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World War I in Color

59 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Jul 13, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

Rare historical footage made vivid with new technology

World War I claimed the lives of 10 million soldiers and shaped an entire century. Narrated by four-time Academy Award® nominee Kenneth Branagh, this extraordinary documentary brings the war’s horror and heroism to life in a way never before revealed. Rare archival film--meticulously colorized under the guidance of expert historians--makes the past fresh, relevant, and alive.

In addition to these newly reclaimed sights and sounds, surviving WWI veterans share their experiences, personally testifying about life in the trenches, the terror of "going over the top," and the courage and sacrifice of battle. Analysis by military historians, detailed maps, and excerpts from the diaries and letters of men and women in the struggle offer a full range of perspectives on this unimaginably brutal, bloody clash of empires.

Since 1990, the British team of Philip Nugus and Jonathan Martin has created popular, critically acclaimed historical documentaries, including Hitler’s Bodyguard and The Century of Warfare.

Special Features

Tactics & Strategy, a 50-minute special showing how new technology and bold thinking changed warfare
Making the Series behind-the-scenes featurette (15 min.)
Biographies of political and military leaders, general facts, and a timeline of events
12-page viewer’s guide with historical background, including the Global War, Women at War, and Revolutionary Weaponry
SDH subtitles

Product Details

  • Actors: Arthur Barraclough, Kenneth Branagh, Arthur Halestrap, Harry Patch, Hubert Williams
  • Directors: Jonathan Martin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Athena
  • DVD Release Date: July 13, 2010
  • Run Time: 284 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003AND1GY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,961 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "World War I in Color" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

123 of 125 people found the following review helpful By Y. Sageev on October 28, 2005
Format: DVD
WWI in Color is not simply a hodge-podge collection of colorized WWI footage. While the colorization is certainly muted and tasteful, the color is, in fact, the least significant aspect of the series. Had the footage been entirely in black and white, the documentary would still be a superb visual introduction to the conflict.

Clearly, several episodes are not enough to cover every detail of WWI, but major battles, strategies, and technologies are covered nicely. The series devotes separate segments to trench warfare, the air war, the conflict at sea, and the eastern front. A background introduction to the conflict takes up the first episode and the sixth segment presents the conclusion of the war. Two bonus segments round out the series -- a discussion of tactics and strategy and a "making of" piece.

Of course, WWI in Color contains copious footage (for the time) that gives the viewer an invaluable visual sense of the conflict. Many of the film clips are stunning and unforgettable. Yet the series also interviews the few living veterans of the war and asks military historians to expound on various topics. The well-paced narration provides numerous and interesting details.

All in all, a fine and worthy effort that deserves to be viewed.
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76 of 78 people found the following review helpful By B. John on June 12, 2005
Format: DVD
Some of the best historians of the Great War have contributed to this feature, Gary Sheffield and Norman Stone are among the finest in all of military history.

The colorization process is excellent and the historical accuracy is even better.

This is not a day by day running of the war but is rather more of an overview. This is essentially a true account of how the allies came to win the war. It is not however the accepted 'schools' version of events and is in my view all the better for that.
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63 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Harold Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWER on May 26, 2010
Format: DVD
Stunning! COLOR makes this footage more realistic than any other documentary of "The War to End All Wars". Today's technology makes a huge difference, but the narration (Kenneth Branagh) and personal accounts from men who were in the war make even more impact. This series is a great overview-not a complete history, but certainly covers the important segments. More than that, it offers the emotion, the feel of that war, the hardships. I personally learned a great deal about the war that my American grandfather lived through. Most who will watch this amazing footage will have never talked to a living soldier that survived, there are few left, and most of today's population is too young. This is an important piece of DVD saved history, necessary in every library and historical department of school.

As important as the technologically added film color, is the educational focus on war machinery and weaponry that WWI inspired. I learned carriers, folding winged planes, tanks, flame throwers, and so much more was first used in WWI, not WWII. WWI was not all horse drawn equipment. The civilian footage (now in color) is dramatic as well. Literally seeing those early 20th century lifestyles & people on footage that is typically only found in still B/W photos is powerful.

ALL 6 episodes as well as 2 excellent Bonus segments (one longer than an episode) provide SUBTITLES. The bonus material is as interesting and well done as the episodes. 20 bios, facts bonus, a time line, plus a booklet pack even more of the war into this set. Topics reachable in scene selections: classroom friendly.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth M. Pizzi on May 27, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is perhaps one of the most enjoyable documentaries I have seen in recent years. Do not be put off by the colorization process used to tint the existing archival footage; indeed, it actually improves upon the viewing experience and compliments Sir Kenneth Brannah's lucid and absorbing narration. Everything is included here and covered with enough detail to satisfy and entertain either the armchair historian or the seasoned PhD. It is good to see that more high quality documentaries are being made about WWI--in many respects a war that was truly the world's first "modern war" that changed the map of Europe forever.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Richard O. Forzani on August 2, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have been a student of this conflict for many years, and while it is certainly impossible to cover every nuance of this unbelievable struggle in a few hours of film, the makers of the program have come as close to the mark as one could reasonably expect. The addition of colorization only serves to bring the videos closer to the present; slowing down the motion also helps eliminate the "silent movie" jerkiness of most old flics, end result being a realistic, poignant and sobering representation of the war and the bravery with which the participants faced daily horror.

What is most notable, aside from the technical aspects noted above, is the narrative, which accurately depicts the underlying reasons for the conflict as well as the all-important opening weeks which directly led to the slaughterhouse of trench warfare. Most histories deal superficially with set-piece battle information and vague overviews. Watching this series actually presents an accurate and insightful understanding of the roots of the conflict as well as how and why events happened in the way they did. I was reminded of Barbara Tuchman's Pulitzer-prize winning "Guns of August". All in all, a somber, informative yet thrilling work.

This would be an outstanding asset for any secondary school history department.
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