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The French Revolution (History Channel)

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The French Revolution (History Channel) + Empires - Napoleon + Marie Antoinette: A Film by David Grubin
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Product Details

  • Actors: Edward Herrmann, George Ivascu, Rodica Lazar, Tomi Cristin, Phillip X Levine
  • Directors: Doug Shultz
  • Writers: Doug Shultz, Alexander Emmert, Hilary Sio, Thomas Emil
  • Producers: Peter Schnall, Doug Shultz, Alexander Emmert, Beth Dietrich, Hilary Sio
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • 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: March 29, 2005
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007GP836
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,070 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The French Revolution (History Channel)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Making of The French Revolution Featurette
  • Interactive Menus
  • Scene Selection

Editorial Reviews

On July 14, 1789, a mob of angry Parisians stormed the Bastille and seized the King's military stores. A decade of idealism, war, murder, and carnage followed, bringing about the end of feudalism and the rise of equality and a new world order. The French Revolution is a definitive feature-length documentary that encapsulates this heady (and often headless) period in Western civilization. With dramatic reenactments, illustrations, and paintings from the era, plus revealing accounts from journals and expert commentary from historians, The French Revolution vividly unfurls in a maelstrom of violence, discontent, and fundamental change. King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Maximilien Robespierre, and Napoleon Bonaparte lead a cast of thousands in this essential program from THE HISTORY CHANNEL®. Narrated by Edward Herrmann (The Aviator, Gilmore Girls), The French Revolution explores the legacy that--now more than ever--stands as both a warning and a guidepost to a new millennium

Customer Reviews

Thought it was very well performed.
Helen H.
The French Revolution is an excellent documentary on the History Channel which is well acted and very enlightening.
Elijah Chingosho
It did however arrive quickly and in top condition.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

139 of 147 people found the following review helpful By C. Middleton on April 26, 2005
Format: DVD
There is a vast amount of information on the French Revolution that can be found in scholarly texts, recreational articles, Internet sites, as well as a large selection of documentaries that have been produced over the years. A great number of these sources are well worth a look at for the serious student as well as the part time historian. Without hesitation, this documentary should be at the top of the list, because it is not only a perfect introduction, but also an extremely well produced and informative film.

The History Channel has produced many well-made and educational documentaries over the years. One would have to admit that their Biography Series is second to none. But they have really out done themselves with The French Revolution, as it covers the numerous causes of this important insurrection, focusing on major personages in the aristocracy, the enlightenment and the key political insurgents, painting excellent portraits of Maximus Robespierre and the mad journalist, Marat, leading to their ironic and bloody ends. The Reign of Terror is depicted particularly well with all its high drama, intrigue and endless flow of blood. Interestingly, these portraits of the major players in the revolution, Robespierre, Danton, Marie Antoinette and Louie the 16th, were all done with such pathos, that I came away from the film feeling real empathy for these people, especially Marie Antoinette. This is the way history, as a subject, should be taught, evoking feelings for the people and the times under study.

The documentary combines images, well-acted scenarios and informative interviews with academics including a compelling narration - it is also very well written, as it is tremendously difficult to cover such a complex event in a short time and do it any justice.
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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful By I_Heart_Amazon on March 3, 2005
Format: DVD
I glossed over the French Revolution back in junior high, but was not able to recount much years later. Because I don't have the time to read up on French history, I decided to check out this DVD.

First off, I was very pleased with the information I received from this program. I could easily look up the info from the web in a matter of minutes, but I doubt I could have learned as much as I did from the DVD. Quite simply, the program is done like a story (with visual reenactments) and laced with interviews from scholars. The result is that you're entertained from start to finish, while understanding the conflict and events that are being described.

And what's nice is that although the program isn't too long, it doesn't rush anything: we learn about Louis XVI's rise to the throne, his relationship with Marie Antoinette, and what led to their deaths. Robespierre and Marat's background are also analyzed, as they were both major players in the revolution.

In all, a great DVD to own. I've been watching PBS and History Channel documentaries/programs for some time, and I was pleased that this production was done well. Although I wasn't too educated on the French Revolution before this DVD, I felt that the program was done with detail and accuracy. I definitely recommend it!
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Matthew S. Schweitzer on August 30, 2005
Format: DVD
For those that know the famous,and most likely apocryphal, quote attributed to Marie Antoinette and little else about the French Revolution, the History Channel has finally produced an excellent documentary on this seminal event in world history. Enhanced with re-enactments and the usual historian/author commentary, this DVD brings the complex and bloody history of the French Revolution to life in a way that will entice the masses.

The French Revolution is without question one of the most important events of the 18th century if not world history in general. It's ultimately tragic end, culminating in the Reign of Terror and the execution of even it's own outspoken creators ,adds to the drama of what was to be the crowing achievement of the Age of Enlightenment. From Louis VIX and Marie Antoinette to Robespierre and Danton, this documentary covers it all, if not in fine detail, then just enough to motivate the interested viewer to research more on his or her own.

The French Revolution and its effects on the world stage have never been more accessible. This video was entertaining and educational and is recommended for teachers, students, and the amateur historian. Vive la France.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Amazon customer on June 7, 2006
Format: DVD
This documentary essentially narrates and reenacts the events of the French revolution. As we listen to the story, we view paintings, historical documents, actors in period clothing, and shots of the places where certain events took place. It is fast paced and accompanied by gripping music. For those already familiar with the history of the French Revolution, it might be a little disappointing as it is not very in depth and there is little analysis. However, as an introduction to the subject, it serves its purpose well.

The documentary emphasizes both the bloodiness and the radical nature of the event. Up until this point, France was a hierarchal society in which the privileged few lived extremely well and the masses lived in poverty. People accepted this situation, more or less, because they believed that this hierarchy was natural and sanctioned by God. However, the Enlightenment challenged all these ideas by asserting that all men (they weren't so sure about women) had the same moral rights. By this reasoning, one could no longer justify the great privilege of a small minority and the poverty and starvation of the masses. Many looked on at what was happening in France with horror; they saw a world turned upside down as the brutish, ignorant under classes slaughtered their king and queen, aristocracy and clergy. For many, this seemed anything but "natural" and "just."

The great irony of the revolutionary project was that violence was the means to bringing about a more just society. In fact, towards the end of the revolution, Robespierre called for the return of virtue through violence. As Lynn Hunt says, one of the most important questions posed by the revolution is: how much violence is justified when fighting for changes that you believe are right?
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