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The Prisoner - Set 1: Arrival/ Free For All/ Dance of the Dead (1968)

Patrick McGoohan , George Markstein  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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The Prisoner - Set 1: Arrival/ Free For All/ Dance of the Dead + The Prisoner - Set 3:  The Schizoid Man/Many Happy Returns/It's Your Funeral
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Product Details

  • Actors: Patrick McGoohan, George Markstein, Angelo Muscat, Peter Swanwick, Fenella Fielding
  • Writers: Patrick McGoohan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, 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: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 31, 2000
  • Run Time: 208 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004Y7DZ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,683 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Prisoner - Set 1: Arrival/ Free For All/ Dance of the Dead" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Rarely seen "Foreign File Cabinet" footage
  • Trivia set
  • Stills gallery

Editorial Reviews

"The Prisoner," one of the most remarkable and challenging science fiction series of all time, follows "No. 6," a former government operative sent into a seemingly idyllic but twisted prison known as "The Village," where he struggles to retain his identity in the face of sophisticated and relentless attempts by the powers-that-be (known as "No. 2") to extract his secrets. "The Arrival" (pilot episode)--A first look at the Village, and The Prisoner, Number Six, its newest resident. "Free for All"--Elections are about to be held in the Village, including the position of Number Two. Will Number Six run, and can he win the election, and his freedom? "Dance of the Dead"--Sadistic, secretive experiments are performed on Number Six as the Village prepares for its annual carnival.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A revolutionary science fiction show August 23, 2000
The Prisoner is one of the most, if not the most, revolutionary science fiction show ever. Produced in the milestone year of 1968, this brief English series (17 episodes) discussed with unique boldness themes like information control, torture and brainwash procedures in authoritarian governments. Esthetically, the show mingles influences so diverse as Franz Kafka's The Trial, Orwell's 1984, Ingmar Bergman's Hour of the Wolf, and the James Bond movies.
The show was sold to ITC as a non-official sequel to the most popular "Secret Agent/Danger Man" series, starred by Patrick McGoohan. This time, McGoohan acted too as creator and producer, and used his freedom to talk about the role of the individual in a increasing oppressing society. He is an anonymous secret agent who resign his position. But he knows too much; doped by a mysterious figure, he awakens in what seemingly is a luxurious resort in a paradise island. But this place is no spa: is a prison in the open, where no one knows what are the others prisoners names, and in whom can trust. They even don't know who really are their captors: are they from "their" side or from the "other" side? They don't know and the viewer don't knows too. The agent himself receives a code, Number Six. "I am no number! I am a free man!", claims he repeatedly. But he will not be a free man till he succeeds in escape from the island. In the meantime, he have other important task in hand: maintains his sanity and individuality in a ambient where all of his movements are monitored, and where he frequently suffers torture and brainwash.
The DVD release is great news. The three episodes are an excelent introduction to the series.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DVD release is the BEST order October 6, 2000
By Will
Can't wait for the release of all The Prisoner episodes on DVD. Something has been made here that the episodes are being released out of order. It may not be that of the original broadcast order, but the release is actually re-ordered to better reflect the original order of the show as McGoohan wanted it. For example, the new order has 'Free For All' second, which makes sense when you see how No.6 acts. He trusts the captors and even says "I'm new here". The original broadcast had this episode 4th. This order has a better progression of No.6's stay in The Village, from confused, trusting captive to rebelling, scheming, untrusting and disharmonious (sp?). This release is being done with consultation with Six of One - The Prisoner Appreciation Society, with the trivia sets by the American Co-ordinator Bruce Clark. The best order of episodes (which the 2 DVDs have followed so far) is: Arrival/Free For All/Dance Of The Dead/Checkmate/The Chimes Of Big Ben/A, B and C/The General/The Schizoid Man/Many Happy Returns/It's Your Funeral/A Change Of Mind/Hammer Into Anvil/Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling/Living In Harmony/The Girl Who Was Death/Once Upon A Time/Fall Out. Enjoy the most fascinating show and a television classic on DVD, I certainly will. be seeing you...
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
"The Prisoner" remains one of the most original television dramas of all time and one of the first cult classics. Created and produced by actor Patrick McGoohan, the show was seen as a (nudge-nudge, wink-wink) sequel to McGoohan's hit series "Secret Agent," where he played a man named Drake. In "The Prisoner," McGoohan plays an unnamed high level, top secret agent who resigns from his job. As he backs his bags a white gas comes through the keyhole of the front door and knocks him out. He awakes in the Village, a Kafkaesque community in which he apparently imprisoned (actually a resort on Cardigan Ban in North Wales favored by famous writers like George Bernard Shaw, Noel Coward and Bertrand Russell). The three episodes presented here include the pilot episode, but the order in which episodes of "The Prisoner" should be viewed has always been open to debate. However, what we have here are the second episode to be filmed and the episode that was supposed to be aired second. "The Chimes of Big Ben," the second episode to air, is found on a different disc. Feeling confused yet?
"Arrival," written by George Markstein and David Tomblin, and first aired on September 29, 1967. Our hero wakes up in the Village and discovers everyone kept there either has certain knowledge or lived a particular lifestyle of interest to the government. Names are not used here, and our hero is told he is now Number 6. The rules are explained to him by both Number Two (Guy Doleman) and the New Number Two (George Baker), but it is clear that our hero is not about to play well with others. In terms of hooking an audience, "Arrival" certainly accomplishes its mission.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We are democratic - in some ways..." May 14, 2004
If you have noticed the profound changes society has been undergoing during the past few decades and find them alarming, "The Prisoner" is the TV series for you. Far too complex and ahead of its time when it first aired in 1967, it has become more and more relevant ever since. Typically, the messages of great satires can be applied to an ever-increasing number of aspects of our existence over the time, and indeed, many of the most disturbing features of modern life are being dealt with or at least hinted at in "The Prisoner". This is why this is still highly enjoyable and recommendable TV - it is so much more than just another sixties spy series.
The action takes place in the "Village", a beautiful place; outwardly a luxury seaside resort surrounded by picturesque mountains, it harbours a totalitarian society. Totalitarianism does not necessarily mean "a boot crushing a human face", as George Orwell put it in "1984", another immortal satire. A totalitarian regime may as well present itself as a superficially liberal, affluent society, devoid of the more explicit means of suppression like gulags and concentration camps we normally associate with it. It may just as well crush independent spirits slowly, insidiously with the help of relentless, pussy-footed propaganda and lowering of educational and subversion of moral and cultural standards. The more dumbed-down the citizens become, the more readily they believe every misinformation they are being fed.
The basic outlines of "The Prisoner" are well known. After having been rendered unconscious by sleeping gas, the hero wakes up in "The Village", that colourful luxury prison for people who know too much.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Remenber from way back
So Old school, I like this series---the first times I watched I didn't understand, watching years later, now it makes sense, timeless subject
Published 3 months ago by Gwendolyn
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential for Completists
I've been a fan of this series for many years, and it's nice to see clear, sharp versions of it on DVD. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Brian Morey
4.0 out of 5 stars Product Review
After viewing the DVD, I noticed that the bonus feature "The Chimes of Big Ben" had poor sound and picture quality but the other episodes had exceptional sound and picture. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jeremy E.
1.0 out of 5 stars The Prisoner
This was not what I expected.Very slow moving-poor writing for actors and just dead to watch. I have spoken to friend who love this show,but I think it was nothing!!!
Published 14 months ago by Michael Shapiro
5.0 out of 5 stars Rover Rules!!!
The real star of this show is the weather balloon known as Rover! This thing can swim, float in the air and do all sorts of amazing things in capturing Number 6. Read more
Published on May 13, 2007 by PATRICK J.POWERS
3.0 out of 5 stars A few words to the wise
Yes the Prisoner series was expertly photographed (for 1966 anyway). It had very good Shakespearean acting but that means it isn't much like real life as acting Bard-style is... Read more
Published on June 19, 2006 by Me Curry
3.0 out of 5 stars A few words to the wise
Yes the Prisoner series was expertly photographed (for 1966 anyway). It had very good Shakespearean acting but that means it isn't much like real life as acting Bard-style is... Read more
Published on June 19, 2006 by Me Curry
5.0 out of 5 stars You Will Be A Prisoner
This is a great series!! Highly reccommended,once you see it you will never escape The Village :). A must for your Sci/Fi/Spy collection. BCNU
Published on April 16, 2006 by Tommcfearsom
5.0 out of 5 stars Be Seeing You
For those new to the bizarre world created in McGoohan's Prisoner series, this is the most logical place to start. Read more
Published on February 1, 2006 by Apekid
3.0 out of 5 stars Exploit good taste...
While I have been very happy to be able to see all of "The Prisoner" episodes via Netflix rentals. I only own this particular set. Read more
Published on February 23, 2005 by Norm Cash
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