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Masterpiece Theatre: All the King's Men (2000)

David Jason , Maggie Smith , Julian Jarrold  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: David Jason, Maggie Smith, William Ash, Sonya Walger, Stuart Bunce
  • Directors: Julian Jarrold
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: WGBH BOSTON
  • DVD Release Date: November 1, 2005
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A7DW8U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,980 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Masterpiece Theatre: All the King's Men" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The true story of England's vanished regiment is revealed. It is one of the most compelling and curious legends of the First World War. Led by Captain Frank Beck (David Jason), a favorite agent of King George V (David Troughton, Madame Bovary), Sandringham Company was comprised entirely of servants, grooms and gardeners from the King's Norfolk Estate. On August 12, 1915 the unit marched into battle against the Turks in Gallipoli and simply vanished, never to be heard from again. Queen Alexandra, played by Dame Maggie Smith (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, A Room with a View), was the driving force behind the investigation into the real fate of the battalion. But despite her extensive inquires, no trace of the men was ever discovered. Now, All the King's Men brings the details of what really happened in 1915 to the screen for the first time. It tells the story of these amateur soldiers, the idyllic life and loves they left behind in the quintessential English country estate and the horrors of an ill-prepared campaign to which they were subjected.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Missing in Action June 9, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
It is unusual in the history of warfare for entire units to disappear without a trace and when it does occur, such occurrences are usually the result of serious mistakes that lead to the annihilation of one's command. In American history, Custer and the 7th Cavalry come to mind. Further back, the disappearance of the entire Roman 9th Hispana Legion in Scotland is another example. In the British-made movie entitled "All the King's Men," a more recent occurrence of such an incident is portrayed. On August 12, 1915 at Gallipoli, over 300 British soldiers of the 1/5th Norfolk Battalion attacked into a morning mist and where never seen again. Few of the bodies were ever found and none returned from Turkish prisons after the war. Winston Churchill no less, called it one of the great-unsolved mysteries of the 20th Century.
This film focuses on the "Sandringham Company," formed mostly from servants, gardeners and other workers on King George V's estate of that name, which were part of the 1/5th Norfolk Battalion. Virtually none of these men were ever seen again and the Royal family made great efforts during and after the war to ascertain their fate. The main characters in this film are Captain Frank Beck (David Jason), his two nephews who are lieutenants in the company, a Sergeant Grimes, King George V and Queen Alexandra. Beck is the main focus, as the fifty-plus estate manager who organizes and prepares the unit for war; rather than appearing as an odious "Colonel Blimp" type character, Jason wonderfully portrays Beck as a trusted father figure in the unit, respected by both the King and the troops. Much of the early part of the film focuses on the lives of the men while on the estate, and Beck's efforts to go to war with them despite his age.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic British cameo March 13, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This is a superb drama documentary produced for the BBC and starring David Jason and Maggie Smith. It explores the history of the raising of the Sandringham Brigade during the First World War - a troop of soldiers created from the estate workers, grooms and gardeners employed by the British Royal Family at Sandringham, Norfolk in England. The recruits were shipped to fight in the Gallipoli campaign, where all except one were massacred by Turkish troops.
A gripping story of nineteenth century values exposed to the horrors of twentieth century combat
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving Drama April 12, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
A very well made, moving drama about the Estate workers at Sandringham who volunteer during The First World war to fight the Turkish in Gallipoli. Unlike the Mel Gibson Film, this focuses purely on the British contingent at the Dardanelles and the suffering and losses involved.
The legend of the Sandringham soldiers has it that a mist descended on them as the marched into battle and that they were never seen again. This actually shows the reality of battle, the distinct lack of glory and the shambolic reconnaisance which leads in turn to the inevitable result.
As the drama unfolds, we are introduced to the characters and have enough time to get used to them and start to understand and like them.
If war films are not your thing, believe me, this is very different. Worth a watch, especially the ever-dependable David Jason.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars haunting story of a lost regiment March 24, 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
"All the King's men" is the story of the lost Sandringham regiment during the First World War at Gallipoli. The workers on the Sandringham estate wanted to do their bit to help in the war, and convinced the Queen to let them join their fellow soldiers at Gallipoli. The regiment disappeared, much to the puzzlement of the families they left behind. Of course, the men were killed, but since there were no letters, no word from the War Office, no witnesses, no returned mementos, there was a strong interest in finding out what happened to those men.
I thought that the movie did a good job. The costumes were of the period, the characters were believable, and there was a wonderfully poignant juxaposition of the bewilderment of the families back in England and the hard realities of battle at Gallipoli. There was also a heartbreaking touch during the scene in which the commander is reading one of Rupert Brooke's 1914 sonnets to his men "If I should die, think only this of me...." then the movie continues with the brutality of the war. Far more Sigfried Sassoon than Rupert Brooke, but Brooke illustrated the naivite that still existed at the time (Brooke too died en route to Gallipoli). I highly recommend this movie. If you are looking for another World War I movie, I also recommend "Gallipoli", starring a very young Mel Gibson.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars semi factual film February 24, 2006
I must say a lot of this film is pure fiction and is definitely sensationalised such as the young bride who has to have sex with the nearest man!

Captain Frank Beck was a real person, and I was brought up with the story about him, as his 3rd daughter was my grandmother.

I feel it shows his nephews as quite pathetic characters but in fact they were very brave men(as were a lot of soldiers of their time) and they were later decorated with military crosses although sadly none of them survived the war.

As fiction its ok as fact, take it with a pinch of salt-loosely based on fact

David Jason did a much better job than I expected from an actor more known for comedy
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great WW1 movie
Great historical movie with much information regarding how people felt prior to and during WW1. The classes were well described and so were the morals and initiatives. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Chris
4.0 out of 5 stars World War 1: The Killing Fields
The ratings I assign to a movie are based on environment. Another person might have a different opinion. Thats why there is freedom of choice.
Published 17 months ago by reviews 4 free
5.0 out of 5 stars All the King's Men
A great movie for the WW1 buff or anyone who wants to learn more about the soldiers who fought in WW1.
Published 18 months ago by Gene D. Feeney
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story, catches essence of the facts
Stellar cast and meticulous care given to period costumes and speech, as one would expect from a BBC production like this.
Published 18 months ago by BlueMick
Published 21 months ago by MOVIEJUNKY
5.0 out of 5 stars History we should all review. So that it is never forgotten.
An excellent DVD for high school studies. The, at times, low quality black and white footage. Draws you back into what was one of the bleakest periods of our past. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Mr. Robertson Arthur
2.0 out of 5 stars sentimental claptrap
I have been reading wonderful literature about world war 1 , Ireland and the British "Empire".
This movie stands in starkly weak comparison to the daring and provocative... Read more
Published on March 24, 2012 by julirug
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie
I think it is a very good movie ,about what I expected from Masterpiece theater,I spent three years in England after the Korean war and it had not changed much,very good movie,as... Read more
Published on December 30, 2011 by old Rooster
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
I rented this movie @ the library and really enjoyed it. My Dad loves war movies , so I got it for him for his B'Day. He loved it!
Published on May 16, 2011 by Leslie
5.0 out of 5 stars Skullion Goes Forth
All the King's Men is a fascinating if often horrifying portrayal of a little-known episode of the First World War. Read more
Published on May 7, 2011 by M. W. Stone
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