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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 30, 2009
This mini-series has a lot going for it. The acting is generally top notch with the actor playing Saddam particularly convincing. The production values are also quite high.

My one (major) criticism is that the story leaves out the two greatest crimes Saddam presided over.

The first is the brutal al-Anfal campaign in which Saddam's minions --at his command-- murdered tens of thousands of Iraqi Kurds, acts of genocide that included the use of chemical weapons against civilians. I think "House of Saddam" devotes about one sentence to that atrocity.

The second is Saddam's savage suppression of the Kurdish and Shi'ite uprisings against his rule immediately following the first Gulf war (which caused the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians and rebels alike).

Oddly, the mini-series shows with some detail the relatively minor atrocity committed by Saddam against the village of al-Dujail where an attempt to assassinate him took place...This was the crime that he actually was executed for, but it pales in comparison to the crimes I've mentioned above.

So I'd recommend watching House of Saddam for entertainment value and because it brings to life some of the most memorable moments in Saddam's reign. But I'd read a full biography for the whole sordid story.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2009
(NOTE:This review is in response to the original HBO presentation/airing and not of it's future home DVD release)

Presented and watched as one four hour block (with each of it's four parts averaging around 58 minutes each) this was one well cast and performed HBO/BBC production on the reign of Saddam Hussein. Showcasing the years between his take-over of the Presidency of Iraq in 1979 up thru his execution in 2006, this mini-series was well informative and even at it's length, not very dragging in parts. And don't think this is all about Saddam either, his family and fellow soldier/followers are in full force here too. And each part is extremely well-played, even reaching the point where recreated news-footage makes you think you're seeing the real thing. If there was any fault of this mini-series it lied in the final fourth act, basically showcasing Saddam's hiding exile, going from Iraq's largest leader to a pauper hiding in a hole (just like it was in real life). But not being a Hussein historian by any means (who'd want to?), I truly felt that this script followed the insane leader and those around him to a tee. Quite disturbing in parts without being too graphic (Saddam had a thing about his relatives getting to close to greatness...he didn't like it) and showing a side of the madman you may not expect (he loved film-making, especially if the star was playing him), this is one mini-series highly suggested to anyone who doubts taking him out of power wasn't the right thing to do or a neccesary evil. Would love to see some interviews with the cast on how each of them channeled these characters so well, will probably purchase this on DVD and sit through the dark-subject four hours even again.
(RedSabbath Rating:9.0/10)
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2009
PLOT: 4 PART miniseries by HBO and BBC about Saddam Hussein's raise to power from 1979 until 2005 caputure BRILLIANT~

Ignal Naor is excellent as Saddam~ 4 parts ~ PART ONE~ Saddam gets rid of most of his enemies his a rapid move into the new leader of IRAQ using the theme of get rid of any one you suspect any one~ PART TWO: HE arranges a marriage of his oldest daughter to and the groom becomes his new "body guard /security chief." we see the blend of marraige and alliances that give Saddam even more power. ADD to the scene is the out of control son Uday who uses RAPE, drugs and torture. PART THREE: the invasion of Kuwait LEADS TO his two daughters and their huSbands fleeing to Jordan~ Saddam using both pursuasion and intrigue with the promises of a full PARDON AND FORGIVNESS get the two sons in laws back who he promply has KILLED. none the less his daughters now widows at his hand continue to blindly love and obey and support him~ amazing~ PART FOUR: the invasion of Iraq and the hunt for UDAY and Quasay (his sons) are are "SOLD OUT" FOR MILLIONS and end up dead in a shoot out and the hunt for the very elusive Saddam who hides with two body guards. His little "hole" he hides in is quiet brilliant but the soliders have some informants who give them the "clues" to find the last hiding place of Saddam~ this was based on the Diary of the oldest of Saddams daughters. very well written and outstanding acting~ does not drag and we are glued to it but part four is the BEST~ BBC and HBO does it right~ won an emmy ~ I GIVE IT A 9 OUT OF 10. AND IGNAL NAOR IS 10 OUT OF 10~
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2009
If this miniseries had gone a little deeper into the background and scope of Iraqi politics it would certainly deserve another star, since it is really very well done, as far as it goes. The real weakness of the series lies in the very superficial look at the private life of Saddam, without going into any particular aspect in depth. There was a whole lot more that could have been included, so as to give the thing more weight and substance.
As it is, we are given a sort of Hollywood reenactment of some of the seemier aspects of Saddam Hussein and his family, albeit very well interpreted by Yigal Naor as Saddam. He is a really commanding presence and thoroughly credible in the principal role, which lends the series much of its authenticity. The rest of the cast is variable, although the rather important character of Kamel Hussein comes over as very wooden. Tariq Aziz, however, is just fine, and Saddam's son, Uday, is more or less what one would imagine him to be.
Notwithstanding its limitations, this is a very watchable miniseries, which, as I have said, would have merited a higher rating if only it had gone a little deeper into the subject.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2009
"I know a traitor before he knows himself."


A fascinating study in power, even for those who think themselves well-versed in all things Iraq. Check it out.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2013
I really enjoyed this movie. I was in Iraq 2004-2005 and spoke with Iraqis about Saddam. They described some of the events in this movie. The Iraqis lived very well under Saddam. There were NO taxes - no income tax, no sales tax, no property tax. All of their utilities were free! Electric, water, sewer, phone, and if they got sick, they paid the hospital a small percentage of the cost. Everything was paid from oil revenues.

Aside from all that, Saddam was a murdering thug. As long as he didn't suspect you, you lived very well. But he was ruthless, but then, politicians are. Even the actors all looked like members of Saddam's family. As bad as Saddam was, his son Uday was much worse!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2014
It doesn't get much juicier than this. First, the acting is superb. HBO does it again. Make no mistake, these actors are no schlubs faking it for the cameras, I "bought" Saddam Hussein as, well, Saddam Hussein. And Philip Arditti as the legendary indolent Uday was fantastic. His deadeye stare by itself almost warrants the price of admission. If half of this is true and it most probably is, these people were/are as perverse, power mad, angry, hungry and desperate as that other noted dictator, A H. As a matter of fact, it is intriguing to trace the parallels of ultimate weakness due to fear of Saddam, the rivening of the power structure due to family rivalries. Let's face it, it's Shakespeare all over again, but in the 21st century. What's striking is the naked revelation of the human behind it all, the repeated assertions on the part of Saddam's character that he will, "make Iraq a country to be respected, by Arabs and the West.." In other words, he wanted to count, to matter. How human is that? Too bad he saw the way forward as killing everyone and becoming an ultimate paranoiac.The strange thing I didn't expect was how much more sympathetic I became toward Gulf War 2 after watching this. If Saddam was the way things were, it's hard to argue that toppling him was not a good idea.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 20, 2009
This four-part British mini-series follows the life of Iraq's brutal dictator, Saddam Hussein, from his ascension to power to American troops discovering him hiding in a hole in the ground, after they invaded Iraq. Whatever news stories, magazine articles or television programs you might have seen or read about Saddam Hussein, this film brings you up close and gives you a truly intimate picture of his life.
One of the most interesting aspects of Saddam was his wily intelligence. He understood power and how to enforce it. He understood that total political control meant eliminating any and all sources of weakness or threats to one's status. And, one by one, he eliminates family and friends if they stand in his way or appear less than totally loyal.
His family and mistress (later to be his second wife) are clearly portrayed. The acting throughout is excellent, the story gripping and well-scripted. This 2 disc set is highly recommended. The DVD has a bonus feature which gives the aftermath of what happened to all the characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2014
I wasn't expecting very much from this and it did not over deliver.
There's nothing revealing here - just a ho-hum mini-series - I'd unwatch it if I could.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2015
It's hard to put together a story of a person's life in a four part miniseries much less one such as Saddam Hussein. House of Saddam showcasing the dictator from the time of taking power to the time of, well, no longer capable of breathing - his death.

Saddam Hussein was a megalomaniac. The world sees them every once in awhile. When it does, the history of nations, continents and the world change. Such is the case with Hussein. Hussein's part in the history of the latter part of the 20th Century has been well captured in this miniseries. Sure, it's impossible to show everything that occurred, but such is the limitations of life.
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