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Taras Bulba


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Yul Brynner, Tony Curtis, Sam Wanamaker. Taras Bulba, a Cossack Colonel in the 16th century Ukraine, sends his son to a Polish school so he can learn enough about the Poles to one day defeat them in battle. But his plan backfires when his son Andrei falls in love with the daughter of a Polish nobleman in this timeless film classic. 1962/color/122 min/PG-13/widescreen.

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"I will kiss the devil before my son wears a Polish collar!" declares Cossack warrior Taras Bulba, thus laying down the fundamental conflict of this epic film, based on the classic book by Russian novelist Nikolai Gogol. After the Polish army and the Cossacks defeat the Turks, the Poles betray their fierce collaborators in order to claim the Cossacks' ancestral home, the Steppes. Scattered, the Cossacks bide their time, and Bulba (Yul Brynner) sends his son Andrei (Tony Curtis) to a Polish college to learn the secrets of their culture. Though Andrei faces cruelty and prejudice, he falls in love with a Polish noblewoman, Natalia (Christine Kaufmann, a lovely German actress in one of her few English-language roles). Andrei, torn by love and loyalty to his people, risks everything in a desperate attempt to win Christine, even if it pits him against his own father. Taras Bulba is far from a great film--there are some laughable special effects, the battle scenes are confused and sluggish, and Curtis never quite loses his Bronx accent. Despite that, Curtis' star power comes through, and Yul Brynner tears up the screen with his amazing physical presence and emotional intensity; the man was truly a unique and compelling actor, who found only a few roles that suited him--this was one. By the end, Gogol's muscular plot catches you in its grip. The hypnotically gripping final scenes overcome all the cheesiness that came before. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Tony Curtis, Yul Brynner, Christine Kaufmann, Sam Wanamaker, Brad Dexter
  • Directors: J. Lee Thompson
  • Writers: Karl Tunberg, Nikolai Gogol, Waldo Salt
  • Producers: Harold Hecht, Sandy Whitelaw
  • Format: Color, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 1.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: March 25, 2008
  • Run Time: 122 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0010YSDAO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,063 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Taras Bulba" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Cowboy Buddha on June 24, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Taras Bulba could have been a very good film - possibly even a great one. But Hollywood values killed any chance of that. Instead, we have a reasonably enjoyable mess of a movie with two outstanding ingredients that rise above the rest - Franz Waxman's rousingly inventive music and a suitably over the top performance by Yul Brynner. As the title character, Brynner looks every inch a Cossack - swaggering and posing like a macho peacock, delivering his lines with that growling accent, and wearing his costumes as though he had lived in them all his life. Brynner was a hugely undervalued actor - a larger than life performer whose presence saved many a film. But the odds were really against him here.
Instead of focusing on Brynner, the film makes Tony Curtis, as his son, the central character. Curtis makes absolutely no effort to look like a Cossack so it is not surprising that he doesn't act like one either. While the rest of the Cossacks are swarthy, burly, scalplocked he-men, the sons of Taras Bulba look more like a couple of surfers who have wandered in from the film next door. Worse still is Curtis's love interest - the enemy girl he falls in love and betrays the Cossack Brotherhood for. She is played with wan listlessness by Christine Kaufmann in a performance so wooden it's a wonder Curtis didn't get splinters in their love scenes. Still, in real life, he must have fancied her because he left Janet Leigh to marry her.
Even with its insipid love story, Taras Bulba could still have achieved greatness through sheer spectacle. The costume department certainly did their bit - although some of the Polish uniforms are needlessly naff. The music thunders and roars - except for the obligatory love song sung by an oversweetened choir over the equally obligatory sixties montage sequence.
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70 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Terence Allen VINE VOICE on December 25, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Finally, the much-loved version of Gogol's Taras Bulba has come to DVD. This grand, large-scale production manages to entertain with great action sequences while moving the viewer by telling the story of founded in love.

Taras Bulba, played by Brynner, is a great Cossack leader who fights with the Polish who continue to take more and more Cossack territory. His young son, Andrei, played by Curtis, is the only thing he loves as much as he does his people and his country. But when Curtis falls in love with a Polish girl, and sides with the Polish, he sets the stage for conflict and tragedy.

Bulba loves his son, his people, his way of life, and his country. Andrei loves his father, but also loves the Polish girl. In the midst of a great adventure story, Taras Bulba manages to be a story about love, and the great sacrifices and challenges love causes us to make.

This is a great movie, and very much deserving of a high-quality DVD release.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Bloodrider on December 22, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
One of my all time favorite movies. Functions on three important levels. A powerful love story between Yul Brynner and his two sons, a desperate love story between one of his sons, Tony Curtis, and a polish noblewoman, all against a backdrop of steppes warfare. When all three elements collide, it becomes a haunting movie whose ending will have you in tears. Huge cavalry battle scenes-the best ever portrayed on film. Cossack brotherhood sworn to avenge the betrayal of Imperial Polish invaders, this is an adventure addicts delight. Waited a long time for this one, along with Solomon and Sheba and the great El Cid...Now where's Fall of the Roman Empire and 55 Days at Peking??Bloodspiller: Book One: Warriors of Palahia Series
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on March 30, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This was one of my favorite movies when I was eight years old. The theme of a son rebelling against his father was compelling to me even at that tender age. I thought Tony Curtis was very cool, and Christine Kaufmann was gorgeous.

As an adult, this film is more than a bit silly in places (particularly the strangely inappropriate musical interludes) and Tony Curtis is hardly convincing as a Cossack, but while the dialogue is often corny and the acting largely sub-par, it succeeds as spectacle, especially in the Ride to Dubno. The theme of Nikolai Gogol's story is still a strong one, although this is hardly a straightforward adaptation of the book. (Gogol's story begins with Andrei's return from Kiev, about 45 minutes into the movie. Also in the book, Andrei and Natalia never meet in person. He falls in love with her when he sees her on the battlements.)

The DVD is a superb anamorphic widescreen transfer with bold, vivid colors and a crisp, sharp picture. Fans of this film will be very pleased that a quality transfer has been made available at last.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David Westerby on September 26, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
It's great to see that the 'Epic' has made a comeback with the release of GLADIATOR. I therefore urge those of of you who enjoyed it you to view and admire this sweeping, swashbuckling panorama of charging horsemen, ringing blades and booming cannons which explores a fascinating but little-reported (in the west) chapter of history. Set amid the Cossack struggle for independence from the Polish empire, this tale of warrior chief Yul Brynner and his relationship with his favourite son is full of dash and derring-do from beginning to end, and for me sits alongside 'El Cid' as the top epic of the 1960's which wasn't about ancient Rome. The highlight of the film is the stunningly-filmed sequence in which the Cossack cavalry regiments gather on the road to the city of Dubno, but the film contains several other fine moments: a gripping duel to the death as two cossack horsemen jump a yawning chasm until one tires and topples to their doom, and the scene in which Yul Brynner as Taras Bulba claims the leadership of the Cossack army and deposes the previous 'hetman'. The film's acting honours go unhestatingly to Brynner, who swaggers and struts superbly in the title role, while Tony Curtis is...well Tony Curtis. Franz Waxman's excellent score mixes gentle folk tunes and stirring evocations of galloping horseman. For film buffs: watch out for Brad Dexter, well-known as the Brynner co-star in 'The Magnificent Seven' who didn't make it to stardom, in the role of Taras Bulba's right-hand man. The last word goes to Brynner, who as he attempts to persuade the Cossacks to join his cause, delivers the classic line (to any Polish readers: no offence!)'There's only one way to keep faith with a Pole...put your faith in your sword, and your sword in the Pole!'
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