jacobi, who must use his wits to solve each of these mini-movie mysteries. Each episode plays out at about an hour and fifteen minutes, which affords the story and characters ample time to do each episode justice. These 13 mini-plays transported me to 12th century England during the tumultuous Civil-War between the followers of King Steven and the Empress Maud.

Filmed in Hungary from 1994-98, the settings and characters bring alive this unique, and for me, little known period in English History. All the recurring characters, with the exception of the undersheriff, who was played by three differnt actors during the series' run, are populated by the same actors which lends a wonderful sense of continuum to the series.

The audio and video quality of this set is something of a mixed bag. While I'm more than pleased with the audio, although I'm no audiophile at all, (wonderful use of Latin/Gregorian chanting and seemingly appropriate period music), the video can at times be a little grainy. However, on my LCD TV it is very acceptable to me, especially since the content is what's important. The special features include mostly text (bio's of the novelist, actors and the Cadfeal books) and a few production photos of each different episode. The crown jewel of these features is an audio interview with Mr.
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