For 24 years, he ruled his country with an iron hand. But the waves of freedom that swept Europe in 1989 cost him his life. Nicolae Ceausescu will be remembered as much for his sudden death as his long tenure as dictator of Rumania. Through extensive archival footage and interviews with those who served him, BIOGRAPHY chronicles the rise and fall of the man who was utterly consumed with a desire to be the best. See how, together with his wife, he fashioned an image of perfection for himself--and how he eliminated any who dared challenge it. Former communist activists share their memories of the young man who would become a despot, while Richard Nixon (in an interview conducted shortly before his death) talks about his dealings with the inflexible leader. And relive the events that finally toppled his regime and turned the people against him. From his childhood in rural Rumania to his execution by firing squad, this is the story of one of the most infamous tyrants of the 20th century.
When sold by Amazon.com, this product will be manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The documentary mentions Ceausescu's poor childhood, his rise through the ranks of the Communist Party, and his anti-Soviet nationalism which made him the darling of the West. A temporary liberalization was followed by a sharp turn to super-Stalinism after visiting Mao's China and North Korea. The 1980's saw Ceausescu attempting to pay back the massive national debt to Western banks at one stroke, and a bizarre program of social engineering directed against every vestige of individual independence. Ceausescu's wife and evil genius Elena, a virtual co-dictator, is also prominently featured.
Nobody was surprised when Romania turned out to be the only Communist country in Europe where the system had to be overthrown by force. I didn't know all the details about Ceausescu's attempted flight, including the bizarre car hijack! Of course, the "trial" of Ceausescu was a farce, but honestly, so what?
I have a few objections to "Ceausescu: The Unrepentant Tyrant". One is that the narrator consistently mispronounces the dictator's name - admittedly a non-culpable error. Another is that the Romanians interviewed are dubbed by people speaking English with heavy foreign accents! Yet another shortcoming is that no Hungarians are interviewed. The Romanian interviewees, while condemning Ceausescu's domestic policies (and Elena) nevertheless praise his foreign policy, obviously because of Romanian nationalism. The rather numerous Hungarian national minority would probably have an altogether negative view of the man. The revolution against the dictator started in Timisoara (Temesvár), where the Hungarian dissident priest László Tökés had been defrocked by a compliant bishop.
I also have a few complaints against the smart alec introducing and closing the documentary, who claims that post-revolutionary Romania's "soft form of Communism" (meaning Ion Iliescu's government) explains the poverty of the country in 1999. Yeah, sure - look at the expansive economies of capitalist Kosovo and FYR Macedonia, LOL.
That being said, I nevertheless recommend "The Unrepentant Tyrant" for those who know next to nothing about Romania's modern history, or need to be reminded of the sorry reign of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu.
This is a good 50 minute introduction to Ceausescu's life, but it also feels slight. A dry recitation of facts, with lots of talking head experts. I'd like to have seen more news footage, less talking heads. Done in old ducumentary fashion, rather than post-Ken Burns fashion in which actors read actual letters from the people portrayed on screen. As a result, we never get a feel for Ceausescu, or get inside his head. We don't understand him any more than when we began. We're told Ceausescu was a tyrant -- and he was -- but we don't see the results of his tyranny. No prison or labor camp footage. Just a quick succession of propaganda and news clips, with many talking heads. A clear case of "telling" and not "showing."
Speaking of talking heads, it's funny how EVERY former member of his government NOW says how horrible Ceausescu was. If EVERY Communist bigwig opposed Ceausescu, why didn't someone speak up sooner?
Still, because there aren't many films on this important historic figure, I give it four stars as a serviceable introduction to those who've never heard of Ceausescu.