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Fire in Babylon

67 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Product Description

From the producers of Academy Award®-winning films The Last King of Scotland and One Day in September comes the captivating story of the domination of the West Indian cricket team who, with a combination of phenomenal skill and fearless spirit, became one of the greatest teams in sports history.

Told in the words of legendary and revered players including Sir Viv Richards, Michael Holding and Sir Clive Lloyd, FIRE IN BABYLON illustrates how this exceptional team fundamentally changed the sport forever. With their mastery of fast-bowling pitches that sometimes reached 90 miles per hour, they hijacked the genteel game of the privileged elite and replayed it on their own terms.

With impressive archival footage and a robust soundtrack that includes the likes of Bob Marley and the Wailers, Gregory Isaacs, Faithless and Horace Andy, FIRE IN BABYLON celebrates the emancipation of a people through sport, and paints a fascinating picture of an era rooted in sports, politics, pride, anti-colonial fury and music.

Special Features

  • Interview with Director Stevan Riley and Producer John Battsek


A must see!

A nostalgic look back at one of sport s greatest teams! --Empire

Product Details

  • Actors: Ian Botham, Colin Croft, Jeffery Dujon
  • Directors: Stevan Riley
  • Format: Multiple Formats, 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: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Tribeca
  • DVD Release Date: October 18, 2011
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005B0QYRM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,878 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A. Hogan VINE VOICE on July 22, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant Video
This is a wonderful documentary portraying the world of West Indian Cricket,through the prism of colonialism. The great CLR James wrote a a masterpiece called Beyond A Boundary ,in which he attempted to do the very same thing. This movie begins with the era of Independence in the Carribean ,the great former players{ Garfield Sobers being the greatest] and the formation of the West Indian squads.After a humiliating test in 1975 and 1976 against Australia in which the Batters were intimidated and injured by the furious style of the Aussie bowlers[not to mention the horrific racist epithets and virulent disgusting racist taunting from the crowd] the West Indian team went in search of a new model.The found one. They began to play hard fast cricket, bowling at incredible speeds, using the same intimidating tactics that was used against them. The two huge highlights are the tests against England,where the former colonial masters are humiliated beyond description, and then revenge down under where the Aussies were whipped at their own game, and the Great Viv Richards dominated. Interspersed throughout are interviews withe the players, commentary from Bunny Wailer, gorgeous beats from Bob Marley and Burning Spear among others and great highlights. As sociology,as politics, as humanity unfolding, and a downtrodden people regaining their rightful place,as a genuine new west Indian culture erupting, as sport and as sheer fun, this is a great film. HUgely recommended for everyone.Wonderful!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Leslie on August 8, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
The story of west indies cricket wonderfully brought to life. Must see for all west indian people. very informative and educational.Instills pride. West Indies cricket would never achieve those heights again so watch it, buy it. It's a valuable part of our history.
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Format: DVD
Those with any sort of interest in cricket should be enthusiastic about the release of "Fire in Babylon." This intense and eye-opening documentary from Stevan Riley tracks the evolution of the West Indian cricket team from its inception to its inevitable place as International champions. Their struggles and successes happened in a worldwide arena of racism, political maneuvering, and apartheid. Far from being a traditional underdog story (and at heart, that's what it is), this is an illuminating look at how the sport developed and the historical context in which this small group of players challenged the status quo. The team's success is mirrored in how this small chain of islands asserted a newfound national pride and identity after years of colonial rule. By taking the English gentleman's sport and appropriating it as a field of battle, it changed cricket forever (for good and for bad).

Riley has assembled all of the prominent names that you might expect to look back on a certain era (most of the footage deals with the mid-seventies to the mid-eighties). It documents that the early team notoriety was as entertainers with no particular talent for the sport and notes that the turning point was when they were decimated by the fast bowl pitches of the Australians. Employing many of the same techniques, the West Indians created a better and more formidable team with four of these notorious fast bowlers. As their reputation grew (both for talent and brutality), they ascended to the heights of cricket.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DVD Verdict on October 17, 2011
Format: DVD
James A. Stewart, DVD Verdict --Riley's Fire in Babylon profiles the West Indies Cricket Team, which controlled the sport from 1980 to 1995. The story starts with the "Calypso Cricketers," actually seen singing in some vintage footage from 1975; that team was dismissed by the world of cricket, as it rarely ended a match with anything to sing about. The turning point came with a drubbing--both on the field and with hostile fans--at an Australian test match that year. The team learned its lesson from their often-violent Australian rivals and got tough. A year later, their "head-on onslaught" put the team from India--and everyone else--on notice.

Fire in Babylon features lots of video from the team's rise to cricket power, often with the original sports announcing. It also provides quotes from the players and team captains who fueled the West Indies victories. However, this isn't a sports documentary--not exactly, at least. What Riley sets out to do isn't to show a team working hard to become champions. Instead, he wants to show what happens when they do.

The nations of the West Indies had only recently achieved independence, often with violent clashes. They were also islands, with little common ground. "Could we beat our former masters at the game they created?" one player asks; the answer was yes, demonstrated in a 1985 test match against England. The rise of the cricket team brought unity to the region and encouraged the islands' emerging culture, a message hit home by Bunny Wailer of Bob Marley and the Wailers, who offers frequent commentary. Eventually, the team was a symbol of black power in Africa as well.

The picture quality is highly variable; some of those old cricket videos are full of scratches and spots.
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