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Killing Lincoln (Blu-ray + Digital Copy)

170 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Based on The New York Times best-selling novel, Killing Lincoln is the suspenseful, eye-opening story of the events surrounding the assassination of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. While some aspects of the plot to slay Lincoln and cripple the newly forming union are widely known, much more of the history unfolds in this insightful thriller. As actor John Wilkes Booth becomes increasingly obsessed with removing Lincoln from office, a secret cabal forms, and ultimately empowers Booth to carry out an event that will change America forever. Narrated by Oscarr Winner Tom Hanks* and produced by Tony Scott and Ridley Scott, this historical masterpiece stars Billy Campbell (TV's The Killing) in a spectacular turn as President Lincoln.

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It's dramatic, but not exactly a drama; it's factual, but not a documentary; it's a reenactment, but not really a feature film. However you choose to describe Killing Lincoln, based on the book coauthored by Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, it is a compelling account of what many would contend is still the most notorious crime in American history. One needn't be an expert to be familiar with the basics of the story: on April 14, 1865, actor John Wilkes Booth (portrayed here by Jesse Johnson, son of Don) assassinated Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis's performance in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln pretty much obliterated anyone else's, before or since, but Billy Campbell is very good) while the president was attending a play at Ford's Theater in Washington D.C. Booth then leapt from the stage, injuring his leg in the process, and was hunted down and killed several days later (a self-important blowhard, he expected to be hailed as a hero; instead, he became a villain to rival Benedict Arnold). But casual history buffs may not know some of the other fascinating details presented here (on- and off-camera) by narrator Tom Hanks. For instance, in a scenario straight out of The Godfather, Booth and his coconspirators planned to kill not only Lincoln but also Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward on the same night; even then, Booth had turned to murder only after first plotting to kidnap Lincoln and deliver him to the Confederate army. Of course, although the filmmakers (including director Ridley Scott and his late brother, Tony) seem scrupulous in their attention to the facts, as a making-of bonus segment makes clear, we can't know for sure if every private discussion is re-created verbatim. Indeed, too much of the dialogue comes across as speechifying instead of normal conversation. But Hanks lends considerable gravitas to the proceedings, the production values are excellent, and although Killing Lincoln tries a bit too hard to be portentous (there are countless variations on "Abraham Lincoln has 11 days to live"), it does a fine job of turning an event with a very well-known conclusion into a tense and exciting thriller. --Sam Graham

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Blu-ray, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: June 11, 2013
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00BHK9GCK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,479 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Dee Dee Tee on February 19, 2013
Format: DVD
It's narrated by Tom Hanks. I, being an American history buff, really enjoyed this. A lot of cool facts about Lincoln's last days and about his killer, John Wilkes Booth and the conspiracy to kill Lincoln as well as Sec. of State Seward and VP Andrew Johnson. The actors did a great job and even look like the historical figures they portray. I like it so much that I watched it twice straight through.
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55 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Hui Shen ben Israel on February 23, 2013
Format: DVD
KILLING LINCOLN (Narr./Hosted Tom Hanks, 2013, 120 minutes, for the History Channel and National Geographic) is a deeply enjoyable reenactor's fondest dream. With a stunningly handsome fellow portraying John Wilkes Booth, this documentary lays out the most complex issues leading up to Booth's assassination of our 16th president skillfully.

Tom Hanks offers an almost academic, pitch-perfect narration seated near a nice old table, the way Alastair Cooke used to do Masterpiece Theater introductions. (No fireplace though.) With reenactments and commentary by scholars, this is actually a well rendered educational work. I do not care for education-via-reenactment, as I state every time I get a chance. I think it is tawdry, stupid, badly done, nothing more than a stepping stone for whatever it is stepping on the stones.

Here it is done with panache and respect for Lincoln. While I know this is a total tie-in for Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, and I do not begrudge anyone that advantage, this documentary has a zest and accuracy that I really enjoyed. I even loved the man who reenacted the presidential photographer Alexander Gardener, who is the same man who reenacted him in a couple of other Lincoln documentaries from this year and last year.

It was just a bit disappointing that the actor who did Lincoln for all of NatGeo's documentaries wasn't in evidence here ... at least I don't think that was him. But then the emphasis is totally on Booth, not on Lincoln at all. If you wish to see the truth as well as know it, or hear it spoken as they probably did at the time, this is your documentary.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Sue on June 17, 2013
Format: DVD
I saw this movie yesterday and was pleased that it was vey close to the book.

Tom Hanks narrated the movie along with scenes that were acted out very well.

I read the book last year and loved it and now the movie is just as good as the book.

If you are interested in how Lincoln was shot and what happened after that, this is the movie to see. It goes in to detail on how the men plotted to kill Lincoln and two other men one was Andrew Johnson. It also shows how John Wilkes Booth was able to escape so he would not be caught.

I though this was a great movie and is one I will watch over again. There is a lot of information in this movie.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Paul M. on June 14, 2013
Format: DVD
I read the Killing Lincoln & also American Brutus books and was excited to hear they were coming out with a tv movie. All in all it was good, enjoyed it...but it could have been much much better in my opinion. The best part of the movie is the portrayal of John Wilkes Booth by Jesse Johnson! There is NO actor I've seen that could ever do a better job in capturing John Wilkes Booth on film..he nailed it perfectly and with such talent and ease. If anything, watch the movie to see BRILLIANT acting from this talented man, as he portrays one of the most interesting and discussed historical figures in Booth.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mike on September 7, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
I read the book first. I wished they put some of the civil war battles that were in the book in the movie. Over all good movie. A little difficult to follow all the characters.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Celia McGill on September 5, 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Although I usually feel docudramas to be too dry, this was both entertaining and eudcational. What a horrible event! but how clearly described and acted.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca L. Briley on October 31, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The book is always better than movie. Always. Killing Lincoln on DVD is no different, and perhaps even more so than many good adaptations. I loved the book--well-told, fast-paced, informative and interesting. The documentary-style adaptation cannot match it. One hopes the Killing Kennedy documentary due out this weekend will surpass this first attempt to bring O'Reilly's best-sellers to the screen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anthony L. TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 29, 2013
Format: DVD
Of the 44 presidents of the United States, there have been known assassination plots directed at nineteen of them. Of those, only six have actually been shot. And of those six, four were killed. The four presidents assassinated in office were: Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy.

Garfield was shot by a jealous madman, and McKinley by an anarchist, but nobody really hears about Leon Czolgosz or Charles Guiteau. The mysterious and endlessly debatable assassination of beloved president John F. Kennedy bears the brunt of the conspiracy theories, ranging from the good, the bad, and the weird. But it is the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth on April 15th, 1865, that is arguably the most romanticized and famous political killing in US history.

For a non-American like me, Killing Lincoln is the perfect blend of information, excellent reenactment, suspense, intrigue, and entertainment. I knew a lot about the assassination of Honest Abe BEFORE I saw the film, but I did not know what went on AFTER the actual shooting at Ford's Theatre at 10:25 AM, April 15th. It turns out that I only knew half the story. The most compelling part of the conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln was, arguably, not Lincoln's actual assassination. It was the slow lead up to it, the conspiratorial meetings, the building obsession of actor John Wilkes Booth, the relatively unknown plan to assassinate Secretary of State William Seward and Vice-President Andrew Johnson (both of which failed), Booth's dramatic escape, the valiant effort of doctors and surgeons to keep Lincoln alive, Booth's hideout and retrospective final days, and his anti-climactic death.
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