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Glittering Prizes, The (1976) DVD

4.2 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Glittering Prizes, The (1976) DVD

Six plays by Frederic Raphael which follow a group of Cambridge students from the 1950s to the mid 1970s.

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Special Features

Writers and Places: All That Glittered

Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 12, 2008
  • Run Time: 471 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00132D876
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,567 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Glittering Prizes, The (1976) DVD" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The Glittering Prizes comes from a golden age of television, when the BBC made British dramas for a British audience rather than overblown costume nonsense for international consumption. This six part serial is television for grownups with realistic characters speaking witty and intelligent dialogue in recognisable situations. The story, or rather stories follow a group of bright young things from their days at Cambridge in the early 1950's to success, failure, or merely resignation in the mid 1970's. Along the way, we get to know them all and perhaps even learn a thing or two about ourselves.

The production is first-rate and the acting is uniformly excellent, but the heart and soul of The Glittering Prizes are its scripts, the product of novelist and screenwriter Frederic Raphael. Anyone who has ever seen the films Darling or Two For The Road will immediately recognise his style. Always articulate and revealing, sometimes cynical, occasionally hopeful, quite often so truthful that it hurts - the sort of drama that you find yourself thinking about for days or weeks afterwards. I first saw the Glittering Prizes on PBS in the late 1970's and have been waiting ever since to see it again. I'm amazed how some scenes and even bits of dialogue have stayed so fresh in my memory, while other parts I had completely forgotten. It's great to see it all again.

Raphael has always said that the main character of Adam Morris, brilliantly played by Tom Conti, is not autobiographical, but the facts and similarities suggest otherwise. At first, we expect this entire series to be his story, but soon a fascinating array of other characters slink their way onto center stage. In fact, Conti's character only appears at the very end of Part Two and is not in Parts Four and Five at all.
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I've waited more than 20 years to see the Glittering Prizes again. I saw the original on Dutch television when I was 17 years. I try to see an episode every other day. Just to enjoy each episode as much as I can. Superior acting. Great dialogue. Can it get any better than this? don't think so....
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Format: DVD
If you never had a chance to see this show when it was on PBS, do yourself a favor and buy it now. It is wonderfully well written and acted. Shows like this just don't seem to be made anymore or else they are remade and not nearly as well done as the original. I can't wait to see it again! Tom Conti is wonderful! And I am still waiting for The Norman Chronicles to be released on DVD - another great performance from Tom Conti!
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At long last, the BBC, in all of its 'lack of wisdom', has offered us this brilliant, brilliant series on DVD. Hooray. I am ALWAYS amazed by the 'lack of thinking' of those that run the BBC. They seem determined to ruin the reputation of that once fine organization. They no longer seem to be making QUALITY programming, as evidenced by the rubbish bought by PBS recently (with the exception of 'Lewis') and the 'really really' dreadful and 'of no value' BBC-America. Thank goodness for video: 'The Glittering Prizes' is a great book and an excellent series. The 'then young' actors perform well and the stories are interesting. I know that I am going to enjoy the witty dialogue again and again. Thanks 'Auntie BBC' for, at long last, doing the right thing.
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This is a wonderful, long look at the lives of a talented and ambitious group, from their time at university to mid-life (i.e. 1950s to early 70s). Though dated, the acting and writing are so absolutely superb that I believe it is worthy of the title of classic.

The principal character is Tom Conti in his prime, one of the finest if least known British actors today. He plays a secular Jew with a chip on his shoulder, who goes to Cam engaged to a childhood sweetheart (also Jewish). Always ready with a repartee at once sharp yet funny, he easily enters a group of actors who become friends for life, or so they think. He falls for a strikingly beautiful fellow student, who is critical of the theatre crowd but supportive of his artistic ambitions, and experiences his first personal tragedy.

Each episode then focuses on different members of the group, jumping ahead 5 years or so, in vivid snapshots that never feel rushed but actually add up to very complete portraits. They drift apart, some make it very big, while others find their lives stalled by alcoholism, failed relationships, and career complications, including selling out. All the time, the nucleus of their experience is having been undergraduates at Cambridge, which serves as a crucial reference point in their lives and a source of career network. It is beautiful, often sad, and always interesting. You really feel like you get to know them.

It is not perfect. Some of the scenes are too long - one is a bizarre interview with a "visionary" architect and another is a 1960s student protest bit - and some of the transformation of characters makes little sense.

Warmly recommended. If you wonder what it is like to enter the Oxbridge (or any) elite, this is the film for you.
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Format: DVD
I first saw this program in 1976, and have never forgotten it. The sharp dialog stayed with me all these years, along with hopes that I would live to see it again. Well, my lucky day arrived and the wait was worth it. The most interesting aspect is that the story ended in the 1970's but we can now look back 30+ years to see the continuation of what was begun. In 1976 I saw a series about a group of bright young things meeting at Cambridge and going on to follow their careers at a time when Britain was changing, but keeping in touch and occasionally meeting up again. In 2009 I saw a series chronicling the changes in Britain from the old order and class ridden society, to the current disastrous overbearing Nanny state where everyone is on CCTV and law and order seems to have broken down, at least for the victims. Episode 5, an Academic life dealt with a newly established concrete Lego box university in Lincolnshire, where rebellious young students on government grants were studying Marxist Theory as part of a social studies course and looking for a cause for which to agitate. These students moved on and are now the establishment. the original student group from the 50's have met with varying degrees of success, but have also experienced disillusionment.

Although you may not fully comprehend some of the stories at first viewing, you find yourself thinking about it and taking another look, sometimes rethinking it, and sometimes just plain 'getting'. It would be interesting to have another episode set in the current period when the original group has retired. A well worth series to own.
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