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Michael Palin's Around the World in 80 Days

4.8 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days (DVD)

Monty Python comedian/writer Michael Palin takes up the famous challenge: to travel around the world in only 80 days. Air travel is forbidden, and wherever possible he uses the same routes and transport as Jules Verne's fictional hero, Phileas Fogg, meeting many interesting characters en route. As he races across continents and against the clock, Michael's charm and ingenuity delights the armchair traveler.

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Michael Palin started another career in the late 1980s: explorer. The former Python brings humor, humanity, and class to the genre of filmed travelogues with Around the World in 80 Days, his first and best journey. The genesis of this BBC series is a sly side-bet: can someone travel via 19th-century means around the world in 80 days like Jules Verne's fictional Phileas Fogg did in 1872? As Palin travels around London asking experts about world travel, it seems to be a 50/50 chance at best. The reliance on air travel makes shipping schedules very tentative, and in some ways just slowing down may be a hardship for a 20th-century traveler. As Palin notes, air travel is about viewing airports; no one really "travels" anymore.

Armed with his inflatable globe, Palin starts off by train across Europe before problems arise: missed connections, labor strikes, language difficulties, and the like. But Palin is adorable company to have for the seven-part, six-hour series. He manages the impossible, always making us believe we are in the moment, even though some scenes had to be shot to accommodate the camera (he enters a taxi alone, the next scene we are with him in the cab). Palin is light on his feet, with quick humorous jabs, which comes in handy as his schedule is always on the brink of disaster. He offers round remarks on the countries he visits and often has amusing side trips: garbage man in Venice, bit actor in India, and cook aboard a freighter.

The highlight is the third episode, set almost entirely on a dhow slowly moving from Arabia to India. Here Palin is introduced to a life slowed down to its basics with a crew of mostly non-English speakers. The segment is so distinct the producers asked--and were granted--permission to add an additional episode instead of cutting most of the dhow footage.

Although Palin continued his adventures (Pole to Pole, Full Circle), nothing is as nimble or kinetic--there is a ticking clock element--as this first voyage. His entourage or Passepartout--Fogg's righthand man--grew with each voyage. There were usually two to four production folks with him on 80 Days, but they are rarely seen. The end result is the best travel "slide show" anchored by one of world's most amusing men. For couch potato and traveler alike, this is compelling viewing. --Doug Thomas


Special Features

Interviews: An exclusive interview with Michael Palin (19 mins) Interviews: An exclusive interview with Michael Palin (19 mins) Interviews: An exclusive interview with Michael Palin (19 mins)

Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Palin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 9, 2007
  • Run Time: 343 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MGBM22
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,774 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Michael Palin's Around the World in 80 Days" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R.H.A. on February 13, 2007
Format: DVD
One would think that trying to best a fictional record from the 1870s would be an easy task these days, even if one has to abide by the same modes of travel such as trains and boats, but we discover along with Palin that it isn't as easy at it would seem. We also discover the joys of simple travel, simple pleasures, everyday people from faraway lands, and such important lessons as how to remove a snake's gall bladder and - my favorite bit - the manly way to iron laundry. Yes, on top of being provided with a fascinating window to other cultures, we are awarded the constant presence of the wittiest, most charming and most informative travel guide ever to grace a TV screen. I love all of Palin's travel adventures but this - his first - is still in my book, the very best. I've heard that the DVD extras on this only include an interview with Palin, but that shouldn't dissuade anyone from buying this magnificent 7-part series.
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Format: DVD
I like travelling, but normally I don't like travel programs. They're boring and sensible, and although the surroundings are beautiful, they don't deliver anything you couldn't have looked up in a Lonely PLanet guide.

But not this one. Ex-Python turned globetrotter and British national treasure Michael Palin delivers a thoroughly entertaining, funny, untraditional and quite exciting travel program with, what would become his first of many great travel programs, "Around the World in 80 Days", in which he tries to recreate Phileas Fogg's journey around the world in Jules Vernes classic novel. No planes allowed, only boats and land transportation.

Not only is (was) it a new and more exciting way to create a travel program, but Palin, with his great sense of humour and his happy go lucky sort of approach to the task before him, is one of the best television presenters ever. He really grabs your attention and makes you interested in the places he goes to. He has indeed made the entire UK sit and watch his travels to places they had never heard of before week after week.

I have never spoken to anybody who, after seeing Palin's travels, did not feel invigorated and full of lust for adventure. It did certainly rekindle my love of trains and boats watching "Around the World in 80 Days". Now I travel by train instead of plane whenever I can.

I have watched the series some 4 or 5 times over the years now, and it never gets boring. They are the benchmark of travel programming. Highest possble recommendation.
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Format: DVD
Finally available on DVD this series was such a joy to watch. Palin's has an excellent homey style to his narration and always expresses in his looks and words much of what the audience is thinking about the situations he finds himeself in. The pacing is excellent and one quickly finds oneself truely involved and wondering will he make it on time. This is a fun travelcade which sweeps you around the world in great scenes which makes you want to revisit many of them. This was the first in a series of adventures which hopefully will all be released soon such as "From Pole to Pole." At this time you can view "Sahara" his adventures in Africa to get a feel for the style that this soon to be released series manifests. Overall this an excellent series and the price is reasonable, you should get many hours of enjoyment watching again and again.
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Format: VHS Tape
The best modern travelogue ever made! Informative, adventuresome, funny, beautiful, and engaging.
A wonderful film to be viewed more than once.
I also use it in teaching world history and geography.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It is good. I have got four of these Palin travelogues now. I love them all. It starts off richly enough, but you can imagine that when you get to the Pacific Ocean heading for California and America it might get a little slow. My other complaint is that rather short thrift is given to America in an effort to beat the deadline and get back to the start point there in London. It is a cool idea to try and stick to the "80 Days" - but the story suffers a bit adhering to this requirement. I don't think audiences would've been that upset! But you do find yourself rooting for them to make it. Quite an adventure. You should go too!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Michael Palin's first travel video --- filled with his quirky humor and easy going pace. He does it so you do not have to!
He goes into off beat areas to show a different side of the places he passes through for some unexpected adventures.
For example, he uses his spare time in Venice to help out the canal travelling garbage men! His great humor is always present and you get some nice insight into the kindness of people around the globe.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have travel to alot of these place and this just shows me how small the world really is. How life for some cultures has never changed and that people are good deep inside and welcome travelers from all over.
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Format: DVD
If the recent "Planet Earth" is the best nature documentary ever produced, as some claim, than this "Michael Palin's Around the World in 80 Days" is unequivocably the best travel doc ever. Nothing can touch it.

It will be a wonder and a joy to experience this again now that it is FINALLY available on DVD.
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