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The Last Valley
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The story is about a Captain, played brilliantly by Michael Caine, in charge of a group of multi-national mercineries during the 17th Century Thirty Years War. It is also about a wanderer, seeker, and a man escaping from the ravages of war, Vogel, played by Omar Sharif. There is also a large international supporting cast, who all do their part, most notable being Nigel Davenport as the Village elder, Per Oscarsson as the village priest, and Arthur O'Connell, most known for his part on the 70's TV show, Chico and the Man.
What started out as Religious Wars, mainly in what is present day Germany, and Alpine Valleys quickly turned into political jocking by petty German Princes, the Holy Roman Emporer, the Kings of France, Sweden, and Denmark. Added to all this war destruction were outbreaks of the plague. The film does a wonderful job with reconstructing this historical backdrop, even with minor details, like when the village priest asks one of the soldiers "Are you a Lutheran Protestant, a Calvin Protestant, or God forbid a heretical Anabaptist or Satan worshiper." While the Catholics and Protestants, throughout the 17th century, had a love-hate relationship, to put it mildly, the both agreed on their disdain for all things Anabaptist (present day Mennonites, Amish and Hutterites.Read more ›
The first thing that made a favorable impression was the outstanding opening credits sequence. Many reviewers mention John Barry's magnificent score as a highlight and they're right. This credits sequence innovatingly depicts the theme of the Thirty Years War -- members of essentially the same religion at each other's throats.
THE STORY: During the horrible Thirty Years War in Europe (1618-1648) a band of mercenaries led by the merciless Michael Caine ("The Captain") and a drifter attempting to flee the horrors of the war discover a hidden vale -- the last valley untouched by the war. The drifter talks The Captain into wintering in the peaceful valley rather than pillaging it and raping/killing the villagers. (This setup itself is a hint that this is no ordinary war flick).
WHAT WORKS: Parts of the film have a dreamy, surreal atmosphere, particularly the beginning and ending; this is reminiscent of the incomparable "Apocalypse Now." Michael Caine is outstanding as The Captain, a character so hardened by the horrors of war that he no longer even has a name, he's just "The Captain." Caine would perform a similar role in the underrated "The Eagle Has Landed" in 1977, a stunning performance. The Captain's answer to everything was to simply kill, but now, in the valley, he has found peace and the warmth of love.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This failure was one of the last films made in 70mm, but like many the films that made this visually breathtaking process obselete, some of the product was mediocre. Read morePublished 4 months ago by addison de witt
Absolutely wonderful movie. After watching it, I bought another one for my son.Published 4 months ago by Lynn Mitchell
Michael Caine and Omar Sharif star in this big budget adventure film from 1971. The story takes place during the 30 years war in the 17th century. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Dale H. Thielker
This is a movie most people dont know about, its facinating to think that a plot like this could possibly happen. The acting is greatPublished 5 months ago by Paul burns
A Truly remarkable Film from the early 70s. Set during the latter part of the 30 years war, 1642, the film is realistic, brutal and, contains outstanding acting , and character... Read morePublished 9 months ago by A. Devlin
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