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NOVA - The Miracle of Life (1996)

David Ogden Stiers , Bo Moller , Mikael Agaton  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)

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NOVA - The Miracle of Life + National Geographic - In the Womb + NOVA - Life's Greatest Miracle
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Product Details

  • Actors: David Ogden Stiers, Bo Moller, Hans Wigzell, Klaus Renner, Hans-Jochen Lunemann
  • Directors: Mikael Agaton
  • Writers: Mikael Agaton, Thomas Friedman
  • Producers: Mikael Agaton, Beth Hoppe, Bo G. Erickson, Lars Rengfelt, Melanie Wallace
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: March 28, 2000
  • Run Time: 186 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1578071968
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,383 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "NOVA - The Miracle of Life" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Link to the Award-Winning NOVA Website
  • Filmed by world-renowned Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson

Editorial Reviews

Each minute, all over the world, a baby is born. An everyday occurrence, yet each birth is the culmination of one of nature's most complex, mysterious, and seemingly miraculous processes. A dramatic breakthrough in science and cinematography, the Peabody® award-winning The Miracle of Life takes you on an incredible voyage through the human body as a new life begins. World-renowned Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson presents a spectacular look at a microscopic world

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
89 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still holds up after the years October 29, 2002
I first saw this one almost twenty years ago. It had a profound effect on me then, and it still moves me now. This is the documentary that shows you the birds and the bees. It was done before the days of computerized special effects, and was a landmark for it's day. Even today, it holds up quite well.
The presentation does make its stand on evolution vs. creation early by stating that life began in the sea billions of years ago with one-celled organisms that formed there. It partially does this to show how these cells are basically the same as those in our own body. So whether or not this is your belief, let it go, and proceed with the rest, which beautifully illustrates how babies are made.
We first get how each camp's plumbing is layed out, before any contact is made. We learn how, even with the success of the population's reproduction rate, things do have to fall into place for everything to work. When we come to the actual mating part, it is tastefully done, although it does seem to indicate that all humans are wonderful and loving when it comes to sex.
Once man and woman are joined, the filming is terrific in showing that a lot of work still needs to be done to get junior going. If I were a little guy with a tail realizing I had to swim the equivalent of sixty miles with a few million of my little buddies with the best scenario being only one of us will succeed might make me rethink the process, but indeed the guys do make the journey.
We see how the connection is made, and then how the cell-dividing process starts. Once again, the camerawork is excellent, and we see different fetal stages which lead all the way to junior's entering of the big, bad world. This is terrific stuff.
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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An incredible journey on video October 19, 2005
[I wrote the following review for the second edition "Life's Greatest Miracle," but in the review I compare both editions, so I think you'll find my review helpful.]

"Life's Greatest Miracle" is a one-hour PBS program on how the human life starts in the womb. Produced circa 2001, it was an updated edition of the ~1983 ground-breaking "The Miracle of Life," also aired in the U.S. under the auspice of the Nova series.

I've watched both DVDs and I'll compare the two. If you are debating which version to watch, I say it depends on your interest: if you want to see more microscopy photography, get the original "The Miracle of Life." If you want a better viewing experience, get this one, "Life's Greatest Miracle." I give both DVDs 3 stars.

While not as ground-breaking as the original, "Life's Greatest Miracle" sports higher-definition, more colorful microscopic video images, which are simply amazing. Of course, everyone who's never seen a large number of sperm swimming around will simply be mesmerized. I couldn't tell whether the all the video footage of the wiggling sperm was the same as in the original edition, but it seemed to me that here either the sperm were stained more (with chemicals so they stand out against the background, as is done all the time in biology), or the producers somehow increased the contrast. To the viewer, the action (no pun intended!) is more captivating. (In the old edition, images are coarser and less colorful.)

The biggest difference between this edition and the original program is the emphasis of the content. The original edition emphasizes the science part, and there are long sequences of cells dividing and inside looks of the vagina and uterus.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing August 1, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This is a startlingly close look at the making of a baby, and really makes you realize how beautiful life is. My big concern is its imablance--lots of footage of pre-conception and conception, and then only a few images of the embryo and fetus, and an unsatisfyingly quick overview of the birth. The early parts got me excited about life, and then the sudden ending left me empty. I wish they had covered all the stages of "the miracle of life" in equal depth, and made the film longer. In other words, this is a remarkable study of the earliest stages of pregnancy only.
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57 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Only 15 min of fetal development December 1, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
The video was detailed and provided insightful information into fetal development, but I was very disappointed that the first 45 minutes covers pre-conception information and only 15 minutes covers the entire gestational period with less than 3 minutes dedicated to birth. I watched the last 15 minutes over and over, but I really felt that the first 3/4 of the video was wasted.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nova - The Ultimate Journey September 30, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
The photography is wonderful however, I found the outline to be misleading. The video starts out covering the preconception and conception phases of human development. It quickly changes focus and spends about 40 minutes comparing the human fetus to that of a fish, chick, and pig. Too much time was spent covering theories of possible links between all land and sea creatures. This left about 10 minutes to sum up a 10 second delivery and show toddlers at play.
This video did not flow well and left you frustrated waiting for more concrete information.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a wonderful DVD to share with my Curious 8 year old
This is a wonderful DVD to share with my Curious 8 year old! We now have a full understanding in the 'Miracle of Life'
Published 8 days ago by Sarah
5.0 out of 5 stars Product evaluation report
The best classic...better than other made even later in time....
Published 1 month ago by P J Gammarano
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a beautifully made film
Have been looking for this in dvd for a long time. Had it in vhs. There's not as much reverence for life as there should be. This is a beautifully made film. Read more
Published 1 month ago by maryellen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love this DVD, watched it several times. DVD was in perfect condition.
Published 2 months ago by Joy
4.0 out of 5 stars nice!
It's a good resource to promote life begining!
The youth people can learn about how two little cells can be a baby.
Published 6 months ago by Nellie E. Torrado
4.0 out of 5 stars Great and educational.
I loved this movie and think it is a great way to educate young people on the "basic's" of life.
Published 6 months ago by Laurie Johns
5.0 out of 5 stars Great information
It is a beautiful description of post natal development. I highly recommend this for students in a variety of disciplines.
Published 7 months ago by Gerard Cavanaugh
5.0 out of 5 stars Good CD
Great movie for students studying (CPRT) Child-parent Relationship Therapy. Remind parents of the therapeutic relationship they had with their children.
Published 8 months ago by Keneshia Coleman
3.0 out of 5 stars How the miracle of like happens not focused on the baby developing
This is a nice focuses on preconception for the most part it even shows nice histology slides, I was hoping it would include more of the baby's development but it then it... Read more
Published 11 months ago by drluly
4.0 out of 5 stars Great
This program is well done and covers the basics of human reproduction for the age group that I teach. Students were engrossed.
Published 11 months ago by Catherine Bethune
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