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The Six Wives of Henry VIII (2006)

Keith Michell , Annette Crosbie  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)

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DVD 4-Disc Version $26.49  
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Product Details

  • Actors: Keith Michell, Annette Crosbie, Dorothy Tutin, Elvu Hale
  • Format: Box set, Color
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 16, 2006
  • Run Time: 630 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EBD9VM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,013 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

A British television series originally broadcast on CBS (and rebroadcast on PBS) in America in 1971, The Six Wives of Henry VIII remains a painless way to learn something about royal history and its impact on the political and religious landscape of England. Keith Michell stars as King Henry VIII, who assumes the throne as a boy after the death of his older brother and inherits the latter's Spanish betrothed, Catherine of Aragon (Annette Crosbie), as well. Growing up and increasingly complicated in personality, with an ever-growing appetite for elusive happiness as well as power and food, Henry maneuvers (and is maneuvered by) forces around him to break from Rome and create the Church of England, in part to accommodate his wish for a divorce.

Each story of the king's successive brides takes up an entire episode in the series. Dorothy Tutin plays the doomed Anne Boleyn, Anne Stallybrass is Henry's favorite, Jane Seymour, Elvi Hale is Anne of Cleves, Angela Pleasence is Catherine Howard, and Rosalie Crutchley plays last-in-line Catherine Parr. A very large and fine supporting cast adds intrigue and extra layers of tragedy to the proceedings, especially John Baskcomb as Cardinal Wolsey, Wolfe Morris as Thomas Cromwell, and Ralph Bates as Thomas Culpepper. Each 90-minute episode was crafted by a different writer, but the series holds together very well under Keith Michell's dazzling performance as the despicable if sympathetic Henry, whose emotional arc over many years and losses is something to see. --Tom Keogh

Product Description

A chronicle of England's turbulent years of the early 16th century recounting the life and times of the vibrant and lusty King Henry VIII in a cycle of six plays. Stars Keith Michell in his Emmy Award-winning performance as Henry VIII and features a 90-minute "bonus drama", The Other Boleyn Girl, based on the popular Philippa Gregory novel.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ABSOLUTELY MAGNIFICENT... May 10, 2006
This is a series of six individual plays that focuses upon each of the six wives of King Henry VIII of England. Written by six different playwrights, they are uniformly excellent. While the production values are not high, that is because these plays were part of a televised series for which there were budgetary constraints. Although the makeup is noticable, the sets are uninspired, and the lighting is harsh, the costumes, however, are gorgeous. More important, the acting is superb.

King Henry VIII is played to perfection by Keith Michell. He has set the standard by which all others in the part will be judged, and he is the linchpin around whom the entire series revolves. He plays the young, athletic, erudite, golden king in the first tape, and the viewer watches him age and deteriorate throughout the entire series, until he finally becomes the sore riddled, morbidly obese, self absorbed, tyrannical hulk of his later years.

Each one of the six wives has her own unique story. The plays tell that story, each a first rate drama unto itself that segues into the next one seamlessly. All the queens are portrayed by very talented thespians, and the supporting cast is superlative. All in all, this series provides a fully absorbing historical drama that should not be missed. It is through the story of each of the wives that one is able to see England transform itself from a catholic country to a protestant one. It also provides a birdseye view of the political intrigues that fueled the Reformation.
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80 of 83 people found the following review helpful
"The Six Wives of Henry VIII" is the original BBC series of six 90 minute plays chronicling the reign and marriages of England's King Henry VIII. Each of the six plays or segments, "Katherine Aragon", "Anne Boleyn", "Jane Seymour", "Anne Of Cleves", "Catherine Howard" and "Catherine Parr," is written by a different author. The series was released to great popular and critical acclaim in 1971 and televised on PBS' Masterpiece Theater. This is a three-disc DVD boxed set, with two 90-minute teleplays per disc (one per spouse). Keith Michell is outstanding as the multiple-married monarch. From a boisterous, athletic, handsome Hal, at the time of his marriage to Katherine of Aragon, (Annette Crosbie), the superb Michell, and make-up, transform the king before our eyes to a porcine, tyrannical, and sickly ruler. Although each drama is limited in scope due to time restrictions, the monarch's personal and political reasons for selecting and/or rejecting, (or beheading), his spouses are depicted to some extent.

"My, you ought to seen old Henry the Eight when he was in bloom. He was a blossom. He used to marry a new wife every day, and chop off her head next morning. And he would do it just as indifferent as if he was ordering up eggs." Thus Mark Twain describes our protagonist in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." As this series demonstrates, Henry was not quite the womanizer he is reputed to be. He was married to Katharine of Aragon for over twenty years and had just a few mistresses before this - unusual for a prince. He waited years to physically consummate his relationship with Anne Boleyn, and remained faithful to her until marriage.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keith Mitchell is a fantastic Henry VIII August 2, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I'm surprised that none of the reviews prior to this one mentioned Keith Mitchell's exceptional performance as Henry VIII. You saw him portray Henry from his youth when was a handsome, athletic, scholarly and pious prince to his later years as an obese, repugnant, evil and diseased monarch. You cannot believe that this is the same person, as his evolution goes from one extreme to the other. This transition could not have been carried out by a lesser actor.
I subtract only one star for the low quality of the production itself, but the acting was superb by Mitchell and the ladies that portrayed his six queens. Many of these actors are famous within the British theatre but unfortunately not as well known as some of our Hollywood stars. They should be recognized for their fine efforts, including Dorothy Tutin. She gave the most haunting performance of Henry's second wife, Anne Bolyen, who was executed on trumped up charges of adultery so Henry could marry Jane Seymour, his third queen.
This series truly succeeds in showing what a sick and evil monster that Henry VIII was. He executed so many for such minor offenses and he committed so much evil to beget a male heir. You can almost breathe a sigh of relief when he dies, almost as if you, yourself are spared from the executioner's block.
I must also highly recommend the companion series, "Elizabeth R", about the life of Queen Elizabeth I. She was the only child he had with Anne Boleyn and her reign was the most illustrious in English history. This six part series is also available from
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality ruins the "Six Wives of Henry VIII". July 31, 2001
By A Customer
The Six Wifes of Henry VIII, while showing some substantial acting capabilities, must be view in poor video and audio quality. It is as if the DVD was made from a poor VHS. Technical difficulties arise if you wish to start or stop the DVD from any particular point. This is simply not possible. Even finding a particular Queen/wife is difficult. The technical production of this series of DVD's is poor at best. Knowing the the lack of video/audio quality in this production, I would not have spent the monies in this direction although I did enjoy seeing this series once again.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Well acted, true to history ... highly recommend.
This six-part television presentation is excellent. Provides great insight into each of King Henry VIII's wives and shows how they were pertinent to the changes in the religious... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Oldie But Goodie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 27 days ago by Karen Simpson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very interesting and informative.
Published 28 days ago by Doris D. Herrera
3.0 out of 5 stars Still a good show...
Time has aged this series as I thot it was better than it really was altho Kieth Mitchell does a spectacular job as Henry.
Published 1 month ago by Roc
5.0 out of 5 stars ... series to my collection for awhile and I was delighted to get the...
I have been wanting to add this series to my collection for awhile and I was delighted to get the series at a reasonable price and I have been enjoying looking at the series again.
Published 2 months ago by Jan
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Very slow paced, audio not clear and no subtitles.
Published 2 months ago by Russell Zimmer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Extremely well acted and well produced.
Published 2 months ago by Kathryn Pegelow
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic for its time and a MUST SEE for all Tudor Buffs
Produced in the 1970s, this BBC series is an historically accurate and well-acted account of one of England's most fascinating royals. Read more
Published 3 months ago by HalKid2
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good to see.
This is a series that is worth watching to see what life would have been like back when these ladies had their turn at being Queen.
Published 3 months ago by southernlass
4.0 out of 5 stars A blast from the past...........
I remember watching this series on the television when I was younger. I enjoyed it them and was happy to watch again. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Grandma Peachie
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Topic From this Discussion
the actresses who portray the wives
I recall watching it on TV (PBS in 1973) and thinking the 'wives' were rather plain also. My mom pointed out that in those times (16th century), standards of beauty were vastly different. People bathed infrequently hence greasy hair, dental care was unknown hence grotesque oral care and lots of... Read More
Jun 5, 2009 by Buche de Noel |  See all 13 posts
Can someone please comment on the DVD quailty?
I just finished watching the DVD and the colors are very faded. But I am not sure if this is due to the program being shot on video and not on film.
Jan 8, 2008 by Movie Mania |  See all 5 posts
Does this version have closed captions or English subtitles? Be the first to reply
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