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The Last Valley

80 customer reviews

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(May 25, 2004)
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(Nov 16, 1999)
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Editorial Reviews

From acclaimed writer James Clavell (Shogun) comes this stirring war epic starring OscarÂ(r) winner* Michael Caine as a soldier who knows nothing but battle until he rediscovers the possibility of love. Co-starring Omar Sharif, this powerful film is both a magnificent spectacle and an intensely personal story of love, friendship and loss. The Thirty Years' War rages through 17th-century Germany, and a fierce captain (Caine) lays waste to any village his army encounters. But when he arrives in an undisturbed valley where he meets a beautiful peasant girl, long-dead memories of peace and happiness are reawakened. Inevitably, though, the war is closing in. Will he heed its call or fight for the new life he has found? *Supporting Actor: The Cider House Rules (1999); Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Caine, Omar Sharif, Florinda Bolkan, Nigel Davenport, Per Oscarsson
  • Directors: James Clavell
  • Writers: James Clavell, J.B. Pick
  • Producers: James Clavell, Martin Baum, Robert Porter
  • Format: Color, Letterboxed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: May 25, 2004
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001GF2GA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,975 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Last Valley" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

121 of 125 people found the following review helpful By LaLoren on March 22, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I saw this movie when it was first released in the early '70s and at that time I thought it was one of the best movies ever made. For some reason, though, not only did it bomb, but in those pre-video days it fell into total obscurity. I got to see it one more time at a film festival in 1976. Then a couple of years ago I called into a talk show, where the person who had run the festival was being interviewed, and he told me it was probably lost for all time. You can imagine how thrilled I was when I found it for sale at the video store. I watched this the other night with my family, and it was everything I remembered it to be. It has wonderful character development; phenomenal acting; great cinematography; and a haunting soundtrack that stuck with me for the nearly 30 years between viewings. What more can I say, except buy it, and view it over and over.
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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful By A. Calabrese on November 24, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Last Valley, written and directed by the historical novel writer James Clavell. It is co-written by J. B. Pick, whose only other claim to fame is being the screenwriter of the Dean Martin, Matt Helm movie, The Wrecking Crew. That aside this is a well made film with a great story. Filmed on location in the Tyrol area of Italy, these natural and scenic backdrops add historical credibility to this film, as well as providing breathtaking views.

The story is about a Captain, played brilliantly by Michael Caine, in charge of a group of multi-national mercineries during the 17th Century Thirty Years War. It is also about a wanderer, seeker, and a man escaping from the ravages of war, Vogel, played by Omar Sharif. There is also a large international supporting cast, who all do their part, most notable being Nigel Davenport as the Village elder, Per Oscarsson as the village priest, and Arthur O'Connell, most known for his part on the 70's TV show, Chico and the Man.

What started out as Religious Wars, mainly in what is present day Germany, and Alpine Valleys quickly turned into political jocking by petty German Princes, the Holy Roman Emporer, the Kings of France, Sweden, and Denmark. Added to all this war destruction were outbreaks of the plague. The film does a wonderful job with reconstructing this historical backdrop, even with minor details, like when the village priest asks one of the soldiers "Are you a Lutheran Protestant, a Calvin Protestant, or God forbid a heretical Anabaptist or Satan worshiper." While the Catholics and Protestants, throughout the 17th century, had a love-hate relationship, to put it mildly, the both agreed on their disdain for all things Anabaptist (present day Mennonites, Amish and Hutterites.
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60 of 61 people found the following review helpful By alan royle on September 3, 2000
Format: DVD
'The Last Valley" sunk almost without a trace back in the 70's when it was first released. The only comments I recall from that time were from critics who mercilessly panned Michael Caine's accent. It's difficult to see just why the film failed. The script contains hardly a dull line, Clavell's direction is very good, John Barry's score is quite simply superb and the acting, with the exception of Arthur O'Connell and Christian Roberts in minor roles, is first class. Michael Caine dominates the film and gets some marvellous dialogue to utter. No wonder he rates his performance so highly and no wonder he's registered profound disappointment over the negative reviews. It just might be that because the script vigorously berates both Catholic and Protestant religions with equal disdain, the film found itself without a champion from either side to defend it. As for the score, I am at a loss to understand why it at least was not nominated for the Academy Awards that year. John Barry is usually terrific, but his score for "The Last Valley" is his best ever - including "Dances With Wolves". The performance of Per Oscarrson as the priest is memorable also. A wonderful film that sits comfortably in my top 10 of all time.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Wuchak on September 25, 2004
Format: DVD
I was at the store and spied this unknown 1971 flick amongst the DVDs; it looked like my kind of movie, especially with Michael Caine and Omar Sharif, so I naturally wondered why I had never heard of it. I made a mental note to check out some reviews on the internet. The across-the-board high ratings piqued my interest, so I decided to pick it up the next time I saw it.

The first thing that made a favorable impression was the outstanding opening credits sequence. Many reviewers mention John Barry's magnificent score as a highlight and they're right. This credits sequence innovatingly depicts the theme of the Thirty Years War -- members of essentially the same religion at each other's throats.

THE STORY: During the horrible Thirty Years War in Europe (1618-1648) a band of mercenaries led by the merciless Michael Caine ("The Captain") and a drifter attempting to flee the horrors of the war discover a hidden vale -- the last valley untouched by the war. The drifter talks The Captain into wintering in the peaceful valley rather than pillaging it and raping/killing the villagers. (This setup itself is a hint that this is no ordinary war flick).

WHAT WORKS: Parts of the film have a dreamy, surreal atmosphere, particularly the beginning and ending; this is reminiscent of the incomparable "Apocalypse Now." Michael Caine is outstanding as The Captain, a character so hardened by the horrors of war that he no longer even has a name, he's just "The Captain." Caine would perform a similar role in the underrated "The Eagle Has Landed" in 1977, a stunning performance. The Captain's answer to everything was to simply kill, but now, in the valley, he has found peace and the warmth of love.
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