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Last Stand of the 300: The Legendary Battle at Thermopylae


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Last Stand of the 300: The Legendary Battle at Thermopylae + 300 (Single-Disc Widescreen Edition) + 300: Rise of an Empire (Special Edition) (DVD)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Product Description

High on a narrow mountain pass in 480 B.C., a small Greek army awaits an onslaught of epic proportions. Led by just 300 Spartan soldiers, they somehow hold off the colossal Persian military for seven full days - until not one Greek warrior is left standing.

The legendary battle of Thermopylae is still acknowledged today for its brilliant military maneuvers and the well-trained and fearless soldiers who fought to the death. THE HISTORY CHANNEL® presents a detailed account of this legendary battle, examining the events leading up to the conflict, the tactical expertise that allowed the outnumbered Greeks to stall their mighty foes, and the bloody encounter itself. Find out how an army of a few hundred men overcame impossible odds and witness the conflict that altered the course of Western civilization.

Combining sophisticated digital animation and live actors in strikingly realistic reenactments, LAST STAND OF THE 300 narrates one of the most important - and improbable - battles in history.

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Last Stand of the 300 is an interesting 90-minute documentary from the History Channel explaining the details of the ancient Spartans' showdown with the Persian army at the battle of Thermopylae. It's long been a fascinating subject, but it hit popular culture in a big way with the 2007 feature film 300, based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller. Last Stand of the 300 helps explain the background behind the battle as well as many of the details not covered in the movie, including how the Ionian Revolt and the famed battle of Marathon led to Themopylae, the naval front led by Thermistocles, and what happened afterward. Numerous scholars and authors (including the writers of Gates of Fire and Empires at War) explain the rigorous Spartan training, military strategy, the Oracle at Delphi, the Persian technological advantage, different kinds of weaponry and vessels (the Spartan hoplon, dory, and xiphos, and the trireme), and how one of Miller's famous lines came from Herodotus ("Then we shall have our battle in the shade"). The maps are extremely helpful for showing how the geography affected the battle (one detour would have cost the Persians an extra two years of travel time), but the reenactments look kind of simple compared to the extremely stylized feature film. --David Horiuchi

Special Features

  • 1.78 widescreen letterbox

Product Details

  • Actors: Jeffery A. Baker, Orion Barnes, Erin Bennett, Kristopher Blount, Joshua Bradley
  • Directors: David Padrusch
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen, Closed-captioned
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (DTS ES 6.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 31, 2007
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000OIOPPE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,182 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Last Stand of the 300: The Legendary Battle at Thermopylae" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

157 of 163 people found the following review helpful By Raffaele Vardavas on March 30, 2007
Format: DVD
They showed this documentary on the History channel to accompany the release of the movie 300.

In contrast to the movie 300 (which was ok -see my review) this documentary is excellent. It is really a movie-like documentary with a lot of action.

Graphically it resembles a little the movie 300 since it uses a lot of computer graphics and non-realistic red looking skies. However, here Persians really look like Persians.

The content is excellent. Although I have read about the battle of Thermopylae from many different sources, I learned about things I did not know before and gained a more detail knowledge. However, like in the movie 300 here again Leonidas seems to be much younger than he really was by 480BC.

What I particularly liked was that the documentary focused both on the land battle of the Spartans and sea battle of the Athenian fleet. This really showed how brilliant and well coordinated the Allied Greek strategy was. Most other sources just focus on the land battle and pay minor attention to what happened in the flanking sea. The mastermind Themistocles is well represented and a decent length of the documentary is dedicated to him.

The Spartans and their society are accurately represented. They were not fighting for a new era of freedom which was at the time being brought forward by Athenian democracy. They were fighting to preserve their own, non-free un-democratic system and were hostile to the spread of democracy to other Greek city states. However, their last stand was not solely to seek "a beautiful death" but instead to cover the retreat of their fellow allied soldiers. Maybe, also to give an example from which the allied Greeks would stay united against the Persians for the sake of their sacrifice.
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71 of 74 people found the following review helpful By RJRo20 on May 25, 2007
Format: DVD
The History Channel has presented a mixed of bad and good documentaries, but the "Last Stand of the 300" is definitely one of the best that they've ever produced! I wholeheartedly agree with previous reviewers that this is an excellent and well-researched documentary about the Battle of Thermopylae--one of history's most famous last stands of all-time.

The overall presentation of this epic battle is superb. Great visuals, music, dramatic reenactments, and knowledgeable scholars provide a very enlightening and fascinating account of the events preceding and following the 3-day battle at Thermopylae. The battle itself is examined and analyzed in meticulous detail--military tactics and strategies discussed from both sides of the war (land and sea).

As reviewer, Raffaele Vardavas mentioned, this documentary does resemble a little like the movie "300," which gives it a more appealing and cinematic look. The fighting sequences--especially during the last stand--are wonderfully depicted.

The performance of the 300 Spartans--and approximately 700 Thespian soldiers and unremembered 900 Helots (Spartan slaves)--has been hailed as an outstanding example of courage against insurmountable odds. Among the Greeks, the Spartan defenders were the 'bravest of the brave' and their enormous sacrifice helped saved the future of Greece and unknowningly "altered the course of Western civilization." As one of the world's greatest and most symbolic events in history, this DVD is a must-have for all!

(Note: I have the PBS DVD of The Spartans, and also think this one is NOT as exciting to watch. Instead, the PBS presentation feels like a tedious 3-hour lecture in a history class. "Last Stand...300" is way better!!! Don't hesitate to buy).
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Rhett D. Sorensen on May 21, 2007
Format: DVD
Fantastic DVD on Thermopylae and Spartan history. Very well researched and presented. This is the ONLY DVD I have ever seen (using real people) that actually have them keep the phalanx formation. They mention the Spartan agoge and delve quit deeply into the agoge system and Spartan way of life. This is an excellent summarie of Spartan life style. It also covers the Persian side and tells us how the amazing Persian invasion came about, how the crossed the hellespont, how Xerxes was raised, etc. it also addresses all the other city states and battle tactics and takes you through to the conclusion of the battle and the ultimate conclusion of the Greek/Persian wars. (something that my Greek history teacher failed to do :() It also breifly goes over marathon which is nice. The DVD is fun and entertaining. Well worth the buy.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Glenn W. Briggs on July 31, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
When it comes to military films, I am very cautious about evaluations and very much a stickler for accuracy, especially as a History Professor, and having spent 25 years in the military. This is a superior coverage of the infamous Battle of Thermopylae, in that it is not encumbered with unrelated romances, political statements, or outright falsehoods.

This film reveals many aspects of Thermopylae, and adjacent battles, that those who are not students of war may not have been aware of. The film covers the backgrounds of both sets of combatants, the overall strategies, and the outcomes in understandable detail, and makes a valuable point of demonstrating the long-lived results of the battle itself, and on current governments and societies.

The History Channel has done a great service with this film, for those among us who do want to learn.
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