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City of Vice (2007)

Ian McDiarmid , Iain Glen , Justin Hardy , Dan Reed  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ian McDiarmid, Iain Glen, Francis Magee, Juliet Aubrey, Nigel Harman
  • Directors: Justin Hardy, Dan Reed
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Koch Vision
  • DVD Release Date: June 10, 2008
  • Run Time: 235 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0015I2SMY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,865 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "City of Vice" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

In the mid-eighteenth century London's perilous streets were overrun by notorious gangs, prostitutes, pimps and corrupt night watchmen. Out of this dark underworld, emerged two Westminster magistrates - novelist Henry Fielding (Ian McDiarmid) and his blind half brother, John (Iain Glen). These unlikely crime-fighters organized the infamous Bow Street Runners and introduced law and order to the crime-riddled city. Combining the excitement of contemporary crime drama with the detail of actual historical research, this graphic, five-part series tells the true story of London's first police force.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Koch Vision and BBC presents "CITY OF VICE:COMPLETE FIRST SEASON" (14 January 2008) (236 mins/Color) (Dolby Digital) --- Splendidly acted this drama is unlike any other it make you feel you are part of the mystery as it tells stories of these crimes --- But also has the makings of other crime dramas such as Cracker and Prime Suspect --- Historical true crime series CITY OF VICE pits magistrate Henry Fielding (Ian McDiarmid) and his brother John (Iain Glen) against the teeming criminal underworld of 18th century London --- The five part series follows the duo's attempts to police the city and rid its streets of prostitutes, violent gangs, and bands of thieves is dark and dusty streets and basic poverty --- But this story brought to life Georgian England, it's not your usual period drama. Read more ›
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CSI: Bow Street September 25, 2008
By Sires
Verified Purchase
I saw this series elsewhere and just had to add it to my collection. What this series managed to do was show the grubbiness and violence of the early 18th century and offer entertaining stories of the birth of English policing.

It certainly helps to know a little bit of both 1) the situation in London prior to the Fielding brothers and 2) the attitude of the English to the idea of a public police force.

In the years before this series was set the usual method of capturing criminals was to offer a reward. This was done by both the state and private individuals. Private individuals would then produce the criminals and/or the stolen goods in order to receive the reward. The upshot of this was the creation of a system where the people who caught the criminals were often hand in glove with the criminals. The thief takers would also manufacture evidence against innocent individuals if the true criminal could not be found or would give him a sufficiently large bribe. Jonathan Wilde,the self-styled "Thief-taker General of England and Ireland", was the most notorious of this fraternity. He was hanged in 1725 for his more criminal activities.

As for the attitude of the English toward a public police force, they didn't want one. An Englishman's home was his castle and he did not want to be forced to allow an outside force into his home. This attitude is very clear in the first episode and the third.

So the proposed course the Fielding brothers took in trying to track down criminals was very forward thinking and done in the teeth of quite a bit of opposition.

I think the depiction of the London underworld was very realistic.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Thinker
Verified Purchase
Well researched, well acted and well staged, without sacrifice to modern correctness or language - yes, this is the other side of the coin, and the language then was rough, as was the life for many, but people still poured into London by the thousands every year from the countryside seeking work, opportunity, fame, or just anonymity. There was nothing anywhere like London and it was seductive. During this period London's population stayed static despite the constant in-migration from the countryside, because the city consumed people like a monster: crime, overcrowding, bad food, gin - it's all here: The staging claustrophobic, shadowy and very real, the mapping innovative, the camera work nuanced and almost speaking, the fight scenes convincing. There's a great deal of humour in this series, as well, some of it very gallows, but that was another feature of the 18th century - a sense of black, ironic humour which may even seem a little callous to us today. The viewer sees how really rough the brothers had it during a time when you could get held up in Hyde Park at high noon by a highwayman, with little help but a few fellow crusaders like Saunders Welch. Henry alone, and then later (which this series depicts) with his younger half-brother John, fought 12-16 hours a day to keep the peace and to somehow, some way, put a stop to the Hydra-headed monster called crime that was devouring London. All in the face of deep distrust of anything resembling a standing police force from the mob and the aristocracy alike. The Brothers Fielding's efforts were paid from secret service money.

Here is where it all began, drawn from contemporary records (the Bow Court records) with a good job done even in small details.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars History is not reality TV nor is it pure good verses pure evil....
Firstly I'd rate this just short of 5 stars but I can't give 4.5 as a rating. It's certainly better than "I like it". Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lorenzo de Magnifico
1.0 out of 5 stars A no go
Pornography disguised as history. I bought this cheap and still felt cheated I wanted to learn about the Bow Street runners and got a dose of smut.
Published 2 months ago by bj
4.0 out of 5 stars Sumptuous visuals and even vaguely educational
It's a lovely imagining of the period. There is slightly ponderous acting and slow pace of story sometimes, but one imagines that was the reality for gentlefolk at that time. Read more
Published 7 months ago by grand468
3.0 out of 5 stars Dark history of London.
I did not enjoy this series as I thought I would. It was dark and depressing for much of the series. Read more
Published 12 months ago by sophia
4.0 out of 5 stars City of Vice - gritty and fascinating
This is not a pretty as a picture postcard lolly box view of 18th century London.
It is a gritty portrayal of the chaos that existed before a police service was established in... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Cockatoo
4.0 out of 5 stars Better on Blu-ray
I played a DVD copy of "City of Vice" on an inexpensive Blu-ray player I recently purchased from Amazon, and the picture quality of the series is excellent! Read more
Published on June 14, 2012 by David
1.0 out of 5 stars Read the books
For those who were expecting Bruce Alexanders books to be faithfully represented on video, I only have 3 words for you don't buy this. Read more
Published on May 15, 2009 by P. Garrison
4.0 out of 5 stars "Unhand the lady and **** off back to Clerkenwell!"
TV series City of Vice has a great true-life pitch - the efforts of brothers Henry and John Fielding (the author of Tom Jones and a celebrated blind magistrate, played by Ian... Read more
Published on May 8, 2009 by Trevor Willsmer
1.0 out of 5 stars City of Vice - garbled dialog
This purchase taught us a lesson - don't buy a DVD before you've seen at least one episode. After watching the first two hours, we gave up simply because we couldn't undersand much... Read more
Published on December 28, 2008 by Bruce Sproul
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty and entertaining
Overall a good production although there were some very dark scenes where it was impossible to see what was happening. Read more
Published on July 12, 2008 by Syd of Tarzana.
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