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Editorial Reviews

Damian Lewis, Gina McKee, Rupert Graves

"A ripping good story" —San Francisco Chronicle
"Marvelous" —The Sunday Times (U.K.)

"Great drama" —TV Guide

With sumptuous costumes, bold characterizations, and slow-burn action, these two complete series tell the story of a family bitterly divided by ambition, adultery, and revenge. Featuring "stunning performances" (The New York Times) from an all-star cast led by Damian Lewis (Homeland, Band of Brothers), these adaptations of John Galsworthy's celebrated novels impressed critics and fans alike when they aired on Masterpiece Theatre.

Set from the late Victorian era through the 1920s, the dramas follow two generations of the Forsyte family, each marked by petty jealousies, disastrous love affairs, and tragic consequences. Also starring Gina McKee (Notting Hill), Rupert Graves (V for Vendetta), Ioan Gruffudd (Horatio Hornblower), and Corin Redgrave (Trial & Retribution).

Series 1
"Wittily scripted, subtly acted" —London Evening Standard
"Sparking" —San Francisco Chronicle

A story that became a benchmark for appointment television in the 1960s returns in a lavish production with an all-star cast. Damian Lewis (Homeland, Band of Brothers) stars as Soames Forsyte, a successful London solicitor and wealthy scion of a respectable upper-middle-class Victorian family. Soames marries the beautiful Irene—all he needs to complete his golden existence—but finds that he can never truly possess her. Based on the first two of John Galsworthy’s nine books about the Forsytes, this sweeping drama follows the family through two tumultuous decades that reflect the pivotal times in which they live. Also starring Gina McKee (Notting Hill), Ioan Gruffudd (Horatio Hornblower), Rupert Graves (V for Vendetta), Corin Redgrave (Trial & Retribution), and Gillian Kearney (Sex, Chips and Rock n’ Roll)

Series 2
"Beautifully composed and acted" —The Daily Telegraph (U.K.)
"An intelligent story…excellent performances" —The Times (U.K.)

The stunning adaptation of John Galsworthy’s books about the fabled Forsyte family continues with this story of young love in the next generation. Fleur, daughter of Soames and Annette, and Jon, son of Irene and Jolyon, meet by chance as youngsters and make an indelible impression on each other. A decade later, they meet again and fall instantly—and disastrously—in love. This era in the saga of the privileged Forsytes unfolds amid the gaiety and social upheaval of the 1920s, the dawn of the modern age.

Damian Lewis (Homeland, Band of Brothers), Gina McKee (Notting Hill), and Rupert Graves (V for Vendetta) reprise their roles as Soames, Irene, and Young Jolyon, joined by Emma Griffiths Malin (The Cazalets) and Lee Williams (Billy Elliot) as the young lovers.

Special Features

Making-of featurette (20 min.), photo galleries, John Galsworthy biography and booklist, and cast biographies and filmographies

Product Details

  • Actors: Damian Lewis, Gina McKee, Alistair Petrie, Amanda Root, Rupert Graves
  • Directors: Chrisopher Menaul, David Moore, Andy Wilson
  • Format: 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: 5
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: August 14, 2012
  • Run Time: 702 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0083HXKMC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,488 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Note: This production has been and is available seperately as The Forsyte Saga, Series One and Two. If you already own them, this is not an upgrade with new content and there is no reason to repurchase. This is for those new to the show, you can buy both parts together.

Previously released in two installments, "The Forsyte Saga" is finally being compiled in its entirety. The first six-part Masterpiece Theater miniseries was presented in 2002 with the second story arc of four episodes airing in 2003. Based on the works of John Galsworthy, this isn't the first time British TV tackled this epic family drama. A BBC production of the same name debuted in 1967, ran for 26 episodes, and figured in both the 1968 BAFTA and the 1970 Emmy races (after it premiered stateside). Some will contend that this original presentation is better or more complete and with a considerably longer running time, I'd be hard pressed to disagree with this assessment. Be that as it may, I think this interpretation of "The Forsyte Saga" fully stands on its own as a top-notch entertainment. A great cast (led by the tremendous Damian Lewis) brings this multigenerational story to life, and it is an absolute must-own for lovers of sophisticated adult drama. While I've seen Lewis excel in everything from "Band of Brothers" to the current "Homeland," this is ultimately the role and character that I most quickly associate him with. He's truly that memorable!

The tale initially centers around Lewis (as Soames Forsyte) and his cousin Jolyon played by Rupert Graves near the end of the 1800s (the story is set over several decades). The two cousins are left to carry on the Forsyte legacy, but the two men couldn't be more different.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Erika Young on December 29, 2012
The main theme in the saga is infidelity, which was a big deal in 19th century England, but for some reason the cheaters are favored by the author and portrayed as saintly heroes acting in pursuit of true love, and the wronged spouses especially Soames are portrayed as uptight or outright villains. It is especially annoying that the character of Irene, who obviously married Soames for his money, then treated him with disgust their whole marriage and ran off with another man, is treated by everyone as the most moral and desirable woman in the family.

The scenes are filmed in beautiful locations with 19th century and early 20th century gorgeous costumes, furnishings and lots of horse drawn carriages and so are delightful to watch. However, one strange element is that even though the saga stretches over more than 50 years, the adult actors never change their appearance at all; they look exactly the same in their 20's as they do in their 70's. Their children are born and grow into adults and the result is that the actors playing the adult children look almost the same age as their old parents. There could have been at least an attempt at making the old characters have grey hair or some other signs of age, but alas, nothing was done at all.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By derek on July 10, 2012
I have to admit i got addicted and find this series gorgeous - actors superb-costumes and setting sumptuous but i still cannot for the life of me find credible the interaction of Irene and Soames. She despises him for what seems to be no reason...and carries it forward as if he were an ogre of huge proportions which seems overblown--he is merely a controlling and uptight dude. And he has every right to be angry and frustrated with her, after all, SHE is the one who cheated, not my sympathy is actually more to Soames than Irene altho it is obvious that it is written to garner the feelings for her character....but anyway, it is enjoyable and well done despite my criticism and i give it 5.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Harold Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWER on June 19, 2012
30 years of Forsyte Victorian lust, drama, scandal, romance, flamboyance, indulgence, and lovely period perfection. I've owned the series on DVD for a decade. It's been watched repeatedly. Now sets are combined for this release. Stars of this series have grown to be mega stars in other series. It caused me to buy the John Galsworthy novels. The adaptation isn't perfect; no miniseries is, even though this attempt allows much, being over 700 minutes (near 12 hours).

Series 1 had 6 episodes, series 2 had 4. All have CC for the hearing impaired.
Two 1870s Forsyte men are conflicting opposite cousins who enjoy the upper middle class living as much as the next. Soames (Damian Lewis) is the abandoning wife, artist, loose, cruel man. Jolyon (Rupert Graves -Garrow's Law) is the posh lawyer, proper, and lover of Irene (Gina McKee -Borgias, Notting Hill) who does a stellar role. Soames daughter Fleur (Emma Griffiths Malin) is a big part of his life and the story in both series 1&2. Amanda Root and Alistair Petrie (Cranford) also appear in all 10 episodes. Offspring take the lead in the second series which takes viewers to the Roaring 20s, based on the book, "To Let."

This series is done in theatre style (my terminology) where scenes roll longer, not flashing away in seconds. That allows drama to unfold through excellent acting and dialogue, not special camera effects. To me, that's the only way to shoot a saga, a telling of lives over decades. One must get to know characters. There was a larger, longer, Forsyte book adaptation series with more episodes, covering more of the books. It was the 1960s, B&W only.
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