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Nicholas and Alexandra

201 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A fascinating look at the last, tragic Russian monarchs; the kindly, indecisive Czar Nicholas and his reclusive, fear-haunted Czarina. The story follows their problems from the onset through the introduction of Rasputin to the Russian Court, to the Czar's abdication and the family's execution at Ekaterinburg on July 16, 1918.

Special Features

  • 14 minutes of footage never-before-seen on video
  • Making of featurette from the original theatrical release (18 min.)

Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Jayston, Janet Suzman, Roderic Noble, Ania Marson, Lynne Frederick
  • Directors: Franklin J. Schaffner
  • Writers: Edward Bond, James Goldman, Robert K. Massie
  • Producers: Franklin J. Schaffner, Andrew Donally, Sam Spiegel
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Georgian, Chinese, Thai
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 27, 1999
  • Run Time: 183 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (201 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767827775
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,229 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Nicholas and Alexandra" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

221 of 227 people found the following review helpful By Charles S. Tashiro on January 26, 2001
Format: DVD
One of the most beautifully crafted and moody epics to come out of Hollywood (or, to be accurate, Britain), "Nicholas and Alexandra" has never acquired the reputation it deserves. Released at a time when big budget spectaculars were considered passé, hostile contemporary reviews have shaped the film's reputation. While hardly perfect, the film nonetheless provides a reasonably accurate, if politically conservative overview of pre-revolutionary Russia and does an excellent job of individualizing the two monarchs.
The two central, completely convincing performances are by relative unknowns Michael Jayston and Janet Suzman. Several first-rate actors (Laurence Olivier, Eric Porter, Ian Holm, Alan Webb, Harry Andrews, Irene Worth, Jack Hawkins, Michael Redgrave, John McEnery, Curt Jurgens and others) support them in small parts and manage to make us forget their familiar presences to concentrate on their characters. The actors are cushioned by Yvonne Blake and Antonio Castillo's lush costumes and Richard Rodney Bennett's symphonic score in an elegant jewelry box crafted by designer John Box, cinematographer Freddie Young and director Franklin Schaffner.
The film has two major failings. First, it is just a touch *too* sympathetic to the monarchs. Quite apart from the lack of any evaluation of their short-comings as leaders, there are too many scenes calculated, presumably (and questionably), to demonstrate Nicholas "learning" from his mistakes. Second, in the effort to dramatize a complex historical moment, there is simply too much of it. We jump from the Russo-Japanese War to the 1905 Russian Revolution to Stolypin's reforms, to Rasputin's influence, to the First World War, the Februrary Revolution, the October Revolution, and on and on.
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112 of 121 people found the following review helpful By H. M Pyles on January 6, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The unadulturated history of the Russian monarchy has produced more compelling drama than anything Hollywood could produce in its wildest flights: Ivan the Terrible's descent into madness; Peter the Great's violent childhood and adult retributions (including the murder of his son) as the backdrop for supreme political accomplishments; Catherine the Great's seizure of a throne from a madman and her emergence as the dominant monarch of her age; Alexander I's possible complicity in the assasination of his father, his defeat of Napoleon, and likely faking of his death to live out his life as a religious hermit; Alexander II's death at the hands of terrorists. And the curtain drops on the Russian monarchy much as the play ran -- in pools of blood. The main difference in the Nicholas and Alexandra saga is that their predecessors created their own dramas, whereas Nicholas and Alexandra succumbed to the drama of events swirling around them.

This movie is inaccurate in many details. For instance, the real Dowager Empress visited her son on his train only after his abdication, not in the weeks before the monarchy fell. Anna Vyrobuva, a signficant and unwittingly sinister player in the Rasputin debacle, is missing. And the loyalty to the Tsar professed by the other Romanovs in the movie glosses over the fact that there were serious family discussions about a coup to send Alexandra into exile and maybe even to remove Nicholas himself.

But these are nits. In a larger sense the movie compellingly captures the essence of the two fundamental issues that combined to bring the Romanov dynasty crashing down. The first had to do with Nicholas. He was a kind, gentle family man much more suited to the life of a country gentleman.
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Robert Atchison on September 21, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
My beef about the film is that they took liberties in telling and condensing the story when it wasn't necessary. In Tobolsk the family lived in the Governor's Mansion - not a log cabin in the woods. Yekaterinburg looked like some Spanish town rather a city in the Urals. None of the movie was filmed in Russia or Finland (for obvious reasons). The execution involved eleven people - in the movie they cut down the number. Other scenes were outright inventions.
None of the church or religious scenes came off right. They seem more Catholic or Anglican than Orthodox.
Nicholas was taught English from the age of 8 by a Scottish teacher, Mr. Heath. He had an accent in English, but it wasn't identifiable as "Russian". They all would have sounded 'upper crust' so the accents were fine for me.
Suzmann and Jayston were superb. Suzmann was a little too glamorous and Hollywood looking for the role, but she pulled off the characterisation well.
I don't know if it's well known, but the Romanov family walked out on the premier because of the changes made to the story.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 5, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I loved movie as a teenager and I still love it in my 40's. I am a huge history buff, and it is important to me that films like this be historically accurate -- which Nicholas & Alexandra certainly is. It does take a somewhat "soap opera" view of history, focusing on the personal problems of the Tsar's family. But that is exactly what it sets out to do -- tell the personal story of the last Tsar and Empress. And what a story! A fiction writer would have a hard time coming up with a plot involving the all powerful ruler of Russia, a sick child, a bizarre, crude, "holy" peasant with supposed healing powers, a World War, a pair of revolutions, murder, mayhem, you name it. And, for the benefit of the writers who have raised the subject of Nicholas and Alexandra's British accents in the film, in real life, they always spoke to each other in English. Alexandra was raised primarily in England, by her maternal grandmother, Queen Victoria. So English was her native language, which she spoke with a British accent. Nicholas had a British accent as well, since he learned English from his English nanny -- and the fact that his aunt was the Queen of England probably didn't hurt. Their letters to each other were also all in English. They have been published, and make facinating reading.
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