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Ganges (2008)

Tom Hugh-Jones  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)

List Price: $19.98
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Product Details

  • Directors: Tom Hugh-Jones
  • Format: Color, Dubbed, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: Unknown
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 1, 2008
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0014VPFQI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,117 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

  • Special Features: Behind the scenes, deleted scenes, English, Hindi and Bengali Narration.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Filmed in stunning high definition and coming to DVD, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc, Ganges is a sumptuous series that tells the story of the most extraordinary river in the world. The Ganges runs through the heart of India. For millions of Hindus it is India’s sacred river, but they share its banks and waters with a rich variety of wildlife. In a kaleidoscope of color and energy, this amazing series reveals how the Ganges has shaped the wildlife, culture and beliefs of India. The journey begins at the source of the river, high in the cold peaks of the Himalayas. It heads down past tigers, otters, peacocks and wild herds of elephants before reaching Varanasi, one of the oldest and most sacred cities in the world. Arriving at the delta, where the Ganges meets the sea, modern cities such as Calcutta join with the ancient swamps of the Sunderbans. This amazingly diverse wetland, rarely filmed before, is home to giant lizards, man-eating crocodiles and forests full of monkeys. Here the tiger is still king, and man is on the menu.

Amazon.com

Watching Ganges, one might be inclined to hit the pause button every now and then so as to ponder and absorb the images that have just passed by, so breathtakingly beautiful is nearly every frame of this extraordinary film. This is the kind of production that was born to be viewed in High Definition, and one that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the groundbreaking Planet Earth. But while both series were made by the BBC, there are notable differences between the two. For one thing, Ganges is considerably shorter (its three parts total about two and a half hours); for another, while its focus is largely on nature and wildlife, it has a much more prominent human presence (no surprise, considering that the river wends its way through India, the world’s second most populous nation, and that nearly a tenth of all people on Earth live within the Ganges’ basin).

Regarded as a goddess, described as the nexus of the natural and spiritual worlds, and variously known as "The Daughter of the Mountains," "The River of Life," and "Ganga Ma" (Mother Ganges), the river begins in the Himalayas (the exact source is uncertain; four sacred sites are visited by Hindu pilgrims). Fed by numerous streams, snowmelt, glaciers, and rain, it makes its way westward across the plains of the Indian subcontinent, passing through Rishikesh, Varanasi (known as the holiest city on the river), the teeming metropolis of Calcutta, and the forbidding delta forest known as the Sunderbans before emptying into the Bay of Bengal. Along the way, we see an astonishing variety of animals: snow leopards, hawk-like lammergeiers with their ten-foot wingspans, langurs and macaques, mahseer (the world’s largest carp, weighing up to 50 kilograms), peacocks, otters, cranes, tigers, rhinos, and on and on. Meanwhile, the Hindu reverence for nature is constantly apparent--especially in a village where deadly cobras roam freely in the streets, virtually ignored by the residents (who consider themselves virtually immune; bites are frequent, but no one seems to die from them, a strange anomaly in country where twenty thousand people are killed by snakes every year). The cinematography is never less than gorgeous, whether it’s a closeup of a rhododendron or a panoramic mountain vista; frequent use of time-lapse photography only adds to the grandeur (cf. an incredible sequence depicting the arrival of the summer monsoon). Expertly narrated by Sudha Bhuchar, Ganges combines bravura technique and sheer artistry to create a genuinely inspiring viewing experience. Extras include a "making of" mini-doc and deleted scenes. --Sam Graham


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning April 26, 2009
By Corte88
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
After watching this film, I fully appreciate the beauty and scope of the River Ganges. This production brings you from the Himalyas to the Bay of Bengal, where the Ganges ends. The photography of animals, birds, fish, and whatever else nature has put by the Ganges was beautiful. I expected to see more of the religious side of India, but India is made up of many religions, Hinduism being only one. This DVD is about the Ganges.

It depicts the climate changes, the monsoons, and some of the people. Cobras get some good footage, as they slither through homes, and traffic.
You don't get an in depth study of the Indian people, but a terrific film about the Ganges.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray
The BBC have another winner on their hands. Starting in the Himalayas and
following the course of the Ganges in 3 episodes they explore the people places and wild life of the regions bordering the river.

The scenery of the mountains is simply amazing on Blu Ray, the full force of the spring melt is captured and conveyed almost as if you were there. Amazing film work and worth watching at least twice I feel.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent look into a fascinating subject March 23, 2009
By Chris
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
We just watched Ganges a few weeks ago and were blown away. We are Indian and the people we invited to see the film were Indian as well, so this was especially relavent to us.

The documentary overall was quite good, it not only focused on the physical aspects of the river (how it effects the environment) but its spiritual significance as well. The photography in this film is amazing.

The Blu-ray presentation was stunning, and the level of detail and color was really heightened. It really made the documentary come to life. And surprisingly for a documentary, the DTS track was quite good, and the narration and music did a good job enhancing the experience. I don't think we would be as involved in the events if we were watching it on DVD.

Anyone interested in India or history in general should check this out!

Technical Specs
* BD-25 Single-Layer Disc
* Region Free
Video Resolution/Codec
* 1080i/VC-1
Aspect Ratio(s)
* 1.78:1
Audio Formats
* English DTS 5.1 Surround
* Hindi Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
* Bengal Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles/Captions
* English SDH
Supplements
* Featurette
* Deleted Scenes
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling narrative and stunning images February 24, 2010
Format:Blu-ray
I had seen this series on television but the blu-ray release is simply stunning. The premise of the story is simple - follow the Ganges from source to delta - and it is the intermingling of people and wildlife that makes the programmes so compelling. Sometimes the interaction can be uplifting - the fisherman feeding the baby otter - and sometimes quite depressing - the tigers that are forced into smaller and smaller spaces to survive. The high definition format brings every whisker and snowflake into sharp relief as well as providing breathtaking views of the mountains and the river valley. Admittedly, some shots - like those of the snow leopard - were not in high definition but, for me, that just reflected the reality of the rareness of these creatures. Up until a few years ago, there was no film of them at all. The extras are interesting (all in normal definition). The montage of deleted extras was mesmerising and the story of filming the emaciated tiger quite heartbreaking. If you like BBC nature then this disc is one you will enjoy - the narrative is compelling, the wildlife fascinating, and the quality of picture superb.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life & death in & along a great river August 18, 2009
By GBN
Format:DVD
This is a spectacular documentary of a river and area little known to most westerners. From the Himalayas to the delta this video covers the birds, fish, animals, plants and people who live in and around the Ganges.

The video would have been better if the places covered were more clearly identified on a map. While a topographical map is shown throughout the video, cities and places are never identified on it. The narration is stunningly boring. The information given by the narrator is informative and of interest; however the voice is one unchanging monotone.

Nevertheless this is an important video, presenting wildlife, settlements, people and of course the river, not frequently covered elsewhere.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Stunning, Spectacular, Breath-taking Holy Ganga February 7, 2010
By ubalu
Format:DVD
The incredible photography and the informative comment make this film a Collectible. The Holy Ganga herself, her many moods, her significance in the Hindu culture and religion, the Hindu temples along her banks, all life forms in and around her, the climates and seasons, and her course from the beginning to culmination are portrayed so well. The narrator's calm but effective voice adds to the beauty of this program.

This is a realistic presentation which does not shy away from the modern problems of pollution and the concerns about Ganga's cleanliness, as well as the human and animal welfare along her shores, in the present and future.

One drawback is that the overall map shown does not identify the places commented on.

Excellent program.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ganges May 2, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Ganges

Great photography, unusual insight into Indian culture, history, agriculture and the like. This DVD is a good product-the average American actually knows very little about India. Who would have thought that the river was/is revered as a god entity? Who knew that the rich northern plains of India have soil 3 miles thick in some places? Who knew about the massive deforestation that took place during the Raj?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Terrific But OK
I wouldn't call this stunning or great, not compared to National Geo stuff, one thing that was very disappointing is they did not follow the river through the populated areas. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Fantasia
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly impersonal but a nice look at a mighty river.
The Ganges is a single disc DVD product that comprises three episodes totalling 150 minutes and comes from the BBC which is somewhat of a stamp of quality all in itself. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Paul Lawrence
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Pretty good depiction of Indian culture.
Published 2 months ago by prof_ir
5.0 out of 5 stars Great photography!
Very well done! Captures the brilliant colors and vibrance of the culture.
Published 2 months ago by R. McClendon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very Happy with the DVD....
Published 4 months ago by Magdalena Lopez
5.0 out of 5 stars Great documentary
So far so good. Haven't finished this yet but so far its a good documentary. Was only $8 so couldn't go wrong.
Published 10 months ago by Jason D.
1.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray Disc was corrupted
I am a great fan of BBC videos and I have a good collection of them. I recently saw GANGES on Amazon and i was very much impressed with the price of this disc. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Suhas
3.0 out of 5 stars Not to good
I had hoped for more from the DVD but it just was not very interesting I thought the Ganges would have more of a story but not so.
Published 10 months ago by DANAL
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
Great visuals and wonderful scripting . Really captures the magic, the beauty, the awe and the mystery of the mighty Ganges.
Published 11 months ago by sivaram
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie !highly recommend
Excellent movie! The story and presentation are very well thought and carried through. The video footage, music, narration are all of an exceptional quality. Read more
Published 13 months ago by SR
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