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135 of 143 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Gem from The History Channel
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...
Published on April 26, 2005 by C. Middleton

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60 of 71 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacks any real analysis
I watched this film yesterday at a library, and found its lack of depth and analysis to be dumbfounding.

During the first minute, they tell how the revolution began when high bread prices sparked a violent uprising. During the next 99 minutes they narrate the chronological events of increasing violence, using acted scenes, fake blood and sound bytes from...
Published on March 12, 2007 by DeFoe


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135 of 143 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Gem from The History Channel, April 26, 2005
This review is from: The French Revolution (History Channel) (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. If you have any interest in The French Revolution, an event that virtually changed the world, this documentary would be a suitable starting point. It would also be a worthwhile teaching resource for students in the middle years and above.
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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Introduction to the French Revolution, March 3, 2005
By 
I_Heart_Amazon (Sunny Side Up, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The French Revolution (History Channel) (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
5.0 out of 5 stars "Let Them Eat Cake", August 30, 2005
By 
Matthew S. Schweitzer "zohoe" (Columbus, OH United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The French Revolution (History Channel) (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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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Introduction to the French Revolution, June 7, 2006
This review is from: The French Revolution (History Channel) (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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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed By a 9th Grader, December 5, 2005
This review is from: The French Revolution (History Channel) (DVD)
Yes, I am a freshman this year in highschool. We are learning about the French Revolution and our book did a very poor job explaining some parts of it specifically what Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI did through out all of this rage going on through out the country. We then watched this video during class. It was very informative and it kept my attention. Amazingly for once I enjoyed a movie we watched it school.

The mix of both commentary, pictures, and re-enactments kept me watching. I am actually on here right now trying to find technical information about this movie because I want to use it as one of my resources for one of our projects.

All-in-All, it was a great movie and if it kept the attention of a highschool freshman, I think anyone will like it!
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60 of 71 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacks any real analysis, March 12, 2007
By 
DeFoe (London, 1680) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The French Revolution (History Channel) (DVD)
I watched this film yesterday at a library, and found its lack of depth and analysis to be dumbfounding.

During the first minute, they tell how the revolution began when high bread prices sparked a violent uprising. During the next 99 minutes they narrate the chronological events of increasing violence, using acted scenes, fake blood and sound bytes from "scholars", to give a "play-by-play" summary of the carnage and beheadings, leading up to a mention of Napoleon.

During the last thirty seconds, they surprisingly conclude by saying that the French Revolution was a very good thing, because it inspired China and Vietnam and because Louis was a tyrant. Prior to this little or no mention had been made of Louis' tyranny, although the film had dwelt on his bedroom difficulties in some detail and also mentioned his weight problem a few times.

After watching 90 minutes of bloody scenes, I found the films conclusion that the French Revolution was a good thing to be an incomprehensible non sequitur. I would have liked to have seen some historical analysis to support this conclusion.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good overview, November 22, 2006
By 
J. Reeves (Woodworth, Louisiana) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The French Revolution (History Channel) (DVD)
I purchased this item for use in a college survey course on Western Civilization not expecting much from it, and was pleasantly surprised. It takes a complex subject and renders it thoroughly understandable. My only major complaint would be that it does not discuss very much the impact the Revolution had on the Catholic Church in France (the Civil Constitution of the Clergy). But for the money, I don't think anyone wanting to learn the basics of the French Revolution can do any better, unless they actually go to the trouble to read a book about it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars puts it altogether!, August 13, 2005
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This review is from: The French Revolution (History Channel) (DVD)
I had a lot of hazy details about the French revolution, but no real understanding of the big picture and the roles various famous people played in it. Nor did I completely understand the transition from king to Revolution to tribunal to Napoleon. This production puts it altogether in a very informative yet most entertaining way. It made the events and people seem as real as when I viewed (at the Conciergerie) the long list of those guillotined in Paris during the various Terrors. This dvd would be a wonderful introduction to the times for a class or for the casual reader of history.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice, but a bit narrow in its scope, December 30, 2006
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This review is from: The French Revolution (History Channel) (DVD)
I agree with 99% of the points that the reviewers before me have written, but I found two areas of weakness in the film. First, the consequences of the Revolution are given short attention--while many mundane facts are played out to unnecessary length at the beginning of the film. Secondly, the role of Robespierre is overstated and the contributions of so many other people, forces, and groups are underreported. Both are somewhat minor quibbles. My advice to those who wish to learn about the French Revolution is to have other resources available that cover these two areas. Some background of 17th and 18th century France and Europe would be invaluable as well as providing viewers full biographies of the movers and shakers in France at the time.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Way Documentaries Should Be Made!, June 14, 2009
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This review is from: The French Revolution (History Channel) (DVD)
As a high school history teacher, it is very difficult to find really interesting and informative videos teenagers will watch. I echo what the other complimentary reviews say. This is one of the best ever made---be it World or American history. Students will watch it intently and I finally gave up trying to show just the "necessary" sections; I now take two days and show the whole thing. Why can't all documentaries be this good????
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The French Revolution (History Channel)
The French Revolution (History Channel) by Doug Shultz (DVD - 2005)
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