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The World at War [Blu-ray]

681 customer reviews

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The World at War [Blu-ray] + Victory at Sea: The Complete Series + Secrets of War - The Complete 65 Episode Series
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Editorial Reviews

More than 35 years after its initial broadcast, THE WORLD AT WAR remains the definitive visual history of World War II. Unsurpassed in depth and scope, its 26 hour-long programs feature an extraordinary collection of newsreel, propaganda, and home-movie footage drawn from the archives of 18 nations, including color close-ups of Adolf Hitler taken by his mistress, that present an unvarnished perspective of the war s pivotal events. Penetrating interviews with eyewitness participants from Hitler s secretary to Alger Hiss to ordinary citizens who stood outside the battle lines add spine-tingling, first-hand accounts to an already unforgettable viewing experience.

Informative and unbiased, THE WORLD AT WAR is the recipient of numerous accolades, including an International Emmy Award, The National Television Critics' Award for Best Documentary, and knighthood for its creator, Sir Jeremy Isaacs. Narrated by Academy Award winner Sir Laurence Olivier and painstakingly restored in 1080p high-definition (with newly-created 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks), this is epic history at its absolute best.

BONUS FEATURES:
Bonus Documentaries: The Making of the Series, Secretary to Hitler, The Two Deaths of Adolf Hitler, Warrior, Hitler s Germany: The People s Community 1933-1939, Hitler's Germany: Total War 1939-1945, The Final Solution: Parts 1 and 2, and From War to Peace
Making the Series A 30th Anniversary Feature-Length Retrospective
The Restoring of THE WORLD AT WAR a brand-new feature detailing the meticulous restoration process
The Making of THE WORLD AT WAR
Biographies
Gallery of Photos from the Imperial War Museum Collection
Historical Footage
Famous Songs, Speeches, Quotes and Maps

Special Features

Bonus Documentaries: The Making of the Series, Secretary to Hitler, The Two Deaths of Adolf Hitler, Warrior, Hitler s Germany: The People s Community 1933-1939, Hitler's Germany: Total War 1939-1945, The Final Solution: Parts 1 and 2, and From War to Peace
Making the Series A 30th Anniversary Feature-Length Retrospective
The Restoring of THE WORLD AT WAR a brand-new feature detailing the meticulous restoration process
The Making of THE WORLD AT WAR
Biographies
Gallery of Photos from the Imperial War Museum Collection
Historical Footage
Famous Songs, Speeches, Quotes and Maps

Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: History
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC
  • Language: English (DTS-HD 5.1), English (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 9
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • DVD Release Date: November 16, 2010
  • Run Time: 2056 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (681 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003X3BYEC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,813 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The World at War [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

839 of 853 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Adams on January 10, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Assuming that a filmmaker can't go on indefinately, let's say making a history of World War II in hundred or more hours of videotape, Jeremy Isaacs has done a masterful job of capturing the essense of World War II, including its causes and the Cold War that evolved out of its conclusion.
Please note, "The World At War" was produced between 1971 and 1974, which means the interviews with veterans and other war survivors were filmed close to thirty years after the conclusion of World War II.
I watched much of this series when it was first telecasted in the 1970s, and continued to view reruns of programs over the last 25+ years. I had thought that I had seen every episode two or three times, but after finishing the complete DVD collection, I'm pretty sure I completely missed some programs and saw only bits-and-pieces of others.
What a tremendous production. Beautiful reproduced on DVD, with excellent color and superb graphics (maps).
I especially appreciated the opening special, "The Making of..." with producer Jeremy Isaacs, as well as Isaacs' brief introductions to each of the 26 programs. I only wish he had prepared similar introductions to the supplementary material on Discs 4 and 5, but you can't have everything.
"The World At War" is hundred times better than the typical fare found on A&E, The History Channel, and even PBS. That's not to say that quality productions are not being made today, but Jeremy Isaacs' production is just plain better than most things regularly scheduled documentaries on cable and broadcast television.
Special mention must be made of the music by Carl Davis and the writers, who are too numerous to mention.
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299 of 307 people found the following review helpful By J P Falcon on January 1, 2002
Format: DVD
When investing in any DVD, especially a boxed set, you might ponder the question, "How often will I watch this?" Let me say that your purchase of The World at War will offer you endless viewing opportunities! Besides the 26 original episodes, all of the extra features that were produced afterwards are included in the set. There is so much information generated in over 30 hours of material that you will discover something new with each repeated viewing. Each episode will hold your attention from first to last, and they are efficiently indexed so you can easily review a map or replay a speech. Along side the emotional impact of the pictorial images, you have Carl Davis' moving score, a judicious use of period music, personal accounts from all the major powers, and Sir Laurance's strong narration, making this the most comprehensive documentary on the subject. Now if we can only have World War I, narrated by Robert Ryan, available, we would have the documentary bookends to the two most devastating wars in the 20th century.
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209 of 218 people found the following review helpful By Frank "the man" on September 15, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For History buffs and those who have a keen, deeply felt interest in World War II beyond just the military events, the World at War, produced by Thames Television (1981) and released earlier on VHS by Thorn/EMI, is a 26 episode documentary set apart from all other documentaries about WWII. No other, with the exception of Walter Cronkite's CBS series, comes close to an unbiased, analytical perspective of a War that cost perhaps 50 million lives and took an emotional and philosophical toll we are still trying to comprehend today.
Narrated by Sir Laurence Olivier and covering all aspects of the war, this definitive series is used by many colleges and universities as a source for History and Documentary Film courses. There is an incredible depth of archive footage used; skilfully woven with interviews of major figures in the War from Britain, US, Canada, Europe and Japan. Many major eye-witness leaders and ordinary people who were still alive in 1981 contributed sometimes surprising, sometimes incredible, and sometimes haunting interviews. Yet, for all its skilful editing and historical sophistication, it is clearly presented and emotionally compelling. In my opinion, it is, along with Kenneth Clark's "Civilisation", the best ever produced British documentary.
What makes this a stellar and overpowering account of the War is Olivier's narration. Never blustery, patriotic, or theatrical, Sir Laurence delivers pointed, thoughtful analysis with his incredible command of English and oration. Music for the series was composed by Carl Davis and even the opening credits set an unforgettable tone in a haunting image of a child in a photograph, dissolving in flames. This series is for those trying to make sense of a 6 year period when the world went mad. Five Stars PLUS.
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94 of 95 people found the following review helpful By L. Harris on April 15, 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I won't say much about the documentary itself because others have been covering that ground for years. Suffice it to say it's the definitive documentary on WWII and always will be because part of what makes it great are the interviews of people who were involved in the events at the time, most of whom have passed away now.

I'm going to focus my comments on the Blu-ray release for those who have the DVD release and are wondering if it's worth purchasing again on Blu-ray. I've had it on DVD for a while. When I made the move to Blu-ray part of me liked the idea of having my favorite documentary on Blu-ray, but I had to wonder how much value there would be in a Blu-ray version of bunch of WWII-era footage that was mostly black and white.

Thanks to the efforts of the folks at FremantleMedia, apparently quite a bit. Because the original The World at War was produced on tape for TV instead of on film there really wouldn't have been any value in simply transferring the original to Blu-ray. Old films transfer well to Blu-ray because film offers a lot of detail, but anything where the original source is tape produced for TV lacks the needed resolution to produce a quality Blu-ray.

So they did the only thing that made sense and basically recreated the series from scratch, starting with the original film and restoring that instead of working with the original series, and the results are by and large very successful.

Here's what you'll notice if you compare the two:

- The first thing you'll notice is that everything has been reframed to get a 16:9 image instead of the original 4:3. The purist in me doesn't like that as it means some portion of the image is always cut off.
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Topic From this Discussion
Don't support fake widescreen
No, indeed, since this was originally a made-for-television documentary, all of the footage would have been 4:3, not just the pre-widescreen-era images from the 1940s, because TV sets in the 1970s were all 4:3 fullscreen, not 16:9 widescreen.

But the British owners of the series, Freemantle... Read More
May 16, 2011 by Sean Greenwood |  See all 8 posts
World At War DVD
Has The World at War Blu-ray version shown on The History Channel yet? or any plan to air them? Thanks.
Nov 18, 2010 by J. WANG |  See all 3 posts
World at war 2009 vs 30th anniversary
What is the differences between the 5 disc set, and the 11 disc,and the 7 disc set?
Nov 27, 2012 by master1 |  See all 2 posts
subtitle?
Are the subtitles strictly in English? Are there French subtitles?
Dec 22, 2012 by M. Rivest |  See all 9 posts
The World at War Blu-Ray....Black bars?
No. The restorers changed the aspect ratio from 4x3 to 16x9. There are no black bars.
Nov 7, 2013 by John Smith |  See all 4 posts
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