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33 customer reviews

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(May 21, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Reviled as a brutal dictator by some, respected as a tireless champion of his nation's underclass by others. Fidel Castro, the world's longest-serving head of state, inspires both fear and fealty. Since seizing power in his native Cuba in 1959 and embracing communism a year later, he has confounded US policymakers for decades. This objective dramatization of his life, starring Victor Hugo Martin, traces Castro's volatile career--from his boyhood on the family sugar plantation to his current position as leader of a nation pondering renewed diplomatic relations with the West. 2 hours 20 min. on 1 cassette or 3 hours 26 min. on 1 DVD.

From the Back Cover

In 1959, Fidel Castro's tiny band of rebels toppled a corrupt Cuban dictatorship. Forty years later, Castro remains in power, incredibly surviving a CIA-led invasion, a missile crisis, eight assassination attempts, nine U.S. presidents and the fall of his Soviet allies. This riveting, hard-edged and intensely emotional drama traces the rise of one of history's most intriguing and controversial figures - from a guerilla outpost to the presidential palace. Featuring a stellar cast and tightly woven script, FIDEL goes behind the politics to offer up a rare personal portrait of a man driven relentlessly by his convictions, his pride and his passions. Ultimately, as portrayed by Victor Huggo Martin, the legendary Fidel Castro proves very human, torn by his love for two women and despairing that the idealism, charisma and will power that inspired a revolution could not build the free and prosperous nation he had envisioned.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Víctor Huggo Martin, Gael García Bernal, Patricia Velasquez, Cecilia Suárez, Maurice Compte
  • Directors: David Attwood
  • Writers: Stephen Tolkin
  • Producers: David V. Picker, Guy Hibbert, Jose Ludlow, Kevin Cooper, Mariano Carranco
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: May 21, 2002
  • Run Time: 206 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000640RU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,944 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Fidel" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By rballjones on January 26, 2003
Format: DVD
This English language film does well in bringing Fidel Castro to life as a personality and showing his role in the Cuban revolution. It has a great deal of excitement and drama, especially during the revolutionary period of the 50's, including a fair amount of military life and action.
The filmmakers try to give a balanced view of Castro--illustrating his passion for the welfare of Cuban people but also showing how power in some ways went to his head. As Celia Sanchez tells him (around 1980 I believe), "Listen to what I have to say--don't interrupt me--you're losing touch with the people."
"Fidel" is historically accurate from what I know and all the major characters in the Cuban revolution are depicted here including Sanchez, Raul Castro, Ernesto (Che) Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos.
I think the filmmakers took on too much, however, in attempting to cover Fidel's life from 1949 to present. Many events are given too little exposure. Yet this film is much too long at about 3 hours and 20 minues. A better film might have focused on the revolution up through 1959 and ended with the march into Santiago--about two-thirds of what this one covers--leaving the rest for another day.
All in all, "Fidel" is well done. For people in the U.S. it gives a good account of a major, and fairly recent, historical event (the Cuban Revolution) occuring just south of our border--an event of which most U.S. people have little knowledge.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By BernardZ on June 12, 2006
Format: DVD
Almost like a book. When you have an interesting person and stick to the facts, you automatically have a good story.

This the actors do as the acting here is quite good. Victor Hugo Martin played extremely well.

Warning it is quite long film over 3 hours but I could have watched another three hours. I wish they had shown more of the Cuban crisis and Fidel Castro in the 1970s
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jenny J.J.I. VINE VOICE on November 9, 2006
Format: DVD
Being that this was a TV mini-series through the production of Showtime it was pretty good. To me the first two hours of this movie was great. There are some very strong performances all round, and the activities are well researched and offer a fairly objective view of events. Obviously, many events are skirted over in order to fit the running time, but what is shown is a fairly accurate portrayal of history. The violence in particular is extremely well done, offering a very realistic portrayal of gunfire and its consequences, instead of some needlessly flashy OTT action.

The problem comes towards the 2nd half of the movie as Castro (played by Victor Huggo Martin) takes power of Cuba. Suddenly, the time-line lurches drastically to try and mention important events. The films low budget shows itself up as the film spans years and events with little or no regard to objective film making.

The movie is about Fidel, however, over the second half we suddenly cut to a very badly filmed sequence showing the death of Che Guevara (played by Gael García Bernal). Whilst certainly an important part of Fidel's life, the narrative shift from Fidel to Che seems clunky and out of place with the rest of the film. As a fan of Gael Garcia Bernal, I was especially interested in his character. However, I was left especially disappointed by Che's one-dimensional portrayal.

The desire to portray Fidel in a bad light, sacrifices the characterizations of the first half of the movie, and instead offers a clumsily scripted/filmed series of events designed to show Fidel in a bad light. The film should've ended when he took power. As it is, the final hour and a half ruin an otherwise great movie.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David Thomson on July 12, 2006
Format: DVD
Fidel Castro is committed to abstract Marxist principles. In his way of looking at the world, The revolution of the masses is historically inevitable and will result in an utopian paradise. Faith in class consciousness is all that is required. But what if things don't go smoothly? Well, it is then obvious that the people are being victimized by reactionary propaganda. A totalitarian government is required to protect the misguided hoi polloi from itself. Is this the mindset of Castro in 2006? No, these were his essential antidemocratic views in the early 1950s. One only had to listen carefully. Alas, few did.

This over three hour movie clearly shows how Fidel Castro pulled the wool over a large number of gullible Cuban left-wingers. These middle class useful idiots never asked the number one logically unavoidable question. Why was there a need for a violent revolution? Foreign investment capital ceaselessly flowed into the country. The Cuban economy was growing and improving the lives of most citizens. Fulgencio Batista was admittedly a scoundrel. Nonetheless, wouldn't a milder approach be more appropriate? In many respects, Batista was insufficiently ruthless. He, after all, did not kill Castro and his comrades when he had the chance. An adversarial press and radio programs consistently took Batista to task. How can anyone realistically assert that all hope was lost? Is "Fidel" too long of a movie? It is if you plan to view it in one sitting. I wouldn't advise doing this. This is not a five star production. There is enough here, though, to make it a worthwhile experience. You might also wish to see Andy Garcia's currently released "The Lost City."

David Thomson
Flares into Darkness
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