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The First Olympics - Blood, Honor, and Glory (History Channel)

4 customer reviews

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(Jun 29, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Return to ancient Greece and witness the Bacchanalian excess and raw competition of THE FIRST OLYMPICS. While the gods looked down brutal contests of boxing wrestling chariot racing and an early form of no-holds-barred fighting called Pankration raged within the bloodied arena. In honor of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games THE HISTORY CHANNEL-® proudly presents THE FIRST OLYMPICS--a compilation of three compelling full-length documentaries that explore the origins and culture behind the world's greatest sporting event. THE FIRST OLYMPICS--Visit the ruins of ancient Olympia see the stadium that once hosted the games and discover the essential role this epic festival played in ancient Greece. BLOOD AND HONOR AT THE FIRST OLYMPICS--In the name of Zeus and glory boxers runners and charioteers compete in this ultimate challenge of champions. The winners are bathed in olive oil; the losers hope for survival. (Narrated by Leonard Nimoy) THE GREEK GODS--From Aphrodite to Zeus these are the myths rituals and legacies of history's most storied pantheon. DVD Features: Top Medal Rankings by Country and Athlete; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection

The First Olympics: Blood, Honor, and Glory includes three exciting History Channel documentaries about ancient roots of the Olympics in fact and myth. Curiously, the first two films, "The First Olympics" and "Blood and Honor at the First Olympics," are essentially the same, with slightly different narration, editing, and chapter titles. Of the two, "Blood and Honor" is a little more streamlined and is voiced by Leonard Nimoy, but the material is compelling enough to check out both works over time. Among other things, one learns that the first Olympians competed in the nude for all sports, that winning was everything and penalties for fouls and bribes were severe, and that there has been an Olympics committee--and Olympics competition every four years--since 776 B.C. "The Greek Gods" is a fine supplemental work introducing us to Zeus, in whose honor the Olympics were born, and the other divinities on Mt. Olympus. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

  • Includes The First Olympics, Blood and Honor at the First Olympics, and The Greek Gods
  • Top medal rankings by country and athlete

Product Details

  • Directors: Asger Leth
  • Writers: Gavin Hood, Jacob Aaron Estes, Robert Rodat
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • 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: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 29, 2004
  • Run Time: 137 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00022FW6S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,617 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The First Olympics - Blood, Honor, and Glory (History Channel)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By roika on March 3, 2009
Format: DVD
This trio of films from the History Channel is impressive in scope, but disappointing in that much repetition of both narration and video footage can be found among the presentations. In fact, the second program completely repeats the first program in the last part, with the exact same visuals and narration, with the only difference being that the same narration was re-recorded by Leonard Nimoy.

I was impressed that the nudity of the Olympics was discussed, and that art depicting such nudity was not censored. However, in live footage depicting silhouetted actors, it's still evident that they are not nude, but still wearing some sort of clothing. Did I expect full frontal nudity? No. But I did expect a better depiction to suggest that the characters being portrayed were nude at least to the camera's eye, just as in regular movies an actor might wear a nylon body suit that makes him/her to at least appear nude. This would have added to the authenticity.

I appreciated it being discussed that homosexuality was no big deal in Ancient Greece. In fact (Pauline Christians take note), the Greeks didn't even have words for homosexuality or heterosexuality, as such polarized concepts of sexuality would not exist for several more hundred years -- folks in those days were just considered sexual, period.

The best installment of this trio is the final program concerning the gods and goddesses of Mt. Olympus. Here, the soap opera of the gods is revealed for what it was; such treatment is common to the myths of any religion, but it's also noted that ancient Greeks took their gods very seriously, as any religionist might today.

All in all, this is a good representation, but could have been improved by having unique content (instead of much repetition), and (when used) better live action sequences.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James P. McDonald on April 3, 2011
Format: DVD
The First Olympics were held in Greece, Athens in August 776 B.C. during a full moon. They were held in honor of Zeus. Very brutal and to the loser may have been death. Leather strips the men wore around their fists deeply cut them. Wrestling could mean broken fingers and, although against the rules, going for the genitals was sometimes done.
In 720 AD, Aosipus was a track runner who lost his loin-cloth in mid-race. So in honor of Aosipus, the other runners also took off their loin-cloths. From then on, in 776 AD, all runners competed in the nude.
Homosexuality and nudity were not shameful nor uncommon in Greek society. It would guarantee female virgins. They only way to keep females a virgin was to have homosexuality. Only female virgins were allowed to watch the Olympics. Married women were "forbidden".
The word "gymnasium" meant "in the nude".
The main site of the original Olympics exists in ruins and was somewhat restored and used for an Olympic event in 2004 during the XXVIII Summer Olympiad in Athens, Greece.
At Olympia, where chariot races were held is completely under a river that changed course in 600 AD. It would be too expensive a project to recover.
The modern Summer Olympics, as we know them now, began again in Athens, Greece in 1896. The Summer Olympic Games have since been held every 4 years except during wartime. The Games of 1916, 1940 and 1944 were not held. In 2004, the Olympiad returned one more time to Athens, Greece.
The Winter Olympic Games began in Chamonix, France in 1924 and was held every 4 years thereafter, except in 1940 and 1944.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Vince D on February 27, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This was DVD was enlightening. It's historical content was indeed, very educational. The facts, however, reveal how gruesome the Olympics were for the participants. It is no wonder how they lost favor for so many years. The revival of this sports event eliminated the barbaric nature of the initial efforts. Watch this DVD, as I did, only once.
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21 of 42 people found the following review helpful By M. Corbould on August 21, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A compilation of three documentaries "The First Olympics", "Blood and Honour at The First Olympics" and "The Greek Gods". It consists mainly of the same archival film footage used over and over again in "The Real Olympics", "The Games for The Gods" and "The Ancient Greek Olympics" with different narration and contradictory "facts" gleaned from a few historical writings and some Greek Pottery and then integrated with an enormous amount of hypothetical supposition and personal opinions from so-called "experts".

I quote "expert" Ann Stewart (Professor College Year in Athens) "The important thing for a man to do was marry a virgin and produce children. The only way to keep virgins was the practise of homosexuality, and so it was encouraged." That's great. It leaves us with a mental picture of young Adonis screwing his friend so that he can keep little Aphrodite for a rainy day. And of course his friend obligingly "rolls over" and lets him because "Well that's what friends do for each other. Don't they?".

I thought I must have reached the bottom of the bucket with this little spark of absurdity, however from there on in it's downhill all the way with such little gems as " Women had to be "tamed" for marriage, and the best way women could be "tamed" was to show them naked athletes". And it just goes on and on.

The actual film footage is quite good but this is not a disk to buy.
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The First Olympics - Blood, Honor, and Glory (History Channel)
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