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The War Game / Culloden (1968)

Michael Aspel , Peter Graham , Peter Watkins  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Price: $19.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Aspel, Peter Graham, Kathy Staff, Peter Watkins, Tony Cosgrove
  • Directors: Peter Watkins
  • Writers: Peter Watkins
  • Producers: Peter Watkins
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • 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: Project X
  • DVD Release Date: July 25, 2006
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FSME6U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,581 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The War Game / Culloden" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Culloden Audio Commentary by Dr. John Cook
  • The War Game Audio Commentary by Patrick Murphy
  • 12-page booklet with an essay by Patrick Murphy

Editorial Reviews

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Independent Cinema is Supposed to Be July 27, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Why it has taken all this time for these two films to make it to the US in DVD form is a story that I hope comes out. Peter Watkins is finally being ackowledged in the US for his radical, truly independent vision, what with the release in the last two years of Punishment Park and The Gladiators. But it is here, in his first two feature films, that he is arguably at his best. The War Game is a horrifying recreation, done in documentary style, of what the effects of nuclear war would be. It may not have the impact it had when it was first released in 1964 as the US and the Soviet Union had their fingers on the button that would have assured, as the film so disturbingly shows (so disturbingly that the BBC, who commissioned the film, refused to show it and it was effectively banned in England for years after), mutual destruction. Nonetheless, the threat of nuclear warfare has not totally disappeared from the radar screen, so the film still carries relevance. Culloden, which predates The War Game, is perhaps the more contemporary and frightening film. Here, Watkins introduces for the first time in a feature length piece his "you-are-there" technique, as participants in the Scottish uprising against Britain in the mid-eighteenth century are interviewed as though news and camera men existed at this time. Both films reek with realism, as they are acted by non-professionals; and in the case of Culloden, the grime and sweat of eighteenth century life and the ferocity and brutality of combat at this time comes across as though, indeed, cameras were available at this time. Read more ›
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a pair of lost masterpieces December 4, 2006
Format:DVD
a double bill of films made for bbc-tv, i had seen both of these some thirty years back and never got over them. the earlier of them, "culloden" is a recreation of the events leading up to and following the 1746 battle that spelled the final end of scotlands days as a seperate country from england. adapted from the classic book by john prebble (incidentally, the rabbits favorite book), the film is a brilliant reflection on the conflicts among the idiotic bonnie prince charlie and his advisors, the ruthless english army, and the average scottish soldieer caught in the crossfire. filmed on a minimal budget (they had ONE cannon!), the battle scenes are so creative that you will believe youre part of it. this was the old walter cronkite "you are there" concept taken to the heights of art. now as to "the war game" -- well, once watkins had a major surprise hit on his hands with "culloden", he got to make "war games". akin to the similar path of patrick mcgoohan a few years later, who followed up the overwhelming success of "secret agent" with the artistically brilliant but controversial "the prisoner", watkins shot his wad with "WG", and never recovered. this fantasy about an english town in the days leading up to and following a nuclear attack is far more frightening than any of the myriad of other films which have used the same conceit. its matter-of-factness and use of ordinary people in lieu of actors works in watkins's hands in a manner that would have been artsy in the hands of another director. the finished product proved so controversial that the bbc declined to air it, and the movie was ultimately released in theaters, where ironically it won an oscar as best documentary. as i said previously, i saw both films on television in the 70s -- back when pbs still carried out its mandate to air quality television, rather than wayne dyer infomercials or doo-wop retrospectives. i cant more heartily recommend a dvd to watch than this.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first and the best September 17, 2006
Format:DVD
Watch this and after ask yourself how two films made in 1964 and 1965 are many times more powerful than most of the drivel you saw during this decade. The western world was during forty years scared to death with the idea of nuclear war but accepted it as a possibility. After "The War Game" and "Culloden", you will doubt also the reasons for the current war "on terror".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars cinema masterpieces restored November 13, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Two Peter Watkins films here, pioneering examples, perhaps, of what we now call "mockumentaries", documentary-style films of fictional events (here, "The War Game") or past, you-are-there events (Culloden).

As for "The War Game," although it's very much a work from the Cold War era (1965) it's still effective in spite of, or perhaps because of, it being black-and-white, gritty, short in running time, and focused on a small part of a pre- and post-attack Britain. I've seen "Testament," "Threads," and "The Day After" and this seems more effective -- and more graphic -- and while the other three nuclear-attack films show a story, "The War Game" is more immediate. You are watching society coming apart in almost real time, and it's scary.

I differ from other reviewers in that I find that "Culloden" seems to have aged well, if you accept 1964 state-of-the art news media in 1745 as a premise. Given the few actors, and some clever camera angles, the story manages to suggest fragmentary and smoke-shrouded parts of the battle as believable (in a battle that involved 15,000 men in real life). No spectacle, just confusion and the sort of narrow field-of-vision that those caught in such a battle would see, with the participants talking to the camera as the battle unfolds, horribly wrong. The Greek-chorus commentary on the pre-battle failures on the Scottish side does not take away from the story, rather, the viewer is watching an unfolding and inevitable tragedy. Nor does the film neglect the post-battle search-and-destroy by the victorious British forces, in many ways as harrowing as the battle. And you learn something of the participants, famous or not, Scottish, British and Irish (they were there, too, as you see).

Highest recommendation for those with an interest in British/Scottish or cinematic history.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ... after all these years.
Still amazingly moving after all these years.
Published 2 days ago by Mr. D. J. MCCARTHY
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 classic films.
2 great films, I only with Peter Watkins made more films in this style!

The war game was banned from tv for years and its quite harrowing to watch but well worth... Read more
Published 5 months ago by JamieSmyth
5.0 out of 5 stars This is what it would be like.
The War Game is a harrowing and disturbing account of the aftermath of a nuclear hydrogen bomb attack on Kent, UK. Read more
Published 11 months ago by T.J.Byford
5.0 out of 5 stars The War Game: A brilliantly captured moment in time
Worth paying extra, should be shown on TV more often, along with "The Fog of WarL to remind all of us of the horrifying effects of potential nuclear holocaust.
Published 16 months ago by John
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind-blowing Cinema
These are the two most powerful films I have ever seen in a long life (& I've seen thousands). They will alter your view of the world for ever. Read more
Published on July 10, 2012 by H. J. Spencer PhD, renegade-Physicist
4.0 out of 5 stars An Uncomfortable Close-Up of the Horrible Face of War
A chilling pseudo-documentary dedicated to the measures England had in place to deal with nuclear attacks during the cold war era. Read more
Published on February 17, 2012 by drqshadow
4.0 out of 5 stars Culloden DVD
I saw Culloden when I was kid and really liked it. This is the first time I've seen it in almost 40 years and it was better than I remember. Read more
Published on December 6, 2011 by Stephen Hatchett
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
The film is interspersed with staged events and archival footage from the Second World War, and seamlessly edited. Read more
Published on August 26, 2010 by Cosmoetica
5.0 out of 5 stars Two great films available together
Culloden: 3.5 stars out of 4
The Bottom Line:

An innovative, engaging, and informative documentary on a battle that most viewers will not be familiar with, Culloden... Read more
Published on May 25, 2009 by One-Line Film Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Wargame, reviewed.
The Wargame, made in the mid-1960s, dealt with the prospect of a major nuclear strike on the UK. In its depiction of the effects and consequences of using these weapons it quite... Read more
Published on October 30, 2008 by P. Flavelle
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