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The Hittites: A Civilization That Changed the World (2004)

Jeremy Irons , Cuneyt Turel , Tolga Ornek  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jeremy Irons, Cuneyt Turel
  • Directors: Tolga Ornek
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • 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: Cinema Epoch
  • DVD Release Date: March 4, 2008
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001139ZI8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #233,725 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

This is the glorious story of the Hittites - the most powerful people in the Near East of their time. Narrated by Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons, "The Hittites" brings the fascinating history of this mighty empire to life with expert interviews, stunning cinematography, dramatic reenactments, and visual effects. Highlights include a breathtaking recreation of the controversial battle of Kadesh that decimated the armies of Egypt's Pharaoh Ramesses II. Based on the actual words of the Hittites, deciphered from ancient clay tablets excavated in the 20th century, their story unfolds as beautifully as it written almost 3500 years earlier.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Please interpret these impossible Hittite names August 25, 2008
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The Hittites were a Bronze Age Empire from what is modern day Turkey. Much of what archeologists know about the Hittites comes from clay tablets found in their capital. The two-hour DVD tells the story of the Hittites in chronological order and was narrated by Jeremy Irons. The redramatizations were helpful in showing what clothes, armor, equipment and cities looked like. They also added a historical flavor to this story of this once lost ancient civilization. Jeremy Irons does a masterful job telling about the rise and fall of the Hittites and their 500-year reign over Anatolia. I especially liked where Jeremy Irons correctly pronounces the Hittite kings names like Muwatalish, Mursilis and Suppiluliumas. I thought the battle of Qadesh could have been better explained with more detail and a better explanation about the neighbors of the Hittites. But that would've meant a three or four hour DVD...too bad! Over all I gave this documentary four stars because this is the perfect historical story for beginners like me, who aren't classically educated and haven't spent half our lives digging up ancient cities. A must buy for history buffs like me.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice introduction to an ignored culture May 2, 2009
The documentary is a melange of historian interviews, narrative voice-over and re-enactment. The re-enactment was a bit jarring because of the long hair on the men (I guess I expected closely cropped hair, I'm not sure why), and the sparse set dressing, but I'm just jaded from watching HBO's Rome too many times. I can't comment on the accuracy because I'm ignorant about the Hittites (that's why I watched the DVD), but I find the bronze age fascinating in general, and it seems in keeping with what I have read from The Cambridge Ancient History Volume 2, Part 2: The Middle East and the Aegean Region, c.1380-1000 BC,

I do admit I might only give it three stars without the melliflous narration of Jeremy Irons, gently pronouncing these jawcracker names. There seems to be some disagreement on how to pronounce the names, and the written form (from the Cambridge Ancient History) lists them as having -ash at the end. Hattushilli is Khattushilash, for example, so it make it confusing.

I quite enjoyed this DVD, and have watched it several times. It has surprising production values compare to many shows on the History Channel, and seems to have been promoted by the Turkish government - if so, good for them. Turkey is a deep well of history.

Bottom line, if you're a veteran watcher of History Channel type documentaries, you'll enjoy this.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Documentary February 22, 2012
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I watch a lot of documentaries on TV. Saw this on the Smithsonian Channel and decided to buy a copy so I could watch it without the commercials. I think it is a great video. I wish there were more like it. Jeremy Irons is a great narrator. The cinematography is reminiscent of the 1970's and looks astonishing. The dramatizations are fantastic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Hittite and an Egyptian walk into a bar October 8, 2014
THE HITTITES (A/K/A THE HITTITES: A CIVILIZATION THAT CHANGED THE WORLD, Narr. Jeremy Irons, 2008, 115 minutes) is a most excellent and awesome documentary that teaches us about the nearly forgotten Hittite empire. Mentioned a bit in the Hebrew Bible and Egyptian ancient historical records, this great empire--the first Indo-Europeans as far as we can tell--spread across the earth.

The excellent narrative, performed most beautifully by Irons, outlines all the major events in the formation and downfall of the Hittites. I learned so much from this documentary, which I only just saw. And I'm an Indo-Europeanologist! I have been all my life, but this documentary taught me things that blew me away repeatedly. It is excellent.

I and most of us can do without the stupid reenactments and silly wigs/costumes. This documentary has far too much of that--and may I add it has a lot of wasted time with stupid overblown close-ups of those awful reenactors scowling at the camera. Education does not need this! In spite of it, it is most instructive to anyone interested in any sort of history.

The documentary, mainly due to lack of evidence, skips over a few periods and relationships I should have liked to know better (i.e., did the Hittites father the Celts?). Smoothly avoiding what we don't really know, the documentary compensates by exposing Hittite practices in detail. We recently discovered the Hittites used Sumero-Babylonian cuneiform to record their language. That is one way cuneiform got all around the world.

The Hittites also embraced the religions of the people they conquered in their mad expansion--plus had a practice of establishing local viceroys to rule the outskirts.
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When I first saw this documentary on the 'Smithsonian Channel', it caught my eye. Once more 'AMAZON PRIME' had this documentary in its listing. I know this dvd is no longer in print. The price was steep $93.94 with shipping. However, the information in this dvd was very enlightening!! The audio and video in this dvd was 'FIRST CLASS'!! No complaints!! I appreciate being an 'AMAZON PRIME' member!!!
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