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The Real Da Vinci Code

4.2 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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(May 02, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

History...or hokum? Take a look at the facts on which Dan Brown built his blockbuster novel


You've read the novel. Now learn the real story. With intellectual rigor and a hint of impish humor noted British actor and commentator Tony Robinson follows the trail laid down by Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code and undertakes his own quest for the Holy Grail.

Interviewing such respected experts as Biblical scholar Elaine Pagels, Robinson crisscrosses Europe and the Holy Land, from Scotland's Rosslyn Chapel to Jerusalem's Temple Mount, in hot pursuit of historical truth. He also sits down with Michael Baigent, who co-authored Holy Blood, Holy Grail the controversial book from which Brown drew the theories underpinning his novel.

Did a sect of medieval warrior-monks uncover a shocking secret about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the Holy Grail? Did Leonardo Da Vinci plant clues to the long-suppressed truth in his paintings? Do shadowy societies protect the Grail, even today? The Real Da Vinci Code is an informative, entertaining investigation that authoritatively separates imaginative fiction from historical fact.


The Real Da Vinci Code ought to be the last word among plentiful video debates over the validity of startling claims in Dan Brown's bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code. Produced by Britain's Channel Four Television and broadcast on the Discovery Channel in the U.S., the irreverent but no-nonsense documentary systematically dismantles so-called historical facts Brown embraced (not only in his story, but in interviews) to support the idea that the Holy Grail is actually the blood lineage of Jesus, carried by descendants of his child by Mary Magdalene. Hosted by Tony Robinson (Blackadder's Baldrick), The Real Da Vinci Code hopscotches through France, Scotland, Israel, Italy, Spain, and America to investigate evidence that the major historical players in Brown's alternative Grail legend--the heretical Cathars, the wealthy but persecuted Knights Templar, the secretive Priory of Sion--did the things Brown (and his research sources) said they did. Turns out these stories come up wanting, as does the basis for the 1982 Holy Blood, Holy Grail, which provided much of the foundation of Brown's book. Nothing is quite as remarkable as fairly damning proof of at least one major, late 20th-century hoax, associated with Grail quests, that has since been popularly accepted as fact. Same with assertions that Leonardo Da Vinci was one of many important people who kept records of Christ's progeny. The one ray of hope for Grail conspiracy theorists is the Magdalene cult woven through the pages of the Gnostic gospels, written by early Christians, and Robinson's split decision over whether that's Mary or St. John at Christ's right in Leonardo's The Last Supper. Even if one doesn't care about the subject, the flashes of wit (a bobblehead Jesus on Robinson's dashboard, comic-book images of Christ's supposed romance with Magdalene) are a hoot. --Tom Keogh

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Tony Robinson, Richard Barber (III), Thomas Bridwell, Ann Graham Brock, Thierry Vregil
  • Directors: Kashaf Chaudhry
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: ACORN MEDIA
  • DVD Release Date: May 2, 2006
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,347 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Real Da Vinci Code" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Tony Robinson manages to analyse the supposedly 'historical' claims made in Dan Brown's fiction to see if these claims - believed by many of Brown's readers - stand up to detailed scrutiny. Such an enterprise could end up being earnest, boring or (worst of all) motivated by some Christian agenda, but as a veteran of popularising history, Robinson manages to keep the pace rapid and the tone light without dumbing down the content.

The strength of this documentary is that it sticks purely to the evidence, comparing it at every stage with the claims Brown makes as part of the allegedly 'well researched' background to his novel. In particular, Robinson demolishes the claim made on the novel's first page (under the bold heading 'FACT') that the so-called "Priory of Sion" is a real organisation. Robinson takes to this claim with an entertaining combination of detailed detective work and obvious relish and lays out the real story of the 'Priory' - not a real medieval secret society at all, but rather a clumsy modern hoax by a French eccentric.

With the claims about the 'Priory' demolished (complete with a rather funny interview with a visibly squirming *Holy Blood Holy Grail* author, Mighael Baigent) just about all of the rest of the 'historical background' to Brown's novel begins to fall apart.

While this section of the documentary is highly detailed and definitely worth telling, other parts towards the end of the DVD seemed a little rushed by comparison. Robinson features Leonardo expert, Charles Nicholl (author of *Leonardo da Vinci: Flights of the Mind*) who gives a very clear explanation as to why the figure of John to Jesus' right in The Last Supper is not 'Mary Magdalene' and why Leonardo would paint a young man in such an effeminate manner.
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Format: DVD
I saw this programme when it was aired on Channel 4 in the UK in 2005.It is a first class production which mercilesly debunks the novel in a scholarly way.The problem faced by some is that this is a secular debunking,so charges of religious bias are groundless and crtics of this programme must rely on challenges to Christian teaching regarding Gnostic beliefs.A critical review of this programme is difficult to mount hence the reviewer who gave it 2 stars only justified this low figure, not because of the calibre of the programme, but because she disagreed with Christian teaching.It is 5 stars all the way and is deservedly considered to be the finest expose of the "Da Vinci" nonsense.
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Format: DVD
This is a good production that is useful critique to the Da Vinci Code. The program presents some credible investigation into the supposed facts behind The Da Vinci Code. Robinson does his best to discredit some issues raised in the Holy Blood, Holy Grail and the Da Vinci Code.

This is a well made documentary where Robinson presents his arguments, proposals and conclusions based on the available evidence and compares and contrast the claims and arguments presented by Dan brown. I liked his methodical approach that is convincing particularly the scholarly way he exposes the Priory de Sion as a hoax and not some medieval secret society. Much to his credit, Tony Robinson does not approach the investigation from a religious view, giving his finding much objectivity.

This is a worthwhile film for those who are seeking a more thoroughly investigated refutation of Dan Brown's claims and arguments, although it is not a very conclusive and definitive rebuttal, due to some omissions in the film. Very good viewing for the open minded.
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Format: DVD
After seeing a lot of documentaries made on the Da Vinci Code, which essentially try to verify the story by Dan Brown, THIS ONE tells the whooooole truth about the "Da Vinci Code". It presents evidence that the other documentaries ignore, because they want to go with the ride of Dan Brown's novel. For example, that the Dossier Secrets are all forgeries, that the Priur? de Sion was a fraud created in the 1950's, that there is no such Merovingian dynasty present today, that Pierre Plantard is not a Merovingian descendant, and that the Merovingian dynasty does NOT descend of the Jews (which has been historically and genetically confirmed), that Margaret Starbird is essentially wrong about her theory of how Mary Magdalen went to France,that the Holy Grial has nothing to do with the bloodline, that all of Da Vinci's paintings can be explained WITHOUT supposing him knowing anything about Jesus and Mary Magdalen, etc. etc. etc. And STILL people like Michael Baigent insists that there has been no evidence against the main thesis of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail", when Henry Lincoln has publically admitted that their work in that book HAS NO SCIENTIFIC VALUE WHATSOEVER!

And what about the so-called researchers like Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince in their extremely poor research in their book "The Templar Revelation" or Margaret Starbird's credentials in her "Woman of the Alabaster Jar"? They are all discredited!

If you really want to get rid of all this "Da Vinci Code" madness, the authors of this documentary hosted by Tony Robinson is great! The other book recommendation is "The Da Vinci Hoax". Feel free to embrace the truth over sensationalism!
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